Sunday, November 02, 2008

Get The Facts Right KIm

A friend of mine sent me an email that came from the opening page of Kim Abel's election Web site. It talks about Jan Angel's final campaign mailer being full of "blatant lies." It states the following...

"Claim Three: Abel's term as 'Mayor of Port Orchard ended in failure.'
Fact: The source they site is a Letter to the Editor in the August 6 Gateway written by Mayor Coppola. Mayor Coppola has also written that he is a 'Radical Centrist' and that 'The liberal mainstream media (MSM) coupled with the Democratic Party (a branch of the MSM — or is it the other way areound?) has a field day vilifying McCain. Hardly a valid source. In fact, Coppola shares a vacation home with Angel in Arizona."

I stand by everything I've written — including the "Radical Centrist" commentary. I've included the link to it so you can see where I stand. However, the previous three postings here pretty much sum up how I feel about this election and the role of the Mainstream Media. Obviously, I'm not the only one.

But on to the true facts at hand...

Fact: That Letter to the Editor of the Peninsula Gateway — and a blog post here — were similar in content. They were in response to a story written by Paige Richmond that basically trashed Jan Angel with highly questionable, and in some cases, blatantly false, accusations.

That story quoted Commissioner Josh Brown and Port Orchard City Councilman Fred Chang among others, who are both highly partisan Democrats. Both are also financial contributors to Kim Abel's election campaign. At that point in time, according to PDC reports, Fred Chang was Kim Abel's single largest campaign donor.

The story was so biased in Abel's favor, in my professional opinion as a newspaper editor, it belonged on the OP/ED page, not the front page, and I had a series of email exchanges with Richmond's editor about that. Shortly thereafter, I met Richmond at a non-political event, and we talked about it. She claimed her editor had a hand in the final content and it reflected his bias. Go figure...

All that said, I believe, as the person having to clean up the mess Kim Abel left in Port Orchard, I have a unique perspective on this situation, and have stated facts that are all completely documentable. Personally, I like Kim Abel as an individual, and think she's highly intelligent. But frankly, her term as Mayor proved her administrative and people skills leave a lot to be desired.

Fact: When Kim Abel left office, the City's Comprehensive Plan was YEARS out of compliance with the GMA. That's an undeniable truth. It has cost the City the ability to compete for literally millions of dollars in grant money. One of the requirements to apply for grants from DOE, Fish & Wildlife and other state agencies, is for your Comp Plan to be valid. As an environmental lawyer and an elected official, Kim Abel knows this as well as anyone. Still, she didn't take action to bring it into compliance. Why not?

Also, it makes me wonder why all those Democratic environmental groups that support Abel haven't questioned this. If the situation was reversed, they would be shouting it from the rooftops. Is it just me, or does hypocrisy abound here?

Fact: The Bay Street repaving almost didn't happen because paperwork due to the state during Kim Abel's time in office wasn't returned to WSDOT. If it hadn't been for the personal intervention of Sen. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) with WSDOT, it might not have happened at all.

Fact: Port Orchard had officially lost $3.3 million in PSRC funding for the Tremont Gateway project for the same reason. It was only because of the good nature of the other KRCC members, and personal lobbying to PSRC, that it was reinstated as a priority project. Otherwise, that money would have been long gone. As it is, the delay this caused has ballooned the cost of the project from around $9 million, to almost $15 million.

Fact: The City's reserves were depleted significantly due to a basic lack of oversight of how a lot of City money was spent.

Fact: Employee morale was at an all time low when Kim Abel left office, with key employees leaving the City due to what they termed "intolerable" and "hostile" working conditions. I've read the exit interviews, so I know what they say.

If Kim Abel calls leaving office under these conditions a "success," our definitions of that word are extremely different.

Finally, as for the Arizona condo mentioned on the Web site and in her mailer...

This is especially sleazy. This is basically a private time-share situation, involving 5 friends and longtime business associates. Several of the owners spend significantly more time there than Jan Angel and her husband Lynn Williams. Obviously, I haven't had the time to use my share this year either.

But this just goes to show how desperate Kim Abel is to get elected. Nothing is out of the bounds of decency.

But if she had done the wonderful job as Mayor she claims, why is it — at least according to her Web site — that only one current City Council member — Fred Chang — and none of the council members in office during her term as Mayor, have endorsed her? Just a question...


  1. Lary, why are you a democrat and not a libertarian? I think if you are going to declare a party from what I've seen you are much more of a libertarian. There are some views that some share in the party that are downright absurd, but if you look at it as a whole it's fairly central.

