Monday, August 31, 2015

Ask Not What Your County Can Do For You...

"This topic is getting a bit worn CK, what else ya got?"

Well, I've got a full-time life to live, and a part-time blog to manage. I do the best I can to keep this forum just plain up, as well as up to date and pertinent, but, like I said, this is a part-time endeavor on my part. It's meant to serve as a community forum, which is to say, it's wide open to suggestions and information.

So let me turn that question around: What else have you got, readers? Hundreds of you come here day in and day out - what's on your minds?

Anyone actually excited about the City Council races? Anyone got any heretofore undisclosed nuggets of information about the conniptions at the Courthouse? Anyone have thoughts on the Port's loss of Westport as a tenant, and the attendant tax hit the move will cause?

Anyone with anything is welcome to start the discussion.

Monday, August 24, 2015

PAFAC DOA - Are You Listening, Lincoln Theater People?

Well, it's been a long time coming, but I'm not surprised to hear it...

The city will eliminate the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center’s director position at the end of the year, according to city Parks and Recreation director Corey Delikat.

Director Robin Anderson, who Delikat said last week is at the top end of the salary range — earning $66,000 annually — will depart after three years in the position.

The city will also phase out its $27,500 annual contribution to the fine arts center’s budget, Delikat said. This will happen over three years, starting in 2016.

Back in March, the Port Angeles City Council held a priority-setting session in which members decided its fine arts center funding is a non-essential cost, said Mayor Dan Di Guilio.

With police and fire funding considered indispensable, the art museum and park fell to “the bottom of the list,” he added.

Never mind the arts in general. Never mind the arts programs for kids specifically. Never mind the draw for visitors. Never mind the green space and prevention of runoff from Beaver Hill. Never mind the small piece of sophistication and modernity the PAFAC gives Port Angeles. Despite the economic ups and downs of the past decade, the arts are actually a larger part of the American economy now than they were ten years ago - but never mind that, either.

No, the City has wanted to kill the PAFAC for years now, and with this move they've come one big step closer to doing just that. They have consciously announced to the world that they don't give even a teeny tiny itsy bitsy damn about the arts. Unconsciously, they have also admitted, yet again, that they don't know how to manage their own budget, or to support the local economy in any meaningful way. Sum total, this is the City saying they're ignorant, and proud of it, and are unwilling to change their ways.

All of which doesn't bode well for the handful of Scott Nagel true believers who think the Lincoln Theater can or will Arts Center. Port Angeles doesn't do Arts Centers, folks.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Pot Calling the Kettle Crazy (Or Something Like That) ((No Comment))

Clallam County Commissioner Bill Peach should put up or shut up, according to county Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis.

The first-term commissioner publicly suggested Barkhuis has acted criminally in her ongoing dispute with commissioners.

Peach was unequivocal in his criticism of Barkhuis at a June 23 commissioners meeting.

“I would like to officially state that her behavior is unacceptable, she has broken the law and that I won’t tolerate this,” he said without elaboration.

On July 22, Barkhuis emailed Peach demanding an explanation.

Barkhuis said she did not receive a response.

During an Aug. 10 work session, Peach said Barkhuis’ actions are “not the behavior of a rational individual.”

In a Peninsula Daily News interview later that day, Peach suggested she broke the law by refusing to honor the warrants.

Barkhuis’s attorney, David Alvarez, said “Personal attacks are a distraction from the legal issues being debated here.”

Peach did not return repeated calls for comment Friday that were left at his home, office and cellphone.

Commission Chairman Dim King Jim McEntire would not comment on Peach’s allegations of illegality on Barkhuis’ part.

Nor would he comment directly on Alvarez’s assertion that personal attacks divert attention from more important issues.

“Boy, would I love to respond to that,” Dim King Jim said.

Isn't it WONDERFUL to have adults in charge?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The City is Bluffing

Let's stroll down memory lane, shall we?

First, the City actively acquired what is now the landfill and infamous Garbage Bluff. They took it in, took charge of it, wanted it. So that was done. Surely they knew what they were getting. How could they not?

Then, more dumping took place under their watch. I say dumping to differentiate it from what happens when a municipality has garbage hauled to a designated spot. That happened there, too, but there was also still a lot of good old fashioned not-quite legal dumping.

All of this on an existing bluff, mind you. With heavy tidal activity below.

So the City bought and built this timebomb of a dump. They - literally and morally - owned it, owned the problem.

So, when said bomb seemed to be getting ready to blow - UH OH! - the City decided to "solve" the problem by spending millions of dollars to...scoot the problem a little further back from the bluff. The same bluff that is still eroding.

"Hey, you! Don't store that bucket filled with gasoline by the fireplace! It could explode if you put it there!"

"Der, duh, okay. I will move it instead over here by this here space heater instead, so as to keep it safe. Der, okay? Problem solved!"


And now, with all their own history in this, the City is now pleading ignorance. Oh, they were in charge of the dump, but gosh, they didn't know what all was in there. Oh, jeepers, they knew it would be expensive to deal with, but not that expensive. Shock! Surprise! Pretending to be concerned about the costs!

