Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Worm Turns - Or At Least is Turned Out

Full credit to the Port O Call for reporting on the stories below...And for creating a situation that allows me to use the headline above.
 
 
Per the POC stories...City Attorney Bill Bloor (see life-like depictions above and below) has either been removed from his role in advising the Ethics Board, or has chosen to step away from that role. More information can be found here: http://portocallpublishing.com/2016/03/city-attorney-bill-bloor-removed-as-advisor-to-ethics-committee/
 
 
 
 
In other news concerning less-than-genius level criminal minds...Cherie Kidd may have lied under oath during her testimony to said Ethics Board! The nature of the lie was to accuse her fellow City Council member Lee Whetham of "waving his hands" and "inciting" the audience in the Council Chambers the night of the now infamous meeting at which Cherie Kidd lost her mind, her cool, and her composure - all at once.
 
Needless to say, this accusation is not true. And - OOPS! - a new video that clearly shows it's not true has surfaced, putting Cherie in an even more awkward - and ethically and legally challenging - position. I do so look forward to seeing what Lee Whetham has to say about this childish attempt at a smear. In the meantime, you can read a little more about it here: http://portocallpublishing.com/2016/03/new-video-seems-to-show-kidd-lied-under-oath/
 
 



All around the world you can see people (especially elected official type people) suffering from the same mental disorder: The chosen denial of any and all knowledge of any and all recording devices. How else are we to explain a supposedly all grown up and responsible woman making totally unfounded accusations that are so easily disproven by recording(s) of the event(s) in question? With her ham-fisted attempt to smear Lee Whetham and to deflect blame from herself, Cherie Kidd seems to be asking that old, old question: Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Cherie would clearly like you to believe her. Might I gently suggest that you not?

Thanks again to the Port O Call for these fascinating developments.


Cherie Kidd, This is Your Life (During Wartime)!

Cherie Kidd is like a massive trainwreck of clich├ęs: She's part of a circular firing squad while shooting herself in the foot (which is in her mouth) while digging the hole she's in deeper and so forth and so on. She is so absurd she often slips over the border into surreal. If not for the fact that she's one of the people in charge of a real city where real people live, she'd be a great source of comedy.

But she is for real. And her Deep Stupid has consequences for real people, real lives. I would imagine that the number of people wanting to laugh in her face are greatly outnumbered by those who simply want to see the back of her as she leaves City Hall for good.

Until that happens, though, she's a "public servant," which means when the people want to talk to her - or laugh at her - it's her job to sit there and take it. That might be unpleasant, but do you really think, as Cherie testified she does, that negative public comments mean there is "no longer a safe environment"? Do critical but non-threatening words really create "a safety issue" as Cherie contends?

Not a threat, Cherie. Not a safety issue.
Not even a distraction. Just that pesky freedom of speech.

Or could these silly, baseless statements be, oh, I don't know, lame attempts to justify her own outrageous behavior after the fact?

As for citizens holding up signs during a City Council meeting...Let me just ask you, dear readers, if you could still function were you one of the people sitting at the front of the room, even if people were holding up signs? Apparently Cherie cannot, poor dear, since she describes said signs as "distracting."

Distracting? Really? Hmmm...I thought something that is distracting would be intended to possible draw your attention away from a particular subject or task. Given that these signs were supposed to focus and direct the Council's attention on an issue people feel is important, I would say that the signs in question were actually the opposite of distracting.

Can you grasp that concept, Cherie?

Anyway, we'll see what the Ethics Board comes up with this Friday. They called three good witnesses, and one rotten one. That's a good sign, but of course, per Cherie Kidd's worldview, there may be no such thing as a good sign - at least not in City Hall.

Monday, March 28, 2016

How Can You Have Accountability in a City WIth No Ability At All?

Well, the curtain has come down on the Port Angeles Slush Fund Follies. Despite years of employees misappropriating City property, and misusing City time (and time is money, people), and despite numerous City employees lying to the State Patrol when they were investigating it all, nothing much has been done.


Instead, City Manager, "Do Nothing" Dan McKeen, has meted (not feted) out two mild slaps on the wrists, suspending one employee (light Operations Manager George Drake) for one week, and another (Warehouseman-Purchasing Agent Sean Hairell) for two weeks, without pay.

