Some Were :-( While Others Were :-) — Updated

Steven Gardner writes:

UPDATE: I’ve had a couple e-mails sent directly to me that I want to respond to here, and a couple of comments that merit some response as well.

First off, my motives for obtaining the documents and writing the story had everything to do with a simple interest in understanding better how the process unfolded. My interest was sparked by a single e-mail that was forwarded to me, a communication that suggested a pretty organized campaign to counter ISC’s lobbying efforts. In the end, I don’t think the stack of e-mails showed as organized an effort as that first e-mail suggested, but it’s clear to me legislators took the issue seriously and did the work they needed to do to keep the bill from getting anywhere.

Almost any information that could have come from the e-mails would have been interesting to me. Had they shown that some legislators waffled during the session, that would have been news. Had there been disinterest, that would have been news. As I wrote to one e-mailer, I’m a sucker for backstory, so almost anything would have been worth a story to me. It helps me understand better how the game works. Personally, without trying to get too high on a soapbox here, I think that’s better for all of us.

As for seeing ISC’s e-mails, I’d like that too. What are the odds I’ll get them? I will say that one time during this process I overheard a strategy session they didn’t know I was hearing. What I heard, about a local election to approve the track, was interesting then, but not so much anymore. There was nothing as interesting as “I want this dead, dead, dead.”

Finally, I think it worth mentioning again that legislators could (probably) have withheld a lot of the communications I saw. I thank them and their staffs for turning them over.

Scheduled for Sunday’s Kitsap Sun is a story disclosing some of the e-mail exchanges between legislators while the NASCAR bill was still alive. It begins right before the session and ends a few days after ISC announced it was done pursuing Kitsap County.

On Feb. 20 the NASCAR legislation was heard in Senate and House committees. In between there was a press conference during which Seaquist told media that ISC was a bad citizen, the type that would put junky cars in the yard and try to get around the law.

The next morning Rolfes wrote Kilmer about ISC Vice-president Grant Lynch’s assertion that legislators weren’t really opposed to the bill. She talked to Lynch afterward. “I wanted to make sure that he knew that I was unconditionally opposed to the bill. He told me I wasn’t and that even if I was, the other legislators weren’t. I’m still angry about his arrogance. I sicked Sherry on him,” she wrote.

Seaquist wrote that he’d enjoyed the hearing, then later added, “Since I typed the above I was just hauled off the floor to learn that I’d been quoted in the S. Times this morning calling these folks bad citizens. I guess I’m about to get a lesson in guarding my words.”

The story comes from a document request I made asking the nine Kitsap legislators for copies of e-mails they shared with other government officials. I’ve been told by two sources that the legislators had the right under the U.S. Constitution to withhold much of what I received, so I’m grateful for the access.

The story in print is abridged. The online version should be about twice as long.

91 thoughts on “Some Were :-( While Others Were :-) — Updated

  1. May I ask what is there to see in Kitsap County that brings in tourists? …Im thinking here…..not much.

  2. Not in Kitsap,

    It seems like there are a lot of things not wanted in Kitsap. New schools and support for your public libraries. I can’t keep up on the peoples’ priorities. An environmental center that employs dozens? Hell, even the racetrack had you beat at 50 employees. Where is the money for that? Is it more important than a new SK High School or our public libraries? Let’s see what languishes first, your research center or SEED.

    I definitely don’t think you are the best person to judge on annoying.

  3. Mr. Bronson, Last time I checked, I’m just a good ol’ Boy from South Florida, no sirs here.
    People- Turn out the lights? Seriously? On a county that will be part of the largest area of growth in the state for the next 20 years? Wow….

    CHECK want’s to keep all the good Kitsap stuff to themselves? Come on, that’s absurd!! They’d be fighting every development proposed and they aren’t!
    You guys can keep pretending that there were as many NASCAR supporters in Kitsap as there were opponents, it just isn’t true. Call every local Representative and ask them.

  4. It surprises me that every poll could show how evenly split public opinion in Kitsap County was on the track, but yet the legislators could say that the opposition correspondence far outnumbered the supporters.

    We will never know the truth about how many emails or phone calls were received in support or opposition to the track.

    I have had legislative staff tell me that the emails/phone calls coming in were no where near as lopsided as they were saying in public, it was pure BS.

