McCormick Woods Rumor Patrol

The Port Orchard City Council, Mayor Lary Coppola and city officials will host a Q&A session on the proposed McCormick Woods annexation at 7 p.m. Wednesday (tomorrow) at the Clubhouse at McCormick Woods.

One of the first questions they’ll address is whether Bremerton can annex McWoods via a vote of Bremerton’s citizens that would leave McCormick Woods residents entirely out of the loop. The short answer is, they can’t.

That according to city attorney Greg Jacoby, with whom I spoke tonight at the City Council meeting.

I’ve been trying to figure this out since I, as a McCormick Woods resident, received a mailing from the City of Port Orchard marked “annexation ballot enclosed,” which was sent out around the end of September.

City officials have made no secret of the fact that they would welcome a McCormick Woods annexation. The process was set in motion by a Q&A session hosted about a year ago by then-Mayor Kim Abel. The city has legitimate incentives to seek a McCormick Woods annexation, among them property tax revenue from McCormick Woods homeowners and increased access to state and federal grants as a larger jurisdiction, although there has also been talk of the contribution McWoods residents would potentially make on the city council.

On more than one occasion, PO officials have pledged their support of any organized effort on the part of McCormick Woods residents to annex. The city, as a gesture of support, picked up the tab for the mailing, which included:

* An invitation to the Q&A session.

* A list of “Advantages of Annexation,” drawn up by members of the McCormick Woods annexation committee (made up of McWoods residents who have organized the annexation petition drive and who have concluded, through their research, that annexation to Port Orchard holds significant advantages to residents).

* An individual copy of the annexation petition, ready for signatures.

* A letter from Mayor Coppola warning of the consequences, should McWoods residents decline to annex into PO. The alternative … dare we speak it? Bremerton.

Coppola noted that Bremerton in a recent update of its comprehensive plan included McCormick Woods in its expanded urban growth area. Bremerton City Council President Will Maupin has said that if McCormick Woods residents came to Bremerton with a petition to annex, that city would be open to accommodating them, but, Maupin added, historically, McWoods has been thought of as logically belonging within PO city limits and Bremerton did not have any plans to derail a McWoods annexation into PO.

Yet in the mailing to McWoods residents, Coppola writes, “considering Bremerton’s aggressive expansionism as illustrated by the Port of Bremerton and SKIA, you can only wonder what it must have in mind for the long term future of McCormick Woods.”

Oh, yeah, that SKIA thing. It’s no secret that Port Orchard has been stung by Bremerton’s reticence to guarantee that PO will provide sewer service to South Kitsap Industrial Area, according to a 2003 memorandum between PO and the Port of Bremerton. POB is the primary landowner within the 3,400-acre SKIA, slated for industrial development. Bremerton earlier this year accepted a petition by landowners in SKIA North, representing 150 acres of the SKIA puzzle, to annex. PO recently pressed the county’s Boundary Review Board, charged with vetting the proposed annexation of SKIA into Bremerton, to hold a public hearing on SKIA North. Bremerton has also approved a petition to annex SKIA South (the rest of the acreage, including land held by the POB) and it is likely PO will call for a formal challenge of that proposal as well.

So where were we? Oh, yes, Coppola’s letter to McWoods residents. Coppola said that since a portion of McCormick Woods (McCormick North, a.k.a The Ridge) is contiguous with land on Anderson Hill Road that is part of the City of Bremerton, Bremerton could annex that area “by a simple majority vote of its existing citizens.” I did a reality check with Coppola via e-mail last week, asking what citizens he was talking about, and he replied back “Bremerton’s.”

I also checked with James Weaver, Port Orchard’s Development Director, who was under the same impression. Both Coppola and Weaver referenced a no contest clause residents of The Ridge signed prohibiting them from opposing any proposed annexation.

Weaver said, “The Ridge is abutting the City of Bremerton existing City Limits (formerly known as Northwest Corporate Campus) and, from my understanding, may be annexed upon request by the City of Bremerton without vote or McCormick initiated petition.”

Weaver, in his e-mail to me referenced the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington publication on annexation as a source of information on the methods by which an annexation may be achieved. Among them is an election process initiated by a city council that wishes to annex a given area, but, as I read in the fine print, the people who ultimately get to vote are not the residents of the municipality seeking to annex the area, but the residents of the area to be annexed.