Call me old fashioned, but, given the scale, scope and dishonest nature of what the whole Slush Fund Follies represents, this doesn't seem enough. I mean, at a minimum, is it too much to expect your employees to cooperate with a law enforcement investigation? Honesty anyone? Transparency? Accountability? Hello? Anyone?

This seems like just the opening bars of what is increasingly looking like a chorus of disappointment that will be coming the way of those who are hoping for some sort of higher legal/ethical standards to be upheld in City Hall. Marolee Smith's ethics complaint is creaking forward, with most of the creaking coming from the Bullfrog of Bullshit, Bill Bloor, as he "assists" the ethics panel with their decision-making process, while stonewalling Marolee at every turn. (Again, it must be noted that it seems odd at best that someone who is themself the subject of an ethics complaint is so instrumental in guiding this first foray into Ethicsland.)

Meanwhile, across the street, poor Yvonne Ziomkowski's much, much, much delayed trial is also grinding along, with the City's expensive Seattle attorney scoring point after point while Yvonne's local attorney Karen Unger sits, smiles and nods.

Or, to sum up all of the above: The fix is still in.


So the question becomes...How does a community find, get, extract something resembling fairness and justice when the whole rotten system is, well, rotten? How do you get to accountability when the people in charge are no accounts with no ability?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

About to Bern Up

Alright, then...I'm gonna leave the dog here with the S.O., leave the blog here with you, and be gone for a couple of days to Bernie University. I'm looking ahead to both the upcoming primary, and the general election, and this two-day training is just the thing for me. So take care while I'm gone, and feel free to share your thoughts here.

Let me leave you with a little item from the official League of Women Voters notes from the last Port Angeles City Council meeting. I get these summations, and they often have a pro-status quo kind of slant to them, with unkind words for those who would, say, challenge the hegemony of the Fluoride Four.

But these last notes (from the March 15th meeting) end on a poignant note. It's the last public comment from the second public comment section of the meeting - the very end of the meeting, in other words. Here it is:

Sherrie Wilson, Buckley, Washington, wishes to move here but is concerned about the divisiveness in the town and whether or not the council is responsive to the voice of the people.

Sounds like a more sensitive and in-touch with reality Sherrie than some... 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Yes, It's Musical Chairs - And You're NOT Invited - AKA - Inbred, Rerun, Timewarp Leftovers, Closed Door, Clusterfuck Follies

Well, that didn't take long. As in, it literally didn't take long...

A political ripple caused by the retirement announcement of state Sen. Jim Hargrove began Monday, with two candidates announcing their election plans.

State Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, in his fifth term in the Legislature, announced that he will relinquish that seat in order to run for the state Senate seat Hargrove is vacating at year's end.

Minutes after Van De Wege's announcement, four-term Clallam County Commissioner Mike Chapman announced his intention to run for Van De Wege's seat.


And, as a previous poster pointed out, former County Commissioner Ron Richards will also be running for Chapman's soon-to-be-vacant County Commissioner's seat. No new blood. No new ideas. No new energy. No, no, no - which is what the public should say to this incestuous, insane abomination.

 
Here's a little more for you...

“I'm excited to announce my candidacy to the state Senate,” Van De Wege said in a news release distributed to the media Monday afternoon.

“It's an opportunity to keep working on creating family wage jobs, championing our public schools and working to keep improving the quality of life for every resident on the Peninsula.”

Chapman in his release said: “I'm basing my campaign around creating more opportunities and support for the communities, families and businesses of the Olympic Peninsula.”


How's Van De Wege done so far at "creating family wage jobs" and "working to improve the quality of life for every resident on the Peninsula"? NOAA, for one, famously cited the lack of quality of life on said Peninsula, and the scores - no pun intended - of drug addicts who have made Clallam County their home under Van De Wege's watch might also find fault with his claims.

And Mike Chapman, again following right in Van De Wege's footsteps, is also going to "base his campaign around creating more opportunities and support for the communities, families and businesses of the Olympic Peninsula." Oh, right. Too bad you haven't been working on that for the past few years, Mike. Too bad the opportunities you're really interested in creating are opportunities for you to draw a fat paycheck without having to produce anything.

Will these three ride the Combover's coattails into office?
 
