Support for SEED

At Monday’s port meeting, the notes from which you can read in this post, there were two moments that offered positive vibes for Kitsap SEED.

One was the endorsement by 35th District Democrats for SEED. The party members approved 77-0 (I wrote in the live blog that it was 79-0. Roger Zabinski corrected me later.) a resolution (Download the PDF here.)recognizing the “Importance of the Kitsap SEED Project.”

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the 35th LD Democrats, representing persons and elected officials residing in the area generally associated with the location of the Port of Bremerton offices and its boundaries, declare their support for the Kitsap SEED project as a worthwhile venture to attract clean-technology and high-technology companies and to create economic diversity in the region with livable wage jobs.

Lately the trend has been toward declaring SEED somewhat troubled. You have one new commissioner who appears to be against the incubator portion. You have another who argued for stepped up due diligence. Then you have a legislator who netted state money in the past saying there has to be some private interest shown. With the 35th District Dems coming out in favor of the concept, SEED gains some political traction.

Going back to the private interest leads us to moment two. Bill Mahan discussed something that was the focus of a Kitsap Economic Development Alliance newsletter this week. A German company looking to open a manufacturing facility in the United States stopped by the Kitsap SEED site as one of the locations in the running.

From the KEDA newsletter (I’ll print the full version in the extended version of this post.) :

Last week KEDA hosted two representatives of a European-based company seeking a manufacturing site in the United States, with a focus on the west coast. The company sees the United States as their next market – and potentially their largest market to date. Estimated investment in plant and equipment is $30 million, with initial employment of about 100 persons.

The company visited four sites in Kitsap. The others were at the S’Klallam reservation, the College Market Place in Poulsbo and the Wright Creek Business Park in Bremerton.
Mahan said company officials were also visiting sites in Snohomish County and near Sacramento.

Mahan said the company manufactures solar panels. This is not a company that would be destined for the incubator. It’s already a going concern in Europe. Pass directly over phase one. For those of you who think the days of foreigners investing in manufacturing in America are over, I refer you to this previous post.

Granted, assuming Snohomish and Sacramento each had four sites to visit, it means the SEED site would be up against 11 other places that could each have their advantages. But you don’t get tenants without visits like these.

Mahan said the company doesn’t care whether it owns or leases land and buildings. Rachel Pritchett is writing a story on the visit.

In other SEED news, the port has picked a company to review the business plan and expects to have the review done within a couple months.

From the KEDA newsletter:

Last week KEDA hosted two representatives of a European-based company seeking a manufacturing site in the United States, with a focus on the west coast. The company sees the United States as their next market – and potentially their largest market to date. Estimated investment in plant and equipment is $30 million, with initial employment of about 100 persons.

The company’s chief operating officer and a sales representative joined KEDA’s executive board in a dinner Thursday evening.

The clients visited 4 sites on Friday – Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, College Market Place (Poulsbo), Port of Bremerton – SEED project and Wright Creek Business Park (Bremerton). Additionally, they heard presentations on the regional labor market and workforce recruitment and training assistance, as well as build-to-suit facility proposals, permitting, taxes, sales and distribution partnerships, and other business operations topics.

Management will be assembling and analyzing the data received from Kitsap and other locations over the next several weeks and hope to reach a recommendation for their leadership by year end. It would be reasonable to expect a decision regarding location no earlier than late 2008, but more likely early 2009.

KEDA reiterated that we will work with them to provide data, answers and referrals in response to any questions and requests they have as they work their due diligence for this project.

The lead came to KEDA from the Washington Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development (CTED), but was originated by Congressman Jay Inslee last year during a tour of the company’s facilities in Europe. The clients also reviewed sites in Snohomish County and also spent some time in California.

NOTE: We would love to tell you a bit more about the company, but at this point in time they have asked for continued confidentiality. We will provide updates as they become available.

10 thoughts on “Support for SEED

  1. The 35th District Democrats left out one “whereas” clause from their supporting “resolution”:

    And WHEREAS many of our members have profited, and will continue to profit, from SEED expenditures…

  2. Berk and Associates also prepared the Speedway Economic Analysis.

    And WHEREAS many of our members have profited, and will continue to profit, from SEED expenditures…

    Who? And how? We know Botkin is a Democrat and was hired by the Port, but one hopes you have some support to back up such an allegation, particularly if you’re alluding to other private citizens.

  3. As for Berk and Assoc. you might check out their web site. The other clients include most of the cities in western washington and many state offices. They seem to be one of the top firms in the state. And yes they also did the Speedway report that was vetted by the Office of Finacial Management and proclaimed by said office as one of the most comprehensive documents ever presented to them.