Weaver also deferred to the city attorney on the issue, saying he is not the authority on annexation law. Jacoby said McCormick Woods residents would definitely be the ones to vote on an annexation with Bremerton. But what if … I asked … Bremerton only wanted to annex the Ridge, which can’t object because of the no contest clause. Jacoby said he’d get back to me on that scenario, which, I admit, is highly speculative. I mean, why annex The Ridge and not the rest of McCormick Woods? But surely it’s a question residents of The Ridge will want answered.

To add to the confusion, the McCormick Woods annexation committee also bought into the Bremerton-take-over idea. In its “advantages” list, the committee said that inaction on a McWoods-PO marriage would mean “we could do nothing and still be annexed into the City of Bremerton with or without our consent.”

According to Jacoby, that’s not true.

It does not appear the mayor or the annexation committee were being duplicitous, just misinformed. Jacoby said he first learned of Coppola’s assertions about a possible McTake-over by Bremerton this morning.

During a discussion with the City Council on Wednesday’s upcoming Q&A on McWoods, Coppola sought a different tone regarding other jursidictions and their relationship to McWoods. The reference was actually to Kitsap County’s budget burden, especially if Silverdale incorporates. But, to me, Coppola seemed to be backpedaling when he said of city officials conduct at the annexation meeting, “I don’t think we want to denigrate anybody. I don’t think that makes us look good. … We’re going to take the high road.”

40 thoughts on “McCormick Woods Rumor Patrol

  1. Why is this travesty just part of a blog post? It should be reported as a real news story. Does the Sun not find it newsworthy that the thug mayor and his cronies in PO sent an intimidation letter to mc.woods residents, telling them to annex to PO or “else” they’ll be taken over by Bremerton? (An evil, aggressively expansionist empire in mayor coppola’s delusional mind. I’m waiting for him to say there are WMD’s hidden in the Harborside fountain park). I find it hard to believe that any letter drafted to be sent along with annexation petitions would not first be vetted by the city attorney, but in light of Mr. Jacoby’s denial of the letter’s assertions, either this was not done or his advice was ignored. Regardless of whether PO’s mayor et. al. were purposefully spreading misinformation, were just “misinformed”, or are just plain stupid, this should raise serious doubts about their credibility and definitely casts suspicion on their claims on other areas such as SKIA. If the propaganda was spread purposefully, then at the very least some serious ethics violations have occurred. There may be legal violations as well.

  2. “…Coppola writes, “considering Bremerton’s aggressive expansionism as illustrated by the Port of Bremerton and SKIA, you can only wonder what it must have in mind for the long term future of McCormick Woods.”…”

    Strange … the PO mayor seems to think he can threaten the residents of McCormick Woods by his ill disguised ‘hint’ of future wrong doings of another town.

    These sly innuendos from the Port Orchard mayor only mark his ethics and character. The plus is he isn’t sneaking any longer.

    Based on this letter I’d guess the McCormick Woods folks got another hint of the character of PO’s Mayor…and to think the taxpayers got to pay for such a mailing.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  3. I’d like to put this issue rest right now.

    The letter McCormick Woods residents received was not meant to be any kind of intimidation tactic — or anything else sinister for that matter. It was simply an honest mistake. When the various types of annexations (and they are numerous), and the way the laws governing each of one those annexations work, were explained to me, I misunderstood a critical part of that type of annexation, confusing it with another. That misunderstanding was the basis for that portion of my letter. There’s just nothing more to it than that.

    At tonight’s meeting with the residents of McCormick Woods, I acknowledged that misunderstanding at the beginning of the meeting, apologized publicly, and with the help of City Attorney Greg Jacoby, answered any and all questions that were posed on how the law works. I will be sending a letter to all the residents that received the original, explaining my misunderstanding and how the law actually works. We need to be certain any residents who signed annexation petitions based on that misinformation have the opportunity to rescind their petitions should they choose.

    If you are one of those folks who would like to rescind your petition based on that unintentional misinformation, contact the Homeowners Association and they will return your petition.

    It was truly an honest mistake — one I obviously regret — and I take full responsibility for it. If you’re a McCormick Woods resident who received that letter and didn’t attend tonight’s meeting, I hope you understand what happened, understand the fact you do have the right to vote on an annexation initiated by a city, and will also accept my sincere apologies.

    Lary Coppola, Mayor
    City of Port Orchard

  4. Geez… Give the guy a break – he admitted his mistake and apologized in public. What more do you want from him?

  5. “…I will be sending a letter to all the residents that received the original…”
    I commented on this letter of apology elsewhere in the KS.

    LPJ asks what more is wanted… well, he could do the right thing and offer to pay for the wasted postage on the ‘mistaken’ first letter sent and now his second letter of apology.

    The tax payers shouldn’t have to absorb the cost of his error.
    In my opinion… Sharon O’Hara

  6. As a resident of McCormick Woods, I have to wonder if Chris Henry’s story was about the same annexation meeting I attended.

    What I experienced was a really positive atmosphere where the Mayor and city council made it clear they welcomed the people of McCormick Woods, and see this whole annexation as a win-win. They answered every question openly, and completely.

    The Mayor was right up front almost immediately about making what he knew was a serious mistake, and took the bull by the horns and admitted it. He didn’t try to blame someone else or justify his error. He took the heat graciously from the couple of jerks in the audience who wanted to make some kind of hay with it, and he apologized publicly. I admire a public official who is willing to say he screwed up, take his medicine and openly apologize. When was the last time you saw that?

    After reading the article through twice, and reading the posts here, I’ve come to the conclusion Chris Henry should be taken off this story. She has a painfully obvious negative bias towards annexation, and as a resident of the Woods has a major conflict of interest. To me at least, it looks like because of those, she isn’t presenting this story accurately, and that isn’t fair to either the city or the residents of McCormick.

  7. It is my understanding reporters report events as they occur. As they see them…not as a special friend, a biased friend…but the events as they occur.

    I think Chris Henry is unbiased and favorable to the government and the community she lives in. She LIVES in your community and has a vested interest in it…her home is there.

    Facts are facts though and should be brought into light…that is what she did, what she does for a living.
    Each person at that meeting or any meeting is bound to come away with different impressions…we pick up on different things based on our experiences and no two of us are alike.

    Chris Henry is as unbiased a reporter as any I have ever known and a gifted and perceptive writer. PO/SK couldn’t find a better reporter.
    In my opinion…Sharon O’Hara

  8. Sharon,

    If you had actually been at the meeting, you might have a very different perspective. If you read the story in the Port Orchard Independent (http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/kitsap/poi/news/31117154.html), you’ll find an entirely different take on what occured -and that’s my point here.

    She focused on the negative aspects of the Mayor’s faux pas about Bremerton and not much else – to the point of even interviewing Bremerton city council people – but neglected to even include a comment from the Mayor.

    The fact Chris Henry is a resident of the Woods and will vote on the annexation is a major conflict of interest, and for that reason she shouldn’t be the one reporting the story – that’s Journalism 101.

  9. Gumshoe, this story has been going on for some time. That Bremerton can’t annex McWoods without their vote is somewhat newsworthy. I think the Kitsap Sun reporters are fair. Most of the time. When they’re reporting.

    The blogs are different. They’re not governed by the same rules. Bloggers, readers, and commenters can all be combative, emotional, dismissive. It can be more opinion and editorial than fact-based reporting. And yeah, they’re biased. They’re people. In a small town. How can you not be?

    I’m not sure why people read the blogs or the newspaper. Certainly not to be told what to think about issues. Maybe because there is very good information from time to time. Or to hear something from the horse’s mouth, like Mayor Coppola’s post above. Perhaps the blog hosts don’t particularly like or feel comfortable with this medium, and the real information is coming from the people who post their comments. People like you.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  10. Karen,

    I agree with you about the blogs, but the original story about the meeting is the problem. It was so overwhelmingly negative that Chris’ anti-annexation bias came through loud and clear. Go back and read it again, and then read the one in the Independent, and compare them. You’ll see what I mean.

    Like I said above, she went as far as interviewing Bremerton City Council members, but in spite of slanting the story to present the Mayor in the most negative light possible, couldn’t be bothered to even include a quote from him. That too is Journalism 101 – talk to the people who are the ones making the news.

    While Chris usually does a pretty good job as best as I can tell, my main issue about the annexation concerns fairness and accuracy – neither of which I think Chris has demonstrated in this case.

    If she wasn’t a homeowner here in the Woods, and had no stake in the outcome either way, that would be one thing. But since she does, and is in a position to shape perception and opinion, that’s a horse of quite another color.

    As a resident here, she has a major conflict of interest, and journalistic ethics dictate she shouldn’t be the one covering this story.

