Category Archives: Republicans

GOP Response to Dicks on Defense

Yesterday in writing the story on U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks’ probable future as chairman of the House Defense Appropriations committee I tried to contact Kitsap County Republican Party Chairwoman Sandra Lacelle and Dicks’ Republican opponent, Doug Cloud. I was unable to reach either for the story, but LaCelle left a message and Cloud couldn’t reach me when he called back, so he sent a statement via e-mail.

Cloud wrote:

Congressman Dicks, if he is elected Chairman, is to be congratulated.  He has wanted this for a long time, but not under such circumstances.   The taxpayers and working people should be concerned, however,  as Congressman Dicks has shown no fiscal responsibility whatsoever in his current role.

LaCelle said the blessings are mixed. “It brings some clout to our area, certainly,” she said. But that comes with a cost. “Sometimes that clout is coming with distrust from the electorate.”

Is This a Good Year for the GOP?

A blogger at ResistNet.com asks who will run against Norm Dicks, Sixth District Democratic congressman from Belfair. From the site:

“Norm Dicks is a powerful man and it will take another strong man to run against him.”

The writer, Scott, then posts videos of Randy Neatherlin, who ran two unsuccessful campaigns for the state House seat currently held by Fred Finn. In the first he ran against a longtime incumbent. In the second he was outspent pretty handily, a point Scott makes. And Scott points out that 2006 and 2008 were bad for most Republicans. He then writes:

“The writer for the Kitsap Sun (Steve Gardner) called him the Republican Obama for his speech in Kitsap.”

No I didn’t.

What I did do is post an e-mail from someone who compared Neatherlin to Obama and in another post I agreed generally with someone who said he was the highlight of the county’s 2008 GOP convention. He was. By far he got the most applause of any of the candidates and probably more than the “Up with People”-like group that performed at the beginning.

Did I call him a Republican Obama? No, I did not. I would not. I can’t think of anyone besides Ronald Reagan who could move people with a prepared speech as effectively as Barack Obama. I would have taken this up privately with Scott, but ResistNet hasn’t yet approved my membership.

Could Neatherlin beat Norm Dicks?

Could Doug Cloud, who has lost twice but as yet is the only candidate registered with the Federal Elections Commission to challenge the longtime incumbent?

Given what’s happening in Massachusetts tonight (As of this writing, Republican Scott Brown was beating Martha Coakley, a Democrat, in the race to replace Edward Kennedy.) is this the year to try?

The Danger of Blackballing the Moderates

You commenters resurrected an old post and began discussing whether there’s room for moderates in either party. The practice of dredging up old posts is, by the way, awesome.

Here you get two stories about party members being punched from within.

The first is a great read about New York Republican Dede Scozzafava, whose last name has become a verb, thanks to the work on one side by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and on the other by the Obama White House.

The second story relates to U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, who voted against the health care reform bill. The piece points out that Baird hasn’t ruled out supporting the bill in the future, but he wanted information about costs before he would vote “yes.”

I generally don’t like giving away endings, but the last two paragraphs in the first story, the one from the Washington Post, probably sums up best the danger in insisting on party purity tests.

From the story:

Those conservative forces now descend on Florida, where former House speaker Marco Rubio, who on Monday received the endorsement of the Club for Growth, might shove aside centrist Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once on John McCain’s short list for running mate. And Scozzafava has a warning.

“There is a lot of us who consider ourselves Republicans, of the Party of Lincoln,” she said, her face now flush. “If they don’t want us with them, we’re going to work against them.”

A Local Grassroots Move to Challenge GOP Leadership

Gardner here:

This could have run as an update on the post about Beck, et al (later referred to in this post as “Becketal”), but the link you’ll get here merits its own entry.

In a site called “Liberty Republican,” a Kingston blogger named Steven M. Nielson takes aim at the party leadership, saying essentially they are not in tune with the passion of the party’s membership. Nielson writes of a Kitsap GOP meeting Monday night:

“When the floor was open for comments, there was a vocal chorus of desire and drive for involvement, in one case invoking tears from a woman so deeply struck with the erosion of her liberties. There was a charge in the room, an energy that if bottled would surely burn brightly…
“However, there seems to be a piece of the puzzle missing, as I see it time and again across this nation… the passion is there, the voices in the crowd are there… but the leadership… the leadership is in disarray.”

Nielson isn’t just complaining. He’s got ideas. He’s also got comments, one of which relates to the previous post about Becketal.

