Election season begins, with some notes from Port Orchard

I know, I know, in America these days it’s always campaign time. But we like to draw a line when a voter can realistically start following local elections.

From my perspective, that starts when our editorial board starts meeting with candidates for the primary and general elections. With few primary races this summer we met only four times with candidates (two Bainbridge council races, one Bremerton council, one North Kitsap school board).  But the editorial board will have its work cut out over the next two months as we prepare for the general election in November.

Once again we’ll endorse the candidates that earn a consensus approval from the editorial board, though those opinions will not be published until later in October. We’ll also once again be uploading video of our interviews to kitsapsun.com, to give voters an additional resource to access candidates and lend more transparency to our board’s decisions. You may have notice the first few video interviews are now live on the site. Keep watching each week for more, they’ll usually post on Thursday or Friday.

The discussion with Port Orchard City Council candidates Jerry Childs and Ben Pinneo was abbreviated because our tape ran out before closing comments were made. If you’ve watched that video through to the end you’ll see a note there referring to this blog.

I wanted to give a shorthand version of the remainder of that meeting so it’s on the record, and because each candidate had a few points worth sharing.

Pinneo continued after the tape’s conclusion, stating his opinion that city communications could improve, and his vision to do so more proactively through social networking. That was a transition into the recent code city issue, which Pinneo, who was local at the most recent council meeting on the topic, said could have been better explained to residents. He told us he had no negative suspicions about the plan, but he signed the Michaels’ petition because he had heard no “specific examples” of how a code city designation will benefit Port Orchard. Pinneo concluded by stating that he’s a man of “moderate views,” and simiply interested in being a public servant through a council role.

Jerry Childs used his response to talk about the leadership role he and his wife, Shannon Childs, played in founding the Cedar Cove Days festival from 2009, which emphasizes his philosophy that such events help a community “reinvent itself,” a benefit in both tourism dollars and local pride. He mentioned some additions to this winter’s Lights and Chimes that he’s helped with, for instance. “Things that people have fun doing, that helps improve the image of their town.”

Childs also responded to Pinneo’s statement about the code city debate. He said the issue was vetted properly and publicly last spring, contends there was no reason to revisit the vote in August following talk of the petition, and that spending $5,000 next fall for a general election item is a “lousy way” to spend that money. A member of the city’s finance committee, Childs also pointed out his “nay” vote on the waterfront trail project because he felt that safety concerns in initial plan had not be vetted adequately for a $250,000 project, and in doing so demonstrated that he’ll butt heads with other council members over spending.

In closing, each candidate was asked to differentiate himself from the other, since the two clearly respect one another and agree on many broad topics. Childs pointed to his life experience as something that separates him from the younger Pinneo, as well as knowledge working with nonprofit organizations. Pinneo criticized two specific votes cast by Childs while on the council — one to give the city’s legal advertising to the Port Orchard Independent rather than the Sun, and another about how Lodging Tax money is spent. Childs said he’d welcome a debate on those twoitems, and the men agreed to do so at an upcoming public event.

They’ll debate at a League of Women Voters forum at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, at city hall, and at a Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce forum on Oct. 13 at McCormick Woods.

3 thoughts on “Election season begins, with some notes from Port Orchard

  1. David, will the Sun Editorial Board be taking and publishing positions on any of the various Local Ballot Measures put forth at the county and city levels that will appear in the General Election?

    Colleen Smidt

  2. Yes, we’ll endorse on all candidate races and local ballot measures (we’ll likely do state measures as well, like the new liquor initiative). There should be video of some, as we’ll invite proponents/opponents as we’re able. Look for the endorsements in late October.

    -David

  3. I am the committee chairman that helped write the “for” statement for the Bremerton City Council Inititive that will appear in the upcoming voters pamphlet. Please feel free to contact me about this issue if you or the editorial board have any questions about our position.

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