The more I look at Tuesday’s election the less certain I am that
it predicts anything for the general. Three months in politics is
an eternity anyway, but the submariner low turnout compounds the
If Kitsap County does only see 15,000 more votes by the end of
this election, turnout that was expected to be about 50 percent
will finish lower than 35 percent. The general election should see
more than double that. My gut tells me this means Democrats have
work to do keep their wins around here. My gut often doesn’t know
what it’s talking about, but nobody had a chance to vote against
Barack Obama Tuesday. In November they will.
Fortunately for Democrats they ended Tuesday with some big leads
in some races, so they start ahead. And in the general election of
2010 Democrats in Washington did very well in getting out the vote.
While Republicans swept the nation, Democrats held their own
What I’m interested in seeing over the next few days is how the
later votes trend. That same 2010 general election was the first
where Democrats broke the trend by winning the late votes.
The new program, combined with other cost-saving measures, is
expected to reduce the amount the county spends on health care by
$12.5. But the “savings” will not mean a decrease in employees’
share of insurance premiums.
Employers nearly everywhere have responded to escalating health
care costs by asking employees to shoulder a greater share of the
burden through higher premiums and deductibles. So Kitsap County
employees were not alone when they saw their premiums jump from two
percent of the total cost in 2009 to eight percent in 2010. In
2012, the county pays 86 percent of the tab for premiums; employees
pay 14 percent. In 2013, that’s expected to go up to 17 percent,
according to Bert Furuta, director of personnel and human
Bear in mind that the county isn’t simply shifting the burden,
said John Wallen of DiMartino Associates, the county’s health care
consultant. The county’s own costs continue to increase, even as it
leans harder on employees to foot their portion of the bill.
Nationwide, the proportion of employees’ share of premiums
varies widely depending on the industry and region of the county. A
recent Mercer survey that divides the county into four regions,
showed that, among combined private and public sectors for the
“West,” the percentage was 21 percent for single employees, 30
percent for families. At that rate, Kitsap County employees are
still ahead of the game.
You may wonder — and I asked — why the county needs a health
care consultant, at a current cost of just more than $40,000 per
year. According to Furuta, the field of health care is so complex
that it requires specialized expertise to navigate. The county
tried to go without some years back and found it was not
cost-effective, Furuta said.
Kitsap County Republican Party Chairman Jack Hamilton will be a
delegate at the Republican National Convention, Aug. 27-30, in
Tampa. He will be joined by Gig Harbor’s Marlyn Jensen, who
challenged state Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, for his seat in
the Legislature in 2008.
Three other Kitsap residents are going as alternates: Donna
Hamilton (Jack’s wife), Arna Souza and Willard Swiger.
Jensen and the alternates go representing the Sixth
Congressional District. Jack Hamilton is going as an at-large
The state Democratic Party is expected to release its list
The Seattle Times editorial board was critical of several
would-be members of Congress who decided to run both for the
temporary seat and the permanent one. I wish the issue were that
easy to describe for us in Kitsap, but let’s save that conversation
for later in this blog post.
The Times’ criticism points out that candidates like Darcy
Burner, who was the first to declare she’d run in both races, get
to raise twice as much money this way for mailers and the like,
because she can raise money for two different elections. (Confused
already? I don’t blame you. I’ll explain it all later. I keep
promising that, I know.) I mention Burner specifically, because
she’s the one who started the cascade of candidates running for the
full two-year term that begins in January to also run for the
one-month job (It might be longer. I know, that’s confusing.) That
ends in January to fill the last month of Jay Inslee’s
congressional term. He resigned earlier this year to focus on his
bid for the governor’s office. Burner was joined in running for
both seats by Democrats Suzan DelBene, Laura Ruderman and Darshan
Rauniyar. Republican John Koster joined in as well. Democrat Steve
Hobbs declined, saying the move by the other candidates was
motivated by money. The Times editorial didn’t mention that
independent candidate Larry Ishmael also declined.
The Times may be off the mark in question the point of a
one-month congressional job. There could be some important items to
vote on, such as the budget, the extension of the Bush tax cuts and
an income tax deduction for Washington residents.
