Category Archives: Poulsbo

Poulsbo City Council live on your computer

Brynn writes:

Saying “the public should always have the ability to see their government in action,” Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson sent an email last week about a new enhancement the city is offering on its website.

If you ever miss a Poulsbo City Council meeting, or if you’re like me and live outside the BKAT area that broadcasts the meetings, you’re now in luck — the city will begin hosting the meetings on its website for people to watch. The council’s Feb. 15 and Feb. 22 meetings are already up on the site.

Eventually the city hopes to stream its meetings as they’re happening. Erickson said this is not to take away from the BKAT broadcast, but is instead seen as an enhancement.

To see the videos go to the city’s homepage, and look for the “Community Resources” tab at the bottom right of the homepage. The videos are available there. The direct link is:

Poulsbo all-day budget talks happening now

Brynn writes:

I’m spending my day at Poulsbo City Hall to listen to the City Council debate how it’s going to come up with the remaining $447,177 $474,177 it needs to find to balance its 2012 budget.

The city started with an initial deficit of $628,995, but Mayor Becky Erickson directed city department heads to find additional cost savings in their operational budgets. Those cuts resulted in the $447,177 $474,177 figure.

Erickson has suggested additional cuts that whittles the deficit down to $169,343, but some members of the council’s finance and administrative committee don’t like all of those proposed cuts.

The council has had some heartburn already this morning because members were hoping to get line-by-line detail from each department head about areas where their departments could be cut and how the ramifications of those cuts would be felt by the community. Instead the managers are giving narratives of what their departments do as it relates to their budget.

After some back and forth between Erickson and council, it was agreed a list would be made of possible areas to cut or find increases in revenue to help offset the remaining deficit. The council won’t decide on the list today, but will send back the proposals to department heads with the intent they will review the implications and come back with an analysis for the council to make a final policy decision before adopting the final budget Dec. 21.

Already on the list for consideration:

  • Increasing parking ticket fees
  • Discontinuing the city’s passport processing service
  • Staff furloughs
  • Car tab fees
  • B&O tax (council has already said no to this)

I will be here all day and will be tweeting periodic updates from the meeting when serious discussion arises, or as items are added to the list of possible savings. Follow me @bgrimley.

*Note the strike out to the budget deficit figure and the correction, my dyslexia kicked in there. Sorry.

At least one Poulsbo council seat is open

Brynn writes:

Steve wrote earlier this week about the filing period set to open June 6 for those interested in running for an elected office. Five of the seven Poulsbo City Council seats will be up for election this year.

I just learned at least one of them is wide open. Councilman Jeff Bauman sent an email this morning saying he would not be running in this fall’s election. He was appointed to the position in January 2010 after Becky Erickson was elected mayor. He filled her vacant position.

Here is what Bauman had to say in his email about his decision to resign:

As you know, June 6 – 10 is the filing period for candidates interested in seeking open seats on the November ballot.  It is a privilege for me to serve with you on the City Council.  I also appreciate the encouragement I’ve received from so many citizens.  For months I have struggled with the decision of whether or not to seek re-election.  For a variety of personal reasons I have chosen not to run.  I felt I should get the word out now so that interested members of the public will have time to consider filing for the seat I will be vacating.

The five positions set for (re)election include:

  • Council Position 1 – Linda Berry-Maraist (4 year)
  • Council Position 2 – Connie Lord (4 year)
  • Council Position 3 – Jeff Bauman (Short & 4 year)
  • Council Position 4 – Jeff McGinty (4 year)
  • Council Position 6 – David Musgrove (2 yr unexpired)

Hearing set for Tuesday on Port Orchard’s medical marijuana moratorium

The city of Port Orchard on Tuesday will hold a public hearing on a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries approved by the city council Feb. 22.

The city was allowed to impose the “emergency” moratorium without formal public input, but it is required to follow up with a hearing on the matter.

The owner of Greenthumb Medical referral service and Tacoma Greenthumb, a medical marijuana dispensary, was thwarted by the moratorium in his efforts to establish a medical marijuana facility at 944 Bay Street in Port Orchard. His attorney will be at the hearing tomorrow.

“My position is that I think it’s kind of ridiculous,” said the man, who does not want to be publicly identified due what he describes as recent changes in the industry.

He somewhat understands the moratorium on dispensaries where marijuana is sold, but believes it should not apply to referral centers, where patients obtain medical certification to receive marijuana for treatment of a wide range of ailments. He is not a doctor, but contracts with a doctor to provide referrals.

“A doctor should be able to write a recommendation anywhere in Washington,” he said.

Greenthumb Medical Inc. is registered with Washington State’s Department of Licensing. The owner, who operates in Tacoma, has been denied business licenses in Port Orchard, Bremerton and Gig Harbor.