  11. “…Bloggers, readers, and commenters can all be combative, emotional, dismissive. It can be more opinion and editorial than fact-based reporting. And yeah, they’re biased. They’re people. In a small town. How can you not be?…”

    Oddly enough people living in big cities have opinions and can be biased too. People are people wherever they live.

    You may know all there is to know, Karen…but many of us don’t. I’ve learned more from the reporters comments, bloggers comments, with more depth in some cases, than the flat fact statements in most newspapers.

    The ‘facts’ often don’t go far enough nor tell the whole story. Blogging can and often does bring it out.
    Sharon O’Hara
    Sharon O’Hara

  12. I’m not going to condemn or criticize Chris Henry’s reporting. The blogs are a place for you to refute what she says or ask questions that will either get answered or not, depending on who you are. What I am saying is this is a place where your voice has equal time and maybe even power, if your post is sensible and/or persuasive enough. Or if you are someone who is in a position to know pertinent facts. That’s all I’m saying. Maybe it’s the newspaper blog host’s job to play devil’s advocate, to offer up worst case scenario for debate. Or to publish rumors so the subject of them has an opportunity to defend themselves.

  13. Gumshoe – It’s interesting that you didn’t call “conflict of interest” on any of my earlier coverage of the McCormick Woods annexation (see below).

    Lary Coppola’s error in his letter to McCormick Woods residents was
    newsworthy not only because the misinformation needed to be corrected but also because he used his misinterpretation of state annexation law to influence – the most neutral word I can think of – residents into favoring annexation into Port Orchard. Reporting on that does not, in my mind, amount to damnation of the annexation itself.

    The mayor made a direct and sincere apology for the error at the beginning of the meeting, which I quoted. Later in the meeting, in response to a question from resident Mike McCudden, Coppola justly agreed to allow those who may have voted based on the misinformation in his letter to recast their votes.

    As for including Bremerton in the article: Bremerton reporter Andy Binion covered the Bremerton City Council meeting at which council members and staff commented on Coppola’s letter. The meeting just happened to be the same night so the coverage was combined into the related story. Their comments were germane since Coppola, in his letter, appeared to be criticizing Bremerton for its “aggressive expansionism.” It was also significant that Bremerton’s director of development said that city is not actively pursuing annexation of McCormick Woods at this time.

    And, FYI if you missed it, City council president Will Maupin, in the Sept. 17 article (below), said Bremerton would not attempt to derail the current proposal for McCormick Woods to annex into Port Orchard.

    I stand behind my coverage of the Oct. 15 meeting and my ability to cover this issue in a manner not influenced by my personal position on annexation, which you don’t know and which my job prohibits me from sharing, even if I were so inclined.

    Chris Henry, SK reporter

    P.S. I had to resubmit this comment because the links weren’t working. Any problems with the links, let me know at chenry@kitsapsun.com.

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/oct/15/145mistaken-info-confuses-annexation-question/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/sep/17/mccormick-woods-annexation-committee-poised-to/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/sep/02/agreement-brings-mccormick-woods-annexation/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/jul/18/po-ironing-out-mccormick-woods-annexation/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/jun/25/po-county-hash-out-details-of-mccormick-woods/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/may/13/po-council-takes-next-step-toward-mccormick/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/may/09/mccormick-woods-annexation-on-po-councils-agenda/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/apr/17/po-ramps-up-work-on-researching-annexation/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/apr/03/mccormick-woods-submits-annexation-petition-to/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/jan/23/petition-allows-mccormick-woods-annexation-to/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/jan/08/boundaries-proposed-for-mccormick-woods/

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2007/nov/16/mccormick-woods-residents-begin-pondering/

  14. Chris,

    Thanks you for your response. However, I still believe the fact you live there and will vote – or not – on annexation is a conflict of interest. If nothing else, as a seasoned reporter you should be able to recognize that. So should your editor.

    And in spite of your protests to the contrary, the coverage was slanted towards the negative. I was at the meeting, and saw the positive atmosphere created by the Mayor and the council members. Charlie’s story in the Independent was much closer to the mark about what really happened.

    If you look at Bremerton’s expanded UGA plan map – the one on display the night of the meeting – you will see it clearly includes the Woods as a future annexation area. For the Mayor to point that out is not only information residents should know, it isn’t a reason to criticize him. He’s just doing his job. Maybe the bigger question is why Bremerton officials are denying it.