Someone dubbed “Meadow” wrote:

“The Left is using the lack of effective leadership in the GOP to their advantage. They keep the party tilted by insisting that Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck are the leadership and as such are so ineffective………..”

P.S. Nielson used to live in Colorado, and when he did he got one of the YouTube questions at a Republican debate.

Was Angel Glued to Her Seat for Zell Miller Speech?

At this point I’m assuming that state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, was there in Atlanta when Zell Miller gave the keynote address Thursday night at the American Legislative Exchange Council conference Angel is attending.

Memo to editors: If Zell Miller is speaking somewhere with a six-hour drive, I want to go. I’ll find a local angle somehow. Like I’m doing here.

Miller is a former U.S. Senator from Georgia, a Democrat, who has since 2004 pretty much played for the Republicans.

Miller said in his speech that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel ought to put some “Gorilla Glue” on U.S. President Barack Obama’s chair to keep him home instead of traveling the world.

I was off and out of touch Friday and hadn’t heard about the comment until Saturday when I opened the e-mail referencing Zell Miller and sub-headlined “We Do Not Advocate Attempting to Glue the Leader of the Free World to His Chair.”

The press release, from the makers of Gorilla Glue, includes helpful information.

News Facts

  • In response to Zell Miller’s recent comments, The Gorilla Glue Company sends letter to President Obama.
  • The response was sent today from the desk of Peter Ragland, President, The Gorilla Glue Company.
  • The Gorilla Glue Company does not advocate the gluing of President Obama to his chair with their product.
  • The quality adhesive products produced by the company are for the toughest building and repair jobs.
  • Gorilla brand products are created with strength and toughness as the goal.
  • The Gorilla Glue Company is a family owned business located in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Gorilla Glue represents just the type of growing small business that President Obama mentions as the job creators in our country.
  • Gorilla Glue continues to: create new jobs, boast of no lay-offs, provide healthcare for all full-time employees and proudly make all products in the USA.
  • Quotes

    Attributed to Peter Ragland, President, The Gorilla Glue Company:
    Zell Miller’s recent comments have thrust our product and company into the limelight.
    While our products are known for being strong and tough we certainly would not advocate attempting to glue the Leader of the free world to his chair.

So the company doesn’t want to see its product used to glue Obama to his chair. The company is silent on whether the solution is appropriate for other people.

Angel in Atlanta

State Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, is in Atlanta this week attending on scholarship the American Legislative Exchange Council annual meeting.

On the ALEC Web site the organization describes its founding as being an organization for “conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.”

Speakers at this year’s event include former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Democratic Sen. Zell Miller.

Art Laffer, the economist known for the “Laffer curve,” which he acknowledges he didn’t invent and never tried to really take credit for it. The curve shows that somewhere between a 0 and 100 percent tax rate generates the most tax revenue and at the time he said the then rate was too high.

Angel said in her press release she went to Atlanta with a scholarship, that taxpayers won’t be paying anything. She didn’t say who is, and I’ve called to find out. The council itself provided the scholarship. (If I had read the first sentence of the press release correctly I would have been able to figure that out.)

“I appreciate the opportunity to attend this conference, which is provided at no expense to the taxpayers. It’s really a very full agenda with topics involving the environment, higher education, transportation, economic development, public safety, health and human services, and civil justice,” she said in the statement. “I’m looking forward to networking with other legislators from across the nation and bringing ideas back home to Washington. Hopefully, it will provide solutions that make for a more efficient and accountable government and a better quality of life for our citizens.”

Angel said tort reform and other justice issues, and she’ll pay close attention to national climate change legislation in preparation for the Washington Policy Center’s environmental conference later this month.

Reason to Suspect McKenna

An item on the (Everett) Herald’s political blog lends credence to your speculation that Rob McKenna, Washington attorney general, might favor a run for governor in 2012.

Writes Jerry Cornfield:

Attorney General Rob McKenna did not announce that he is running for governor today.

He did announce the hiring of a guy who could make sure McKenna is prepared for such a campaign.

Before Dino Rossi announced his bid to run in 2008, McKenna stopped by our office for a visit. I asked him if Rossi decided not to run, would he? He said he was running for AG and that wouldn’t change no matter what happened with Rossi.

Cornfield’s blog has more about Randy J. Pepple, hired by McKenna as his chief of staff. Public Disclosure Commission reports show only incumbent Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, is officially preparing for a run at her own job. McKenna has a file for the AG’s office. Both are standard operating procedure. They’ll shift the money elsewhere once they decide, should it need to be shifted.

