Very short attention spans

Posted 8/28/19
One of our great protections is true journalism, following a story wherever it leads. If you connect the dots, a story is emerging regarding the No Term Limit City Council, Appointed Mayor, and those …

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Very short attention spans

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One of our great protections is true journalism, following a story wherever it leads. If you connect the dots, a story is emerging regarding the No Term Limit City Council, Appointed Mayor, and those they oversee. History will show who the players were, though most here and now don’t seem able to see. Eventually it will be obvious to those with the perspective of time.

“We” simply are not as organized as “them” and it seems “we” will never be. We may not have enough in common to care about root causes such as the No Term Limit Council and their Appointed Mayor, and what to many is the unrelated issue of parking.

The Leader had an editorial (July 17) about the illegal closed process of selecting the new City Manager.

I have often referred to this town as a stagnant little tide pool when communicating “at” the powers that be. Tide pools of all sizes are remarkably similar with similar creatures occupying them. Corruption happens.

The Leader has a difficult position, first as a business needing to not alienate potential advertisers, then being bearer of uncomfortable news. I don’t know the backgrounds of all The Leader’s advertisers. If the audience doesn’t get it or doesn’t care about a story or issue, how much effort should be put into a story or the root causes of the story? To say nothing is to be the problem.

At Pike Place Public Market years ago, after attending hundreds of mind-numbing meetings, I came to see the prize I sought to protect really did not exist any more. Its soul had been sucked out and the people who complained about management had very short attention spans. So, I came to Port Townsend. Déjà vu. Life is funny. Corruption isn’t. Support your paper. Get involved.