  4. What about the Garridos?

    But, admittedly, my information is limited. I’m sure the 35th District Democrats can provide a more authoritative list. How about it? In the interest of full disclosure, ask them to provide a list of 35th District Democrat members that have financial ties to the SEED project.

    But, further… As I thought about this post, I do not see it as “positive” for SEED at all. Here is why.

    The post contains two items. One, the 35th District Democrats passed a resolution in support of the SEED project. And, two, a German company looking to open a west coast manufacturing site visited the SEED site.

    As to item number one: the 35th District Democrats’ resolution in support of SEED. It is not news that our local democrats have been, and are, the supporters of the SEED project. This is neither news, nor a new development on the SEED front.

    As for item number two: the visit by a German company looking to build a manufacturing facility on the west coast. As Mr. Gardner wrote, “This is not a company that would be destined for the incubator. It’s already a going concern in Europe. Pass directly over phase one.” This tells me that our best chance for economic development is to put our money into industrial park infrastructure. Things like roads, water, sewer, fiber optics, etc. A good argument could be made that this meat-and-potatoes development, and the surety it provides, will yield more family-wage jobs than an amorphous vision of raingardens, pods and eco-structure. Rather than a “positive vibe” for SEED, this visit by a manufacturing company could awaken the community that we’ve been putting our eggs in the wrong basket. Maybe it will inspire the community to tell the Port to get back to the basics, to build infrastructure that will attract businesses like this. Let other communities fund the “incubators”. The manufacturing sector provides jobs to the community. The “think tank” provides jobs to political cronies.

    One last thing. By their unanimous support of the SEED project, the 35th District Democrats have – at least – provided a good service for the citizens of Kitsap County. As you know, Kitsap County committed $1 million to the SEED project. As the project has foundered, the county has waivered on this commitment. With the Democrats resolution, Kitsap County voters have a clear distinction when voting for the next commissioner to replace Jan Angel. If you want the county to give the Port of Bremerton another $1 million for the SEED project, vote for the Democrat candidate for County Commissioner. If you don’t want Kitsap County to give the Port of Bremerton another $1 million for the SEED project, vote for the Republican candidate for County Commissioner.

    Even those voters the Democrats frequently deride as ignorant ought to be able to understand that.

  5. Neither Charlotte Garrido nor her husband Ray have any “financial ties to the SEED project.”

    Charlotte serves in a capacity with Kitsap County as an educational liaison. She has done extensive work on developing a 4-year college program for the community. She has made good progress in furthering educational opportunities for residents of the county.

    You cannot attack her for any financial compensation related to developing SKIA. That is unjust and wholly untrue. Yes, she has always been an advocate of sustainability, who wouldn’t be, considering it means “wise and conservative use of resources, financial, physical and human.”

    Why don’t you give your name Blue Light so we can realize who you are as you are out and about in the community? Why the secrecy Blue Light? Who and what are you afraid of?

  6. From Charlotte’s election website:

    In recent years Charlotte has worked as a consultant and Higher Education Planner focusing on helping the people of Kitsap County gain living wage jobs through the development of local businesses and increased access to a four-year college education. She also helped facilitate the Sustainable Kitsap series, and has organized the Tribal Law Summit, Earth Day events, and interest groups for civics, agriculture, and entrepreneurship, including education and research coordination with the Kitsap Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project.

    link: http://www.charlottegarrido.com/bio.php

    And Charlotte’s husband’s company is administering the current SEED website.

  7. Blue Light,

    If your information is limited, it seems prudent to adjust your assertions accordingly. Why would you ask someone else to request such a list?

    How much has Charlotte been paid for her research coordination with SEED, and Ray for the current SEED website? From where did you get your information?

    As for the resolution, SEED has many political aspects…particularly given citizens who decide how they will vote and electeds who consider this important enough – or not – to change or hold fast to their positions on the issues in response.

    shortbus73,

    I am quite familiar with Berk, its work and clients. But like many things in Kitsap, reality doesn’t always matter. There are some who will use the Port’s hire of it in both positive and negative ways given the ISC project.

  8. Does it come as a surprise to anyone that the Democrats would endorse a massive tax funded project that will acomplish nothing? Even when SEED continues to burn tax dollars for the next couple of decades, and produces no energy saving, the liberals will FEEL GOOD because they are doing something no matter how misguided.

  9. Acutally, the Democrats don’t always “endorse a massive tax funded project that will accomplish nothing?”

    In fact, the truth of the matter is that many democrats worked very hard to fight a massive tax payer funded project that would have accomplished nothing and would have been a “boondoogle” for the state. Don’t you remember? They fought NASCAR. And, won.

    Read the latest NASCAR debacle and be glad they did!

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/8234682?MSNHPHMA

    Hey, and it’s even coming out of the old good ole’ boy network – FOX. So, it’s gotta be true.

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