Category Archives: Election 2012

State payout to local counties $800,000 for election to replace Inslee in Congress

Kitsap County received $55,706.21 for its share of last year’s election to replace Jay Inslee in Congress for a month.

Jerry Corn at the (Everett) Herald has the story revealing the final amount the state paid to local counties to add an election to replace Jay Inslee in Congress.

Inslee resigned for his seat in Congress early in 2012 to focus on the governor’s race, which I’m guessing most of you know he won.

Kitsap, Pierce county electeds to pick Kilmer successor

Commissioners from Kitsap County and Pierce County council members meet Thursday morning to choose a replacement for Derek Kilmer in the state Legislature.

Kilmer resigned the 26th Legislative District state Senate seat after being elected to Congress.

Following the rules set by the state constitution, 26th District Democratic precinct committee officers picked a ranked list of three nominees from which the county leaders will choose a senator.

In the most recent cases in Kitsap the commissioners have gone with the party’s top pick. On Dec. 27 that was Nathan Schlicher, an emergency room doctor in Gig Harbor. Schlicher also has a law degree. He came in first, but it was close. He had a plurality of votes on the first ballot and the second ballot was a tie with Todd Iverson, a longshoreman and member of the PenMet Parks board in Gig Harbor. Schlicher won on the third ballot with a 12-11 vote. Iverson was ranked second. Gerry Baldwin, former district party chairman and airline analyst, was ranked third.

Each county gets 50 percent of the vote on Thursday, according to Kitsap County Clerk Dave Peterson. Kitsap has three commissioners and Pierce has seven council members.

The selection is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Gig Harbor City Hall, 3510 Grandview St.

First-world congressional problems

Dennis Kucinich is Milton.
Most jobs you’re actually allowed to pack up your stuff and leave the building forever before you’re displaced from your desk. I mean imagine your boss telling you in two weeks you have to leave, and for that two weeks you have to move all your stuff to the room with the vending machines.

That’s akin to what’s happening in Congress. I guess it’s how things work there, because nobody complains about it that I know of. I didn’t know that was how things operated and I had the experience of a highly educational internship as a reporter in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1986, when John McCain, John Breaux, Harry Reid and Tom Daschle gave up their House seats for ones in the Senate.

I learned all about this office shuffling on Thursday. I had read the story about newly elected Congressman Derek Kilmer picking number 65 out of 70 for office space. (In that competition, that high score is a bad thing.) But it hadn’t occurred to me that Norm Dicks would already be out of his space. I mean now it makes sense. Like “duh.” I should have had my first clue when I saw all the furniture in the Rayburn hallways.

But on Thursday I knew his staff was in the Rayburn building. I went there and looked at the directory on the wall to find out which office belonged to our soon-to-be retired politician. I found the number, went to the location and found a California flag outside the door. The office now belongs to George Miller, D-Calif. I asked the cherubs inside the front office where Dicks’ office had gone to and was told it was in the basement cafeteria, where all the “retirees” from the building were placed. I put that word in quotes, because not everyone down there is retiring by choice.

“Basement” in this case isn’t as bad as it sounds, and there is a separation between the room of cubicles and the actual eating area.

After finding Dicks’ main cubicle (No. 36) I was told my contact there, Chief of Staff George Behan, would be there in a while. So I waited in a comfy chair nearby and was looking over emails when in my view I saw Cubicle 27, the current landing spot of U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. You may remember that Kucinich considered becoming “D-Wash.” but wasn’t exactly welcomed by local party brass and he wasn’t gerrymandered out of his district as expected. Instead, he was put in the same district as Marcy Kaptur, another Ohio Democrat who also wasn’t looking to retire. She beat him in the primary, which set the stage for Kucinich being found in a cubicle smaller than mine, straining his neck to talk on his cell phone and wondering where his stapler went.

Dicks, by the way, being the ranking Democrat in Appropriations, has office space in the committee offices and he has his own office space in the Capitol itself. From my perspective, he still looks like a member of Congress.

What was the biggest election surprise?

Did you participate in an election pool and lose because you picked Rob McKenna over Jay Inslee? Did you think Linda Simpson would carry her primary momentum into the general election and defeat Charlotte Garrido in the county commissioner’s race? Did you buy into Karl Rove’s “math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better” and think all the polls predicting an Obama victory were slanted?