It's a scene we've all seen played out before in Council Chambers, many, many times. Which doesn't make it any less pathetic or stupid.

But what is really, really, really stupid is to spend all this time and all that money to simply scoot the problem back a bit. I mean, the City of Port Angeles has literally kicked the can(s) - and the asbestos and everything else - down the road a ways. This problem isn't solved. Not even close. And those bills, both present and future, will have to be paid.

And we all know who really ends up paying in Port Angeles. The citizens. They get the dubious pleasure of paying for stupid every single day, with no end in sight.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

One For The Ladies

I've heard that Barb Frederick's financial drought is over. Yes, that bumbling boneheaded butterball will soon be "going into business" for herself. Well, for her family, anyway. Word is that Barb's family, sensitive to her "situation" (unemployed) and to her "standing in the community" (unemployable), have decided to open yet another junk...I mean, antique shop for Barb to manage.

No doubt you will agree with me that this is exactly what Port Angeles needs.

But it fits in with some other people and unresolved plotlines that I've been curious about of late. For instance, whatever happened to Toxic Teresa Pierce, the Harlot of Hypocrisy? She may have left City Hall behind her, sort of, in a protracted manner, but I doubt she left behind her the need to do things like eat and pay the bills. So what's Teresa doing with herself these days? How is she making ends meet? (If you'll pardon that hostile and inappropriate phrase...)

On another end of the moral spectrum, has anyone heard anything about what's up with Yvonne Ziomkowski? A couple of people have landed on this blog in the last week after searching for her name (spelled correctly and everything), so I'm wondering if perhaps something is in the air. Anyone heard anything about her resolving her dispute with the City?

Then there's Sheila Roark Miller, the former Pitbull of Planning. She had family troubles, got voted out of office, and, most horrific of all, was rumored to be "involved" with Andrew May. But again, none of that pays the bills.

Ah, but we know how Karen Rogers pays the bills. Fangs plus neck equals eternal life for charming Karen, who is like Barb Frederick with the soul of a viper. No, make that a nest of vipers. But if anyone has any recent scuttlebutt on Karen, feel free to share that as well.

Friday, August 14, 2015

"It is difficult for people's minds to wrap around that things are different"

That quote in the headline comes from Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc, who was speaking to the startlingly blasé attitude that many Port Angeles (and Clallam County) residents have towards fire danger, despite said danger being EXTREMELY HIGH due to it being EXTREMELY DRY. And he's right about the lack of concern being widespread. Which, really, explains how the City Council, by merely mirroring the checked-outness of the community, gets away with so much.

Lack of snowpack? "Huh?" Rivers running dry? "Hey, I still see some water there." Worsening drought conditions? "Drought? What drought?" Climate change and the new normal? "Do you speak English?"

Yes, the leaders in Clallam County are always more than content to lead from behind. Behind the times, behind the curve, and always putting their community squarely behind the eight-ball.

So, drought conditions and worried fire officials, meet the go-go-go Forks Rainforest Run, where the rubber hits the road, and an there's an increased chance of hot tailpipes hitting the tinder dry everything. Vroom, vroom! Duh, duh! Yes, Chief Dubuc, it obviously is difficult, isn't it?

Meanwhile...On a subject that things are very much not different...There was another "Save the Lincoln" meeting, which was once again attended by eight people. Which is kind of appropriate. An 8 looks like a couple of intertwined loops, and anyone who thinks Scott Nagel is capable of making this whole thing work is very much loopy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Three Way Tie for Last

Oh my stars and garters...Every time there's a new PDN article about the action in the County Courthouse, it seems to get more and more cartoonish and over the top. These are adults? Here are some standout lines (no paragraphs, please) from the most recent episode:

“My decision will not come until I am presented with some warrants to make sure the funds are being disbursed according to law," stated Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis.

The commissioners can fashion a solution “or do you want a solution to be fashioned by a judge?” said Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols.

Commissioner (Dim King Jim) McEntire said Barkhuis was “outside her lane” as treasurer by refusing to process the infrastructure grants.

Commissioner Bill Peach said that Barkhuis' actions are “not the behavior of a rational individual."

Commissioner Mike Chapman, who said later he plans to vote against the resolutions, seemed beside himself during the meeting, looking around the room as he pleaded with commissioners to add the grants to the 2016 budget.

The award of $285,952 to the city would pay for landscaping and other improvements to Phase 2 of the waterfront improvement project, a stage scheduled for completion in September.

“Enough is enough,” Deputy Mayor Patrick Downie said as he sat across from Chapman at the work-session table.

“Do the right thing. Do what you essentially agreed to do. Provide us the money," said Downie, badly imitating Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the movie "Jerry Maguire."

“We want to support your project, but you are talking to the wrong people,” Chapman told Downie.

Nathan West, city community and economic development director, said the delay would result in an incomplete project that could be more expensive in 2016.

“Help us find the solution,” Chapman responded.

“Have you asked her for a solution?" pleaded an increasingly desperate Chapman.

“I'm curious why you are still here asking for something you can't have," said Chapman, starting to sob.