Meanwhile, he and others with dispensaries in Tacoma are doing so in a state of limbo. Tacoma has temporarily allowed medical marijuana dispensaries, pending the outcome of proposed legislation. A bill to clarify the rules on medical marijuana has passed the state Senate and is under consideration in the House.

Greenthumb was among 19 new dispensaries to receive letters from the city of Tacoma ordering them to stop selling to patients by March 28 or face losing their licenses and possible criminal charges. The Tacoma News Tribune reported Saturday on the latest development in that city’s approach to the budding industry.

Tacoma in October sent similar cease-and-desist letters to eight dispensaries, which caused an immediate uproar. City officials decided to allow the dispensaries to operate, at least until the outcome of the bill became clear, but they were required to file appeals.

The purpose of the latest round of letters, according to the article, was to put all dispensaries on the same legal footing in anticipation of whatever action the city will take when the bill either passes or dies.

According to this business owner, however, the cumulative effect has been chilling, hence his desire to remain anonymous.

The city of Poulsbo also has instituted a moratorium on medical marijuana, although no inquires had been made about such a business when it went into effect.

A poll on the Kitsap Caucus homepage asking, “Do you favor or oppose passage of SB 5073, ‘concerning the medical use of cannabis?'” shows 31 votes for and 12 against the bill, or 72 percent to 28 percent.

Heads Up on the Agenda


10 a.m.: The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will meet at 619 Division St. and get a legislative update from lobbyist Tom McBride, and there will be “board information sharing.”

2 p.m.: The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will meet at 619 Division St. and get a budget update and an energy program update. They will review a request from the public works department to get a fleet management software/hardware system, at a cost of $70,000, which will “provide the data and tools needed to properly and optimally manage a diverse fleet of vehicles” such as the county operates. The board also will review a proposal to loan the Village Green Metropolitan Park District $40,000. The VGMPD was formed by a vote of the public in 2010. The district’s commissioners have budgeted $40,000 in 2011 but will not be able to collect taxes until 2012. The county will loan the district the money as an advance on taxes. The district will repay half the principal plus interest on 4/30/2012 and the other half plus interest on 10/31/2012.
Fleet Management Software
Village Green Metro Park District

7:00 p.m.: The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will meet at 619 Division St., and among other business, will:
— vote on a resolution supporting legislation to reform the Washington State Ferry system
— review a contract with the Homebuilders Association of Kitsap County for the Built Green Program, involving $127,504 of federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds
— vote on a resolution to release $300,000 in funds from the county’s parks department earmarked under a previous agreement for pre-development and planning of the Village Green Community Park and a future site of the Village Green Community Center in Kingston
— approve a resolution initiating the Kitsap County Road program for 2011
— hold a public hearing to consider a resolution providing the initial docket for 2011 potential amendments to the Kitsap County Comprehensive Plan, Land Use and Zoning Maps, and Corresponding Development Regulations
— hold a public hearing to consider an Emergency Ordinance 466-2010 regarding interim regulations on homelessness
— hold a public hearing to consider an Ordinance amending Kitsap County Code 46.02 “Adoption of State Traffic Ordinance” to add a regulation that makes “inattentive driving” unlawful and subject to an infraction penalty of $124.00.

7:00 p.m.: The city of Port Orchard Planning Commission will meet at city hall, 216 Prospect St., to discuss downtown lighting, a 2011 parks plan update, and city’s Shoreline Master Plan.


1:00 p.m.: The Housing Kitsap Board of Commissioners will meet at the Norm Dicks Government Center in Bremerton, Suite 100, and review a work plan update and financials presented by Executive Director Tony Caldwell, among other business. The board will meet in executive session during the meeting to discuss personnel.


4:00 p.m.: The Bainbridge Island City Council will meet at city hall, 280 Madison Ave. N. Among other business, the council will discuss the Shoreline Master Program and Code Update.

5:00 p.m.: The Bremerton City Council will meet in the council conference chamber on the 6th floor and at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the main floor of the Norm Dicks Government Center. Among other business, the council will consider an ordinance to repeal the city’s admissions tax and it will consider a purchase and sale agreement with Kitsap County for the purchase of former EMS property at 17th street and Warren Avenue.
Bremerton Agenda

7:00 p.m.: The Poulsbo City Council will meet at city hall, 200 NE Moe St. Among other business, the council will hold a public hearing on its proposed six-year transportation improvement plan.

About that Kitsap Sun public records request on KCCHA

Today the Kitsap Sun begins a four-part series on the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority (now Housing Kitsap), and how it nearly folded in 2008. That it nearly folded is not news. We reported on that as events unfolded. In the series, we attempt to give the back story, and to provide a comprehensive retrospective, now that the agency has moved on from its troubled past.

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find links to some of the key public records we accessed in the course of our research, including e-mails from elected officials and others, financial records and a meeting video.