    Finally, your story focused more on the Mayor’s mistaken information than almost anything else. Yet you didn’t even give him the opportunity to comment in the story. While your editor(s) may have combined your and Andrew’s stories, Journalism 101 teaches that you talk to the main players in any story, and your story didn’t do that. Did you at least talk to the Mayor, and did your editors cut that, or what?

  15. …”…For the Mayor to point that out is not only information residents should know, it isn’t a reason to criticize him. He’s just doing his job….”

    Th PO mayor is the only mayor I’ve known about to fixate, worry and complain about another town and mayor ad infinitum..

    Where is such ongoing dinging said to be “just doing his job”?

    He seems to waste an inordinate amount of time trying to undermine Bremerton and Bremerton’s mayor when he could focus on his own town and ability to take care of business without the negative comments.

    For example, has he looked at the sad state of affairs for his seniors?

    Is it true that the mayor plans to use eminent domain on the downtown businesses that won’t sell? It seems condos need to go into the business areas.

    Chris Henry has reported with unbiased appraisal. Would the mayor prefer a reporter who was biased for him, rather than the objective reporting Chris does?
    I think you’re lucky to have her.
    Sharon O’Hara.

  16. And you Sharon, seem to spend a a lot of time fixating, worrying and complaining about this particular mayor.

    I’ve read your posts here and on some of the other blogs. You never miss the opportunity to slam him. So let me ask you, have you ever met him in person, or have you just judged him based on his newspaper column?

    I’ve met him a couple of times and he actually seems to be a pretty nice, straight up guy, who’s focused on moving his city out of the financial doldrums that have embraced it for decades. Yes, he’s aggressive, but so is the mayor of Bremerton. That’s what it takes to do what Bozeman did in Bremerton, and what it’s going to take for Port Orchard. It’s also my understanding that the two of them are friends – not adversaries. I actually saw them having a drink together once.

    I don’t see him trying to undermine Bremerton, but protecting what is rightfully Port Orchard’s. Cut him an even break for doing it, Sharon. That’s his job. If Kim Abel had done her job as well, Port Orchard wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in.

    As far as Chris goes, my only complaint is that she has a conflict of interest about the McCormick Woods annexation. Nothing more.

  17. Gumshoe …
    Nothing is wrong with effectively moving forward- that is what politicians are elected to do…to take care of and make their town better than when they found it – make it prosperous – not scurry around on the coattails of another town.

    PO/SK was once a bustling little place filled with people who knew each other, business that thrived, a friendly place to be.

    A good mayor should be able to take their town and guide her into a new age with wit, imagination, vision and good people working together for the same goal.

    Wasting time and energy to obsess over another town, another mayor takes momentum and energy away from the main task for no good result.

    My time is precious to me. I don’t waste it ‘trying’ to ‘slam’ anyone. I’d be grateful to read about the forward strides of PO/SK – the accomplishments and look forward to that day and a good lunch.

    Kim Abel may or may not have left a mess but she certainly didn’t cause the town to decay in the short four years she was mayor. No doubt she did her best.
    Sharon O’Hara

  18. From what I can see, he’s done a lot of that. It’s my understanding he inherited quite a mess between the comp plan being years out of date, and a budget in complete disarray from overspending by department heads that was unchecked by the previous mayor. I’m sure there’s a lot more we don’t know about either.

    Maybe you should read the Independent a little more often. They’ve reported he’s cleaned house at the management level, hired some of the best talent available to run the planning and public works departments, and promoted the clerk from within. You haven’t read that here.

    Kim Abel didn’t cause the town to decay to the point it is, but she didn’t leave it in nearly as good a shape as she found it either.

    My take is that the guy is working hard, and trying to protect the city’s turf. You may disagree, but you’ve made it real plain you just don’t like him – for whatever reason – so I’m not sure he can do anything right as far as you’re concerned. But from the perspective of someone who lived in the city for 35 years before moving to McCormick Woods a couple of years ago, I think he’s doing a hell of a job.

  19. My only complaint with Chris is that she hasn’t found anything else to report.

    What gives? Nothing going on in that little burb? Nothing at all of interest.

    Interesting, because I made a big batch of apple crisp for a Nightline crew.

  20. Chris,

    If I remember correctly, Mayor Coppola chimed in a while ago in another SK blog entry. I think the topic was the Sedgwick/Sidney intersection. Anyway, Mayor Coppola said that a major chain drug store (I think that’s what it was) was under construction at that intersection. I’ve driven by that intersection almost daily ever since then, and have yet to see any sign of such a thing being built. Can you look into it and find out what’s going on?

