Wednesday, October 28, 2015

17% of Ballots VS. 100% of Your Disdain

Turnout is low, low, low so far in the Clallam County elections - just 17% of ballots have been returned at this point. That may creep up into the 20s, but still, it's a shamefully low percentage for a participatory democracy.

Ah, but as so many elected leaders there have learned, in shame there is opportunity! So this is your opportunity to finally give Cherie Kidd the heave-ho. You could vote for her on again/off again opponent, Dan Bateham. You could write in Peter Ripley. You could vote for the Moldy Mattress. Or, you could simply write in "NO CONFIDENCE." But you should do something.

Send a message. Let Cherie and her ilk know they are embarrassments, not wanted, and, in the junior high perspective that Cherie sees the world through, not popular. Even if Dan Bateham doesn't get a majority of the vote, wouldn't it be nice to see Cherie fall below 50% of however many ballots come in?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shooting Up, and Shooting Yourself in the Foot


Thanks to Dale Wilson for sending some photos my way...Both are really shocking and depressing in their own way...

First up, when you've got junkies, junkies, junkies littering your community with (potentially hazardous) used syringes, who do you send in to clean those needles up?

That's right - you send the kids from your community to do it. Oh, wow. Wow! I mean, yeah, I get the idea of looping the issue of kids into the whole drug abuse discussion...But what kind of community sends their kids out to literally pick up used needles?

Oh yeah...The kind of community where the local Republican Party headquarters feels comfortable putting this in their window...

If a picture is worth a million words, then here are two million words summing up just how screwed up Port Angeles is.
Wow. Oh, wow...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Clallam County Crazy - Election Edition

Where to begin?

Well, I guess I'll just begin at the top - as in, the top of the PDN's homepage, which features a big ol' drop down ad urging readers to "Re-Elect Jim McEntire (R) - An effective, proven leader. Always putting you first!"

You gotta love that exclamation point at the end. It never hurts to put a little extra oomph into a lie, right Dim Jim? Frankly, I think the two sentences cancel each other out. I mean, yes, Dim King Jim has been an effective, proven leader - but only when it comes to putting himself first. Oops! I meant to say first!

Then, there's the news (which I'd already heard) about Dan Bateham - officially - jumping back into his own campaign for City Council. As you doubtlessly recall, Bateham signed up to run, then withdrew (nearly four months after the deadline to do so) without offering any sort of explanation. Then he talked a lot about how he'd serve if elected, but he wasn't running, even though he would be on the ballot. It was all messed up, message-wise.

And now, for whatever reason, Bateham is - officially - back. He says, "I'm in it for the people, and I'm in it to win." Which, frankly, is about as believable as Dim King Jim's slogan. If you're in it for the people, and you're in it to win, then you, uh, you know, don't drop out of the race. You might also do things like run a campaign, and show up at debates. You know, things that serious, credible candidates do.

PLEASE NOTE: None of this is intended to be a defense of, or advocacy for, the moronic Cherie Kidd, who is Bateham's on-again, off-again target. Cherie is a true-blue, 100% idiot and embarrassment. She makes Pat Downie look like Albert Einstein. The notion of getting rid of Cherie Kidd is both highly attractive and sensible. But...I'm just not sure that switching to a will he or won't he, can't commit guy like Bateham will be an actual improvement, governing-wise. It'd be a change, sure, but would it be a change for the better?

And speaking of the City Council...Don't forget their upcoming (Thursday) "forum" on fluoridation. It's sure to be a fair and balanced decision-making process. You betcha.

Finally, speaking of fair, or rather, air fares...Golly jeepers, there's a new airline a-comin' to town! They'll be flying five nine-seat flights a day. To hear the Port Commissioners talk, you'd think this was just about the swellest, peachiest news for months.

But, uh, the projections are that it will take three years for the flights to "go into profitability." And all of the incentives (giveaways and gimmicks) for those five daily flights between Port Angeles and Seattle will total around $400,000 a year. That's a whole lot of "incentives." (Is that a synonym for "bribe" now?) When you have to juice the engine that much, I have great doubts that it can or will actually run on its own.

