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.

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