Pay No Attention to the Ferries

<i>Some wonder if this is Washington State Ferries Plan B.</i>
Some wonder if this is Washington State Ferries Plan B.

The county’s four mayors and two of its county commissioners stopped by the Kitsap Sun Tuesday for a little discussion with the editorial board about ferries. One by one they took turns saying how united they are in how important it is that the state fund ferries, that it not cut back service and that anything that would reduce service and leave it to us to fund it would be an unfunded mandate.

Along the way, Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola made the following statement:

“I have to wonder if all the panic over Plan B isn’t so we’ll accept Plan A.”

Bainbridge Island Mayor Darlene Kordonowy suggested perhaps Washington State Ferries has presented Plan B, which would reduce Bremerton to one boat and reduce service in South Kitsap and Kingston, as a “straw man.”

We on this side have been saying, “You can’t keep raising fares,” so the response is to get us fighting over something else.

It may be a valid question. Earlier this year I asked county commissioner Steve Bauer if Plan A, essentially no change in service, would be a victory coming out of this legislative session and he said it would be. So could this be some tactic to get us to be grateful for the service we have? If it is, I get the sense that the local reaction is that Plan A is not enough. State Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, in asking for a “Plan C” is telling the state ferry riders and other locals can come up with something better. Sure, use smaller boats during off-peak hours, they say.

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade, county commissioner Josh Brown, and Coppola all suggested the state should consider shedding its demand that the new boats be built in Washington in favor of something that gives this state’s boat builders an advantage, but also makes them compete.

Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman said the state does need to recognize the ferries as part of the state highway system. When a highway is down, the state fixes it. When a ferry goes down, the state says it doesn’t have the money to fix it.

County commissioner Charlotte Garrido (She was interrupted by Kitsap Sun Publisher Mike Levi at least three times, by my count. Note: When writing about one’s employer, one might make sure said employer knows it’s coming. Actually, Levi’s interruptions were not as bad as it might appear and the fact that it seemed to be happening to Garrido was probably coincidental. ) said King County needs to know the economic impact ferries have over there.

Coppola said, “If we boycotted the car ferries for a week,” then traffic between here and Seattle would be jammed.

Brown said WSF’s plans also don’t match the state’s goal of reducing carbon emissions and that one of the big problems is that there is not a regionwide plan.

And when I-5 and I-90 were out earlier this month because of flooding, guess what kept running? The ferries, they all agreed.

The problem here is that for now this is the sound of one hand clapping. House Speaker Frank Chopp, who grew up in Bremerton but now represents a Seattle district, remained silent last week when he had the opportunity to speak up about ferries.

When Associated Press reporter Curt Woodward wrote his legislative preview story, he included mentions of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and stadiums. Not a word about ferries.

I just did a Google search for “Washington State Ferries” in the news section. On the first two pages, when it was sorted by date, only two items were not from Kitsap. One was in Crosscut by someone discussing the proposed closure of the Anacortes-Canada run. The other was in the Seattle P-I, by someone from Poulsbo.

We talk about it, we yell about it and we stomp our feet, and so far the woods are empty.

15 thoughts on “Pay No Attention to the Ferries

  1. It seems the Governor and most of the Seattle side politicos are opting for a mega billion dollar and the most expensive option for Seattle’s Alaskan Way by-pass. This while we are struggling to have just good ferry passage to the rest of Washington, not a by-pass.

    Seattle and Olympia are treating West Sound like a rat infested ship and they are trying to cut our mooring lines at high tide or make them so expensive we’ll drift away on our own.

  2. “County commissioner Charlotte Garrido (She was interrupted by Kitsap Sun Publisher Mike Levi at least three times by my count.) said….”

    I would offer to teach Garrido how to glare, raise her voice, etc., when interrupted; but I know it wouldn’t work. She’s a much nicer person than I.

    So, what did Levi want to know that couldn’t wait? (And what makes you think Levi doesn’t read your blog? Or, is he a really nice person, too?)

  3. Why would a newspaper’s publisher even be there?
    Isn’t that the reporters do – report?
    What did Charlotte Garrido say to warrant rude behavior?

    “Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade, county commissioner Josh Brown, and Coppola all suggested the state should consider shedding its demand that the new boats be built in Washington in favor of something that gives this state’s boat builders an advantage, but also makes them compete”…

    How can the state demand the ferries be built in Washington when we can get them done cheaper out of state? Quade, Brown and Coppola are right!

    “Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman said the state does need to recognize the ferries as part of the state highway system. When a highway is down, the state fixes it. When a ferry goes down, the state says it doesn’t have the money to fix it.”

    The ferry system is OFFICIALLY a link in our highway system!
    Why have we allowed the injustice of our broken ferry system to go on this long?

    Coppola has the right idea, “…boycotted the car ferries for a week,” then traffic between here and Seattle would be jammed.”