But I think the Times may also have a case in suggesting
candidates will raise money for both races, but do you think anyone
Kitsap County will see any mailers from candidates for the
one-month job? The Times opines that all the benefit of the extra
money will go toward winning the permanent seat.
So let’s again explain why this is happening.
First off, Jay Inslee resigned from Congress, and congressional
officials said federal law stipulates that an election to replace
him during his term must happen. If he had resigned with a month
left that wouldn’t have been necessary, but he is out of the seat
for long enough that congressional officials believe it merits
electing a replacement.
Had this not been a redistricting year the state would have had
the option of taking the winner of the general election and
appointing him or her to the seat early. Because it’s a
redistricting year and the 1st District boundaries have been
changed dramatically, whoever gets elected in the 1st will be
representing a vastly different area than the current 1st. So
voters in Bainbridge would be represented for one month by someone
they had no say in choosing.
So on the primary and general election ballot voters in about
half of Kitsap County, the part currently in the 1st Congressional
District, will pick a member to fill the remainder of Inslee’s term
from about early December to early January and a congressman in the
6th Congressional District, with that term beginning in early
In the final candidate filing story last week I tried to
simplify the discussion by writing this:
“Candidates for the new 1st Congressional District, which does
not include any portion of Kitsap County, had all held back on
running for the temporary seat, which carries the northern portion
of the county and Bainbridge Island.”
I received an email from someone confused by that paragraph. A
different person used the story comments to express befuddlement. I
admit that there are times I can write things clearer than I do,
but in this case I think the issue is confusing and difficult to
boil down in a single sentence. I think I did pretty well, and it’s
So let me try this.
If you live in the 6th Congressional District now, you have
nothing to figure out.
If you live in the 1st Congressional District in Kitsap County, you
will be electing two members of Congress this year. One will be in
the 6th Congressional District, because beginning in January you
will no longer be in the 1st. You will be in the 6th. That member
of Congress will serve a regular term. The other member of Congress
you elect will be in the 1st District and will only serve for the
last month you will live in the 1st District.
Kitsap Republicans will have a full slate of delegates and
alternates when they go to the state party convention on May 31 in
County party members met for a second time on Saturday and
completed the voting process that stopped prematurely on April 21,
when a nominating process ran into conflict with a commitment to be
out of the Klahowya Secondary School building.
State party officials informed county party leaders they could reconvene and get
approval from the state convention rules committee to seat the
five-dozen-plus delegates in total. If, for whatever reason, the
committee were to decline, the county would be represented by 14
people. The head of that committee, however, gave assurances
earlier that the full delegation would be seated.
Speaking of sitting, that the full delegate slate will be seated
doesn’t sit well with a “Daily Paul” poster with the
moniker staobrof who wrote, “Because of the unorthodox reconvening
and the rules violations, the state convention will have to rule on
whether Kitsap County’s delegates can even be seated at the
convention. From the strongarm tactics I saw at the convention, I
don’t think they should allow them to be seated.”
Hamilton, in his statement following the convention, makes no
mention of what appears to be a brief, but boisterous, moment of
dissension that was videotaped. Hamilton thanked those who attended
both events. “Your sacrifice of time, energy, and money are greatly
appreciated. In addition, your willingness to actively participate
in our political process (with all it’s warts and glory) set you
aside from most voters. As those of us who have spent far too much
time chasing dreams of political success know, you are no longer a
‘normal’ person,” Hamilton wrote.
The video, which apparently is against county party guidelines,
shows the videographer being told to stop taping. He eventually
yells that he’s being assaulted. There’s more attempting to get him
to stop taping while Kirby Wilbur, state party chairman, attempts
to talk to the rest of the delegates. Wilbur tells someone to “Sit
down and shut up,” but I can’t tell from the video who he was
As the delegates begin dispersing to their three different
caucuses the videographers get a variety of comments sent their
way. One woman says, “Hey video this,” then tells them to take
their anarchy somewhere I couldn’t decipher. Another convention
delegate tells the filmer “Hey, you’re cool man. Good job.”
A final critic offers a condemnation that makes little sense to
me, only because I’m assuming the videographer is a Ron Paul
supporter. “What part of the Communist Party do you belong to?” the
man yelled. That insult gets lobbed all the time at Democrats, but
not at libertarians.