The series, in the works for a year, tracks the housing authority’s financial woes related to its Harborside Condominium project and other factors, including the recession (days 1 and 2). The series moves on with a look at how the agency has gotten back on track and rededicated to its mission of affordable housing (day 3). Readers will also get a peek inside the lives of condo owners who reside in one of the most talked-about (and upscale) complexes in Kitsap County (day 4).

Delving into the cause of KCCHA’s financial meltdown, we found nothing illegal. We did find a culture of risk-taking within the agency that left it far more vulnerable than other Washington State housing authorities when the recession hit and the housing market imploded. The result is that public money will be paying off substantial debt on the private condo complex for what could be decades.

In the course of our research, we made public records requests for e-mails between and about housing authority board members and staff, financial records and a video of the 2005 meeting at which the county’s board of directors agreed to back a portion of financing on the condos.

State law provides for open access to public records. Three public records bills that would have made compliance with the law easier for local governments appear to be dead in the water in Olympia.

Without personally taking a position on the bills, I’d like to acknowledge the efforts of the public records officials who complied with our requests. The e-mail requests alone yielded well over 1,000 documents, each of which had to be reviewed for information to be redacted (as in attorney client privilege) before it was turned over to us.

The clerks and IT specialists who complied with our requests were just doing their jobs, as we were just doing ours in reporting the story. But it’s worth noting that the public’s access to records comes with a cost of time and energy within the agency asked to comply. That translates to public dollars. So the right to access public records is not one we at the Kitsap Sun take lightly.

Local governments and agencies complying with the Kitsap Sun’s public records request included: Housing Kitsap, the cities of Port Orchard, Bremerton, Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County and Bremerton Kitsap Access Television.

In addition to our interviews conducted with elected officials, staff at Kitsap County and Housing Kitsap provided extensive information for the story.

Here are the public records:

KCCHA Condo Loan, Feb. 14, 2005
Condo Loan, Feb. 14, 2005
The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 14, 2005, entered into a contingent loan agreement with the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority (now Housing Kitsap) to back a $22 million bond on the Harborside Condominiums.

KCCHA Condo Loan, Minutes, Feb. 14, 2005
Minutes of the Feb. 14, 2005 meeting of the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, at which the board approved a contingent loan agreement with the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority on the Harborside Condominium project. See item (8) a.

Video of Feb. 14, 2005 BOCC Meeting

KCCHA CondoConcerns, July 26, 2007
This is an e-mail from a couple who bought one of the Harborside Condominiums in Bremerton when the project was “just a dream.” Rick Shaver, the condo owner, writes to the contractor with multiple complaints about poor workmanship and delays. The e-mail is copied to Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman who forwards it to Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority Executive Director Norm McLoughlin. KCCHA was in charge of the projects. Bozeman writes, “You should be aware of this.”

KCCHA Operating Deficit, Jan., 2008
A financial summary for the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority showing an operating deficit of nearly $300,000 per month.

KCCHA Spreadsheets, Nov., 2007 to April, 2008
Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority documents give financial “snapshots” of the agency’s fiscal profile from Nov., 2007 to April, 2008.

KCCHA bauer.eml, Aug. 29, 2008
This is an Aug. 29, 2008, e-mail from Kitsap County Commissioner Steve Bauer to a North Kitsap Fire and Rescue Chief in which Bauer shares the financial woes of Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority. Bauer writes that “the Bremerton (Harborside) condos are eating them alive.”

KCCHA countertop.complaint, Aug. 8, 2008
In this e-mail letter to Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority Executive Director Norm McLoughlin, condo owner, Patrick M. Rodgers complains about the material used in the countertops of his condo and threatens legal action if the problem is not remedied. The correct material was used, but the contractor applied the wrong finish, causing defects. All the countertops using this type of stone had to be replaced. The e-mail is copied to the agency’s board of directors.

KCCHA bauer.eml.Sept. 12, 08
Kitsap County Commissioner writes in a Sept. 12, 2008, e-mail to a financial consultant, that Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority Executive Director Norm McLoughlin has been using one of the agency’s lines of credit as a “private venture capital fund to cover ‘exploration’ of new ventures without telling the (housing authority’s) Board.”

KCCHA change/leadership, Oct. 2, 2008
In this e-mail exchange from early October 2008, among North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer and the mayors of the North Kitsap cities of Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island, Bauer informs Kathryn Quade and Darlene Kordonowy that the county’s board of commissions wanted a “change of leadership” in the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority.

KCCHA Next Steps, Oct. 9, 2008
In this e-mail exchange with members of the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority Board of Directors, finance director Debbie Broughton lays out a fiscal strategy for keeping the agency from failing, as well as terms for her acceptance of the position of interim director. Last e-mail was sent just days before Executive Director Norm McLoughlin abruptly retired.

