Tag Archives: Port of Bremerton

Updated: Port of Bremerton image question gets ferry and Twitter audience

Port of Bremerton Commissioner Roger Zabinski reportedly has concerns about how the port is portrayed in the press. Apparently he rode the Bremerton-to-Seattle ferry run Friday morning. As it turns out, so did Seattle Weekly reporter editor Chris Kornelis. They were near each other, one row away. Zabinski got on the phone and didn’t mute his conversation. Kornelis posted on Twitter what he heard. Here are Kornelis’ Tweets.

8:51 OK, I’m on the Bremerton ferry, and the guy behind me is talking about this story in the CK Reporter http://www.centralkitsapreporter.com/news/196140241.html …

8:51 The story is about the Port of Bremerton, and the guy is chewing someone out because he doesn’t like how the Port is portrayed

8:52 He’s telling the person — it could be the Port CEO — that he needs to be careful about what he says to reporters

8:52 The irony is that he’s saying this IN PUBLIC on a CELL PHONE while a reporter is listening.

8:53 I’m not even eves dropping. He’s just talking about commission business loudly

8:54 “there’s no question that people cannot say that we’re not working as a team … we’re just taking the high road.”

8:54 “all these reporters are talking to one another …” and I just heard the name @davnelson

8:55 “you dont’ hear them picking on all the other …” didn’t hear the rest

8:55 “We own both the Bremerton and Port Orchard Marina …”

9:06 Bremerton Port Commissioner Roger Zabinski is sitting behind me on the ferry, on his cell scolding someone about how to talk to the press

It appears there was a break in the action, after which Zabinski got on the phone again. This time it appears to have been with a reporter. Here are the remainder of Kornelis’ Tweets.

9:37 OH, damn! He’s at it again” I wanted to give you some information on background if possible. You don’t have to reference me.”

9:38 “I know you’ve been a reporter for a while. You’ve gotta be careful if you make it look like you’re taking sides … Anyway.”

9:38 OK, so, seriously, now the commission is scolding a reporter on how to not appear to take sides. This is too much.

9:38 Sorry, commissioner … scolding the reporter, on his cell phone, while sitting behind me on the ferry

9:39 He’s talking about “cronyism”

9:49 Ok, lost the rest of the chat while we were disembarking and the commissioner took the call into the bathroom

Chris Kornelis’ Tweets can be read on at his Twitter handle @chriskornelis.

5:15 p.m. UPDATE Roger Zabinski called. He said his conversation with Thomson was one in which he reiterated his belief that the port needed a business plan, and that he did disagree with how some of Thomson’s comments came off in the CK Reporter piece. He also said he wasn’t trying to tell the reporter how to do her job.

Zabinski was curious about the ethics of reporting a one-sided conversation that was overheard.

If you’re a public official conducting official business in a public place, the public might be interested to hear about that. I say “might,” because it will depend on the issue. In fact, the issue is more important than the person, but the fact that you’re someone elected to handle that issue just makes it all the more interesting to the public. In this case it certainly would be interesting to our readers, because it was about an issue that had already been reported, albeit in another publication. In fact, the conversations were about that story.

Zabinski makes the case that he’s not on the level of a state legislator, that he is essentially a volunteer, that he can’t conduct port business while doing his day job, so he has the right to conduct that business on the ferry. He also said he wasn’t yelling. All that is probably true. The fact is, though, he was discussing public business that the public might have some interest in and he was doing it loud enough that Kornelis did not have to strain to hear what Zabinski was saying.

From our perspective it was a no-brainer to publish it here. Once it’s out in the Twitterverse it has already been reported. Secondly, it came from a source we have high trust in. Chris Kornelis not only works for Seattle Weekly, he used to work for the Kitsap Sun. He knows how to report. We trusted the accuracy of what he was Tweeting.

Port of Bremerton, what’s in a logo?

The Port of Bremerton Board of Commissioners devoted considerable time at a retreat last week to discussion of the port’s logo. Now, don’t get the idea that the board didn’t discuss larger issues, such as the port’s mission and direction now that it has a new CEO (former COO Tim Thomson, replacing Cary Bozeman), new commissioner (Axel Strakeljahn, replacing retiring longtime Commissioner Bill Mahan) and new board president (Larry Stokes).

All agreed on taking an aggressive approach to attracting new business and retaining the tenants they already have, especially SafeBoats. Strakeljahn suggested that the port should fill Thomson’s former position with a “salesman” who would be on the road four to six weeks of the year, knocking on the doors of prospective port tenants.

