Monthly Archives: August 2008

Bremerton: Mullets Welcome

Haters Never Prosper

The Seattle Times ran a story today about a hairstylist in Port Orchard – a hotbed of trendsetting –  offering to remove from people a haircut particularly offensive to player haters.

For those who don’t care what hipsters think, the mullet’s essentials include long in back, short in front and for those who still think saying the word “mullet” is funny, you probably are still trying to convince yourself Family Guy is clever, PBR will get you drunk and the Shins are good music.

(I was going to make a disparaging comparison to Death Cab for Cutie, but figured I might get in trouble with the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce.)

So get off your high horse, Port Orchard. There was a time when this would be funny, back when was delivering VHS tapes to heroin addicts with pierced eyebrows in Belltown collectives.

Now it’s as tired as a man in tight pants and an ironic T-shirt. The fact is, mullets are coming back and making fun of them is more anachronistic than the hairstyle itself.

That’s right, mark my words, you can’t backlash against something this fiercely without it returning as an ironic trend. Remember how despised bellbottoms were in the late ’80s?

And for those who want to wear their hair in ways that offends fashion prigs, come to Bremerton.

We don’t hate, we congratulate.

City Government (Not Ours) Abandons Ship

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

For all the complaints about government, whether it be heavy-handed, ineffectual, or some blend of the two, it’s good to know that somebody is at the helm.

Disagree? Consider this story, about a small New York town where its government has essentially abandoned their posts. State laws generally require a quorum to conduct even the most mundane city business, and this town doesn’t have it.

I suppose many of us have fantasized about walking off the job at some time or another. One of those “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it” moments. I don’t know if that’s the case with these public servants, but that’s what I like to imagine.

Manette Residents Skeptical About Planning

Waldorf: You know, the opening is catchy.
Statler: So is smallpox.

The Manette Senior Center didn’t have enough chairs Wednesday to accommodate all the people who turned out.

The crowd came for a meeting, not a Death Cab For Cutie concert.

The meeting intended to share and gather public input on the Manette Sub-Area plan, a 20-year road map for development in one of Bremerton’s most scenic and close-knit neighborhoods, called for by the city’s 2004 comprehensive plan.

But like the ads for monster truck shows say, the crowd didn’t need the whole seat, just the edge.

Estimates ranged from 120 to 220. It was packed, and it wasn’t a passive crowd, and it wasn’t a crowd in the mood to listen to presenters from Makers Architecture. It was a crowd skeptical and vocal, unafraid to interrupt with a question or a smart allecky remark.

“Is it redevelopment or improvement?” asked Colin Morrison.

“It’s up to you,” responded Manette City Councilman Adam Brockus, in some of the spontaneous and unscheduled give and take.

The more vocal attendees expressed concern that their views would be blocked by development, namely, five-story mixed use buildings like those across the Port Washington Narrows. Presenters said they heard them loud and clear, and most alternatives up for discussion did not include raising the height restriction from 35 feet.

Many in the crowd didn’t believe it.

“What you’re saying is you are going to lose your view,” said one man in the audience.

There were several who pleaded for silence, to let the presenters talk. The city is paying Makers Architecture $50,000 to complete the plan, not including city staff time.

There was also talk about how to configure the streets for when the Manette Bridge is rebuilt by the state Department of Transportation.

Some said the city has already planned for that. One option for incoming and outgoing bridge traffic is a roundabout, an alternative to a traffic signal. Some doubted there would be enough room to construct a roundabout without taking more land.

John Owen, of Makers, was one of the presenters who struggled to talk above the crowd, which appeared to lose interest half-way into the meeting and in addition to shouting out questions started talking amongst themselves.

He said there would be chances for further public input, and further revisions.

“If you don’t like it you can throw at us whatever fruit you have on your person,” he said.

Owen showed a photo of a house with a “Save Manette” sign in front, one of many blue campaign signs popping up all over the east Bremerton enclave.

Owen said he wanted one of the signs for himself.

Jane Rebelowski, a Manette resident who has helped organize neighbors against what they see as an overture to developers, said she would sell Owen one of the signs.

The city will hold a “stakeholder” meeting Thursday, and another public meeting will be held in October.

