Monthly Archives: September 2007

Bremerton Gets a Lift

Bremerton’s presence in this magazine is a “breakthrough” for the city, according to Mayor Cary Bozeman, because people who hire people will see it.

Hey look! Port Orchard made it onto the cover of Horizon Air’s in-flight magazine!

Seriously, look past the big fountain (the one in Bremerton’s Harborside Fountain Park) and you can see the hills of Port Orchard.

Way to go, guys! Your flight from 98312 paid off!

All kidding aside, Bremerton really is the lead in Horizon’s September issue.

(Bremerton Mayor Cary) Bozeman said he didn’t know if the Horizon magazine was specifically targeted by the city, but the local focus did have a home-field advantage. The magazine’s editor, Michelle Andrus Dill, said she lives in Kitsap County and has been thrilled with Bremerton’s revitalization efforts.

Bainbridge and Port Ludlow also get major play after Bremerton.

Of all the attention Bremerton has received in non-local press, this may be about the most significant. You don’t have to be a CEO to fly in an airplane, but a Washington Post story from 2006 shows that airline travelers are on average more wealthy than those of us who seldom test gravity.

That’s the point Bozeman was making.

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman called the cover presence a breakthrough for the city in its marketing efforts.

“I think the important thing about having a good message in a magazine like that is it gets read by a lot of influential people,” he said. “We’ve been working hard at letting a lot of people know that this is a great place to do business and to live and to bring your company.”

I checked further into airline passenger information and came across the following information from Mediamark Research.

Airline Passenger Median Income
Continental $83,022
Delta $105,421
Northwest $103,560
Southwest $92,784
United $116,884
US Airways $93,963

Source: Mediamark Research Inc.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported in August that the median household income was $48,200 in 2006. That means the airline with the lowest median passenger income level, Southwest, still can boast that its magazine readers make 72 percent more than the national median. I couldn’t find information about the income levels of Horizon or Alaska fliers, but I can’t immediately think of a reason they’d be significantly different from the others.

Anonymous Effects Signal Change

When Travis Baker retired he didn’t quit doing the Road Warrior column for us.

The one for today came from someone whose name got lost, but Travis decided to check on it.

“Now that Burwell is shut down between Pacific and Park,” the person wrote, “I wonder why the light at Burwell and Pacific isn’t shut off and the intersection made into an all-way stop until the tunnel construction is complete and Burwell is reopened.”

Bremerton’s traffic engineer said he’d give the idea a try.

Read the story here.

Major League Generosity

Martitha May worked Tuesday’s Kitsap County Health Board audience like M. Night Shyamalan played movie crowds in The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

Nearly everyone in the room was eager to leave. The meeting had already started late and run long. County Commissioner Jan Angel had already banged the gavel early trying to adjourn the meeting and a previous community member had been at the podium a while.

As May was making her own way to the podium, Angel asked for just an amount.

May was there to tell the board how much money had been raised for El Centro de la Familia and she didn’t comply with Angel’s request.

By the end, I’m sure most were glad she didn’t. Angel said she had goosebumps.

You can see why by clicking here.

Carbon Monoxide Warning

It would appear the fivesome got out on time, but this is a real deal I know a little bit about from personal experience.

Following the wind storms last year we set up a generator outside our house. I had been sick anyway, so was spending a lot of time in bed. My wife was pregnant, so late one night we went to get carbon monoxide detectors.

The next night, the alarm went off. We called the fine folks at the fire department. Upstairs our house was registering really high because of carbon monoxide. Downstairs was fine, but we couldn’t run the generator anymore so it got really cold.

Anyway, I’m not saying anything profound here, but carbon monoxide is nothing to get careless about.

Cameras, Less Action

The cameras on the Tacoma Narrows bridge are finding it hard to stay focused.

Should you go to Tacoma and want to skip the toll, I’m not recommending you try. But, if you do, the News-Tribune reported last week you have a 40 percent chance of getting away with it.

The state Department of Transportation reported that 20,070 of 49,056 violating vehicles caught on camera through Aug. 28 could not be ticketed because the license plate pictures were not readable. Tickets carry a $49 fine, so that’s nearly $1 million potential loss of ticket revenue, including $180,000 that would have gone to help pay off the bridge.

TransCore, the company operating the system, has six months to get the problem fixed or face daily fines of $3,125.

Accounting for Danger

I don’t intend to make light of a tragedy, but a story about the investigation of Dean Westcott’s death includes the following news.

In terms of deaths involving government employees in the last two years Labor and Industries has investigated the deaths of four police officers, a fire captain who died in a training exercise, a tree trimmer in Tacoma who was hit by a power pole, an accountant in Spokane who died on the job after falling and hitting his head and an 87-year-old Labor and Industries employee who in August fell down the stairs in the workplace.

Most compelling is the news of the Spokane accountant who was killed on the job. I would like to find out more, but in my conversation with the Labor and Industries spokeswoman today I didn’t ask for details. I also see nothing in searching Google. If I find out more, I’ll let you know.

