Kitsap Caucus

A blog about politics and government in Kitsap County as well as Washington state political news as it relates to Kitsap County.
Subscribe to RSS
Back to Kitsap Caucus

Archive for the ‘Election 2011’ Category

Political candidates: It’s that time almost

Monday, May 16th, 2011

From June 6, a Monday, to Friday June 10 candidates for local offices will be filing with the Kitsap County Auditor’s office expressing their intentions to seek a seat on the dais, or some such place.

Most attention will be on city council races. The auditor’s press release follows.

(more…)


We are all absentee now

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

The Washington Secretary of State’s office sent out notice today that Washington is officially a vote-by-mail state everywhere. This changes nothing here, or almost anywhere. Pierce County was the only place allowing voters to show up at polls. That ends now.

Following is the Secretary of State’s notice, which offers some history into Washington’s vote-by mail program.

FYI: Washington has become the second state in America — after Oregon — to move to conducting all elections by mail.

Gov. Chris Gregoire on Tuesday signed Senate Bill 5124, requiring all counties to use the popular vote-by-mail system. As a practical matter, it won’t be a change for most voters, since 98 percent of the statewide vote is now conducted by mail. It will, however, mean that Pierce County, the lone holdout, will need to end use of polling places.
Vote-by-mail gained traction incrementally in Washington. In 1993, the Legislature authorized voters to sign up for permanent absentee voting, meaning a ballot would be sent out automatically for each election. Well over half of the electorate eventually signed up. That same year, a new law authorized nonpartisan primary elections to be handled by mail.
In 2005, six years ago, counties were allowed to decide whether to switch to all vote-by-mail, with the decision to be made by the County Auditor and the County Commission or Council. Counties soon signed up, with some also holding public advisory votes. King, representing 1 voter in 3, was the last major county to switch. That left Pierce as the lone outlier; the County Executive and Auditor supported the change, the County Council did not.
For several sessions, the Legislature declined to mandate that Pierce join the rest of the state, citing the state’s tradition of local control. As more and more Pierce voters themselves switched and as the participation rate for pollsite voters lagged and the price tag rose, Secretary of State Sam Reed, Auditor Julie Anderson, Executive Pat McCarthy, County Auditors and others again turned to Olympia for help. Sen. Scott White, D-Seattle, sponsored the bill and it passed both chambers.
The governor was joined at a bill-signing ceremony by White, Reed and three auditors (Kris Swanson of Cowlitz, Marianne Nichols of Pend Oreille and Kim Wyman of Thurston).
Reed said later that he was pleased that the state is now all vote-by-mail and predicted that the system will spread to other states, particularly in Western states that already have permanent absentee voting as an option.
“Vote-by-mail has been very successful in Washington, including in Pierce County. It simplifies things for the voter and for the election administrators not to have two parallel methods of voting. It is less expensive and I believe it boosts voter participation. Even before counties started switching, many voters themselves decided that this is the way they prefer to vote, over a period of several weeks, in the privacy and convenience of their own homes.”
http://tinyurl.com/3skd38n


Stray cats snuffed (dogs, too) if Utah bill passes

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

I’m sure most legislators’ ideas spring from a well of good intentions. This bill has been amended. The feral dog or cat has to be at least posing a threat to a person, property or livestock to merit death. Here’s one story on it.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Mr. Smith Goes to the State Legislature, Then Later Possibly Washington – Curtis Oda
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Replacing Bill Mahan

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

News today that Bill Mahan will not seek re-election to his post as District 3 commissioner for the Port of Bremerton already has me wondering who will step up to run for his seat. Mahan, a former Kitsap County Commissioner, elected to the port in 2000 will retire from the port at the end of 2011. At 75, he said, “It’s just time for me to go home.”

Mahan represents portions of South Kitsap, Southwest Bremerton, Seabeck/Holly/Crosby. District 2 Commissioner Larry Stokes represents downtown Port Orchard and portions of Eastern South Kitsap. His term is up Dec. 31, 2013. Roger Zabinski, the newest port commissioner, represents District 1, including West Bremerton and portions of East Bremerton through Dec. 31, 2015.

In other Mahan family news, it appears Sandy Mahan, wife of Monty Mahan, Bill’s son, has a serious illness. In a blog entry on “Monty’s view,” Monty Mahan said tests indicate his wife may have cancer in the bones around her spinal column. More testing is under way.

Monty writes, “We ask that anyone who wishes to help us in this difficult time show some patience and restraint for the time being. We’re still in shock and she’s not in a good condition to receive visitors or phone calls. We will certainly post more information as we receive it from the doctors, and we are likely to ask for help once we’ve had a chance to see where things are going and what we need.”

Monty Mahan, who ran unsuccessfully for Kitsap County Commissioner in 2007, is executive director of the Pierce Conservation District in Pierce County. He and Sandy have 9 children, including some who are adopted and some with special needs.


Bonus Taxing Capacity, Deja Vu

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

I just wanted to call out a part of my story this week on a proposed merger between South Kitsap Fire and Rescue and the Bremerton Fire Department.