So, let's see which lasts longer: The new air service, or the moldy mattress. Start your timers...Now!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Picture is Worth a Million Words - and a Million Dollar Beach is Worth One Dog (UPDATED!!!)

Wow! Thanks again to Tyler for these hot-off-the-presses photos he just took today.
First up, the mattress in question. Here it is, at least a week since it was set out to...whatever...and it's still just sitting there.
Please note the time on the clock in the photo above. Tyler took all of these photos right around noon, on a pleasant, dry fall Saturday. Late in the season for tourists, perhaps, but still, not a bad day for anyone to be out and about, right?
Except that...There is no reason for anyone to be out and about in Port Angeles. Check out this photo from the middle of the road along the exciting (and expensive) new waterfront...
Watch out for all that traffic, Tyler!
Of course, maybe no one is on the road, because they're all at their destinations already. Yeah, that must be it. So, what destinations are there in downtown Port Angeles? Hmmm...Oh! I know! How about Nathan West's Million Dollar Sandtrap Bogus Beach?
Sorry about that, but, if you blow up that big picture of that big new beach, you might be able to see person, and one dog, that are out there. The dog's off leash, which, in most circumstances, would make me worry about it running out into traffic, but...
...Here's the view down Front Street nearby. So I think the dog is probably safe.
But how safe is the economy of Port Angeles when things look like this? These photos look like a town that is afraid to go out. No one - no one at all - on the streets. What, do the Forks vampires come out in Port Angeles during the day? Is everyone at home under quarantine? Is Wal-Mart having a sale? What?
Or should I say how? How does a town of close to 20,000 people look so utterly deserted?
And here's a photo (taken by a Yelp reviewer) from the Holiday Lodge. The one word that recurs again and again in the reviews of the Holiday Lodge is "sketchy." Would YOU feel safe staying at a sketchy place with a chain lock like this?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Right-Wing Blowhard Smackdown (With Smack Use UP Under His Watch)

Given the international nature of the illegal drug trade, it seems like that topic usually only comes up in elections for people who will be holding some sort of federal office.

Not anymore. The "heroin epidemic" in Clallam County came up in the last County Commissioner's debate between Dim King Jim and his challenger Mark Ozias. This allowed Dim King Jim to explain how his lust for cutting taxes was kinda sorta his way to fight drug abuse - or something.

A lot of people who turn to drugs, especially in economically devastated places like Clallam County, are looking for an out, an escape from the grim reality that they live in. Sort of like Dim King Jim's denial of basic science - hello, climate change! - also seems like a desperate attempt to escape an unpleasant reality. (Rising tides below, and shrinking water supplies from above.) So I can't help but wonder...Is voting for Dim King Jim as bad for a community as shooting up smack?

If it's not sewage on the beaches, it's...

Friday, October 9, 2015

Who Says There Are No Jobs in Port Angeles?

Now, obviously, no one wants to go without paramedics, or badmouth their profession. When you need them, there's no one you're more glad to see.


Website ranks Port Angeles as a prime spot for paramedics, EMTs

In the continuing Internet cavalcade of “best places” to live, work, hike and bike, Port Angeles late last month fetched up in the top 100 cities to be an emergency medical technician (EMT) or the more highly skilled paramedic, according to the data-analyst firm

The city ranked as it did primarily because of its popularity with job candidates, meaning competition is keen for the jobs GoodCall said pay $58,670 per year, third-highest among departments it surveyed across the country.

GoodCall listed Port Angeles’ salary for EMTs and paramedics at $58,670 — third best in the nation — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ occupational employment tool.

Also included in Port Angeles’ ranking was a housing affordability index of 18.89, the percentage of the aforesaid income that goes to buying or renting a home.

However, Port Angeles’ amenities per 1,000 housing units — theaters, concert halls, libraries, museums and galleries — came in at 5.98. The top score in the country went to artsy Santa Fe, N.M., with 18.17.

So, yeah, you want paramedics, and you want them to be qualified, but...Does Port Angeles really need to pay the third best salaries in the nation? More to the point, can Port Angeles afford to pay the third best salaries in the nation?

