Category Archives: Poulsbo

Poulsbo City Hole

Picket signs are so 1995. It seems when folks want to voice objection or poke fun at big government projects, the t-shirt is en vogue.

Seattlites have the “South Lake Union Trolley” aka SLUT. Bremerton has the Bremerton Underground Transit Tunnel, aka BUTT.Now Poulsbo’s got a hole. In this case it’s not really an acronym, just a take off on what the “hole” is. The foundation for Poulsbo City Hall.

Ed and Sandy Habecker wore the shirts during a city council meeting in which they expressed their discontent for the now $15.9 million project. I missed the meeting, but talked with Ed. In a nutshell, he’s not pleased with the moving target that has been the budget, and the fact that it’ll be more expensive than a plan that voters turned down to build on 10th Avenue.

On Wednesday the council is expected to vote on whether to issue another series of bonds, which will get the ball rolling (or not, depending on the vote.) on building the actual building. Right now, there’s a big hole in the ground at 3rd and Moe.

I just find it interesting how the t-shirt has become a canvas for political discourse.

– Derek Sheppard

County to Pay for Bulk of Ferry Study

One of the items of the Kitsap County commissioners’ agenda for Monday will be an allocation of the county’s hotel-motel tax revenues.

Typically such a meeting can invite a long line of those testifying, from those saying “Thank you” to those pleading for changes.

I don’t know what to expect on that score on Monday.

Part of what will be on the list of expenditures will be different than the allocations I’ve seen in the past. There will be $50,000 to help pay for an economic analysis of the ferry system’s impact on the East side.

This was the kind of study suggested less than a year ago in a meeting of Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council members, but eventually shelved when the different agencies that belong agreed they’d have trouble finding money in the budget.

What’s pushing this now, of course, is Washington State Ferries’ long-term proposals, one that would continue the current service as is and another that would reduce boats in Bremerton and Southworth and would reduce night service at those docks and in Kingston.

Commissioner Steve Bauer said the analysis would not be complete before the end of the Legislature. That could be a problem if legislators insist on picking one plan or another before “Sine Die,” the end of the session. Bauer is hoping the legislators will agree to push it at least another year, because whatever decision they make this year won’t have any financial impact until at least 2011.

The total cost of the study is expected to be in the neighborhood of $75,000. The remaining amount would need to come from the KRCC’s other members.

Poulsbo Activist Quits State Post After Investigation, Says He Was Targeted Because He’s Gay

The Olympian has a report on the resignation of Poulsbo human rights activist Jerry Hebert from the state’s Human Rights Commission. He resigned after an investigation showed he spent $4,764 on a state-issued credit card. Of that, an audit determined $939 was reimbursable and a proper use of the card. The auditors reported that Hebert exceeded credit limits and didn’t make payments on time.

Hebert, who disputed the findings, also was found to use rental cars without first clearing it with the commission’s chairman, under terms of a 2006 policy. The auditors’ 13-page report also says he had multiple vehicles checked out the same day, and that he was unwilling to meet a second time with auditors to explain.

“I just think the totality of the whistleblower report was such that it was the right thing to do,” said Marty Brown, Gregoire’s legislative director, who asked Hebert to step down and received his resignation Aug. 6.

Hebert argued:

“The entire investigation was slanted …” Hebert said, adding: “All the expenditures on my credit card were paid out of my own pocket, and I did not ask for reimbursement.”

He told auditors he spent close to $7,000 on food and other focus-group expenses, “which he considered a ‘charitable donation’ ” to the state that furthered the commission’s work.

Hebert said no taxpayer dollars were spent improperly and also claimed he did not know the rules for credit-card use.

Hebert also contended that he was targeted because he is an openly gay member of the five-person commission.

Kitsap’s Appointments to the PSRC

Tomorrow, I’ll be attending a meeting of the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, at which members will outline a process for evaluating Kitsap’s membeship in the Puget Sound Regional Council. You can read the most recent story about Kitsap and the PSRC here, but in a nutshell, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel and members of the community, most notably Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners, have questioned the value of Kitsap’s membership in the PSRC.

An evaluation by county staff shows Kitsap received roughly $31 million more in funding for regional transportation projects from 1992 through 2007 than it would have if it had operated as its own independent planning organization. But critics and Angel say that PSRC takes away local control. Angel was among a handful of PSRC members who recently voted against that entity’s Vision 2040 plan.