    I was told in confidence and will disclose who, but at least one Kitsap legislator did receive more emails in support of the track than opposed to it. It just didn’t fit in with what the legislators wanted to tell their constituents.

    I don’t think that it would have been unworkable to go through and check, it’s just hard work. No one was, or is, willing to take a look at the facts regarding ISC/NASCAR let alone read the bill.

  5. Sure thing Rich, I’m sure that those representatives will be candid and truthful with me, an independant voter, when asked about the numbers for or against.

    Maybe I was a little off base with my reference to CHECK, I think I let my disdain for Ray McGovern and his self importance attitude get in the way of a responsible post (sorry, non-relevant personal attack, how very Jacob of me).

    Bottom line is the polls showed and even split of supporters and opponents. The fact is and always will be that the opponent voices will ALWAYS be louder than the supporters, period. And our supposed representatives are not going out into the communities and listening to the people.

    Here is an example, when Josh Brown was running for office he stopped by my house and introduced himself while I was working in my shop/garage. I said I knew of him as I had just read an article about him and his comments about how NASCAR MAY not be a good fit for Kitsap (something to that affect, getting old so my memory is not quite as good). I also mentioned I was a NASCAR fan, to which he said “Well so am I, but I don’t think a track is a good fit here” And I stated “That is where we have a difference of opinion”. He then walked away, no discussion, no debate, just walked away. Speaks volumes to his attitude and lack of open mindedness. His mind was made up and there would be no exchange of ideas, kind of like the rest of the legislators that where adamantly opposed. Yeah, they will be honest about the real numbers of for emails.

    Guess I just don’t have that much faith in my representatives.

  6. Interesting. Promoting an environmental research center means that I am against schools and libraries? Interesting leap of logic. And, I am the one with the “lower comprehension level?” Interesting.

  7. Not In Kitsap,

    The leap in logic comes from the fact that they both need taxpayer dollars. So why in an area that has said no to new taxes for schools and libraries would we be so open to paying for a research center? What is more important?

    The idea is a red herring and you know it. Comprehend that?

  8. SEED got $1.1 million and has shown nothing than a bunch of slick talk. There has been no verifiable interest in anyone locating in SKIA.

    Sustainable Energy needs to happen. SEED is a great idea, until it comes time for someone to pay for it.

    That someone is going to be a combination of federal grants, state money and probably help from the local governments.

    That means that it actually will take money from the budget that could have gone to other things like schools, roads, etc.

    SEED is a bigger gamble than a proven moneymaker like NASCAR. As I said earlier they’ve already received $1.1 million from the state but they have nothing to show for it.

    The risk is putting the money behind SEED and then no one shows up or the market changes radically again.

    I’d be more willing to bet that NASCAR fans would come to Bremerton for one weekend out of the year to see a Nextel Cup race.

    But I’ve been wrong before 😉 and I hope that SEED is a success and helps us all do more with less, I’m just not betting on it.

  9. How do you know that there has been “no verifiable interest in locating at SKIA?” Because no one has personally discussed it with you?

    The $1.1 M was just in this year’s budget. I doubt that it “has already been received.” How do you know that there is “nothing to show for it?” Have you walked the site or attended any of the presentations showing the progress?

    Maybe it’s time you stopped putting out misinformation and calling it fact!

  10. Not in Kitsap, since you are so singularly well informed give us some facts, show us the information you gathered from walking the site and attending the presentations. It’s only true misinformation when it is proven wrong….well prove it wrong. We are all waiting. All any of us have been asking this whole time is more info and more details. But so far no one has proven anything “verifiable”. Now’s your chance.

  11. One of the pro-NASCAR folks’ arguments was that spending over $150 million of taxpayer-subsidised money to build a racetrack would lead to development of the SKIA.

    Some of same pro-NASCAR people who used that argument then, now object to spending ANYTHING to develop SEED. If it was worth spending over $150 million in the hopes of developing the SKIA, why isn’t it worth spending much less for the same reason?

    Or is this just sour grapes?

  12. Colleen

    lying as an elected official is only ok if you are Josh Brown.

    Accusations brought by an accused perjurer aren’t real credible, are they Colleen? Unless of course you’re an ideologue who always believes the accusations of the wing-nuts in your party.

