The vise tightens…UPDATED

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Updated with the text Ozias did not want the public to hear.  See end of this article.

Commissioner Mark Ozias has his “big boy” pants on now.  As chair of the county commission he can shut down public comments he doesn’t want to hear.  For the first time public comment was shut down yesterday.  The video is on the county website.

In four years of watching the Clallam County Commission at “work” I have never seen them invoke a time limit on taxpayers who come before the commission to provide feedback or provide comment to the commissioners. After all, it is the taxpayers who pay the freight eh?

Yesterday, during the re-do of the bungled hearing on the million dollar give-away to the Peninsula Housing Authority, which they first attempted to label as going to “construction of a Boys and Girls Club” Commissioner Mark Ozias invoked the three minute rule. 

The hearing on the bogus boys and girls club grant was the second hearing on this subject.  You may remember the first hearing on this $900,000 grant was so well disguised as going to “construction of a boys and girls club” that they had to hold a new hearing because the official notice that went out to the newspaper for the first hearing was a bold faced lie.

Yesterday the first hearing on the agenda was on a new ordinance for governing the Bed and Breakfast.  B&B Industry speakers went on and on and never did Ozias call time on them.  Almost all went over the newly imposed 3 minute limit.  Never did Ozias give them updates on how much time left and so forth. The hearing proceeded smoothly–for two hours.

I appeared at the second hearing of the day, the re-do on the $900,000 Op-Fund Grant, pleading for transparency in government and asked them to get to he bottom of how sixteen official documents coming out of the county commissioners office, over the past four months, could contain bold faced lies and none of them catch it over the past four months.  I mean this is a million dollars of taxpayer money and they are lying about its intended use.  Then lying about lying about it.

Anyway, I am explaining to commissioners they need to look more closely at the paperwork they sign to be sure it is factual.  After all they should know that Opportunity Fund money cannot be provided for a non-profit such as the Boys and Girls Club.  Commissioner Randy Johnson should certainly know this since he has, for years, been head of the EDC which manages the Opportunity Fund.  Everyone at EDC has been chosen and appointed under his leadership.  If anyone should have known it illegal to give Op-Fund money to non-profits it should have been Randy Johnson.  When shown the 16 lies sent out on county forms Johnson said, “clerical error.”  Ozias said, “typo.” 

No matter, the EDC puts out a recommendation to fake-fund the “boys and girls club”  they hold the first hearing and it sails through.

When commissioners were advised they had given incorrect legal notice they groused about it in the daily paper and scheduled a re-do. This is what brought me before the commission yesterday.

Anyway, the point of this rant is to point out–as I was chiding the commissioners on their in-attention to the peoples’ business Ozias, for the first time that day, for the first time in at least four years, the chair, Ozias interrupted a speaker, me, to inform me “you have one minute left.”  Perhaps this is the new normal.  Shut down speakers when you disapprove of their message.  

(Lest you think anyone was being unruly watch this exchange on the county’s website)

For those of you out Sequim way who thought you were electing a counter-balance to the McEntire era I am sad to report,  I cannot see a bit of daylight between McEntire and Ozias.  Both were hell-bent to give away millions of taxpayer dollars on questionable projects which do not raise the bar on income or provide permanent job creation for the community. Both were hell-bent on harassing the county treasurer. Within weeks of Ozias election he voted to have county prosecutor, Mark Nichols sue the county treasurer on a trumped-up public records case.  Long time readers should know, if anyone paved the way for Ozias’ election it was Selinda Barkhuis, the county treasurer. 

Gratitude has a short shelf-life.

In the four years McEntire was commissioner I never heard him call down a taxpayer attempting to provide feedback to the commission.  McEntire never voted to sue the county treasurer.  Ozias found it necessary his first month in office. Ozias has lowered the bar on local government accountability.

P. S.  I have been attempting to figure out why the Boys and Girls Club did not protest the use of their name in this scheme.  The answer was there yesterday at the same meeting.  Norma Turner, board member of the Boys and Girls Club was appointed to the board of the Peninsula Housing Authority.  Maybe that is the reason nobody squeaked when the lies poured forth.  Bear in mind the big plans of the Peninsula Housing Authority includes private investors whom they refuse to identify.  Did any of you get an invitation to invest in government backed rental property?  Neither did I.

Norma Turner is the acknowledged “grand dame” of the Clallam County Democratic party.  How can she ride herd on the Republican county commission, as is expected of the opposition party,  if she is standing before them with her hand out for a million dollar grant from these same people?  When the opposition party has its hand out to the ruling party little democracy can come out of it.

