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SNAKEHOSPITAL DIST. FLIM FLAM –  apparently you and I as home owners are now wanted to take care of all the retirement benefits for the hospital employees prior to the proposed new public take over……this just keeps getting better and better.  TAKE A LOOK AT THEIR FINANCIALS - new FAT CAT SALARY INFORMATION ADDED….


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DAILY WORLD – covered April 22nd front page.  VIDETTE – covered April 22nd  KXRO NEWS – nothing KBKW – nothing

Tom Jensen admitted last night, April 21st at the Montesano Town Hall that the hospital has over 30 million in bonds he wants the taxpayers to pick up.  And that is just what he is forced to admit to.


Montesano Museum of Fine Art to feature Commissioner Candidates in Opening

Local Candidate Art - Montesano Museum of Fine Art

Local Candidate Art – Montesano Museum of Fine Art

The Montesano Museum of Fine Art, after months of painstaking preparation, has announced it’s first showing starting this weekend. According to Artistic Director Sebastian Chang – “this is going to be epic…and rad”. Long known for it’s culture, Montesano will be hosting a state of the, pardon the pun, art – exhibit featuring our local political scene.

We wanted to be real” said Chang. “We see the candidates as art rather than public figures

Candidate Al Smith, a popular artist subject

Candidate Al Smith, a popular artist subject

and wanted to express that to the public.”

Featured in the opening exhibit are two local County Commissioner Candidates. Cosi Mayor Vickie Raines, and political newcomer Al Smith.

Vickie is very photogenic”, related Chang, “and a real favorite of our street artists we have invited to become involved with our opening”.

Chang wanted to relate that there is indeed a third candidate running for the office but couldn’t remember his name as he stated “ nobody has seen or heard from him so we are devoting our minimalist area to him. His very absence is art in itself and makes you think.  We aren’t sure what he really looks like”. We here at Montesano Today agree.

Vickie Raines likeness decorates the entrance with chalk sidewalk art

Vickie Raines likeness decorates the entrance with chalk sidewalk art

Local Seattle artist know as “Raindeer” expressed that “it is important to give the voters an opportunity to have a place for serious meditations on a limited array of the candidates as objects and view them as a sort of private poetry. We first decontextualized then recontextualized, both Vickie and Al and the images both intervene and provide meaning to an otherwise un informed electorate.”

The exhibit is both compelling and thematically cohesive in it’s focus and a no miss event.


A no host bar featuring local dairy smoothies round out the event as well as a latte barista

"Skin as Canvas" workshops throughout the weekend

“Skin as Canvas” workshops throughout the weekend

who claims …is able to re-create the likeness of each candidate in a cup of coffee.

Chang related his only regret was he was unable to secure either Al or Vickie to come and sit in a chair over the weekend so that people could sketch them.  “It must have been scheduling conflicts” – he related.

The event and exhibition continues throughout the end of this month.

Children and Registered voters free.

The Al Smith Wing offers relaxation to the wary visitor

The Al Smith Wing offers relaxation to the wary visitor



Candidate Vickie Raines Clarifies Position on new Hosp. Dist.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 6.43.49 AMGrays Harbor County Commissioner Candidate Vickie Raines had a guest spot on KXRO ( a news station? that as of this writing still refuses to acknowledge and inform the public about the massive hospital debt) radio yesterday and clarified her position a bit on the proposed new public hospital district. I was pretty rough on her over the weekend concerning her earlier statement that suggest a support without knowing the massive amount of debt.

I want to be fair. As a result of discovering the missing financials we now all know,  SEE HERE .….Nobody assumed it was that high, even myself. I figured it was probably a few million they were going after as did most every one else. Little did we all know that they have between 30-40 million of bond debt alone…and there is more.

After this information came to light, the day after her initial statements by the way, Candidate Raines began to ask questions. That is exactly what our public officials are supposed to do. She stated on the air yesterday “how much can you tax somebody?” a reference to the devastation this new taxing authority would have on many of the less well-off here in the county.

While Vickie isn’t dismissing the situation completely she wants answeres and understands and outlined the difference between want and need. Which is at the heart of this issue. Do we give them everything they want….or what they need?