KCCHA mcloughlin retirement Oct. 14, 2008

This is an e-mail exchange between Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, of the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority Board of Directors, and attorney Will Patton of Foster Pepper law office, regarding the retirement agreement for Norm McLoughlin, the agency’s executive director. The agreement, copied to other members of the housing authority board, is in draft format and shows items under negotiation shortly before McLoughin announced his retirement. A draft of the press release that was to be sent upon announcement of his retirement is included in the e-mail.

KCCHA $40.5 million loan, May. 15, 2009
This is a copy of the loan agreement whereby Kitsap County bailed out Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority. Called the tri-party loan, it includes the Bank of America, lender, and provides for refinancing of debt, including more than $30 million related to the Harborside Condominiums.

KCCHA debt policy, May 18, 2009
This is a policy on debt approved by the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners days after they approved a $40.5 million bailout for the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority. The policy set more strict standards for the county on contingent loan agreements, such as the one it entered into with KCCHA in 2005 on the Harborside Condominium project.

Poulsbo police, city in arbitration

Brynn Grimley writes:

Today marked the first of what will likely be three days of arbitration hearings between city of Poulsbo officials and the Poulsbo Police Association — the union representing Poulsbo police officers.

I’m still waiting to hear from a representative from the Poulsbo Police Association, but I had a chance to speak with Deanna Kingery, the city’s Human Resources director, to get background on the negotiations.

The city’s contract with the police expired Dec. 31, 2009. Talks to update the contract began around July 2009, Kingery said, but negotiations did not result in a new contract.

By the end of 2009 the two parties could not reach an agreement and in January 2010 they went into mediation. By spring it was clear neither side was going to budge, so the parties declared an impasse in communication. The next step was an arbitration hearing.

While representatives from both parties continued to meet to find middle ground, numerous other factors resulted in the arbitration being pushed out until the start of 2011. The contract under discussion is the one for the period from 2010 to 2012. Typically contracts are for three years.

It sounds like the main issue issue is compensation — police would like to see more compensation in their salaries and health reimbursements. I have not heard from a police representative, so I don’t know what they’re asking for or if the city’s offer was below compensation levels in the current contract.

Remember the city offered voluntary separation to employees last summer to eliminate the need for involuntary lay-offs. A total of nine people took the city up on its offer, saving $752,000.

The hearing between the city and police is scheduled to run today, Wednesday and Thursday. It will likely be a few months before the arbitrator comes back with a written finding. In the interim the police will continue to be governed by their contract that expired at the start of 2010.

Heads Up: On The Agenda

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s what we’re looking at for this week:

Kitsap County Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street, Port Orchard)

Monday, Jan. 17: No meeting, County Offices are closed in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 8:30 a.m.: The board will review its agenda for the Jan. 24 meeting for 45 minutes then “share information” from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. They’ll then here about “Inattentive Driving Code” for 15 minutes before spending the next hour and a half discussing the DCD work plan/docket. At 11:30 a.m. they’ll recess into a 30 minute executive session to discuss real estate.

City of Bremerton (meets at 345 Sixth Street, Bremerton)

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 5:30 p.m.: The council will hold a regular meeting. No business items are on the agenda, but there is one public hearing item listed. It’s the first of two hearings on leasing Smith Park children’s play area to Kitsap Community Resources. A decision will be made on the lease at the council’s Feb. 2 hearing.

City of Port Orchard (meets at 219 Prospect Street)

Tuesday, Jan. 18, 6 p.m.: The council will have a work study session, but the agenda is not listed online yet. See it here, if it’s posted.

City of Poulsbo (City Hall, 200 Moe Street)

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m.: The council is meeting, but the agenda is not listed yet on the city’s website.

Heads Up on the Agenda

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will meet at the county administration building at 10 a.m. Monday for review of calendar and agendas, and board information sharing.
The board will be in budget preparation meetings from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

City of Port Orchard: The city council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday for a work study session. Topics include homelessness, liquor initiatives, facilities upgrades, McCormick Woods Division three, Veteran’s Memorial and Goals & Objectives, among other topics.

City of Bremerton: The city council will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. Wednesday regarding a concession agreement with the Pierce-Kitsap YMCA among other business.

City of Poulsbo: The city council will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The agenda was not available.

Heads Up: On The Agenda

Brynn Grimley writes:

Well this week is easy, the only government jurisdiction with its agendas available is the county. Bremerton and Poulsbo haven’t posted them as of Sunday evening, and the city of Port Orchard isn’t meeting Tuesday. Check later in the day to see if Bremerton or Poulsbo posted agendas for the week. Both councils meet Wednesday — Bremerton at 5 p.m. for a briefing before heading into a regular meeting 30 minutes later. Poulsbo meets at 7 p.m. for a regular meeting.

