Sunday, April 29, 2007

Endresen To Resign June 28

Amid a lot of local speculation about whether or not she would seek a fourth term, County Commissioner Chris Endresen surprised everyone by announcing on April 29, that she will resign on June 28. According to initial reports published on the Port Orchard Independent, Kitsap Sun, and of course the Business Journal Web sites, Endresen has accepted a position as the State Director of U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell's office.

In her new position, Endresen will oversee five offices across the state — Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Everett and Tri-Cities, from her office in the Federal Building in downtown Seattle. She will reportedly oversee 18 people in those locations. She said she will continue to reside in Poulsbo and commute.

The 50-year-old Endresen is the current vice president of the Washington State Association of Counties (WASC), as well as representing Kitsap County on a myriad of local, regional and statewide boards and commissions. She is also a recent graduate of the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.

In March, two-term Republican Commissioner Jan Angel announced she wouldn't seek a third term. With Endresen out of the picture, 26-year old Democrat Josh Brown will become the county's senior commissioner. Angel and Brown, will appoint Endresen's replacement within five days of her resignation. If they can't agree, the appointment will be made by the governor.

Speculation now centers on who will be appointed to fill Endresen's position. Names that come immediately to mind are Mary McClure, who ran unsuccessfully against Matt Ryan, when it was exposed two days before the 1992 election that she borrowed a significant amount of money from an elderly couple and had never paid it back,. Perhaps, Poulsbo Mayor Katheryn Quade will be considered, and also a possibility is 23rd District representative Sherry Appleton.

Personally, I'd like to see County Treasurer Barbara Stephenson considered. She has the qualifications to deal with the upcoming budget crisis, considering her many years as a banker. However, I'm also certain Endresen's move comes as no surprise to Democratic Party insiders, and that a successor has already been chosen. It's simply a case of going through the motions at this point.

It also begs the question that with Endresen gone, will Angel reconsider?

More on this as it develops.

New Names Surface As Possible S.K. Commissioner Candidates

A couple of new names have surfaced as possible candidates for Jan Angel's county commission seat in 2008. As reported here on March 30, Angel said she will not run for re-election in 2008. Reported to be interested in the seat are Monty Mahan, son of former county commissioner and current Port of Bremerton commissioner Bill Mahan, and Virgil Hamilton, head of the Olympic Peninsula Building Trades Council. Also reported to be interested, but saying she won't make or announce a decision for a while yet, is Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, who did announce that she will not run for re-election as mayor this coming November.

Two new names surfaced earlier this week. Reader's here need to understand there is no confirmation from either at this point, and if and when there is, you'll read it here. Both have been contacted via email as of this posting, but with no return communication as of yet.

The first is Mike Davis — who is the police chief in Gig Harbor. He lives in McCormick Woods, and spent the majority of his career in the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office. He worked as a detective under former Sheriff Pat Jones, and served as interim Sheriff between the time Jones retired on a disability leave, and the current Sheriff Steve Boyer was elected. Boyer beat Davis in that election. Davis is a straight shooter and a smart, personable guy that would make a great commissioner — if he did in fact decide to run. Kitsap county could do worse — a LOT worse.

The other name is Terrie Battuello. She has an impressive resume that includes her current job working as the economic development director in Edmonds. She is the former Public Information Officer and policy analyst for the county. She also served in a similar capacity under former Bremerton Mayor Louie Mentor. She is smart, resourceful, quick on her feet and has more on the ball than a lot of people who have never worked with her giver her credit for. Questions about Battuello wouldn't come from her qualifications, but from her relationship with Chris Endresen, and a possible conflict of interest between her as a commissioner, and the relationship her husband's company, Parametrix, with the county. Parametrix does quite a bit of business with the county already, but any future business with her as commissioner would certainly raise red flags within the business community — even if she recused herself from any votes that directly impacted impacted a Parametrix contract. Battuello is a Democrat, and with two other D's on the commission, and her close relationship with Endresen, a conflict of interest isn't a stretch.

Still no word on any Republicans considering the job...

Finally, Hamilton may take himself out of the running for commissioner to focus on a legislative position instead. It's no secret he — and the union people he represents — aren't happy with either Larry — you wouldn't want NASCAR fans living next door to YOU — Seaquist, or Pat Lantz, for their cowardice over supporting NASCAR.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Books That Should Be Banned?

Banned Books Week is in September, but the American Library Association says each book listed below has been pulled from some library shelves in both schools and public libraries. I'm certain you will be surprised by the list and I hope you find it as troubling as I do. I mean why were Garfield and the dictionary deemed dangerous reading?