Many commenters to the video operate under the illusion that the
party has to allow filming. It doesn’t. A political party is not
subject to state open meeting laws, because those only apply to
governments, and political parties are not governments.
The state attorney general has a page on this, which gives broad
explanations of when a meeting must be public. Note that “political
subdivision,” which is mentioned on the page, refers to a smaller
government, such as a city or county, that is subject to state law.
In fact, not all government bodies are subject to open meeting
laws. The Legislature wrote in exceptions for itself and for the
courts. Even the government entities that are subject to the law
are allowed exceptions, such as when they meet to consider a legal
action or real estate transaction.
Whether it’s a good idea to prohibit filming at a political
event is another question. Any time someone attempts to stop it the
resulting footage provides better public relations fodder than
anything the videographer might have otherwise caught.
The Kitsap County Republican Party, in addition to caucusing on
Saturday, will hold their annual Lincoln Day dinner on Friday.
Scheduled to speak to the group is Rev. Wayne Perryman, whose bio lists him as a
community activist and minister.
He is also a former talk-show host and has numerous videos on
YouTube, including some appearances on conservative national
Here is a story from The Sun in 2003. Perryman was born in
Bremerton, it seems.
Until 2007 county commissioner meetings, the regular meetings,
were in the daylight hours. Thinking they would get more
participation by holding them at night they moved them to the
evening. That participation, according to the commissioners, has
The county has issued a press release saying the commissioners
are considering changing the meeting times, but it reads as if the
decision has been pretty well made. The board will reserve the
right to hold special meetings at special times and in different
places. The full discussion of this idea is scheduled for the
board’s 7 p.m. meeting on Monday (Feb. 13).
In today’s story I mentioned that the legislative districts in
Kitsap County will appear to remain largely unchanged.
Officially, though, there can be no assumptions about how the
boundaries will be drawn until the commission settles its dispute
over districts in Eastern Washington. Watching the proceedings on
TVW this morning, the dispute is formidable. I would doubt the
commission would miss its Jan. 31 deadline, but it’s no small
disagreement at play.
Again, the issue is how much different districts in the Yakima
area are made up of Hispanic residents. From this side of the
mountains the differences don’t seem that large. However, any
change has a domino effect, which is why we can’t make assumptions
about the districts over here.
We’ll continue to follow the meetings in Olympia. If I were to
guess, two commissioners will return to the committee (not today,
perhaps) saying they have an agreement. All it will take is one
other commissioner to agree and we have a plan.
I wouldn’t expect much change in the Congressional plan, not one
that would affect Kitsap County, anyway.
UPDATE: The commissioners talked a lot about
changes this morning and there is some fear they may be far apart.
Overall, though, I think they’ll get their work down before
deadline. In fact, they were supposed to begin an afternoon meeting
at 2 p.m., but have delayed it twice by a half hour each time. That
could be something as simple as someone stuck somewhere else, but
you could also guess that it means that two members primarily
responsible for the legislative districts are close to an
agreement. We’ll see at 3, unless they delay the start time
UPDATE 2: No agreement today (Thursday) and the commissioners
scheduled meetings for Saturday and Sunday. They may not need
those, but they’re scheduled. They reconvene at 10:30 a.m.
Congressional redistricting appears to be close to a real
proposal within the state’s redistricting commission. Slade Gorton
and Tim Ceis said they have a proposal ready and will provide
drawings at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Don’t be surprised if there is a significant change in what was
proposed earlier, but it’s worth noting that all four proposals had
the entirety of Kitsap County in District Six, currently
represented by Congressman Norm Dicks of Belfair.
Currently the county is pretty much cut in half between the
Sixth and First districts, with the Firsties being represented by
Congressman Jay Inslee, who wants to be governor. That candidacy
was likely what opened the door to combining all of Kitsap into one
district. Perhaps it shouldn’t have mattered, but these lines are
not completely drawn without consideration for where the incumbent
In California, it appears, efforts to depoliticize the process
may have failed this time around, with Democrats figuring out how
to game the system while Republicans sat on the sidelines. An
extensive ProPublica report tells
Though all four proposals initially had the entirety of Kitsap
in one district, moving parts in one place requires moving them
elsewhere. So some of the county, particularly Bainbridge, could
find itself aligned with a Seattle-area district again.
