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Why It’s a Good Idea to Expand the Poulsbo Port District

The attention-grabbing front-page headline on the January 31st edition of the North Kitsap Herald screamed “Outcry Over Annexation,” referring to a recent forum meeting between Port of Poulsbo Commissioners and the general public. The forum was provided as an opportunity for the Port District Commissioners to field questions from the public regarding the proposed expansion of the port district annexation boundaries.


The annexation proposal by District Commissioners, is slated for a February 11th ballot vote, and seeks to expand the port authorities reach/taxation over onto the Southern shores of Liberty Bay, as well as areas such as Scandia Point, Pearson Point, Virginia Point, and Lemolo.

Now let’s face it, no one likes increased taxes. We’re all of us extremely tired of big government constantly dipping its insatiable hands into our pocketbooks.

But I personally view this as an opportunity for us to collectively support something that directly benefits us all – the continued, sustained growth and viability of Liberty Bay and its port.

As a licensed real estate broker here in Kitsap County WA,  clearly one of the most stable and highly desirable housing markets within Kitsap County is Poulsbo WA. Among all of the various elements that have elevated Poulsbo to such an esteemed position, two of the most key are a thriving downtown area and a popular port.

No one can contest the fact that Poulsbo is one of the leading attractions and destinations here on the Kitsap Peninsula. Its closest rival is Gig Harbor in North Pierce County. Little Norway, nestled on the shores of Liberty Bay, draws thousands upon thousands of visitors of each year. And as we all know, visitors spend money, and money generates profits, resulting in a healthy, vibrant local economy.

Regardless of whether you live in Poulsbo Place or Pearson Point, a successful, viable downtown & port district benefits us all. It has a positive affect on our property valuations and enhances our overall quality of life. You don’t have to travel very far to see how uniquely blessed we all are to live in neighboring proximity to downtown Poulsbo and its port. Other waterfront communities in Kitsap County are not as fortunate.

Now is not the time to spread unfounded warnings that the “Sky is Falling!” It’s time for us all to support the continued positive growth and future development of our city and harbor. Vote ‘Yes!’ to expand the port district annexation!

Local Poulsbo Hotel Garners Awards

The Guest House Inn & Suites, located at 19801 7th St. here in Poulsbo, was recently the recipient of two awards from Boomerang Hotels, their franchise parent company.

The first award, Inn of the Year, is bestowed to the hotel location that achieves the highest overall performance for properties within its respective group/chain, and maintains the highest level of performance/adherence to the standards of that particular brand.

The second award, Innkeeper of the Year, recognizes the individual operator or manager who achieves the highest performance ratings for utilizing corporate programs, maintains the best Quality Assurance scores, and demonstrates consistent support of the brand.

Our congratulations to Mr. Micah Kim, owner operator of the 63-room GuestHouse Inn & Suites in Poulsbo WA!

Lessons from Kindergarten for City & Port of Poulsbo

A recent article in the North Kitsap Herald (dtd. 1/18/13 Port may not share marketing consultant with city) shared the apparent dissolution of discussions between the City of Poulsbo and the Port of Poulsbo regarding the proposed hiring of a shared marketing consultant.

Evidently, the Port’s Board of Commissioners felt it more prudent to keep their marketing efforts in-house. They were concerned that an outside marketing consultant would prove to be more costly than if they simply expanded their own marketing efforts from within.

In the article, one of the port tenants, Rodney McVicker, is quoted as saying, “Giving money to someone outside is not an appropriate function for the port.” He went on to say, “The Port will have limited funds in the future as the City grows, because the port district does not grow with the City.”

Really? One would think the two go hand-in-foot? Unless of course, you’re the Port of Bremerton. But that’s a whole different discussion!

Port Commissioner Tony DeCarlo was quoted, “The Commission may change the job description of a current employee to include marketing.”

It’s been this writer’s humble experience that if you want someone to do some effective, professional-level marketing, you need to bite the proverbial bullet and pay for someone who has the skill, training, and experience to do so. The old adage “You get what you pay for” certainly applies to such situations.

It seems to me (and granted, I am still relatively new to the inter-workings of all things Poulsbo) that the health, vitality, and profitability of the City of Poulsbo and the Port of Poulsbo are intimately intertwined. Much value and benefit could be derived for both organizations through the hiring of a shared marketing consultant. Obviously the key in such decisions is finding the right person for the job.

Supposedly, the Port Commissioners are going to discuss the matter further during their upcoming February 7th meeting. Let’s hope they decide to play well in the Poulsbo sandbox and ‘Share!’

Love Boat Comes to Poulsbo WA

Okay, so it’s not exactly the Love Boat, but close enough!


photo of M/V American Spirit – courtesy of American Cruise Lines

It was recently announced that starting in early May of 2013, the M/V American Spirit with American Cruise Lines, will be making Liberty Bay & Downtown Poulsbo one of their regularly scheduled cruise tour stops. The smaller 205 ft. cruise ship will arrive in Liberty Bay on Friday mornings, and its passengers will be ferried to the public marina from anchored moorage.

