Monthly Archives: January 2013

Fed: Western States’ economy expands at ‘modest pace’


The Federal Reserve today released its “Beige Book” description of regional economies, which gives good, quick, easy-to-understand gauges of where we’re at in the recovery. We’re in District 12 – San Francisco, at the end, which includes all Western states. — Rachel Pritchett


Mental-health chief asks for supporters’ help on poll


The Sun has a poll asking whether you think a sales-tax increase to support mental-health services is a good idea. The no votes were winning this morning, until Joe Roszak, executive director of Kitsap Mental Health Services, put out this email to potential supporters. Here’s Roszak’s email. Thought you should know. — Rachel Pritchett

Dear Friends of KMHS. In this morning’s Kitsap Sun there is an article about the 1/10th of 1% Sales Tax Initiative that would support behavioral health and housing in our county. There is a poll included with the on-line article and I’m asking for your support. Please vote now to let the commissioners know how much this initiative is needed to strengthen behavioral health services in our community.

Here is the article and poll:

So far we have growing community support for the tax increase. The Bremerton City Council has on its agenda for the Wednesday 1/16/13 (tomorrow) meeting a recommendation to endorse the resolution in support of the tax initiative. Bainbridge Island City Council has this down for their work study session tomorrow at 7:30 PM and the Port Orchard City Council has it on its agenda for the next Council meeting. Currently the following agencies had their boards of directors sign a resolution in support of the 1/10th of 1%:

Kitsap NAMI
Kitsap Adult Center for Education
Kitsap Community Resources
Asset-building Coalition of Kitsap
Citizen Advisory Board, Juv. Family Servs.
Peninsula Community Health Center
Kitsap County Commission on Youth
Harrison Medical Center
League of Women Voters
Islanders for Collaborative Policing
Agape Unlimited (chem. dep. tx. ctr.)
Kitsap Mental Health Services
West Sound Treatment Center (chem. dep. tx. ctr.)

Many thanks for your consideration and support. Please forward this to others in support of your work and our overall efforts to make our little corner of the world a better place for all of us who live here.

Joe Roszak, Executive Director

Kitsap Mental Health Services

Email exchanges follow port’s marina decision


Below are some emails exchanged between Port of Bremerton CEO Tim Thomson, port Commissioner Axel Strakeljahn and an interested citizen, James Heytvelt, following commissioners’ vote Jan. 8 to not accept either of two proposals from entities offering to take over management of the Bremerton Marina. I received the emails after a public-documents request I placed with the port. I asked for any emails exchanged between the three commissioners and the CEO about the marina that were written Jan. 9, 10 and 11, on any official or personal server. I made the request to see if it might shed light on why the proposals were turned down so quickly and with so little discussion. These are interesting, but I still am left wondering.

— Rachel Pritchett, reporter

From: Tim Thomson
To: Larry Stokes; “”; Axel Strakeljahn
Cc: Ginger Waye; Steve Slaton; Becky Swanson; Gordon Walgren
Subject: Heads Up on next SUN article
Date: Wednesday, January 09, 2013 7:25:56 PM
Before departing this afternoon for a doctor appt, I called to follow up with Rob Wise on last nite’s decisions; he had two complaints. 1. He did not agree with consultant that his costs where transferred to the Port. “He would not do that”. Although this is an issue between him and consultant, we checked with Becky. She may have stated it differently but she agrees with BST. 2. He did not like that he was not invited to last nite’s meeting. True, I did not personally invite him but we learned fm our log that two members of Marsh Anderson attended last nite; and Ginger told him when he dropped off his proposal about the Jan 8 meeting. I tell you this because he was responding to the SUN and so I expect these issues to be in Rachel’s next story which I don’t expect it to be any better then her last piece of work.

From: Axel Strakeljahn
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 05:10 PM
To: Tim Thomson
Subject: FW: Bremerton Marina comments from the RFP process
From: James Heytvelt []
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:43 PM
To: Larry Stokes; Roger Zabinski; Axel Strakeljahn
Subject: Bremerton Marina comments from the RFP process
Dear Commissioners
I have read the RFP response both Marsh Andersen LLC, and Marinas International Inc. Without going into my back ground where I have had experience in managing large organizations with union employees, often I have found that it not the union employees who are at the root cause of the circumstances we find our selves in.
My I believe that modern management techniques could improve the bottom line.
What caught my eye with the Marsh Andersen LLC reply is the listing of the job duties required to operate their marina by their employees.
Identification of job tasks, the length of time each tasks takes and how often the tasks are required sets up a good work unit base. This identification process will tell how much demand time is required. No one is waiting for the next event to react to. Identified and scheduled work often leads to improved productivity.
An identified work load could possible show how many workers are required. Also what is the management to worker ratio?
For what it is worth, I care about the situation we find our selves in and maybe together we can solve the problem.
Jim Heytvelt
9796 Harper HIll Rd S.E.
Port Orchard Wa. 98366
360 871 2541

From: Tim Thomson
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 5:54 PM
To: Axel Strakeljahn
Subject: Re: Bremerton Marina comments from the RFP process
Noted; I’m disappointed Jim could not send this to just Steve and I and not bother the commissioners after all Steve has done for him.

