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A commissioner apologizes

April 24th, 2012 by brynn grimley

Brynn writes:

Last night at the Kitsap County Commissioners regular meeting board chairman Robert Gelder apologized for how things went down at the board’s April 9 meeting.

I wasn’t at the meeting, but a review of the tape shows that a number of supporters of the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club attended the meeting to speak out during the board’s allotted public comment period. People were upset with the county for not inviting the KRRC to a meeting at the end of March that dealt with a proposed update to a shooting range ordinance. The ordinance would impact the county’s existing ranges by requiring them to apply for an operational permit and dictating their hours of operation, among other regulations.

Apparently as people continued to line up to speak, Gelder announced no more public comment would be taken on the rifle range. He then adjourned the meeting. The scene was tense and it appears one woman was in the process of testifying when the meeting ended.

On Monday Gelder apologized for how he handled the situation.

“I want to extend to Mrs. Cooper, who was making comments at the time, an apology for potentially cutting you off and handling that poorly,” Gelder said.

The board wants to provide a forum for the public to talk to commissioners and that didn’t happen April 9, Gelder said. While the public comment period is not a time for commissioners to interact with the audience, it is still a time when the public can be heard.

Gelder wants the communication to remain respectful — from both directions, he said.

“I am sorry that I did not show you that respect at that time,” Gelder said to Mrs. Cooper. (I don’t know whether she was in the audience of roughly 80 people at Monday’s meeting).

Contrary to some opinions, commissioners are committed to seeing KRRC reopen and come into compliance under the county’s land-use code, the board said Monday. Gelder tried to convey that message following Monday’s public comment, where people blamed the commissioners for the lawsuit against the club saying it appeared the county had a vendetta against the facility and wouldn’t be happy until it was closed for good.

“Overall it’s really about moving forward and that’s what I would like to emphasize,” Gelder said. “I look forward to us being able to move forward in a constructive manner so KRRC can open and be available to the public.”

Commissioner Josh Brown also commented about his reaction at the April 9 meeting, saying he was upset with a comment suggesting the commissioners only sold the club its land in 2009 so it could shut it down. He called the allegation ludicrous.

“I know a lot of you are frustrated. I appreciate that, I am frustrated too,” Brown said. “I really believe in my heart that we need to have shooting ranges that are safe and open for people to use in our community.”

Brown said the shooting range ordinance update the county is working on will allow the county’s existing gun ranges to continue operation in the future, while taking into account the concerns of the surrounding neighborhoods that have built up around the ranges.

“I really believe we’re going to have a good document that the community can be proud of that’s going to balance these competing interests,” he said.

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4 Responses to “A commissioner apologizes”

  1. Harry Gilger Says:

    If anyone believes the Commissioners are concerned about shooting ranges, they are naiive. The people complaining about KRRC moved in to the area after the range was open. The expert the prosecuter obtained had weak credentials. Kiss KRRC goodbye.

  2. Roger Gay Says:

    What is it with people who gain a public office? They suddenly become someone who thinks they now do not have to listen to the public that put them in office. This elected official and many like him want only to hear the “good” things. How well they are doing the job, or how great a steward of the taxpayers money they are. If you disagree, or if they are more than a few with a complaint or a problem, you need not apply. They will cut you off with the “There will be no more public comment” tactic. Now will this commissioner go back and hide his head in the dirt? The commissioners and the DCD have made up their mind. They just want an open path to what they envision, no matter what the public wants. They let the public comment only in very strict terms and have shown time and time again they do not listen.

    I am so tired of elected public officials and their unelected minions deciding how much, who, and when regarding public comment, especially when it does not agree with their goal or vision. We are seeing it more and more in County, State, and Federal officials. It is time for a change in Kitsap County government at all levels. It is time they realized who they work for and who pays their salary. I guess to make a difference, the election of 2012 will call for more involvement of the public in voting out those who do not listen.

  3. Ducttapeo1 Says:

    This is third instance of Gelder doing what he wishes and shoving it down the taxpayer’s throat. This is one of the people that recommended the diversion of money from the veterans fund. This is the guy cow tailing to public employees about late working hours. He pushed for earlier meetings, more convenient for our public employees.

    And now the guy cuts people off, while they are speaking, when they had the floor for testimony.

    What’s the rush?

    It is increasingly all about him. Defund the veterans fund, so that we can give our employees a raise. Start meetings earlier because we causing a great inconvenience to our public servants. And cut people off and continue to ignore parliamentary procedures.

    Wow. This guy needs to go! Gelder and Brown are spending us down, donating $1 million to a private religious charity, and diverting money to assist veterans.

    That’s bankrupting the fund, during a period of two ongoing wars. Spending down the reserves by three million. And denying citizens a voice in their government by screwing with the hours and parliamentary procedures.

    And instead of voting and moving to reduce expenses by layoffs and appropriate cuts. He recommends diversions to pay for employee raises.

    Unbelievable!

  4. informedvoter Says:

    Josh Brown is a bully and runs the meetings, not Gelder. It is very obvious. When confronted with the truth Josh Brown can’t take it and either pouts or leaves. The 3 commissioners are a joke and need to be replaced. They sit there and look like royalty and do nothing but hand out awards and pat themselves on the back for nothing. If Kitsap doesn’t replace them we will continue to look foolish. Do you ever sit at the meeting and just take a hard look at them? Gelder is a yes man to Brown and that is the bottom line. Charlotte is more interested in turnips.

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