    But you’re right. It’s not OK for public officials to lie. Especially if the public official is the chief law-enforcement official in the United States of America, the Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez.

  13. Not in Kitsap,

    Feel free to go ahead and name one company that is coming to SKIA.

    {deafening silence}

    Oh you were finished?

    Well, allow me to retort.

    SEED has already been getting money from the Port of Bremerton and “appropriated” $1.1 million (ex-cuuuuse me) from the state.

    The SEED webiste has never shown any presentation dates otherwise I would go to the next presentation. But the website does show the concept pretty well.

    The SEED approach can be precisely defined in two steps:One, it targets private new energy businesses to become tenant partners.

    How’s step one coming along? Anyone?

    How come anytime someone asks for THE NAME OF ONE COMPANY that is interested in locating in SEED.

    Just one and I’ll shut up about it.

  14. Sorry LC, but I will always believe that Josh Brown is a liar. I did my own research and formed my own opinion. His behavior will continue to be excused and defended by individuals who think it is more important to keep him around as a tool to further their own political agendas than put a stop to rewarding dishonesty. You and I will never agree.

  15. Not in Kitsap, lying by anyone is wrong. But we are talking about real people with real names and reputations that have to face the consequences of their words and actions. You would know nothing of this since you do not have a real name or reputation. I view cowardice to be just as bad as lying.

  16. You would know nothing of this since you do not have a real name or reputation. I view cowardice to be just as bad as lying.

    I have a very good reason for not using my real name.

    A while back, my fence was vandalized shortly after I posted something on another puget sound area blog. I know it was related because what was painted on my fence contained exactly the same mis-spellings as one of the responses to my post in the blog. After that, my family made me agree that I wouldn’t use my real name online thereafter, and I agreed to their request.

    So you can take your cheesy cowardice accusation somewhere else.

  17. Nope. I still do not like the way you handle yourself or your opinions. While I condemn vandalism in any form, I pause to wonder if you had used a more respectful tone and stopped calling people names if such an incident would have happened in the first place.

  18. Nice spin, but wrong. I didn’t call anyone names. I predicted that the invasion of Iraq would be a disaster. Turns out I was right.

    But the issue here is why you think it’s OK for YOU to call people names, but it’s wrong for THEM to call YOU names.

  19. That’s a bit much, Colleen. A blog is for vigorous engagement on the issues. If a participant believes he or she has the right to vandalise another’s property or otherwise harass in 3D because they didn’t like another’s tone, this compromises both the value and openness of such forums. Not to mention that they’ve crossed a line into criminal acts. There’s no valid justification for this, even inferentially, and “perhaps he deserved it” doesn’t seem worthy of you.

  20. Someone put it best on another blog within the last few weeks. “Freedom of speech is not speech without consequences”. This is my point. Consequences may not be right or deserved or legal, but they still happen in the real world because of actions taken. The answer is not to continue to heap negative abuse on others while positioning oneself in a way that exempts them from accountability or personal responsibility. Rather that individual should have the strength of character to accept some of the responsibility. They should understand the fact that their propagation of stereotyping, labeling, bigotry and hate in their comments has the possibility of gaining them the same type of response.

  21. I debated as to whether I should use my name on the blog. There are definite pros and cons. I understand both sides of the issue and let it go from there.

  22. I suppose the people who shot down the NASCAR track are bound & determined to ensure both Kitsap and Mason counties stay shipyard ghettos. wtg!

  23. Can anyone name one Fortune 500 company that is lining up for SEED????

    Didn’t think so, all the times the question has been asked, not one, let me repeat that again, not one SEED supporter has been able to name a company, instead they try to shift the focus of the converstation elsewhere, because they can’t provide an honest answer.

    Your on notice SEED supporters. Name just one company.

  24. Colleen,

    The answer is not to continue to heap negative abuse on others while positioning oneself in a way that exempts them from accountability or personal responsibility. Rather that individual should have the strength of character to accept some of the responsibility.

    Perhaps you can show me where exactly I denied any responsibility for what I said.

    And while you’re at it, perhaps you can explain to everyone why the last name “Smidt” isn’t found in the Bremerton phone book. Could it be that YOU are trying to exempt YOURSELF from the personal responsibility for YOUR actions? Are YOU a coward?

    I think it says a lot about the strength of YOUR character that you accuse of others of doing something that you do yourself. And what it says isn’t flattering.