Or was it something else? Was the margin of victory for gay marriage proponents slimmer than you thought it would be? Did Washington voters allowing for charter schools surprise you?

Let us know on the right, and in the comments section.

Late local numbers favor Democrats

Up until 2010 we who watched elections closely thought we could count on later election numbers in Washington swinging in the Republican direction. In 2010 that changed, so I wanted to see this year whether Democrats had broken a trend, or started a new one.

Based on round numbers, no decimal points, it seems Democrats have again shown their ability to get out the vote late, at least locally. In looking at 10 races of interest to Kitsap residents, three races showed the same percentage points on Nov. 6 and Nov. 20, one swung more Republican and six favored Democrats as later numbers came in.

The governor’s race remained a 51-49 score. Charlotte Garrido still has 52 percent in her race against Linda Simpson in the county commissioner race, and state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, maintained his 54-46 edge over Republican Doug Richards.

Meanwhile Democrat Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, gained a point in his bid for Congress over Republican Bill Driscoll. Democrat Rob Gelder remained at 55 in his county commissioner race, while Republican Chris Tibbs dropped a point. In the 23rd Legislative District Democrats Sherry Appleton and Drew Hansen gained a point, while Tony Stephens dropped one and James Olsen held steady. In the 35th Democrat Kathy Haigh went from leading with a 50-50 margin to a 51-49 edge over Dan Griffey.

The other race in the 35th saw the biggest swing, though it didn’t change the end result. Republican Drew MacEwen had a 55-45 edge over Lynda Ring-Erickson on election night and as of Tuesday that lead was down to 52-48.

The one race that went bluer redder was Republican Jan Angel’s race against Karin Ashabraner in the 26th District. Angel gained a point while Ashabraner lost one, with Tuesday’s margin at 59-41.

While I was away state Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, said she’ll introduce a bill to require ballots be on hand in county elections office by election day, rather than having them postmarked by then. She made the announcement on the 14th.

“We’re now more than a week past Election Day and in some areas of the state, people still don’t know who their elected officials are going to be. Those races may be determined by ballots that haven’t even been received yet. Washington has the slowest system in the country for receiving votes, and it’s simply one that needs to be improved.

“This isn’t just a matter of convenience. I can tell you personally that there are many things an incoming legislator must do to get up to speed for a legislative session. Delaying an outcome by days or weeks inhibits their ability to effectively represent their district,” Becker said in a statement.

Republicans did see some key races swing their way in at least one statewide race and in Southwest Washington. Republican Kim Wyman was behind on election night to Democrat Kathleen Drew in the race for Secretary of State, but that 50-50 race is now actually 50.5-49.5 in Wyman’s favor now. In Vancouver Republican Don Benton leads the 17th District state Senate race by 104 votes over Democrat Tim Probst, a margin that makes that race eligible for an automatic recount should the current difference hold. On election night Probst was winning. That race is key because it has the potential of swinging the balance of power in the Senate chamber if Republicans can woo enough Democrats over to form a coalition majority.

Simpson waiting for final count, weighing her future plans

Linda Simpson, Republican candidate for Kitsap County Commissioner, District 2, was not available for comment last night after election results came in. The initial tally showed her trailing Democrat Charlotte Garrido by 3,753 votes. The percentage margin was 52 to 47.

Simpson called today to say she was disappointed and somewhat stunned by the results.

“I was kind of hoping it would be the other way around,” she said. “It’s not insurmountable, so there’s a little bit of hope.”

But an update posted by the Kitsap County Auditor at 5 p.m showed the margin between the two had barely budged. Garrido is now leading Simpson by 3,969 votes, with 77,245 votes counted in this race. Kitsap has 39,000 ballots in hand yet to be counted, according to the Washington State Auditor, and all are eligible to vote in the commissioner’s race.

Simpson decided to pursue the commissioner’s seat after seeing considerable success in the 2010 race for 35th District representative, position 2. In that race, she ended up losing to Democrat Fred Finn by a mere 52 votes in Kitsap County. The totals in the four counties that made up the 35th at the time (Kitsap, Grays Harbor, Mason and Thurston) gave 29,543 votes to Finn and 25,724 votes to Simpson, a difference of 3,819 votes.

Simpson today said she went into the homestretch of her campaign for county commissioner feeling optimistic. Not only was she getting support from her own party, but non-Republicans had voiced their intent to cast their ballots for her.