According to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery, there is the possibility, repeat possibility, that the merger could produce something called bonus taxing capacity for the city of Bremerton. Many variables go into calculating the city’s maximum allowable tax rate, and remember that, if the merger is approved on the November, 2011 ballot, the tax implications pertain to 2012. So anyone trying to make predictions as to whether this would happen or not would have to make some educated guesses about the variables.

What the implications would be for individual Bremerton property owners is likewise hard to pin down. But Avery did confirm that the merger could play out in the same manner as when the cities of Poulsbo and Port Orchard were annexed into NKFR and SKFR respectively. The same potential exists as a result of Port Orchard’s annexation into Kitsap County Regional Library District. The PO council, however, has said they do not plan to access the additional taxing capacity, so it gets “banked” until and unless a future council chose to use it.

Avery said he and his staff would take a closer look at the numbers, but with the holiday, I don’t expect a quick answer.

Bremerton City Council President Nick Wofford said he would not comment on the hypothetical possibility of the city being able to use or bank bonus taxing capacity because there are currently too many unknowns.

Hypothetical as this issue — and the merger itself — are, I mention bonus taxing capapacity not to stir up Chicken Little, running around squawking “tax hike, tax, hike!” But the possibility of such does deserve mention and more analysis.


“Sustainable” Revenue Among County Commissioners’ 2011 Priorities

Monday, June 21st, 2010

I attended the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners retreat today at the county campus. (Bunnies are back in the parking lot, I see. Thought they’d been eaten by raccoons.)

The big news coming out of the meeting was that the board is considering a tax measure for 2011. Two years ago, when the crumbling economy was getting too hard to ignore, Josh Brown, who is up for re-election this year, said the idea of raising taxes was not on the table. The message he and the rest of the board got was that any tax increase would be intolerable.

Brown, as I recall our discussion, did not preclude a tax hike proposal at some point in the future. Some day, he said, citizens may need to choose between maintaining an adequate level of services — including public safety — and avoiding a tax increase. What’s changed since then and now, said Brown and fellow commissioner Steve Bauer, is that the county has run out of ways to absorb revenue lost as a result of the recession and the cumulative effects of the 1 percent limit on property tax increases.

The discussion is still in its very early stages, and commissioners will be checking in with the public on the proposed tax measure, as well as other county issues.

Today’s meeting heralds budget season at the county. There will still be some give and take between the board and department heads as they hammer out the 2011 budget, but here are the commissioners’ other priorities (in no particular order).

Under the heading of “Land as a Resource”,” North Kitsap Legacy Partnership: The county must dedicate resources to the several departments involved in planning for a private-public development and land conservation project in North Kitsap.

Water as a Resource: The county wants to make conservation of water an ongoing priority. Kitsap County, unlike other areas of the state, relies solely on rainfall to replenish its aquifers. Even in our rain drenched area of the state, maintaining access to adequate clean water will require a concerted and well-coordinated effort, county officials say.

Financial and Service Sustainability (several related items here):
a. Performance measures: The commissioners want to institute performance measures to ensure that the county is getting the most bang for its buck. Bauer has been a strong proponent of this approach. Department heads have been measuring activities, but there’s been no monitoring, said county administrator Nancy Buonanno-Grennan. “They don’ generally measure meaningful things,” she said. “There’s not a lot of rigor to them.”
b. Compensation reform: The county will analyze its salaries to make sure its compensation is reasonably in line with private sector salaries.
c. Public Discourse on Services: The county will ask the public to weigh in on what services it wants and expects in unincorporated areas (this is related to annexation issues and the ballot measure issue below).
d. Annexation policies: The city will develop these in coordination with cities to make the process of annexation, with its trade-off of revenue and responsibilities more predictable.
e. Interaction with cities on annexation: The county will meet individually with leaders of Kitsap cities on their respective plans for annexing urban growth areas. They’ll be looking for a two-year plan of action to make the process more predictable for everyone.
f. Public outreach to urban growth areas: The county will try to inform citizens about changes they would see with annexation.

Under the heading of Resource Conservation/Economic Development/Green Jobs: South Kitsap Commissioner Chalotte Garrido is pushing for a regional effort to secure energy grants. (Garrido mentioned this initiative, already under way at the county level, as a possible model for performance measurements, since the county already has some experience in this area with grants that require measurable outcomes.)

Also under Resource Conservation, the county needs to have a sustainable business plan for its parks department, Garrido said, and it need to standardize its policies and procedures that affect all of the counties parks, even though they are quite different from one another. Garrido also wants to see some action on plans for South Kitsap parks including South Kitsap Regional Park and Howe Farm. Of SK Regional Park, Garrido said, “There should be things happening in that park with the funding that has been designated to it.” Bauer raised to possibility that the county some day may need to let go of parks altogether, which would require the formation of a municipal parks district.


Kitsap County GOP Platform

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

What follows is the Kitsap County Republican Party’s platform, adopted at its convention Saturday. I’ve made a request to Democrats to send me theirs after the meet next month.

(more…)


Available on Kindle

Polls

If someone employed by an elected official then runs against that elected official, should the employee be fired?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Primary Election

Politifact Truth-O-Meter

Kitsap Caucus Views since Jan. 4, 2013

Archives

About Kitsap Caucus

Kitsap Sun reporters blog about politics, government and other wonkisms of import to Kitsap County.

Kitsap Caucus

Promote Your Page Too