Monday, September 28, 2015

For Your Consideration (But Eat at Home First)

Port Angeles Business Association — Breakfast meetings are held Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m. at Joshua's Restaurant, 113 ­DelGuzzi Drive, Port Angeles.

This Tuesday's program will feature a debate between Port Angeles City Council, Position 5 candidates Michael Merideth and Marolee Smith.

Might I suggest that some of you might want to bite the bullet, go to this, and try to insert some sensible and/or relevant questions into the usual PABA pabulum? Marolee is at least out there swinging, which should be supported, and this might (might) give you a chance to see the elusive and mysterious Michael Meredith as well.

Oh, and Marolee, if Cherie Kidd is in the audience, well...I'd say just go for it.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Shell Game

City officials estimate approximately $1 million was injected into the Port Angeles economy while the Polar Pioneer was in the Port Angeles Harbor this spring, according to a report released by Shell Oil.

Well, first of all, if City officials are doing the estimating, how does it end up in a report put together by Shell Oil? Is that lazy writing? A jumbling of the facts?

Oh, never mind. It's only the PDN, after all. No one expects truth or clarity from that source.

But, I post this for two reasons. First and foremost, when the Chamber, or the City, or anyone, starts crowing about tax revenues being up (if they in fact are), then remember that this is likely the source of 90-plus percent of that bump. As in, a bump. As in, a singular, not reoccurring event. As in, Port Angeles may have gotten lucky (once), but it's still lagging in almost every respect.

Ah, but wait, the oil rig boosters cry! Maybe, just maybe, it won't be a one-date-and-done kind of affair. Maybe, just maybe, the Polar Pioneer, or one of its equally attractive cousins, will make Port Angeles a regular stop. Maybe, just maybe, they'll even end up going steady! Gosh!

But how will that affect the visitors who come through Port Angeles on their way to the ONP or other green and natural places? Port Angeles has the Turd Tank on the shoreline, and the log yard, and the mill. Could a prominently placed corporate oil rig be just the thing to ignite the downtown economy? Or, could it be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back? Golden goose or kiss of death? I think it could be argued either way, which means that the economic boost from having such things in the harbor absolutely doesn't come without risks - financial and otherwise.

What if Nathan West's Million Dollar Beach Boondoggle simply becomes a viewing platform for oil rigs? As the City tries to promote said beach, and their proximity to the ONP, to entice environment-loving visitors to come on down, also being known for giant floating oil rigs might be, hmmm, like trying to mix oil and water.

Because when you think about the words "beach" and "oil" together, well, the images that come to mind aren't especially pleasant.


Friday, September 18, 2015

A Tale of Two (Different) Cities - Told Almost Entirely Through Headlines

As we all are well aware, there are no movie theaters in Port Angeles, though the Lincoln Theater is still for sale. But just down the road in little ol' Port Townsend they have a seasonal drive-in and two great year-round movie theaters. Oops! I mean they have three...

Port Townsend's Cotton Building, refurbished as 100-seat theater, to be unveiled at film festival

Oh, right. With all those theaters, they also have a well known and well attended film festival every year. Meanwhile, Port Angeles has lost some festivals (Arts in Action), while others (Juan de Fuca Festival) are really just fading echoes of previous versions. It seems like just about the only event that still draws crowds (though not enough money to be self-sustaining) is the annual Crab Festival. Which leads us to the second headline of the day...

Study: Eating large amounts of Port Angeles Harbor crab could raise risks of cancer

As the saying goes, you can't buy publicity like that.

Two Port towns, just an hour apart. Yet divided by an incredibly wide chasm. One has greatly transitioned to being a pleasant, successful and picturesque arts-embracing 21st century community. One continues down the path of resource extraction and environmental devastation that was a successful model generations ago. One has made some sort of peace with their past as a mill town, and moved forward. One is stuck in the mill town mindset, which literally and figuratively poisons any attempts to move on, to grow, or to evolve.

Now, I'm willing to bet that the crab from the waters around Port Townsend is probably none too healthy either. But that sort of toxic image isn't the one most people have of Port Townsend. They're far from a model community, but they do have a eco-friendly, marketable image that allows them to, well, market their community on almost every level, and from many different angles.

But Port Angeles...Well, Port Angeles still thinks it can make a fortune by "cutting more trees." Port Angeles still swears allegiance to the Nippon Corporation over people. And Port Angeles still thinks it's functional and doable to simply shout "We're the best!" to try and drown out the voices who are crying out for help, for jobs, and for a more sustainable and modern community.

