Monthly Archives: November 2007

Making Up the Margins

If Carlos Jara, down nine points to Roy Runyon, and Eric Younger, down six points to Will Maupin, can hold out hope for anything, it’s that the auditor’s office reported that a lot of votes came in later than usual.

Walt Washington, chief deputy auditor for the county, said it appears more people than normal waited to vote closer to election day. Of the about 54,000 ballots the county
had in hand, 12,700 arrived in the mail on Tuesday, a record for an off-year election, Washington said.

“When there are things that people have to ponder on, they wait until the last minute,” he said.

Washington said his conversations with elections officers in King County indicated the same thing was happening there.

“That seems to be the trend,” Washington said.

Jara’s race is still 112 votes shy of how many voted in the August primary. One vote came in after the initial numbers tonight. Jara got it. If 112 more votes come in, Jara has to get 68 (61 percent) of them.

That’s why we normally consider an election night nine-point margin pretty definitive.

So let’s apply the same math to the Maupin-Younger race. That district saw about twice the votes the other race did. So if 224 more votes come in, Younger has to get 129 of them, or 58 percent.

Voting Against the Marina By Turning Down Parks

The same post is running on the Kitsap Caucus blog.

If you are to believe those on the losing side of tax levies since last year, the tax the port passed is still affecting other tax measures. They brought it up when South Kitsap’s school bond failed. The library bond failed, the port became a question.

If tax boosters are right, residents didn’t get to vote on the port’s Industrial Development District tax to build the marina, so they’re voting against it now every chance they get.

Tonight, Bremerton City Councilman Will Maupin said the IDD tax not only affected Bremerton’s parks levy, it affected his own margin of victory. He’s winning his race with a 53-47 margin against former councilman Eric Younger.

“I guess it’s just that it’s just that there is always the feeling because of the unrest in property taxes and the port tax and the feeling that we need to make a change, that somebody else might be looking out for my well being or my property taxes more.”

You can draw attention to the fact that the other incumbent running in Bremerton, Dianne Robinson, won handily. But Robinson ran against a first-time candidate with no history on the council and a short history in the city. Maupin’s opponent, Eric Younger, does have experience on the dais and has stark differences with the incumbent.

Maupin might have a point on his own race, but that the port tax may have had an impact on Tuesday’s parks levy is easily more believable.

“I thought that when we first put that on the ballot that we had built up enough good will in the city that citizens were willing to invest some of their money in the Bremerton redevelopment. I think the port tax was an issue that didn’t die. It built up an unhappiness. I heard that over and over again as I was doorbelling and I think that’s what doomed our parks levy.”

The question then becomes how it will affect the city’s move to boost car tab fees to pay for roads. In pre-election debates all Bremerton council candidates said they favored putting a $20 boost in car tabs on the ballot. Maupin said Tuesday’s parks levy defeat will impact how the council moves forward with the street issue, but perhaps not substantially.

“It’s going to have some effect on our decision-making process, but I think the process is still what we planned all along. We’ll have a very vigorous public information campaign and see if we have support for $20 car tabs in order to support street repair.”

If all this is true and I’m running any government agency with an ability to ask voters for money, I’ve got to wonder if I would instead conspire to make do until the hangover from the port tax wears off, assuming people really are still voting against it.

If they are, when will it stop?

Starbucks to West Bremerton

Real Estate agent Jo Soss has a blog in which she reports Starbucks is coming to West Bremerton, along with Walgreen’s.

The new store will be across Arsenal National from Rite-Aid, she wrote.

Starbucks has a store downtown, which was the first free-standing Starbucks in Bremerton when it opened in 2004. And unless I’m sadly mistaken, isn’t there a Starbucks kiosk in Safeway on Callow? I thought there was, but can’t find reference to it in the phone book or online.

Seismic Shift?

Will Spiderman be happy with the election?
Kitsap Sun photo by Angela Hiatt.

So, do you think tonight’s election will result in a seismic shift in city government? If so, is that a good thing?

The potential is there for a significant change. If former councilman Eric Younger, newcomer Cassandra Helmrick and former planning commissioner Roy Runyon win, it could mark a huge change on the city council. If nothing else, the debates could be more contentious than they are now.

Cecil McConnell, 12-year city councilman, will be at Younger’s tonight to see the results. Younger left a message saying at least one person will be celebrating a win at his house tonight. McConnell is running unopposed.

A Will Maupin and Dianne Robinson re-election and a Carlos Jara win would seem like a pretty big confirmation of where the city is going, tunnel and all.

In reality the Prop 1 (parks levy) question has the least impact on the future direction of the city, only because it’s a single policy issue. The council races have bearing on policy after policy after policy.

Someone asked about the park development fund. I’m checking. Someone also mentioned what Lynn Horton did as mayor, a comment I can’t seem to locate again. She was able to raise money for parks without going to taxpayers, if I recall the comment correctly. This would have been done, I presume, when the city could raise its property tax income by 6 percent a year, compared to the 3-4 percent it can get now (1 percent, plus new construction).

This is not an argument for the levy, mind you, just a recognition that cities operate under different rules now.