 

UPDATE:  The following is the text I attempted to present to the County Commissioners before being shut down by Commissioner Ozias.

It would seem the Opportunity Fund Advisory Committee would question why the gratuitous term “Boys and Girls Club” was on a grant application for money intended to crush 33 perfectly good homes.  Why they sent it forward with this misleading appendage is questionable.  

All of you, except Commissioner Ozias, knew that non profits are ineligible for op fund grants.  

If you read the official papers that cross your desk you should have asked the burning question, “Why is the boys and girls club stuff emblazoned on this application for a grant to the Peninsula Housing Authority?”

Instead the thread continued until it morphed into “construction of a boys and girls club.  And that is the way it was presented to the public  in the run-up to the previous hearing.  That is how it was published in the “Official Notice” sent to the daily paper.

Someone making big bucks  made the decision that the most creative way to handle the homeless crisis in Clallam County is to crush thirty three good homes.  Then build back a housing project  stacking people on top of people.  

Whomever decided that the best way to tackle the affordable housing problem in town is to crush 33 homes should be able to come to the podium and defend the decision and request a million dollars on the strength of their decision making.  That didn’t happen.  Who allowed this public relations puffery of a boys and girls club into the decision making stream of consciousness in the community?

There is where the fraud exists.

Did the Boys and Girls Clubs allow their names to be used.  Are there members of the board who serve on both the housing authority and the board Boys and Girls Club board.  (Yes, Norma Turner) Is this a conflict.  Is it a conflict for Commissioner Randy Johnson to vote on this since the EDC as it now exists is his own creation.  

There seems to be a silent partner in this deal, one the housing people will not divulge.  Someone is going to profit from the project we are discussing.  Who are the private investors?  We need to know who we are getting in bed with.  What are the terms?  Maybe there are lots more who would like to get in on this investment.  Where are the RFP’s for inclusion in this august body of those able to invest into government backed rental property–charging market rent and guaranteed by the government?

The building of a three to five million dollar  community center on the grounds of  a profit making housing project is a a pretty good asset.  Are both organizations profiting from this arrangement?  Are there some of the same people on both these boards of directors.  (Yes, see above) Have they recused when asked to vote on competing interests?  Are both  boards capitalizing on taxpayer dollars?

Did I mention that you have already over committed the Opportunity Fund what with the Carlsborg sewer, the promise to build some sewer project in each of your districts, with the pay-off of the business incubator project and all the other promises you have backed with the op fund you are for sure over extended.  

There is no guarantee the Op Fund legislation will survive the legislature from one year to the next.  If all the promises we make backed up by the Op Fund come to naught it will fall upon the backs of property owners to clean up the mess–as we are doing with that business incubator project that was highly touted by Johnson”s Economic Development Council.

There has been a strategy employed to conflate the award of this  money going to crush homes into the construction of a boys and girls club.  This is not transparent and it has been supported throughout the process which begs the question of a conflict of interest throughout…

The Op-Fund grant request lists the Boys and Girls Club in a letter from Alan Barnard, Chairman of the Op-Fund Advisory Committee then shows up in a letter from county deputy prosecutor David Alveraz and on to commissioners and on to agenda and on to budget resolution and on and on into more and more official documents until it morphed into a million dollars “for construction of a Boys and Girls Club” as announced in the daily paper.  This is dishonest slight of hand even if it is legal.  This was pointed out to you at the first hearing and all of you allowed it to sail right on through–as you will again today.
The taxpayers deserve greater transparency.  We need to believe we can trust the paperwork coming out of the courthouse.  This series of events prove we have to be very wary.

 

 

 

7 Comments

  1. How U Like Your Crooked Commissioners Now

    Absolute filth and corruption, right before the public’s eyes.
    And to what downside? None, because the prosecutor is in on it.
    The Clallam County Over-The-Hill Gang just keeps on stealing, and people continue to vote in these well-trained crime monkeys.
    Back-door project giveaways to cronies, they’ve got this MO down pat.

    Keep it coming POC! Speak until they censor you!

    Reply
  2. Sadly

    It is interesting to watch how “representative democracy” is being undermined by those we thought would uphold it.

    Mr. Wilson, once again, you are right. You stand up for the tax payers and residents of the area. The requests for transparency, accountability and respect for those these public servants serve, are the basic minimums for what we expect of our government.

    Mr. Ozias has been a great disappointment. But, what could have been expected from someone who wasn’t involved in public governance prior to running for County Commissioner. You would be hard pressed to cite the times you saw Mr. Ozias sitting in the audience, or speaking to the Commissioners in the years before he ran for the office.