Two things really need to happen here, folks. One is for these self-serving failures to have to run on their real and actual records. Force them, and the voters, to stare into the cold void they've helped create. The other is for all of these arrogant leftovers - Van De Wege, Chapman and Richards - to face real opponents, from within their own corrupt party. Primary these losers out. It will serve no good to reward any of these buffoons with elected positions.

Seriously, this is a very, very bad sign. Nothing will change - nothing - unless you change the people making decisions. If you like poverty, drug abuse, hopelessness, crumbling infrastructure, political corruption and gross indifference to the needs of the public, then by all means, maintain the sick status quo.

But if you want more, if you want better, then speak up, stand up, and just say NO.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Under the Bored Walk

You know...I don't even like Charlie Brown or the Peanuts comics. But I can't help but think of Charlie Brown being tricked time and time again by Lucy and that damned football when I read about - wait for it! - yet another online contest that Port Angeles is supposed to get all excited about. Only this time it's not Charlie Brown the bald-headed fool who's getting worked up, but rather bald-headed fool Don Perry, touting his boring underground tour.

Really, what can one say to morons like this? People who are so, so painfully stupid as to think these things mean anything, or will change anything? Christ, I wish I had a bag of Magic Beans to sell. I'd make one final trip to Port Angeles (maybe a Chamber of Commerce meeting?) and clean up.

"Winning" meaningless online contests won't change the fact that Port Angeles is a depressed and depressing place. Depressed and run-down. Depressed and run-down and desperate. The irony of this particular situation is that one of the reasons Port Angeles is so depressed, run-down and desperate is because idiots like Don Perry keep getting elected to the City Council. Yet here Don is now, all puffed out over "his" underground tour possibly being "the best" around.

Memo to Don Perry: NO ONE CARES BUT YOU.

Don Perry's laughing because he knows it's pointless
for Cherie to try and teach him how to read. Silly, silly Cherie!

Here are a few relevant facts:

One: As mentioned above, Port Angeles suffers from a real leadership deficit. The only thing they've traditionally excelled at is bad ideas, and Don Perry was a Four Star General of the Brain Drain Brigade as a Council member. Yes Man for Karen Rogers, good ol' boy gladhander, sexist staff harassing yahoo and certified mouth-breather, Don Perry is representative of just how low the bar has been set for elected officials in Clallam County.

Two: He's also a failure as a businessman. Ever seen Don's rinky dink "business" office downtown? The one he's, hmmm, never, ever at? It's a sad testament to a man's need to have his image and ego propped up with the window dressing of some sort of "business" he can say he's in - even though he is, in fact, not really in business at all.

Three: Which brings us to the aforementioned underground tour. As the PDN article states, Don has been doing this tour for 16 years. In all that time, he has constantly bemoaned the fact that the areas on his tour - the tour he claims to love - are always threatened with decay, damage and redevelopment. A little street work here and there, or a wall collapsing somewhere else, and the tour is finished.

Yet, in all those years, 16 long years, lazybones Don Perry has never taken a single step to do something about it. Note his tours are a "business." No one is going to donate funds to help restore a "business." (Hello, Scott Nagel - we're looking at you and your wannabe buy-it-for-me movie theater.) But people, and all sorts of agencies, might give money to help restore or maintain a non-profit historical attraction. Don knows this. But has he ever even tried to form a non-profit to safeguard the underground? No he has not.

Because Don Perry is, above all else, lazy, lazy, lazy - both physically and (especially) mentally. Just like the leaders of the Chamber of Commerce and the PABA and all the other rah rah cheerleaders who want some stupid online contest to instantly make their town viable again, rather than doing it themselves. These types don't want to do any self-examination or heavy lifting. No, they'll just sit and get fat and wait for the Magic Beans to show up.

Opening Soon in downtown Port Angeles!

But even Magic Beans can't grow being planted that far underground. They'll just wind up being buried and forgotten, kind of like Port Angeles...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Musical Chairs or Death Spiral: Going Around and Around in a Circle Until There's Just One Person Left

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, the same way, and expecting different results.

In Clallam County politics, musical chairs is running the same (tired, corrupt, old) people for public office over and over again, and expecting different results.

A vacancy created by state Sen. Jim Hargrove's decision to step down at the end of his current term has led to speculation of possible political musical chairs, with state Rep. Kevin Van De Wege calling the tune.