• The Adventures of Captain Underpants
• The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
• Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
• The Catcher in the Rye
• Garfield: His Nine Lives
• The Handmaiden's Tale
• Harry Potter (The Entire Series)
• Little Red Riding Hood
• Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
• To Kill a Mockingbird
Source: Parade Magazine

Meanwhile, on the same subject, this was posted on Sound Politics this morning...

A Bentonville, Ark., man is seeking $20,000 from the city after his two teenage sons found a book on lesbian sex on a public library bookshelf. He also wants the library director fired. Earl Adams said his 14- and 16-year-old sons were "greatly disturbed" after finding the book, titled "The Whole Lesbian Sex Book." Adams said the book caused "many sleepless nights in our house.

I'll bet it did.

I suppose there's a lesson here about being a little more aware of the world in which you live, and preparing your children to deal with that world no matter what belief system in which you're raising them. But for now I'm too busy laughing.
Oh, and the dad, "said the teenagers found it while browsing for material on military academies."

(Editor's Note: Bentonville, Arkansas is also the home of Wal-Mart)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Huff-Menees Named To Replace Dean Logan

Bremerton resident and former Kitsap County Auditor Sherril Huff-Menees has been named as the new King County elections director. She will report directly to King County Executive Ron Sims, who made the announcement on April 19.

Huff-Menees also previously worked as assistant director of the state lottery and as deputy mayor of Bremerton during Mayor Cary Bozeman’s first term, during the critical period that launched the revitalization of downtown. She had been serving most recently as an assistant administrator in the King County elections department before being tapped for the director’s job. Huff-Menees takes over as the successor to former Kitsap resident Dean Logan, who, demonstrating that the Peter Principle is still alive and well, quit last summer to accept a similar position in the megalopolis of Los Angeles.

It's no big secret that Huff-Menees mentored Logan and gave him his first taste of politics. I hope people won't hold that against her.

The buck stopped with Logan when it came to handing out blame for the screw-ups resulting in the legally contested 2004 governor’s election. That race saw Governor Christine Gregoire win a hand recount by 129 votes, after two previous machine recounts showed Republican Dino Rossi to be the clear winner. The controversy was centered in highly Democratic King County — the only county in the state where the elections director is a political appointee, and not chosen by popular vote. The problems included allegations of voter fraud, including supposedly previously uncounted ballots, problematic provisional ballots, as well as ballots found to be cast by convicted felons, dead voters, and homeless people registered by the Democratic Party, illegally using the King County Courthouse as their “home” address.

Because of all these "irregularities"
(isn't that a polite way to put it?) a lot of people — myself included — believe that King County Elections blatantly stole the election away from Rossi. Considering the spending binge the legislature's been on since Queen Christine has been governor — including hiring an additional 8,000 employees by the time the new budget is implemented — you have to wonder how much better off we'd be had Rossi actually been allowed to take office.

How long Huff-Menees will actually hold the position before King County voters get to decide who gets to keep the job, is a question mark. The King County Council has stated it intends to put a measure on the 2009 ballot that would allow voters to choose the elections director beginning in 2010. Meanwhile, a petition drive is currently under way to give that option to voters in November, setting up a possible February election. Huff-Menees declined to say whether she would campaign for the position if and when it becomes elective.

Sims, who vehemently opposes election of the director — has asked the council to delay a decision on how to fill the position in order to make it "more attractive now to potential job-seekers." Sounds like he doesn't think the voters are fed up enough yet with the situation there.

I worked with Sherril when she was Deputy Mayor and had some interaction with her as Auditor. My opinion of her is that while she understands and participates willingly in partisan politics, she's also a straight shooter who wouldn't allow herself to become part of, or participate in anything on the order of what Logan did in 2004. I hope she doesn't disappoint me.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Time For A Progress Report From SEED

With the money former county commissioner Tim Botkin has secured and has committed from the Feds, the state legislature, the Port of Bremerton, Kitsap County and all the other 100 percent taxpayer-funded sources, SEED should be approaching the $4 million mark in funding.

Meanwhile all a Google search for Kitsap SEED finds is a link to the Port of Bremerton, with a small number of press releases, and a defunct website for the project itself.

With that kind of money at stake, isn’t it time Botkin named the companies he’s actually got signed on the dotted line for this project, the number of prospective jobs they’ll bring to Kitsap County, and when we can expect to start seeing them — before he gets any deeper into the taxpayer’s pocket?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Boehme Says He's Undecided About 2008

A few posts down, on piece written March 21, I reported that Republicans Ron Boehme and Lois McMahan were reported to have been overheard at the recent Lincoln Day Dinner saying they intended to run "as a team" in 2008 to challenge incumbent 26th District House Democrats Pat Lantz, and Larry — You wouldn't want NASCAR fans living next door to YOU — Seaquist.