“We need to sell ourselves guys,” said Strakeljahn, store director for Port Orchard’s Fred Meyer, who urged his fellow commissioners not to count on Kitsap’s cities or the county to take the lead. “If we’re doing that, we’re riding the bus. We need to be driving the bus. … I don’t care what everyone else is doing. Let them do what they’re good at. We’re going to drive the bus. We’re the Port of Bremerton. We’re the leaders.”

Thomson mentioned that the logo created when Bozeman was at the helm has not exactly been ringing people’s chimes. Apparently, 95 percent of the staff would just as soon go back to the old logo, which shows a propeller and a couple of thin waves.

The new logo shows a thick blue wave, a building, a person waving, a sun and a plane flying stage right (see below).

The commissioners did their best to interpret the icons.

“You’ve got the little guy and the sun up there …,” Strakeljahn mused. “Were you here when they came up with this?” he asked Thomson.

“Yes, but I didn’t feel comfortable saying anything,” he replied.

The commissioners thought the buildings were meant to represent industry. And the sun? ” … because sometimes Washington is sunny?” Commissioner Roger Zabinski ventured.

Although the old logo was pronounced a little “old school,” the commissioners agreed they liked it better. Discussion of melding the two logos was nixed, apparently due to artist’s rights on the new design.

Stokes, who served on the board about 25 years ago, gave the history of the old logo, saying his successor Mary Ann Huntington had a contest at South Kitsap High School. The winning design was submitted by one of the students.

Thomson suggested the new logo be allowed to die a natural death. No new materials will be ordered with the sun and the little man. Staff will be allowed to drop the logo from their emails. The new logo, featured on some port signs, will be replaced as the signs need replacement.

“We’ll just slowly let it go away,” Thomson said.

Which logo do you think best represents the port?

Notes from the chamber of commerce debate

Debates are the political equivalent of speed dating. Candidates have snippets of time to define themselves, differentiate themselves from their opponents and connect with the crowd.

We at the Kitsap Sun will be doing in-depth articles articles on local races and ballot issues. Debate coverage, on the other hand, could be seen as more superficial but also more immediate.

Here’s what I took away from this morning’s debate hosted by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. Races featured were the Port of Bremerton Commissioner, District 3, and Kitsap County Commissioner, District 1 (North Kitsap), neither of which I’m doing the in-depth coverage on.

In the commissioners’ debate, Republican Chris Tibbs took every opportunity to set himself apart from incumbent Commissioner Rob Gelder. Gelder was appointed in March to fill Steve Bauer’s position.

Interestingly enough, Tibbs considers himself an “independent moderate” and has contributed to Democratic campaigns in the past. His goal in this race seems to be to diversify the all-Democratic board of commissioners.

“We have not had an independent voice on the board since 2008 (when Republican Jan Angel’s term ended),” Tibbs said. “I think we need a voice to look at the interests of what the minority are.”

Democrat Gelder countered that he doesn’t automatically align with fellow commissioners Charlotte Garrido and Josh Brown.

“I maintain my own independent voice,” said Gelder, whose background is in nonprofit management, most recently at Martha & Mary Health Services of Poulsbo. “What I uniquely bring to the board of commissioners is the perspective of service.”

Gelder said his goal is to “re-size government to a more sustainable level,” while advocating for “the most vulnerable.”

Tibbs, director of sales and operations for Ootopia coffee roasters, touted his business experience and said he would run the county with a more stringent eye to the bottom line, fully funding justice, roads and land use, and cutting as needed in other departments. Tibbs would be looking to “shed layers of employees” but also wants to restore the county to 5-day per week service versus the current 4.

Tibbs blasted the county’s “lack of transparency,” citing the Shoreline Master Plan Update process and the county’s legal tangle with Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club as examples.

Gelder, now on the defensive, said the county has come a long way in increasing transparency, especially in the budget process. (Both Gelder and Tibbs served on the county’s budget advisory committee). Concerns that the Shoreline Master Plan will decimate individual property rights are not justified, Gelder said. The public has and will continue to be involved in the planning process.

Gelder said the county has made strides toward a sustainable budget and the board is on track to rebuild the general fund reserve account. He cited recent refinancing of bonds that will save an estimated $1.7 million over time as an example of the county’s more proactive approach to balancing the budget.

Gelder also defended his background in nonprofits as valid experience for the job of commissioner. “Running a not-for-profit requires you to be even more creative to make payroll,” he said.