Principles Witnessed in Any Caucus

The Kitsap County Republican Party sent out an invitation this week for a gathering to watch the “We Surround Them” show as part of “The Glenn Beck Program .

It’s not an official party event and it isn’t limited to Republicans, but in some ways it does show some of the emphasis being exerted by Sandra LaCelle, the party’s new county chairwoman.

LaCelle didn’t know a lot about the program itself, but said it seemed like one way to get Republicans and other like-minded people together on a grass roots level. Later efforts could include getting local party members involved in local service, such as making deliveries of donated food to food banks. The party may not have much say in government right now, but it doesn’t have to be mute or lie low.

Beck’s program has been advertised nationally as one for those who don’t agree with the current direction of the country.

LaCelle herself said she isn’t “totally against government involvement,” but in the case of President Barack Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress, “I just think we’re going too far.” She worries the current programs will place too much of a financial burden on future generations. And she draws on her experience as an attorney having witnessed families who pass down a culture of welfare generation to generation. “What I fear most is an entire generation of people dependent on government programs for a living,” she said.

The little bit of information available about Friday’s program centers on nine principles and 12 values. The writers on the Web site say, “If you believe in at least seven of them, then we have something in common.”

Frankly, I know many on the left who would conceivably believe in all nine. In fact, I’m going to provide a quote for most of the nine principles that I think demonstrates how the left could make the same argument that’s being made by the program slated for Friday.

1. America is good.
“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.” — Barack Obama, Inauguration speech.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
“Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.” — Barack Obama, Christianity Today

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
“Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.” — Barack Obama, Inauguration Speech

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important.” — Barack Obama, Father’s Day speech.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
“As Democrats we are committed to being smart on crime. That means being tough on violent crime, funding strategic and effective commmunity policing and holding offenders accountable . . . “Democratic Party Platform

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
“These education policies will open the doors of opportunity for our children. But it is up to us to ensure they walk through them. In the end, there is no program or policy that can substitute for a parent — for a mother or father who will attend those parent/teacher conferences, or help with homework, or turn off the TV, put away the video games, read to their child. I speak to you not just as a President, but as a father, when I say that responsibility for our children’s education must begin at home. That is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. That’s an American issue.” — Barack Obama, address to Congress on Feb. 24.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
On this one I won’t put a quote, because it is both right and wrong. For one, we’re talking degrees here. Government can and does force charity, because your taxes go to pay for things that go far, far beyond sharing “it with who I want to.” Technically, paying for public education when you don’t have kids is charity, and I know people who think the costs of education should lie on the backs of parents. Now, if you’re talking about government not forcing you to be “charitable” in the emotional sense, I agree. They can take your money and make you work, but they can’t force you to feel good about it.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
I won’t put one here either, because for the last seven years and four months of the last presidential administration the ones who would have yelled this principle the loudest were on the left.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
“And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” — Barack Obama — Inauguration speech.

My point in this laborious process is to show you that people who differ politically can both claim to hold true to the same principles. Where the real differences are lie in the details. Most of the time, I think it’s a matter of degrees. Both Democrats and Republicans honor the free market and government intervention, but they differ in degrees. The folks who will go to the events Friday are probably are in line with LaCelle’s comment, “I just think we’re going too far.”

There will be two watching parties in Kitsap County. The program begins at 2 p.m., but people are invited to start gathering as early as 1 p.m. Group discussion might occur afterward.

One will be at the 19th Hole Tavern at 2171 Erlands Point Road in Central Kitsap. The other is at Trophy Lake Golf and Casting at 3900 SW Lake Flora Road in South Kitsap.

Radio About Rush and Reichert

Politico is reporting that the organization Americans United for Change plans to begin running radio ads next week linking radio talker Rush Limbaugh with five Republican members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Renton.

The Politico site has a link to the commercial, only it’s the one for Delaware’s Mike Castle. If you listen to local radio, you may hear the same ad, only with Reichert’s name inserted.

Reichert, you may recall, has won three elections for his congressional seat that takes up parts of King and Pierce counties. The last two wins were on pretty big Democratic nights.