  2. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Sweet! Call me partisan too, because all I hear about Port Orchard these days is "whine whine whine" and "oh man, I have been left with this mess, poor little me" but nothing about what we're going to do to turn it around (whichever mess we're talking about this week) and make it better. I'll do you one better. I sat in a restaurant in Port Orchard and listened to a very interesting conversation about people and businesses wanting to LEAVE Port Orchard because they're sick of taxes, they're sick of people passing the buck back and forth, and they see Port Orchard dropping into the PIT of Kitsap County. I kid you not. Now, just like I've maintained on my highly democratic blog for some time, less complaints and finger pointing, more standing up and getting the job done to put Port Orchard back on that map of Kitsap County again. If I took bets on how many *more* people echo the same sentiment of what I heard yesterday morning in that Port Orchard restaurant I'd say there's more than less. If we all sat around and whined and pointed fingers as to the "demise" of Port Orchard, we'd have one long laundry list. You're in a position to do something about it, so hi, do something about it. Now granted, since you took office, there have been a few new businesses take up stake here, there's been some contruction work in and out of Port Orchard (and I still laugh hysterically over the construction signs covering your Dino Rossi sign). Now I'd like for you to answer me, how does whining about past mistakes and such get Port Orchard back on the map of Kitsap County as a good place to live, work and visit? It doesn't. In fact, I would tend to believe that it drives people away by the droves. Oh sure, Fred and me might be partisan, and sure that's a sticking point that you can use any old time you would like, but here's something that you should take into consideration about well, at least me, and I'll even throw Fred in for good measure. We're both pretty passionate about the town in which we live and reside, and we're all about promoting our town and the businesses we have because we *want* people to come and discover the good things that Port Orchard has to offer. I don't see you covering that yet. Matter of fact, I just read in *your* paper about businesses, good businesses at that that are vacating Port Orchard because their rent is too high and they simply can't afford to stay here. In fact, same paper showed a few "used to be" Port Orchard businesses who have since relocated to Gig Harbor. Aren't you upset about this? I know I am. I grew up here, I returned here, and we're going to let Port Orchard "slide" like a distant memory? Remember, you're the one in the seat now. You make the difference, and you make it not only for a certain "set" of people, make that change for everyone who resides here, because I'll tell you what, I can even come up with stories of children who fall through the cracks and don't want to be in Port Orchard because there is nothing to do. They go to Bremerton, get mixed up with the wrong crowd, and again, I ask you, why why why are we whining instead of fixing? Start by listing where our opportunities are, can the rhetoric whine, and make the difference now before it's too late.

  3. I'll bet I can name the restaurant for you. And I suspect who you were probably listening to was the owner - who has asked the council to grant him a tax exemption for his pull-tabs - which they refused to do. If we do it for him, we have to do it for everyone that sells pull-tabs.

    As far as your assertions that we're "whining" about anything, it's simply a case of telling the truth. We inherited a mess - a Comp Plan 4 years out of compliance with the GMA; spending out of control; 50% turnover in employees with morale at an all-time low, etc., etc., etc.) and now we're a year behind schedule moving our plans forward because of having to fix problems we didn't know were there - or were lied to about.

    Be that as it may, we're dealing with them, and methodically moving ahead. Whining doesn't accomplish anything and all we can do is play the hand we were dealt.

    You didn't read in my paper about businesses leaving Port Orchard for Gig Harbor. That's pure BS. We did have one story about a Bremerton company that bought out a Gig Harbor company, and will now have 2 locations. We'll have another next issue about a high-visibility firm that is opening a second location - a gift shop - in Gig Harbor next month. That's it.

    And just so you know, commercial rents in Port Orchard are among the cheapest in the Westsound region, so that too, is incorrect.

    I agree with you about the kids. That's why I've changed the people representing us on the Public Facilities District (PFD). We're working with Sen. Derek Kilmer to get a one-line change in the law that will allow them to fund projects in Port Orchard. The original PFD commissioners from SK failed to submit any projects in the beginning, and the way the law reads, if they didn't, SK was locked out any new money that came along forever. Pathetic performance - that's why they're gone.

    The change will allow new projects - and at the top of the list is the Skateboard Park.

    But the PFD is symbolic of what we're doing. I am appointing people who will be what I term "passionate advocates" for Port Orchard and SK to everything I get the opportunity to.

    Maybe you should apply for something - seriously.

    We have a new mascot in Port Orchard - a guy named Howard Beale. And of you don't know who Howard is, if you've ever seen the movie "Network," he's the guy that convinced the citizens to go to their windows and shout, "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore." That's our unofficial new motto.

    Finally, we also agree, as Mayor, I represent everyone - and believe that's exactly the way it should be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.