Gardens and an Environmental Showpiece

Glenn Huff rinses red potatoes he grew in a garden he rents from the city.

In the past we disclosed the news about the city’s successful efforts to get grant money to help redevelop Blueberry Park. The 6.9-acre site is supposed to become a showpiece for how low-impact development is done. Expect to see picnic roofs with plants growing on top, a permanent bathroom with exterior walls that include elevated gardens and pavement that allows the water to soak into the ground rather than run off into the street.

That scene may require, however, some adjustments from the park’s current primary visitors, gardeners who rent space from the city to grow flowers and food.

Get a peek now at the story that will be in Sunday’s paper.

By the way, the planned improvements for Blueberry Park require none of the money the parks department would receive if voters improve a tax lid lift for parks and sidewalks in November.

That Was So 1980

Hey, at least 1980 gave us this.

A guy from Austin, Texas vacationing by himself in the Pacific Northwest passed through Bremerton, had this to say about his experience:

You know that South Park episode where they find the guy that’s been frozen for the last three years, and when they unfreeze him he can’t fit into society so they have to send him to Des Moines because Des Moines is three years behind everywhere else? Now imagine instead of three years its 27 years, and welcome to Bremerton. All the cars are from the ’80s, the people look like they’re from the ’80s (sort of a Chess King/Judy’s look), there’s absolutely no sign of any chain stores, the marquee in front of the local auditorium was advertising for a “destruction derby,” and I swear I heard that Twilight Zone music. There was a store that said “Compact Discs and Tapes.” Tapes. My black rotary dial phone thinks that town is behind the times. Creepy.

I was so offended I ripped my OP shirt, threw my pet rock at my VCR, broke my Devo record and kicked the back of my Ford Pinto, ruining my Vans. When I went back in the house there in the shag carpet was a thumb tack that poked my shoeless foot. Rough start to my day. If I were a drinker, tonight I would let it be Lowenbrau.

Ferry Efficiency

Note: the following is a duplicate of a post from the Kitsap Caucus blog.

Every regional blog with the possible exception of CK should be interested in Wednesday’s story about the state auditor’s opinion that Washington State Ferries could save money by cutting runs.

The performance audit of the agency reveals, to probably no one’s surprise, that the ferry system runs inefficiently. Surely you’ve been on a near empty boat yourself. Perhaps you even crossed your fingers in hopes that WSF wouldn’t take that run away.

The audit recommended that at times when there are two runs sailing at 45 percent capacity or lower, that one of the round-trip runs be removed from the schedule, allowing the remaining run, ideally, to have a 90 percent vehicle capacity usage.

This raises the question of how efficient we really want our government to be. We do reduce the number of cops on our street during hours in which crime isn’t as big a problem, but we don’t ever have zero cops out there. Besides, police forces are not there to create revenue. People assume tickets generate a lot of revenue for cities, but from what I’ve seen they don’t create anywhere near the cost of having police. Furthermore, is there any way to estimate how much it would cost to not have police protection.

On the other hand, utility services are supposed to be self-sustaining. We want those services to have zero impact on the general fund.

So should the ferry system look at the recommendations and decide it needs to make wholesale changes, or should it, as hit has, accept its inherent inefficiency. Could you argue that the cost of eliminating multiple ferry runs would drive the costs up elsewhere so much that it would no longer be worth it?

Our story only mentioned the last run between Bremerton and Seattle, but the entire list includes lightly traveled trips to and from Kingston, Bainbridge Island and Southworth.

In the spring, summer and fall the auditor suggests cutting the last boat home all week and the first morning run on the weekends. During the spring one of the runs between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. would be eliminated. During the winter he suggests cutting the first and last boats every day and two round trips in the middle of the day.

The proposal for Kingston would be similar. Bainbridge would lose no midday runs, but would see cuts for the early and late runs, while Southworth could see cuts all over the schedule.

Purely out of self interest I get a bit peeved at the suggestion that Bremerton needs fewer runs. I’m already ticked that I have to leave Mariner games early to make the 10:30 p.m. run, unless I want to wait until 12:50 a.m. just to get on the last boat. My friends who drink in Seattle aren’t thrilled with the idea of that last ride home being eliminated.

Giving That One Percent

The new police station will be the likely recipient of the city’s first allocation from its “1 Percent for the Arts” program.

The city council will consider two contracts for the new station, one for out in the courtyard between the street and the entrance and one right at the entrance.

Most city council votes are unanimous or close to it. This program was close, however, both in its defeat and in its victory. The council went 5-4 against it in 2004 and 5-3 for it the next year. The ordinance requires the city to set aside for art 1 percent from many of its capital projects (not roads and tunnels).

Art was a point of division between some candidates in the most recent city council primary. The two defeated candidates, Trent England and Virginia Starr, probably had the widest division in philosophy in a discussion with our editorial board. Starr, an artist, wanted more art. England, not an artist in the traditional sense anyway, said it fell down the list of government priorities.