I don’t know about you, but I personally think this is a HUGE benefit to our beloved city and presents some incredible opportunities to further grow & expand the long-term health and viability of our downtown area.

I don’t know who was responsible for making this happen, but whoever it was, it’s nothing short of brilliant, and I’d like to buy them lunch sometime!

Now for some of you concerned locals, the M/V American Spirit only has a passenger capacity of 100, so we’re not talking about a mass tourist take-over of Little Norway every Friday. This is going to be very manageable and will no doubt provide local businesses with a welcomed boost to sales.

Supposedly, a big welcome extravaganza for the inaugural visit is in the works by local residents and merchants. I am hoping that some enterprising individuals are planning on having some locals decked out in full Scandanavian attire? Mr. & Mrs. Kris Kringle were a huge hit during the Christmas Holidays. I wonder if we could get them to done bunad?



North Kitsap School Closures – Hug a Committee Member

Back in April of last year, the North Kitsap School Board voted to close a school (or other facility) for the 2013-14 school year due to reduced state funding and declining enrollment. They then appointed a School Closure Committee to perform an in-depth study and provide a recommendation to the Board as to which school or facility should be closed (a final decision to be made in February 2013).

You can find a timeline of School Closure Committee’s efforts to date HERE.

For a list of the members of the School Closure Committee, go HERE.

As is typical in such undertakings, there has been a HUGE ground swell of emotions and criticisms associated with this process. It’s impossible to please everyone. People have significant personal attachment/investment in their kids schools. And no matter what decision is made, many people will be impacted, inconvenienced, and displaced.

To willingly volunteer to participate in such a thankless endeavor should be commended, regardless of the outcome.

If you know any of the people who have been actively involved in this committee, give them a hug.

A Thankful Farewell to Joanne Vitalich – A Legacy of Love & Advocacy

Joanne Vitalich Retires from CKSD

December 21, 2012 signals the end to a lifetime of dedication and faithful service to our children and community. After 34 years of employment as a para-educator, specializing in Special Ed within the Central Kitsap School District, Joanne Vitalich is retiring.

Joanne’s career can best be characterized as one who has been a fierce and tireless advocate for her students. She is also known for her tremendous capacity of endearing, genuine love for her students, often winning the hearts of even the most challenging or hardened cases.

Her dry, sassy humor will be sorely missed by staff and students alike. No doubt hundreds, if not thousands, of young lives have been positively impacted by the wonderful contributions made by Joanne over all these years.

Thank you, Joanne! You will be sorely missed!…

My Vote of Confidence in Superintendent Greg Lynch

I am deeply saddened and disturbed at the recent actions of the CKEA (Central Kitsap Education Association) in their seemingly clandestine vote of no confidence for CK Superintendent Greg Lynch, and a similar stamp of disapproval against Special Education Director Bill Mosiman.

Here is a link to the article:  Part of CK Teacher’s Union votes no confidence in Superintendent and Special Ed Director

There are a great many things we DON’T know in regards to this story. We don’t know the specific issues, concerns, or criticisms that the CKEA leadership/members have against Mr. Lynch or Mr. Mosiman. We don’t know if the CKEA leadership/members have made any previous genuine efforts to engage either gentlemen in meaningful dialog in an attempt to resolve or work through such issues/concerns.

All we do know is that some element within the CKEA is clearly upset and dissatisfied with both individuals, and wants to make their displeasure known to the rest of us.

Now for what I DO know.

My family and I have lived here in Central Kitsap for over 10 years. All four of our kids have gone through the CK school system.  One of my sons recently graduated summa cum laude from a local university, another is graduating with academic honors from Olympic College. Overall, we have had some really great experiences with teachers and staff within the CK district, and have been very pleased with the level of education our kids have received.

Mr. Lynch began his employment as Superintendent shortly after we moved here. We were immediately impressed with how genuinely caring and personable he was. Over the years, we have observed his consistent involvement in our kid’s classrooms, talking with their teachers, and personally attending nearly every major school event.

During our past two successful levies, I had the distinct pleasure of serving on the CK Kids Matter Group. During my involvement there, I became even more intimately acquainted with Mr. Lynch, and share the following observations:

Greg Lynch is a man of great integrity. He possesses a very strong and tireless work ethic. He genuinely cares about the people of our community, but particularly, the students, teachers, and staff of CKSD. He’s not a flashy limelight kind of guy, but prefers to work behind the scenes. He obviously must have an incredibly loving and supportive wife and family that allows and encourages him to invest so much time with the district, and away from them.