Vickie is in a unique position to listen to. As Mayor of Cosi she has seen the devastation of what a sharp rise in property taxes can do first hand to a community, relating her personal bump in the 70% range. She realizes and related that at some point that by over taxing the home owner you come to a point where you can’t even sell your home. Nobody would buy it with those kind of taxes imposed on it.

Vickie is looking for solutions to the problem, and there is no doubt in my mind that we will be reading and hearing alternatives to this massive tax hike forced upon us.  Her ideas with be worth listening to.  She is as interested as anyone else in keeping a hospital in the area, that isn’t the issue. The issue is doing it correctly.

That is what she does. She finds solutions.

Hospital Dist. Petition Signatures Being Questioned

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 6.20.51 AMQuestions are beginning to pass the low murmur stage and are becoming official in the matter of the signatures on the quickly produced petition concerning getting the Public Hospital District on the ballot this August.

To recap, the hospital was able to garner about 3,000 signatures. A whole bunch of them were thrown out immediately. Apparently a bunch were from Elma. Elma is a rather odd location. They aren’t even in the proposed district. I am sure it is just a coincidence that the wife of the Aberdeen hospital CEO  runs the Elma hospital, let’s not jump to conclusions.

So what do we have left? Well, there are over 600 employees at the Aberdeen hospital. Add in their husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, relatives….hmmmmm that would be about 2000 wouldn’t it? About the number of legit signatures? Right?

We won’t have to guess. Official public record requests have been filed for the signatures to match names with the such and we will know. Other public record requests for them are coming.

Why is this important? Here is the issue. Two of the County Commissioners will be pushing this “in the interest of fairness to let the people decide”. Frank Gordon and Herb “the taxman? Welch.

Let’s say the local Catholic Church with a membership of say 600 all signed a petition, along with their wives, husbands, girlfriends, and boyfriends. They garner 2000 signatures to place on the ballot a proposal to put a lean on every property owner in the county for ..oh say again anywhere between 50 -100 million dollars over the next few years.

Well, why not….isn’t keeping a religious organization in the community important?

This wouldn’t get on the ballot with ten thousand signatures.  Don’t our commissioners have a duty to us, the taxpayers?

We elect our commissioners to protect us. Do you feel protected?

Hospital Dog and Pony show comes to Montesano


Left – Tom Jensen CEO Right – David Quigg Public Relations Officer

April 22nd 2014 – Since there were only about forty or so of us taxpayers on the hook for the 50 -100 million bailout (SEE HOSPITAL FINANCIALS ) of the urgently oh-so important new Aberdeen hospital district at the Montesano City Hall meeting last night, allow me to paint the scene. Sure there were about 80 present, but for some reason the hospital deemed it necessary to stack the house with their employees.

Don’t get me wrong. They were well trained and on que would jump in to the discussion. They did exactly what they were there to do. Sell a crap sandwich.

Let’s see…there was David Quigg, their Public Relations officer dancing at the head of the room. He smiled really really big and showed off his talent of being able to memorize phrases.

I didn’t catch his opening monologue very well as all I could hear in my head while he was jumping around and preforming his act was the theme music from Tele Tubbies. He is just so happy!

An obsequious performance un equaled on any stage. He is well trained. By-the-way, exactly how does a business so heavily in debt, and according to their own statement, justify hiring a Public Relations Officer? Silly me, it’s not their money…’s ours! What was I thinking.

The warm up act over, it was time to bring out the star. None other than Tom Jensen himself. CEO and mastermind of the 100 million cash grab himself. I will give him credit for coming out from under his desk to stand there. But that is about all. A Napoleonic above-it-all attitude, Jensen couldn’t relate to the audience in the slightest.  Maybe he didn’t want to, I couldn’t tell.  Everything out of his mouth was you…you…you….you Never once we. Not once did I hear it. “you live in a depressed county”. “You have no choice” …and it went on and on like that. Complete arrogance. And lets face it, he is above it all. When I asked for a show of hands in the audience of everyone making over a quarter a million dollars a year, it was only him. And he smirked. To be fair there was one other in the room. His wife who is the CEO of the other hospital present, also making that money. They just couldn’t and wouldn’t relate to how devastating this tax will be on the home owners of the county. He gave the impression that he could care less. And I stand by that statement.