The two candidates hold 180-out positions on Kitsap County’s membership in the Puget Sound Regional Council. The council, which also includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, oversees distribution of state and federal transportation funding.

Tibbs says Kitsap’s interests are not being represented in the PSRC. He advocates the county withdraw and establish its own stand-alone entity. “We have no reason to be with this organization,” Tibbs said. “We could be a stand-alone and receive the same or more monies.”

Gelder said the county can’t afford to distance itself from the PSRC. “It’s the reality we’re operating in,” he said. “We need to be a player around the table. If we’re not there, they basically will roll right over us.”

In the nonpartisan Port of Bremerton debate, candidates Axel Strakeljahn and Shawn Cucciardi had a harder time setting themsleves apart from one another.

Both said the port has not yet fully recovered the public’s trust since 2007 when it passed a poorly publicized tax increase of 45 cents per $1,000 for the Bremerton Marina. Cucciardi called it a “stealth tax.” Strakeljahn dubbed it the “midnight tax.”

Both candidates talked of the port’s need for a solid short- and long-range business plan to promote economic development. Both touted their business experience as credentials for the job. Strakeljahn manages the Port Orchard Fred Meyer. Cucciardi manages McCormick Woods Golf Course & Clubhouse.

Cucciardi said he’d pump up marketing of the port. Strakeljahn said he’d make sure any business decision made by the port commission pencils out. He would “hold the line on taxes” he said.

Cucciardi said his style is to take “positive approach” to problem solving. Strakeljahn spoke of his immigrant parents, who taught him the value of hard work and “attention to detail.”

So there you have it, just a few notes from the debate, for what it’s worth.

Strakeljahn first out campaigning for port post

Here’s a post from our business reporter Rachel Pritchett, who covers the Port of Bremerton. Thanks Rachel for the contribution. — Chris Henry

SILVERDALE — First out on the campaign trail for the open Port of Bremerton commissioner post is Axel Strakeljahn, who got a few words in at a meeting of the Kitsap County Republican Party on Monday evening.

Strakeljahn, pronounced Streck’-el-john with a short e in the first syllable, got a wait-and-see reception from the 25 or so who attended the meeting at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.

Not surprisingly, one of the first questions he got was whether he would raise taxes.

“No, sir,” responded Strakeljahn, longtime local home-and-garden businessman, fiscal conservative and current manager of the Port Orchard Fred Meyer.

The Seabeck resident said he was the candidate with the strongest “business ethics” and the one with “experience you can trust.”

He promised to give “careful attention to where money is spent.”

Strakeljahn, 52, took aim at the port’s marketing efforts, which he said have been carried off “ineffectively” and “irresponsibly.”

He suggested instead that the port and the cities of Port Orchard and Bremerton become “a cohesive working unit” to promote tourism and a healthier business climate.

He took exception to an early and informal suggestion by one current commissioner, Bill Mahan, that the port consider hiring a consultant to come up with a plan to promote an “industry cluster.” According to Mahan, identification and promotion of an industry cluster would strengthen the ties and attract new players in a certain industry, say in boat-building. Mahan has said the $200,000 cost could be shared by many entities that would result in only a small cost to all. Strakeljahn said that was a bad idea. The matter is expected to be further discussed at an upcoming port study session.

Strakeljahn, who built his own house in Seabeck, said that after three decades of leading businesses in Kitsap, it was time for him to give back to the community.

He said he has endorsements from state Rep. Jan Angel and others.

The only other person who has announced he will run so far is Shawn Cucciardi, an owner and general manager of McCormick Woods Golf Course and the Clubhouse Restaurant at McCormick Woods.

Port commissioner District 3 is being vacated by Mahan, who is retiring. The expansive district covers much of south and west Kitsap.

— Rachel Pritchett, reporter, (360) 475-3783

Second candidate throws hat in ring for port seat

Shawn Cucciardi, general manager and an owner of McCormick Woods Golf Course and the Clubhouse Restaurant at McCormick Woods, announced today that he will run for Port of Bremerton commissioner position 3, being vacated by longtime commissioner Bill Mahan. Port Orchard Fred Meyer manager Alex Axel Strakeljahn already has announced he will run for the position.

Cucciardi said he would make it a priority to court port tenant Safe Boats, which employs 260 and plans to hire more. The port is mulling a “marine cluster” to entice Safe Boats to stay.

