Sunday, September 26, 2010

Getting The Story Straight About The Housing Authority Mess

It's no big secret the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority — now known as HousingKitsap — was in a huge financial mess due to gross mismanagement, and its ill-advised foray into urban redevelopment with the Harborside condos in downtown Bremerton.

While the Kitsap Sun has followed this story for several years now, it seemingly intentionally leaves out one HUGE piece of information from each and every negative story it runs about the agency — feeding all the negative comments left on its blogs as a result of that abdication of journalistic responsibility. That is, that NO ONE on the current board — or even the previous board members who took office since the 2006 election — were involved in creating the problem the agency faced. Nor were any of the current management or staff. This was an inherited problem, newly elected officials had to solve.

The current board, made up of the County Commissioners, the Mayors of Port Orchard and Poulsbo, a representative of the Bainbridge Island City Council, and a tenant from one of the Housing Authority's properties, have all worked tirelessly, in concert with a new financial director (who came from the private sector) and the new executive director, to figure out exactly where the agency was at financially, and do the necessary work to turn it around.

The County Commissioners stepped up and guaranteed a loan (they didn't make one with taxpayer's money) to the agency to keep the doors open. The agency has steadily been retiring that debt through the sale of the Harborside condos, other properties, and actual return on investment. None of this mess has yet to cost the taxpayers one thin dime. The turnaround has been done through prudent financial management on the part of the board and staff, and wlll be complete with the sale of the agency's Norm Dicks Government Center holdings.

There are still future challenges to deal with, and more debt coming due. But there is a plan in place to retire that debt.

Meanwhile, uninformed commenters who don't have the intestinal fortitude to even sign their names to their vitriol, are allowed to repeatedly take cheap shots at people who have spent almost 2 years working hard to rescue an agency that is often the stopgap between a roof over their head or homelessness for many families. Yet the Sun refuses to tell THAT story and give credit where it is due. But if they did, it might reduce the amount of blog posters who feed off of each others negativity, which would reduce the paper's ability to generate website revenue.

Our community deserves better from our daily paper.

No comments:

Post a Comment