Harvey Windle
Port Townsend

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HarveyW
For the record more details.... Over the last month or so with the help of the Leader, through articles and comments about those articles online, we have seen the mind sets and motivations of people taking parking all day. The tolerance policy the No Term Limit City Council and their Appointed Mayor created has spawned a negative culture. We have heard from a potential customer who avoids Port Townsend due to parking problems. We have seen a downhill graph that shows a lack of meaningful enforcement. We heard from a police volunteer who says that the successful and cost effective volunteer program was purposefully cut. He said a few times the root cause was the No Term Limit Council. Our police chief is silent. We heard from someone referencing a 2004 parking study which was never implemented during the last City Manager's 20 year 2.5 million dollar term. I spoke with a customer I'm doing a custom piece for this weekend who just bought a condo on Water Street. He said there was no mention of parking requirements. The No Term Limit Council and Appointed Mayor have received dozens of photos of all day parking in 2 hour zones regularly blocking my business and all customer access to the Historic District going back to at least 2015. My ANARCHY PARKING FESTIVAL sign is back out. All visitors should know exactly how they are treated. Parking discrimination.
Wednesday, August 28
Tom Camfield
This is a tough topic indeed for one to jump into, but reflecting on it all, I'm game—as I can speak to it from at least two, maybe three of its major sides. I don't know how the state's public disclosure laws may have changed, for starters. I put in 10 years on the council through the '70s, no term limits. I suppose a reasonable limit would have cut me off after two 4-year terms. Thing is that I only filed at the very last minute for the 2-year at-large term because the only candidate to that point was an itinerant fisherman known for his drug use, who hung around the old Town Tavern during the "hippie" era. It seemed a reasonable thing for me to do on the public's behalf. My wife Jean later put in some 13 years on the council. She had retired from it all at one point, but they called her back by appointing her to fill a vacated position. She was just too efficient for them to let her get away. Through it all, parking meters came and went, along with chalk-marking of tires as an alternative. And population continued to increase. When I was in office, the state's public disclosure law came along. I do recall that it then allowed non-public sessions to discuss such things as personnel or land acquisition. I do remember meeting as a council member with the mayor regarding hiring of a new clerk-treasurer (and I was over-ruled on the salary figure proposed by the mayor). HOWEVER, I don't recall the law requiring such discussions to be NON-public. A little more of the old "vox populi" might have held down the cost. Union negotiations are sort of in a class of their own, and I held the line pretty well there in the small-town public's behalf against the Teamsters—until the mayor kicked me off the finance committee. In any case, at my current level of maturity and having devoted a lifetime to journalism, I"ve gotta go with the newspaper's dedicated pursuit of the public's right to know. In the case of a city manager, should it be determined by 7 people or by the electorate, maybe every four years?—or at least be dealt with at a public hearing? I have a t-shirt that reads "Democracy dies in darkness." I guess that should apply not just to the Trump administration but also to the grass roots if one is not hypocritical. Gotta vote for a Free Press and an informed public. I'm also a lifetime local historian and I shudder at the only parking solution that comes to my mind—a sort of nuclear one. Tear down the old buildings on the north side of Washington Street between Adams and Quincy and build a 3-story parking garage. More of us might then return to shopping downtown, if that is the major issue here. Which it might well be, what with Amazon taking over the world. I remain opposed to sacrificing Memorial Field. I also stop far from using the word "corruption" in connection with our elected council members. I"ve been there, and there's a good reason there are 7 of them and not just 2 or 3.
Wednesday, August 28
HarveyW
Hi Tom- Nice to share some thoughts with you again. First, I use the word corruption after much thought and input from folks I respect. Only corrupted thinking lets the No Term Limit City Council and their Appointed Mayor abandon Municipal Codes and the community, to let every individual self regulate parking. The worst among us take advantage without conscience, damaging all. The very culture of mutual respect is changed. Fixing it after years of this is nearly impossible with the current make up of the Council that created the problem. The false hope of a more engaged new City Manager overseen by the same old power core on the Council is smoke and mirrors. Corruption is everything from paper bags full of $100 bills to blackmail to simple beta personalities needing to fit in to the plans Alpha personalities have for Port Townsend. It is 2019 not 1976. This is not the same town it once was. This is a prize for the rich and famous. I meet them at my business. Corrupted thinking? Several years ago an Appointed Mayor formed a PDA (autonomous shadow City Government with a controlled power core) to put Fort Worden, owned by all the people of the state into the hands of a very few local power players. I could detail the corrupted thinking and actions there by both City and State, and still have documentation of our efforts to keep Fort Worden in the broader hands of all of the people of the State. We did succeed in not letting title of the entire Fort go to the Appointed Mayor formed FWPDA. They got what was called Co-Management with the FWPDA, whose executive director was fired by the City for ethics violations. They got a 50 year lease on the entire Campus. The public at large couldn't follow what was happening. Our call to action was "Inclusive not Exclusive" per the original MOU the State had with Centrum. The Appointed Mayor then is still on the No Term Limit Council. A woman who came into my business at that time pointedly told me she was in property development and some projects took over 20 years to reach fruition. One has to ask why and who changed city government to an Appointed Mayor and City Manager who stayed 20 years about 20 years ago. We've already reached the limit for the public to follow cause and effect. On and on it goes with parking just one manifestation of corrupted thinking. There is a bit of fear mongering from you regarding tearing down historic buildings in the Historic District. I believe most are protected by national guidelines, including historic Memorial Field. I will tread where most would fear to by observing that a prime location for part of multi faceted Fair Parking Facilitation is perhaps (West?) of Filmore Street where there may be room for a set back aesthetically designed parking garage with potential rooftop park. There are no historic buildings in that area. Aesthetics and impact to existing businesses would have to be dealt with for long term benefits. Park and ride education and enhancements of course are part of an overall program that is long overdue by corrupted thinking. Oddly the senior 18 year No Term Limit Council members national real estate franchise is in this area. They have their own parking lot with posted customer only parking. Parking is not an issue for that important No Term Limit Council Member. I was needing to pick up price tags from Don's Pharmacy the other morning but couldn't find parking so my manager got them from Amazon Prime. I know many spaces were taken by all day parkers. Extrapolate that. Because expensive studies were ignored in the past there has been no gradual implementation of a good parking plan. The community is abandoned by those sworn to serve it. Who and what interests are they serving if not the public at large. I invite the figure head Appointed Mayor to wade in. She is silent and wants your vote in the upcoming election. I believe she is corrupted by at least one of the many ways one can be corrupted. The proof is in the lack of leadership and basic communication she has shown. Your observations regarding how a City Manager is selected and serves are something I agree with. Thanks Tom.
Thursday, August 29
Tom Camfield
Hi, Harvey. You hit the nail on the head when you said this is not the town it once was. I remember it well from the 1930s. Change has been gradual, of course, and is truly recognizable when one can look back on it. When the paper mill cranked up in '28 or '29 it saved this struggling little dirt patch from the worst of the Great Depression and brought it a decent fresh water supply. World War II brought an increased military presence that also was a shot in the arm of sorts in the early '40s. As things moved along, a tremendous change was the construction of the Hood Canal Bridge, which really opened up the entire Olympic Peninsula. The arts movement also took hold in the '60s. The local Port's boat basin also was built in the early '60s and half of Kah Tai Lagoon was filled with dredging in the process. Along toward 1970, Cape George Colony was established. I guess that the paper mill's being established when it was set the stage for my lifetime. The 1960s marked the biggest change of things during my actual lifetime. I daresay that most of today's residents either weren't born yet or were living elsewhere back then. We who have experienced change the longest are the ones who have the most to dislike about it and are least likely to readily accept the realities of progress, which is led by more and more immigrants. But we've learned to be realists while complaining on our way to the grave. Back in city government, about the time I first was elected to City Council, we had an elected mayor, a supposed part-time job at a paltry salary, an elected city clerk and and an elected treasurer. These two offices later were combined into a single clerk-treasurer, and before long that became an appointive position at a pretty fair salary—while the mayor continued as an elected figurehead separate from the council. And oh, yes. the council used to just rather automatically approve building permits during its twice-a-month sessions, until we eventually hired a part-time engineer. He did all of the work now handled by the engineering department. As a council member, I received $10 a meeting in attendance pay. Miss a meeting and my pay for the entire month would be only $10. Obviously, no one was in it for the money. So, yes; the town sure isn't what it used to be. Most of all, the elbow room, woodlands and open spaces have disappeared. I also can't dig clams or pick oysters where I used to. I just can't single out parking alone as one of my major concerns.
Friday, August 30
HarveyW
Hey Tom- Just you and me again on the record. I have been made to know many are watching quietly. Parking is higher on your list of concerns than you know if you think about it as a symptom. First. the lack of dealing with parking AT ALL as visitor and resident numbers have risen over the last 5 years is just a symptom of the current inexplicably damaging City Government structure, and the players that structure enables. This is why the term root cause is used frequently. You must deal with the disease the symptoms show you have. I know you can understand that on a national level. Here we have expensive studies ordered by a 20 year City Manager that was paid around 2.5 million dollars that were ignored. How does that happen? His bosses are the No Term Limit City Council. There is currently no parking enforcement at all. Chalking tires is legal. Seattle does it as part of a continuously evolving program. I have lots more detail on that excuse and misinformation. My analogy of certain types of unchallenged creatures occupying all sizes of tide pools is one I have often used. As much as I know you love PT as I do, its "resources" $$$$$$$$ are what some are after. The key component is the voters who don't always see just below the surface of the tide pool. This is why the Fourth