  21. Gumshoe – I find your persistent cheer-leading for Mayor Coppola intriguing. If one didn’t know better, one could believe you were his appointed spokesperson.

    The mayor, however, has proven he’s capable of speaking for himself in an open and direct manner, as he did at the annexation meeting I covered (see link below) and in the following blog post from the day after the meeting.

    Lary wrote:

    “I’d like to put this issue rest right now.

    The letter McCormick Woods residents received was not meant to be any kind of intimidation tactic — or anything else sinister for that matter. It was simply an honest mistake. When the various types of annexations (and they are numerous), and the way the laws governing each of one those annexations work, were explained to me, I misunderstood a critical part of that type of annexation, confusing it with another. That misunderstanding was the basis for that portion of my letter. There’s just nothing more to it than that.

    At tonight’s meeting with the residents of McCormick Woods, I acknowledged that misunderstanding at the beginning of the meeting, apologized publicly, and with the help of City Attorney Greg Jacoby, answered any and all questions that were posed on how the law works. I will be sending a letter to all the residents that received the original, explaining my misunderstanding and how the law actually works. We need to be certain any residents who signed annexation petitions based on that misinformation have the opportunity to rescind their petitions should they choose.

    If you are one of those folks who would like to rescind your petition based on that unintentional misinformation, contact the Homeowners Association and they will return your petition.

    It was truly an honest mistake — one I obviously regret — and I take full responsibility for it. If you’re a McCormick Woods resident who received that letter and didn’t attend tonight’s meeting, I hope you understand what happened, understand the fact you do have the right to vote on an annexation initiated by a city, and will also accept my sincere apologies.

    Lary Coppola, Mayor
    City of Port Orchard”

    I do think Lary’s being sincere when he says he misunderstood the annexation law, which is admittedly complex. I’m not equally convinced that there wasn’t an element of intimidation in the letter he wrote to residents. The mayor was well within his right to point out the advantages to residents, as he sees them, of annexing to Port Orchard versus Bremerton. These include Port Orchard’s geographical proximity to McWoods, making it better positioned to provide services, and the fact that McCormick Woods residents would make up a smaller percentage of Bremerton’s total population and so would not have as great a voice in that city’s local government, among other observations.

    It was the wording of this paragraph that I found troubling:

    “Obviously, considering Bremerton’s aggressive expansionism as illustrated by the annexations of the Port of Bremerton and SKIA, you can only wonder what it must have in mind for the long term future of McCormick Woods. While Bremerton hasn’t shared its intentions, I can assure you it wouldn’t take such a blatant action of that magnitude without already having a plan for you.”

    The way the paragraph reads, it makes it sound like the black plague will descend as soon as Bremerton can get its evil clutches on the unsuspecting residents of McCormick Woods. That the mayor doesn’t see this language as intimidating is even more troubling to me.

    Incidentally, I’ve reported on Bremerton’s plan for McWoods (see link below), which is, according to City Council President Will Maupin, they would not stand in the way of a PO-McWoods match, but if this annexation doesn’t pass, and McWoods residents seek it, Bremerton would do everything they could to accommodate an annexation to their city.

    I don’t dislike the mayor, as you suggest. And I’m not biased about the annexation one way or the other. I report what I see, and, as in other matters where I am both a reporter and a citizen (SK Bond, SK Park, see links below), I keep my personal opinions private. Once again, I invite you to review my earlier coverage of this matter and tell me where you see a pattern of biased reporting.

    I do feel compelled to report any instance in which elected officials use government letterhead to promote their agenda with heavy-handed language that amounts to inappropriate pressure on citizens.

    Gumshoe, you have every right to keep posting your thoughts on me, the Kitsap Sun and the mayor. That’s the beauty of the blogosphere. But don’t you think maybe it’s time to give the guy some credit and let him speak for himself?

    Respectfully, Chris Henry, SK reporter

    Regarding Oct. 15 meeting
    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/oct/15/145mistaken-info-confuses-annexation-question/

    Regarding Bremerton’s position on McWoods
    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/sep/17/mccormick-woods-annexation-committee-poised-to/

    Regarding SKSD Bond Issue
    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2007/feb/18/will-south-kitsap-voters-buy-into-the-1632-bond/

    Regarding my personal connection to the South Kitsap community
    http://pugetsoundblogs.com/south-kitsap/2008/06/18/blogger-objects-to-special-interest-label/

  22. Chris,

    The comment about not liking the mayor was intended for Sharon, not you. I have no idea what your relationship with him is like – I only know what I read.

