Monthly Archives: March 2010

Will Dicks “Bring Home the Bacon” For Port Orchard?

On his most recent video newsletter, Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola said that Congressman Norm Dicks has included $1 million for Port Orchard’s Town Center Revitalization Project in his fiscal year 2011 budget request.

Should the funding come through, it would be used toward the purchase of property for the project, which includes a city-built parking garage seen a crucial to the town’s revitalization. The total cost of the whole project, which will be a public-private partnership, is $33 to $36 million. The city must nail down at least $2.5 million for property acquisition to get the ball rolling.

Dicks’ Bremerton office was unable to confirm the news. I will be following up tomorrow.

I spoke to Coppola tonight. Although the funding is not in pocket, the mayor is confident of Dicks’ ability to advocate on behalf of his city. “It’s never a sure thing, but like I said, Norm always brings home the bacon.”

Port Orchard Videos: The Mayor Speaks and More

Looking back on this era in “Newspaper” Web site development, we will no doubt see it as a time where experiments were undertaken, certain noble ideas stuck to the wall … and others didn’t.

Alas, our hopes of being able to host videos of Port Orchard City Council meetings have been dashed, because of our respective technological support systems’ inability to communicate. We recently underwent an upgrade in our video uploader, so it no longer accepts the format in which Port Orchard produces its videos.

Henceforth, I’ll be posting links to the City’s Web site as a reminder that the videos are available. Here’s the link to the March 23 council meeting (my apologies for the delay). Among business at the meeting, the council approved new rules for use of the Active Club. Animals are no longer allowed in the building.

And now, “A Moment with the Mayor.” It’s kind of like FDRs fireside chats … with a neon flamingo. Topics this month include:

Honored employees

Planning for McCormick Woods Village Regional Park

Plans for a meeting with the Port of Bremerton and discussion of South Kitsap Industrial Area

An update on an interlocal agreement on annexation between the county and local cities

and more … see next post

The Kids Are Allright, and There Are Lots of Them

Steven Gardner writes:

Last week I looked at our community calendar and spotted the toddler dance party the librarians on Bainbridge Island were going to put on and I thought “video gold!”

My one worry was that they’d only have two or three kids show up. I needn’t have worried. There probably five dozen kids and almost as many adults. The place was packed.

A Tale of Two Bail Bondsmen

Two Kitsap County bail bond agents whom I interviewed for a story that ran Sunday on the bail bond industry in Port Orchard had somewhat different takes on attempts by the city of Port Orchard to encourage bail bondsmen to do business somewhere other than Bay Street.

As I mentioned in the story, the city council in 2009 adjusted its zoning for the downtown area to prohibit bail bond agencies on the ground floor of Bay Street buildings. Those already established are allowed to stay. The move, said Mayor Lary Coppola, was intended to reserve prime retail space for businesses that pay sales taxes. Bail bond agencies do not pay sales tax. The most the city gets out of the presence of bail bonds companies, located quite logically down the hill from the Kitsap County jail, is a reputation that one blog commenter dubbed “Bail Bonds by the Bay.”

Coppola said he has been unfairly painted as being unfriendly to bail bond companies, which, he said, serve an important function … it just doesn’t align with Port Orchard’s view of itself as quaint and tourist friendly.

Jim Thornton, who is a licensed bail agent in Kitsap County and who has offices in Mason County and Vancouver, Wa., has tried without great success to open his own bail company in Port Orchard. Thornton has felt unfairly discriminated against by the city and the county. He was delayed in getting “justification” or certification required of all new bail bond companies, a process through the Kitsap County court system (with regular renewals required as well). Thornton finally did get his justification recently, but by then he had decided to move his main office (from which he conducts business in Kitsap and Mason counties as well as Vancouver, WA) from Port Orchard to Shelton (in Mason Co.), where there are relatively few bail bond agencies.

“It’s a day late and a dollar short,” Thornton said of the justification. “It just took do d___ long for them to get us going. … So we figured it was time to get out of Port Orchard. We just wanted to pull out, get off of Bay Street, and get all the daggers out of our backs.”

Thornton, I believe, was referring to remarks by Coppola last year that bail bondsmen gave Port Orchard a bad image and suggestions he made that the city should make doing business on Bay Street uncomfortable for them.

Jim Boscola is a Port Orchard bail agent with another take on the city’s desire to move bail agencies off the main drag. “I don’t think he’s targeting our industry,” Boscola said of Coppola. “He’s made those types of comments against other types of businesses as well (i.e. dentists, lawyers and other professional who also don’t pay sales tax). From a city official’s perspective, they’re probably looking after their city.”