Estate, true journalism that the Leader is providing is so important. Chips fall where they may. Independent Fourth Estate voices in the print media, and other traditional media is being devoured by larger interests. There are wolves at the Leaders door as well. We all owe thanks to the Mullens and editor Miller whether we know it or not. We have this forum to enlighten, or stick our feet in our mouths. Or both. I have had the honor and privilege of knowing folks who have family histories going back 100 years here and their stories. I even meet some of the First Nations folk who's family history goes back much further here. When I speak out I consider them and what they would want for their generations to come. It is not special interest government in any form. Even those manifesting it here would not want it on the National scale for their kids and grand kids. Some use the word Fascism. Term Limits on City Council. Elected Mayor. You didn't deal with some of the details I provided that have happened over the last 20 years with the City Manager form of government here. A seven member City Council able to abandon the community to anarchy parking when it is such a cornerstone to polite culture and visitor and business access is a major and well documented symptom of a major disease. It is only one symptom of many, though perhaps the most easily seen. I do appreciate and respect you efforts to document and share what once was. Getting out of high school there was a song "These Are The Good Old Days". I thought it was cheezy and not my style at all. I do understand it now with the perspective of time. These are younger folks good old days, we will have to have the future to play that song to and compare in coming years. For now, a more representative future is in our hands. Will "we" step up or be distracted by smoke and mirrors like the "new" City Manager? Paul Revere didn't fight a battle alone. He let folks know what was occurring. Our voters here are key. The no term limit council is here. The no term limit council is here. Not the British this time. Get some fresh water flowing into our little stagnant tide pool. 18 years on a City Council by an owner of a national real estate franchise just outside the Historic District is self explanatory to intelligent folks I speak with from near and far. Imagine the contacts and relationships that enables. Is it fair even to other realtors? I use the name Collateral Damage when dealing with the powers that be to keep things in perspective. We are all Collateral Damage if "they" need us to be. Witness parking anarchy and the social turmoil you may not be privy to. I can't vote as only a 23 year business owner here. Residents please send your current Appointed Mayor home this election. She is an empty silent figure head. We need heads that can figure and act. That would be an elected mayor with a City Council that has Term Limits. If a fairly elected mayor does not represent broader public interest send them home. Here is to that glorious past Tom. This is the glorious past of new generations. A course correction is in order. Term Limits on City Council. Elected not Appointed Mayor. Harvey Windle-Collateral Damage
Saturday, August 31
TomCamfield
"I have had the honor and privilege of knowing folks who have family histories going back 100 years here and their stories. I even meet some of the First Nations folk who's family history goes back much further here . . . ' Uh huh! I had the pleasure during my early years at the Leader of pursuing continuing friendships with locals born here in the late 1880s and 1890s (off hand Earl Sturrock, Frank Revello, John Siebenbaum, Ann O'Rourke, John Lafferty . . . ) and innumerable others who had at least migrated here by around 1900. I also authored a couple of local history books on the families of original settlers and of those who migrated here in the 1880s, etc. My local school classmates all were born by 1930. I learned a lot about just where the town came from, never heard much about these peoples' concerns of where the town is headed. I do read and hear a lot these days about what people want out of the town at present. The fact remains that all of the problems that come to light have resulted from increased population— that pretty much has resulted from "newcomers" fleeing from less-desirable areas. Every newcomer seems to consider himself a single influence of little consequence. The thousands with the same outlook represent a horde. How time flies. I was on City Council around 45 years ago when we adopted the zoning code.
Monday, September 2
HarveyW
Aaah what conversations Parking Anarchy by an out of touch non engaged special interest serving political structure can bring forth. God bless you Tom Camfield. God bless us every one. No one more than another. Especially true in local special interest politics. You, and or your family were once "newcomers" that displaced others with a kind of self entitlement appropriate for your time. Native Americans once walked the beaches you did and can no more, and suffered the same displacement you expressed with the loss of favorite places. Even I as a young pup of only 64 have experienced the same. You were and are not the best possible ever person to experience their lives in their individual time and place. Had you lived in another time and place you would have loved it with the same fervor. Time is shifting sand. You were and are in a constantly evolving story. What amount of time here in Port Townsend makes you more special and not a "newcomer?" 20 years? 30 years? 