Port Angeles, WA: Local Citizens Host Newly Elected Officials
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Citizen Review by Lois Krafsky-Perry
Port Angeles, WA – A local group, “The Phone Tree” met at Joshua’s Restaurant, where forty citizens listened to Clallam County Commissioner-elect, Bill Peach, District 3 and Mark Nichols, Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney.
Col. Don Roberts of Port Angeles facilitated the meeting.
Peach stated that property rights and jobs are his main priority.
The newly elected commissioner stated that Clallam County lost 150 jobs last year, which were not minimum wage jobs. “There needs to be a greater emphasis on finding replacement jobs,” observed Peach.
Clallam County Economic Council has funding concerns and plans. Forks, for example, is planning to encourage a bottled water operation, Peach said.
Peach stated that Green Creek Mill downsized from 20 trucks to two trucks. He is concerned that Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has responsibility to harvest a sustainable level for perpetuity, which should be a two year harvest. However, Green Creek has gone fifteen years. He mentioned concerns for Allen Mill.
Peach later said,” There are 92,000 acres of timber in Clallam County managed by someone who does not care.” [This was in reference to DNR in later question period.]
He focused on existing business such as Beaver and Green Creek Mills. Chips and sawdust go to Nippon Mill and that is another issue, stated Peach. He said he believes in upsize, not downsize, as he discussed these concerns.
There is discussion about weather and debates about models and pre-existing changes [weather], which Peach says are highly debatable. “Sea level has been changed four times. It is very complicated,” he said. He also mentioned the carbon dioxide debate. Peach feels that there is no reason to justify by approach to land use.
The Shoreline issue is also noted by out-of-towners who may want to reside here, which is another local problem, observed the new commissioner.
On the marijuana issue, Peach said he was misquoted. He said if you want to grow marijuana do in an industrial site area and with neighbors’ approval. Wells and ponds are also in play, “If the neighbors say no, the word is no,” announced Peach.
Infrastructure is another concern, as Peach mentioned Kenmore Air’s problems, which give people who may want to move here an impression that local government does not appreciate business.
Peach said he is against over overregulation and over-taxation. He later said, “I am against raising taxes.”
Mark Nichols, newly elected Prosecuting Attorney said his key issues are: Public safety, property issues, drugs, crime concerns, and mental health issues.
Nichols gave kudos to his opponent, Will Payne, appointed Prosecuting Attorney, for the work he has done while in office.
When questioned about the Clallam County Charter, Nichols explained his observation of it, and said he would tighten the language a bit.
The topic was raised of a newly elected director of the Department of Community Development (DCD). Nichols stated it was a political decision.
Bob Forde later raised the question of taxes and addressed the past Charter vote and decision of the elected office. He also addressed previous conversation about grant money for local endeavors. “Grant dollars is tax money in general,” said Forde, He then addressed the DCD comments.
On another topic, NIchols said the McCleary decision with the State Supreme Court may affect future direction for our state. (http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/PublicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20News/84362-7%20order%20-%209-11-2014.pdf)
Some attendees cited concerns for more mental health needs and funding, while others were not in favor of spending, especially for people who were transported to our county.
“If we are importing mental health, can we export them?” asked Dick Pilling chair of the Republican Party.
Some people defined the local marijuana issue as a local concern, as they questioned the newly elected Prosecuting Attorney.
Port Angeles citizen, Pearl Hewett addressed concerns with local drug addicts and clinics.
When asked about Initiative/Referendum 594, Nichols stated, “maybe 594 is worthy of visitation.”
Roberts, at the close of the meeting, stated, “We will continue to have gun shows.” He encouraged people to make sure they showed their concealed weapon permits.
The next Phone Tree meeting will be December 20th, at noon, at Joshua’s Restaurant, 113 Del Guzzi Drive, in Port Angeles.
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