  25. If someone decided your comments regarding ‘big crayons’ was abusive and vandalised your home, it would not be deserved. The issue of responsible speech is obvious, but we are speaking of the criminal mind which rationalises its behaviours on the basis of what someone else ‘made’ them do. That’s a next step which has no logical linkage to another’s speech, nor is it accepting responsibility. Society has an equal duty to discourage such cultures of blame. If I suggested a rape victim might have encouraged it, my head would be served on a silver platter.

    A Sailor — Initially, I indicated in this forum I would ask for names, then supply them. However, as mentioned during ISC discussions, I’d rather get the 123 (support SEED at any cost) or 321 (oppose SEED at any cost) people out of the picture so we can engage at a more meaningful level. Otherwise, one ends up responding to invalid assumptions when it comes to assessing the needs and viability of a project of this magnitude. Or, a litany of new doubting questions and criteria become the line in the sand. One would hope Kitsapers have learned their lesson from the ISC fiasco, and won’t simply fall into the patterns of repeating the behaviour.

    The companies currently interested in SEED include biofuels, fuel cell, and one which can process ethanol from biomass/waste materials. That’s neither an exhaustive nor final representation.

    If you really want to know more about the project, contact the Port of Bremerton. Don’t just leave it up to Steven.

  26. As was the challenge to the NASCAR sucklings. Name 1 fortune 500 company (that WAS the claim) that was going to relocate to Kitsap county because of the speedway. I’m not really up on SEED so I’m not defending it, but it’s just silly to have the argument thrown back in your face when NASCAR supporters never could answer it and it “wasn’t an issue”.

  27. Ms Keating, we are just going to have to disagree. I do not support the logic that because someone undeservedly becomes a victim due to circumstances in which they contributed that immediately their actions leading up to the incident are ignored, excused or exonerated. I also do not support the fact that anyone who questions those actions should then become a victim of vilification. I did not vilify you back on February 28th in the Olympia Aggregate thread when you made a comment to Jacob Metcalf asking if he was still beating his wife. I gave you the courtesy of understanding your comment was part of a bigger picture and should not be singled out.

  28. Also, if members of this blog continue to believe ‘all’s fair’ in culling information on individuals with whom they disagree, this venue will not only suffer, but someone will end up sued or hurt. Check your emotions at the door and try to respond on point.

  29. Colleen,
    You vilified me when you accused me of cowardice, and of refusing to take some of the blame for the actions of a vandal.

    So I repeat. Please show me where I denied responsibility for what I said. And please explain, if you can, why your unlisted phone number is “different” from my use of a screen name, and not cowardly.

    D. Keating,
    I do not believe that all’s fair, but I got curious to know if “Colleen Smidt” is a real name. So I looked in the phone book. This person accused me of cowardice for not using my real name in deference to my family. I just wondered if “Colleen Smidt” was guilty of doing what she accused me of.

    It looks like I was right.

  30. Wrong again LC. The big difference is that I DO NOT use my phone and my unlisted number as a tool to label people with sterotypes, call them names and belittle them. You use this blog to do just that. If I have something to say, I say it and I introduce myself while I am doing it. I am really sorry that you can not take anything from any of your experiences to learn something and be a better person and community member. I prefer that you just be a nicer, happier person, but I can now that will be impossible. Have a great weekend anyway, whoever you really are.

  31. Colleen,

    I’ve been silently watching this mini-feud for a while and I’m going to put in my own two cents’ worth. I’m with liberal curmudgeon on this – I think you’ve gone way too far.

    Going back to the origins of this, Colleen, your very first post in this topic was off-topic, accusing Josh Brown of being a liar. LC responded (in a much too overheated way, in my opinion) that so was Alberto Gonzalez.

    Then you went even further off-topic and accused everyone who didn’t use their real name (which includes LC) of cowardice. Why? What does the name a person uses in here have to do with the validity of the points they make? And what does that have to do with the topic of this thread?

    You’ve been awfully agressive in here, Colleen, accusing LC of cowardice, of stereotyping people, of calling them names (although I do think LC is overheated at times, I don’t remember him ever calling another blogger names), and of belittling people. You accused him of being somehow responsible for the actions of a vandal. I don’t see how anyone could think that LC was responsible for the actions of some nutcase.