Boscola even sympathized with Coppola, saying, “Poor Lary. He seems like a nice guy, but they’re quick to judge him every time he opens his mouth.”

Friday Afternoon Club: Sew What?

South Kitsap resident Sharon Demianiw has organized a Cut, Sew and Serge Party to benefit American Patchwork Quilting Magazine’s Million Pillowcase Challenge starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bremerton’s Pacific Fabric Store, 4214 Wheaton Way.

I won’t be attending the event because the last time I took up a needle was to unskillfully sew on a button … in 1998.

I admire people who sew, like my late mother-in-law, who made clothing for the entire family. Demianiw, an avid quilter, and other members of the Port Orchard West Sound Quilt League apparently are of that ilk, and they’re sewing for a worthy cause. The magazine’s goal is that “sewers ( pronounced so-ers and not to be confused with waste disposal-type sewers) around the world will donate pillowcases hand made with love to their local charities totaling 1 million by January 2011.”

Numbers of donated pillowcases are reported to the official Web site (all people but people like me, whose then-fiance once laughed out loud at a shirt I made for him, trying to follow in his mother’s footsteps). So far, they’ve logged 35,296 pillowcases.

“I couldn’t resist joining the challenge,” Damianiw said.

Better her than me. But you go girl!

“We are well on our way with no projected end date in mind. In fact, the project has taken on a life of its own with individuals contacting me to suggest the possibility of involving local high school students or quilters at Mission Creek Women’s Prison,” she said.

The group so far has completed 76 pillowcases and has assembled pillowcase kits ready for the making. They’ll use an assembly line process to step up production. The plan is to donate the pillowcases to a local woman’s shelter.

They are collecting pillows to go with the pillowcases, and are looking for other sewing groups to get involved. The Heirloom Quilt Shop in Poulsbo is a drop-off point for pillowcases.

If you want to join this serge of manic pillow-case crafting, show up at the event or call Pacific Fabrics at (360) 479-4214.

I’m Here to Bore You With Talks of Land Use Planning

Brynn Grimley writes:

I have to admit, I had hoped my first post to this blog would be much more exciting so that you all would fall instantly in love with me and adore my posts more than my competitor, oops I mean coworker, Steve Gardner. But alas I’m here to bore you with land use discussions.

I attended last night’s rural outreach meeting in Seabeck. Here’s my sum up of that meeting, and the larger rural outreach program the county is currently undertaking. While it might seem boring, if you live in Kitsap’s rural areas, this will impact you. Here’s the post:

Two down one to go.

The county’s Department of Community Development has held two of its three planned rural outreach meetings — one out at Long Lake in South Kitsap and one out in Seabeck for Central Kitsap.

The third meeting is scheduled for Tuesday March 30 in Port Gamble, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The purpose of the meetings is for county planning staff to hear from rural residents about what they’d like to see in Kitsap’s rural areas in the future. Things they’re asking include:

– Are dog parks an appropriate use in the rural area? What about trails?
– Would you rather see housing developments clustered, where homes are built close together surrounded by more open space?
– Or would you rather see developments spread out with open space peppered between the homes?
– Do you want to see commercial uses, but ones that fit with the lifestyle — for example a small community grocery store over a large grocery chain?

These are the questions county planners are hoping to get answered as they complete an aggressive work plan to define Kitsap’s rural communities in time for an update to the county’s comprehensive plan by the end of the year.

At the meeting Wednesday in Seabeck, Community Development Director Larry Keeton told a group of about 40 people: “Kitsap County is not a rural county in the traditional sense of the word.”

Kitsap’s density per acre is higher than the average for most rural counties, he said.

There weren’t too many questions from CK residents in attendance; some concerns were aired about shoreline preservation and access being cut off to Stavis Bay because of a wrong shoreline designation. The county is updating its Shoreline Master Program presently so the residents hope to amend the problem during that process.

Another person expressed concern about too many people moving into Kitsap’s rural areas, stating effectively that she believes people don’t want to live in Bremerton so they’re moving out into the surrounding rural areas.

Keeton assured her any population changes — which could alter urban growth areas — won’t be done through this process. And more importantly, the county will not address its urban growth area boundaries until 2014. For UGA boundaries to be expanded the county has to prove there isn’t enough existing land to accommodate population growth in that area. Because the county can accommodate growth through increasing housing density by going up instead of out, it isn’t likely the boundaries will be altered significantly, Keeton said. The purpose of an urban growth area is to prevent urban sprawl, not contribute to it.

After the final community meeting Tuesday in North Kitsap planning staff will take the comments received from the community and analyze it. The hope is to have the rural element plan ready for county planning commission review by August and to have the planning commission’s recommendation before the Board of County Commissioners by October. Final approval by the board would come in December.