Simpson believes the message that resonated with voters of all political persuasions was her commitment to represent individual rights and give a transparent accounting of how taxpayers’ dollars are spent. On election night, Simpson was almost sure she would win.

“I really felt good about (the campaign),” she said. “I really felt quite surprised and dismayed that the results were the opposite.”

Simpson will wait for the final count to come in before throwing in the towel. But she’s looking ahead to the possibility of a loss. Glass-more-than-half-full type that she is, Simpson, a Navy reservist on leave, said she would take advantage of the down time if she loses the race.

Since running against Finn, Simpson has lost her leg in a motorcycle accident, won four medals in the Warrior Games for injured military members and jumped into the commissioner’s race last summer, less than a year after her injury. Simpson is training for the upcoming Warrior Games in Hawaii. She hopes some day to start a foundation to give financial assistance to military amputees who, unlike herself, lack funds to cope with their disabilities. And to be honest, she could use a little “me” time to relax and regroup, she said.

Simpson does not rule out a future run for public office. “I wouldn’t say never, but I wouldn’t say it’s a high priority on my list right now,” she said.

Those political races that have you flummoxed

This is you about something, probably, especially if your computer is that old.
You might be solid on Romney or Obama. Hansen and Olsen? That one’s easy.

What about Watkins and Kelley in the auditor’s race? That’s the one that got the (Tacoma) News Tribune’s editorial board opining, “…this race makes us wish more than ever that Sonntag weren’t stepping down.” (The board endorsed Watkins, but longed for time travel and the incumbent’s reconsideration.)

Look to the right and you’ll see a list of 31 questions that will appear on ballots in this county. I left out the races with one candidate and the 23rd Legislative District Senate race, because even though the Republican candidate’s name is on the ballot, he is not running.

We want to know which races have you holding on to your ballot a while longer before sending it in.

I’m getting emails from both Romney and Obama and others referencing early voting in Ohio. Both parties are emphasizing it this year, more than I can ever recall. I can tell you this, though. I’m still not certain on some of the questions I have to answer in the election. In some cases it’s because I believe both choices are good. In others it’s because I keep wishing for something positive from either choice.

Look at the 31 options to the right. And feel free to share your thoughts in the comments here on which races are tough.

The Seattle Times crosses a line

The Seattle Times gave Rob McKenna and “Yes on 74″ supporters free advertising, a full page’s worth. Some of you will argue that we reporters do that all the time based on who we write about, and in some sense you’re correct.

But this is literal. It’s free advertising. In Public Disclosure Commission terms, it’s Rob McKenna’s governor campaign getting an $80,000 boost in the form of an independent expenditure. In other words, the campaign doesn’t get the money, but it gets the benefit.

The technicalities of all that are a side point. The real question is whether the Seattle Times crossed a line. My thought is whether you agree with what the Times did or not, it most certainly crossed a line seldom, if ever, passed by traditional newspapers.

That seems to be a real problem for some of the paper’s readers, or former readers if their comments are to be believed. I read those comments and there are many who are fine with the paper expressing an opinion or offering an endorsement on an editorial page, but to give any campaign a free ad appears to be downright distasteful.

People think it baloney anyway the idea that we in the newsroom don’t consort with the editorial page writers and the advertisers. I can say it over and over that our coverage is not influenced by who advertises with us or who we endorse, and some of you won’t believe it. I understand why. Money and power influences anything it can, which means almost everything. To think that it wouldn’t at a newspaper seems challenging. But I’ll tell you again that I don’t get instructions from the ad reps and that I don’t know any sooner than you do who our paper will endorse. Some ad reps in the past tried, but when they made demands I or my bosses told them to back off. You don’t have to believe me. You should, but you don’t have to.

Apparently Jay Inslee doesn’t believe that. His campaign issued a press release blasting the Times.

Copy for the ad had to be written, artwork had to be prepared by someone,” said Jay Inslee Communications Director, Sterling Clifford. “It is difficult to believe that none of the Times’ supposedly neutral newsroom resources were used for this partisan ad.

I’ll tell you what’s difficult to believe, that anyone on Jay Inslee’s staff has ever worked at a newspaper. Advertising staffs have people who know how to write and create art. It’s what they do. Prove me wrong, but as justifiably wounded as Inslee’s campaign might feel, I have no problem believing the Times newsroom had no knowledge of the ad.

