PT needs animal control, not tourists

Posted 9/25/19

On Aug. 1, 2019 I sent a letter to the Port Townsend City Council documenting the attack by two off-leash dogs on myself and my two small dogs, on a city street; the four police interviews with me; …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

PT needs animal control, not tourists


On Aug. 1, 2019 I sent a letter to the Port Townsend City Council documenting the attack by two off-leash dogs on myself and my two small dogs, on a city street; the four police interviews with me; and the summary reports that misrepresent the incident. No citations have been issued nor consequences have befallen the owner of the dogs.

My investigation also revealed that for the 18 month period from Jan. 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 there were 350 calls to police for animal control; yet only one citation was issued. That includes my incident.

After sending the letter, I also spoke before city council on Aug. 5, 2019 regarding this incident. I was cut off by the mayor, and dismissed from the podium, with no subsequent discussion among the councilors of which I am aware. I have received not one response.

City council eliminated the funding for the animal control position, and now the burden is placed on officers who have multiple other duties and priorities, making response to animal control calls sporadic and slow in most cases.

Four police officers have resigned in the past year, allegedly for higher salaries in nearby towns.  If that is true, why does the city not raise salaries? There is plenty of money for tourism promotion being spent.

Several city councilors, past and present, are involved in business activities that benefit from improving the image of PT as a “friendly, welcoming, fun” place to visit and live. Tourism is big bucks for certain business activities such as hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, and real estate developers and sales companies.

Many recent articles are appearing about the negative impact of excessive tourism on “destination” towns and cities.

Elections are soon. Or shall we just change the name of our city to Port Tourism?

J. Ed Robeau
Port Townsend


17 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
HarveyW Collateral Damage

Being cut off and not listened to at City Council meetings is an often told story. No response is "normal" as budget priorities go for the $600,000 crooked sidewalk project, and other curb appeal projects that benefit the special interests you mention. Police are short staffed. Animal control and parking enforcement were terminated. Of course there is more.

I have communicated profusely that I find it disingenuous for Chamber and Main Street to promote "tourism" when they know parking is not enforced, and the cause of no spaces many days is due to habitual abusers taking 2 hour spots all day as they have been taught to by Appointed Mayor Stinson and special interests on the No Term Limit City Council. That is a created problem of budget priorities by development interests on Council benefiting from development without consideration for parking congestion and more. Education, information and a plan are as important as enforcement. You don't "ask people over" and discriminate against them while creating a culture of disrespect in the community by encouraging limited parking to be taken by local "regulars". It had gone on daily, grows, has been well documented and communicated to Appointed Mayor Stinson and the No Term Limit Council.

"Tourism" and "Tourist" for me creates a them and us mentality that misses several key issues. All are visitors of many stripes. My business deals with both locals and visitors from wide ranging places. All unfortunately do need parking. If I go to Sequim am I a "tourist"? If someone from Sequim comes here are they? What is the magic distance one must travel to be a "tourist"? Or, is it what you do when you get to your destination that makes you a "tourist"? What people do in Port Townsend and its shadow city government run campus at Fort Worden varies widely. Both visitors and locals (again at what distance from City Center are you no longer a "local"?

I have customers this week I am doing custom work for from near and far. I would not call any "tourists", which evokes the image of a Hawaiian shirt wearing camera toting idiot in a straw hat. Our Idiots are No Term Limit Council Members shorting all sorts of needed basics for bells and whistles that puff up egos and contribute to the Aspenization of Port Townsend.

Somewhere a balance would find itself and need to be tweaked here and there with visitors and locals if all basic services were maintained, including parking and animal control. Paychecks and quietly keeping careers feed what you describe, such as the lack of animal control, police, and so much more such as road maintenance and parking.

Appointed Mayor Stinson is the Patsy for the No Term Limit Council, with special interests. Vote Stinson out. Send a message, then vote out the 18 year so far, special interest on City Council. Keep paying attention and don't let the downward slide with eye candy continue. As in " Ich bin ein Berliner " said by JFK, we are all Port Townsender. Managed properly we all can share this space. There is a lot of catching up to do. Stinson going away is the start of a long process of healing. 2 terms of not listening is enough. The Chamber and Main Street placing public good before career protection is also needed. Checks and balances. Not corrupted thinking.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Tom Camfield

I find this an interesting point from an overall view. Why can't the city better deal with such things as animal control, parking and such? Because no one wants to pay for it. No one wants to pay more taxes for upgraded services. Also there are a lot of legal limitations on raising taxes. And cities and counties can't do a lot of deficit financing in the way the federal government runs up trillions in federal debt.

