Monthly Archives: April 2007

Life Lesson

The eight local students who survived the sinking of the Sea Diamond near the island of Santorini gathered in a conference room of the Kitsap Sun last week. They were joined by one of their teachers. (Another teacher and a grandmother were unavailable.) As interesting to me as their stories about the shipwreck itself, was their thoughts on what they’d learned.

None seemed too shaken a week after the ordeal, but their calm and the collective sense of humor hid the newfound perspective many of them shared. It sounds cliche, but they came back with a new respect for their own lives and their relationships in comparison to their material stuff. They witnessed a leader and they discovered leadership within themselves.

We are still working on another online presentation about the event. I’ll let you know when it posts.

Car Tabs

The Legislature has approved a bill that would allow a county or city to add $20 to your Motor Vehicle Excise Tax without a vote.

If Bremerton were able to collect all the money from the program, it would get the city halfway to the point in which it could repave and repair its streets on a reasonably frequent basis, according to Public Works Director Phil Williams.

The city or county can also argue that at least the money is strictly directed to cover the cost of transportation.

But residents feeling stung by taxes in the first place, then miffed that the Port of Bremerton added a 45-cent per thousand tax to build the Bremerton Marina are in little mood to welcome any new charge.

Washington state tax gadfly Tim Eyman sent out a lengthy e-mail yesterday charging that the legislation is an insult to taxpayers who voted, twice, to keep tabs at $30.

“In 2002, the voters approved Initiative 776 which, among other things, stopped COUNTIES from unilaterally imposing a $15 per vehicle fee. The message was clear: no more car tab fees imposed by local governments and, no matter what, no higher car tab fees without a vote of the people. This bill replaces a smaller $15 fee with a larger $20 fee and, just to add insult to injury, expands the governments that can impose it, including BOTH counties AND cities. All without a vote of the people.”

The Northwest Progressive Institute countered that voters have shown a willingness to increase the MVET payments for transportation. The NWPI blog includes this:

“Of course Eyman would say that, but it’s certainly not an insult to taxpayers. The Legislature is acting on input gathered from the people of Washington State, who are tired of sitting in gridlock and desperate for transportation solutions.”

According to Ashley Probart from the Association of Washington Cities, the impetus for the bill came in Clark County in Southwest Washington, when the next best option for finding money for transportation projects was B&O taxes. Rather than saddling business with that tax, state Rep. Bill Fromhold, D-Vancouver, got this bill going.

Seven Kitsap legislators voted for the bill. One was excused from the vote. State Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island voted “no.”

You can read Eyman’s e-mail and one by the NW Progressive Institute by clicking on the link below.

Continue reading


RV Associates jumps to the front of the line for those looking to foreclose or collect on the ice arena bankruptcy. I think the real purpose is for the company to collect on a bill. There’s no indication I’ve seen any of this will impact the day-to-day operations of the rink.

The story itself was short relative to others that we write, but was one of those that took a lot of detailed reading of a court decision and learning about legal issues that I found somewhat complicated. I learned a lot reading the court ruling, and if it were to get appealed to the Supreme Court I’d probably learn even more.

For example, I had to learn what a mechanic’s lien was. I may be oversimplifying, but my understanding is that it’s a lien a contractor can file if there is a payment default by the owner. The problem is that those liens don’t get filed until there is a problem. So in this case, RV Associates filed its lien after the Haselwoods and Mr. Meakin recorded the loan.

State law, however, protects contractors in recognition that most mechanic’s liens are only filed as a result of a late payment. Otherwise, contractors would have little recourse, especially in a case such as this where the lender actually became the owner.

Another complicating factor was the city property underneath. State law doesn’t allow you to file mechanic’s liens on public property. One of the arguments was over the City of Bremerton’s responsibility in the matter, because the Haselwoods do not own the property, they own the rink. The city still owns the land and the rink operates under a concession agreement.

