Open letter to county commission

Editor’s Note:  Today was a joint meeting with the county commission and the Port of Port Angeles.  Several economic development organizations including the EDC appeared.  Bill Greenwood, executive director of the EDC was a half hour late and botched the interview.
To the county commission
Now you see what I’ve been talking about for the past two years.  The EDC is undoubtedly the greatest waste of taxpayer money in the county right now.  Greenwood arrives a half hour late and is unable to answer the most mundane questions about what the heck they are doing with all that taxpayer money.  Consider yourself lucky he even appeared.  He is a regular “no-show” to most events like this.
A lot of local residents do not make an income of $1,000 per month.  This is the amount Greenwood spends on his “travel budget” courtesy of the taxpayers.  The only traveling he does is to Toga’s for lunch and to Kokopeli Grill for shrimp cocktails.  How the heck can we continue this fraud on the taxpayers?
Since when do taxpayers owe the local businesses a free tax-funded public relations firm?  That seems to be all the EDC does is run ads for their members–forsaking all other businesses in the county.
They write their own “puff-piece” about what a great job they are doing and then send it to one of their “handlers” at the Department of Commerce who repackage and send back so they can make it look like the state is praising them for something.  This is goofy all the way up the line.
Gentlemen, please show the taxpayers some respect and stop this senseless expenditure.  Please appoint another entity as our local ADO. 
If all that is required of the ADO is to visit businesses then heck write a check to Port O Call.  I guarantee I have visited more businesses in the past two years than has the EDC.  Port O Call has done just as much to support local businesses (running ads) as has the EDC.  (No, I don’t expect a check but this is a comparison of what you have been paying for)
Another local comparison is instructive.  For ten years the Port Angeles City Council gave the chamber of commerce almost a half million a year to market the area to tourists.  During the entire decade of this contract not one local lodging business enjoyed even 50% occupancy in any year.  Now, for the first time, the city awards the contract to Vertigo Marketing, a professional destination marketing company.  The response is off-the-charts improved–more than 25% increase in occupancy and lodging tax revenue collected–the first year.
I can assure you of a similar improvement if you will find a new ADO–maybe the Port of Port Angeles–provide them an opportunity and they will respond with similar improvements. 
Gentlemen, you owe this much to the taxpayers.  Please cut off this mind-numbing waste and put the money where it will show some results.
Dale Wilson


  1. Rik Reynolds

    If the commissioners really wanted to stimulate the local economy they could just veto all such frivolous and proven worthless expenditures and cut a check to each taxpayer or full-time resident for their share of the total, providing that it be spent in local businesses.

  2. EDC is worthless

    How utterly divisive this EDC is to the community. You’re either on the inside or the outside with them. It’s the epitome of the good ole boy network.

  3. Nadia Seymour

    Although I agree with your points concerning the waste of taxpayer monies incurred as the County gives away to the EDC, I will caution decision makers to draw conclusions as to why there are increases in local occupancy and related lodging tax revenue.

    I will invite readers to type the following phrase into the search site of their choice: “Tourism sets records 2016”.

    In doing so, readers will find that towns, cities, states and countries set all time tourism records in both 2015, and again in 2016. This includes Victoria, which certainly has a direct impact on Port Angeles lodging figures, as Victoria is the destination of many travelers staying in Port Angeles.

    Also, America’s National Parks set visitor records for 2015, and are on track to top those increases, this year.

    It is important to understand the data one uses in decision making. Perhaps the new marketing firm did indeed increase the number of people who visited Port Angeles. But the related tourism data indicates increases were happening regardless of what any local effort might have been, and suggest attributing those increases to a local effort may be incorrect.

    One interpretation might be that tourists are passing through Port Angeles on their way to the National Park, and other destinations, and spending money on promoting Port Angeles is a waste of resources.

    There is little evidence people come to Port Angeles, just to visit Port Angeles.

  4. Ben Cappa

    Great article!

  5. michael gentry

    Signing this “respectfully” took a lot of guts. If you were to chart the ROI of the EDC over the past 20 years and posted it there would be a riot! The organization is a joke and a lunch club for mostly retired bureaucrats who never had to truly balance a budget without plugging all the holes with tax subsidies or bail-outs. They spend money on ill-fated ideas that are cooked up by whoever us willing to float one, throwing them against the wall to see if they stick. When they don’t they just pat each other on the back and plan their next lunch or field trip or whatever. It’s a strange group that can operate with such impunity, as if they are too big to fail? Gimme a break. Get a petition going to shut them down or just file a suit by the taxpayers to have their board start paying back all the funds they have wasted.


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