Friday, March 24, 2006

Is it just me, or...

The Kitsap County Public Works Building, constructed in 1992, needs over $1 million in repairs. Part of it is because materials unsuitable for this climate were used, but there’s also an issue of substandard construction — things like windows being installed upside down and backwards.
Am I the only one who sees the irony in the Public Works Building being located directly across the street from where all the county’s building inspectors work?

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge James Allendoerfer recently confirmed what thinking people already understood: Enronesque legislators cooked the state’s books to the tune of $250 million in illegally imposed “sin” taxes, to balance the overly-bloated $26 billion two-year budget.
These are the same folks who patted themselves on the back for passing a supplemental budget this year that spends most of an unexpected $1.4 billion surplus. They didn’t spend it on one-time costs like school buildings — but things that will become ongoing costs funded by increased taxes in future budgets.
Voters passed Initiative 601 in 1993 to reign in a legislature, which was spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave. That didn’t stop cagey spenders from exploiting a loophole that allowed moving dollars between state accounts in a shell game that bypassed the intent of I-601.
A handful of business groups — namely the Building Industry Association of Washington, The Washington Farm Bureau, The Washington State Grange, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, challenged the loophole, and Allendoerfer, in our view, correctly, slammed it shut.
This would be a victory for taxpayers — if the state weren’t arrogantly still collecting those taxes — and will, until the Supreme Court decides this.

Kitsap County Department of Community Development (DCD) officials have gone way out of their way to okay construction of a monster home in Manchester that’s not only completely out of character for the area, but violates height restrictions and blocks views from existing, nearby homes. For the record, although I own a home in Manchester, this doesn’t impact me.
Dick and Helen Asche appealed to the Hearing Examiner, after DCD allowed the homeowners to aggregate an adjoining lot — after the illegal building permit had been issued — therefore mitigating the height restrictions — and covering its butt. Incredibly, the Hearing Examiner sided with DCD.
Why, when DCD goes out of its way to deny permits to sensible projects, does it jump through legally questionable hoops to skirt the spirit and intent of the law to do something so utterly and completely wrong?
I’d also be surprised if DCD has heard the last of the Asches.

Representative Sherry Appleton really stepped in it when she proposed giving the Suquamish Tribe a bunch of our tax money to fund some questionable reservation projects.
A proposed Early Learning Center was a laudable idea that would not only benefit tribal children, but others as well, and deserved funding. But the other tribal projects, including a totem pole, were nothing but pure pork and political payback. Appleton should know better.
The tribe is not a friend of Kitsap County taxpayers. It rakes in millions of tax-free dollars from its casino and other business operations, yet sues the county on a regular basis, costing us millions. Hypocritically, it often doesn’t adhere to the very same rules it sues over. As a “Sovereign Nation” it doesn’t have to. Other “Sovereign Nations,” like Canada, for example, can’t sue the county over things like land use issues, yet the tribe can. What’s wrong with this picture?

Finally, there’s a persistent rumor that once November’s election is over, and Kitsap Republicans lose the political ground many anticipate, a group of mainstreamers are going to attempt to wrest control of the party from the extremist right-wing represented by perennial candidate Lois McMahan and chairman Matt Cleverly.
The mainstreamers’ goal is to offer voters credible, centrist, common sense choices — besides left-wing Democrats. In my view, it’s Kitsap’s only hope of ever moving local government back towards the center

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