“The big decision for me is whether I want to step into a heavy campaign,” Van De Wege said.

“I personally enjoy campaigning, but my family doesn't always share that,” he added.

Said Steve Tharinger: “I don't know what Kevin's going to do, but he's the first choice.

“I don't plan to run for the Senate, but you should never say 'never,' ” he added.

Clallam County Commissioner Mike Chapman, who is not running for a fifth term, said he is interested in running for the state Legislature but will postpone his decision until Van De Wege announces his plans.

Chapman said he would not run in opposition to Van De Wege for either the Senate or House. He would possibly run for the uncontested position.

“I will watch what Steve and Kevin are going to do and run for whatever seat is open,” Chapman said.

The former Republican, who later became an independent, joined the Clallam County Democrats in November.


Please note how these people's clear, cold political calculation and ambition is dressed up in faux "thoughtful deliberation" and disingenuous "Aw shucks, should I do it?" pondering in public. These aren't public servants; these are self-serving, two-faced con artists angling for position. Look at Chapman's quote, which make this clear: "I will watch what Steve and Kevin are going to do and run for whatever seat is open."

Musical chairs...Played to a dirge...
 
Chapman doesn't use language about how he's long thought he'd be a great fill-in-the-blank, or how he's got a passion/vision/whatever to get involved with state issues in the fill-in-the-blank.. No, he's just looking for a new chair to fill - any one that the public pays for will do. He's so eager to fill-in-the-blank because he's blank himself. This isn't an impassioned champion of the public. This is just another lazy bureaucrat looking for a place to stuff himself into until hitting retirement age.

From my perspective, none of these losers deserve any more votes, or anymore publically-funded paychecks. The only way to see real, positive change in Clallam County is to change the people elected to represent you.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The More You Struggle, the Worse (and More Expensive) It Will Be For You ***UPDATED!***

Were I personally facing criminal charges - you know, the kind that could land you in prison - I'd certainly hire a lawyer to represent me, and help me navigate a court case. I think most people would do the same, or at least understand the impulse to do so.

What's less - much less - understandable is for Doughy Dan Gase to have hired a lawyer to deal with an in-house ethics complaint. Said complaint potentially being embarrassing or awkward for him, yes, but something that cannot result in him doing time or anything approaching a "real world" consequence. It's a bureaucratic matter, really.

Doughy Dan Gase in full Pat Downie drag.
Dan may represent you, the people, but he has a lawyer
representing him, the representative.

But I guess that Doughy Dan's ego is so fragile he felt it needed some propping up, or...Something? And, having shown the way to his fellow traveler, Cherie Kidd, she, not being much of a thinker or leader, said "Me too!" Or...Something? (I'm guessing that City Attorney Bill Bloor, himself the subject of an ethics complaint, jumped and lawyered up first, thereby giving the idea to his Council minions.)

If anything, this plays right into the hands of those filing what may be an endless series of ethics complaints. Obviously, the shameless members of the Fluoride Four cannot be shamed into being more responsive and courteous. This may be because most of them (no names, please) are too dim and insecure to realize and/or admit that they are in the wrong. So they've been content to play chicken with the public trust and their own time, letting this whole thing drag on and on, like children having a tantrum.

Ah, but if they're going to actually pay for lawyers to deal with these things...Well, then, that's a different context entirely. For one thing, their lawyer(s) will, hopefully, be a little more used to behaving like a rational human being, and a little less like a spoiled kid threatening to hold their breath "until they die." Whaaa!

Also, their lawyer(s) will, as you astute readers will already know, cost real world money. As in, no free and terrible Bill Bloor advice is this. No, this decision affects the pocketbooks of the Council members themselves, and, I can't help but believe, they will be much more concerned about their own budgets than they have been about the City's. And if they intend to use lawyers (as a "general precaution" says Dan Gase, generally) for each and every ethics complaint, and if they don't settle said complaints in a reasonable fashion, then I'd say this only gives the citizens of Port Angeles even more of a reason to be eagle-eyed and file complaint after complaint. Ca-ching!

Elected representatives need lawyers for flotation devices.

