As a starting point...Here's a weird headline for you:
Group builds on national poll momentum to examine illegal drug use in Port Angeles
Now, personally, I love that the "Best Town EVER" boosters have taken what they see as a positive ("We're number two!") and linked it with something that pretty much everyone agrees is, at best, a real bummer ("We're number one! In opiate-related deaths!"). That seems like a weird and unnatural link to me, but okay, whatever.
As commenters here have pointed out, again and again, the way the City of Port Angeles and the City Council of Port Angeles have responded (no response at all) to the painfully obvious drug problem in Clallam County is, in and of itself, a problem, as well as being shameful, cowardly and cold.
The article in today's PDN about the drug abuse forum put together by the Revitalize PA crowd is an interesting one - especially if you know a little about what's going on behind the scenes, or are able to read between the lines.
First, the drug problem is a County-wide problem, right? It's not just Port Angeles. The go-to person for substance abuse issues at the County is Leeann Grasseth, prevention specialist and grant coordinator. You'll notice she's not mentioned in this article at all. Hmmm...
Leeann, among other things, leads the Port Angeles Healthy Youth Coalition, the group trying to raise awareness of the drug problem in Clallam County, and trying to find solutions for said problem. But again, no mention of Leeann in this article. And, if you check the PAHYC website, you'll see that there are no elected officials - not a one - on their steering committee or involved in any way. Big problem, official involvement...zero. Hmmm...
In this article, the sensible Martin Shaughnessy is quoted as saying, "I'm inclined to put my money on the Boys & Girls Club" as a likely venue for successfully addressing local drug abuse problems among young people. And Martin, whether he knows it or not, is on to something.
That's because, Leeann Grasseth, frustrated by the County's lack of concern about or commitment to this issue, has been working behind the scenes to take the multi-million dollar Federal grant that currently funds her efforts away from Clallam County, and transfer it to...the Boys & Girls Club.
Now, let me make something absolutely clear here. We are talking about the County essentially giving away a Federal grant that addresses drug abuse. This grant costs them nothing. It not only pays for Grasseth's salary, but the County is even able to scrape many thousands of dollars off here and there to partially fund other staff positions that do not directly deal with this issue. In other words, this Federal grant could be seen as a money maker for Clallam County. It is cash flow positive.
And they are willing to let it go. Which, to my eyes, takes the official silence and indifference we've seen from local elected officials to a whole new level of "We don't care."
Think about that for a minute. Free money, addressing a pressing need in your community, and giving you some (unearned) cash on the side...And you just don't care. From what I've heard, this move has already been OKed by the higher ups at the County. The higher ups who just don't care. So I guess the three Republican Commissioners aren't the fabled "compassionate conservative" types.
Is this denial? Blind stupidity? A desire for a lack of accountability on this issue? Hey, who knows? And who cares? Not the County, apparently.
But if you care, or are just interested in this issue, the next Port Angeles Healthy Youth Coalition meeting is next Wednesday, the 17th, from Noon to 1Pm in room 115 at Port Angeles High School.
(By the way...My apologies for inserting SO MANY charts here, but...I'm just trying to demonstrate that this is an issue that has been an issue for Clallam County for years and years. There is no way for the people in charge of things to have any deniability on this issue.)