    Boycott the ferry system for a week…I’ll guess many of the commuters would be willing in view of the expected ferry returns from such an action.
    Good idea! Coppola can organize the campaign and pick the week of protest.
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. This was a meeting of the editorial board of which the publisher is a member. I don’t know for sure, but maybe Steven was there to prevent any claim of an improper commisioners meeting. It was really nice to see all the elected officials on the same page. If they act together and decend on Olympia in a group then maybe.

  5. My opinion, and only mine, is that plan B is probably not a strawman and it would be dangerous to treat it as such.

    A cynic might say that Seattle an King county could care less about us. In these tight financial times the vote counters can see loosing many more votes by proviing more money to the ferries at the expense of the desires of Nickels, Sims and Chop.

  6. “The county’s four mayors and two of its county commissioners stopped by the Kitsap Sun Tuesday for a little discussion with the editorial board about ferries. One by one they took turns saying how united they are in how important it is that the state fund ferries…”

    Please focus on how “united” we are. Not on how complicit we have been.

  7. Keep in mind that King County has their POF route funded by county taxpayers. Why would they object to the same solution for the rest of us? Of course, with such a large population, their per capita cost is negligible. For the Peninsula it is an entirely different story.

    A ferry boycott sounds like an idea, but would be pricey what with gas, the Narrows bridge toll and the exorbitant cost of downtown parking. A week could easily run $150 over and above the monthly ferry and Bremerton parking passes we have already purchased. How many commuters are likely to participate at that price?

  8. If I read the WSF utilization reports correctly there are an average of 4000 walk aboard passenger round trips per day from Bremerton alone. Given the size of the POF that KT is working on, it appears a fleet of 8 boats, with 6 operating continuously 15 hours a day could handle 4000 passenger round trips. In reality, it would probably take that many boats to handle peak demands for something less than 2000 walk aboard round trips. I can’t even imagine the cost and I am not aware of anything anyone has done toward estimates in that regard.

    Keep in mind that Plan B would also require locally funded POF for Kingston and BI. There is not enough money in this county to meet these demands even at the exclusion of all else. The reality is the county could afford to provide a token, feel good amount of POF service and nothing more. Plan B must be defeated. Your local legislators are fully onboard. Impediments are the Govenor, Mr Chop and other senate and house leaders and they should be the object of your attention.

    This is an important time. If Plan B stays in the budget service lost will never be regained. We should be doing nothing that might give Olympia the idea that they can get away with this.

  9. “Pay No Attention To The Ferries”

    There’s an old Tom T. Hall song entitled “Pay No Attention To Alice”.

    Pay no attention to Alice.
    She’s drunk all the time,
    hooked on that wine,
    bunches of it.
    She’s lost her mind.

    Pay no attention to the ferries. Indeed.

  10. Thanks Larry.
    Its clear I haven’t paid attention, but this is the first time I’ve noted the publisher did anything other than publish and (what a good job he does) was involved in a meeting such as this, much less to be rude to a guest.

    “#… It was really nice to see all the elected officials on the same page. If they act together and decend on Olympia in a group then maybe….”

    And how do we make that happen AND add bus loads of people in protest too?

    #A cynic might say that Seattle an King county could care less about us. In these tight financial times the vote counters can see loosing many more votes by proviing more money to the ferries at the expense of the desires of Nickels, Sims and Chop.”

    Why wouldn’t Nickels, Sims and Chop support our ferry use? They’re connected to us and our road systems.
    They inhale the same polluted air we do, they listen to the unrelenting roar of traffic, same as we do.
    Transportation is vital.
    Of the three I saw on the news, only Mr. Chop looked cranky and apparently wouldn’t talk with the reporter.
    Surely he sees the practical need for the tunnel by now and will help expedite what needs to be done to establish the needed ferry connections.
    He looked to be a reasonable person…?
    Sharon O’Hara

  11. Nickels and Sims would prefer KC cars stay in KC an not add to their polution. At the government media day in Olympia Chop was clearly after dollars for other things.

  12. As to “why” Garrido was interrupted, I don’t know. In some ways it just seemed to work out that way. But for a while it was only happening to her. Later the conversation got to be a little more give and take and that kind of thing wasn’t uncommon. At first, though, it was only her.

    As to your other question, I’m sure these folks will be getting in front of any audience they can. Anyone would have been welcome to come to this event. In fact, I was prepared for another reporter to come. With two county commissioners present it was a public meeting and had been advertised as such.

    At each editorial board meeting, I’d like to add, the editor normally makes reference to my presence and tells them that I might use the information in a news story, but that I don’t take part in any editorial board deliberations. That announcement wasn’t made this time, but it was still true. The mayors and commissioners left. I stayed to see if any board members had questions. They didn’t. I left.

  13. Just curious. I wondered if it was because she was going on too long, or if Levi was testing her as the new kid on the block, etc.

    Thanks for the feedback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Is water a solid or a liquid at room temperature?