I think local governments are between a rock and a hard place when tax revenues can't stay up with increasing demands, be it tourism, greater population or whatever.

I continue to feel that both the city police department and the county sheriff's department are badly underfunded in their efforts to deal with today's world. If they were able to come up with bonding or an occasional levy of the sort with which we've been able to do a pretty fair job for our schools, I'd vote for it. But that's not in the cards.

It always just boils down to what we get is what we pay for.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Justin Hale

I hear you Ed. But it's not the dogs that need controlling, it's the humans. Dog behavior is a reflection of the human training or lack of, probably more so than Children reflect their parenting. You got a krappy dog you probably got a krappy human. The problem as I see it is with the agencies we pay to protect us from anti-social behavior, Canine or Human, are not doing their job. Just look at the mess in Seattle (the land of the "many too many") the police allow open lawbreaking while the city council works on disarming honest, law-abiding citizens.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

We are overwhelming

Thursday, September 26, 2019

We are overwhelming

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Tom Camfield

As you can see, my computer and I were were arm-wrestling again. I was trying to say that we're overwhelming our regulatory agencies and personnel. That's the way I see it, if I can presume to put myself in their shoes. We're not putting out money where our mouths are.

Why? Because of the over-riding "What's in it for me?" attitude.

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Justin Hale

I hear you Tom, it sucks when your computer gets dementia, mine is about ready to be replaced.

Talk about overwhelming our agencies, today I heard that the EPA is fining cities that allow tent cities as they are allowing human waste to flow into the streets and into our watersheds. That reminded me of how you blame Trump for endangering our environment. Turns out it's the liberal Democrat-run cities that are allowing the pollution of our environment by allowing tent cities.

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Tom Camfield

Well, I'd say the Trump effect comes in from the fact that tent cities are needed in the first place.

$750,000,000,000 for our Department of Defense and much of our society is back to the "Brother, can you spare a dime" days of the nation's Great Depression brought on by Republican Herbert Hoover (who was in office when I was born).

How is our public best defended? With food, health care and a place to sleep—or by military parades, killing people (including some of our own Americans) in far-off places such as Yemen, or polluting with coal and oil to keep the wealthy warm in their walled enclaves?

Personally, I wouldn't feel "protected" when denied the necessities of life by the need for pomp, machismo and adulation by the likes of Donald Trump. Tent cities are a mere stop-gap, a combination of resignation and grasping for inclusion.

It's pretty obvious by now that Donald Trump cannot feel the pain of others. Bill

Clinton said to the public, "I feel your pain." I still believe that came from his heart. HIs personal travails were not of the sort that caused public suffering.

Friday, September 27, 2019

It always amazes me Tom that you can see waste at the federal level creating problems for the little people. You can't seem to bring yourself to see it here on a smaller scale. Basic services here aren't always about more taxes as you have said, a good part of it over the last 20 years has been spending priorities of our own brand of "the need for pomp, machismo and adulation" in the form of projects not necessary, but prioritized over basics. Roads, parking, animal control and more.

Friday, September 27, 2019
Justin Hale

Blah, blah, blah, everything is Trumps fault. Fact is that you rant and rave about how Trump is destroying our environment and yet it's the liberal Democrat policies in Seattle that have caused the situation for which the EPA has fined them.

Friday, September 27, 2019
Mike Loriz

I attended the August council meeting during which you passionately spoke, Ed. I spoke later and supported your concerns. Last year, after almost weekly attacks by at-large dogs against our hens in their chicken tractor, I moved it behind the house. It was too difficult to regularly watch the poor hens beat themselves silly against the tractor trying to get away from the dogs. The responses of the dogs' owners ranged from "I'm very sorry" to "My dog has the right to get to know your chickens". After I pointed out to a few of these types of owners that WA law gives me the lawful right to shoot their dogs as they attack my chickens, the problems ceased. I find the idea of shooting dogs to be morally reprehensible, but that's life in Port Townsend today. From dog control to Right-of Way law to overnight parking violations, we are approaching a condition of near-anarchy.

