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.


  1. People should see by now that Scott is working to create a paid position for himself. He says as much in that article.

    8 people. And, of those 8, anybody new to the project? Or, the same few.

    Only $50,000 more to raise, and then they get to spend another year or two raising more money to begin to try to do anything. ( Will they have to pay taxes on that purchase?) But, of course, the Board will have to get set up first, and Scott be paid as Exec. Director.

    CK, you're right. It would be too easy to say everyone is stoned as a result of legalized pot. But, this generalized cognitive deficit has been rampant in the area for years now. Is it something in the water? In the air?

    In talking to someone recently about the water issues, I showed them an article about a town where the wells went dry, and the whole place ran out of water. The article featured restaurant workers, real estate agents and school reps saying everyone was moving away, and the town was disintegrating.

    The person I was talking with looked at me with wide eyes and said "Isn't the government going to help them?"

    It was clear this long time Clallam resident wasn't concerned about ANYTHING, because they believe that if any problems did develop, the government would step in, and make everything all right. Even with the light weight water restrictions in the area, they were still watering their lawns and gardens. If it was really serious, the government would do something about it, but they aren't, so it must not be any cause for concern.

  2. Minds? What minds? In Clallam County? Scott Nagel clearly doesn't have one...

    "We want to go beyond the bounds of the usual group who are doing things,” Nagel added.

    “Hopefully some people will come out whom we’ve never heard of before.”

    Well Scott, they haven't come out yet, and this is meeting two out of three.

    And the fire chief is actually surprised by the non-reaction of locals to fire danger? Really? Where does Ken Dubuc live? Clearly not in Port Angeles, or he'd be more familiar with the clueless, lowbrow mentality here.

    Speaking of clueless, I see that someone is posting about the "brilliant idea" of putting a Trader Joe's in Port Angeles over on the other blog.

    A clueless idea, for a clueless blog, for a clueless town.

    1. This was in that thread. Seems to make some sense.

      "The city and other local governmental entities, along with the area business groups formed that Public Development Agency they called HarborWorks a few years ago. They spent over a million dollars approaching developers of residential, retail, commercial and industrial projects, to get them interested in doing something in Port Angeles.

      They all said " Not interested".

      And, you remember when NOAA was looking to build new West Coast facilities, and had Port Angeles on it's list of communities to consider. After looking into it, they too said, "Not interested".

      Big corporate chain stores like Trader Joes have site scouts who look for profitable locations. They don't really care about the politics, or much else, other than one fact: can they make a profit there. They have professionals that do market analysis to determine if there is enough of a population, their income levels, etc to support a new store.

      With our elected officials and staff happy to have structured our community to be reliant on grants, and content with Port Angeles and Clallam County's "distressed" designation, few professional market analyses will see the area as an attractive location.

      In case that wasn't clear enough, I'll put that another way. Port Angeles and Clallam County is designated as "distressed" because they have a lot of recognized economic and social problems. As "distressed", local government via it's staff go to any one who will listen with their hands out, begging for money. Grants.

      Most of us know about credit checks and other background checks that are done if you want to buy or rent a house, or do much of anything that involves significant money. If you have a history of problems, most companies won't have anything to do with you.

      So, most responsible companies look at the area, and their financial officers tell their CEOs "Not interested".

      9:34 AM, August 14, 2015"

    2. Pat Downie has been talking about Trader Joe's ever since he was first running for City Council. Trader Joe's wouldn't touch Port Angeles with a ten foot pole. They would, however, probably use a ten foot pole to keep Pat Downie away from them, to avoid having him talk their corporate ears off.

    3. Other towns I've lived in have had at least one Starbucks, often two or more. They're like weeds.

      Port Angeles has Starbucks in the stores, but no actual store. We did have one. It lasted a couple months before closing.

      If we can't even get a Starbucks, what hope do we have of getting other big corporate stores?

      Not that I'm really complaining. I don't need the town to be filled with the same stores you see everywhere else. But anyone who thinks PA will be filled with companies should think of our lack of Starbucks.

    4. If not for your blog, CK, Harper would have nothing on his at all. Keep up the good work!

  3. Maybe if we could get the PDN to fete the fire danger, people would pay more attention?

  4. My neighbor still waters her stupid lawn every night (it's GREEN), but now she does so after dark. She's so stealth.

    Typical PA moron who doesn't think that there is a problem.