Which is to say...It hasn't proved possible to drive the Fluoride Four out of office from the shame of (among many, many other things) burying the City under a mountain of debt. But, if the members of the Fluoride Four want to create a situation in which they can bury themselves under a mountain of legal bills...Well, that might make them see the exit signs a little more clearly. (Certainly this latest move helps us all see a little more clearly just how insecure these fools are, and how bad they are at strategy.)

And so, let the games begin! The public can play for free! But now, it seems, City Council members have to pay to play. So make 'em pay, folks.

*********

UPDATE!

Sadly, the "You" referred to in the headline up above turns out to literally be YOU. As in, you the taxpayer. As in, the City says it will pay for lawyers to "defend" the Fluoride Four. They just pile outrage on top of outrage, don't they?

If Dan McKeen had an ounce of spine, conscience and/or sense of ethical behavior, he'd resign in protest.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE: The PDN's story on this, by Paul Gottlieb, which I just reread to make sure, doesn't mention that the City will be paying for the lawyers. In fact, it very much tries to give the impression that a lawyer was retained "by" Gase and Kidd - not by the City. Once again, as has been discussed here recently, Paul Gottlieb knowingly distorts the facts and obscures the truth in an effort to protect those in City Hall.

*********

Meanwhile, I just have to say, on a different topic entirely...Bob Martin is an out-of-date idiot, and any County Commissioner who takes his advice...Is taking advice from an idiot.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dog Bites, Eroding Bluffs and Leftovers

Sigh...In Port Angeles, even the police dogs misfire. Poor guy! But his lawsuit against the City ought to go fairly well.

Operators - slick operators at that - are standing by now!

Meanwhile, yes, local bluffs are continuing to erode - at an even faster pace than anticipated. Tidal action down below, runoff up above, and goodbye bluffs. If you thought it was expensive to deal with the old Garbage Bluff, wait until more homes are imperiled and abandoned because of bluff slough.

It's no bluff! Everything must go!

Meanwhile, it looks like the race (it'll be a slooow one) to replace Mike Chapman is on. We meet the first two candidates in twin articles by Paul Clotlieb.

The Democrats are offering up Ron Richards, 71, who used to be a County Commissioner decades ago. Now, Ron's a well-off retired guy who likes to go out on his boat. But he doesn't want to seem like just a well-off retired guy, so he is apparently describing himself as a "commercial fisherman." Retired, or just plain tired, Ron Richards hardly seems to represent the future.

On the other hand...The Republicans have their own leftovers on offer, in the form of Maggie Roth, 61. Maggie is the widow of Terry Roth, and like her late husband, Maggie is edging close to Perennial Candidate status. A pleasant-enough-but-clueless right-wing gadfly, Maggie might be described as a sort of "community organizer," if not for the fact that she would doubtlessly reject such a title. In any case, like Ron Richards, Maggie Roth hardly seems to represent the future.

Just swallow it and don't ask any questions.
Believe me, you'll be happier that way.

So, to sum up: A police dog slips into the wrong house and bites the wrong guy...The bluffs keep on slip, slip, slipping away...And the local political parties are trying to slip the voters some cold, cold leftovers.

Just another Sunday edition of the PDN, chock full of good news. Makes you wonder how depressing the stuff they aren't telling you is.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The News - Cherie Kidd Style

The headline pretty much says it all, folks: "Haggen to close Port Angeles store, lay off 67 employees."

But, for more on this story, let's go live to Cherie Kidd...

"I have not heard these rumors about the store closing, but I am confident that they will very quickly be dismissed. I absolutely disagree with the assumption to begin with, and give no credibility to Haggen's allegations."

Thank you. That was Cherie Kidd, live on the scene, and deep in denial. We'll have more news in a minute, but first...

Who are you gonna believe?
Cherie Kidd, or your lying eyes?


Stopped Clock Cherie, the Tone-Deaf Harpy

Is it being over the top to say that the Port Angeles City Council often makes foolish, shortsighted and/or less than fully informed decisions?

Within that decision-making process, is it safe to say that Cherie Kidd is often mush-mouthed, ill-informed and/or generally discombobulated by the whole thinking thing?

"Can you believe it, Bill? These little people won't
sit down and shut up and let me serve them!"

And yet! Like a stopped clock, every so often, Cherie does manage to be correct. Just like her mental match, Peter Ripley, every once in a while, Cherie hits the target, albeit accidentally.