Legislative maps that earlier included a call for uniting
Bainbridge with Port Townsend should be out later in the week. The
deadline is Saturday, or else it goes to the state Supreme
It’s that time of year, the election season is in full swing and
local governments and agencies are deep in preparing budgets for
the upcoming year.
This week, I’ve written about revenue forecasts for
Kitsap County and the
city of Port Orchard. On Monday, we’ll publish a story about
South Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s budget and an upcoming vote of its
Below, I’ll share links to documents I collected from public
officials in the course of my research, with the following
disclaimer: these are (with the exception of Port Orchard’s
annexation revenue worksheet) preliminary budgets subject to
change. We’ll continue to report on these and other local
jurisdictions as the budget process unfolds.
Let me know what jumps out at you. I can’t promise we’ll address
every observation or concern. But as I always say, many heads are
better than one. … Enjoy!
Due to a broken water main at the Island Lake Community Center,
an informational meeting on redistricting of Kitsap County
Commissioner district boundaries
has been moved to the Silverdale Community Center (A-Frame Off of
the Upper Parking Lot), 9729 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. rather than the originally
posted 6 p.m. to ensure time for people to reach the new
State law requires the county to adjust the boundaries to
roughly equalize the number of residents per district. The county’s
board of commissioners will adopt the revised boundaries by the end
of 2011. The boundaries become effective in 2012.
One option would be to make no change to the boundaries, which
were last adjusted in 2002. The difference between District 1
(“North Kitsap”), the largest district, and District 3 (“Central
Kitsap”), which is the smallest, is 6,300 people, which is within
allowances of the law, county officials say.
A second option would reduce the difference in population to
1,200. This option would affect residents in the Olympic View area
east of Highway 3 and south of Mountain View Road in Central
A third option would result in a population difference of 1,400
and would affect people living in the area east of Silverdale Way
and west of Ridgetop Boulevard.
Another information meeting has been set for 6 p.m. Oct. 6 at
the county administration building, 619 Division St. in Port
Brynn’s away, meaning you’re left with my version of what’s on
Kitsap County Commissioners (meet at 619
Division Street, Port Orchard)
Monday, Sept. 26, 10 a.m.: Minutes approval and
the rest for “board information sharing.”
2 p.m.: Updates on the budget, annexation
and redistricting and a discussion about the trails planning scope
7 p.m.: Employee service awards, two
appointments to the Rolling Hills Golf Course Oversight Board,
several contracts to provide mental health services, and a
resolution issuing $21.8 million in bonds to pay off old bonds and
save $1.7 million in debt service.
No work study session on Wednesday.
City of Bremerton (meets at 345 Sixth Street,
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 5 p.m.: Study session in
the sixth-floor council conference room. Lone discussion item is
the purchase of a sculpture planned for Pacific Avenue near Ninth
City of Port Orchard (meets at 219 Prospect
Tuesday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.: Council meeting
items include: DeKalb Street right-of-way request, two public works
contracts and approval of a public event.
City of Poulsbo (City Hall, 200 Moe Street)
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.: Council Workshop
dedicated to proposed impact fee ordinances. Public comment is on
Bremerton Housing Authority (4040 Wheaton Way,
Monday, Sept. 26, 5:30 p.m.: 2012 budget,
housing management reports and Section 8 admin plan, real estate
and contract reports, election of new officers.
The Sustainable Cinema series, sponsored by District 2
Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, continues 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the
Dragonfly Cinema in downtown Port Orchard, with a showing of “The
Age of Stupid.”
According to a press release on the county’s website, the
documentary film “takes a look back from the year 2055 and asks why
we didn’t stop climate change when we had the chance.”
The Age of Stupid is directed by Frannie Armstrong and stars
Pete Postlethwaite. The film runs 98 minutes.
There is no charge for admission, but the suggested donation is
$5 per person.
A discussion will follow the film.
“The Sustainable Cinema Series was created to provide
interactive and educational information to Kitsap County residents
about sustainable living,” the press release says.