As an indicator for a community, this ranking is actually really bad news, illustrating as it does so many of the problems plaguing the City. First, of course, there's the overspending, and lack of budgetary discipline or reality.

Second, look at those low, low prices for housing. The housing stock in Port Angeles is generally rundown, and sells for cheap. Great for money-saving EMTs who want to put in a few years and then buy elsewhere with their bankroll, but not good for the community as a whole. (As a hole?)

Meanwhile, Port Angeles, once again, rates almost off the charts low in cultural amenities. That's a quality of life killer, and a barrier to attracting tourists.

Finally, why does Port Angeles need so many paramedics and EMTs? And why is it such a great place for them to train and get experience? What keeps them so busy? It's the double-whammy of an aging population and extremely high rates of drug abuse.

So a sincere thank you to the first responders of the world. We hope you enjoy your nice house in Poulsbo in a few years. In the meantime...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Clallam County Crazy (and Clueless) - AGAIN

I've seen many odd things go down at debates. I've seen people ignore questions, crash and burn in trying to answer questions, and even leave when asked a question they didn't like. Needless to say, I've seen debates where one (or more) candidates just didn't show up.

But I have never, ever seen or even heard of a debate where one of the candidates didn't show up, but sent someone in their place - but that person wasn't allowed to speak for the missing candidate. But that's just what happened at a recent forum in Forks, when Dim King Jim was too busy (he said) to attend, but he sent decrepit Phil Kitchel in his place. To, apparently, sit there silently, since he was "prohibited from responding to questions on McEntire's behalf."

Maybe Mr. Kitchel would hold up an 8x10 glossy photo of Dim King Jim when it was his turn (not) to speak? Whatever. Weird, very weird. Because I doubt very much that this was all done as a piece of political performance art, I can only assume it represents Dim King Jim's arrogance and confidence that he's got the West End, and the election as a whole, all sewed up.

In any case, less than a dozen people even bothered to show up, which may show that they also think Dim King Jim has got it all in the bag. Of course, it could also be a case of the widespread and all-purpose political apathy in Clallam County. But whatever it was, it sounds very, very odd. (And I guess the subtext is that, while we're supposed to believe that Dim King Jim is too busy to attend such things, Phil Kitchel has nothing but time on his hands. So, if you have any yard work or chores that need doing...)

Then we have the article about the somewhat off-target folks up at Peninsula College practicing to "avert the kind of carnage that wracked Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon last Thursday." I say this is a missed target because, simply put, the Clallam County Courthouse seems like a much, much likelier target for some sort of tragedy like that.

Think about it: The Courthouse is the focal point for people who have a bone to pick with government, the planning department, etc. Clallam County is also rich in anti-government/pro-gun zealots, the folks who gripe about paying taxes, and then gripe if their road isn't plowed when it snows. You know type.

Those types of anti-government, anti-tax, anti-authority whackos are also enabled and encouraged by the political posturing and pandering of people like, well gee, the aforementioned Dim King Jim. They stir the pot whenever necessary, and therefore constantly run the risk of having that pot boil over.

Needless to say, the Courthouse is also the Courthouse, where emotions run high, and stress and anger are inevitable by-products. Yet, despite all that, the County Courthouse is also woefully unprotected. Lots of entrances. No metal detectors. No security plan. Employees who don't know where the closest emergency button is. And it's also unclear who is expected to respond should some employee find and hit an emergency button. In the past, both the County and the City have said the other is responsible for responding in the event of an emergency. This chain of command confusion does not inspire confidence.

And, of course, the rotten cherry on top of all of that is the fact that, on any given day, two or three or the current County Commissioners may be carrying a concealed weapon, as well as Jim Jones. In other words, on any given day, no matter what, there are already three or four nuts in the Courthouse with guns. Every day.

Given the volatility of that situation, Barney Fife and his one bullet would actually be an improvement.

All of which is not to say that it's not a good idea for schools and all sorts of places to have plans in place "just in case." But given all we know about Clallam County, the betting would have to strongly favor the County Courthouse as the likely scene of carnage and chaos. It's really a matter of when, not if. But the County Commissioners not only ignore the elephant in the living room, they feed it, grow it with their apathy.

Yes, apathy to them, and nuts to you.