    Meanwhile, I like the regular suspects banding behind Scotty. Beam them up.

  5. Fete don't fail me now...

  6. I'm thinking about opening a store that sells personal flamethrowers.... who wants to partner with me?

  7. Flamethrowers are legal....federally unregulated and not even considered a firearm (ironic) by the BATF. No need for any NFA tax stamps, weapons licensing or even an FFL dealer. It’s the purchaser’s responsibility to ascertain that ownership and or use does not violate any state or local laws or regulations.

    A Cleveland startup called Throwflame is selling flamethrowers for $1,599 that can shoot fire for 50 feet. Another company, Ion Productions Team of Detroit, is selling $900 flamethrowers that can eject flames for 25 feet. Both companies started selling them this year.

    The flamethrowers are marketed not as weapons, but as "fun devices".

    There's no outright ban on them in the country's National Parks.

    And, I'm sure there are no shortage of idiots up here that wouldn't see any problem using them during the drought, or anytime for that matter.

    "Hey it rained today". Business as usual, right?

    As it is, people are using their barbeques, patio fireplaces, and fire rings without thought. People are still flicking out their butts instead of using the auto ashtrays. Heck, I still hear some fireworks, occasionally.

    We're low on water, but people are still watering their lawns. I heard a neighbor pressure washing their driveway this week. People are still washing their cars, and (probably) letting their 3-year-old flush the toilet, repeatedly.

    I have not met ANYONE who is the least bit concerned about the drought.

    1. I'm watering a few selected pots of herbs with gray water siphoned out of my prep sink. I put in soaker hoses for my vegetables, but I stopped all watering in July. I fill a watering can with the excess water used to heat my shower. Most of my neighbors have stopped watering and washing their cars, and there has been a noticeable increase in brown lawns around town. I haven't seen the kids selling car washes lately. There are still a few idiots with active sprinkler systems, but if you haven't met, "ANYONE who is the least bit concerned about the drought," you need to get out more.

    2. and, 3:22 you are one of very few. I have three neighbors who have bright green lawns (watering regularly, always, whenever they feel like it). I have seen no evidence that anyone is taking this seriously. AND, I've seen more than a dozen fund-raising "car washes" held at various places around town, without any regard for the drought. (The most recent a week ago.) Look around. I don't even see many dirty cars. You and I might be concerned. But, all the city is doing is putting another b.s. enclosure in the bill, and hanging 'door tags' that give some "HINTS" on how to conserve water. Sort of like bring a bucket to bail out the Titanic, isn't it?

  8. More marine toxins closing our beaches - again.

    Nothing to worry about though, right? Things are still really the same as they ever were, right?

    Uh, right?

    1. Talk to Nicholas Pyenson about paleontological evidence of harmful algal blooms.

  9. Speaking of Algae Bloom, anyone seen Cherie lately? What's she got going with the parks and rec guy?

  10. So I saw the Outside Magazine "write up" on Port Angeles today...It's a curious mix of hogwash ("the local culture is built on an appreciation of the outdoors") and revealing code words and phrases ("healthy population of retirees," "industries infuse the town with a grittier feel") that tell more of the true story. But nothing in it says to me that it will cause new hordes of enthusiastic tourists to flock to town. Oh, and needless to say, the photos used are all (with one exception) from places outside of Port Angeles, which lends itself to that "I've been cheated" feeling many visitors have after their first - and last - trip to town.

    1. CK, you hit the nail right on the head!

      This is the exact problem people like the Revitalize folks and other rah-rahs don't understand. They see anything critical as "tearing down", instead of seeing the value in negative things, ideas and efforts being pointed out.

      They clearly don't understand the feeling on "Bait and switch" that so many first time visitors to Port Angeles have been experiencing for years now. Years ago I talked to one of my friends in one of the local business associations who owns a motel in Port Angeles. They told me how people made reservations for a 3 day weekend visit, or longer, but after getting here and spending one day, they canceled the rest of the reservation and left. Repeatedly,

      They don't understand that it isn't about getting more tourists to come to Port Angeles. It is about getting Port Angeles worth coming to.

