Tag Archives: Puget Sound Regional Council

KRCC bypasses debate on PSRC membership

John Powers of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance presented the newly revised “roadmap” for economic development in the Central Puget Sound region to the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council on Tuesday.

Kitsap officials had a heavy hand in drafting the Regional Economic Strategy, said Ed Stern, Poulsbo city councilman and board vice chair of the Economic Development District. That’s the body charged with revising the plan every five years so the region — made up of King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties — remains qualified for federal funding.

Stern had hoped that the presentation would include a forum on the relative merits of Kitsap belonging to the Puget Sound Regional Council, under whose umbrella the EDD now resides. It may seem like a lot of alphabet soup, but at issue is a longstanding argument in some camps that the interests of Kitsap County, with 254,633 residents, is overshadowed by the the three other, much larger counties, whose total population is nearly 3.5 million.

The PSRC is a quasi-governmental body that oversees planning for growth, transportation and economic development in the Central Puget Sound Region, which is unique in that federal transportation dollars it receives are allocated through recommendations from the PSRC, not through Olympia.

Alternatives proposed in the past have included leaving the PSRC and joining forces with the Jefferson and Clallam counties to the west or going it as a stand-alone entity. Former County Commissioner Jan Angel was part of the contingent arguing against membership in the PSRC. Former Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola found a lot not to like about the PSRC, including its Vision 2040 transportation plan, and yet he advocated keeping Kitsap’s “place at the table.”

According to Stern, a strong advocate of staying with the PSRC and a Democrat, the great PSRC debate crops up at each election cycle typically along party lines with some Republicans advocating separation. Stern had envisioned today’s meeting as a chance to ferret out any anti-PSRC sentiment among members of the KRCC board, which includes county commissioners, mayors, council members and tribal leaders. That forum didn’t happen.

“I was encouraging John to bring it up to put it to bed,” Stern said after the meeting. “But the leadership (on the KRCC board) already feels there’s consensus.”

In other words, the question of whether Kitsap should remain with the PSRC is not even remotely ripe for debate, as far the KRCC is concerned.

As for Stern’s theory about elections, Reporter Brynn Grimley was at this morning’s Eggs and Issues debate between North Kitsap Commissioner Rob Gelder, the Democratic incumbent, and Chris Tibbs, his Republican challenger. She said there was nary a peep about Kitsap’s membership in the PSRC.

Powers said Kitsap, though smaller than the other counties, competes handily with other PSRC affiliates. The Puget Sound Region is recognized as a player worldwide for its defense, advanced manufacturing and IT industries, all of which Kitsap County has, Powers said.

“Although we’re only seven percent of that population base (the whole Central Puget Sound Region), our output exceeds our population base,” Powers said. “I would submit to you as elected officials to join us (KEDA) in telling our story in the Puget Sound region and beyond, because we can compete on that stage.”

Powers said it makes sense for Kitsap to affiliate with the region to the west with which it shares so may of the same interests and attributes.

“We have a lot to contribute and offer to this region,” Powers said. “The logic is simple. Everyone knows there is strength in numbers. There are advantages in collaborating together.”

Debbie Lester, representing the Bainbridge Island City Council, noted that inadequate ferry service is one of the “choke points” standing in the way of Kitsap’s ability to compete with the other three counties and recognize its full economic potential.

Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson and Port Orchard City Councilwoman Carolyn Powers (no relation to John) both bemoaned the region’s lack of a central financial institution or development authority aimed at drawing or growing businesses. John Powers said that topic was discussed during the economic plan revision but it didn’t make the short list due to lack of resources at this time.

If any on the KRCC board who were present harbored separatist feelings about the PSRC, they did not share them.

Rudolph on Making Kitsap’s Place at PSRC Table

Now-former Poulsbo City Councilman Dale Rudolph attended his last council meeting Wednesday. Brynn Grimley reported on fellow community leaders’ perceptions of Rudolph, described as a “Methodical. Dedicated. Community servant.”

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 region.

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.

Former Commish Endresen Makes New Career Move

You’ll read about this in our Monday edition, but now you can say you heard it here first.

Former North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen has left U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office to join the Puget Sound Regional Council. Friday was her first day as director of economic development for the agency, which oversees transportation, growth management and economic development in Kitsap, King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

“This is a great opportunity for me to work regionally with a diverse group of people,” Endresen said. “I absolutely love the organization and its mission.”

Endresen served as Kitsap County commissioner from January, 1997 until June, 2007, when, part-way through her third term, she announced that she was to head up Cantwell’s Washington State office.

During her term on the county’s board of commissioners, Endresen served on PSRC’s executive board and transportation policy board. The state of the economy puts the Puget Sound region at a pivotal point, she said.
“The challenges of economic development in the state present really great opportunities for us as a region and statewide,” Endresen said.

I stand corrected. If you read the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal, you heard it there first. Chris Henry, reporter