    But you, Colleen, have done almost exactly what you accused LC of. You used this blog as a means to belittle and vilify him. I don’t know if you see the irony in accusing someone else of doing almost exactly what you have done.

    According to LC, you have an unlisted phone number. I haven’t checked, because as far as I’m concerned, what happens here stays here (sort of like Las Vegas, I guess). But I have to wonder if maybe you have an unlisted number for exactly the same reason LC has a screen name – to avoid the conequences of your actions. In that regard, I think LC was spot on, and has a very valid point.

    My grandfather was a minister who taught me that character attacks are a tacit admission that you’ve lost the argument. I think your statements about LC’s character are a good example of that.

    LC,
    Don’t think I’m letting you off the hook. I think your first post here was way too heated for the circumstances. Although I agree with you that Colleen’s behavior here was way over the top, but I also happen to agree with her that you do bear some responsibility for that because of the way you responded to her first post.

    I also think you BOTH should drop this. I’m getting tired of it, and I suspect others are too.

  32. Elliott, I’m perfectly capable of defending myself. I still wonder if “Colleen Smidt” is this person’s real name. But you’re right – what happens in this blog stays in here.

    I’ll go along and drop this.

  33. Elliott, I do agree that this needs to end. I do not agree that when LC accused me of being an “ideologue” and associating with “wing nuts” it is not name calling and stereotyping. I do not know what your definition is. But I digress. I will admit to being human and occasionally getting ticked off. And man, that type of “you can’t hold me responsible” behavior really ticks me off. I now have a wide variety of words to use in place of cowardice.

    And finally to put to rest the reason for my unlisted phone number, here it is. I only have a land phone line for internet service. We never answer the phone. All of the important people in our lives reach us via other means. Believe me, if Comcast had not botched my account with horrible customer service a couple of years ago, I would be using them for internet service and would not have a phone line at all. But I refuse to ever give them anymore of my money. So I am stuck with high speed via the phone line. I would like to thank all of you for reminding me about my unlisted number. Frankly I had forgotten that I had signed up for it 10 years ago when we moved to Bremerton. Now I can cancel it and save a few bucks. Feel free to call all you want and talk to my computer. The real people in the house never answer that phone and we have the ringer turned off.

  34. Colleen,

    There is nothing in my commentary which suggests anyone should be exonerated, ignored or excused. Nor is my exchange with you about vilification.

    Courtesy, while appreciated, was not required in my comment to Jacob. He and I – as well as many in this forum who read his posts – are aware that he has no wife. My comment was a deliberate example of the fallacy of interrogation, and was in direct responce to one he’d delivered to me regarding ‘why I hated environmentalists, conservationists and populists so much’ because I was challenging his name-dropping and the assertion that my promotion of a Green NASCAR was that of a fake environmentalist. I even indicated in my post that mine was a reciprocal delivery. It is the standard retort used when pointing out the use of such a fallacy by another, and if you Google the phrase you will learn this.

    This is not the same as a comment that one’s speech contributed to another’s choice to vandalise that debate opponent’s property. It is the perpetrator and s/he alone who chooses that course of action because of their disposition or a poor coping mechanism in responce to another’s free expression.

    When participating in this forum, a member decided my speech gave him the right to cull information and post it here. Some lurkers used it and still others defaced a website with pornography – costing us hundreds in legal and computer forensic fees to ping them for future use. I speak of responsible speech and the inexcusable nature of vandalising or otherwise harassing bloggers from experience.

    I have no personal quarrel with you, and enjoy many of your posts in this blog. I regret that you appear to be taking my comments personally or feel singled out vs. seeing this as an argument on the merits. However, it’s too important a point to allow any level of permissive inference to further penetrate the psyches of those already predisposed towards crossing the line.

    And LC, I stand by my comments to you. We’re all human, but certain information about bloggers – whether accessible via public records or not, should be used (if at all) with keen discernment.

  35. Ms Keating, after a much needed weekend outdoors in the beautiful place we call home, Washington, and spending time with people who make me realize what is really important I understand now I was having a cranky week and reacted in a way I am normally able to suppress. However, my position on personal responsibility does not change. If there is something I don’t like going on in my community, I get out there, use the proper channels and try to change it. I am currently focusing my time and attention on education issues in the Bremerton School District by attending meetings, talking to parents, district officials and community leaders. If individuals, who use this blog so freely, took the time to actually read the publication that supports it, they would have seen some of my quotes in there, on this very topic, over the last few months. Then the question of “existence” would be a non issue.