    As far as the mayor speaking for himself, he obviously can. I’m not his press agent, and actually hardly know him, only having met him a couple of times. But I liked him when I did, and having lived in the city for 35 years before moving to the Woods, have really liked what I’ve seen in terms of the job he’s doing. He’s got the city believing in itself for the first time in decades – no small feat all thngs considered.

    But it does appear to me that he gets fairer shake from the Independent than the Sun. I also noticed that you don’t often quote him directly very often, while the Independent does. Your annexation story should have at least had something directly from him.

    As far as the quote, “Obviously, considering Bremerton’s aggressive expansionism as illustrated by the annexations of the Port of Bremerton and SKIA, you can only wonder what it must have in mind for the long term future of McCormick Woods. While Bremerton hasn’t shared its intentions, I can assure you it wouldn’t take such a blatant action of that magnitude without already having a plan for you.”

    It’s hard to argue Bremerton is in an expansion mode, between SKIA, and it’s previous attempts to annex parts of unincorporated East Bremerton and more. When you look at Bremerton’s proposed UGA expansion map that was posted at the annexation meeting, the Woods are clearly identified as an annexation target. Bremerton is obviously very organized and methodical in the way it does things. And giving credit where credit is due, if they weren’t, they sure wouldn’t have accomplished what they have. So I didn’t see that comment as intimidating, I see it as stating what appears to be an obvious conclusion given Bremerton’s previous actions.

    As far as your own bias covering the story, I still say as a resident who will vote on annexation, you have a conflict of interest.

  23. Gumshoe – You really must be on his staff, a relative or close friend to carry on as you do about the mayor.

    I can’t ‘dislike him’ I don’t know him.
    Sharon O’Hara

  24. Sharon,

    As I said, I don’t really know him – and I sure don’t work for him – or anyone else for that matter. That said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

    In reading these blogs it’s obvious you must know him – because for whatever your reasons, you almost never pass up the opportunity to say something negative about him when given the chance.

  25. Gumshoe: How long have you lived in McCormick Woods? The reason I ask is, I always thought I would someday be reading a story about intimidation and McWoods homeowner’s meetings, or that I would tell it, but I never thought for the life of me that the villian in the scenario would be Mayor Coppola. There’s a history here and this is the most open and inclusive development that this community has ever seen.

    There are people out here that know nothing about the details of the annexation but are going to vote against it because Linda Niebank if for it. That tells you that there are feelings of resentment and mistrust.

    Sharon is opinionated and reasonable and fair. If Mayor Coppola ends up doing good things for this community, she will give him credit.

    I think it’s a good thing. If it gets voted down it will be because it’s not what people bought into, they want to be separate from the City, etc.. or because people are resentful that they were never heard regarding the other expansions.

    Annexation would be a good thing for this community, but you shouldn’t just blind trust jump on board. Maybe the heavy-handed, autocratic way things have been handled in the past is going to kill this project. Maybe that’s why people shouldn’t be heavy-handed and autocratic.

  26. I’ve lived here for about 2 and half years. I lived inside the city limits for about 35 years before that. I lived there through several mayors, but Kim Abel’s inept mismanagement was one big reason for leaving when I had the opportunity.

    I think the annexation committee has made a strong argument for voting in the affirmative when you look at the choices. We are 2 percent of Kitsap County’s population and will be treated accordingly – especially when you consider the county’s financial situation, the likelihood of Silverdale incorporating which will make it significantly worse, and the likelihood of Charlotte Garrido being elected the SK commissioner. None of that bodes well for McCormick.

    In spite of what Will Maupin said to Chris Henry about annexing us, we are clearly on Bremerton’s radar screen as their proposed UGA map proves. We would be about 10 percent of the population in a city that is cutting staff and services to balance its budget.

    However, in Port Orchard, we will be almost 50 percent of the voting population, and will be a major force. Port Orchard has become – whether you (and/or Sharon) want to admit it or not – a pretty well-run city under Coppola. The way I understand it, it will balance its budget without staffing or significant service cuts – which is good news for us.

    I agree there are those close-minded folks here in the Woods who will vote against annexation because they don’t trust anything Linda Niebanck says – and that’s understandable, all things considered. But they need to take the blinders off and look at the long-term picture.