For more information, contact Aimee Gordon Warthen, District 2
Liaison, at 360.337.7097.
Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola takes the county to task for
its dealings with Juel Lange in Poulsbo and Marcus Carter in
Central Kitsap. Carter has a gun range. It’s Coppola’s arguments
about Lange that got County Commissioner Josh Brown upset. Lange
had an outdoor swimming pool he operated for customers for 35 years
in North Kitsap. He closed it in 2004 but had hoped to reopen it this year.
That won’t happen. From Coppola’s
column in the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal, which he
Lange won’t be able to open this season after being a victim
of what can only be called a classic flim-flam by county
Meanwhile the Kitsap County Health District is requiring
Lange to have a lifeguard at the pool, something he claims has
never worked because parents would dump off their kids for long
periods, with a lifeguard, while they always stayed and watched
without one — and according to Lange, the kids behave
The Health District also required Lange to install a second
pool drain to supposedly prevent sucking swimmers down the drain,
or some such nonsense, while an alternative solution he proposed
was not acceptable.
Brown points out in his response that Coppola actually sits on
the Kitsap County Health District’s board of directors. Here’s the
two of them together on the district’s website.
Coppola never raised this issue in his position on the board,
Brown’s chief contention in the response to Coppola Brown wrote and
shared with us:
I read your recent editorial in your newspaper blasting the
Kitsap Health District policies over Lange’s Ranch. Your article
attacks Kitsap County and our DCD. What you never clear up for your
reader is that the regulations that Lange’s Ranch must clear are
Health District policies—a board on which you sit! You have never
brought this up to the Health District Board at a meeting, nor do I
recall ever seeing any correspondence from you asking Health
District staff to report back to you and the Board on this matter.
This article continues your pattern of misrepresenting facts,
attacking others when you take no responsibility, and just plain
lying. I believe you owe the employees and Board of the Health
District an apology.
Also worth reading are some of the comments on the stories
referenced earlier, the ones from our paper. The first story, the
one warning of a “showdown,” begins mostly with those complaining
along the same lines Coppola does in his piece, with some
counterarguments from those saying government should regulate as it
has here. After the second story, however, there appear to be a lot
of folks who know Lange weighing in.
During the conversation yesterday with state Sen. Tim Sheldon,
D-Potlatch, I asked him about other whispers he’s hearing down in
Olympia about the impact of redistricting.
By the way, I called Sheldon because he has been through two of
Sheldon mentioned that he thinks Brinnon could become part of
the 35th District because the area is part of the Mason County
Public Utility District.
In years past there have been conversations about extending the
23rd District into Jefferson County. I don’t think it has been
seriously considered by the group of redistricting commissioners,
but there is some sentiment that Port Townsend is a good match with
Bainbridge Island. Geographically it is a stretch.
What may make more sense to some is linking Bainbridge to a
district in Seattle. Still, not very likely, and one commenter on
the story thought the notion ridiculous.
I read our stories from 1991 and 2001 and in both cases there
was a large group who thought Kitsap should only have two
legislative districts. I’m not sure why that would be better
politically for this area. At first glance it does seem like more
is better. Bremerton itself is represented by nine different
legislators, even though not one legislator is actually from
One of the impacts of redistricting worth watching is that 35th
District swing. The district will still likely take in all of Mason
County. It’s the fringes that are worth taking notice of.
The reason I believe we are more likely to lose the 35th
District, or at least part of it, is because of where the
incumbents live. Sheldon (Potlatch) and state Rep. Kathy Haigh
(Shelton) both are in Mason County. Fred Finn lives near Olympia in
Several months ago I did another story on
redistrictings and spoke with the man many agree is
the state’s foremost expert on the subject, Dick Morrill. By e-mail
he told me, “The commission’s first unwritten rule is to protect
So you would think, assuming what Morrill said is true, that the
35th District’s emphasis in the redistricting plan would favor
Thurston County over Kitsap. I don’t know specifically where the
population growth has happened in Thurston County, so it could be
that the 35th won’t change much at all. Sheldon said he thought not
many incumbents will find themselves in a new district.