That doesn’t make what the Times did acceptable. In the Times own story on the decision, Jim Brunner gets comments from two people who spend a lot of time considering things like newspaper ethics. They both said the Times’ reporters’ credibility is at stake.

“Regular people have trouble believing there is a wall between the editorial side of news, and the reporting side. This would seem to make that even more difficult. However the Times rationalizes this, they are using the resources of the paper to promote a candidate and cause preferred by the editorial side (and, it would seem, ownership). Fair or not to you folks on the reporting side, my sense is the public perception of the Times’ credibility and objectivity takes a big hit here,” said Todd Donovan, political science professor at Western Washington University.

And for me that’s the bigger problem. A corporation is under no obligation to be fair to a political candidate. Corporations chose sides. But also affecting a corporation’s bottom line is the perceived credibility of its employees, and in this case that’s the reporting staff in Seattle. We reporters are not perfect at being fair, but almost everyone I’ve ever met from a traditional newspaper tries to be. That’s worth something.

David Postman, a former Seattle Times political reporter whose exit from the business for the PR world I’ve mourned for years, (Though secretly sometimes I wish I could follow him out of here.) offered a great discussion on how journalists shoot their own credibility sometimes. It came in 2007 when people in the Times newsroom cheered when Karl Rove announced his departure from the Bush White House.

We’re not perfect. We don’t need our employers messing up our reputations anymore. While I continue to believe in the general integrity of the Times’ newsroom, and while I can see how the corporation that runs the paper could justify advertising how it will and claim its newsroom is unaffected, this move isn’t doing reporters there any favors. And on that point that Inslee’s campaign may be right when its press release concludes, “The Times asks readers to trust its reporters and trust its objectivity,” Clifford said.”The Times’ management has made a decision that raises serious questions for the people of Washington.”

UPDATE: Preserve Marriage Washington has issued its own statement.

“This decision of the Seattle Times is a stunning example of journalistic bias, greed and stupidity,” exclaimed Frank Schubert, Campaign Director for Preserve Marriage Washington. “It is such a poor decision on so many levels that it’s hard to react. First, they have abandoned any pretense of objectivity and have seriously damaged their brand as a result. People do not subscribe to newspapers in order to be fed the political opinion of editors, they subscribe to get the unvarnished news. The Times has put themselves in the position of being seen as paid political advocates, seriously undermining their journalistic credibility. Worse, they are apparently so desperate for future revenue that they are willing to openly sell themselves in order to show political consultants how advertising with them will be good for their clients. The whole thing smacks of a pay-to-play scheme. It certainly begs the question if in exchange for a consultant agreeing to advertise with the Times, the paper will run a paid editorial supporting their client. I have been a political consultant for 30 years — have twice been named the nation’s top political consultant — and if the Times approached me with this kind of idea, I’d want to go take a shower.”

Defending the undecided voter

It’s time to offer up another lukewarm defense for someone who didn’t ask to be defended. I did it before for Bruce Danielson. This time I’m sticking up for the undecided voter.

It is a timely defense, because Tuesday’s presidential debate questions come from those who haven’t committed to voting for Barack Obama’s re-election or Mitt Romney’s challenger bid. Saturday Night Live did a great skit about undecided voters, a mock-commercial that sums up many of our thoughts about people who have not yet made a choice. I’ll post the video at the end.

As further evidence against the non-committal types I found a site that purported to show who undecided voters are. In some cases it’s not pretty. They have less education, less money, little in retirement savings, are more likely to be unemployed, less likely to be married but more likely to have kids living with them in homes they don’t own.

Given the swing in poll numbers since the first debate, I can see why some in America are troubled that it’s on these people that the election hinges.

But I’m going to suggest, with no evidence whatsoever, that there may be a significant segment of undecided America that is thoughtful, perhaps even quantifiably liberal or conservative, who have yet to make a decision. Allow me to offer some examples. They’re hypothetical, but I bet you could find people who fit this category.