  27. Gumshoe…..you must think as you please.

    The blinders seem to be on you… I hadn’t realized your own obsession with Bremerton. Take your own advise – off with the blinders.
    Sharon O’Hara

  28. Sharon,

    Bremerton’s actions speak louder than – and contradict – its words. But the annexation isn’t about Bremerton anyway – it’s about the facts. Nothing more, nothing less.

  29. Gumshoe…This is getting silly.
    “Bremerton’s actions” – are non- existent toward PO and mayor and you know it.
    Stop the nonsense.

  30. Interesting thread. Though I don’t see why Gumshoe would be an appointed spokesperson, staff, relative or close friend for making positive comments about Coppola. By that logic, those who criticise him would be enemies.

  31. Dave – City officials have said they want to annex McCormick Woods:
    a. Because it is the right and logical thing to do according to tenets of the state’s Growth Management Act. Although the Woods is a residential area (not urban or industrial), it is a large population center with more people to come as McCormick West is developed over the next two to three years. Port Orchard can provide an urban level of services, according to the mayor and city council members, including faster police response time. The city’s public works department off Old Clifton Road will make servicing McWoods streets relatively easy, and the mayor has promised that when it snows, for example, the city will be Johnny on the spot to clear the roads.

    b. By increasing its population, Port Orchard will become a bigger player among other Washington cities competing for state appropriations and grant money. I would have to check the figures, but I have heard that the additional residents in McWoods would bump PO from being a “second class city” (the state’s term based on population) to being a “first class city,” for which I believe the cut-off is 10,000. City officials feel free to jump in.

    c. City council members, especially Jerry Childs, have said that they welcome McWoods residents as citizens of Port Orchard because they represent a pool of well-educated, dynamic individuals from which the city can draw to fill its various volunteer committees and for elected offices. Childs et al point to the fact that McWoods residents would make up a proportionately larger segment of PO’s population (approximately 10 percent is what I’ve heard) than they do in the county, as an advantage to McWoods residents for annexation. City officials also note the county’s fiscal struggles (the county must make more than $5 million in cuts to balance its 2009 budget)as compared to PO, the draft budget for which is balanced. The city also expects an 8 percent decrease in sales tax revenue to be offset by increased sales tax from commercial areas to be annexed in 2009. The sales tax increase from McWoods is negligible.

    At any rate, city officials appear highly motivated to have McWoods within their boundaries, enough so that they will be taking part in a door-to-door canvassing effort to start soon. Although cities typically shoot to annex areas like the Bethel corridor and Sedgwick Road that will bring commercial sales tax revenue, it is true that McWoods would bring them considerable bang for the buck: a relatively low-maintenance community with relatively high property values.

    Chris Henry

  32. Chris,

    McWoods is “urban” by definition of being a designated UGA under the Growth Management Act. A designation that, ironically, you can thank Charlotte Garrido, Chris Endresen and Phil Best for.

    If you believe that an affluent community like McWoods will be “low-maintenance” you either have little local government experience or you are thinking of a different connotation of that term than I am. I expect that McWoods residents will be demanding first class services from the city. If their expectations are not met, expect them to field their own candidates for mayor and council seats and run that city by and for McWoodsers. Other PO citizens can wait for the snowplow until it is finished with McWoods. I’m sure they will understand.

    The paranoia about Bremerton is amusing when Port Orchard’s politicians are ready to mount a partisan door belling campaign to expand their turf. It will be interesting to see who swallows whom.

  33. Jerry – You’re right, I should have said McCormick Woods is a designated urban growth area with a rural/residential character. Chris

  34. ‘Gumshoe’ is no doubt the very person he is fond of defending

    But of course, Sharon. What other logical explanation could there be for a person to make supportive comments about Coppola? And what should be presumed by your fondness for bashing him?

  35. I just stumbled upon this blog. I find that most people who write in blogs are usually upset, so tend to attack/negative posts. There are many people who admire and respect Mayor Coppola and praise the milestones he has made since coming into office.

    Here’s food for thought:

    President John F. Kennedy stated in “Profiles in Courage” that one of the most courageous decisions politicians ever have to make is to choose an action they believe is in the best interests of their constituency, yet it is one they know that very same constituency won’t like.

    Let’s accept his apology and move on. Mayor Coppola is human and yes, he can make mistakes but his heart in is the right place. Let’s be thankful we have another honest, hard working, capable, caring person in our local public office.

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