Whether this works to affect Reichert’s votes or his 2010 re-election chances is worth discussing. The bigger question nationally is whether the Republican party is being served by the perception that Limbaugh is the party leader. It’s a perception forwarded by the president, which at first seemed puzzling to many. But the GOP nationally has more or less played into that hand better than Obama or any Democrat could have dreamed. As time has progressed I don’t see how this has helped Republicans at all. If you think it has, please share.

No question it’s great for Rush, and not so great for Reichert’s first opponent, KIRO radio’s Dave Ross. Ross and Rush compete for the same air time in Seattle.

Hey Kitsap, Get Used to Fewer Ferries

More telling than what they said Tuesday, was the body language. In the morning I asked the party leaders from both houses of the Legislature about ferries, but made the mistake of starting the question by naming one of the legislators, Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt. I did not address the question specifically to him, but that’s how the legislators heard it, because I mentioned that he had said transportation funding would be difficult. Because I mentioned Hewitt, it apparently left an opening for House Speaker Frank Chopp, House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown to remain silent. I did ask that they address ferries specifically in the funding. Hewitt said nothing about ferries. Chopp, Brown and DeBolt remained silent about everything.

In the last session, with two reps from the governor’s office, the ferry question got more attention than some in the audience might have preferred. The message was clear, that it won’t work to not identify the funding if the status quo plan is adopted by the Legislature. It also looked to me that Victor Moore, the governor’s budget director, was clearly uncomfortable with the subject matter, leaving a few of us from Kitsap to conclude that the prospects for ferries is not good.

We then went and visited with state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. I wouldn’t characterize his demeanor as optimistic for ferry fans, but he seems ready for a fight. “Five-twenty is not going to be a two-lane road. Plan B is the equivalent of a two-lane road,” he said. Plan B, by the way, would cut Bremerton to one boat and eliminate night service there and in Kingston.

Then you read Ed Friedrich’s story on the what a legislative transportation policy group did and it seems the writing is on the wall. They met, said they’ll try to make the coming cut as painless as possible, then disbanded.

Prior to the election we asked the governor what was going to happen with ferries. Specifically we asked if ferry customers would feel better about the system in four years than they do now. I don’t think she tried to predict how customers would feel, but she said the state would run ferries like a business. That sounds a lot like what Jill Satran, the governor’s transportation policy expert, was saying yesterday.

“It’s all a matter of what can we pay to provide,” she said. “We either have to cut routes or skinny down the entire system. We’re looking at the best way to mitigate the impact on riders, and this looks like a possible way to do that.”

You can see the governor’s pre-election conversation about the budget and about ferries by watching the video below.

House Committees

If you want to see the entire list for Democrats, go here. If you want the list of Republican committee leads, go here.

On this Page I’ve include our local reps only.

23rd
Sherry Appleton

Vice Chair: State Government and Tribal Affairs
Health and Human Services Appropriations
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Christine Rolfes
Vice Chair: Ecology and Parks
Education Appropriations
Environmental Health
Transportation

26th
Jan Angel

Local Government & Housing (ranking Republican)
(The GOP has only released the list of ranking members.)

Larry Seaquist
Early Learning and Children’s Services
Vice Chair: Health and Human Services Appropriations
Ways and Means

35th
Fred Finn

Audit Review and Oversight
Ecology and Parks
Environmental Health
Technology, Energy and Communications
Transportation

Kathy Haigh
Chair: Education Appropriations
Ways and Means

Sheldon to Reintroduce Property Tax Relief Bill

Legislators are filing bills in anticipation of the 2009 session and state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch has brought back a regular. Sheldon’s bill would cap property tax increases on individual properties for owner-occupied dwellings at 1 percent per year until the property is sold or otherwise transferred.

Sheldon said he began introducing the bill when he was a member of the House and has reintroduced it each session.

Currently, governments increase their overall take on property taxes by 1 percent, but individual property owners can see their taxes go higher if their valuation goes up higher in proportion to other residents in the county. This bill would cap any single year’s tax increase to 1 percent.

Because it’s a change to the state’s constitution, there is a second bill accompanying it that would put the measure before voters.

Sheldon, who is also a Mason County commissioner, said property tax increases are “by far” the biggest source of complaints he gets. For seniors and others on fixed incomes, it’s especially challenging, he said.

“It gives the homeowner some stability,” Sheldon said. “I think people need piece of mind and to know they can live in a home that’s not going to escalate in property taxes”

Opposition in the past has come from assessors and those who believe it could bankrupt governments, he said. Sheldon said the most current real estate slump and overall economic recession is having people see their homes as places to live rather than investments.