Which brings us to Cherie's reaction to Marolee Smith's revised and clarified ethics complaint against Cherie:

Kidd said Thursday that she had not read the newest version of Smith's complaint but is confident the ethics board will "very quickly" dismiss it.

"I absolutely disagree with all of her assumptions to begin with," Kidd said. "I give no credibility to her allegations."

Such steel-pantied confidence in the face of so much public unrest! From what source does this inner strength spring? Is it the confidence that comes from knowing that the whole ethics board set-up is just that - a set-up, a farce, a fake - intended to shield the dysfunctional status quo? Or could such seeming confidence come from a much purer, much simpler source - which is to say, Cherie's simple little mind?

That seems HIGHLY LIKELY to me. After all, having a dismissive attitude about a complaint from a member of the public that centers around your dismissive attitude towards members of the public seems like a misstep, PR-wise. It's incredibly tone-deaf, to say the least, but does neatly (if unintentionally) encapsulate the problem Cherie has created for herself. So much so that it really makes me wonder about Cherie's competence as a "professional" "motivational" "speaker" - or any one of those words, frankly.

You might want to listen to the lady, Cherie...


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sound Idea? Or Sound Crazy?

From a comment posted here earlier...

I sent an email to Sound Publishing this morning pointing them to this blog and also referencing Port O Call as both being far more timely and relevant sources of info and asked them to please take a good hard look at their local outfit here.

So, just in case anyone from Sound Publishing does manage to wander over this way, let's present them with a hypothetical look at a hypothetical reporter on a hypothetical newspaper, and see if they think everything is up to muster...

Let's call this imaginary newspaper the, hmmm, Coastal Daily News, okay? And let's say they've employed a certain reporter for a long, long time, right? Let's say this reporter's name is, oh, let's call him Gaul Potleaf.

"Gaul Potleaf"

Let's say this reporter, Mr. Potleaf, who, as a reporter, is not only is supposed to represent all sorts of journalistic standards and ideals, but is also very much the public face of the Coastal Daily News in the community. He covers all sorts of government meetings, and things of that sort, involving the expenditure of public funds, various local affairs, and various law and order issues in the community.

And let's say he covers that last one from the inside, if you will, by getting arrested for being drunk and/or high and disorderly in public. Would the public still be expected to have faith in that reporter and his journalistic abilities? Would management?

Upping the ante a bit, let's say that the next big (personal) law and order issue involving this reporter was his hitting a pedestrian with his car while driving. Given his "in" with local government, would the public be right to be suspicious over the fact that he was never given a sobriety test by the police, even though they knew of his past indiscretions? Would it be understandable to think that the public might have further doubts about this reporter's stability and reliability given the totality of the circumstances? Might it also be understandable that this might raise concerns of a collusion between certain local governing bodies and the press that is supposed to watch over them?

Speaking of watching over...Let's say this reporter also had, as one of his duties, the processing of letters to the editor. And let's say that this reporter went well beyond verifying the names and identity of those sending in said letters, to the extent that he also was extremely well known for bullying and harassing people who had sent letters in if the ideological content didn't match some (unstated-but-oh-so-clearly-there) standard that only Mr. Potleaf seemed to know in detail. Would it be safe to say that this ongoing pattern of badgering, bullying and belittling members of the public would, in fact, fall far outside the scope of duty involved with verifying letters to the editor? Would management feel this way?

And speaking of management...How would management feel if, say a reporter like our hypothetical Gaul Potleaf, were to have gotten a much younger intern pregnant? An intern he was supposed to be, in a different manner entirely, supervising? Would management see such an impregnation as proper "supervisory" activity? Would management think such behavior was a fine thing for the workplace? Would they view such an unintended pregnancy as a sort of "bonus"? Would they be concerned if the pregnant woman in question then quit the paper due to the stress of the situation?

Now, I realize that all these "hypotheticals" presented here are a lot to take in. And it's difficult to believe that a newspaper would still employ a drug-addled, morally bankrupt and fact unfriendly person like that after all these questionable activities...Or is it?

The Difference Between Coverage and Cover-Up

Quick: What's the difference between my dog and Paul Gottlieb?

Now, if you said my dog is better looking than Paul Gottlieb, that's true, but not the answer I'm looking for. No, the key difference is that when I let my dog outside, he's a dog, and he loves to go dig things up. But if you let Paul Gottlieb outside, he's supposedly a reporter, yet he just loves to cover things up.

