Thursday, April 24, 2008

Intentional Misinformation or Sloppy Reporting?

I was dismayed to read the Sun's April 24 editorial concerning SKIA, because of its obvious bias against Port Orchard. To call the approach Port Orchard has presented for the development of SKIA "convoluted," is not only misinformed, it does a disservice to the paper's readers who most likely aren't familiar with the proposal, by representing what appears to be misinformation, as factual.

What Port Orchard has presented is a balanced proposal based on what is clearly spelled out in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Port, the County, and the cities of Bremerton and Port Orchard. This is a legal contract which Port Orchard believes the parties have an obligation to fulfill.

As far as any "threatened lawsuit" is concerned, there have been NO threats issued by the City of Port Orchard. Our City Attorney did send a letter to the parties signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding reminding them of their obligations under the agreement — and nothing more. Perhaps the Sun should have checked with Port Orchard before implying to its readers in that editorial it was the potential plaintiff. It is our sincere belief that cooperation is preferable to litigation. Meanwhile, the City has been informally approached to partner with a group interested in using litigation to stop the annexation of SKIA by Bremerton. We have declined to participate because of our obligations under the Memorandum of Understanding.

In the future, perhaps before casting the City of Port Orchard in any kind of negative light editorially, it would be better if the Sun's editorial writer(s) simply picked up the phone and made sure they had all the facts first.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Governor's Race Heating Up

The governor’s race is beginning to heat up in a big way. Governor Christine Gregoire has been on a whirlwind tour of the state — riding around in a fully equipped luxury motorcoach. Although the coach is rented from a Seattle company, it's licensed in Oregon (avoiding the sales tax?), which seems to me to be a major faux pas on the part of her campaign managers. The tour included a stop in Bremerton, where she met with local elected, business, and community leaders (including yours truly) to listen to our concerns, tell us what a great job she’s done as governor, and remind us of all her accomplishments, before holding a fundraiser in another part of the building.

Meanwhile, challenger Dino Rossi has caught up to her in fundraising, surpassing 27,000 individual donors — of which, over 40 percent are new to the Rossi campaign. If I were Gregoire, that would be making me nervous. Rossi has also unveiled a transportation plan with 71 percent of the proposed spending going towards nine major unfunded congestion relief projects. Democrats are having difficulty refuting his plan because the cost projections for eight of those projects were taken directly from DOT and RTID numbers.

In spite of Gregoire’s bravado, saying, "In November, we will win, election night, within the first 10 minutes, by a large majority," a couple of independent polls show Rossi neck and neck with Gregoire — who has never polled over 50 percent the entire time she’s been in office.

In my view, it’s still way too close to call, but Rossi has a legitimate shot at unseating Gregoire, who he arguably beat four years ago.

Local R's Finally Recruit a Candidate

The local Republican Party has finally found a candidate to run for the South Kitsap commissioner’s seat — Tim Matthes.

Matthes is actually a pretty sharp guy who is well-informed, thoughtful and pragmatic. However, as a member of the militant Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPO) you can look for most local news reports concerning him to begin with something like, “County Commission Candidate and KAPO member Tim Matthes said…” Hopefully, the local media can restrain itself where this is concerned, but honestly, I don’t have much hope about that.

As happened with NASCAR, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see an environmental reporter covering at least a part of Matthes’ campaign — instead of a political one. That’s too bad, because it will unfairly color the debate on many of the real issues facing the county.

KAPO, for the uninformed, is a politically active property rights group with about a thousand local members. Led by Vivian Henderson, who is a fixture at most public meetings, it has a reputation as a take-no-prisoners organization that’s been a continual thorn in the side of the county commissioners where land use issues are concerned. The mere mention of its name has a tendency to infuriate local environmental activists.

If Matthes can overcome KAPO to actually get his message out, it may resonate surprisingly well.