Here’s the Kitsap County Commissioner meeting schedule for the week:

Monday, Aug. 30, 10 a.m.: Board information sharing until 11:30 a.m., then review of calendar and agendas until noon.

2 p.m.: Legislative update from Tom McBride until 3 p.m.; 30 min resource conservation update; sewer financing plan follow up for 45 minutes until 4:15 p.m.; community planning project and year of the rural updates until 5 p.m. Adjournment to follow.

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 8:30 a.m.: Voluntary separation program discussion; the rest of the meeting becomes DCD Director Larry Keeton’s meeting. He’ll give a 45 minute presentation on Limited Areas of More Intense Rural Development and site specifics; after a 10 minute break, he’ll start the board on the revision of Chapter 3 of the Comprehensive Plan for 45 minutes, next he’ll tackle the rural commercial/industrial code development until 11:30 a.m. The board will recess into executive session following this for 15 minutes to discuss real estate issues before adjourning.

Does Voluntary Separation Target Older Workers?

Kitsap County is considering a voluntary separation agreement for its employees as a way to help balance the 2011 budget. The city of Poulsbo recently approved such an agreement.

According to Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, the program isn’t targeted only at employees close to retirement. But both the Kitsap County undersheriff and county clerk on Monday told the board of commissioners they would prefer to see workers close to retirement take advantage of the offer.

Maybe “targeted” is the wrong word, since both programs are strictly voluntary. Both, however, clearly offer employees who have been in their positions the longest the greatest incentive to leave.

Under Poulsbo’s agreement adopted by the council, employees who take the voluntary separation would receive varying payouts based on how long they worked for the city.

Employees who have been with the city for up to five years would receive two months’ pay, those with five to 10 years of service would receive 2 1/2 months of pay and those with more than 10 years’ service would receive three months’ pay.

Under a draft proposal, Kitsap County employees who have worked fewer than 10 years would receive 10 percent of their annual rate of pay up to $10,000; 10 through 15 years, 15 percent with a maximum of $12,000; 15 to 20 years, 20 percent with a maximum of $15,000; and 20 years or more, 25 percent with a maximum of $20,000.

I asked the county’s HR director Bert Furuta how such a program would be expected to affect morale. “OK,” he said. “As long as it’s fully voluntary.”

The county has already made layoffs in addition to leaving positions unfilled. Poulsbo has not yet had to make deep budget cuts, so I’m wondering if the voluntary separation agreement isn’t making folks around city hall just a tad nervous.

I’d appreciate hearing from anyone whose employer has offered a voluntary separation. How was it for those who accepted the agreement? How was it for those left behind?

And for those of you who haven’t had to chance to consider a voluntary separation offer, what would it take to get you out of your position?

Thank you. Chris Henry, reporter

Heads Up: On the Agenda

Steven Gardner writes:

Brynn had herself a little holiday and left the agenda reporting to me. Unlike last week, I’ll actually have to go to a couple of these this week. See you there. Aloha!

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Monday, June 28: 1 p.m. Note the earlier start time, but the first half hour is yet another executive session. Then there is a budget update to detail how recording and licensing revenues are down, property tax delinquencies are up, penalties and interest on those delinquencies are up, expenditures are down, unemployment payments are up, supplies are down and Bremerton owes the county $200,000 for jail stays. The rest of the meeting deals to some degree with budget meeting, until 4 p.m. when there is a half hour on countywide planning policies.

Monday, June 28: 7 p.m. Jon Brand was named Engineer of the Year for an Urban County, Cami Lewis is employee of the month and a couple other awards will follow the pledge of allegiance. Some public airing will happen dealing with closing the streets for Whaling days and an interlocal agreement for the Newberry Hill Heritage Park. Public hearings will be on a “no parking” restriction on parts of Sidney road at Horshoe Lake Park and road closures on Seabeck Holly Road for culvert replacement. As always, there’s an option for you to stir things up at the beginning and end of the meeting.

Wednesday, June 30: 8:30 a.m. The board will spend three hours in a discussion about “water as a resource.”

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 30: The City Council study session will have a few short items, but the longer conversation is likely to be about the city’s 2010 budget. The council could make recommendations on how the budget will be cut, responding some to proposals from department directors and making unwanted mandates on others.

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)
Meeting dates: It’s the fifth Tuesday of the month, which means no meeting, unless we’re notified otherwise, because if Port Orchard has a problem, it’ll deal with it.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)
Meeting dates:
No meeting until July 7

For Once A Political Race For Fun

Brynn Grimley writes:

Fellow reporter Ed Friedrich had the good fortune to stand in the rain Sunday to cover the annual All American Soap Box Derby races on Dauntless Drive near Poulsbo’s Olhava development.