The Ronulan or Libertarian: Ron Paul supporters were asked to be good little soldiers and support the Republican banner carrier, even though they were hosed at the Republican National Convention when they had their last chance to make a meaningful stand. It’s not what happened at the convention, though, that makes them undecided. Sure, they probably like Romney’s economic policies better. But he might not go far enough their direction, and Romney’s foreign policy pronouncements about how engaged America should be might frighten them. It’s not that they like what Obama has done, but it might the preferable option of the two candidates who have a chance to win. Same goes for backers of the actual Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson who nonetheless don’t want to see a vote wasted. The waffling may be a question of which policy position matters more.

The sad liberal: Many liberals rejoiced when Obama was elected and created unrealistic expectations they should have known to temper. He said all along he would listen to everyone. Whether he did or not is an argument conservatives would like to contest, but nonetheless what Obama put forward were not bigtime liberal solutions, most notably on financial regulations, the economic stimulus and health care reform. First off, any stimulus at all leans liberal, I’ll grant you that. But the one that got through was not nearly as large as the most liberal suggested it needed to be. Furthermore, much of it was tax cuts that you and I are still getting. The 2 percent payroll tax cut has never gone away. On financial reform anyone can see that loud as many will complain about Dodd-Frank, some of the complaints are that it didn’t go far enough. He didn’t force banks to break themselves up into smaller pieces, and he didn’t nationalize any. On health care reform you have to know liberals wanted universal health care, with the government acting as the national insurance company. Instead he championed a program that required everyone to get insurance, which made it possible to get other reforms in place and ensured that insurers had more customers. So, a liberal disappointed on so many fronts might be considering voting for Romney, hoping that his performance will be so bad that a new liberal candidate could have a chance in 2016.

The pragmatist: A liberal pragmatist might have voted for Kerry in 2004, but when the economy tanked was glad his guy didn’t win that year, ushering in the age of Obama. That person might conclude four more years of Obama would be bad for liberals generally. A conservative pragmatist may dislike Romney enough, for whatever reason, that the thought of him becoming president for possibly eight years seems worse than living with Obama for four more. And there are those who are middle-of the-road pragmatists, who just want someone who can make the country work better.

Of course, the Saturday Night Live image is more fun, but I wouldn’t put these people in the “likely voter” category.

See who will be, has been, advertising

Wanting to visit the kitchen or the loo, but don’t want to miss an important political advertisement? Now you have help. All kidding aside, this could be good information to have.

Thanks to Political Ad Sleuth, you can see, in advance and in the rear view mirror, who is paying for political advertising on local television stations. By following the links to the Seattle stations I can see that Derek Kilmer, a Democrat running for the 6th Congressional District seat left open by the retirement of Norm Dicks, will be running ads on “Ellen,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and several other shows. Bill Driscoll, the Republican running in the same race, will have commercials on “The View,” and “Jeopardy.” Both candidates will have spots on other shows as well, but you get the idea.

That Driscoll and Kilmer are advertising is interesting in terms of when spots are airing, I suppose. It’s useful to be able to see the actual documents that show the sausage being made.

What would have been a surprise to me months ago is how little outside money is coming in. The Republican Governors Association has made a mark in airing lots of anti-Jay Inslee ads, while Our Washington is painting Rob McKenna in negative tones. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has an ad against John Koster. The Republican State Leadership Commission has ads favoring Reagan Dunn, or against Bob Ferguson, for attorney general.

No other Congressional race appears to have generated negative television. Some of that has to do with how safe incumbents are. The rest has to do with the competitiveness of other races compared to districts elsewhere.

Have two stamps ready for your ballot

Walt Washington, county auditor, issued a statement saying ballots will begin arriving Oct. 19 and that this year’s ballot will require two first-class stamps should you choose to mail it back. Or you can weigh it to get the exact postage. The bottom line is one stamp won’t be enough.

An alternative to mailing is to drop the ballot at one of six drop boxes throughout the county. The drop boxes are at the following sites:

  • The Poulsbo Fire Station
  • The Bainbridge Island Fire Station
  • The upper parking lot at the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton
  • The County Administration Building in Port Orchard
  • The Central Kitsap School District Administration Building in Silverdale
  • The Sylvan Way Kitsap Regional Library branch building in East Bremerton

Washington also offers information about licensing, housing and shelter programs and financial reporting.

Continue reading

Send your fundraising pitches to me

Of all Kitsap Caucus readers I have a request. If you’re getting political fundraising letters in your email, forward them to me at sgardner@kitsapsun.com.