      All the vote rigging and stuffing Revitalize was so proud of to get attention to Port Angeles will result in even more people going home and telling everyone they know what a dump Port Angeles really is.

      A good reputation is hard to get, but a bad reputation is hard to lose.

    2. Making the town nice and livable for the people who actually live here is a good start. Maybe, I dunno, get the economy in shape so that most people can, say, pay their own utility bills each month. Maybe, you know, realize that we're next to a big, green National Park and stop being so horribly and publically anti-environment. There are dozens of steps that could be taken to make Port Angeles more attractive, sustainable and marketable. But the morons in charge here always wanna skip all the steps and go right to marketing their rundown, poverty stricken hovel as Heaven on Earth. Then as 7:53 PM says: A good reputation is hard to get, but a bad reputation is hard to lose.

    3. Now that the magazine is out, I'd expect all the people (well, Revitalize and COC people) who were so gung ho over this to be shouting it to the rooftops. But other than this mention here, I haven't heard anything. Not a peep. Maybe they didn't like the "grittier feel" of the profile? What gives? Even the PDN has been silent.

    4. It's like we've all been saying. People don't come to Port Angeles they come to the parks AROUND Port Angeles. PA is a pitstop, if that.

      And deservedly so. There's some beautiful area surrounding PA.

      I'm not going to criticize Parks & Rec because I know their budget sucks, but I've wondered why there aren't more green spaces around town. Why doesn't the town reflect the nature you find outside town? Why doesn't the downtown take some of those vacant lots and create greenspace, interpretive trails running through downtown? Why are all our parks basically lawns with swing sets on them? If we do landscaping at all it seems to reflect a coastal beach scene rather than the forests so many people come to visit, but even those are few and far between.

      Instead of spending all our money (and then some) on turd tanks and ineffective seawalls for the garbage dump, why not clean up the town a little and make it look like the area so many people come to visit?

      Of course it's too late now. Thanks to bad management from our city we're going to be broke for decades.

    5. Time to decide if the future of Port Angeles is for tree huggers or tree cutters.

    6. Port Angeles is a clear case of not being ready for prime time. Hell, PA isn't even ready for public access. Luring people here now is actually counterproductive to the long term viability of the town.

  11. I cruised through PA yesterday and here is my honest assessment. There was a lot of traffic coming and going. Harbor Freight seemed to be killing it. Downtown seemed to have a decent amount of cars parked along with average foot traffic. I just happened to drive out to the airport. Logs everywhere. They're not even fenced off. I'm no tree hugger but I thought how can these fools expect a carrier to land here? Oh yeah. they pay them to land. Upon leaving PA and heading back to civilization I kid you not I passed 8 to 10 zombies/methheads PA is so famous for. My hardest chuckle was when I passed the hotrod café at the old Mark-it Foods. The owners obviously hate money. :D

    1. Yes, there is a lot of traffic AROUND PA, but the sidewalks are pathetically empty. Sure, there are a couple people here or there. Likely bored people who have to show up two hours before their ferry loads up, because of security rules. They are just killing time with nothing to do (Hint, hint)

      But anybody who thinks the way things are in PA represents prosperity has never been in business. We'll see another spate of business closings in Port Angeles this winter.

    2. "I passed 8 to 10 zombies/methheads PA is so famous for."

      You sound like one of those revitalize morons. Yes let's kill the poor and addicted. Anything to get them off the streets and then we can go back to pretending everything is great here.

  12. Lots of people on the OD trail west of Milwaukee, lots if shoppers in Country Aire, Gastropub full of bicycists, overnighters packing their cars in motel lots-not as bleak as painted here.

    1. Ah, but also nowhere near as rosy as painted by the Chamber of Commerce, Revitalize, etc. Reality rarely intrudes into the picture in Port Angeles.

    2. The ODT is seriously one of the highlights of this town. I can't believe it took so long for the city and chamber to recognize that. I've only started seeing it advertised the last couple years.

    3. Of course there were people to be seen this weekend. It is one of the last weekends before everyone goes back to school, and doing trips for recreation become all but impossible for most people young enough to get around.

      No one is saying there are NEVER any people anywhere. What being pointed out is that the numbers of people seen are remarkably low, especially given the thousands of people passing by every day.

      Even the owners of the businesses in town are saying foot traffic is low. And this is when they should be making money.