The court determined the city wasn’t liable and ultimately put RV Associates in first position on the original note, which allows the company to go back to trial court and try to collect the amount it didn’t get, plus interest and attorneys fees.

National Honors

Presidential elections, Oscars, MVP awards can all be handed out on the basis of who people like. Witness all the surprise in 2006 when Crash won the Oscar for Best Picture. The critics gave the film mixed reviews, but enough people liked the movie that it took home the big prize.

When you win an award from a bunch of people who don’t know you, that’s saying something. It’s saying you’re probably doing something right.

The Bremerton School District will receive a Magna Award this weekend in San Francisco at a school boards conference. It’s a national honor that the district gets because of its early education emphasis.

SEED Chatter

The Kitsap Sustainable Energy and Economic Development project was recognized by the Puget Sound Regional Council as one of the best in the region in dealing with growth and transportation challenges.

“The Port of Bremerton’s project is designed to create a business park where new-energy and clean-technology businesses can find a home. When completed, the project is expected to provide more than 2,000 family-wage jobs near Bremerton National Airport.”

Funding the project, however, has become a challenge during this legislative session. State Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island, had to pull $1.1 million from the $3 million set aside in the governor’s budget for development of a public portion of whatever happens with downtown Bremerton’s former J.C. Penney building.

Meanwhile, over on the Tracking the Speedway blog, there has been quite the demand from frustrated track supporters over why Tim Botkin, SEED’s chief promoter, hasn’t revealed the names of the companies he said are interested in developing there.

“Please name one business that SEED has brought to Kitsap County.”

That is among the milder requests.

The Norm in Bremerton

A thought I’ve had lately is that the day will come when U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, is going to retire. Who wants to try to follow him?

When the Seattle City Council came to Bremerton for a retreat more than a year ago, they wanted to hear from Mayor Cary Bozeman and Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority’s Norm McLoughlin about Bremerton’s revitalization. After several examples, many of which included references to how Dicks got federal money for the city, Seattle officials began joking that the key to more Seattle redevelopment was having Dicks as their congressman.

Of course, Dicks’ ability to bring home the . . . money isn’t universally regarded as a good thing. Witness the comment in Sunday’s story from Dicks’ Republican opponent, Doug Cloud, in the 2006 general election.

“He (Dicks) is certainly a representative of the military-industrial government complex and that is popular in the district at the present time.”

It will be a big jacket to fill for his successor.

Meigs Passes

Andrew Binion wrote a nice story about Max Meigs, who got in a wreck in 1978 and lived about 20 years longer than doctors predicted.

His brother, Chet Meigs, who would assume the helm of the city’s fire department from 1989 to 1992 — the third Meigs brother to hold that post — said the fact that Max Meigs lived almost 20 years longer than expected was testament to the toughness of the man.

“He was tough as nails,” Chet Meigs said.

Local Kids on Sinking Ship

We got word that some kids from Bremerton were on the Greek cruise ship that sunk. They’re apparently doing fine. A parent wrote to us:

Did you see the news about that Greek cruise ship sinking yesterday? There
was a group of students from Bremerton High and Klahowya Secondary School on
that cruise, including my daughter. They are all fine and trying to get

There’s an AP video about the incident on our home page and Ed Friedrich wrote the article with comments from the kids.

Jangling Vocal Cords

A Bremerton High student has an entertaining blog on our site, detailing the happenings of the school choir’s trip to London. Even if you don’t care about a high school choir, the prospect of a high school kid writing as well as Launa Sorensen is enough to make the site worth a regular visit while it lasts.

” . . . the trip was actually quite uneventful, but how interesting is it to say “with a sort of dim light, no leg room, and the quiet coughing of many vocal cords the Bremerton High Choir has landed in London?” Really, isn’t the drama more interesting?”

The group won the “Spirit of London” award, described by Sorensen as one that “goes to the school that shows the most respect, spirit, and general niceness to everyone around them.”