The Mayor Writes . . .

Please divert your attention to a couple of blog entries by local fixture and recently elected Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola.

We speculated on Bremerton’s interest in SKIA, but Port Orchard’s possible role received little more than passing interest. Coppola’s got an idea that, especially given his position, port and Bremerton officials will give consideration.

Coppola also weighs in on Kitsap SEED, in response to chief consultant Tim Botkin’s firing, er, having his contract terminated.

The mayor might (I said “might”) be overstating what Botkin was obligated contractually to provide for the money he was being paid, but spoke what is for many the absolute truth when you separate what’s in the contract from what are reasonable expectations. I only hedge on “might,” because I know what was in the most recent contract, and based on what I’ve seen that was about to come to pass.

Where Coppola cites examples, though, his commentary is pretty telling.

He couldn’t even put together a coherent grant application. Instead of spending a couple of thousand dollars on a professional grant writer, in one instance, he kept the money in his own pocket and did it himself. He scored 345 points out of a possible 1,000 — nearly at the very bottom of the list.

Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes is among those who are specifically proficient at writing grants and getting funding. She has helped the City of Bremerton score tons of grant money for park and other programs. The city pays her to write the grant and provide the supplementary material and so far the investment has paid off. I don’t know if Byrne-Barrantes is the grant writer Coppola’s referring to, but she’s an example.

In October we wrote about SEED getting passed over for a grant. At the time we wrote:

Tim Thomson, the port’s chief operating officer, said the fact that nothing has yet been built on the SEED site was likely one of the port’s weaknesses in its application.

“Since ours is more conceptual than physical, we were probably at a disadvantage,” he said. “Our weakness is we are just beginning the site. We’re competing with zones that were defined around infrastructure that already existed.”

I tried to find out if this is the grant Coppola was referring to, but it’s late Monday and I’m tired of trying to negotiate around the CTED Web site tonight. It’s one we know about, though.

You may be most surprised at Coppola’s ending. He thinks the port did the right thing by dumping Botkin, but he isn’t opposed to SEED.

3 thoughts on “The Mayor Writes . . .

  1. Citizens have been asking for accountability with SEED for quite a long time. Few people I have talked to condemn the concept of SEED, if it were coordinated with substantive private investment, limited public funds (not a blank check), and a solid business plan.

    Instead, the public got little in the form of real answers, a lot of smoke and mirrors, and false bravado. Once upon a time (before the internet and access to quick and easy research) perhaps Botkin’s style might have worked and he could have convinced enough folks that he was a visionary. Much like the wizard in “The Wizard of Oz”, Mr. Botkin misjudged his audience and is a man seriously behind the times. Ironic for someone so keen on the future.

    Kathryn Simpson

  2. Steve,

    Thanks for the link to that blog. I have not always agreed with Larry Coppola, but he makes a coherent argument about SEED. Your point about finding good grant writers is well-taken.

    This post and the post you cite bring back memories of Tim Botkin doorbelling while he he was running for re-election. The responses he provided to 2 simple questions convinced me on the spot to not vote for him.

  3. Kathryn wrote: Citizens have been asking for accountability with SEED for quite a long time.

    In one of the stories regarding the “pause” and the “dismissal”, Port Commissioner Mahan said something to the effect that “no one from the public has expressed any interest in SEED until very recently”.

    Apparently he doesn’t remember running from questions from the public on this very blog.

    He might want to get a jump on his job search, too.

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