With stabilized property tax increases, he said, it could stabilize the real estate market overall.

I may expound on this for a story in print edition. If nothing else, I’d like to speak to someone who opposes this idea.

The concept is the formula behind California’s Proposition 13. Sheldon said that measure didn’t bankrupt that state and that California’s current financial mess is the result of a combination of factors, not solely limits imposed by the law approved by voters in the late 1970s.

Fodder for Political Geeks

If you:

  • Immediately know what LoTR is;
  • Have ever played any games involving dragons; Carry a calculator;
  • Have read all the Harry Potter books;
  • Can give quotes from MST3K and know what MST3K means;
  • Watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it didn’t involve participating in a drinking game;
  • Are afraid of public places and people in general;
  • Collected comic books;
  • Never had a suntan that wasn’t focused on your forearms;
  • Don’t know how to swim;
  • Don’t know the difference between a line drive and a frozen rope;
  • Never played sports that didn’t involve rackets;
  • Joined the school choir;
  • or were a devotee of Dr. Who;

You might be a geek, or a nerd. Apparently there is a test for it. You can go to it here. I scored 10.45365, which means I have geekish tendencies. Your results may vary.

Were they to give out a test of some kind, and someone here might know of one, dealing with political geekiness, I would aspire to do well.

Hence a story this weekend on what reading the numbers in the latest elections mean, particularly to Kitsap County.

Here’s the long and short of it: It’s not getting better for Republicans.

To get to that astonishing conclusion, I looked at the 21 races (And by the way, this little nugget only accounts for part of the story. I figured the geeks that visit this blog would appreciate it.) in which Kitsap voters could choose between a Republican and a Democrat. In 2004 five races were Kitsap only, so we go 5-0 in those. In 2008 there were six Kitsap-only races.

In 2004, Kitsap voters picked Democrats 15 times. In 2008 the number was 16. Not that big a deal, right?

Here’s the difference. In 2004 and 2008 Kitsap voters were on the losing end twice. In 2004, though, those losses were split between the two parties. In 2008 both losses were handed to Republicans. In 2004 the county voted for Republican governor candidate Dino Rossi and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. This year the county picked Republicans for state treasure and public lands commissioner and lost.

Even worse for Republicans, in 2004 the GOP won two of the five Kitsap-only races. In 2006 and 2008 they didn’t win any.

Updated: SK Races Worth Watching

ORIGINAL POST, 2:45 P.M. THURSDAY: If you backed Republican Tim Matthes for county commissioner, my caution would be to not get too excited. When all the votes are counted, he’s still likely to be on the losing end of this thing. However, he made up some ground Wednesday with some of the late votes, as reported.

After the primaries it became clear that Republican numbers in some key races improved as more late ballots were counted. I did some math yesterday using the one-day results in the race between Matthes and Democrat Charlotte Garrido and determined that if the numbers came in late in the same proportions as Wednesday’s, Matthes still loses.

In the race for the 26th District, to me it points to Republican Jan Angel increasing her lead. Not only are we using the assumption that Republicans do better with later votes, but much of what hasn’t been counted is from Pierce County, which favors Republicans in the 26th District. In fact, new Pierce County numbers came in since I wrote the story I linked, and Angel’s lead increased by eight-tenths of a percentage point. She now has 51.8 percent, while Democrat Kim Abel is at 48.2.

My caution to Matthes supporters is tempered by experience. After the primary I did some calculations on the second-place contest in the 35th District that Kathy Haigh won. My math, based on what was still left to count, had Bremerton City Councilman Brad Gehring overtaking Belfair’s Marco Brown. The math was fine, but the assumptions were wrong. Later numbers favored Brown and put it out of reach of an automatic recount. Chances are in both races that Tuesday’s results will hold up. But it doesn’t hurt to keep watching the new numbers.

UPDATED, 5:50 P.M. THURSDAY: OK, this latest batch of numbers today were more favorable to Matthes than the ones yesterday. Here’s the text of the story we’ll have in Friday’s paper:

The lead for Kitsap County commissioner candidate Charlotte Garrido got smaller for the second straight day Thursday, with more ballots being counted.

Garrido, the Democrat vying for the seat representing the county’s southern district, had about a 4-percentage-point lead on election night. With the latest numbers she leads Republican Tim Matthes by about 2 percent. The latest numbers show Garrido with 47,251 votes, about 50.9 percent. Matthes has 45,368, about 48.9 percent.

