Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why Kitsap Needs To Remain In The PSRC

The value of Kitsap County’s membership in the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has been questioned at length over the past year or so — perhaps most vociferously by the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPO) — and in this space as well. The main question has been whether Kitsap would be better off forming a similar alliance with Mason, Jefferson, and Clallam Counties for the purpose of regional transportation and growth management planning, as opposed to remaining partners with I-5-centric King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.

After sitting through a presentation at KRCC where the five transportation alternatives for PSRC’s Vision 2040 plan were outlined, I’m convinced we need to not only remain members of PSRC, but to get our people in leadership positions so we can not only slow down, but derail what is being envisioned for our future.

Among the plans PSRC outlined is a new, 25 to 40 cent per gallon gas tax — increasing our gas tax to nearly a dollar per gallon. Very little of that money is being designated for new roads, or congestion relief — except HOV and HOT lanes primarily utilizing existing roads. Included in one version, is a HOT lane from I-5 to Poulsbo that uses one of the existing lanes of SR-16. So we’ll get to pay to use the roads we’ve already bought and paid for, while the congestion in the remaining free lanes becomes intentionally worse.

Another part of the plan calls for a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax. How that will be implemented and monitored is still unclear. They also envision tolls on all major freeways — including I-5 — as well as state highways, and even city streets.

These folks are as serious as a heart attack about implementing their “vision” for us. They have zero compassion for non-city dwelling rural residents, or for automobile owners, and religiously believe the financial burden their plans mandate is a small price we are obligated — and should cheerfully be willing to pay — for our non-urban lifestyle. When I asked if they didn’t expect resistance from non-urban dwellers, the answer was a condescendingly smug, “So what?”

I’m not sure what planet PSRC imported these folks from, but they aren’t going away. In my view, they’re the best illustration of why we need to not only remain members, but become much more active than ever before.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Report Your Damage Now

On December 24, 2008, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire declared a State of Emergency for all Washington State based on the severe weather conditions we have experienced.

If you have damages from the recent winter weather, it is imperative that home and business owners file a report with the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management immediately. The number to call is 360-307-5870. In addition to reporting damages, call your insurance agent to check on your coverage.

Information to have on hand:

  • Name and address of the affected property.
  • A description of damage, even if it is insured.
  • A personal estimate of losses that will be uninsured.
  • An estimate of the fair market value of the damaged home or business.

Also to consider for families and individuals:

  • If you need housing, food and other basics, notify the American Red Cross chapter in your community (360-377-3761).
  • Keep records of all clean-up and repair costs and, if possible, document with photographs.

For Business Owner only: Small business owners have two kind of damage to consider; physical and economic. The State of Washington must certify that at least five small businesses in a disaster area have suffered substantial economic injury and need financial assistance not otherwise available.

For more information call the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management at 360-307-5870.

--Posted by Registered Voter

Information courtesy of Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It Was Only a Matter of Time...

You had to know this was coming...

To play this game, don't forget the right shoes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More New Writers On The Way

Just a short note to say I've had a significant amount of interest from people interested in writing here. I've talked to several — but not all — and two are already posting here. I expect to have two or three more, but don't look for much to happen until after the First of the Year.

I will still post, but without the pressure of generating new material and posting for the sake of fresh content, and no other reason. That said, let me take this opportuity to wish all of you a Merry Christmas (none of that politically correct "Happy Holidays" around here) and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Shakeup for Kitsap Republicans

Following defeat in all contested county races and all but one legislative contest, the Kitsap County Republican Party held its reorganization meeting, electing new leadership for the 2009-2010 cycle.

Chairperson Jack Hamilton previously announced his retirement and was replaced by Hamilton ally Sandy LaCelle. LaCelle, who was soundly defeated in her race against County Commissioner Steve Bauer, received the unanimous support of the body. Nathan Randall sought the Vice Chairmanship without opposition following candidate David Rhine's withdrawal from the race. The young Ron Paul organizer has ruffled feathers among the old guard and a number of attendees were visibly shaken when Rhine withdrew from the race. Randall is a go-getter who will be one to observe as the party struggles with its future direction.

Juliana McMahan returns as Secretary and Anetta Butler will serve as the Finance Director/ Fundraising Chairperson.

