When it comes to Port Angeles, almost every time there is an honest assessment of the town, it comes up short, to say the least. Mind you, all those in charge give endless lip service to their hunger for, desire for, striving for success in any and all forms for the community. But...They keep coming up short.
Jobs, shiny new jobs, is one of the most frequently used markers for success. However, in the awkward, backward world of Port Angeles progress, adding or creating new jobs hasn't exactly worked out. Many at the City were all excited by the "$70 million upgrade" of the Nippon facilities. They - and especially Gavel Gertie herself, Cherie Kidd - touted it as a real "investment" in the town, a sign that Nippon cared, blah blah blah. But they missed the fact that half of that money was U.S. tax dollars going to subsidize a Japan-based multinational. And they kind of glossed over the fact that, long-term, those upgrades meant fewer jobs for Port Angeles, not more. (As a consolation prize, though, Port Angeles gets to keep the downgraded air quality and visual blight associated with the Nippon plant.)
Then there's the whole NOAA thing. If NOAA has decided to come to town, that would have meant some jobs, and a little prestige to boot. Ah, but, NOAA didn't come to town. Citing a lack of "quality of life," NOAA instead picked Newport, Oregon. Their honest assessment of the town, though, still is relevant.
More recently, the first Ethics Board assessed the actions of the Deputy Mayor, Cherie Kidd, and found her lacking. Then, a jury of locals assessed the City's actions in the treatment of Yvonne Ziomkowski, and found them lacking as well - a million and a half dollars worth of lacking, to be precise. Even the PDN's slanted, skewed and incomplete "coverage" of local events is an assessment of the ability of local leaders to deliver. If said local leaders actually could or were delivering, then the coverage of them wouldn't have to be slanted, skewed and incomplete, would it?
And, on a related note, if the PDN weren't afraid of being outed (again and again) as a deficient news source, then they wouldn't disable the commenting function on so many articles. It's not as though they're worried about racist, sexist and/or crazy comments making it through, because they allow those kinds of comments to stay up all the time. But they clearly are worried about countervailing facts getting through, or simply facts of any sort. This fear serves as a sort of self-assessment, one that they fail.
(You could even say that the Port Angeles Fire Department has assessed the dangers of house fires on the bluff...And found that, bizarrely, it's too dangerous to put out a fire in parts of Port Angeles, including, of course, at the hospital...)
All of which leaves the community suffering. All of which leads to the shrinking population you see in Port Angeles. All of which leads to the angst, anger and frustration with business as usual in Port Angeles that is so common, and so visceral.
Yet the business as usual crowd, the Fluoride Four and their fellow travelers, keep on steering the ship like they were in the business of hitting icebergs. It defies logic, it confounds rationality.
For generations, McDonald's made billions of dollars pushing crappy hamburgers, greasy fries and soda. However, as the world has changed in the last ten or twenty years, they've seen their sales dropping, their market share being (no pun intended) eaten into. So they are changing. They aren't doubling down on burgers, fries and damn the torpedoes full speed ahead! No, they are listening, learning, and evolving. In other words, they assessed their position in the marketplace, found it lacking, and are making adjustments to succeed in the 21st century.
If only the so-called leaders of Port Angeles were able to do that. If only they could see that failures are, in fact, failures. Shortcomings are not points of pride. Apologies are sometimes required. Meaningless online contests to be "the best fill-in-the-blank" are a waste of time because they are meaningless. Port Angeles has gotten all the feedback it needs, from multiple sources. What it needs now are people who will listen, learn and evolve. It needs leaders who are smart enough to realize that reality is what it is, and that trying to deny reality will only lead to stagnation, ruin and oblivion.