Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Manette Bridge’s New Look

Here is a comparison of the old Manette Bridge and the new one, yet to be built.

Here is a story on the latest bridge closure that wasn’t

Here is the city’s Web page about the closure that never was.

Here is the state Department of Transportation’s Web page on the project.

Here and here are two pictures of the the state’s Under Bridge Inspection Truck (UBIT), the equipment that was unavailable this week and caused the rescheduling, courtesy of DOT’s spokeswoman Karri Workman.

What’s Weirder Than Weird?

He’s a killer

What’s weirder:

A) getting stabbed by falling on a steak knife while trying to chase cats out of your house

B) getting stabbed by your drunk ex-roommate

C) getting stabbed one way or another and then walking around with a knife wound in your belly and having to be taken to the hospital for surgery after being picked up on a felony warrant

They’re all pretty weird.

The Bremerton Budget And You

Updated Thursday, sans links

As Mayor Cary Bozeman’s staff prepares the city’s spending plan for 2009 minus $4.4 million, the City Council is asking residents what services they hold most dear.

Layoffs are almost inevitable, officials said.

At a City Council district meeting Tuesday night, council members Dianne Robinson, Mike Shepherd and Roy Runyon spread out the dilemma facing the city, and they are seeking public input on what services taxpayers value most.

“Balancing the budget with this significant of a difference will require a reduction in the number of employees,” the meeting’s itinerary said. “This means a reduction or a slow down in the work the city does.”

Shepherd said one thing the city could do is look into its contract with Diamond parking and the city’s policy.

“Have you looked into making it saner?” asked a resident in the audience.

Even though the draft budget isn’t due to be presented to the City Council until Oct. 22, leaders expect that the hole in the general fund will be filled with cuts.

“We’re really looking for feedback,” Shepherd said, noting that he supported a closer examination of the contract for regulating much of downtown’s parking. Shepherd said the council wants to know what residents value.

“And if you value it, are you willing to pay for it?”

The three council members represent about a third of the city’s 32,000 residents. In the audience were about 20 members of the public.

Financial Services Director Laura Lyon, Bozeman’s chief budget writer, said the parking program pays for itself, but it isn’t expected to contribute much to revenues in 2009.

The city expects to bring in about $34.6 million in total revenues with expenditures adding up to $39.1 million.

Using those numbers, which are “conservative” estimates, all general fund revenues in 2009 are expected to drop about 1.3 percent compared with 2008 projections. However, tax revenues are expected to increase about 5.1 percent, mostly from sales taxes generated from revitalization projects like the new downtown marina and also annexations, according to city budget documents.

On the flip side, expenditures are expected to increase “substantially” in 2009 compared with 2008 projections — about 6.6 percent. Those are due mostly to the cost of labor and materials, according to the city.

Labor, the city contends, amounts to almost 70 percent of the city’s preliminary 2009 general fund budget, which is where the talk of layoffs comes into the picture.

To residents, it all means is less gets done by city government.

Bozeman declined to detail the cuts included in his administration’s budget that will be presented to the council.

“The council gets the first look at it,” he said.

Although the details of Bozeman’s proposal are not public, Runyon suggested the city’s final budget may contain fee increases, including for pet license fees, and across-the-board 10 percent cuts.

One service the city will likely give up is paving streets. Public Works and Utilities Director Phil Williams said crews would conserve increasingly expensive paving materials by patching pot holes. He also noted that
patching pot holes doesn’t stop the deterioration of roads, and that nearly 40 percent of Bremerton roads are classified as in “failed” condition.

During the meeting, the idea of a $20 car tab fee to pay for street maintenance was mentioned, a not-so-popular idea that was brought up earlier this year


The three council members were speaking to members of their districts, however, all residents can submit comments to their city councilor through an on-line form.

Click here to submit a comment to the council.

On a city survey handed out at the meeting, residents were asked to rate the importance of various city services. This gives officials an idea what you care about most.

Those include:

– community planning and economic development
– parks programs for Bremerton’s youth, parks programs for Kitsap County seniors
– park maintenance
– street repair
– marketing programs including advertisements for Bremerton real estate and tourism
– animal control and shelter program, environmental protection
– environmental protection and energy conservation programs
– neighborhood improvement and tree planting projects

Possum As Monkey (Wrench)

Admit it, they’re cute

A single possum didn’t bring the city of Bremerton to a screeching halt, but it did break city hall’s garage door.