You may be wondering how youngsters competing to win a trip to Akron, OH to race in the derby World Championships is Kitsap Caucus-worthy (while there are race politics involved, it’s not the same kind of politics we usually write about here). Well here’s why: before the kiddos hit the streets, there was a friendly race between some well-known adults — Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, Harrison Medical Center CEO Scott Bosch, Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge, and former Poulsbo Mayor (and defending soap box champ) Kathryn Quade.

The race was the first time Quade and Erickson have faced off in a competition since last year’s election — and what a fun way to do it.

Before the race Quade was giving pointers to Erickson, a first time oil can derby car race participant. Quade has competed before, as her reigning champ title suggests. She was telling Erickson to steer to the left, angling out near the cones which helps increase one’s speed. But Friedrich says Erickson may have taken the advice to the extreme, because during her first run the minute her car went off the ramp she steered sharp to the left, crashing into the curb.

Quade joked with Erickson after the crash when she told her to go to the left she didn’t mean that much.

In Erickson’s defense, the steering error was not a result of an inexperienced, or even overzealous, operator. In fact the steering cable (you know the thing that connects the steering with with the tires) was broken. She says she was heading left but as her path continued toward the curb she continued to pull the wheel to the right, to no avail. Luckily, though she crashed, she was not injured.

So that she could get the real experience, Bosch volunteered his car so Erickson could try again.

While it sounds like Rolfes almost took the competition, Quade pulled through in the end
to hold on to her title of oil can champ.

Congrats to the former mayor, and good job to all involved for being good sports — what a great lesson for the youngsters to see former competitors have a little fun with each other.

Heads Up: On The Agenda

Brynn Grimley writes:

For those who have been living under a rock, in case you didn’t know today’s a holiday. Which means that all government offices are closed. That means for this blog there’s one less meeting day to have to review. (Woo Hoo!)

Without further adieu, here’s the agendas for the week:

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 2: 8:30 a.m. The board’s weekly work study session will include a 30 minute presentation by Parks and Recreation Director Jim Dumwiddie about parks grants, County Fire Marshal David Lynam will follow with a 45 minute presentation about special events. The board will take a 10 minute break then reconvene for an hour presentation by DCD Director Larry Keeton about large onsite sewage systems. The board will then recess into executive session for 30 minutes to discuss existing litigation and then recess again into executive session from 11:30 to noon to discuss real estate matters. They’ll adjourn following the executive sessions.

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 2: 5 p.m. The City Council will have a briefing until 5:30 p.m. where they’ll convene their regular session in council chambers. The following items are on the general business agenda: approve parking enforcement services contract with Diamond Parking; award contract to Stan Palmer Construction for construction of the Lions Park Renovation project. The public hearing portion of the meeting includes: review of a Local Solicitation 2010 Justice Assistance grant application; public hearing on an ordinance to amend Title 18 titled “City Fire Code” of the Bremerton Municipal Code and to adopt the 2009 changes to the International Fire Code; hearing an ordinance to amend Chapter 17.04 titled “State Building Code Adoption” of Bremerton Municipal Code, to repeal the adoption of the Washington State Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Code and to adopt the 2009 editions of the various building codes. Council committee reports will follow and then adjournment. (A story on the Diamond Parking contract is here).

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)

No meeting this week.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 3: 7 p.m. The council will begin the meeting with an update from Mayor Becky Erickson. There are only two items on the business agenda. They include: reviewing a contract amendment with ICF Jones & Stokes for a Dogfish Creek study; and a contract amendment with Krazan for the Fjord Slide Repair project.

Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 2: 1 p.m. I either didn’t receive the agenda for KCCHA before the long weekend or I accidentally deleted it. The agenda is not listed on the website (or if it is I can’t find it), but here’s what the organization submitted for the civic calendar listing for its meeting: The Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority commissioners will meet at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth St. This public meeting will include an executive session (closed to the public) to discuss real estate and potential litigation.

Kitsap Reginoal Coordinating Council (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 2: 8 a.m. The meeting kicks off with a study session to review countywide planning policy revisions between council representatives and Health District staff. The regular meeting will call to order at 9 a.m. and will cover a public hearing on funding recommendations on the homeless housing grant program; a report on a ferry service meeting held recently with Kitsap legislators and citizens; a work program report which includes a report from the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance/KCCDC; report by the non-motorized ad hoc committee; a report on the progress of the revenue sharing/UGA program partnership Kitsap County staff is doing in tandem with city of Port Orchard staff; a report on the city and county’s roles; and a report on the broadband ARRA grand application. Adjournment is slated for 11 a.m. (A story about the revenue sharing/UGA program is here.)

Port of Illahee (meet at the CKFR Station 41 off Old Military Road)

Tuesday, June 2: 5:30 p.m. The Port of Illahee is holding an informational meeting for district taxpayers to learn about the Illahee Plan, the port’s opportunity to buy land from the Timbers Edge development, a petition for the community to sign if they support the purchase and how these issues could effect the community. Commissioners want to hear from all community members in the port district. (The story about the petition and the option to buy the Timbers Edge property is here.)