“well, the haves have been paying for the have nots for a long time”  - Tom Jensen

To illustrate his thinking on the subject of his new tax and the ramification to those who are barely hanging onto their homes, he again struck his Napoleon pose and bellowed “well, the haves have been paying for the have nots for a long time” and then laughed. It was so funny! On que, his cadre of hospital employees started laughing too. His trained pet-like Public Relations Officer was just beside himself…..master made a joke….and could hardly contain himself. Think Dobby the Elf.

The Montesano home owners in the audience did not find it as amusing.  Particularly after an audience member asked if they would be back asking for even more money later.  Jensen answered matter-of-factly….”yes”.  Again laughter from the hospital workers in the front two rows.

When asked if he could in fact make the hospital self sufficient, Jensen related that he could – but was unwilling to cut any of his programs. HE was unwilling. Absolute detached arrogance. Running the hospital into the ground wasn’t HIS fault, it is OUR fault because weScreen Shot 2014-04-22 at 5.50.36 AM won’t give him what he wants. Communism comes to Grays Harbor. If you own a home you have more than someone who doesn’t so we need to take what you have and give it to others so every one is equal. Well, except for the four hospital administrators pulling in a cool million dollars of our tax money. Being the head Communist is always a good place to be as the theory doesn’t apply to them. Just us.

When asked what will the approximately 600 hospital employees become, Jensen stated, “well, they will be just like Firemen and city employees.” Oh really? We are about to have 600 new Public Union Employees and all the costs and problems that brings to the taxpayer. Ever try and fire one? The safety issue alone of health workers unable to be fired should make the new hospital a really safe place. Right.  And Firemen don’t send us a bill if they come put out a fire.  The arrogance.

Several Montesano residents in the audience related that we belong in the Elma Hospital district as it is much closer and easier to get to their hospital.  We aren’t going to hear much from the Elma Hospital about keeping us in their fold, as again, the two Hospital CEOs are married to each other.  Would make dinner conversation difficult you know.  The fix is in.

County Commissioner Candidate Al Smith was in attendance as well as both current Commissioners Wes Cormier and Frank Gordon. Frank was put on the spot when asked by myself if he was also planning another levy shift to add to the tax burden this year. He stated “trying not to”. I take issue with that as well, as he knows darn well he is going to. Have to give those public workers another raise you know. Back to sharing the wealth and Communist principals, but that is another column.

Al Smith asked some tough questions. He showed himself un afraid to ruffle feathers and demand facts, not spin. I have to give him credit. To be fair, his opponent Vicky Raines was making similar statements earlier in the day. They are posted in the comments section on Vickie Raines article.

According to sources, the hospital has a reserve of about 17 million dollars and they are losing about two million dollars a year. Yes this is oh so very urgent. Well, it is urgent when you have two taxing County Commissioners in Frank Gordon and Herb “I never met a tax I didn’t like” Welch. It looks like it will be either Vicki Raines or Al Smith in Welch’s chair next January. Neither of them are automatic tax raisers.   The hospital is feeling the heat.  Also at stake is the hospital wanting us, the home owners of Grays Harbor,  to pick up their employee retirement and benefit debt. You know, the employees that don’t even work there anymore, but somehow, you and I are now going to be responsible for them. Ahhhh Communisn. Isn’t it just a great system!

Let me be crystal clear on my first hand impression.  This hospital administration board, led by Jensen, see themselves as much more important than you.  The equity in your home theirs.  Jensen stated that this would not be the last dip into that home, as they would be back when they need it.  There is no end, and no one will hold them accountable for a dime. They are too important and unwilling to do with less, and you are nothing to them.

There was one lady who I did not have a chance to catch her name, I believe she was from Montesano. She cut through the crap. Crap that even I was standing in. That meeting, or the horror that this new tax will bring to the home owners of the county, is simply a symptom of the disease. The disease is our elected officials. They set the arena in which people like Tom Jensen can find a place to exist. She stated not to Jensen and his trained puppet at the head of the stage, but to us in the audience “we have to be more careful about who we elect into office”.

