Monthly Archives: March 2007

Manette Bridge — They Talked

If the city were the agency doing all the permitting and planning of the new Manette Bridge, you could bet that the next two years would include meeting after meeting of filled council chambers. People would be there to offer their concerns about the design of the new bridge.

It may happen anyway.

It’s worth noting that more than a few people were fine with the bridge’s new look, a clean span with what I have described as “slight” arches underneath.

The crowd that isn’t OK with it, however, is pretty sizeable. And their questions are ones I’ve not yet found any definitive answers to.

The anonymous flyer guy referenced Tacoma’s former 11th Street Bridge, which is now the Murray Morgan Bridge. I haven’t been able to find much definitive discussion of the interaction between preservationists, the state and the city on how that bridge has managed to avoid demolition. It still stands, however.

Helen Miller, a frequent city meeting attendee, also raised the question about Europe. How come so many historic bridges there remain year after year, decades after they were built?

Besides the seismic standards needed for whatever remains across the downtown-to-Manette crossing, I know the passage gets a bit narrow for some tastes. Anyone on a bike either challenges fate or risks alienating a line of drivers from behind.

Your thoughts?

Talk About a Bridge

Today the state hosts an open house about the new Manette Bridge that will, if plans bear out, replace the existing bridge.

There are those around here who mourn the loss of the existing bridge, especially when what’s on the way doesn’t look all that different from what’s on Warren Avenue. The state argues the bridge is being replaced for safety reasons, and those who would argue that the state is wrong haven’t offered enough evidence to overcome what most people experience when they see the bridge or drive on it.

Some do want the existing bridge to be kept there for pedestrians once the new bridge is opened, but state Department of Transportation officials have said in the past that’s not going to happen, because the old structure could fall into the new one.

It seems clear for now that with a price tag of around $65 million, the state is not going to shell out more money to make the bridge nicer looking when there are so many other transportation projects needing to be done.

So one of the questions in the next few years will be whether Bremerton residents and its government will have the energy or the resources to do add touches that would give the bridge a bit more character. It could get down to the same logic that’s preventing the state from doing more on the bridge’s looks now . With so many Bremerton streets needing repair, would residents want to put those off to make the bridge look nicer?

Bremerton — Heal Your Relationships

This is not another discussion of Bremerton becoming the permitting authority for the speedway. It’s much closer to the city’s homes.

On Friday, the 16th, I went and read police reports at the Bremerton Police station (and at the Sheriffs office in Silverdale, but that’s a moot point in this discussion) and read a couple of items I’ve never read in the more than four years I’ve worked here.

In one case someone called police believing a man had picked up a prostitute and that they were parked in his truck in a park. Police arrived to find the pair in the truck at the park and the man with his pants below his knees. He quickly made himself decent. The man said he and the woman were both married, not to each other I think it worth pointing out, and that they were engaged in an affair.

In another case a man was parked behind a business that was closed. Someone thought that suspicious. When police arrived the man apologized and said he was just waiting for a woman. He told police he was married and that the woman he was waiting for was not his wife. Just like the semi-pantsless guy in the truck, this guy was engaged in an affair.

Is it time to call Dr. Phil to have a little one-on-one with the entire city?

Fuzzy Math — Updated

You’ll see that we’ve posted a story on the home page about opposition to the West Hills annexation. It would seem that if an election were held, it’s on the city to make the case that being part of the city is better.

I did the math using the worksheet the city provided, and it would seem to me that most people would find the city deal to be cheaper. However, I don’t know if there are hidden costs the worksheet doesn’t indicate. Pamalonia McCrary believes she has found some and wrote a letter to the editor in which she poses some good questions. Her questions should also be addressed at the city council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Norm Dicks building.

McCrary will have between now and May to get an election sheduled, which should be easy. She only needs signatures from 10 percent of the area’s registered voters, which probably means rounding up no more than 20 people.

I’ll Be Back

I’m going to be gone for about a week and a half, returning either March 28 or 29. I suppose I’ll make that decision the morning of March 28.

In the meantime, I’ve scheduled a couple of items to be posted, one on Sunday and another lighter one later in the week.

On Wednesday the City Council will be holding a public hearing on the West Hills annexation. We’ll have someone there, it just won’t be me.

Just as it was last week when I took a couple days off, I won’t be posting your comments.

When I return we can resume our little chats here. Until then, enjoy the coming of spring.

All Wired Up

If you’ve got a laptop with a wireless connection, you can enjoy the vistas from the marina area while you read the fascinating content on this blog and other Kitsap Sun places.

Bremerton launched its free wireless service downtown this week, though I received one e-mail from someone who argues the system won’t be free. Because it’s coming from general fund money, he argued, it’s not free.

Well, it is free to the user.

Not if you consider that the information people log in will be “sold to the highest bidder,” he continued.

Anyone using the free service won’t have to register a name. The system remembers the machine address and that’s it. People who purchase more time or bandwidth won’t have their information sold by the city, said Bill Eley, the city’s chief tech guy.

I’ve yet to hear from Wave Broadband, the company that installed and will maintain the system, on that question.

The writer also had less than complimentary things to say about Wave, but he’s a competitor. That doesn’t make him wrong, it just makes me cast an extra layer of suspicion.

The writer also said other companies would be willing to provide the service for nothing. That’s true. But those companies didn’t get their bids in on time with the city, and the city wants to have some company under contract. Those companies can still provide the service and then quit offering it any time they want.

As far as expansion, the city is focusing this downtown to continue trying to market the place as hot for economic development. The mayor said give it a year or so to see how it all works, but some might consider it sensible to wait until the parking garage gets developed and other changes happen.

‘My Daughter’

There probably aren’t two sadder words I’ve read in our paper than “My daughter.” A daughter was lost in a fire early Tuesday in a Navy Yard City home. The three year old, “my baby” to Maria Cecilia Hathaway, survived thanks in part to the help of another mom, Janet Dyer.

“I was just one mom trying to help another mom,” she said.

Dyer, from the outside of the home, and the woman, on the inside, were able to save the life of the woman’s 3-year-old son, exchanging the boy through a broken window. Dyer put the boy into her taxicab.

But the fire grew too hot, and as the sound of fire trucks approached, they couldn’t get to the woman’s 8-year-old daughter, Ariana N. Hathaway, in time.

Neighbors are rallying to help the family, an effort that will surely remove some of the burden of what’s happened. Flint Walpole, West Hills Elementary School principal, said the neighborhood efforts are typical for the area.

“I’m so appreciative,” said Walpole, who’s been principal at the school eight years. “I’ve always been happy with and very proud of the way that when there is tragedy, people pull together.”

Is there ever a time more critical than one like this, when a mother loses a child, for a neighborhood to wrap its arms around her? I can’t think of one.

The Marina You’re Buying

If you live in parts of East Bremerton, but not all of it, or in parts between the Hood Canal and South Kitsap, you may have seen a marked jump in your tax payment to the Port of Bremerton.

Sunday’s Kitsap Sun has the story explaining why and how the higher bill happened. For the owner of a $200,000 home, it’s a jump of $90 a year.

The state allows the port the taxing authority, just as it allows cities to take on a certain amount of debt without going to voters. It’s just that in the case of cities, it’s seldom as noticeable as the port’s industrial development district tax was.

The marina is also backed by $4.5 million from the federal government, of which $3 million was presented to the port in a ceremony at Anthony’s shortly after the restaurant opened.