Don’t send me the ones from Barack Obama’s team or from Mitt Romney’s. Those guys haven’t stopped contacting me. I’m particularly interested in the local races, anything from the 6th Congressional District race on down to state legislative contests.

Since I don’t donate to campaigns (“I am a journalist and, under the modern journalist’s code of Olympian objectivity [and total purity of motive], I am absolved of responsibility. We journalists don’t have to step on roaches. All we have to do is turn on the kitchen light and watch the critters scurry.” — P.J. O’Rourke) I don’t get as many pitches for money. First off, they know I can’t or shouldn’t contribute. Secondly, they know that as a journalist I don’t have any money anyway.

I’m asking because one went out recently that was forwarded to me, but I’d feel better if I had more copies to verify this thing actually went out. Send me anything you’ve got.

It’s generally a bad idea to invite more emails, but in this case I’m willing to take that risk. Besides, I love hearing from you guys. Well, most of you.

I do get some pitches, mostly from people I never asked to contact me. The Committee to Defeat Barack Obama sends a few notes a day, it seems, and just today I found out Kenneth from Bremerton received the time-honored designation as a “Friend of Paul Ryan” by donating $200 to CDBO. Way to go Kenneth! Or maybe I should say “Way to go Paul Ryan! You’ve got a new friend in Bremerton!”

Joe Biden wrote to me personally and told me he and Obama need me to the tune of at least $5. It’s great to be needed, but I just gave my last $5 to the economy. I’m a job creator that way.

Don’t send me those letters. Congress on down.

Thanks, I guess.

Mail-in voter registration deadline is Oct. 6

Voters who plan to participate in the Nov. 6 General Election have until Oct. 6 to postmark their registrations. Online registration, except for those who have never registered in Washington State, will remain open through Oct. 8.
Ballots in Washington’s all-mail election will go out Oct. 19.
Normally, Oct. 8 would be the last day before the General Election for mail-in registrations, but this year, Oct. 8 falls on Columbus Day, a federal holiday.
Those who have never registered to vote in Washington must register in person at their county elections office. Oct. 29 is the in-person deadline for new registrations.
Download a printable voter registration form at elections@sos.wa.gov; click on “voters,” “update my registration” and look for “by mail.”
For more information, see the MyVote page of the Washington Secretary of State’s website, http://www.sos.wa.gov.
Locally, contact or visit the Kitsap County Elections Division, 619 Division Street in Port Orchard, (360) 337-7128; http://www.kitsapgov.com/aud/elections.htm
ov; click on “voters,” “update my registration” and look for “by mail.”
Those who have never registered to vote in Washington must register in person at their county elections office. Oct. 29 is the in-person deadline for new registrations.
For more information, contact or visit the Kitsap County Elections Division, 619 Division Street in Port Orchard, (360) 337-7128; http://www.kitsapgov.com/aud/elections.htm

KRCC bypasses debate on PSRC membership

John Powers of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance presented the newly revised “roadmap” for economic development in the Central Puget Sound region to the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council on Tuesday.

Kitsap officials had a heavy hand in drafting the Regional Economic Strategy, said Ed Stern, Poulsbo city councilman and board vice chair of the Economic Development District. That’s the body charged with revising the plan every five years so the region — made up of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties — remains qualified for federal funding.

Stern had hoped that the presentation would include a forum on the relative merits of Kitsap belonging to the Puget Sound Regional Council, under whose umbrella the EDD now resides. It may seem like a lot of alphabet soup, but at issue is a longstanding argument in some camps that the interests of Kitsap County, with 254,633 residents, is overshadowed by the the three other, much larger counties, whose total population is nearly 3.5 million.

The PSRC is a quasi-governmental body that oversees planning for growth, transportation and economic development in the Central Puget Sound Region, which is unique in that federal transportation dollars it receives are allocated through recommendations from the PSRC, not through Olympia.

Alternatives proposed in the past have included leaving the PSRC and joining forces with the Jefferson and Clallam counties to the west or going it as a stand-alone entity. Former County Commissioner Jan Angel was part of the contingent arguing against membership in the PSRC. Former Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola found a lot not to like about the PSRC, including its Vision 2040 transportation plan, and yet he advocated keeping Kitsap’s “place at the table.”