Sheldon also said state Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, is
considering running for Congress should Jay Inslee run for
governor, as practically everyone is assuming. What isn’t so clear,
however, is what district Liias will live once redistricting is
done. If Inslee does announce he’s running for governor, there’s no
incumbent to protect, so the First Congressional District could see
This again goes to the idea that all of Kitsap County could be
in one congressional district represented by Norm Dicks. Imagine
that. And if Bainbridge were lumped with Seattle legislatively, we
could have 12 legislators representing the county.
Here’s a cliche for you: The possibilities are endless.
Actually, they’re not. They pretty much range from Kitsap having
one or two members of Congress and two-four legislative districts.
That’s not exactly endless, is it.
News today that
Bill Mahan will not seek re-election to his post as District 3
commissioner for the
Port of Bremerton already has me wondering who will step up to
run for his seat. Mahan, a former Kitsap County Commissioner,
elected to the port in 2000 will retire from the port at the end of
2011. At 75, he said, “It’s just time for me to go home.”
Mahan represents portions of South Kitsap, Southwest Bremerton,
Seabeck/Holly/Crosby. District 2 Commissioner Larry Stokes
represents downtown Port Orchard and portions of Eastern South
Kitsap. His term is up Dec. 31, 2013. Roger Zabinski, the newest
port commissioner, represents District 1, including West Bremerton
and portions of East Bremerton through Dec. 31, 2015.
In other Mahan family news, it appears Sandy Mahan, wife of
Monty Mahan, Bill’s son, has a serious illness. In a blog entry on “Monty’s view,”
Monty Mahan said tests indicate his wife may have cancer in the
bones around her spinal column. More testing is under way.
Monty writes, “We ask that anyone who wishes to help us in this
difficult time show some patience and restraint for the time being.
We’re still in shock and she’s not in a good condition to receive
visitors or phone calls. We will certainly post more information as
we receive it from the doctors, and we are likely to ask for help
once we’ve had a chance to see where things are going and what we
Monty Mahan, who ran unsuccessfully for Kitsap County
Commissioner in 2007, is executive director of the Pierce
Conservation District in Pierce County. He and Sandy have 9
children, including some who are adopted and some with special
Washington is getting a 10th congressional district, which will
likely be placed somewhere in Western Washington. We’re planning on
having a story on the issue posted online later today and running
tomorrow in print. We have also written about this before,
suggesting that while the state might gain a member of Congress,
Kitsap County could feasibly lose one of its two.
In the meantime, you can read the press release that follows
from the Secretary of State’s office. (more…)
Rudolph received kudos at the Dec. 9 meeting of the Kitsap
Regional Coordinating Council. Fellow members of the KRCC
recognized Rudolph’s long-time service representing Kitsap County’s
interests on the Puget Sound Regional Council, which oversees
growth, transportation and economic development in the Puget Sound
KRCC Board Chairman Steve Bauer, who is the county’s North
Kitsap Commissioner, said Rudolph was the “corporate history” on
relations between the KRCC and PSRC. KRCC member Kim Brackett, a
member of the Bainbridge Island City Council, spoke of Rudolph’s
“encyclopedic knowledge” on the PSRC’s Vision 2040.
Rudolph was brought the meeting on a ruse. He thought he was
being asked for thoughts on the PSRC, to pass the baton so to
speak. Before receiving a plaque and thanks from the KRCC board, he
talked about his experience of serving on the PSRC.
Rudolph, who most recently was on the PSRC’s Growth Management Policy
Board, said it was important for those representing Kitsap
County to present a unified voice at PSRC. “I found it interesting
to represent viewpoints I didn’t necessarily share. I think it was
really good for me to realize we are in this together.”
Rudolph urged those on PSRC boards to be faithful in attending
meetings. Putting in seat time gives Kitsap County and the KRCC
credibility with the PSRC, which also includes the much larger
Pierce, King and Snohomish counties, Rudolph said.
There has been
considerable discussion in recent years about Kitsap County’s
involvement with the PSRC, and whether its to the county’s benefit.
One thing on which everyone agrees is representatives to the PSRC
must be consistent in attending the meetings in Seattle, in
addition to their other local meetings and duties.