Category Archives: Election 2008

Mahan Calls for SK Land Use Advisory Committee

Campaigning hard for South Kitsap Commissioner, Democratic candidate Monty Mahan has submitted a press release calling for the formation of an advisory council to address land use and transportation in South Kitsap.

“Over the past 20 years South Kitsap commissioners have made a show of caring for public input. At the same time they have failed to take the issue seriously enough to craft a district-wide formal ongoing process, such as that done for Central Kitsap,” Mahan said.

Mahan cited what he called “problems” with several recent issues, including SKIA annexation talks, the Southworth Drive Road Project, McCormick Woods development and annexation, the Bethel Road Project, and Woods View development plan as reasons for giving local citizens a more formal voice.

Mahan, who was Kitsap County Public Works’ representative to the Central Kitsap Community Council during its formative years, said that group “has proven very useful in engaging that community in important decisions.”

Issue pertinent to the City of Port Orchard don’t always address concerns of the wider South Kitsap area, Mahan said. If elected, he would make formation of such a committee for South Kitsap a top priority.

Kitsap Residents Respond to Obama’s Speech

Following on the heels of Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech in Philadelphia Tuesday, the Kitsap County Youth Rally for Human Rights, held Friday at Olympic College, appeared to affirm the hunger for racial unity to which Obama refers. But according to at least one participant at the rally, Kitsap still has a long ways to go.

At a workshop on the “Culture of Kitsap” that was part of the rally, Shatara Tiller, 17, talked about the unwritten rules of the lunchroom at South Kitsap High School.
There’s the senior section and the anime table, she said, drawing a diagram on the board. “Over here is all the jocks and popular kids and the cool people.”
Then there’s “brown town … If you have a tint of color in your skin, even if there aren’t enough chairs, that’s where you’ll sit. I don’t know why,” said Shatara, who is black and who serves as president of the Bremerton NAACP youth council.

Shatara’s observations elicited strong reactions in Kyle Dye, 53, a teacher at South Kitsap’s Marcus Whitman Junior High School, who is white and remembers “the whites only signs.”
“We hear the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech every year, and we think it’s all done,” he said “Actually, what you’re presenting here … I just want to go home and cry.”

The rally is hosted annually by the Kitsap County Council on Human Rights to get students thinking and talking about biases they may have about others who aren’t like them, touching on the prickly issues of race, sexual orientation, suicide and other taboo topics.

Karen Vargas, advisor to the NAACP youth council, said events like the youth rally stimulate frank discussion that’s unlikely to take place elsewhere.
“It’s got to be an intentional dialog,” she said. “If it’s not intentional, I’ve found they dance around it. It’s difficult to talk about race and bias.”

Vargas, who is black, said the Obama speech has been a hot topic in Kitsap’s black community this week. I asked her how she feels about the presidential campaign becoming, as she called it, “a race race.”
“I think it’s a good thing,” Vargas said. “The reason I think it’s a good thing is because we’re being challenged about our character. … What I think is the whole world is looking at us right now.”

Vargas said she is excited to see Obama embrace the issue of race, to crack the delicate egg shell of decorum-through-denial and let the whole messy discussion ooze out (my analogy here, not hers).

“It’s exciting times. It’s scary times,” she said. “There’s real change happening in our nation and in our world.”

Vargas, who moved here in 1992 from the East Coast, said Kitsap will need to do some serious catching up in the area of frank discussion about race. She would like to see the county and city governments appoint a multi-cultural advisory council.
“I don’t think leadership has done a good enough job to outreach to (minority) community leaders,” she said, including in her comments Kitsap’s Japanese Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and Latinos.

Earlier this week I ran into my friend Mauris Emeka, riding his bike to a volunteer job at Cedar Heights Junior High. (I didn’t literally run into him, mind you.) I asked him what he thought of the Obama speech, and he said it moved him to tears. He had one point of contention with the speech, which you can read below in the letter he sent Obama:

Dear Senator Obama,

I am a 67 year old American of African decent, born and raised in the south. I am writing to thank you from the bottom of heart for ‘pouring out your soul’ in Philadelphia on yesterday — ‘telling it like it is‘. America has long needed to hear the words you uttered in that historic speech, because they can help bring a measure of healing to our country.
There is one point in the speech where I would recommend different wording. You stated that “segregated schools were and are inferior schools”. That statement misrepresents the work of many of the all-Black schools that I knew. In my view, it is more relevant to note that all-Black schools were nearly always under-funded as compared to White schools. And that sometimes resulted in unsatisfactory academic outcomes from Black schools, but certainly not always. The all-Black schools during my school years (i.e., the 1940s, 50s, and 60s) produced untold numbers of well prepared graduates, despite limited facilities at our disposal. I will never forget the compassion and dedication of many of my secondary school and college teachers. We were always encouraged to do our best with what we had; and I believe you will agree that that advice served us well.
Thanks again, Senator Obama, for the historic speech that you gave yesterday, sharing words that all Americans have long needed to hear.

…here’s wishing you The Best,

Bro. Mauris Emeka

Garrido Announces for District 2 Commissioner’s Seat

A copy of this post appears on the Kitsap Caucus blog.

An addendum was added at the bottom of this post at 6:15 p.m.

Former Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido has announced she will run to regain the District 2 seat on the commission she lost to Republican Jan Angel in 2000.

Garrido failed in 2004 in a bid to regain her seat from Angel, who is running for state legislature).

Garrido is running against fellow Democrat Monty Mahan. No republican candidate has yet declared in the race.

A story on her candidacy is posted at

Garrido served as county commissioner from 1997 through 2000. She has been a higher education planner for WSU Kitsap Extension since 2005 and most recently served as consultant for the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) Baccalaureate Research project, documenting the need for a four-year degree program in Kitsap County.

Garrido said she has been considering running for commissioner for some time, but she was preoccupied with her work for the KEDA. Now that the Legislature has appropriated funding to review the KEDA report, Garrido said, she can turn her attention to new pursuits.

Her platform will focus on promoting locally owned businesses and on increasing opportunities for citizens to have input on county government. Garrido said her skills at bringing various interest groups together on issues would serve to the county’s advantage were she elected.

The county’s budget is another priority for Garrido. It informs every decision the commission makes, she said. Garrido is eager to work with the other two commissioners on resolving budget issues.

“I don’t think any one commissioner can do that,” she said. “I think as a team we need to ask the tough questions. … I’m not afraid to make the tough decisions after getting answers to the tough questions.”

Garrido declined to say what sets her apart from Mahan.

“I think it’s always positive for voters to have choices,” she said. “My thought is that it’s really important that we have many public forums so people can see and hear from both of us and have a chance to make informed decisions.”

So, the question remains (as I said in a recent post) where are the Republicans in this race?

Addendum 6 p.m.: Jack Hamilton, Kitsap County Republican Party chairman is still holding his cards close to his vest. If the party has anyone specific in mind to challenge the Democrats for Angel’s seat, Hamilton’s not talking.
“We have every intent of having a viable candidate,” he said. “If there’s a race out there, we’re recruiting.”

Carl Olson, Kitsap County Democratic Party chairman, was also noncommittal when asked how the addition of another Democrat to the race could play out for the party. At last night’s meeting, Kitsap Dem’s approved Mahan’s candidacy, giving him access to the party’s contact list for use in seeking endorsements. According to party rules, they could approve other candidates, as well, and will presumably approve Garrido if she asks, Olson said.
Olson was careful not to appear to personally endorse one candidate over the other.
“We now have two competent candidates,” he said. “It would probably be to the benefit of the voters to have two qualified candidates from which to choose.”

Monty Mahan Campaign Kick-off

5 p.m.: Monty Mahan, a candidate for South Kitsap Commissioner, district 2, will hold a campaign kick-off at Amy’s on the Bay, 833 Bay St., Port Orchard.

You can learn more about the candidate at his blog.

Mahan has a humorous side. His latest entry is ,”If the Port of Bremerton Were the Girl … and if Bremerton and Port Orchard were Both Trying to Get a Date.”

One that caught my eye was “Reasons Not to Elect Monty.” Apparently people have been questioning whether the father of 9 kids under 18 has time or energy to be county commissioner.
Mahan does a light take on the notion by listing the advantages, such as:

Thursday afternoon laser tag in Courthouse Commons

County planning meetings guaranteed a plentiful supply of crayons

Dinosaur imitations from back of meeting room clinically proven to cut meeting time

So, can anybody hear me out there? Where are the contenders?