Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Post-Election Commentary

I’ve had lots of questions about my five-vote loss in the Port Orchard Mayoral election, and why I thought it happened. A lot of folks have waited for me to say something.

So here it is...

First and foremost, I’d like to express a heartfelt “Thank You” to the voters who supported me, as well as the outstanding staff at City Hall. I’m truly grateful for your belief in me, and my vision for our City.

The Port Orchard Independent documented in depth what was a sleazy, highly dishonest, but well-orchestrated smear campaign against me. Editor Tim Kelly publicly chastised the group responsible — People for a Better Port Orchard — but by then, most of the damage was already done. However, I sincerely appreciate Tim setting the record straight about the actual facts.

The people who financed the smear campaign are Port Orchard City Councilman Fred Chang, Cedar Cove Inn owner Gil Michael, Port Orchard Chamber Executive Coreen Johnson’s boyfriend, Steve Sego, as well as her daughter Rebeka — the sleaze campaign’s treasurer — and her son Joshua. Also donating were Military Air Cargo owner John Yamamura (whom I've never even met), along with County Assessor Jim Avery’s wife Sue, South Kitsap School Board member Patty Henderson, Cappricio Catering owner Desiree Steffens, Pam Piper, and Morningside Bakery. CPA Dawn Jake paid for mailing one of those sleazy hit pieces, and her husband, who owns Bethel Towing, also contributed to the group. All the materials were printed by Fine Arts Litho. 

Of all those people, only 3 of them actually live in the City.

I’ve decided to keep my personal opinions on the outcome, the new Mayor, the people who financed the smear campaign — as well as the City’s future — to myself. Publicizing them serves no useful purpose.

That said, this was perhaps the most venomous, divisive election in the City’s history, and I still receive phone calls and emails from angry supporters demanding revenge for the loss. While, five votes is certainly no mandate for change, it’s time to close the book on this election so Port Orchard can begin the healing process, and move forward once again.

Although the majority of the City’s business community supported me, there are continuing efforts to discredit particular downtown businesses that were highly visible champions of my re-election. It’s time for the new Mayor to rein in his supporters responsible for that, actively reach out to a business community that didn’t support him, and find common ground. It’s also up to the business community to act with integrity by honestly seeking common ground with the new administration as well. Whether they like it or not, they need each other.

Port Orchard is well positioned for the future in terms of economic stability, low crime, and a great staff with a can-do attitude. With effective, pro-active leadership, healing the wounds inflicted by this election will allow Port Orchard become the great City it has all the potential to be. But it’s up to both sides to allow that healing to begin, and for the new Mayor to lead the effort. I strongly support and encourage that. I hope everyone else — on both sides — will as well. Port Orchard deserves nothing less.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ben Stein's Thoughts on Christmas

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America...

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God ? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein