Category Archives: Election 2007

First Boat(s) In at Marina

At 8:30 this morning Phil Mhoon of Bremerton steered his 48-foot Ponderosa boat named Luna III away from the Bremerton Marina breakwater into his new permanent slip.

He was the first tenant at the Port of Bremerton’s new docks. Most readers of this blog will recall the marina is being paid for by you residents within the port district through an Industrial Development District tax. The tax is part of the property tax levy. No one, including me, noticed the window within which residents would have a chance to call for an election to overturn the port’s decision.

It may take years, decades probably, before the ill feelings subside. I understand if you want nothing to do with the place, but if I was paying several hundred dollars over six years for the facility, I might try to do what I could to enjoy it.

If you can find a place to park in Bremerton, the marina would be a nice place during nice weather to enjoy a lunch outside. The breakwater, which makes the passing ferry wake faint, if at all noticeable, has four picnic tables.

During festivals there will be room for booths to be set up.

Speaking as someone who finds some comfort, or something like it, from water, the marina has made the waterfront something more people can access.

The public portion will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at first. Eventually they’ll keep the place open until 10 p.m.

The port’s marine facilities director, Steve Slaton, said you really have to see the docks at night.

Slaton said the port’s business plan is to have the place filled with permanent tenants within four years. So far 50 slips are pre-leased.

Mhoon has been splitting time between the marina at Port Washington Narrows and Port Orchard. He and his son Jeff plan to make their boat available for time-sharing and cruises, marketing through the Elliott Bay Yacht Club.

About a half hour after the Mhoon’s arrived a second boat found it’s place.

Marina manager Kathy Garcia said six permanent residents were planning to tie in today, including three liveaboards.

Slaton said the docks will be filled for the May 31 grand opening. Memorial Day weekend the week before might also be a busy spell, as well. At least some of the unsold permanent slips will be available for visitors for the time being, he said.

PO Mayor-elect Plans to Stay on Planning Commission

Note: a copy of this blog entry appears on Speaking of South Kitsap.

Swearing in ceremony:
Port Orchard Mayor-elect Lary Coppola, along with newly elected city council members Jerry Childs and Jim Colebank, will take the oath of office at 2 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. Council member-elect Fred Olin is not available and will be sworn in at a later date.

Here’s the entry:

Tomorrow at 2 p.m. at City Hall, Lary Coppola will be sworn in as the new mayor of Port Orchard. Coppola wants to remain on the Kitsap County Planning Commission and says he can do it without conflict of interest.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, who appointed Coppola to the commission, said she supports Coppola’s decision, at least for now. Angel said she is concerned about his ability to juggle running the city and a business, while serving on the planning commission.
“I just question whether he’s going to have the time to do that,” said Angel, who represents District 2. “It’s a bigtime commitment to the planning commission, and I want to make sure we’re adequately represented.”
Angel has advised Coppola to take some time in his new job to evaluate his ability to serve on the planning commission while meeting his other commitments.

Critical of Coppola’s plan to stay on the commission is fellow commissioner Jim Sommerhauser. He said it would create a conflict of interest for Coppola to represent the county by voting on land use issues regarding areas eligible for annexation into the city. Coppola, who believes he is in line for chairmanship of the commission, said he will only vote to break a tie, and will recuse himself from votes that involve a clear conflict of interest. Sommerhauser said that would leave South Kitsap poorly represented on the nine-member commission, with three representatives for each of the the county commissioner districts.

Sommerhauser said he is speaking as an individual and not as a planning commission representative.

Coppola also will continue to write his West Sound Politics blog and his column in the Kitsap Business Journal, both of which he suspended after announcing his candidacy. Now that the election is past, Coppola said, he will once again publish his opinions, with the disclaimer that he represents himself alone and no official position. The title of his column in the December issue is, “He’s baaack …”

“I don’t intend to use it as a tool for anything other than to express my thoughts,” Coppola said. “They won’t reflect any official positions.”

Your thoughts?

Fun with Excel on Simple Majority

Everyone else is chomping on nails awaiting the final vote tally for the simple majority measure. But not I, no.

Thanks to Excel, I’ve calculated the final vote for the issue. Based on the votes left to count and where they’re coming from, I can scientifically predict the simple majority measure will win by 9,947 votes.

This is calculated by taking the number of votes left in each county, assuming everyone of those ballots will include a vote on the measure and using existing percentages to predict how the votes will go. Then I added the “yes” and “no” votes and came up with the total.

The problem in my count, however, is that late votes have been trending toward the “yes” vote than they did initially. The final margin could be significantly higher than 10,000. The Sound Politics entry mentioned in the previous post suggests the “yes” campaigners got to the late voters much better than the “no” camp.

Even if there were no King County votes left to count, the measure would still pass statewide. The votes still uncounted in King County would be a positive for simple majority by more than 5,000 votes, according to my math. But take those away and it doesn’t come close to overturning the apparent victory for the “yes” voters.

Simple Majority Approaching Tie Ahead

UPDATE: The latest numbers show the simple majority question is ahead.

It was pointed out in comment on this thread, but while it’s easy to suggest nefariousness on the the count of King County elections officials, even one of the 2004 election’s biggest critics is saying there doesn’t appear to be that kind of alleged chicanery this time around.

As of right now, 5:14 p.m. on Monday, our top story planned for Tuesday is this one, that the simple majority standard for school levies might actually pass.

Late Wednesday the “no” side on the simple majority question had 51.7 percent of the vote. As of right now they have 50.1 percent, with 178,000 ballots still left to count. Of those, 60,000 are from King County, where the measure has more than 58 percent support.


Little movement to report after today’s ballots counted were added to the mix.

Candidates who were in the lead Tuesday night are still leading.

Walt Washington in the county elections office said there are still about 20,000 ballots left to count.

Today confirmed the thought that people waited longer than usual to vote this year. The conventional wisdom is it was because people were undecided on some issues, so they waited. I wonder if that’s being overstated. My hunch, and I have no proof, is that people have gotten used to all-mail voting so they put it off like they do everything else. Then again, perhaps a year from now people will feel more urgent about dropping by the mailbox early.

But I think there’s another factor. I’ve seen your comments here and talked to people who said they wanted an experience close to what they used to get when they went to polling places.

Beyond procrastination and sentimental longings for days past, there may be some wisdom in waiting. Ballot initiatives are not going to change much, but information about candidates could. People still had their ballots when state Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center became known statewide. Many still had them when state Rep. Jim Dunn, R-Vancouver, got noticed as well. Neither of them were up for re-election and it’s likely both of them would have been more careful had they been. Nonetheless their examples make a case for hanging on to that pink envelope.

Playing devil’s advocate against myself, if you strongly favored Curtis or Dunn in an election, there’s a good chance you’re not going to pick a Democrat opponent when your candidate crumbles under a scandal. Same goes when cops find cash in a Democrat’s freezer, or the candidate dies.

But a voter wavering between candidates could easily be tilted by last-minute revelations.

Post-Election Port Comments

In the story about the port race, outgoing commissioner Mary Ann Huntington is quoted as saying,

“I hope Mr. Stokes knows the port isn’t part of the good old boys system now, that it’s a team. The port is moving forward now and he’s used to moving backward.”

Some of the commenters responded that Huntington’s comments lacked class, to which a commenter countered:

“Give me a break… You aren’t in office for 18yrs and not have class. Should things have been done differently? Yes. Is it time for a change? Maybe. I have more confidence that this lady has class than that the Sun quoted her accurately and in context.”

So here are my notes from those conversations last night.

My question following an election is usually pretty simple: “What’s your reaction to the numbers we’re seeing?”

Here’s what Larry Stokes said. I’ll paraphrase where I didn’t get it exact. With him I varied the question a bit. I said that during the primary he was surprised when he heard from me that he’d won. I believe I said something like you weren’t surprised this time, were you?

“Yes I am surprised. I thought maybe I could win. I didn’t expect it to be so lopsided because of the extensive amount of campaigning the incumbent has done. To me it shows the taxpayers are unhappy and they all know what’s going on in the community and they’re really unhappy about that big tax increase.”

I then asked him what’s next.

“What I’ve got to do right now is I’ve got to check into all the different things that people have asked me about.”

He said he’d be studying further the SEED project and other things.

“My complete intention is to be conservative and protect the taxpayer as much as I can. Tax and spend should be a thing of the past if I have anything to do about it.”

For Mary Ann Huntington, I believe I asked the standard reaction question.

“I just want to thank all the voters who believed in the port and our mission and voted that way tonight. . . I’m proud of what I’ve done, I’ve 18 years of legacy that can never be taken away from me. I’ve watched Port Orchard grow and now I can watch Bremerton grow. Come spring I can stand out on that breakwater and say, ‘By golly I did this.'”

She said the marina will be around for her grandchildren or great grandchildren to enjoy, including enjoying its role in reducing the need for other taxes because of the revenues it will bring to Bremerton.

She said she’d miss the comradery she enjoyed with other port officials, that they worked as a team and drove partisanship aside to come up with solutions.

“I hope Mr. Stokes knows the port isn’t part of the good old boys system now, that it’s a team. The port is moving forward now and he’s used to moving backward.”

She again thanked supporters, saying she raised $16,000, “which is almost unheard of in a port race.”

I asked her what she’ll be doing next.

“I don’t sit still.” She said she’ll be active in the Relay for Life campaign against cancer.

“My job is to find a cure for cancer. Three people at the port going through cancer right now.”

She called Relay for Life her mission, said she volunteers at the high school a lot.

“My husband thinks he’s going to have me at home, but I’m never home anyway. It’s back to TV dinners for him.”

“I’ve had several offers that I’ll have to weigh,” she said. Those include both jobs and volunteer positions. “I’m 67 I don’t know if I want to go to work.”

She said she enjoys serving on boards and commissions, works with the Navy League and the Puget Sound Naval Bases Association. “The Navy is such an important part of our community,” she said.

More Hope in Close Races

There are four city council races in which the margin of victory is less than 10 percentage points. Normally, anything more than four or five points is insurmountable, and only one race falls under that.

However, if those in close races have reason to hope, it’s in the belief that people waited longer to vote this year.

Walt Washington, chief deputy auditor for the county, said it appears more people than normal waited to vote closer to election day. Of the about 54,000 ballots the county
had in hand, 12,700 arrived in the mail on Tuesday, a record for an off-year election, Washington said.

“When there are things that people have to ponder on, they wait until the last minute,” he said.

Washington said his conversations with elections officers in King County indicated the same thing was happening there.

“That seems to be the trend,” Washington said.

Voting Against the Port Tax

If you are to believe those on the losing side of tax levies since last year, the tax the port passed is still affecting other tax measures. They brought it up when South Kitsap’s school bond failed. The library bond failed, the port became a question.

If tax boosters are right, residents didn’t get to vote on the port’s Industrial Development District tax to build the marina, so they’re voting against it now every chance they get.

Tonight, Bremerton City Councilman Will Maupin said the IDD tax not only affected Bremerton’s parks levy, it affected his own margin of victory. He’s winning his race with a 53-47 margin against former councilman Eric Younger.

“I guess it’s just that it’s just that there is always the feeling because of the unrest in property taxes and the port tax and the feeling that we need to make a change, that somebody else might be looking out for my well being or my property taxes more.”

You can draw attention to the fact that the other incumbent running in Bremerton, Dianne Robinson, won handily. But Robinson ran against a first-time candidate with no history on the council and a short history in the city. Maupin’s opponent, Eric Younger, does have experience on the dais and has stark differences with the incumbent.

Maupin might have a point on his own race, but that the port tax may have had an impact on Tuesday’s parks levy is easily more believable.

“I thought that when we first put that on the ballot that we had built up enough good will in the city that citizens were willing to invest some of their money in the Bremerton redevelopment. I think the port tax was an issue that didn’t die. It built up an unhappiness. I heard that over and over again as I was doorbelling and I think that’s what doomed our parks levy.”

The question then becomes how it will affect the city’s move to boost car tab fees to pay for roads. In pre-election debates all Bremerton council candidates said they favored putting a $20 boost in car tabs on the ballot. Maupin said Tuesday’s parks levy defeat will impact how the council moves forward with the street issue, but perhaps not substantially.

“It’s going to have some effect on our decision-making process, but I think the process is still what we planned all along. We’ll have a very vigorous public information campaign and see if we have support for $20 car tabs in order to support street repair.”

If all this is true and I’m running any government agency with an ability to ask voters for money, I’ve got to wonder if I would instead conspire to make do until the hangover from the port tax wears off, assuming people really are still voting against it.

If they are, when will it stop?

Rock Stars on Election Day

For your election day reading pleasure I give you Bono.

“The next presidential election will be a real moment for America. Talk about the battle of ideas – I mean, this is it. You will get the country you deserve. You have to ask hard questions of who will be your leader, because we fans of America – annoying fans, maybe, but real fans – have a lot at stake. Even those who are not fans – everybody who values freedom, progressive thinking, innovation, has a stake in America. The country you may own. But not the idea.

The comment comes toward the end of a Rolling Stone interview, where he proves himself abundantly thoughtful, especially for a rock star. This is what I hear all the time about Bono, that government types begrudgingly give him an audience and are then disarmed when he proves himself to be intelligent and informed.

“So we’re in the era of asymmetrical war. The greatest army cannot protect you from hatred that gets busy and organized and has enough of an audience to protect it. There’s a moment. Was that true of Caesar? Was that true of Napoleon? No. Might was always right. Strangely, we have now entered a phase where being powerful and having the biggest nuclear arsenal leaves you completely defenseless.”

Getting personal, U2 has been my second-favorite band for a couple decades. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band has been number one and will stay there. Postman had an entry a while back on Bruce’s new album being political. I wanted to respond to his main question, about what “breaking the narrative” means. I also wanted to post here about Springsteen’s album and the anti-Bush message he’s offering. Alas, there are ports and dropouts to consider, and still the local congressman’s book that I’ve yet to read. So Bruce waits anxiously for my take.

Here’s the short version. While Bruce’s politics have never been in doubt to me, most all of his songs have had themes nearly everyone could relate to. Art, in my opinion, doesn’t belong to the artist once its heard or seen. So I can take the phrase, “Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night,” and can have it mean whatever I want it to.

The reason people are disarmed by the likes of Bono, however, is because of guys like Bruce. I have no doubt that there is depth to Springsteen’s political beliefs. But he is not as good at Bono as proving that depth, at least not when he’s not singing. Few rockers or entertainers are. Springsteen, by the way, inducted U2 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In it he spoke of one of U2’s strength — being Irish — which means they don’t — like the English — have to overcome their more prim instincts.

Of the Irish and Italian, Bruce said:

“We come through the door fists and hearts first.”

Perhaps that’s another reason Bono’s eloquence on issues is so disarming. You expect the smash, but you’re not prepared to hear mention of Caesar, unless it’s in reference to a salad.

Thanks to my friend Brant for sharing the Rolling Stone piece with me. Enjoy the rest of this election day.

11 Days Until the Signs Come Down

Nice fall colors. Found all over town. Enough to overcome the results from the primary?
Decent penmanship. Good use of excess cardboard. Sure sign of a grass roots campaign.

The election quickly approaches and thanks to the lack of local polling we’re left to offer WAGs on how some races and measures will turn out come 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Feel free to project on:

City Council races
Port Orchard Mayor
Bremerton’s Proposition 1
Anything else.

Years ago I faulted a pro-school district levy team on Bainbridge for waiting too long to campaign. With mail-in elections, I said, you have to campaign before the ballots are mailed.

That may be true to some extent still, but I’ve had cause to re-think the value of late campaigning, in large part because of how much is still going on in the statewide races. It makes sense that the earlier someone votes, the less likely any campaigning matters anyway. But if you’re undecided, hearing that someone arguing for or against R-67 is lying might make a difference.

For those voting late in the process, do you think it’s caused by:

A. Uncertainty on R-67?
B. Uncertainty on Simple Majority?
C. Uncertainty on a local race or measure?
D. Uncertainty where the ballot ended up in the pile of mail?

The signs are supposed to be down a week from Friday, six days before Thanksgiving.

Inslee Can Support Prop 1, But Can’t Vote on It

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, was on the Dave Ross show on KIRO Halloween morning. As has been the norm of late, he was talking about alternative energy and his book, Apollo’s Fire.

A woman called and asked what more she could do, because she worked nights and public transportation wasn’t available to her. I’ll give you the transcript without “uh,” “um” and “you know,” or you can listen to it

      1. here

Joan in Maple Valley: Thanks. I would like to know what I can do more than I’m already doing. I’m an average person. I work in West Seattle. I live in Maple Valley. I work nights. There’s no transportation other than my car.

Dave Ross: Well are you asking this question because you feel you’re not doing enough or because you (laughs) want us to pat you on the back?

Joan: No, I want to do more.

Ross: OK.

Joan: But I’m not sure what I can do. Energy efficient appliances and stuff, but you know what kind of more things can I do?

Dave: I’m guessing buy Jay’s book.

Jay Inslee: (laughs) That would be too easy.

(All laugh)

Joan: All right I’ll do that.

Ross: I hope it’s printed on recycled paper, by the way.

Inslee: Believe me it is.

Ross: OK.

Inslee: First off I appreciate you asking that question and all of us have some role in this in our personal lives and we can play some role. There are the obvious things like using energy efficient light bulbs, having a water heater that’s set at a temperature that’s not too high, using energy efficient appliances, setting your thermostat at a reasonable level, using public transportation to the extent possible and one of the great, great sort of undiscussed issues in this energy issue is the need for efficient public transportation options for people.

Joan: Yes.

Inslee: We look at the places that have actually succeeded in reducing their CO2 emissions, like Portland for instance, and a large part of it has been because they have been successful at giving people choices other than just a single-occupancy vehicle.

Ross: So you’re saying, “Vote for Proposition 1.”

Inslee: I am voting for proposition 1 and I think 75 percent of that investment there goes to public transport and high occupancy vehicles and that’s the reason I’m voting for it. It’s like anything else. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step forward in public transportation, so I am supporting it.

Trouble is, Inslee lives on Bainbridge Island. As much as islanders identify more with Seattle than, say, Silverdale, they can’t vote on the measure.

I thought perhaps Inslee misspoke, or was registered over there. I called his D.C. office. He isn’t. He misspoke. His office responded:

You’re intuition is absolutely right – Jay is a Bainbridge / Kitsap resident and thus is not eligible to vote on Prop 1.

As the member who represents parts of King and Snohomish counties (see our district map for details: ), however, he backs Proposition 1 and thinks it would help the transportation situation in the 1st Congressional District.

Thanks so much for keeping close tabs on Jay and what he’s up to.

Inslee also wrote a column supportive of Proposition 1 in the Seattle P-I.

Low Turnout

Kitsap Sun reporter Angela Smith has some questions for you. She’s working on a story about low voter turnout in elections like the one we’re in the middle of. Granted, you might not be the target audience, because if you read this site, chances are good you’re going to vote by Tuesday. Nonetheless, she’d like to know:

What would keep you from voting in a junior taxing district race or any of
the smaller, less publicized races such as sewer, water, fire districts,

How do you learn about the issues and candidates in those races?

Do you feel that those races (besides school boards) make much of an impact
on people’s everyday lives?

(Insert Your Group) Supports Levy

Are “joiners” more likely to support tax levies than those who shy away from civic organizations?

I saw this today on the Manette Neighborhood Coalition site.

The Manette Coalition Board of Directors has unanimously endorsed the Neighborhoods Now! Levy.

We believe in supporting measures that promote parks that we can walk to from our homes. An investment in maintaining and retaining open spaces in our neighborhoods fits with our core values. The Neighborhoods Now! Levy is affordable, has a time limit (6 years) and will benefit all citizens of Bremerton; many of our parks are in dire need of revitalizatioon.

As an autonmous neighborhood organization, we have become more involved in attending city council and park commission meetings. The process has been enlightening and interesting. We may not always support everything coming out of city hall, but this is one measure that is highly beneficial and gives great value for a very small personal investment. Please mark your ballot “YES” on proposition 1.

If I lick my finger and put it in the air, I can’t tell you which way the wind is blowing on Bremerton’s Proposition 1. I’ve heard lots of support from different groups. Supporters canvassed the city’s likely voters and have planted signs around town.

Bremerton City Councilman Cecil McConnell and council candidates Roy Runyon and Cassandra Helmrick have all said they planned to vote against it, but I’ve heard of no organized opposition actively campaigning against it.

There was a group or two organized against the ferry measure, but I believe if you were to take chambers of commerce and other like organizations, including newspapers, and line them up next to organizations that opposed the ferry item, the pro list would be much longer. And yet the ferry measure lost by a large margin.

So if I’m right, why is it that civic groups generally support tax and other measures. Secondly, why are they so often on the losing side of the ballot?

Board Duplication a Conflict of Interest?

A copy of this entry appears, with a different heading, on the South Kitsap blog. Chris Henry, South Kitsap reporter

An article in today’s Kitsap Sun gives details of a ballot measure regarding the proposed merger of Karcher Creek Sewer District and Annapolis Water District. Although the boards of both districts have approved he merger and the two have been under a joint operating agreement since June – sharing staff, computers and other resources – voters who live within each district must still give the final nod to the merger.

As it happens, Bill Huntington and Jim Hart both serve on the boards of both Karcher Creek and Annapolis. Huntington — husband of incumbent Port of Bremerton commissioner Mary Ann Huntington — is up for re-election, facing former Annapolis commissioner Jeannie Screws. Hart is running unopposed for re-election as Karcher Creek commissioner.

I asked Larry Curles, general manager for both districts, if this represented a conflict of interest. He said no, that Huntington and Hart’s experience with both water and sewer helps them do a better job of representing the interests of rate payers in each district. He also said having two people on both boards makes this an ideal time for the merger.

A similar situation could evolve in Manchester, where, if Steve Pedersen beats opponent Mark Rebelowski for position 3 of the Port of Manchester race, there would be two people on the boards of the port and the Manchester Water District. Pedersen serves on the water district board. Jim Strode currently serves on both boards. Rebelowski, being careful to say he has nothing against Strode or Pedersen, raised the issue of conflict of interest. Pedersen has said he could see how people might see that as a concern, but he promises a squeaky clean approach if he wins. Strode has said the two districts already share office staff and may consider sharing more to save money.

As the cost for local government entities to do business goes up and up, mergers may become more and more popular. South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel has said the county may in the future consider going regional with some of its functions to share costs with other counties, that are also experiencing tight budgets.

As development proceeds throughout the county, sewer, water and ports (with their power to raise taxes for economic development) will play a larger role in local politics. The law currently allows people to sit on the board of more than one local entity. Should we be taking a second look at this? Playing devil’s advocate here, what’s the worst that could happen?

Weighing the Value of Political Endorsements

I called the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission yesterday to try and answer a question from a caller about political endorsements. The question was, “Must a candidate get endorsements in writing in order to use them in campaign materials?”

The answer, from the PDC’s Lori Anderson, was “no.” There is no law requiring a written statement of endorsement.

Which got me wondering about how endorsements are made. So I ran this hypothetical situation by Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn, “What if a person received a call from a political candidate (or a member of the candidates campaign staff)? What if the person knew and liked the candidate, perhaps even well enough to vote for them, but, for whatever reason — perhaps feeling the need to learn more about the other candidate or the issues in play — did not feel in a position to give a ringing endorsement? What if the person never actually said ‘yes,’ but never actually said ‘no,” and then later they see their name on the candidate’s campaign literature under the heading of endorsements?”

Flynn recommended a common sense approach. Even if there isn’t a law requiring written endorsements, she said, she would strongly encourage people seeking endorsements to get them in writing. Candidates who fail to do so are only putting themselves and their campaign at risk, she said, because hypothetically speaking, if someone on the endorsement list had a beef with their name being on there, they could make the candidate look less than trustworthy. “The danger is to the candidate’s credibility,” said Flynn.

Question of the day: How much do endorsements mean to you when you assess a candidate’s qualifications for office?

Kitsap Auditor’s Votemobile Hits the Road to Help Disabled Voters

The Kitsap County Auditor’s office is trying a new approach to reaching voters with disabilities. They call it a “Votemobile.”

Electronic voting machines, called Disability Access Units, have been in use in Kitsap since shortly after the Help America Vote Act was passed in 2002. The act, drafted in response to controversy over the 2000 presidential election, ensures the right to vote of citizens who might otherwise be disenfranchised.

Kitsap placed the machines in polling places before the county went to all mail-in ballots in 2005. After that, machines were located at the county courthouse and the Poulsbo Fire Station, and elections staff worked with Kitsap Transit to transport voters who wanted to use them.

But as the auditor’s office learned from a panel of citizens familiar with disabilities, most people — especially those who are physically challenged — would rather vote at home, even if it means giving up some privacy by having a family member or caregiver help fill out the ballot. So county elections staff decided to bring the Disability Access Units to the people.