      But, if people want to think what is going on in Port Angeles is sustainable, then who am I to care? I sure will not invest a penny into this area until things change. I don't want to lose money, like most of these businesses are.

      Then, we see the PDN article about the old Walmart. As if that is really "new". An existing business buys a building that has been sitting empty for years, to do what it already does, in it. Yep, that is going to turn things around here.


    4. Why is Coutnry Aire shedding employees like a snake sheds it's skin?

    5. Maybe some of the employees realize they are not as "Organic" as they are advertised to be. I hope someone will do an independent analysis to see if their fruit and vegetables are tainted with pesticides and herbicides. They get to charge up to 50% more by calling their stuff, "organic." They should be made to prove it. Also, when you get your stuff home double check the weight on the package. They are charging you by weight and if you have a postal scale or other type scale at home you need to be sure they are putting the correct weight on the package. Also, the weight charged should be MINUS packaging. Weigh in by itself and without the packaging to see if you are getting your money's worth.

  13. Seems that a lot of real significant choices and decisions needs to be made in this community.

    Somebody above posted: " Time to decide if the future of Port Angeles is for tree huggers or tree cutters."

    Somebody else in another thread spoke about the area having to decide if the focus is going to be tourism, or industry, because both can't be happening in the same place, at the same time.

    We see Scott and Revitalize promoting "Light up the Lincoln" as the big solution for Port Angeles' problems.

    We see Dan and Revitalize promoting the Fantasy Tram to the Hills as the solution to Port Angeles' problems ( Anybody else google search Dan and his non-existent company?)

    We see people thinking Trader Joes and others will come to Port Angeles. (Remember HarborWorks?)

    But we also see the county being heavily reliant of government aid. That the area is deemed "Distressed "(as pointed out elsewhere in this thread).

    As with tourism or industry, the area can't be relying on funding itself because it is "Distressed", and also be prosperous. Yes, there are those who are prosperous because they are relying on the funding the area gets being deemed "Distressed". But, the area as a whole is not prosperous.

    So, what are we? What are we working to be?

    All these choices and decisions. And, it is an election year. Do we hear the candidates speaking to these choices and decisions?

    1. I don't see anyone in charge making any moves that would seriously challenge or change that "distressed" designation. It serves the existing power structure in two ways. One is that it allows the city and county to perpetually have their hand out for grants, financial aid, bogus "projects," money of all sorts from the state and feds that can then be funneled into well-connected pockets. Two, it perpetuates the whole "the world is picking on us" mindset locally, a mindset that the crooks with those well-connected pockets exploits to win elections and stay in power.

      So it's a scheme, doubling as a culture. But it's forever doubling down on dumb and poor, which is a losing proposition for EVERYONE in the long run. When the jig is up, the robber barons will simply take their money and run.

    2. Honestly I think that's something we need to start hammering the candidates about. Get the message out that we're tired of being a "distressed" economy and would like to have some fucking pride in our town again. It won't happen overnight, but maybe somewhere down the line we'll wean ourselves off this.

      So, candidates, how about it? Does this concern you? If so, what are your plans to move the city and county towards self-sufficiency? (As a warning, I will automatically dismiss any candidates who starts screaming "jobs! jobs! jobs!" like a deranged orangutan... or Steve Ballmer...)


    3. Just clean the sidewalks. That will solve all the problems, right Revitalize?

  14. I think it's entirely possible to have both industry and tourism. That's why many towns have an "industrial park" area or "business park" and then there's the "historical downtown district" or something to that effect. But they also have ordinances in place about signage, and storefronts, and the general keeping up of appearances so the town is welcoming. Unfortunately the approach to east Port Angeles is pretty cluttered and junky and you hardly notice the official welcome sign for all the rest of the mess. We need to get our ducks in a row on the basics before we can hope to move forward.

    1. Pretty much what the AIA recommended six years ago.

    2. This sounds like ..GASP!.. *planning*.

      You mean, communities can work together towards a commonly held vision? It isn't always and only: rape pillage and plunder?

      That there is more to a town than "Every man for himself"?

  15. Doesn't it seem like now that Westport has announced their purchase of the old Walmart building that the Port will now have plenty of empty space for their composite recycling scheme and the County can now put that $1 million back in their piggy bank. The emergency spending scheme is over.