It's not a perfect match of analogies, but...In the ever-more global marketplace of people/ideas/businesses, Port Townsend is like the traveler who learns to speak French before going to Paris. Port Angeles is like the classic Ugly American who goes there and just shouts louder and louder in English, and somehow expects to get positive results.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Totally Revitalized and the Pest Town EVER!

Thanks to the poster who brought this to my attention. Now, let's take this with a grain of salt...But only if the endless boosters who see/hear/speak no evil about Port Angeles will entertain the notion that maybe, just maybe, the town needs a little work.

As in, some work, some jobs.

Oh, and more trees, and fewer junkies.

Oh, and better schools.

Oh, and what's that thing NOAA talked about? Quality of life or something?

Oh, and maybe a few elected leaders who aren't crooks or incompetents. (Or incompetent crooks.)

Oh, and...Well, you fill in the blanks.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Uh...Does Anyone See a Connection Here?

Let's put two little pieces of information from today's PDN up here, and see if anyone, anyone at all, can see a connection between the two things...

Clallam County will spend a projected $1.2 million in general fund reserves next year to pay for tax breaks and wage increases that Commissioners enacted this year.

And then this...

The three Clallam County Commissioners will consider authorizing warrants for Opportunity Fund grants to the City of Port Angeles, and the Port of Port Angeles, on Tuesday...The Commissioners have previously approved the $1.3 million infrastructure grants twice, but County Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis rejected the warrants because the board did not hold a budget emergency hearing and secure contracts.

(Sidebar discussion first...Does anyone think that Dim King Jim and his Puppet Peach will really "consider authorizing" this? I mean, let's be honest, this was a decision made before the notion was ever known to the public. Everything else has been an after-the-fact sham show. And really...What kind of business/government/individual agrees to give away over a million bucks without having any sort of contract in place? Could anything make it more clear that this is a total and complete scam?)

Anyway...I am well aware that not all pots of government money are created equal, or are interchangeable. A million dollars in one pool of money can't necessarily be moved to another pool of money, at least not without a great deal of work and oversight.

Well, Dim King Jim is willing to do the work, but he really likes to skimp on the oversight, doesn't he? But what good is a scam if the person behind it isn't scum, right?

This is Clallam County we're talking about here. What's more, this is a lot of money we're talking about here. And when money's on the move in Clallam County, you can bet that pudgy, sticky fingers will be busy, busy, busy.

With all these actions, Dim King Jim is doing several things. One, as just stated, is creating opportunities for his pudgy, sticky fingers to get a workout. Another is to give away - no contracts, remember? - over a million dollars of your money, which only creates yet another money pie for creeps and crooks at the City and Port to dip their sticky fingers into.

Then, with the meaningless "tax breaks" he's pushed through, Dim King Jim can play up to the anti-tax crowd on the far-right. It doesn't matter that the tax breaks essentially mean less than nothing to the general public, and simply cost the County money. Because that's the point, actually. Kiss ass to the far-right and cut the government they seem to hate so much.

And the restoration of a full 40 hour workweek for County employees doesn't really mean that much to said employees when you really crunch the numbers. But it does allow Dim King Jim to publically play nice with the unions, and those on the opposite end of the political spectrum from his far-right base.

In other words, all this activity is for the sole purpose of creating opportunities and illusions that are really only meant to serve one person: Dim King Jim.

Favors are being dispensed. Pockets are being lined. Dim King Jim's ambitions are not sated. Look for him to move further up the food chain, in search of new, bigger pies to dip his pudgy, sticky, filthy fingers into. People will pay, and people will be hurt. And Dim King Jim, greedy sociopath, will just laugh all the way to the bank.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Too Hot to Handle (For Bateham and Barkhuis) AKA Premature Evacuation (Again!)

Aw, man...I still haven't even had time to write up the stand-in McEntire scandal in its entirety, and even more craziness is erupting in Port Angeles.

First and foremost (and as you saw here first), Cherie Kidd's halfhearted opponent in the City Council race, Dan Bateham, has withdrawn. His late withdrawal means his candidate information will remain in the voter's guide. All of which is a curious, curious repeat of what happened the last time Cherie ran, and Cody Blevins withdrew at the last minute, too late to be removed from the voter's guide.

Now, mind you, neither Cody "you might have heard of my grandfather" Blevins or Dan "shaky cam" Bateham were the strongest of candidates to begin with. But they both were pushed to run, and they both decided to drop out. Which could mean that whomever was pushing them to run doesn't push too hard after the initial paperwork is in, or, it could mean that Cherie, pathetic, clueless and desperate to be liked Cherie, simply made them both a better offer.