40 years? Not enough? More? You who think you are not prejudiced or elitist are indeed. Not many can say they are free of that. "Millennials" and others like one young woman with newborn baby I spoke with yesterday at my space here in Port Townsend, coming here or anywhere, are no less important than you. Their efforts and deeds will define them. This is their time and context. We are leaving them a very damaged reality, locally and globally. God bless history. Yours Tom Camfield, and everyone's. Today is that young person's history. And her newborn child's. That young person was extremely interested in how and why my space here in Port Townsend came to be. Quite simply I am curator of a cultural touchstone of self motivated artisans who are disappearing on me at an alarming rate. What I try my best to represent on all levels is much larger than my little self. The biggest threat to my life and space that many thousands of locals and visitors hold very dear here is the No Term Limit City Council and Appointed Mayor. She is looking for more years to ignore municipal codes and more, creating a culture of self entitlement and disrespect. Form City Hall emanating to the very streets. It is an attitude in this tiny tide pool that threatens that young woman and her child when extrapolated into larger and larger political tide pools. Everyone is equal, some are just more equal than others. When that type clusters into a horde, perspective is easily lost. Your home town Tom Camfield, is corrupted. Your memories from your perspective will not change that. Only local voters can. Both long established and newcomers. I apologized to that young person for the condition my generation is leaving her, and everyone's planet in. I wanted to leave things on a positive note and said that perhaps with more involvement by all, it could become a better world. She smiled at me, looked away trying to visualize some distant future, turned back to me and said with a sad smile, "Oh, I don't think that's going to happen" and walked away into her future. It was one of those very important moments for me Tom Camfield that will not let me be still. God bless your stories, knowledge and past Tom Camfield. God bless those who understand shifting sands, special interests, and that government should always watch out for everyone's future, or it more resembles organized crime. God bless "the people". God Damn some folks here, who are as self important and indulgent as you can be. I am headed to Sequim today to visit one of our artisans, Peg Lawrence. She is 97. She served in the Air Force in WW2. Sassy, naughty, and delightful. In a days time I am blessed with interacting with past and present. Peg is far more present than many younger than her. Its why she's lived to 97. What she and others fought and fight for is not represented by the little tide pool of self serving politics here. But that those who gave so much could rise from their graves and set all of us straight. Your past Tom Camfield has little to do with today's corrupted greed, except that greed and self entitlement are a constant force manifesting throughout history, in many forms and sizes. The best we can ever do is provide checks and balances. Term Limits on City Council. Elected not Appointed Mayor. Its great to hear your stories Tom Camfield. They do not change current facts and dynamics. If you look back too much trying to move forward it is a sure bet you will trip and fall. Only engaged voters can help course correct in this stagnant little tide pool called Port Townsend. One can only hope that call is heard in all tide pools of all sizes. One young person who seemed a little more engaged than most, is not optimistic. Please vote out Deborah Stinson this coming election. She is the front person for corrupted thinking in Port Townsend. Then vote out all the No Term Limit Council and let fresh water flow into this little tide pool. Thanks for making me put this into words for the record Tom Camfield. Harvey Windle--Collateral Damage
Tuesday, September 3
Tom Camfield
My family's arrival in Port Townsend involved no "entitlement." It was merely a quest for survival. Same as the native residents and pioneer whites who had preceded us. My grandfather came here to help build our local paper mill. My parents came here half a step ahead of Hoover's Great Depression. Everyone around was pulling oars in the same boat when I was young. There was no "entitlement" involved. Things have changed somewhat in my eyes. Nowadays, we get a lot of people moving in who are in a comfortable financial state with all manner of time on their hands. Many seem intent on climbing up the social ladder during their remaining years—some of those overbearing and feeling some vague justification for personal entitlement. Fortunately, there are the many benevolent types, instilled with virtue, who lend their talents to helping others who, like my family, came here out of survival—not claiming some sort of "entitlement." Just victims of the burgeoning problem of over-population and a class society that refuses to go away
Wednesday, September 4
HarveyW
And so Tom, we end with you summing up in your way what I say in my way. You speak to a root cause. Not so different after all. Your observations about class, people of means coming here (along with many I know of modest means) are something I agree with. Bless them and all of us. Non more than another, except perhaps those volunteering selflessly to help one another as in the good old days. "some of those overbearing and feeling some vague justification for personal entitlement" as you say speaks to Term Limits on City Council to prevent those with means and connections from coming to feel they are more the City Of Port Townsend than the laws, codes, and ordinances that should keep a level playing field and protect us all from corrupted thinking. I know that the No Term Limit City Council and Appointed Mayor running for re election have ignored requests by the Planning Commission to review Codes and Ordinances to bring them up to date and be relevant for this time and the place that Port Townsend is now. Why would they do that and let the Appointed Mayor deconstruct the volunteer parking enforcement we had and ignore expensive past parking plan studies, while having no plan or enforcement at all currently. 20 years under the last City Manager have sped up gentrification with the help of seemingly lifetime City Council Members who benefit from gentrification. Disconnected. Privileged at its core. Creating rude anarchy where polite culture once was. Best to you Tom. Thanks for your history lessons and thoughts. You do try me at times with your side trips down memory lane, as interesting as history is. Much respect. I hope we meet one day. Harvey Windle
Saturday, September 7