There may very well be some legitimate, heartfelt concerns or issues by some who are dissatisfied with the current administration of CKSD, and since Greg Lynch is the key figurehead, the buck naturally stops with him. I think Mr. Lynch understands all too well the criticisms that typically accompany such a title/position. Being a school superintendent is one of those thankless jobs where you can never seem to please everyone, no matter how hard you may try.

I wonder about the value and validity of unions these days. They seem to breed a spirit of adversity where one doesn’t need to exist. I truly hope that the CKEA can work out their differences with Mr. Lynch and Mr. Mosiman in a manner that is both fair and civil. Regardless of these recent events, we are all still very fortunate to have such an amazingly talented and committed staff of educators in our district.

I would like to publicly go on record as casting my vote of YES confidence for Greg Lynch as CK Superintendent.  Thanks, Mr. Lynch. Keep up the great work!

What Message is Olympia Sending to Our Teachers?

What message are our legislators sending to our valued educators?

Your personal improvement and continuing education aren’t important.

We want you to work harder, and longer, increase classroom sizes, but get paid less money.

Once again, our elected officials are refusing to obey their statutory mandate to fully fund education. Over the weekend, our beloved Senate passed their proposed supplemental budget. Sadly, it’s a version that makes significant cuts to education. Additionally, it fails to maintain the NBCT (National Board Certified Teachers) incentives at their current level.

National Board Certification is one of the few viable options that our educators have for improving their knowledge base and increasing their earning potential.

The Senate’s current version of the budget, which passed on the Senate floor in the wee hours last Saturday morning, would cut the current NBCT stipend in half for most board certified teachers. The House version offers a kinder reduction for regular school teachers, but again reduces the stipend for teachers at challenging schools by half.

Before Thursday, March 8th, the House and Senate must come into agreement on a single budget by negotiating on the differences between their two budget proposals. No final decisions have been made as of yet.

What can we do between now and Thursday? Take 10 minutes out of your day and contact our legislators!

  • Email our legislators and let them know how you feel about the proposed budgets. The standard email format for legislators is
  • Leave your legislators a phone message. Go to to find contact information.
  • If your legislator supports funding the stipends, a kind word of ‘thank you and ‘keep up the good work’ can go a long way.

Update on CK Schools Supplemental Levy Voting Results

Although the final updated results won’t be available until February 27th, the latest election results indicate that the CK Schools Supplemental Levy will pass by a narrow margin.

You can find the actual results posted HERE.

Even if successfully passed, this supplemental levy will only reduce the current SY 12-13 budget shortfall by $2 million. We will still be facing a very significant financial challenge for the next several years at least.

I realize that it’s a bit premature, but a HUGE “Thank You!” to all the area residents who voted in support of our valued Central Kitsap School District and ultimately the continued educational well-being of our children!

CK Schools Need Our Help – Vote ‘YES!’ on Supplemental Levy

Local Central Kitsap residents received their ballots by mail this past week for casting their vote in support of Central Kitsap School District’s Supplemental Levy.

Now I know what you’re thinking, didn’t we just pass a levy last year? Yes, we did, a Capital Projects levy for badly needed improvements and repairs to our schools facilities and systems. Voters turned out in resounding support of that levy.

And now, because our State legislators have chosen to ignore their statutory mandate/responsibility to fully fund public education, our local school district is left holding the proverbial budget short-fall bag to the tune of some $6.3 million dollars. Adding to their dilemma/misery, Federal heavy impact aid matching dollars were also recently removed.

Read more: Vote ‘YES!’ on CK’s Supplemental Levy

As a father of four children who have all passed through the halls of Central Kitsap schools, I have become a huge fan and supporter of the CK School District, their amazing educators, administrators, and board.

We are most fortunate to have Mr. Greg Lynch at the helm, especially during such difficult and economically turbulent times as these. Both Greg and Director of Finance, David McVicker, have done an incredible job, just short of miraculous, by anticipating and planning contingencies for just such situations. In fact, CK officials have trimmed over $14.6 million dollars from their budget over the past 5 years! Unfortunately, even with all their hard work and faithful stewardship, the present short-fall is still very large and daunting.

As a result, area residents are being asked once again to rise up to the ocassion, and support our nationally award winning CK schools!

We are being asked to vote ‘YES!’ in support of a 2-year levy that will raise $3.8 million in each year. This translates t0 $0.62 per $1000 of property valuation. For a house valued at $250K, that’s about $155, or approximately $13 per month. So maybe we can go without our Starbuck’s latte once a week?

Listen, I know times are tough. The last thing we need is yet one more drain on our already over-taxed wallets. But this levy is going towards covering basic educational and operational expenses. We’re not talking about debatable fringe or elective programs. This is basic stuff, the core of what makes our schools such amazing places of learning for our kids.

So please, make a very worthwhile sacrifice and investment in our children, and ultimately in our community as a whole.

Thank you for your support!

Rich Jacobson