According to Stern, a strong advocate of staying with the PSRC and a Democrat, the great PSRC debate crops up at each election cycle typically along party lines with some Republicans advocating separation. Stern had envisioned today’s meeting as a chance to ferret out any anti-PSRC sentiment among members of the KRCC board, which includes county commissioners, mayors, council members and tribal leaders. That forum didn’t happen.

“I was encouraging John to bring it up to put it to bed,” Stern said after the meeting. “But the leadership (on the KRCC board) already feels there’s consensus.”

In other words, the question of whether Kitsap should remain with the PSRC is not even remotely ripe for debate, as far the KRCC is concerned.

As for Stern’s theory about elections, Reporter Brynn Grimley was at this morning’s Eggs and Issues debate between North Kitsap Commissioner Rob Gelder, the Democratic incumbent, and Chris Tibbs, his Republican challenger. She said there was nary a peep about Kitsap’s membership in the PSRC.

Powers said Kitsap, though smaller than the other counties, competes handily with other PSRC affiliates. The Puget Sound Region is recognized as a player worldwide for its defense, advanced manufacturing and IT industries, all of which Kitsap County has, Powers said.

“Although we’re only seven percent of that population base (the whole Central Puget Sound Region), our output exceeds our population base,” Powers said. “I would submit to you as elected officials to join us (KEDA) in telling our story in the Puget Sound region and beyond, because we can compete on that stage.”

Powers said it makes sense for Kitsap to affiliate with the region to the west with which it shares so may of the same interests and attributes.

“We have a lot to contribute and offer to this region,” Powers said. “The logic is simple. Everyone knows there is strength in numbers. There are advantages in collaborating together.”

Debbie Lester, representing the Bainbridge Island City Council, noted that inadequate ferry service is one of the “choke points” standing in the way of Kitsap’s ability to compete with the other three counties and recognize its full economic potential.

Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson and Port Orchard City Councilwoman Carolyn Powers (no relation to John) both bemoaned the region’s lack of a central financial institution or development authority aimed at drawing or growing businesses. John Powers said that topic was discussed during the economic plan revision but it didn’t make the short list due to lack of resources at this time.

If any on the KRCC board who were present harbored separatist feelings about the PSRC, they did not share them.

’47 percent’ may not matter much after all

I always suspected this about cats. This comes from sodahead.com.

Four years ago I relied much on the RealClearPolitics website to find a broad mix of stories related to the political noise of the day. Who knew that four years later the site would still be my most valued source on national issues at a time when hot sites become relics within weeks?

I found two pieces today that offer reasoned (a rare adjective these days) discussion on what Romney said. And to be clear, I believe what Romney described as “not elegantly stated” should more accurately be described as “as wrong calling a cat a fascist.” That is, the 47 percent he named, those who don’t pay income tax, are not all the “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

That said, it has opened a conversation about the fact that 47 percent don’t pay federal income taxes. And that’s where Debra Saunders is taking us when she says,

“…the result is an America in which close to half of voters can support any scheme designed to expand the scope of federal government, secure in the knowledge that they likely will not have to pay for it.”

On the flip side, it is worth discovering why there is 47 percent not paying federal income taxes. It’s not just because of the snoozy economy. Steve Chapman, in an editorial that is (I’m warning you now.) highly critical of Romney and his statement, (The title, “Romney’s Dependancy Delusion” is a clue.) explains it this way, among others:

“Since 1990, the number of people getting Social Security benefits has risen by more than a third. That’s not because the government has suddenly enlarged the program in an effort to undermine self-reliance. It’s because there are more old people.”

RCP also links a Washington Post blog post by Aaron Blake, who says the gaffe probably won’t matter in November.

Which reminds me, the Atlantic Monthly has a graph showing historical evidence that Romney’s comment will have little impact on the election’s ultimate outcome.

6th District forum schedule change

A forum for 6th Congressional District candidates that was to have been hosted by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce Sept. 26 has been canceled, because only one of the two candidates would have been able to attend, Coreen Haydock, the chamber’s executive director announced Monday.
Haydock declined to say which candidate would have been the no-show. Derek Kilmer, who was the lone Democrat in the primary, is running against Republican Bill Driscoll, who beat out four Republicans and one Independent candidate. Kilmer and Driscoll are vying for the seat that longtime Congressman Norm Dicks, a Democrat, will vacate when he retires at the end of the year.
The Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce will host a debate between Kilmer and Driscoll from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 19 at Peninsula High School, 14105 Purdy Drive Northwest Gig Harbor, WA 98332. An RSVP via the chamber’s website, www.gigharborchamber.net, is requested. For information, call 253-851-6865.
On Wednesday, the Port Orchard chamber will host a forum among candidates in the 26th and 35th state Legislative races from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. at the Port Orchard Pavilion, 701 Bay St., in downtown Port Orchard.
There is no cost, but RSVPs are appreciated; 360-876-3505.