That’s all I got for the short week. Hope everyone is enjoying their day off today.

Poulsbo Comprehensive Plan Awarded

Brynn Grimley writes:

Tonight the city of Poulsbo will be awarded with a Vision 2040 award from the Puget Sound Regional Council. The award will come at the regional council’s annual General Assembly meeting held in Seattle. (The award will actually come during the dinner that follows the meeting).

The award will be given to the city in recognition of its 2009 Comprehensive Plan update.

Mayor Becky Erickson described the recognition by PSRC and its singling out of the city’s plan as “a true demonstration of what a comprehensive plan should look like.”

“It’s a tremendous vote of ‘You’re doing it the right way Poulsbo,'” she said. “It’s kind of a big deal.”

Skimming the list of previous recipients dating back to 1996, it appears there aren’t too many comprehensive plans on the list for recognition. Looks like Erickson might be right by saying it’s a big deal.

The city took time to gather public input, and to listen to what citizens wanted while crafting the plan over two years, she said. City Council members, city planning commissioners and city planning staff worked hard to make sure the document reflected the desires of the community, she said.

Interestingly, while the city’s plan is being recognized as an example, it is being appealed. One appeal was filed by Molly and John Lee and the other by Jan Wold, Carlotta Cellucci and Kitsap Citizens for Responsible Planning (I have been informed that shortly after the March pre-hearing before the Growth Management Hearings Board Kitsap Citizens for Responsible Planning withdrew from the appeal). Combined the appeals identify 54 issues where the appellants believe the plan violates the state’s Growth Management Act.

As a result of a meeting held in March, the Growth Management Hearings Board determined the two appeals should be consolidated into one appeal. The board will hear the appeal in full June 23 at 10 a.m. at the Poulsbo Library.

The city’s stance on the appeal: “We believe a lot of these issues are without merit and are based on misunderstanding about the act,” city planning director Barry Berezowsky said at the time.

If you’re curious about who else has received this Vision 2040 award you can find a list here. The PSRC website had this to say about the annual Vision 2040 awards:

Each year the Puget Sound Regional Council honors outstanding real-life examples of how the region is achieving our ambitious vision for growing wisely and creating great quality of life in all the region’s communities. The awards are designed to recognize the superb work being done by public and private organizations to achieve our region’s growth, economic, and transportation strategy, VISION 2040.

Previous Kitsap recipients include:

  • SR-305 Major Investment Study (1998)
  • Gateways to Bremerton (1999)
  • Bainbridge Island Transfer Center and Bike Barn (2001)
  • Bremerton Community Renewal Project (2005)
  • Port Orchard Intermodal Terminal (2006)
  • Winslow Tomorrow (2006)
  • Kitsap Sustainable Energy Economic Development Project (2007)
  • Kitsap Telework (2009)

For those unfamiliar with the PSRC, it is a regional board representing central Puget Sound counties — King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap. It brings the counties together with the various cities and towns, ports, tribes, transit agencies, and the state to work on developing policies and making decisions about regional issues.

According to its mission statement, the PSRC is “committed to creating a great future for the region through planning for regional transportation, land use and economic development, under authority embodied in state and federal laws.”

Exploring Poulsbo City Council Candidates

Brynn Grimley writes:

Here’s more on the Poulsbo City Council candidates vying for the chance to be appointed by current council members to fill Becky Erickson’s vacated position (position 3).

Click each candidate’s name to read the application they submitted to the city last month about why they feel they would be a good fit.(Note the link connects to a pdf).

Catherine Nunes

Don Shannon, Jr.

Gary Nystul

James Thayer

Jeff Bauman

Nikolaus Hoffman

Wil Miller

Is Bremerton the Beer Caucus?

The Dude, charter member of the White Russian Caucus, though he often consorts with legislators from Seattle.

This is really a topic more suited for another writer, one you might know, who because he now works for a competitor I won’t name. I’m not trying to insult him (Oh dear, now you know his gender.) by suggesting he’s an expert in mind-altering substances. But almost anyone is more of an expert than I am, given that I have chosen a life in which I really only get anything close to high when the dentist shares some killer nitrous. Unfortunately my dentist lives by a code himself, so we’re both on our best behavior around each other. The point is I’m no expert on the subject matter, and could really only guess at any place’s intoxicant of choice. Then again, I do read police reports.

In political circles you have your caucuses. Our nine legislators are free to call themselves the Kitsap Caucus without any fear of copyright claims from us. We’re that noble.