Boy is she right.

Make no mistake about it, if this lunacy protect the good-old-boys club issue makes it on the ballot, we will have two people to thank for it.  County Commissioners Frank Gordon and Herb ” I never met a tax I didn’t like” Welch.  I can’t see Commissioner Cormier inflicting as much as a 100 million dollar hit to the county.  I just don’t see it.  We will also have a complacent harbor media to thank.  Deliberately not reporting the debt to the public is in excuseable and a breach of the public trust, designed, in my opinion, to keep the heat off the commissioners and protect fellow good ole boys.   If the public really knew what was about to happen to them….this thing would be stopped cold.


Money, money, money


I received a very nice letter from Montesano Mayor Ken Estes today. I asked him for permission to print it and I am sure he will give the go ahead and will do so at the bottom of this column if allowed.

Ken wanted to convey to me that the City Council does hard work…..I agree and he should throw himself in that category as well. Public service is largely a thankless duty…..yes I call it a duty, but that is another column.

He also wanted to acknowledge the work done by the Street Committee, reminding me they are just other townsfolk. I agree. I have been hard on them.

At the crux of this issue is the 20 million dollars to fix said streets. Why do I come unglued? For decades this town has been run by and for special interest groups and certain individuals. Now, when we need the money…it’s all gone. The solution, well, we just raise everyone’s property taxes. I have yet to see anything in print calling out the people who put us here. Not one.   If the streets were so important, how is it we had two million to build a fancy new shop building last year.   Regular readers will remember the dozen or so columns I wrote warning we didn’t have the money and the streets were falling apart.   My complaining was so loud it was made clear to me not to attend city council meetings.   Weren’t the streets crumbling then?  We just had a million to throw in for the downtown intersection.  Weren’t our streets crumbling then too?

My point is, these special projects are always somebody’s baby. Their legacy. I watch the newspaper with great interest every week and can not remember one elected official anywhere telling us we can’t afford the latest project. Go along to get along. Don’t make waves.

Left in the wake of this culture are the citizens living paycheck to paycheck. The widow on social security trying to live in a modest house her husband worked all his life to buy and leave some security to his wife. Last year a typical social security check rose about $15.00 a month. Someone tell me, please, tell me what I am to say to a scared old lady who writes me scared to death of the politicians here in the city and county who do nothing but raise what she doesn’t have? How much food gets taken out of the basket to pay for these new streets?

What to I say to the young couple with two kids living here that work to try and buy their first home, only to find they can’t afford to live here because of the taxes.  Their kind not welcome in the new Montesano.

Let’s be frank here. Montesano has turned into a boutique place to live here in the county for the well off. It is safe here. We have good sports programs. Anyone with the means,  gets out of the drug infested communities and comes here. Generally, making a good paycheck. Forgotten along the way are the people who have lived here all their life. Their ability to pay for all the nice things are not taken into consideration.

Make no mistake about it. This blog and the work I do, is first and foremost devoted to those people in this community that don’t have a voice. Every time someone tries to stick their hand in my pocket I am going to bite. Every time a group of politicians signs a union contract that the city can not afford to court votes, I am going to bite. Every time the city spends money that it can’t afford, I am going to bite. If this upsets those fortunate enough to have the money, and influence to live unconcerned with those here that don’t – you really aren’t going to enjoy reading this blog.

Montesano is beset with problems. We are about to have our town literally cut in half by the coming oil trains. Through fiscal mis management we have allowed our infrastructure to crumble. We have done nothing, nothing to create and attract any type of industry to try and allow our young people to live and work in the community.   Industry doesn’t fit in with the latte drinkers you know….so messy.   Nothing but concern about how things look. Appearances, that is all we seem to care about.

To those who feel slighted by anything I have written, it is always the policy. The culture here is on it’s head. The county will, I am sure, do it’s levy shift again this year so that the old lady I mentioned  above will have her yearly social security increase eaten yet again. We are in the middle of the current cash grab by the heavily in debt Hospital in Aberdeen that wants to take yet more food from the grocery cart in the way of a bail out. I have to ask everyone. Where does it stop? How much is enough to satisfy our governments? When do our politicians begin to say….”no, we can’t afford it”?

