Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Mudslinging has begun...

Yesterday, a "Hit" piece on my campaign for re-election as Mayor arrived in mailboxes. I've received a number of phone calls from people who are positively outraged at the mean-spiritedness they've seen my opponent demonstrate throughout this campaign — but said this was over the top.

So let's get the facts correct...

In the hit piece it claims I'm one of the highest paid Mayors in the state. That is incorrect. I'm the 23rd highest paid full-time Mayor. It also claims I gave myself a raise that tripled my salary. I guess my opponent still doesn't understand how the City Council process works. The Council made the job full time. It had previously been part time (15 hours a week). The rate of pay has stayed the same as it was part time — in spite of all other City employees receiving contract raises twice since I've been in office.

It also states I make twice as much per capita as the Mayor of Bremerton. The Mayor of Bremerton makes around $119,000 plus benefits. I make slightly more (less than $1,000) than the Mayor of Poulsbo, a smaller city with 25 percent fewer people than Port Orchard. The salary is a little over $62,000 plus benefits — modest by government standards. EVERY single department head that reports to the Mayor makes significantly more. 

Is my opponent, a 27-year government retiree, intending on reducing the salary, or going back to part time? No...

He stated in that piece that I'm responsible for the proposed increase in water rates. He KNOWS that's a blatant lie. The Council is considering raising the rates because by law, Water and Sewer are enterprise funds and must be self-sustaining, which because of the age of the infrastructure and needed repairs, they are not. The Mayor doesn't get to vote on this — which he also knows, or at least he should.

The Mayor is the chief administrative official of the city — and basically what amounts to the CEO of a $30 million municipal corporation, of which the voters, are the stockholders, and the City Council is the Board of Directors. The job is actually much more about business management experience, and strong leadership skills, than it is about politics. My opponent has not one single day of business management experience. Is this guy qualified to manage $30 million of our tax dollars? 

Finally, he claims I "maneuvered" the sale of my business property to the City and sold it at an inflated price. This too, is a blatant lie — and he KNOWS it is. 

The City filed an Eminant Domain claim to buy my property for the Tremont Street widening project. I did NOT want to sell it — much less sell it in such a depressed market — and will be forced to move my business when the project gets underway. The City paid the appraised value, and not one dollar more.  The City Council approved the sale price. I recused myself from every discussion involved in the sale and was never allowed to see documents on comparison sales — in spite of the fact we had a full-blown commercial appraisal done (which is our right) that showed the value significantly ($150,000+) higher.

My opponent has NOT articulated a vision for the future of our City, because he doesn't have one. He, and the puppetmaster pulling his strings, want absolutely NO changes, and for our City to either stand still or go backwards. He has absolutely NO platform other than he isn't me.

He has not attacked my accomplishments because there is nothing to attack, and even admits the City is pretty well-run. So he has resorted to attacks on my character and my integrity. 

Is this his idea of leadership? Is this what he considers integrity? If he will lie this blatantly to the voters just trying to get elected, how badly will he lie if he gets in office?
This has been the nastiest political campaign the City has ever seen. I would strongly encourage you to watch the Kitsap Sun video of our interview with the editorial board. You will quickly find out how much he doesn't know about Port Orchard, how it works, or what the job entails. The prospect of his election is downright scary.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The death of a personal hero...

I've only had a few heroes in my life... My Dad, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Lee Iaccoca, Tony Robbins, and Steve Jobs.
 I'll miss you Steve...  
 Photo: Tim Gallagher

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Washington Tourism Efforts bennefitting Oregon Workers

In what I'd consider a boneheaded budget cutting move, the state eliminated its tourism office, saving $2 million a year to support an industry which generated $15.2 billion statewide in 2010 revenues. That looks like a pretty good ROI to me. But hey, I’m just a business guy with 32 years of experience, so what do I know?

In response, the state’s tourism industry stepped up to try and keep those tourism dollars flowing, and formed a new association called the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA). And what was one of the very first things it did? It announced, “a strategic partnership with the Washington Lodging Association (WLA) and Saga City Media Inc. to publish the official Washington State Visitors’ Guide beginning in 2012.”

What's wrong with this picture, it that Saga City Media is an Oregon company. No Washington publishing company was even alerted to the possibility of competing for this contract, much less given the opportunity. 

In an email when I questioned why not, David Blandford, who is with the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau, responded, “Out-of-state companies were not given an opportunity to bid either. WTA is partnering with the Washington Lodging Association which had an existing publishing partnership with Saga City Media Inc. Saga City is based in Portland but is very active in support of the tourism industry in Washington and the Pacific Northwest.”

I’ve seen a lot of Saga City’s work, and they're a quality company that puts out good work. However, the quality of their work is not the issue. Washington jobs is. Besides our own company, I personally know of at least five other in-state publishers who could do this job just as well. And the fact that an association that supposedly is in the business of promoting in-state jobs is intentionally funding Oregon jobs, without giving in-state companies the opportunity to even compete for the work, is in my view, beyond hypocritical.

In a WTA press release, Todd Thoreson, WLA Chairman of the Board and Regional Vice President of Hotel Operations for Red Lion Hotels Corporation, stated, “With the recent loss of state government funding for tourism marketing within the State of Washington, we are at a critical juncture that requires all hospitality industry stakeholders to work together and pursue solutions that can ensure our success in the future. We believe this partnership is a step in the right direction that helps us achieve this goal.”

You know what Todd, I’ve been a Red Lion customer, stockholder, and have belonged to your R and R Club for many years. But I will personally boycott Red Lion Hotels until this situation changes. I strongly believe that dollars generated in Washington State should stay here to create Washington jobs, and the WTA has a moral obligation to put this contract out to bid to Washington State publishers only — as it should have to begin with.