The police are understaffed and underpaid. I think we can all agree on that. The finances of the City are a mess, too.

My concern is the lack of prioritization in spending, as well as the obvious wastage of money. As an example of wastage, look at the Jefferson sidewalk approach to the Taylor stairs, as well as the abrupt closure of Adams between Jefferson and Franklin. The sidewalk mess has cost/will cost well over $10k (I suspect) to fix. The Adams mess has cost around 20 parking spots for festivals etc., and is going to cost God knows what to bring to some kind of resolution. It has been barricaded for almost a year now. As one neighbor recently said, it looks like we live near a dump. I would vastly prefer to spend that money on cops, road repair, or sidewalks.

I am beginning to agree that we need some new leadership.

And thanks for your time spent serving our Country, Ed.

Saturday, September 28, 2019
David Thielk

We have focused so much in tourism, that we have neglected the everyday, day to day quality of life of our residents. Dogs are one issue. Enforcement of speeding and traffic laws are another. Acceptable levels of noise and volume of traffic is another. The focus on tourism as an economic driver (with its relatively low paying jobs). And an utter lack of even the slightest energy on affordable housing (which has been a discussion item here for 20 years) is also a big one.

Unfortunately, some of our city councilors have not been able to see this gradual shift from focusing on residents and taxpayers to making "more tourism" the primary criteria for decision making over the past 20 years. These councilors still believe that they are in touch with our citizens. Or, even worse, when they do listen, they marginalize our concerns, suggesting that we are naive, uninformed, and not able to truly grasp the bigger picture (in their minds). With the changing of the guard in the city manager's office, it is also a good time to hold councilors accountable for their drifting away from the concept of quality of life for those that work here, raised families, and were here for the long haul.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Great thoughts here. I agree with much. I do want to address the "them and us" mentality that is easy to fall into.

You might be surprised that I don't believe we need to spend lots of money on promoting "tourists". More people than can find parking much of the year already visit. Promotion is a business and career for some. Advertise your own business and be undeniably the best if you want more traffic.

The sun rises daily. I can be minister of sunrises and claim great success. I think Port Townsend's natural beauty, architecture, and culture has its own draw. Its is gravity flow. It doesn't need an expensive pump all the time. Word of mouth is the best advertisement you can have, along with return business form many locations. Individually and collectively. I don't advertise, except recently, with political messages. Return customers and word of mouth keep me as busy as I want to be.

I have to wonder why some I see in comments don't run for City Council. We all have perspectives to add to the mix. There is some "magic ingredient" added or missing that has allowed things to devolve to the $600,000 crooked sidewalk project taking funds needed for basics. David is correct about studies and consultants. Common sense is common sense. Who side steps that?

I have been in town as a business for 23 years (I know Tom, I am an immigrant, only you belong after 90 years). In that 23 years the culture of local government, and polite respectful culture on the street has devolved in my opinion. It is obvious with the Letters to Editor that much more is amiss. Port Townsend has become much like Eastern and Western Washington. One government structure serving different types of priorities and people. The No Term Limit Council and 20 year City Manager are the root cause of the division. You have to work on the entre picture, not your self benefiting corner. My opinion. Correct me.

I have had to evolve to reflect and draw to me those who support me. I have not devolved, I continue to try to be an asset to the community. City government has devolved. A huge percentage that support me are folks from in town, to Sequim, and Port Angeles. Visitors, not "tourists" to my business, many focused on myself as their destination for wood for their projects, custom work from me, and gifts and décor for themselves. It evolved organically. "Tourists" buy things like key chains made overseas that say "Port Townsend" Some see the difference. Some don't. Some just play the easy tribal blame game. It is really easy to play.

I do need to clarify this, not for me, but for those appreciative of what is disappearing. I am reminded daily that I am carrying on the tradition of community artisans such as myself, with an atmosphere that is a big draw, and materials milled locally. It is and never has been subsidized or financed by banks. I pay for it. Daily, many locals bring guests to visit me.