One reveals, one conceals.

Yet, you might think that Gottlieb's status as a "reporter" would compel him to go forth and dig up, to reveal, to, you know, report. Ah, but...


Anyway, let's step outside of the coverage of Port Angeles from locals, and see how it looks to outsiders. Let's revisit that Canadian TV coverage from just a few days ago. Hopefully you've seen the snippet, the one that describes the "ailing businesses" in Port Angeles, and the "sense of desperation." That seems a pretty frank and realistic view of Port Angeles. Ailing businesses, a sense of desperation, and all they neglected to mention was a thoroughly corrupt local system of governing. You can argue about the scale of those things, I suppose, but no rational person would deny the existence of all those things in Port Angeles.

How did it get that way? How did things get so bad? How did businesses get so desperate that they're willing to take seventy-five cents on the dollar just to try and get someone, anyone, into their shops? How did public anger reach such a point that so many people are agitating for a majority of the City Council to step down?

Of course, there are probably a number of causative factors. No one thing or person is to blame for the totality of the dysfunction and decay in Port Angeles. But there is one thing, one element that can be blamed for aiding and enabling the destruction, distrust and decay. There is one resource in the community that has self-stifled its own ability to make a real difference. And that one thing is the pathetic and compliant local press, which is to say, the inky toilet paper known as the Peninsula Daily News.

The examples are legion. Today's coverage of the "return of the Coho" that fails to mention that there were protesters there is but the most recent example. The PDN doesn't even pretend to try and cover news; it just tries to fashion news-like stories that give an impression of reporting what's going on in Clallam County. There are different tactics - the slanted coverage, the total non-coverage, the greatly, ridiculously delayed (and partial) coverage, etc. - but they all fail to meet even the barest of journalistic standards for full and unbiased reporting.


All this effort - or lack of effort - is done in the service of propping up a corrupt, aging and clearly failing status quo. There are people of influence who must be obeyed, and whose egos must be stroked, and whose interests must be protected. But this is a short-term, self-destructive approach to reporting, to governing, and to economic success.

Again, Port Angeles is a town that is dying. The population is falling. The economy is weak, and unemployment is high. Drug abuse rates are also high. Disgust and frustration with so-called local leadership is through the roof. The infrastructure is failing, corruption is endemic, and the City is carrying a truly terrifying amount of debt. Clearly, undeniably, things aren't going well.

But you'd never know that from reading the PDN. They are completely complicit in the death of Port Angeles; they have put the noose around their own neck and tighten it a little more every day. Which is to say, it is also clear that ignoring the myriad problems facing Port Angeles isn't making those problems go away. Which is to say, there are stories and truths to be told - that must be told - if the town, and the businesses, and the newspaper, are to simply survive.

This blog tries to tell some of those stories. The Port O Call tries to tell some of those stories. (See their new story exposing the wicked, twisted world of Judge Rick Porter for an excellent example of one such tale that needs telling.) But the PDN? They are content to sit back and feel that noose tighten a bit more with each passing day.

I always think of a few years back when the PDN did a big "story" on the City buying new chairs for the City Council members. They spun it like it was some sort of big spending, fat cat thing to do, buying seven chairs (from a local source) for a couple of thousand dollars. The way they positioned it, you'd think they'd hit scandal central.

Except, at the same time, they were studiously not doing any in-depth (or just plain any) reporting on the investigation into Karen Rogers. Or the outrageous lies Glenn Cutler told to justify the $50 million dollar Turd Tank. Or the City's ballooning debt burden. Or Don Perry's inappropriate interactions with female staff members at the City. Or the backroom, sweetheart deal when the Port essentially gave away public lands to land rapist Dan Morrison for his stupid sprint boats. Or, or, or...You get the picture. But the public never did, at least not those who count on the PDN to report items of public interest and importance. Literally MILLIONS of dollars were flying out the window, and the PDN was patting itself on the back for "exposing" two grand worth of chairs.


And so you end up here. With "ailing businesses" and a "sense of desperation." No, the PDN isn't the causative factor in all this, but the fact remains that it could have had a curative effect. Lance those boils, heal those wounds, and move on. Instead, the PDN just keeps adding layer upon layer of BS and sunshine over the wounds to the community, which only causes them to fester and worsen.