For those who were unable to attend the community meetings, but who have comments about what they want to see in their rural neighborhoods, you can contact county planner Katrina Knutson via email:; or by calling (360) 337-5777.

For more information on the rural project visit the county’s Web site.

Speaking of Bremerton

Steven Gardner writes:

That didn’t take long.

On Monday Bremerton gets its grubby mitts on your blog here and within days Money Magazine cedes all of Kitsap County to Bremerton.

That dude living on his boat and dumping his stuff into Eagle Harbor? He’s from Bremerton.
Those kids that spent New Year’s Day in Pasadena instead of jumping into the sound? Bremertonians.
Seabeck, Poulsbo, Silverdale? It’s all Bremerton.

I was going to one day threaten that you’d all be assimilated, but it looks like it already happened.

Money Magazine has a new list out, one of those things they create every so often to make people remember that magazines still exist. In a section devoted to Real Estate 2010, it predicts which areas will see the steepest increases and make the biggest falls in real estate value. Number five for robust real estate, or tied for it, is Bremerton, population 240,000.

This has, of course, been going on for years. One time Bremerton’s recognition got the former editor of the Central Kitsap Reporter so jacked up he wrote an editorial asking when Bremerton would stop riding on the rest of the county’s coattails. I answer, when will you shut up and accept that you’ll be riding ours forever? Quiet before we annex you.

Your assimilation into Bremerton isn’t free. There are some standards to be met.
First, Bainbridge Island has to stop its obsessive repulsion to chain stores. We want a Burger King and a Taco Bell on Winslow Way, or we’re coming over there with a bridge.
Silverdale needs one, probably two 7-Elevens. Circle K’s wine for the thrifty isn’t as diverse and the clientele isn’t as troubling.
Poulsbo, get rid of all those extra stop signs and replace them red-light cameras.
Port Orchard, the paint job is kind of a step up, so we’ll give you credit there. Some of your windows reflect direct sunlight into our eyes around sunset, though, so we would appreciate it if you’d do something about that, m’kay?

Now that we’ve all accepted that we’re all from Bremerton, I think we can also agree that we need to band together to sell some condos and direct some more retail into what we will all call “downtown” without having to ask “Downtown where?” I’ll see if we can get our paper renamed the Bremerton Sun again. I guess we can stick with the city names we’ve got, but we ought to develop nicknames. Silverdale can be “Slick.” Poulsbo is “Olaf.” Bainbridge will be “Money Bags.” Seabeck can be “Chip.” Port Orchard should be “Junior.”

If you’re not excited about this, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Port Orchard Library Annexation Could Result in Tax Increase

Although a proposal to annex the Port Orchard Library into the Kitsap Regional Library district would not result in an increase in library taxes paid by property owners within city limits, it would give the city the option of increasing its levy rate, according to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery. For a detailed explanation, including comments from Avery, visit the Kitsap Caucus blog.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap/government reporter

The Advice Less Traveled

While in Silverdale for a discussion on health care, I stopped by Safeway. The store sells used books for a local charity. On the shelf I saw six copies of the book “Don’t Set Goals.”

The author was Wade Cook.

I’m sure I’m not the first one to see the irony in that title. I can think of a few goals Mr. Cook would have been well served to make. Staying out of prison would have been one.

It’s probably a decent book, though.

Bremerton Invades South Kitsap

Steven Gardner writes:

Last week I was driving around Port Orchard and saw a sign advertising “Ettermans’ jackets.”

It made me long for the old days, when a sign like that would inspire me to stop and take a picture to throw up on a blog, an excuse to get silly about Port Orchard. The pressures of writing for two blogs, though, eventually became too much, though. I passed by that place taking no pictures and writing no screed against your fair city. It’s like those dogs in that Gary Larson cartoon. They’re sitting on the porch while a cat’s delivering mail, while the dogs do nothing. “We’re getting old, Jake,” one says to the other.

That could change in the next few weeks. As Chris has likely explained to you, my illiterate rants (as opposed to the brilliant ones I write on the Kitsap Caucus site) can again find a home. I’ll just post them here. The Bremerton Beat is no more. See it as a victory if you like, but I’d be careful. Here in Bremerton we like our chickens illegal and our hot dog vendors spread out a bit. We’re a different breed, and we can see your houses from our condos. We can draw tourists with whimsy and fountains. Pretty soon we’re going to have something else to draw them, and that includes you. While our finest residents will be going to your town to post bail, your finest will coming to ours for something else. I can’t yet tell you yet what it is. Remember though, you’re on notice.