    Regardless of party affiliations, we expect every person who has taken the time from their lives to attend and address the Commissioners to be treated with respect.

    Local governance is not about the attempts to control public attempts to voice their concerns about how their representatives are performing their duties. Yet, we saw that exact thing last year in Port Angeles with acting Mayor Cherie Kidd’s shutting down the public comment period as Port Angeles residents were addressing the council about issues they were concerned about. Then the City Council set about changing public comment rules, specifically to limit and silence the public’s ability to comment.

    Now we see the County Commissioners doing the same thing. In the 15 years I’ve attended County Commission meetings, many of which have gone on for many hours, the speakers were never restricted. The Commission was admired for it’s willingness to hear from those wishing to address them. Admired for the obvious patience often required.

    These are indeed sad developments.

    Reply
    1. This County has no shame

      Being sad about corruption is not enough. Speak to the County, emails, phone calls, texts, letters simply stating this is fraud. Contact HUD, which seems to be the overseer of public housing entities such as this one. They’ll investigate for fraud where the prosecutor won’t. This is akin to medicare fraud, where people actually go to jail.

      Do the backlash yourselves. POC has rooted out all facts but whose private pockets will be the final resting place for YOUR MONEY. Wouldn’t you like to know WHO is stealing YOUR MONEY against the very mission of the PHA?

      That this Housing Authority thinks it can hide the people in on this scam is absurd. The entire project is subject to federal public records (FOIA). Ask away!

      Reply
  3. Sheridan Stenberg

    I campaigned for Ozias and I’m so disappointed.

    Reply
  4. Elizabeth Stallings

    I see at the end of the Daily News story about the wonder of private investor built, Low income housing project apartments, that will be created within a year, in the place of those 33 houses, that they claim…
    Anyone not wanting one of those 75 YEAR OLD BUILDINGS need not worry because parts of those 75 YEAR OLD BUILDINGS will be recycled!
    Those houses are less then 40 years old. I remember when those HOUSES were being built. It almost seems like they are intentionally trying to discourage people from showing any interest in claiming and moving any of them?
    Why would they do that? I am aware that most of Port Angeles has never been inside these houses but by today’s public housing standards the damn things are practically Palaces. They are all 2 and 3 fairly good size bedrooms, Kitchens, dining room area, Kind of small narrow living rooms but they have laundry rooms that are huge. Easily big enough to turn into another bedroom , bathroom or office and still have a small laundry area. I imagine they have had no maintenance since they decided to move the tenets into those horrible ugly brick duplexes and tear them down but they have been well maintained over the years and were good shape. These HOUSES were very built before everything was disposable and had a short shelf life.
    AND, I am the queen of run on sentences.
    Editor’s Note: My suggestion is whomever is the private investor(s) would prefer to have these perfectly good homes taken off the market so as to ensure his/her investment in the new rentals is further secured. You are right, the PHA has actively discouraged anyone from re-purposing. First by claiming false deadlines for when they have to be moved then later saying the HUD won’t let them put a price on them. When they do put a price on them the price will be one dollar and you have to move it today. When first looking at this I thought it was just sheer idiocy. Now I think there is a criminal element to it. Who ya gonna call?

    Reply
    1. anonymous

      Dear Editor,

      The lure of seemingly legitimate money via arranged deals has long been the motivation for corruption and criminal charges in communities across the world. There are few other things that these people can do, to make so much money, openly.

      Real estate developers and contractors have used large campaign contributions, wining-and-dining, gifts to relatives (to keep names from public view) and many other ways of establishing favorable relationships with elected and non-elected city representatives, to ensure their proposals get the desired outcomes. Many have been convicted, and served time.

      But most of the time, it is just “the way things are done”.

      As you know.

      Thank you for bringing all this to public attention.

      Reply
  5. Sereena

    This is by far an easy fix I’m telling u the only org. That can freeze a town,pd,court house some, Is the feds I’ve said it before when I threaten inform the feds to release our city’s police Dept. I still have those emails I sent. An low an behold the next day our 27 yr officers whom all were on med. Leave appeared back on the job. An I see they still have not gotten full control of their community​ yes I said theirs an we all know why the damn county commissioner an his little side kick whom are or taken bribs from who drum roll please… The federallies I have irrespudible proof an my God people stand up it’s time we take our damn town back I hope that u all get to read this it’s important for this newspaper to be able to publish anything look into ur law anywhere u can u can back my facts up the only only org. With this much newspapers court rms. Police stations co.seats all this the FEDS!!!!

    Editor’s Note: Please send over those emails you sent

    Reply

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