Long-time State Committeewoman Shirley Brown, who announced her retirement, nominated Judy Mentor Eagleson as her successor. Eagleson was challenged by another Ron Paul organizer, but won the support of a majority of the precinct committee officers. Ed Mitchell, a Port Orchard accountant and current Treasurer of the state GOP, will serve as State Committeeman, replacing Trent England. England is working full-time for the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, which limits his ability to attend party functions.

Following the countywide election, the delegation broke into commissioner districts to elect 12 of the 15 executive board positions. The results were mixed with establishment-backed candidates and Ron Paul recruits dividing the lot.

The local GOP has once again reached a fork in the road and must decide if the party will adjust its direction to win elections or continue down the same road of defeat that has become commonplace for the past decade.

-- Insider

Monday, December 08, 2008

Port CEO to Retire at Year's End

Did years of bickering, character assassination, citizen micro-management, and cynicism surrounding the SEED project finally drive away the Port's CEO? Perhaps a melodramatic assumption, and a question which may never enjoy an answer.

In either case, Ken Attebery took the time to graciously thank many colleagues, co-workers and friends before his decision to retire at the end of this month was made known to the public.

After serving the Port for 11 years as its executive leader, 25 years in total and 38 years of public service in Kitsap and at the federal level, Attebery characterised his tenure as a joy and seemed pleased with his many accomplishments.

A very young 61 and still eager to continue his work in the private sector, we haven't seen the last of his efforts towards improving Kitsap County's economic vitality.

-Registered Voter

To Pay or Not to Pay?

Recently, an article made its way into the media and blogosphere regarding Port Orchard City Council's consideration of a raise for its mayor. This would increase Lary Coppola's annual salary from approximately $19k for a part-time position, to a full time one commanding $62k plus benefits. The Council would only approve this for the first six months of 2009, extending payment once additional revenue from annexations occurred. The city's hotel-motel tax revenue would be used to fund a portion.

Coppola's rationale for the increase is 50-60 hours a week he spends on mayoral duties versus the 15 allocated for the position. He submitted
a statement including the pros and cons of his request, responding to each in some detail. Other information for consideration includes the salaries of other Kitsap mayors - Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, and Poulsbo. The latter pays Kathryn Quade $62k for a municipality roughly the same size as that of Port Orchard.

While we await the Council's vote on the budget this December 9, the overarching discussion is how Port Orchard envisions its future. Leaders and citizens alike should be thinking about what kind of city they desire, as well as the leadership to achieve objectives. In order to fully address these and related issues, dialogue will need to rise well above its existing level. Decisions made now will impact Port Orchard for decades to come. Short-sightedness and petty in-fighting are not options. An upgraded leadership position of this nature could retain candidates who might otherwise depart given business concerns which suffer under the weight of full time mayoral demands. It would also attract a pool of better qualified candidates going forward.

If Port Orchard wants a form of government where its mayor is strong, proactive, and increasingly involved in initiatives, projects, and meetings on its behalf, the position should be full time and paid accordingly. If it doesn't, a viable alternative must be conceptualised and formed immediately. The current expectation that an elected leader spend 50-60 hours whilst being paid for 15 is neither reasonable nor practical. It doesn't matter if "it's been done like this before".

-Registered Voter

Monday, December 01, 2008

Looking For a Few Good Writers

As we gear up for the start of new year, I have had to take a serious look at my time commitments, and my duties as Mayor of Port Orchard. With those in mind, I've made a decision to change a few things here at West Sound Politics.

Quite frankly, I do not have enough time to write and post here as much as I would like to. Also, it is honestly not in the best interests of the City for me to comment on some items, and there are others where I have inside knowledge — like the Housing Authority situation for example — that I can't act upon due to the restraints of that knowledge coming as a result of Executive Sessions. And there are still others where as Mayor, it is just plain inappropriate for me to express my thoughts and/or feelings.

So what to do? I've decided that rather than shut this down, I'd like some help with it. I'm looking for a small cadre of local people — 3 or 4 — to help me keep this blog going. You would have to be able to post a couple of hundred words about once a week. I'm looking for people who are thoughtful, informed, pragmatic, centrists, as opposed to partisan pinheads who can't think for themselves.

If this is you, drop me a note at, and lets chat about it.