From: Axel Strakeljahn
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 05:56 PM
To: Tim Thomson
Subject: RE: Bremerton Marina comments from the RFP process
Probably innocent thoughts.

From: Tim Thomson
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 6:07 PM
To: Axel Strakeljahn
Subject: Re: Bremerton Marina comments from the RFP process

From: Tim Thomson
To: Ginger Waye
Subject: FW: Bremerton Marina comments from the RFP process
Date: Friday, January 11, 2013 3:31:13 PM
This is all I have Ginger. I’ll look again though
Tim Thomson
Chief Executive Officer
Port of Bremerton
(360) 674-2381 X 21

Port response a sign of secretive ways

By Rachel Pritchett

When Tim Thomson took over as Port of Bremerton chief executive officer, he told me he’d work hard to accommodate the needs of the press, therefore the public.

In the year since then, and in one example this week, communication has been less than forthcoming.

On Tuesday, I submitted a public-documents request for copies of the two responses to the port’s request for proposals seeking private managers for the Bremerton Marina. Marsh Andersen LLC and its principal owner, Robert Wise of Bainbridge Island, was one. Marinas International Inc. of Dallas was the other.

I quickly learned in interviewing Wise and Marinas International Chief Financial Officer Jo Wilsmann that both companies would entertain the idea of not just managing, but actually purchasing the marina that cost $34 million to build.

A discussion about a sale would be exempted and the port would not have to release the documents. But a sale was not what the request for proposals called for.

Suddenly this story wasn’t just about taxpayers losing $1,000 per day on their reluctant investment that so far has failed, as important as that was. Now it was about the future of one of the largest public assets in Kitsap County.

I knew the documents are by law publicly available on request, and that it would be a stretch for the port to refuse to release them. To make sure, I contacted Tim Ford, the state’s assistant attorney general for government accountability. He agreed the proposals are public. He suggested that in my request I also ask for supporting legal citation, if the port refused my request.

On Thursday, I received an email from the port stating that “public release of (request for proposal) responses prior to port commission action could result in private gain or public loss by disclosing critical private proprietary terms, conditions and values that may be used in future negotiations with the port.” While not an explicit denial, that response indicates an unwillingness to share public information. There was no supporting legal citation.

If that’s the case, the staff at the port and three commissioners alone would decide the fate of the marina, with zero public knowledge of the proposals on the table, and zero pubic input on any resultant decision.

Sound familiar?

That’s how the marina got built in the first place.

The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal also filed a request for the documents on Tuesday and received a similar response. The port has until Wednesday to respond to my request.

The Kitsap Sun is looking at next steps, and so is the Business Journal.

Business Journal Publisher Lary Coppola said he is consulting with the Journal’s attorney about options to get this essential material released to the public.

“We are considering filing a complaint with the attorney general,” he said.

Coppola said, “What really strikes me about this is the arrogance about the port saying that they don’t have to provide public records when they do.”

I have found during Thomson’s year as CEO a renewed sense of secretiveness, and I understand the arrogance that Coppola speaks of.

Under Thomson, the port has community meetings without prior press notification. Port staffers recently met with Harper Pier neighbors without notifying the press. That’s not illegal, but it doesn’t help taxpayers know what’s going on.

Unless I jump up and down, I’m not routinely included when discussion documents are handed out at port meetings.

Every year after a proposed port budget is released, I meet with the CEO and budget writer Becky Swanson as I interpret the complex document. This year, I didn’t get a lot of help.

Too often, phone calls are returned late, or not at all.

Under Thomson, real conversation and decision-making isn’t happening in public meetings. Port regular meetings now are brief and perfunctory. The only thing on this coming Tuesday’s agenda are a couple of lease adjustments.

The port’s commissioners, by and large, are responsive to my inquiries, with the exception of Roger Zabinski, who responds only when the topic is one he wants to discuss. I’ve asked to hear his vision for the Chico boat ramp area. He doesn’t want to talk about it.

The port’s airport and marinas chiefs, Fred Salisbury and Steve Slaton, have been responsive to my requests. Support staff always is responsive and professional, as well.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Port of Bremerton. One of the few communications I had with Thomson this week was an email from him asking what I thought of the new port logo, now sporting a centennial banner.

Here’s my response on the centennial. Port commissioners have an rare opportunity as the second 100 years unfolds. I think we’ll soon see some top-level retirements at the port, as many as three. I believe these retirements will give commissioners an opportunity to do a full search for replacements who have the ability to understand and respond to the press acting on behalf of the public. I urge commissioners not to repeat taking the easy and less expensive route of promoting from within.

I will continue to press for these documents, because the port is not a private company about to make a private deal.

This is the public’s business, every piece of it.