“I knew this was going to happen,” Brockus said after the meeting, noting Manette’s reputation as one of the most engaged areas of the city.

For more information on the sub-area planning process, click here for the city’s page.

And stay tuned for more Manette planning fun from your friends at the Kitsap Sun!

Bremerton School Siting Project Gets A Web Page

Ye Olde School House

The city of Bremerton and Bremerton schools have been tag-teaming a study to find the right place to put a  new west side middle school that would also serve a larger community purpose. The process has been dutifully marching along, with lots of involvement from the greater community.

But it just got easier to follow the doings of the project, with a new Web site.

Here is the link to the page on the city’s Web site.

The next meeting of the group is Sept. 22.

Bremerton Is That Cat That Hogs The Kibble

From the Port Orchard Independent, Aug. 20, 2008
Comes now, a Port Orchard Independent cartoon that more clearly explains the rift between Bremerton and Port Orchard and emphasizes the county seat of Kitsap’s appeal for victimhood and provincialism.

As you may recall, or not, the two cities are both vying to reap the rewards from the development of a slice of land that had the good fortune to exist between the two political entities.

And the Independent ran a cartoon – previously remarked upon in these pages – that accomplished the dubious achievement of being more confusing and boring than the actual issue.

This cartoon is a vast improvement.

As we can see, Port Orchard is seen as a drooling mongrel apparently surprised that Bremerton, represented by a hungry cat, is eating all the SKIA kibble and swiping at the dog in a way most menacing.

It is a continuation of the “hunger” theme by the cartoonist. Bremerton was represented by a pig in the first cartoon.

As a pet owner and great lover of four-legged mammals, I’ve seen this behavior before: the sneaky, insatiable cat threatening a lumbering, dim-witted canine with violence. It always makes me sad, and inside I wish that the dog would stand up to its diminutive bully.

And that’s what makes this cartoon such a smashing success.

Who Put The Dead Cat On My Car?

Don’t Do This

To the person who put a dead cat on the hood of my car, I would like to say: that’s a big 10-4.

For whatever it is that I have done to upset you I am sorry, and I promise never to do it again.

For those who didn’t put a dead cat on the hood of my car, allow me to explain.

About a couple months ago, while checking voice mail on my cell phone, something I hate to do, I received a message from a Bremerton police office. He said he was calling about my car. I figured it was because I had parked in front of the house next door, which was having work done.

The officer that left the message wasn’t at work when I got the message, a couple days late, so another officer checked for a report on the incident. Not finding any, I figured the matter was settled, and went back to neglecting cell phone messages.

A couple weeks ago, while stopping by the department to read reports, I ran into the officer who left the message. I asked him why he had called.

“Oh, there was a dead cat on the hood of your car.”

Apparently someone had called 911 to report it. An officer responded. Sure enough, there it was, a dead cat.

The officer tried to call me, and left a message. What else is there to do? He got rid of the cat.

Thinking back, I remember seeing something resembling blood and hair on the hood of my car a month or so ago. The lesson here is: be more curious when you find blood and hair on the hood of your car.

I’m glad I didn’t see the cat, poor kitty. I love cats. Our elderly black cat, Hank, has lost a lot of weight recently. It has us worried. I can only imagine how the person felt when their kitty didn’t come home. To tell you the truth, I don’t want to know.

I’ve been thinking about it – it’s become something of a pastime for me – and I have sketched three possible scenarios for how and why this happened:

1 – The cat was struck by a car, flew into the air and landed on my hood, dead.

2 – The cat was in the area and had been struck by a car, or otherwise was killed, and placed on the hood of my car by punk kids. This sounds gruesome, as it requires touching the dead animal. In fairness, it’s something I might have done at 11 years old, thinking I was really going to blow somebody’s mind.

3 – The cat was somehow dispatched and intentionally placed on the hood of my car as an intimidating message, a shot across the bow, a la the horse head in the Godfather. Granted, waking up to your beloved horse’s head separated from its body is a whole other level above finding a strange cat dead on your hood. It’s sort of a poor man’s intimidation, perhaps revealing something about my stalker’s work ethic.

I’ve discussed the “incident,” also known as the “unpleasantness” with a few people, including a lawyer friend, who all agreed the least likely scenario is the intimidating message, option 3.