Between now and election day, Nov. 6, the Votemobile will visit nursing homes and assisted living facilities. A schedule is pasted below.

As with mail-in ballots, votes cast on the electronic machines are secure and private, and they are backed up with a paper record in the case of a manual recount, said Auditor Karen Flynn.

Flynn said an aura of controversy still clings to the machines among some “special interest groups,” because of their role in the Bush versus Gore election. Machines similar to those used in Kitsap County were in use, along with punch card ballots, in Florida precincts where the outcome of the vote was questioned. Flynn said such mistrust is an overreaction given that Washington State law provides an arsenal of checks and balances to deter anyone who would try to manipulate results.
‘Whether those devices could be hacked and manipulated, that has never been an issue in Washington State,” said Flynn. “But we still have people who are voicing their concerns and mistrusts.”

Continue reading

Manchester is No Bremerton, Port Candidates Agree

A copy of this posting appears on the Speaking of South Kitsap blog.

It’s amazing how many stories have become tied up in the Port of Bremerton’s new tax to build a $34 million marina.
As a story in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun pointed out, the port’s decision to form an industrial development district, caught many people unaware and has had far reaching repercussions.

South Kitsap School District’s bond measure and the Kitsap Regional Library bond were cited as casualties of the 45 cents per $1,000 tax port district residents will pay (on top of what they have been paying) for the next six years.

Port of Manchester candidates were quick to distance themselves from the Port of Bremerton at an informal meet-and-greet Saturday at the Manchester Library. Port districts are charged by state law with promoting economic development, and the candidates all have slightly different ideas on what that role should be. But when it comes to raising money a la Port of Bremerton, they were all singing the same tune.

Find out how candidates say Manchester differs from Bremerton later at I’ll post the link when the story goes up on the Web.

Realtors Support Bremerton Lid Lift

Mike Eliason just sent a note that says the Kitsap County Association of REALTORS® is behind Bremerton’s Neighborhoods Now campaign.

Bremerton city voters will decide whether to approve a six-year tax hike of about 19 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value to pay to improve parks, install and repair sidewalks and to increase code enforcement at individual properties.

Residents pay the city an average of $2.10 per $1,000 assessed value, in other words $420 a year for a $200,000 home. That average is expected to go down in 2008 to about $1.93. With approval the property tax levy would be $2.12, which comes out to $424 for the $200,000 home. That’s $4 more than in 2007, but $38 more than it would be if voters turn the city down.

The same entry appears on the Bremerton Beat blog.

When Does Temporary Become Permanent?

The Seattle Times, The Columbian and Bob Meadows (His take is at, then you have to search for it.) have all weighed in on Senate Bill 5498. So has Horse’s Ass.

The issue is whether language deletion in the bill now means that lid lifts and the like are permanent unless specified otherwise. A Revenue department memo suggested as much, and the Times is convinced the new law does what Revenue fears. Horse’s Ass disagrees. The Columbian wants clarity and Bob Meadows writes:

The new law gives all taxing districts that can impose regular levies the power to propose this different kind of lid lift, and also makes the increase in the levy lid permanent unless the ballot measure specifically says it is of limited duration.

The State Attorney General has, according to a couple of sources, been asked to weigh in and be the final word on this issue.

As Meadows said in his piece this could be relevant in Bremerton. Bremerton is hoping to get voter approval on a six-year lid lift to pay for park improvements and sidewalk construction. The language clearly states Bremerton the increase in 2008 and for each of the five succeeding years.

Roger Lubovich, Bremerton’s city attorney, said he’s been having discussions with other attorneys on the matter, and there is strong opinion within the legal community that the Department of Revenue speculation (and with it The Seattle Times) is flat out wrong.

I’ve read the bill, and while I don’t count myself as a MENSA member, I don’t think I’m an idiot. I found the bill confusing.

What seemed clear to me, though, is language toward the end of the bill which states,

Except as otherwise provided in an approved ballot measure under this section, after the expiration of a limited period . . . subsequent levies shall be computed as if . . . The limited proposition under subsection (4) of this section had not been approved . . .

That means once the special levy is over, the tax rate goes back to what it would have been had the levy never been passed.

But even Lubovich, an attorney, can’t definitively state that that’s the law. That’s why we’ll all wait for the AG to weigh in.