Monthly Archives: March 2009

Bremerton Bank Woes

The Seattle Times yesterday deviated from its practice of warmly reviewing the  downtown revival and chasing police blotter here to offer a business story about us with some punch.

It’s not new territory to report WestSound Bank’s financial troubles (WSFG’s stock was at $0.40/share Monday and we’ve reported on the company’s problems here), but the Times’ analysis of state banks ranks WestSound as the most troubled. Not exactly what Bremerton courts statewide coverage over, though investors should be pleased when public companies are scrutinized.

Among the paper’s revelations: The bank’s “comprehensive risk ratio,” which indicates weakness based on nonperforming and noncurrent assets like foreclosed real estate, is the highest of 52 Washington banks in the study, at 282 percent. The two other Kitsap banks included, Kitsap Bank and American Marine, had ratios of 30.9 and 65.6, for comparison.

Putting the struggles of community banks in this context helps shed light on the industry here, since we have a number of them in town, and the data used is interesting to go through. Anyone following Westsound’s story knows it’s not just the Citis and WaMus that made dumb bets and loaned far more than was responsible, and problems exists for some of the little guys as well. Westsound has acknowledged mistakes and will not fall under SEC sanctions, and last June new CEO Terry Peterson announced a three-year plan to stability. If the Times’ data is any indication, it’ll be an uphill road.

— David Nelson

Manette Inches Closer to Plan

Manette residents and property owners got a step closer to a future they can live with Monday, continuing a process that began for a second time in January.

About 30 people attended a Manette sub-area planning process meeting Monday, choosing zoning that would allow 15 small detached homes per acre near the commercial core and mulling over how to make 11th Street more attractive.

The work of residents ends up replacing entirely work done by a consultant hired earlier.

Makers Architecture of Seattle presented some options for the neighborhood at a meeting in August last year that drew the ire of residents.

The city had planned to use the residents’ ideas to provide a format for the designers’ final plan. Andrea Spencer, director of community development, said given the city’s current budget shortfall, it would end up better to opt out of the rest of the design contract, saving $25,000 on a $50,000 agreement.

No one in the audience Monday appeared to have any objections.

Using a designer to present initial ideas has worked in previous projects, such as the Wheaton-Riddell Sub Area plan approved in 2007.

“It didn’t work here,” Spencer said.

Residents want wider sidewalks and diagonal parking in the neighborhood’s chief retail street, but differed on whether to create one-way streets surrounding 11th.

Spencer and the community development staff will take the feedback from Monday night and create a draft plan to be presented back to the residents on March 30.

Out of that meeting the staff will create a plan that could go to the planning commission in April and the city council in May.

Spencer said having the plan makes Manette a better candidate for grant money to get the improvements residents want.

Welcome to O’Bremerton’s

(Carolyn Yaschur | Kitsap Sun)
(Carolyn Yaschur | Kitsap Sun)

Even though the archrival Bremelog scooped the Beat on this one, I’ll be big enough to pass along the invite join Sustainable Bremerton folks at Sixth Street’s Hi-Fidelity Lounge for St. Patrick’s Day. Sending Beat readers elsewhere means swallowing my pride, but I can live with it since there’s a chance of swallowing some green beer as well.

But that’s next week. Before our city’s green living movement celebrates the green holiday, I’m checking my Swedish heritage at the door (but not my distaste of Notre Dame football) for two events this weekend: The Main Stream Association’s annual downtown St. Pat’s parade — Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on Pacific, YouTube of the 2008 version here — and a St. Patrick’s Day Dash 5k at Jackson Park, 9 a.m. Call Lisa Bertolacci-Starich, (360) 315-2134, if you need more information on the run, show up early if you want to join the parade. Organizers are looking for cyclists — moto or bi — to join the parade this year. Be at Sixth and Pacific by 10:45 to line up if you’re interested.

— David Nelson

Update: Missed one event. The Admiral Theatre will also get shamrocked this weekend, with traditional Irish music and dance from An Dochas. Saturday night at 8 p.m.

Bremerton Is Getting Profiled

Quick, name anything else these guys ever did. I thought so.
Quick, name anything else these guys ever did. I thought so.

Anytime anyone writes in the news or blogs about Bremerton, I get to hear about it through the magic of Google Alerts. Many of you are probably familiar with Google Alerts and use it to be notified when things like “Bremerton School District,” “MxPx” or “salamander” come up somewhere.

I’m curious, though, in my role as monitor of scurrilous attacks on our fair seaside city, why every once in a while I get an alert about Bremerton that has nothing to do with this place. Moreover, it usually involves crime.

Case in point: Today I received an alert about a murder in Manassas, Virginia. Sometimes when we get news like that there is a verifiable Bremerton connection. But in this story there’s no link whatsoever.

Are we being typecast? Are we the Adam West of crime now? For all the talk of revitalization and no new taxes, Bremerton still gets tagged with stories of residential murders?

It’s not all bad news. Thanks to the link to the story I found out that Laura Bush “totally forgot” about Obama’s speech.

Brockus Back Among the Working Stiffs

Adam Brockus, Bremerton city councilman, sent out an e-mail to friends and family announcing that he had landed a job. He was laid off in November. Here’s the e-mail he sent:

Last week, the US Navy offered me a position as a Civil Engineer in their Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Office at Naval Base Kitsap.  I can now announce that I have accepted their offer.  After 3 months of unemployment, it turns out the place I went to first was the place that gave me the job.  Plus it pays better than my old job.

I will be needing to wait 4-6 weeks for the paperwork to go through before I can start, but after that I’ll be working in Bangor about 30 minutes north.  Jill, Rachel, and I will continue to live in our house in Bremerton.  And I will continue to serve as a City Councilman.