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.

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