When those basic questions become the topic of discussion, I will shut up.


NOTE APRIL 20TH 2014 – The Mayor letter referenced above has been posted in the comment section of the TOWN WITHOUT PITY posting and can be viewed there.


Montesano VFW and Rolling Thunder gather to bring awareness for POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

April 19th, 2014 Montesano WA.  Two groups joined together today and yesterday,  despite heavy driving rain, to bring attention to the only US Prisoner of War held in Afghanistan.  Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  Two groups formed today, Saturday, facing both directions.  According to organizers, approximately 30 joined with the event friday as well.  The two day event was held on the Devonshire Bridge freeway overpass in Montesano.

Robby Robinson of Elma joins in for the event.  Representing the local Montesano chapter of Rolling Thunder.

Robby Robinson of Elma joins in for the event. Representing the local Montesano chapter of Rolling Thunder.

Mike Lunceford of Montesano waves flag atop Devonshire Bridge

Mike Lunceford (right) of Montesano waves flag atop Devonshire Bridge.

EXCLUSIVE – Grays Harbor Hospital Financials Discovered – Millions and Millions and Millions in debt

BREAKING – MONTESANO TODAY EXCLUSIVE  FRIDAY APRIL 18TH 2:30 PM    -If you are not familiar with the services of GUIDESTAR they post information on non profits such as the Grays Harbor Community Hospital.  According to the 2011 tax return CLICK HERE TO VIEW, the hospital is very heavily in debt, both long and short term, as reported by the non profit watchdog Guidestar, which as indicated on the first page of the tax return is open to public inspection.

I will leave the accountants to pour over it, yes I saved a copy in case it suddenly goes off line.  It is a large PDF file.

I think after spending five minutes with the return and liabilities….we all can understand why the hospital was hesitant to release them.  Comment section is open on this thread.  Yes, the information was sent to the Daily World as well as the Vidette.


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UPDATE:  more sources – MORE….IT GETS WORSE

According to the Wa. Dept.  of Health, screen shot below, the hospital has over 50 million in bonds alone we will be picking up liability for?  CLICK HERE FOR BUDGET REPORTS


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Two million a year just in interest payments……and they don’t want to fire anyone?  Who has been watching the money?

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Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 5.58.43 AMUPDATE: 22 APRIL 14 - the HOSPITAL DOG AND PONY SHOW comes to Montesano

UPDATE:  22 APRIL 2014 – more financials discovered….the ones the local media can’t seem to find  CLICK HERE 2012 AND 2013


Vickie Raines comes out in favor of Hospital Dist. despite refusal to release debt information

Vickie Raines, Candidate for Grays Harbor Commissioner,  made her position known this morning concerning the new proposed Hospital District.  She signed the petition and announced she will be voting for it, despite the hospital refusing to let us know the cost, or their debts.  I think we are getting a look into how she will be voting in the area of taxation to the home owners here in the harbor should she become elected.


PERSONAL NOTE:  it wasn’t too long ago I wrote what many considered a glowing column for the Vidette on my interview with Vickie.  I mentioned that as time went on, we would find out where she stood on things to make our decision for the new open spot on the County Commission.  Well, now we are getting an insight.  Apparently Vickie is unconcerned about the millions the hospital owes and future retirement and benefit packages to past employees that they now want us, you and I as taxpayers to pick up.  It is just my opinion, but a county commissioner that is unconcerned about protecting the home owners by a simple requirement that the hospital actually disclose what they owe……is someone I can’t support for the office.  We went through the “you have to vote for it to see what is in it” already with Obamacare, and look where that has got us.

I commend Vickie for having the courage to state her opinion, however, there is something larger in play here.  I understand her….vote hospital no matter what they owe or what it costs the taxpayers on her personal level, but by running for office – she has to think about the taxpayers first.  We have been down this road with commissioners voting their ideology, it didn’t work out well for us.


UPDATE: later in the day…….the financials are out.  CLICK HERE  I wonder if Vickie will have a change of heart?