Ballots turned in later in the voting cycle have favored Matthes. After Wednesday’s count it appeared Matthes would shrink the lead, but fall way short of the half-percentage point difference needed to spark an automatic recount.

If the ballots still to be counted come in at the same rate Thursday’s did, Matthes would miss a recount, but not by a lot.

The latest numbers from the 26th Legislative District race between Republican Jan Angel and Kim Abel show Angel has expanded her lead by about a percentage point after the latest numbers from Kitsap County. Angel has about 51.9 percent of the votes, while Abel has about 48.1 percent. Pierce County’s latest numbers were posted Wednesday.

UPDATED, 4:40 P.M. FRIDAY: The newest numbers were again higher for Matthes than Garrido, but it appears still that Matthes will fall short, now by about 1,000 votes out of about 115,000. That would also mean he won’t qualify for an automatic recount.

Video (Including Dicks and Cloud in a One-on-One)

Earlier we mentioned our political videos. They’re all done now. We gave each candidate a chance to take three minutes to give a pitch to voters. We then asked them a few questions. All but three of those on local ballots participated, including the two who would be governor. Democrat Phil Rockefeller, seeking re-election to his 23rd District state Senate seat, and Republican Tim Matthes, running for county commissioner, declined. Jan Angel, Republican running for state rep in the 26th District, said she didn’t have time in her schedule. You can see the entire list of videos beginning here.

Additionally, we’ve got video of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, and Republican challenger Doug Cloud talking about three different issues when they met with our editorial board.

Some Back Story Behind the KCCHA News

If you read the story about Norm McLoughlin’s retirement from Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, you might notice this statement:

News of McLoughlin’s retirement was talked about by some in the community . . .

If you didn’t see it before, well that’s why I’m drawing your attention to it again. I was originally told that I shouldn’t miss covering an executive session the week prior to what came out officially on Tuesday. That meeting was in the KCCHA office in Silverdale. I went and planned to wait for the meeting to open, at which point they’d kick me out. I’d then wait downstairs for the announcement.

Later that day I learned that McLoughlin’s KCCHA career was likely to be finished after the meeting. I tried to get county commissioners Josh Brown and Steve Bauer to comment on it. They wouldn’t bite. So I went to Silverdale somewhat reluctantly, because we did plan to have the Sounding Board meeting here for the presidential debate and I had another story I hadn’t finished. I forgot to grab a laptop. I sat with members of the board for a few minutes while they waited for at least one more member to arrive so they’d have a quorum. Then I decided to go back to the office and grab a laptop, because I was certain I would be kicked out during the executive session, so I might as well have something to work on while I waited. I changed my mind and stayed in Bremerton, wrote the other story, heard that nothing had happened at the board meeting and sat in with the Sounding Board during most of the debate. For the next week I continued to try to get at least one other source before going ahead with the story.

That never happened. Meanwhile lots of people contacted me asking if I’d heard about it. Problem was it was no one who could go on the record and no one who was on the board.

Kim Abel, former Port Orchard mayor and current candidate for state representative in the 26th District was one who did talk to me about the issue. As mayor she had been on the housing authority’s board, chairing it in 2005 and for the last half of 2007 to finish the term started by former county commissioner Chris Endresen (Turns out that is not correct. Abel was not chairwoman in 2007. My mistake). Abel spoke last week with Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp and announced about an hour after the retirement announcement that she wants the state to help the housing authority refinance its loans without putting any burden on taxpayers.

Abel’s opponent for the Legislature is county commissioner and KCCHA’s 2008 chair Jan Angel.

Abel said as chair, Angel should have seen the housing authority’s financial problems and acted sooner. Angel said she and county commissioner Steve Bauer have been working on the situation for several months. Furthermore, Angel said it was interesting that Abel was coming out with a press release so quickly after McLoughlin’s retirement announcement. Angel said Abel was trying to paint herself as the hero, coming up with a plan to save the housing authority when Abel herself was on the board chair just prior to Angel’s turn as chairwoman. Angel said Abel left messes for both the housing authority and the city of Port Orchard.

Both Angel and Abel were on the board for four years together. Angel was a county commissioner when the county agreed to back the loans. Both can probably make political hay out of the KCCHA situation.

I’m working on more about this.

Rossi in Port Orchard, Most of it Recorded

Republican Dino Rossi spoke to the Port Orchard Rotary this morning and gave his regular campaign speech. I’ll have a story about it later and more details here. It’s a busy day, let me tell you, though I can’t tell you all the reasons why. Not yet.