I’ll admit, my friends and legal counsel are probably right. However, what all these Panglosses fail to realize is that option 3 is clearly the most spine-tingling.

Who knows how many enemies I’ve made after four years as a reporter? I’ve covered all the high-profile, hot-button issues, from revealing the truth about the elves that lie ready beneath Bremerton to defend the city against sea monsters, to wondering aloud if one corporate fast-food joint was enough for downtown Bremerton. That’s a lot of toes to step on.

And let’s not forget my juvenile critiques of every other writer who dare pen a word about the city I cover. I know first hand what it feels like to have someone take a swipe at you, and the bitterness that oozes from a wounded ego. Writers aren’t to be trifled with, and we all know how effective they are at accomplishing things and keeping secrets.

One of the problems with choosing to believe option 3, and further buttress my suspicion that everyone is out to get me, is how long it took for me to realize that I was being intimidated.

I can imagine my intimidator, sitting at home, waiting to hear word that I had changed my ways, worrying about the delay. Meanwhile, I’m out performing my usual player-hating shenanigans, a regular Good Time Charlie, as dad might say. Perhaps my obliviousness caused them to have second thoughts about their hobbies, and possibly doubt their competence and self worth.

If so, then I am sorry. It’s not your fault, intimidator, it’s mine. I should check my messages more promptly.

It’s extremely rare for American journalists to be murdered while doing their jobs, however, there are many places in our wide world of print where journalists are threatened, imprisoned and sometimes killed under mysterious circumstances. I wouldn’t want to name any names.* I’ve been told in some countries journalists are revered for their courage. That isn’t the case here in the U.S., and that’s a good thing. A really good thing, if you ask me. But as I said before, I vow from this day forward to stop doing whatever it is that made you put a dead cat on the hood of my car, whatever that may be. Sorry I’m late.

*Namely, China and Russia.

Frances Haddon Morgan Center Redux Redux

That’s me

A good example why one should not blog at the end of the day can be found in the freshly deleted Bremerton Beat post “Frances Haddon Morgan Center, Redux.”

The issue involves the responsibilities of school districts and the state to provide severely disabled students equal access to education.

A call Wednesday evening from Bremerton schools spokeswoman Krista Carlson alerted me to what amounts to my apparently surrealistic account, which in the tradition of the great surrealists, was incomprehensible and made no sense. That’s good when presenting an autographed urinal as a sculpture, not so good when presenting a piece of writing as journalism.

Rather than try to untangle the post, I’ve decided to start over.

Here is the story that went on the wire last weekend.

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal civil rights investigation has found the Shoreline
School District discriminated against students with disabilities.
In February 2007, the district decided to exclude from its classrooms new residents of a state facility for people with disabilities. Investigators found that as a result of that decision 11 children at the Fircrest School in Shoreline didn’t go to school at all. All but one had attended public school before going to Fircrest.
While it did not acknowledge wrongdoing, the district has agreed to revise its policies and practices.
The district and state will create individual plans for students. In addition, the state will pay for a large portable classroom on the high-school campus for special-needs students.

Here are the paragraphs from Times reporter Maureen O’Hagan relevant to Bremerton and the Frances Haddon Morgan Center. Read O’Hagan’s whole story here.

The Bremerton School District was in the same situation as Shoreline last year, when increasing numbers of children were being placed at the state’s Frances Haddon Morgan Center. When Bremerton said it no longer had classroom space for the Morgan Center kids, the Department of Social and Health Services opened a classroom on the institution’s grounds. Advocates quickly filed a discrimination lawsuit.

Under the terms of a June settlement, the district and the state agreed to create individual plans for students. In addition, DSHS agreed to pay for a large portable classroom on the high-school campus for special-needs students.

The suit was filed last year as the mostly autistic students were to move out of the old Bremerton Junior High on Wheaton Way. A federal judge had agreed it was not the district’s responsibility to provide a place for institutionalized students to attend class. Disability Rights Washington, the group that filed the suit, was preparing to appeal the decision when the settlement was reached.

Insight to how society views people with autism and the unique challenge they and their parents face trying to find a place in the world, can be gained by reading this story, “Disruptive behavior by autistic kids stirs furor,” which went on the wire today.

(I just realized, I broke my own rule by blogging at the end of the day.)