CK Commissioner Candidates and Where They Stand

Brynn Grimley writes:

I was up bright and early Wednesday morning to attend the Port Orchard/Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce candidate forum where the four Central Kitsap Commissioner candidates were set to square off on the issues.

Three of the four were able to attend, David Corley, and East Bremerton Republican, was there initially but had to leave because of a family emergency, according to Patti Kirkpatrick, vice president of the Port Orchard Chamber.

The candidates are Republican Abby Burlingame, of East Bremerton; self-proclaimed “old school” Democrat Wally Carlson, of the Fairgrounds area; and incumbent Democrat Josh Brown.

Here’s why each candidate said they chose to run:

Brown: He is running for three reasons:

1. Fiscal responsibility. Since being elected four years ago Brown says he’s seen the county cut its general fund by $14 million and go from relying heavily on reserves to balance the budget to not using the reserve fund at all. Commissioners also implemented financial policies that prohibit the county from guaranteeing outside loans, like what was done with the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority.

2. To get things done. He cited cutting through the red tape that almost prevented the Seabeck marina from happening and getting the ball rolling on developing the Central Kitsap Community Campus through the courtship of the YMCA. He called the YMCA a “phenomenal project” for the community, and believes the county’s $1 million investment from its capital projects fund will be returned to the community the minute the facility opens.

3. Balanced growth. Brown cited endorsements by the home builders association and Kitsap conservation voters.

Burlingame: She is running because she believes the county lacks accountability and needs to create a sustainable budget that focuses on core services. Those are:

1. Law and justice

2. Roads (maintenance and construction)

3. Keeping facilities like the courthouse open for business five days a week

Burlingame believes the county has fallen short in those areas and needs to get back on track without increasing taxes. She believes the removal of the county commissioners from the land use appeals process was not smart and says the county is anti-growth and anti-job. She is also concerned about the county’s participation in the Puget Sound Regional Council, saying she feels Kitsap is not comparable to urbanized King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Trying to place Seattle-size growth on Kitsap just won’t work, she said.

Carlson: Calling himself a “regular renaissance man” compared to Burlingame and Brown, Carlson said he is running because over the last 40 years “I haven’t seen a government that’s so dysfunctional.” The current government has excessive regulations and rules that are stagnating job creation, he said. He has suggested a “Wally Vision 2010″ that would streamline county government and “control our own destiny.”

The owner of a custom built homes business, Carlson has first-hand experience of the dysfunction in the county’s Department of Community Development, he said. He cited the trouble he had getting a permit to remodel an elderly Tracyton couple’s home — he was asked to build a bedroom on the couple’s ground floor so they don’t have to walk upstairs. Carlson said it took him three years and three months to get the permit. He believes an overhaul of DCD is necessary, and that the department should establish a “people’s advocate” to make sure permits don’t get “lost” on the desks of planning staff, resulting in the delay in permit processing.

2 thoughts on “CK Commissioner Candidates and Where They Stand

  1. I want a county commissioner who will wrest back Kitsap citizen’s right to self-determination. This has been surrendered to too many outside entities as political capital and deck-stacking. For too long our BOC has “represented” outside forces (the federal and state governments, tribes, the Puget Sound Regional Council, ad nauseum) “to” Kitsap’s residents rather than representing (and fighting for!) Kitsap “to” these outside forces. Incidentally, most all of these entities can be characterized as Democratic Party allies, initiatives or agendas. Surrendering Kitsap’s rights of self-determination to them is – essentially – a betrayal of trust and allegiance. For too long, our “representatives” have been working for these entities rather than for the people that elected them. Those have become mere chattel to be dealt, bargained and exploited in furtherance of – again – a predominately Democratic Party vision of life around Puget Sound.

    As for Kitsap County’s budget issues… the Port Orchard Independent today has an article saying the county is looking at an additional $4.7 million in cuts. There is – of course – much hand-wringing on behalf of the BOC. My response is, “yeah, well what did you expect to happen when the grant money ran out?”. It doesn’t take a degree in urban planning to understand that making permanent hires with temporary money will – one day – present a funding challenge. Unfortunately for Kitsap’s taxpayers, this simple fact has been ignored for too long by a county government eager to be like the big ones in Seattle (all the while working to “keep Kitsap rural”). If the county commissioners come to the taxpayers asking for a tax increase, it should come with this provision: that Kitsap County will – never again – hire staff with grant money. It can be as simple a resolution as that:

    WHEREAS Kitsap County is facing a substantial budget shortfall, and

    WHEREAS much of that shortfall is the result of grant money no longer available for positions that it originated, now

    THEREFORE Kitsap County will no longer fill, create, or continue staff positions with any money obtained via grants

    And as for cuts that need to be made? Start with those positions that originated with grant money. Those positions were a compact between ambitious bureaucrats at county government and outside entities. They were never a deal between county government and county citizenry.

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