At the event I had my little Flip Video camera, just like I did weeks ago when Gregoire was here. I was filming his speech when I was politely asked by a Rossi staffer not to. I had cleared it with Rotary before, but the staffer tried to offer a quiet explanation why they didn’t want it taped. I pulled out the “Do you know who I am?” card, because that always works so well with cops.

Actually, no I didn’t, but I made it clear that I understood (That isn’t to say that I agree.) why they’re reluctant. There are “political operatives” out there who record these things and love to post them on YouTube, out of context, etc. I also said I was with the newspaper. No change. So I said if he could get the Rotary official, because it was a Rotary event, to tell me not to video than I would stop.

A few minutes later the Rotary guy politely (I’m not being sarcastic in either case. Both requests were polite.) told me Rossi’s people didn’t want any taping. So I stopped. Charlie Bermant from the Port Orchard Independent was there and taping. He went to the back of the room and was chatting with the Rossi staffer, then returned and started recording again. I went to the back of the room and got the reluctant OK from Rossi’s people and continued on recording. So when we post the speech, which lasted somewhere in the ballpark of 20 minutes, parts will be missing.

Of course, this is a bigger deal here in lovely Kitsap because of James Olsen being prohibited from filming Eggs & Issues events. Different party, same general reasons.

Rossi Says Lawsuit Part of Opposition’s Doing Anything to Keep Guv’s Office

Republican governor candidate Dino Rossi stopped by our office Monday, hours after news broke that another suit had been filed by supporters of Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Two former state Supreme Court justices sued, saying that Rossi’s interactions with the Building Industry Association of Washington in 2007 were illegal campaign fundraising efforts, because he was planning to run for governor.

We’ll have more Rossi video later this week and more from Gregoire. The governor is visiting the editorial board Wednesday. Here’s Monday’s Rossi video.

 

Perhaps the World Will Tilt Right

Before I launch in my expectations for tonight’s vice-presidential debate, let me tell you what I have planned for right after it’s done. I’ll post a blog entry entitled, “That Was . . . ” There I’ll invite you to leave your comments about the debate, the state of the election, the world, your hair, whatever you want.

Here’s my expectations for tonight’s debate: It will be more positive for Republicans than Democrats. This is actually an easy expectation to announce, because things have been so bad for Sarah Palin lately, I don’t see how the debate can do anything but improve her stock. Even if Biden “technically” wins, I don’t see Democrats benefiting a lot unless the margin of victory is overwhelming. Personally, I think Biden will be so cautious that he’s going to be too careful to deliver a knockout. And Palin has delivered well in debates in the past.

One more reason to believe as I do comes from a column, There They Go Again, in Time written by Mike Murphy, who in 2000 was on the McCain team.

A lot of debate prep is given over to mastering another basic rule: never make the rookie’s mistake of actually trying to answer the question you are asked. Candidates are told instead to quickly “pivot” into their central campaign message whenever possible.

Question: “Governor, why is your hair on fire?”

Answer: “Nobody understands fire better than America’s brave firefighters, which is why I’m so proud to say that the heroes who make up the National Firefighters Association took one look at my 11-point plan for comprehensive national health-care reform and strongly endorsed me as the only candidate in this race who is standing up for working, middle-class families who need health care now.”

There is a whole lot more in the column. I highly recommend. The main point is both candidates are likely to stay on script. There’s little positive in that for Biden, other than reducing the risk of the negative. There’s plenty of positive in it for Palin. Now that Saturday Night Live has lampooned her twice, my bet is she’ll make reference to asking for a lifeline. She’s good enough to make it look spontaneous, too. If I were in her shoes, my feet would really hurt. But I’d also be waiting for an opportunity to diffuse that image by deprecating myself. Biden will also probably find a way to poke fun at his verbosity, maybe even his arrogance. America loves that. As a patriot, I love it, too.

It’s too bad there isn’t more self-deprecation in the state races on down. Last night I watched part of the Gregoire-Rossi governor’s debate and this morning I saw most of the Jan Angel-Kim Abel legislative forum in Gig Harbor. Rossi and Gregoire took shots at each other and were NOT funny. Abel and Angel were pretty serious, too. I can understand that. All candidates seem to get better on stage as the weeks go on, but comedy is an awful thing to be bad at, so it’s often best to not get close to that cliff.