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.


  1. From whom did the city purchase the dump area? If they got it from the county then the county can be made to share the cost of containment/cleanup. If they bought if from an individual (how dumb) then the individual may be liable for some of the cost of the cleanup for whatever went into the dump under his/her ownership. Also, the city has a habit of buying troublesome properties. It seems like when a good ole boy has a problem property on his hands he works out a deal with the city or county to purchase the property, at market value as if there were no problems, and then the taxpayers get to pay for the property and then pay for the inevitable clean up. See how it works? See how handy it is to be one of the good ole boys. The city will soon have to meet a payment on a one million dollar toxic waste saturated property in downtown Port Angeles. Once again, they knew exactly what they were getting and bought it anyway. This is corrupt.

  2. We remember that the current garbage dump fiasco is not the first go 'round at the dump that residents have had to pay for. The first effort to address the garbage that was falling into the Strait and being carried by the waves hundreds of yards down the beach was the ridiculous Wall To Hold Back Coastal Erosion.

    To recap for those not familiar, the wave action in the area dissolved the largely sand based bluffs within which the garbage was "land-filled", and for years, all kinds of garbage, dating back close to 100 years ago (by the types of debris found on the beach below) spilled into the public waters of the Strait.

    Like the problem of the CSO, the city first refused to do anything about the issue, until the Dept of Ecology started threatening the City. Like the CSO, the city then hired a consulting engineering firm to come up with a project. Like the CSO, the multi-million dollar project developed and supported by the same city staff that supported the mega- boondoggle Turd Tank did not attempt to remove the source of the problem, but just put a band-aid over the situation. It is all about appearances, dontcha know?

    Residents point out during the public hearing process that wave action will continue on both sides of the seawall where it ends. City staff and consultants assure decision makers residents concerns are wrong. So, the City endorses and builds a 600 foot long "seawall", illegally. Lied about building within the high-tide region of the beach, etc.

    Within only a few years after the seawall was finished, exactly what the residents were concerned about happened. And, the City was back to dealing with the same problem, once again.

    During the public hearing processes, residents reviewing the engineering studies noticed the seawall project involved moving the existing garbage back from the waters' edge to make room for the construction. They proposed moving 90 feet of garbage back for $1 million, as part of the project the City accepted and proceeded with. Why not spend $3 million, and move the garbage 300 feet back from the waters' edge, and not build the seawall, residents proposed.

    But, that didn't happen, that go 'round. After spending ?? millions on the failed seawall, the City then decided that the residents were right, and that moving the garbage was the only logical solution.

    But interestingly, now the costs of moving that same garbage sky-rocketed from roughly $1 million per 100 feet, to tens of millions. No reason given. Anyone can review the first "seawall" proposal to see the construction costs. Then, review the current project, and see what moving the same garbage turned into.

    I know garbage smells, but this pile REALLY smells. Like so many of the projects in Port Angeles.

    1. Thanks for the history, and the context. I'm new to town, and more and more wondering what I've gotten myself into. Wish I'd have found this blog before moving!

    2. Welcome to town. Prepare to be disappointed.

  3. The way the city has approached a non-solution to this problem is right up there neck and neck with the Turd Tank for being STUPID and EXPENSIVE. Those two projects alone have bankrupted and held back this community for at least another generation, if not longer.

    1. Don't forget the taxpayer covered clean up of the harbor. Where are the mills that contributed as much if not more to the heavy metals lining the bottom of the harbor?

    2. This is why people connected to the "right" people run for office around here.

      Once elected, they are in positions to, say, buy a landfill that the insiders know the local mills have been dumping their toxic wastes at, rather than trucking to approved hazardous waste sites.

      Or, say, rezone lands that were once mill properties, so that only limited clean up is legally required. That way, furure owners and/or the public gets to actually be responsible.

      Or, huge over-due utility bills get "forgiven" for "friends" who know the right people.

      Or, rents and leases on publicly owned properties are overlooked, or kept well below realistic market rates.

      Or, make sure clean up of the harbor sediments is the responsibility of the public, not the local, private companies that created the messes.

      Or, accept money from the real estate industry to run for county office to be able to fight the implementation of water restrictions in the Dungeness watershed.

      Well, that list is long, but you get the idea.

    3. Anonymous 6:29 PM, thank you for your comments.

    4. I have found this whole politics thing to be odd. Maybe it's only odd because I'm not a politician.
      I've had more than one person (meaning 3 or 4) ask me "if you'll take bribes".
      Since I've already stated that I am NOT TAKING any donations (what-so-ever) because I don't want to feel obliged in such a small town, I find this to be a pesky question.
      My only reply: How much are we talking? Millions? Billions?
      (I get no reply. I think they might hear the sarcasm.)
      Seems that either people assume that everyone is on the take up here who runs for office, or only people who WILL take bribes will be elected.
      I have no idea which it is.
      But it sure is curious, isn't it.