Meanwhile, speaking of crazy caving...Across the street at the County Courthouse, Selinda Barkhuis is finally surrendering...While also crying (wolf?) about an undisclosed (and life-threatening?) "medical condition" that will (supposedly) keep her sidelined until mid-October. I know that dealing with crooks and cretins like Jim Jones and Dim King Jim can make you sick, but not that sick. So this becomes just one more weird twist in the ongoing bizarre saga that is life in Clallam County.

Stay tuned for further developments, I'm sure...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Recuse - Excuse - Explode

I just don't have time right now to do justice to a posting about the latest shenanigans from Dim King Jim and the County Commissioners, so I'm putting this here as a placeholder until I have time to write up their wrongs properly. But by all means, feel free to comment on this stunning round of recusals, appointments and missed meetings in the meantime. To mix my metaphors, what a rat's nest of a den of vipers the Clallam County Courthouse is.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Don't Jump, Just Move to Jefferson County (and Away from Cherie Kidd)

Clallam County has had 51 deaths from suicide between 2008 and 2010, according to a community health assessment issued in 2012.

From 2008-10, the rate for Clallam County was 20.9 per 100,000 people, much higher than the state rate of 13.4 per 100,000, and the national rate of 13 per 100,000 people.

The rate in Jefferson County for the same time period was 10.2 per 100,000 people.

Though these figures seem to be disputed every time they are mentioned here, that doesn't change the fact that they are facts. Clallam County has a suicide rate that is edging close to being twice the national average, as well as the state average.

It's not hard to fathom, really. Poverty, drug abuse, poor schools, few opportunities, all mixed together into a potent and poisonous brew in an isolated community. And speaking of isolation...

Isolation increases the risk of suicide, said Rebekah Miller, development coordinator for Peninsula Bahavioral Health.

She emphasized the value of listening.

Which brings us back again to the sad story that has been told here many times, and was just brought up again in the past few days. You know, the one about concerned and caring Cherie Kidd coldly listening to a woman pour her heart out...And sitting silently, doing nothing. Nothing. Listening only has value, of course, if it's heartfelt, and followed up with some sort of action or response. You know, doing something. But all Cherie could offer was nothing.

So, to the list of risk factors above add another item: Spendthrift, out-of-touch politicians who fritter away the future of their community in order to stroke their own ego, and/or pad their own pocketbook.

But obviously - very obviously - Cherie and her fellow travelers don't really care. They've realized that blood money spends as good as any other kind.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Finally! Selinda Barkhuis Comes Up With an Idea a Majority of the County Commissioners Can Agree With!

“Are there any limits? If not, then why not simply turn over the county’s checkbook to Commissioner McEntire and be done with it?”

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

There's No "Shameless" Without SHAM

Here's a puff piece press released published by the morons at the PDN...

Rayonier Inc. presents $35,000 in grants to Clallam, Grays Harbor nonprofits

Rayonier Inc. gave a total of $35,000 to 26 nonprofit organizations serving communities in Clallam and Grays Harbor counties.

Recipients of the company's 2015 Community Fund grants were recognized at a special awards breakfast hosted by Rayonier at the Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks earlier last month.

The fund supports a variety of educational, health and forestry programs.

Oh gosh, oh gee! A whole $35,000, spread out between two counties and 26 agencies! Golly, it's clear that Rayonier really, really cares. Right?

Meanwhile, back on Planet Reality...How much will the cleanup of the old Rayonier site wind up costing the City of Port Angeles? How much money? How many years? How many wasted efforts and lost jobs and missed opportunities?

Port Angeles and Clallam County have been looted, raided and ruined in great part by the actions of huge companies like Rayonier, who know a good, desperate community when they see one. They played a huge part in creating and nurturing the ignorance, corruption and poverty that are now endemic there.

Despite the occasional idiotic comment from Cherie Kidd about these "local" companies, we all know they are following the rape and run economic model. They don't care about the town. They aren't invested in any community. They just know it's good cover and PR to occasionally toss a few pennies to the paupers they have left behind. And he! What do you know? It's also a nice tax write-off.

If they really gave a damn about anything other than their own profits, they'd do the decent thing, the responsible thing, and step up fully to clean up their own mess. But we all know that isn't going to happen. So, in the meantime, I wonder how many Port Angeles paupers really buy this Band-Aid, PR whitewash BS? The PDN sure did print that Rayonier press release just as written. Anyone else buying into the feel-good fantasy?