A professional and ethical press is supposed to act as a cure for what ails a society. But the PDN doesn't provide any antidote, it just keeps doling out the same old sugar-coated, community-killing poison.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Howdy, Neighbors! (AKA Neighbours!)

It looks like it was a real friendly meet-and-greet event down at the docks today...Except for the unfriendly locals who, to be honest with you, weren't so neighborly to their real and true Port Angeles neighbors. Read more below, from someone who was on the scene...

Edna Petersen and other downtown merchants hosted a reception to welcome back the Coho Ferry which has been in dry dock for two months.  The Red Coat Ambassadors from the Chamber of Commerce were on hand as were a few freedom-loving citizens seeking four council members to step down after they denied the people's right to speak at city council.

Greetin's, cretin! Protesters welcome Doughy Dan Gase,
member of the Fluoride Four.

Event planners were primed for confrontation as one protester got only a few steps inside the meeting before being thronged on three sides by elderly "bouncers." 

Please do blow this photo up to see just how aghast
Edna looks - and how GHASTLY.

Bouncers refused to identify themselves nor explain where they got the authority to toss people out of a public event. 

The second photo shows an unidentified bouncer shoving a protester out of the meeting. 

Unwanted touching is a crime in Washington.

Even dogs don't want your lousy fluoridated water.

Protesters left the meeting within one minute of being asked to do so.
 
Show them pearly whites, protesters! You catch more
flies with sugar than with vinegar.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Port Angeles: Where the Streets Are Paved With Fluoride!

Several commenters here yesterday listed a great many of the expensive (and unnecessary) projects the City of Port Angeles has undertaken in the near-past. They've spent millions and millions - if you count the Turd Tank tens of millions and counting - on boneheaded, shortsighted and stupid, stupid, stupid public works projects. Which is to say, projects that weren't in fact necessary to the day to day functioning of the City, or the safety of its residents.

Meanwhile, as one of those posters also pointed out, the City's infrastructure very much gets the short end of the stick, budget-wise. "Big Projects" are exotic, hopefully grant-magnet things that can get City Council members all excited and squirmy with desire to approve them. Basic maintenance just isn't that sexy. "Big Projects" can act as ego-strokers for Council members and staff alike. But infrastructure just eats into your budget without giving any sort of contact (or contract) high at all.

So that's the background against which the whole fluoride debate is playing out. Dumb (projects), debt (for you!) and degraded (infrastructure).

When we say Breaking News, we mean it!

All of which kind of comes together in the dazzling new article with the headline Two water main breaks in Port Angeles this week turn city water brown. Which is also kind of nice timing for the whole big push to get Canadians to come visit...

"Did you hear, Ian? Port Angeles has water that's brown!"

"Oooh! Now that's intriguing. Book the ferry for this weekend!"

But really, I've never known of a place that has SO MANY water main breaks as Port Angeles. And I can't think of another small town that is carrying such a huge mountain of debt and has so little to show for it. A lot of places would have had at least some of their basic infrastructure issues attended to while racking up $50 or $100 or $150 million in debt. But not Port Angeles. Instead, it's like a really lame theme park - the Water Mains of Broken Dreams.

At least I can be sure that my work boots
won't be gettin' no cavities!

I can see how all this is connected. I'm sure you can, too. It's pretty obvious, and especially hard to miss when, you know, brown water comes out of your tap.

But how many members of the City Council do you think get it? How many of them can see the literal flood of blunders that have occurred on their watch?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Slow and Steady Wins the Race...To the Bottom

Congratulations, PDN!

It only took you TWO WHOLE WEEKS to report on the February Board of Health meeting. You know, the one where the fluoride resolution flew in with its cloaking device on. You know, the resolution that concerns the drinking water for every resident of Clallam County. That little thing.

The thing your eventual article is trying so hard to poo-poo. Classic delay and obscure: "What? What? What? What meeting? What? Oh, THAT meeting. Nothing to see folks, nothing to see. Move along, move along!"

I guess they just brought forth and passed their emergency, last minute and secret resolution because, you know, just because.


In any case, again, let me say congratulations! Folks, you can't rush quality, and you can't rush the PDN.