6th Congressional District endorsement talk

Typically we shy away from making big splashes out of endorsements. By the end of the campaign there will be so many that it’s usually better to just let the candidates produce a list, which is what most of them do at some point any way. That’s how you knew that Chris Henry endorsed Charlotte Garrido. (It was NOT the Kitsap Sun’s Chris Henry.)

A couple in the 6th District Congressional Race are worth mentioning. I’m kicking myself now for not mentioning former Republican U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton’s endorsement of Republican candidate Bill Driscoll in July when it happened. I have two reasons to regret that call. One is for the reason the (Tacoma) News Tribune called attention to it. Gorton and fellow Republican Tom Huff both served on the state’s redistricting commission and split their allegiances in the Congressional race. Gorton, as mentioned, endorsed Driscoll. Huff endorsed Jesse Young.

The other reason to mention it then was because Young had listed Gorton as one of his endorsements in his 2010 bid for Congress. Gorton switched horses, as it were.

On Wednesday Democratic candidate Derek Kilmer announced what his supporters certainly have to consider significant news. On Sunday I was interviewed by a couple of local knuckleheads who produce a weekly online radio show. They asked me if Driscoll’s military experience was a plus for him. It’s an easy “yes” on the question, and it’s one of the things Driscoll emphasizes, the other two being businessman and non-politician.

Kilmer, in landing the endorsement of retired Washington Army and Air National Guard Major General Timothy Lowenberg, can hope to soften whatever impact Driscoll’s military experience is having. Lowenberg will chair Veterans for Kilmer, going with the candidate to veterans meetings.

“I am supporting Derek because of his intellectual rigor, work ethic and diligence in making well-informed, fact-based decisions on policy issues,” said Lowenberg in the statement issued by the campaign. “He is knowledgeable about foreign and domestic security matters and committed to serving those who serve our nation in uniform. He will be a Congressman our service members and their loved ones can count on – and will reflect great credit on the citizens of his district.”

In August Lowenberg contributed $500 to Republican Rob McKenna in the governor’s race.

UPDATED: 2012 Kitsap General Election survey says

UPDATE: The survey is now closed.

Again, these numbers are not scientific. Where they are most interesting is in how one set of responses compares to another. So the Obama/Romney numbers are not necessarily useful on their own, but when compared to McKenna/Inslee, Kilmer/Driscoll and the gay marriage question they might be.


If you want to download a copy, here is a link.
2012 Survey

Tell me your thoughts on who the big winners and losers here and if there are any numbers here that surprise you. Again, this is not scientific, but I think there are some messages sent in these numbers.

Side note: One thing I learned about SurveyMonkey is that if you want more than 100 responses you have to pay for it, and that’s $17 a month. I think we have programmers here who can create the same thing if I want to do this again. I think I might. I’d like to get every ballot question on a survey and see the responses. On this all we have are the numbers from the first 100 responses. I was hoping for 300, but I guess I didn’t read the fine print.

The earlier post follows.
Continue reading

Local GOP delegate at Tampa convention gets national news play.

During the brief bit of Mitt Romney’s speech I watched live last night, (I was more interested in the Cougar game and will watch the speech online before I leave work today.) I thought I caught a glimpse of Arna Souza, the Bremerton local who went to Tampa as a delegate. It got me wondering if with all the media there whether our delegates netted any other coverage nationally.

Silverdale’s Donna Hamilton, wife of Kitsap County Republican Party Chairman Jack Hamilton, was the clear winner, getting two mentions. No one else in a brief Google search I did was mentioned.

Donna Hamilton was referenced on a New York Times blog The Caucus in reference to Ann Romney’s speech and in USA Today for her apparel choice designed for TV coverage.

If you hear of anything else I’d be glad to post it here.

And by the way, if you want to see if Souza did show up on TV, go to C-SPAN and watch there. It was around the time Romney mentioned his father George Romney having a flower delivered to his wife every day.