"Tourists"? Perhaps to some half closed eyes. I also finance local artisans and those down the coast adding money not just to economy but to the culture of self employed artisans. It is far more work than most jobs. I have no vote and can't participate in government. I can be and am its victim along with residents and visitors. I only want basic parking and on the street and in business education of alternatives for all, after that I shut up. It has been made extremely complicated by non enforcement for years. It could have slowly and thoughtfully evolved.

I think the bottom line here that I whole heartedly agree with is that you must take care of basics first. Roads, Police, animal control, etc. I loved this place much more when it felt like a worn pair of hard working blue jeans. If basics first is done the Historic District can be shared by all. It really is now. Balance needs to be restored. Evolution of types of business will continue to evolve based on basics provided, and those with thoughts here perhaps contributing their diverse understandings of what Port Townsend is, in a fair and open government structure.

In my opinion Deborah Stinson as Appointed Mayor, that I believe is an empty figure head, and Michelle Sandovol, as an 18 year No Term Limit Council member benefiting from gentrification and curb appeal must go. If educated and evolving minds can replace them, the tide can slowly turn. Or, we can bicker about "them and us" while the root cause quietly goes about its business.

By strongly not supporting Appointed Mayor Stinson, you must know I strongly and adamantly support Monica MickHager. As a cynical observer of human nature, power, and greed, that all too often manifests in tide pools of all sizes, she can be the first drop of clean water. Locally it is a dirty little pool. I do not share David's view on good people doing bad things for us all. I see warped egos. Monica needs all of our help and ongoing participation, or we are all just Collateral Damage to those seduced by power and ego.

Monday, September 30, 2019
Justin Hale

" I'd say the Trump effect comes in from the fact that tent cities are needed in the first place"......Tom, I heard that the employment levels are the best they've been in years.

I know you love to blame all this on Trump but all the things you mention have been status-quo for every administration since Eisenhower warned US of the Military-Industrial Complex.

A large portion of the inhabitants at the tent cities problems come from drug abuse, Trump didn't put the drugs in their bodies, Trump doesn't tell them to defecate in the streets, Trump doesn't tell them to live like F'n slobs, turning our public areas into SH's.

Do we need Social Services, sure we do, should we reduce our military spending?, we both agree that we should. But keep in mind that the more we subsidize services for the homeless/poor the more we will have, it's sort of like the "if you build it they will come" scenario. Look at the major west coast cities where tent cities have become a problem, to the extent that the EPA has fined those cities for allowing raw sewage to run into our watersheds, those are liberal Democrat-dominated


Friday, October 4, 2019
Tom Camfield

If we want to talk about pollution, let's get back to global warming and climate change, where Donald is leading the way to disaster. Accommodating the burning of fossil fuels, revoking restrictions on polluting our waterways and wetlands and promoting commercial development of wilderness areas . . . more logging, more mining, more all-around pandering to Big Oil . . . disdain for clean renewable energy sources. Telling us he's more intelligent than all of the world's career scientists. No evasive lie is too big for


And Donald's raving about a low unemployment rate doesn't seem to be the cure for the infection that is tent cities. I do think he should show more concern for those driven to living in tent cities—or just sleeping on the sidewalks. We should be waging war on domestic despair rather than helping the Saudis bomb the hell out of Yemen.

Donald recently gave California hell for the ugliness of homelessness in that state. But I didn't see him offering to help do anything about it. He just hates California because that state runs a better economy and overall government than he does. And the state has a humane and effective immigration policy/program. And the state's trying to institute higher-mileage standards on gas-burning vehicles, which would be inconvenient to Donald's Big Oil compatriots.

Do you suppose Donald's tax records might reveal such things as a financial interest in Big Oil, direct or indirect?

Saturday, October 5, 2019
HarveyW Collateral Damage

And there you have it folks. How to drive a conversation about local politics and spending priorities into the ditch. Attention deficit disorder rears its ugly head again. Bait and switch, none the wiser. Focus kids, focus. The category was Port Townsend skewed budget priorities for $600,000. You don't get to go to the bonus round.

Sunday, October 6, 2019
Tom Camfield

This particular discussion began with a call for better animal control. Then it was dragged into all about tourism, etc. So we talk about what we want to talk about. If not here, where?

As for sticking to the matter of animal control. I personally think Donald Trump is an animal out of control—and should be caged.

Sunday, October 6, 2019