On Tuesday night, locking up after a City Council district meeting, Night Concierge Jay
Maloney and a fellow employee were trying to figure out what had unhinged the garage door to city hall’s garage.

The gate would clearly need to be fixed, important parts were out of whack, which has happened before.

They fiddled with it until they could see up into the cogs and sprockets.

“Sure enough, there was a possum up there,” Maloney said.

The possum returned to earth in front of them, and it didn’t move. They were sure it was dead.

“Wait a minute, this thing is still alive.”

They nudged the marsupial, and it appeared it might have a broken leg. Then, to their horror, some sort of liquid puddled beneath him, and they thought the possum was bleeding.

No, Maloney said, the possum was just expressing its fear in a very deeply felt way.

Then the possum left.

“He just took off.”

The machine guts of the gate have been broken before, and Maloney thinks the possum probably, inadvertently, broke them again.

Navy Yard City Park Story, Redux

Carolyn Yaschur I Kitsap Sun

Comes now, this story, about a dumpy, county-owned park in Navy Yard City, a low-income unincorporated archipelago inside Bremerton’s city limits. The county’s Web site said the park is closed, but it was open the two days I stopped by. Wide open.

(The Web site has since been updated.)

Although the view is pretty, some self-centered jerks were trying to turn it into a landfill.

So I started calling parks officials. I left messages. I waited a day to give them a chance to respond.

No calls back.

So I called back the next day. Left messages. I even reached Dori Leckner, senior parks maintenance supervisor, on her cell phone.

As a matter of courtesy, I often ask sources if I’m calling at a good time. Some might say anytime a reporter calls is not a good time. I do this so the source can hang up, gather their thoughts, and start fresh on the phone. I extend this courtesy to people I think will deal honestly with me. I am not required to do this, and I don’t always do it, but sometimes I think it’s only fair.

Leckner said it was not a good time and she would call me back shortly.

She did not.

I called once again that evening, no answer.

The story ran the next day, Thursday, without comment from the department. I did not mention the employee’s name, thinking maybe Leckner just forgot. Fair enough.

But still, no call back. Not a word.

In defense of Leckner, I also left messages with at least one other parks official who neglected to return the call.

We did hear from a deputy, however, in the story’s comment section, about his efforts to patrol the park.

The paper’s opinion editor decided to write an editorial admonishing the county for its inaction.

It ran Friday.

Still, no call back.

On Friday afternoon, I called County Commissioner Jan Angel, R-South Kitsap, whose district includes Navy Yard City.

Shortly later I received a call from Leckner. The conversation took, at the most, five minutes.

Leckner said the park was cleaned up Thursday. What could be recycled was recycled. What couldn’t was thrown away.

She said the gate was open because people keep cutting the lock and the chain.

She said the park was closed June 1 because the county doesn’t have the money to keep it up.

She also said a sign would be posted explaining the park is closed.

So there it is.

It took more work than it should have, but that’s the story.

Bremerton Hooligans No Match For Seahawk Fans

Photo Credit

Whether a tempest in a keg cup, or a sign of the apocalypse, I don’t know.

I don’t have a position on whether the Olympic Soccer and Sports Center should serve beer and wine (read story here) , but I will say that if there are ever European scale soccer riots in Bremerton, it would be like Christmas morning for the Bremerton Beat.

I do have an opinion on a comment from Councilwoman Carol Arends about the out-of-control, family unfriendly bacchanalia at Seahawks games.

She’s right, and I believe the high price of beer is partly responsible.

You can quote me on that.*

The ostensible reason the stadium charges so much for such lousy beer (Red Dog, is it?) – beyond what could be considered a fair mark up for a captive audience – is an effort to coax fans into drinking less and therefore getting less drunk and less stupid.

Some might say that’s just a ruse to coax more dollars from people’s wallets.

Any time I go to a game and fork over the cash for a cup of beer compared often to bodily waste, I adopt this belief.

The fans may be drunk and stupid, but they know a plastic cup of keg beer isn’t worth the price of a half rack.

As an economist would say,** when prices go up, people look for alternatives.

The smartest alternative is to limit oneself to drinking one or two beers. This works for people who aren’t a risk of causing problems anyway, smart people.