Because the question of whether the PSRC is good for Kitsap has been raised, all local entities involved need to be able to weigh in said Mary McClure, KRCC’s executive director. McClure and others have suggested that an equally timely discussion would be how Kitsap can increase its effectiveness on the PSRC, which also includes King, Pierce and Snohomish County.

Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown, who serves on the PSRC’s executive committee, would like to see more involvement on the part of Kitsap’s committee appointees to the PSRC. Just by showing up and taking part, they can exert significant influence despite Kitsap’s relatively small size compared to the other counties, Brown said.

Here’s a list of Kitsap appointees to the PSRC (below, I’ll list Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council’s 2008 membership so you’ll know who fits where).

Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council 2008:
Council Member Carol Arends
City of Bremerton

North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer
Kitsap County

Kitsap County
South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel
Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown

City of Bremerton
Mayor Cary Bozeman
Council Member Will Maupin
Council Member Nick Wofford*

City of Bainbridge Island
Mayor Darlene Kordonowy
Council Member Debbie Vancil
Council Member Kim Brackett*

City of Port Orchard
Mayor Lary Coppola
Council Member Carolyn Powers*

City of Poulsbo
Mayor Kathryn Quade
Council Member Ed Stern

Suquamish Tribe (Membership Memorandum of Understanding in Progress)
Council Chair Leonard Forsman
Rob Purser*

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
Council Chair Leonard Forsman
Rob Purser*

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (Membership Memorandum of Understanding in Progress)
Council Chair Ron Charles
Doug Quade*

Port of Bremerton
Commissioner Cheryl Kincer
Commissioner Bill Mahan

Naval Base Kitsap (ex officio member)
Captain Reid Tanaka
Tom Danaher, PAO*

Mary McClure
Executive Management
McClure Consulting LLC

Report Critical of Veteran Care

Derek Sheppard writes:

The Seattle P-I wrote and editorial yesterday about the recent report to President Bush over health care reform for wounded and disabled veterans.

An unnamed Poulsbo Navy veteran was quoted in the editorial as writing:

“I have never felt more ‘dumbed-down’ than with my service under our current commander in chief. … When I came home from work last night, turned on the nightly news and saw W running around the (padded) track of the White House with two double-amputee Iraq veterans, I felt such a slap of reality across my face,” wrote the 45-year-old Poulsbo man. “It is shocking that this administration has stooped so low. … Is there no decency at all coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?”

Part of the controversy was the jogging photo op after the report was released.

Naturally the Poulsbo connection in the PI editorial is what got my attention first. But there’s also a lot of veterans here in Kitsap, so I’m sure many of you were following the story.

If you want more information on the report, and various news reports on it, the U.S. News and World Report Political Bulletin has a good roundup of stories from the major news outlets. Scroll down a about half way.

Here’s the first few graphs of the Washington Post story if you don’t feel like searching those other links:

A presidential commission examining the care given to wounded U.S. service members yesterday recommended “fundamental changes” aimed at simplifying the military’s convoluted health-care bureaucracy and overhauling the veterans disability system for the first time in more than half a century.

The commission, led by former senator Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) and former Health and Human Services secretary Donna E. Shalala, met with President Bush at the White House yesterday morning to brief him on their findings and to press him for quick action. “We left there feeling the ball’s in their court now,” Dole said.

The panel issued six broad recommendations intended to transform a troubled system for military health care and veterans’ assistance that has left some injured soldiers languishing for years and resulted in inequitable and inconsistent disability benefits.

The Associated Press quoted Democratic Washington Sen. Patty Murray as saying:

“I am concerned that this Dole-Shalala commission report will end up like all the other bipartisan commission reports that we have seen come before us in the last years. We hope that this is not a report that just gets dusty in the president’s office after a photo-op.”

Time to File Soon

Changes are afoot for the “Tracking the Speedway” blog, but like the worst of radio shows I’ll do nothing more than hint from now until launch. Never you mind just yet. I’ll tell you June 1.

In the meantime, it seems like you folks would be interested that candidates for local office can begin filing June 4. Chris Henry will have a story about it Sunday.

Although this is an off election year — no presidential, legislative or judicial races, at least in Kitsap County — several local races are already drawing attention. Among the most high profile contests, City of Port Orchard residents will decide who will replace outgoing Mayor Kim Abel, who has decided not to seek a second term, and long-time Port of Bremerton Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington will defend her seat following a large port levy hike in 2007.