Quick Takes From a Mayor’s Debate

An interview with four others doesn’t give any candidate much room to stretch his or her legs, so with Will Maupin and Patty Lent advancing in the mayor’s race I’m ready to see what separates them. (Especially since we heard from readers in the primary essentially saying, “not much.”)

This afternoon about 100 business people got an early evaluation, at a Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce forum. There’s still some pushing to be done on the issues, and a few more public forums to allow it, including another editorial board interview we’ll broadcast on kitsapsun.com. But quickly, today’s highlights (or at least a sample of some areas where the two differ):

Parking: Maupin will fix the parking problem downtown, he said, and early in the administration. He’d like to do it with meters, of the automated variety they use in Seattle, which “are the answer.” Lent agreed there’s a problem, and said the planned downtown lot will help ease the strain. (Maupin also referenced the lot, which could be part of a public/private project on the corner of Burwell and Park, as a parking solution and economic driver.)

Economic Development: Lent trotted out an idea “that hasn’t been mentioned before,” as she put it: Attracting the scientific manufacturer DuPont to the SKIA property. Right now the company has offices in the East and South, as well as around the world. Maupin said he’d expand “Community Empowerment Zones” to boost neighborhoods and small business, and look for tax exemptions or other incentives to encourage growth.

Tourism: Here was the first real split in opinion. Lent said the Admiral Theatre should be “weaned” from the help it gets through the Lodging Tax, with money being spent promoting tourism instead. Maupin maintained the Admiral’s support should continue, but come from new tax monies.

Passenger-only ferries: For Maupin, those should be part of a long-range state plan that current service should start conforming to now. For Lent, passenger-only should be operated by the private sector.

— David Nelson

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