Steve Elliott on OpEdNews, in a pro-marijuana decriminalization post that insists Washington’s Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp is missing part of that which makes him a man (Actually, there is a pair of said parts and they are not socks or trousers.) suggests legislators could be broken into caucuses that have yet to be made official, the intoxicant caucuses. From the blog entry:

“Chopp, who grew up in Bremerton, WA, likes to describe himself as a ‘Bremerton Democrat’ (translation: ‘I’m almost like Norm Dicks. Besides, I don’t smoke pot; I drink beer. Vote for me, please!’), presumably to distance himself from the ‘effete Seattle liberal’ image that scares him so badly . . .”

It’s not the first time “Bremerton Democrat” has meant that the speaker drinks beer. In 2007 Josh Feit at “The Stranger” wrote:

“First elected to the state house from Seattle’s 43rd District in 1994, Chopp, who likes to refer to himself as a ‘Bremerton Democrat’—meaning a beer-drinking, blue-collar, populist 26th District Democrat, as opposed to an effete, latte-sipping, pot-smoking 43rd District Democrat . . .

In both references Bremerton’s preference for beer over marijuana is, I guess, intended as an insult of sorts. Frankly, I know many people who think “beer” is probably being too general and too kind to the “We’re working on it” city. A random sample of stereotypical assumptions freely offered by co-workers within earshot led to the irrefutable conclusion that the beer of choice in Bremerton is anything that comes in a 40-ounce bottle, because it is more easily pilfered from the Sev.

We could be high (And by “high” I mean “wrong.”), of course, so we ask you dear readers to come up with your own thoughts for what the intoxicant of choice in Bremerton is. While we’re at it, let’s include Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo and Port Orchard. Don’t feel limited to legal substances, because I know that would be a particular challenge for Port Orchard. Remember, Seattle is claiming marijuana (despite there being not a single White Castle restaurant in the city) and possessing marijuana will get you more than a stern reprimand that kills your buzz.

2005 Quote from Bozeman on Mayors, Councils, Managers

Peter Callaghan from the (Tacoma) News Tribune discusses whether cities should be led by strong mayors or managers. In the process he interviews someone who has seen both types of governments, former Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman.

In 2005, in the wake of the Brame scandal and the Corpuz dismissal, I asked Cary Bozeman, now the director of the Port of Bremerton, which form was best. He had been both the “weak” mayor of Bellevue and the “strong” mayor of Bremerton.

Strong leaders are the key. But because it is more likely that a city can hire a strong leader from around the nation than find one to elect in town, he said he thinks a council-manager system is best for most cities.

When Bainbridge Island was going through its conversation about whether to dump the strong mayor, I also asked Bozeman what he thought about it, and what he thought Bremerton should have. He declined to answer.

Makes you wonder, though, doesn’t it? The question has come up in the past. Anyone here for changing the form of governments in the three other Kitsap cities now led by mayors? Or are the cities better off sticking with what they have?

Video: Poulsbo Council Candidates Discuss Issues

The Kitsap Sun editorial board interviewed Poulsbo City Council Position 7 candidates Kim Crowder, Tom Foley and Jim Henry. Watch a recording of that by clicking on the video below.

We’ll be live broadcasting more interviews with Kitsap candidates before the upcoming primary election and posting them on the Kitsap Caucus blog. You can find which ones are upcoming and watch them live at

What To Do With Poulsbo City Hall…

Wednesday night the Poulsbo City Council will vote on whether to issue the last phase of bonds to help pay for the new city hall. Assuming the vote is in the affirmative and the project continues forward, it might be high time to start thinking about another aspect of this project that has largely been off the radar.

What to do with Poulsbo City Hall? No, I don’t mean the new one. The old one. Also on Wednesday, the council will address that issue. Part of the financing package for the new building includes selling the land where the current city hall resides.

I’ve floated this idea to a few folks and haven’t gotten any crazy looks, so I’ll take that as a sign I’m on the right track. Bear with me:

Almost all of the discussion thus far has been about cost and location of the new building. But I think the back end of this project will have a much greater effect on the average Poulsbo resident or downtown visitor. This isn’t me discounting the importance of the fact that it’s the most expensive municipal building project in the city’s history, but I think people will experience the change more profoundly when something new goes in the current city hall pad.

It’s a large piece of property, right smack dab in the middle of downtown. Combine that with an entire block for sale just a stone’s throw away (Not city owned), and you’ve got major potential to dramatically change the way downtown Poulsbo looks, feels and functions. Condos? New retail? Tall buildings? Hotels? Conference centers? Who knows?

As for the city’s land, it brings up the question of how much it can or wants to direct the sale. Because the city has prime land in the heart of downtown, I can see how some might want to guide the sale toward an element the city feels will benefit downtown. But constricting the uses to what you might desire could, in theory, lead to a lower sale price. What happens if the city sells the land without any caveats, and someone buys and develops something that doesn’t necessarily conform to what politicians and/or locals want to see downtown?

Interesting questions, I think.

What would you like to see happen with the current city hall property on Jensen? Discuss.

– Derek Sheppard