    5. Nippon offers bribes, to those who need them. Then there are the dolts, like Cherie Kidd, who will do their bidding for free, out of fear and a desire to kiss-ass to their corporate betters. But make no mistake, Marolee, there are bribes out there in Clallam County.

  4. We now have a large Mount Trashmore, all covered. Except with torrential rains, that dump site is going to start having some issues. Why didn't we truck it anywhere else? Cost. So, now we've excavated the sandstone bluff, which is going to further erode (because that's what sand stone will do).

    We have changed the tidal action, so it's going to hit the graveyard (next door) harder and cause further erosion of that sandstone bluff). It's quite exposed now.

    Meanwhile we're building more hospital buildings on another sandstone bluff. We have houses right on the edge. Our whole downtown is on fill land, backed up to a bluff. Front street towards Lincoln is one big potential slide area.

    The geologic process of coastal bluff erosion is well known: water and earthquake, in no particular order. Big rains cause the failure of poorly cemented together sand particles. OOPS.

    We're all idiots for building anything, anywhere along the sandstone bluffs is insane. And, to excavate and only move the crap 100 feet inland, is old-time logger mentality. "good enough".

    Doesn't anyone around here actually think?

    1. Sure the people who propose and support these project think. They're thinking all the time of ways to get the public's money into their pockets. How to get consulting and construction contracts for stupid ideas and overblown projects.

    2. 8:36 AM has it exactly right.

    3. It's worse than you think, PA city council will vote this coming Tuesday on raising utility rates 75%. The reason stated by Phil Lusk in the utilities department is "we have to keep up city salaries." Already city salaries and benefits soak up 66% of the city's budget. Now add to that the shit-load of consultants who are paid to accomplish shoddy projects. That does not include the half million the city spends each year on legal fees for attorneys not on city payroll. The only revenue they have access to without a vote by the residents is utility fees. Now think about the 33% who already cannot meet their utility bill and think what that will do. It is time for a serious look at putting the city into receivership. To be sure that occurs we should stop paying utility bills. They cannot turn them off because they let some customers run up huge bills without interruption of services. Equal protection clause says they must treat all rate payers the same. If they don't turn off Serenity House for $100,000 overdue bills they cannot shut yours off either. Quit paying the utility bills and the city will be forced into bankruptcy. In bankruptcy we can shed these outrageous retirement packages given to the assholes who got us into these messes a la Cutler and his turd tank. While in bankruptcy we can scale back the city salaries to a workable level instead of paying city employees more than 4 times as much as the average private sector wage.

    4. Anonymous 5:25 PM, thank you for your comments as well. You are right on the money. To expand the notion from the title of this posting, though the City may be bluffing, it's running the citizens of Port Angeles over the (financial) cliff. What they have done, and are doing, is beyond outrageous, and fits comfortably into the category of criminal activity.

      One way to stop that criminal activity (which can be defined as money-grubbing) is to cut off the flow of money.

    5. Prove it. I don't believe you. There is no city council meeting scheduled for the time you say it. City employees are members of PERS and don't get outrageous retirement packages as you write. When did Phil Lusk say what you said he said. Document it put up or shut up.

    6. Keep up m'boy, it's real, be at the next city council meeting, whenever it occurs. See how they do it. Ignore the text of the message and say, you got the meeting date wrong. Typical city bureaucrat protecting his turf.

    7. Loosen up Phil, it's recorded, you said it and you meant it. Live with it.

    8. F
      Were you referring to THIS line item on the agenda (note close public hearing) For upcoming meeting (next Tuesday)
      1.Electric, Water, and Wastewater Rate Ordinance /
      Close Public Hearing / Conduct 2nd Reading / Adopt Ordinance

  5. Well, once again, you heard it here first: John Brewer will indeed be retiring from the PDN soon. Get your fete warmed up, PDN!

    “It's been a joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating and occasionally bumpy ride,” said Brewer, who will turn 68 in October.

    “There's never been a day when I didn't want to come to work.”

    Never been a day when he didn't want to come to work...Except for what sure seemed to be the 50% of the time he was on vacation whenever I tried to get ahold of him. I never knew anyone, anywhere who was on vacation so much.

    1. John Brewer is a two faced lying sob concerned only with the maintenance of his own position. I have personally witnessed him lie, straight to my face. He and the Rex Wilson douche would be well advised to leave town.

    2. Well, ahem, uh, douche Rex Wilson is now Mexico's problem. In other words, he's already left town. Will that smiling liar John Brewer follow suit? We'll see...

    3. YOU heard it HERE first...

    4. Let's all send David Black a box of cigars. Black is the owner of Black Publishing, owner of Sound Publishing, owner of PDN. You may be sure Brewer went out kicking and screaming. This was not his idea to get off his gravy train.

    5. Let's save our money on the cigars. The PDN was bad before Brewer, it will probably be bad after him. And I doubt very much that Black gives a shit about the quality of the newspaper or high standards of news reporting.

  6. Exploding cigars, and I'm in.