“Our priorities are to create and maintain jobs by retaining current tenants like SAFE Boats and focusing on a long term development plan to increase business revenue and make the port fiscally self-sufficient,” he said.

Filing week starts on Monday. We’ll do our best to keep readers up to speed. Feel free to contact us with notice of your candidacy: chenry@kitsapsun.com or sgardner@kitsapsun.com.

Our apologies to Mr. Strakeljahn for an earlier misspelling of his first name.

Replacing Bill Mahan

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 need.”

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 needs.

Mayors’ Forum: “No 800-Pound Gorilla in Here”

At a mayor’s forum today, featuring Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, Bremerton resident Klaus Golombek asked, “Where are the 800-pound gorillas?”

The event, at Port Orchard City Hall, was hosted by the Bremerton and Port Orchard chambers of commerce.

Before the Q&A, both mayors highlighted the positive side of their respective cities. Lent touted public and private development projects completed and in the pipeline. Coppola, whose city is still trying to get multiple major projects shovel-ready, noted that his city is financially “in much better shape than most other cities” due to conservative budgeting.

The tone of their comments was not derogatory, and neither mayor appeared to be trying to one-up the other.

Lent, in response to Golombek’s question, talked about fiscal challenges the city faces and will continue to face under the “new normal.” The city in 2010 eliminated 34 positions through layoffs, buyouts, early retirement and unfilled vacancies. A total of 17 individuals left the city. City workers in Bremerton, as elsewhere, will continue to have to do more with less for the foreseeable future, Lent said.

Councilman Jerry Childs brought up what has been an 800-pound gorilla, Bremerton’s annexation of the South Kitsap Industrial Area and Gorst sewer project, which cast uncertainty on Port Orchard’s plans to provide SKIA with sewer. But as you’ll read in the story, both mayors said they could sit down and come up with a resolution to this and other areas of conflict.

Lent, a former county commissioner who was sworn in as mayor in November, 2009, said she was against the SKIA annexation. “I never wanted that airport to be annexed by any cities,” she said. “I thought it should be a regional airport, but I was out of office.”

Lent continued, saying Bremerton has a “great relationship” with the Port of Bremerton, SKIA’s major property owner. So, basically, she’s willing to work with what she “inherited” from former Mayor Cary Bozeman, now CEO of the Port of Bremerton.

Another thing she inherited but didn’t seem too keen on was the Bremerton ferry tunnel. Phone calls to her office criticizing the tunnel have subsided, Lent said, in response to a question. The tunnel is doing its job, which is diverting traffic to make downtown more pedestrian friendly. “People seem to be used to it now,” she said.

Golombek thought the mayors, particularly Lent, side-stepped the gorilla question. He’s still smarting about the Port of Bremerton’s marina expansion. He thinks increased revenue from the marina should go toward paring down the bond. Less should go to the city’s general fund, he said. Looking ahead, Golombek’s got concerns about Bremerton’s planned Youth Wellness Center, which he thinks could become a financial burden on residents.

As for the rapport between Bremerton and Port Orchard, however, there doesn’t appear to be any gorilla in here. At least as far as the two mayors are concerned. Port Orchard Councilman Jerry Childs said the two councils may be a different matter. The only interaction they’ve had was over SKIA, and it wasn’t pretty. Competition for state and federal funds is another potential area of conflict for both cities.

“It makes it difficult for our cities to get along, because we’re both fighting for a piece of the pie,” Childs said.

The Port of Bremerton, too, should be included in talks on potential areas of collaboration and conflict, Childs said.

Port of Bremerton Candidates Answer Questions

The Kitsap Sun editorial board interviewed the three candidates vying for a seat on the Port of Bremerton board of commissioners. 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.

- Angela Dice

Worth Watching — Paine Field

Jerry Cornfield at the (Everett) Herald has been providing updates on what has become politically hot, whether to introduce commercial flights at Paine Field.

It should interest you, because the company that appears to be the most interested is Allegiant Air, a company looking at launching Bremerton-Las Vegas round trips. It’s a county decision, but the city of Mukilteo is against and hired a consultant who sent a mass e-mail critical of Allegiant for starting, then abandoning service in several locations. The airline responded.

Green Buses

Besides whatever happens on Kitsap SEED or SKIA at Tuesday’s Port of Bremerton commissioner meeting, there will a resolution supporting efforts to create hybrid electric/gas buses or fully electric buses. The resolution expresses the port’s support for public and private funding for the project.

agenda item

I’m told there may have once been a financial request associated with this item, but that the port is not allocating money this week.