  36. After spending the weekend camping with my family, I’ve decided to retire from blogging, at least on this web site. I’ve decided that I was letting petty personal attacks by some people bother me too much, and my wife has persuaded me that the best way to avoid such minor annoyances is to leave.

    Colleen, I did not call you a wingnut and it was not my intention to insult you. If you misunderstood me and took what I said personally, I apologize.

    Elliot, thanks for what you’ve said in this thread and others. I wish I could stay as calm as you. Maybe someday.

    Goodbye and good luck.

  37. While I am not married I am in a long term relationship with my girlfriend and we have not set a date for our wedding yet mostly do to her medical problems. She is doing much better. If you really want to know.

    “my promotion of a Green NASCAR was that of a fake environmentalist.”
    Yup more of a corporate enabling tool than an actual conservationist.

    The term are you still beating your wife is a perfect example of a loaded political question to negatively frame the debate.
    Like if I ask why Dona hates the actual Kitsap environmental conservation movement and stood next to KAPO pals, Jan Angel and Lary Coppola? How can you love the environment when your best political buds are such anti-environmental radicals? How can you be an environmentalist if you opposed the Washington State Conservation Voters on this issue?

    Dona are you still beating Mother Earth?

  38. Again Dona. Public information is public information. Basically there is no such thing of a secret if it’s already posted on the internet. “Public Secrets” don’t exist.

  39. Also Dona I feel your pain about the server issues. One of my website was hit with an unpatched apache server exploit by Brazilian spammers a few years back and my site was down for about a week. Also my hosting ISP also host Wil Wheaton’s website (The StarTrek TNG guy) and when ever he was Slashdotted, Digged or Farked the server would crash when he overloaded the server. But they have since then upgraded the server and patched all the necessary patches. But I am not a back end IT kind of guy. The entire episode reminds me that I need to back my servers and hard drive.

  40. Colleen,

    I hear you. This blog serves an useful purpose, but there is certainly a bigger picture. My participation has dwindled for some of the reasons you stated regarding other involvement and priorities.

    Jacob,

    No, I really don’t want to know about your personal life on this blog. That’s why I don’t post information about you here, even though I am aware of it. My only interest is discourse with bloggers whose arguments can survive on the merits. However, I do wish your girlfriend well in her healing.

    The long term goal of altering the way in which society operates is an incremental process. Major changes have not generally occurred unless companies recognised the triple bottom line and made investments which trickled down into consumer lifestyle. Excluding corporations from an effort to achieve a more sustainable industrial revolution is a mistake and recognised as such by experts around the world. ‘Green NASCAR as a corporate enabling tool than an actual environmentalist’ is a soundbite without potency.

    The fallacy of supposition is indeed a perfect example of a loaded political question to negatively frame the debate, which is why I used it to cheekily counter and contextualise your fallacious posture on environmentalism.

    How can you love the environment when your best political buds are such anti-environmental radicals?

    First false premise: Lary Coppola and Jan Angel are my best political buds. How did you determine this? Second premise: they are anti-environmental radicals. What objective evidence do you have to validate your assertion? For the sake of argument, let’s say they are, which leads us to….Third premise: One must agree with one’s friends on every point in order to call them friends. Obviously not true. Fourth premise: One must stick with like kind. How far do you extend this argument…race, nationality, religion? Many in society would call that prejudice or discrimination. The liberal cause has traditionally been in support of diversity – at least in theory. Apparently, you don’t agree in practise.

    How can you be an environmentalist if you opposed the Washington State Conservation Voters on this issue?

    Because I am an independent thinker. See third and fourth premise above.

    Dona are you still beating Mother Earth?

    Jacob, we are all beating Mother Earth, including you.

    Again, public information isn’t the point here; it is responsibility and effect. Case law supports my position and has been sufficiently addressed. A side point is that your arguments failed despite the choice to resort to it.

    Finally, we didn’t experience any server issues. The discussion board is a standalone product. The hackers to our site aren’t back end sorts, either. If they were, they’d probably be better at hiding their identity than they were.

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