The fact is, Boehme wasn't at the dinner, but in Africa at the time. However, no less than four different people contacted me with this information the Monday after the dinner. To have that many people call that quick, is highly unusual in itself, but all claimed to have heard this at the dinner. Phone calls to Boehme and McMahan were unreturned, but the sources on this are all usually highly reliable for their accuracy.

I received an email from Ron Boehme yesterday objecting to my comments about his past candidacy, possible future candidacy, and my characterization of him as a "right wing religious extremist." He also said he didn't return the phone call because, "I was in
Africa helping to start pre-schools and tuition programs for needy kids."

As for a future possible candidacy, he added, "I have no idea what Lois McMahan is doing in ’08. I haven’t had a personal conversation with her since October. As for me, I haven’t made a decision about running."

So there you have it — somewhat and understandably belated — and direct from the man himself.

Perennial candidate McMahan then sent a belated email the day after Boehme (think they chatted?), saying she never received my voice mail, but stating unequivocally she had no plans to run in 2008. Time will tell…

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

ISC To Take Up To $6.5 Million Write-off For Track Effort

According to a report in the Puget Sound Business Journal, International Speedway Corp. (ISC) will take a pre-tax charge against earnings of between $5.5 and $6.5 million in the second quarter. That amounts to between seven and eight cents per diluted share. The loss is all attributed to the failed effort of the proposed Kitsap County NASCAR speedway. ISC stock was down 14 cents today on the news.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Interview With Dino Rossi

I picked this up from Sound Politics. It's an excellent interview with Dino Rossi. You remember him — elected governor twice in 2004. At any rate, no matter how you feel about Republicans or Democrats, it's an interesting piece worth the time to read.

Read it here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

SEED, NASCAR and Hardball Politics

Isn't it interesting that Tim Botkin, executive director of the SEED program went to Olympia along with Chris Endresen to protest against NASCAR, and suddenly, ended up with an additional $1.2 million for his fully taxpayer-funded venture? He originally asked for $8 million and got zip — until he testified against NASCAR.

What's even more telling, is where the money came from... Representative Phil Rockefeller, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee — that's the committee that hands out the money in case you didn't know — was able to engineer moving that money out of an allocation earmarked for downtown Bremerton, to Botkin. This is the same Phil Rockefeller who had a sign on his Olympia office door that read, "Don't trash Kitsap with NASCAR." Not exactly open-minded, is he?

It looks to me like Botkin was paid off — at the expense of Bremerton — for a reason. It's no secret that the Democrats were angry with Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman over his support of NASCAR, and decided to teach him a lesson in towing the party line.

What I find absolutely reprehensible is that the party is willing to intentionally put the delicate economic revitalization of Bremerton at risk as a way to send a political message to Bozeman. SEED isn't even in Rockefeller's district, but in the 35th — Tim Sheldon’s district. It's abundantly clear Rockefeller put his own elitist prejudices and partisan politics ahead of what's best for Bremerton — which is in the district he represents. I’d like to hear him explain his actions — in a way that passes the straight face test.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Misinformation and Lies Win — ISC Withdraws Track Proposal

"We just don't see any point in beating our head against the wall any more," said a resigned Grant Lynch, vice president of International Speedway Corporation (ISC), in discussing the news that the Daytona Beach, Florida speedway developer was shutting down its efforts to build a NASCAR-style speedway in Kitsap County.

It is a clear victory for for the purveyors of misinformation and blatant lies — not to mention a complete and total lack of political cojones on the part of our elected officials. I believe it is a very sad commentary on the state of our county and our legislature when what amounts to 12 or so people can organize a disinformation campaign so effective it intimidates our public officials to the point of pure cowardice.

Phil Rockefeller, Sherry Appleton, Pat Lantz, and Larry Seaquist have proven they don't deserve to represent us. However, instead of having the humility to be ashamed for their gross inadequacy as representatives, they'll be doing a victory dance as they vote to raise our taxes again — when they could have funded what they'll make US pay for from the revenue the speedway would have generated.

We got what we voted for... Elitist Cowards.

Abel To Bow Out As P.O. Mayor

In a press release issued this afternoon, Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel announced she will not seek a second term as mayor.

She has been rumored for some time to be considering a run for county commissioner, to try and capture the seat being left vacant by Jan Angel's surprise announcement this past Friday that she wouldn't seek a third term.

However, Abel told me this evening that she hasn't made a decision on doing running for commissioner — and doesn't intend to make one in the near future. She was careful to not rule out the possibility, and did say she might revisit the commissioner's race as the time got closer. B
ut she also stated there were other opportunities that she would like to explore as well, besides being an elected official.

More as it develops...