Another alternative is to sneak booze in – beer is often too cumbersome. This is something of a tradition, with even 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney writing about his flask of brandy for cold Sundays in the Meadowlands. But it’s also against the rules, and can result in at least being thrown out of the stadium.

The other alternative, also a tradition for America’s soccer hooligan equivalent, is to tie one on in the parking lot or the Pioneer Square bar, over drink so that the buzz will last through the game, partly supplemented with the hair of one, or maybe two, Red Dogs.

The people who choose the last two alternatives, I would bet, are the problem. And there are thousands of them.

If someone were to fall face down on the concourse and vomit, or pry off their arm rest and beat another fan with it, you know where my money would be. ***

I’ve been to a few games at the arena I will call Seahawks Stadium – including the glorious victory over the Giants of New York in 2005 when we drunken idiot fans made the Giants offensive line flinch – and I just can’t believe the multitude of lunatics were all besotted on thin, yellow beer that costs as much as a glass of fine wine.

I certainly wasn’t.

Perhaps if beer were not so expensive some potential superidiots wouldn’t feel compelled to drink beforehand and instead fill up on low-grade lager while splitting their time watching the game and visiting the lavatory.

Of course, lowering the price of beer could result in more people drinking more, which could spill out onto the roads and sidewalks. Making cheap beer cheaper might prove why it should have been more expensive in the first place.

Just the thought of a sporting event with a 50 Cent Beer Night should fill any conscientious citizen with terror.

*I hate it when people say that.
**People who want to sound smart say things like “As an economist would say …”
***True dat.

Bremerton District Meetings To Focus On Budget

Bremerton residents will hear from their council representatives on the city’s budget wrangling next Tuesday.

Residents of council districts 4, 5 and 6, are invited to the neighborhood meetings Oct. 14.

The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. and runs to 7 p.m. (Thanks, Colleen)

Other Bremerton residents can also go if they wish.

Mayor Cary Bozeman has painted a dismal year for the city’s general fund revenues. Budget writers are now closing a $4.4 million projected deficit ($34.6 million expected coming in, $39.1 million expected going out) so that a balanced budget will be presented to the council Oct. 22

Click here to read a story about the budget landscape.

The discussion will be moderated by councilmembers Roy Runyon, Mike Shepherd and Dianne Robinson.

“Please bring your comments, concerns and ideas …” reads the announcement.

The meeting will be held at the Norm Dicks Government Center at 345 Sixth Street in the first floor meeting chambers.

For more information, call the council office at 473-5280.

To Be Young, Hip And In Bremerton

Don’t judge me

Comes now, a Kitsap rock and roll drummer in the indie rock band Alligators

And he has a blog!

Let’s see what he has to say about his new rehearsal space, located near a popular Bremerton bar.

its right across the street from the manette, which is bittersweet, because while it will be great to take a break from practice to grab a brew, i’m not looking forward to becoming a regular at a bremerton bar. again. the bremerton bar crowd is full of faces i don’t like to see.

Yes, bittersweet. There is also several items of moving commentary about arrest warrants. That’s the life of an outlaw, always skirting the edge.

(The blogger is a blood relative of Sun sportswriter Nathan “Nasty Nate” Joyce, who vouched for his character and complimented his taste in belts. This has made me tone down my player hating.)

I’ve heard the band is very particular about not being called “The Alligators,” because that totally denigrates what they, like, stand for.

Here is their page, with info and samples of their upcoming album.

Here is the blog.

Here is the Sun’s slide show page. Scroll down to Dec. ’06 for a series of photos and a music clip from the band.

Here is an item from the KNG media empire’s entertainment writer on Alligators.

PS – The Bingo game above cuts right to the bone. I qualify for many of those, but the over 30/grandpa item really hurts.

Bremerton For The Boorish

Your mother would cry if she saw what you’ve become.

The Seattle Times published a story Thursday about the sight-seeing potential of downtown Bremerton, which includes an action-packed itinerary for day-trippers.

Bremerton has much to offer the casual tourist, unlike like other Times day travel stories, “Take A Chill At The Strip Malls of the Kent East Hill” and “Getaway To The Underpasses of Spanaway.”

If you’re a well-adjusted sight-seer from Seattle, the Bremerton Beat recommends following the Times’ minute-by-minute itinerary for catching this city-on-the-move, all tore up and verging on nine months of rainy gloom.

But if you are a maladjusted jerk from Seattle, we here at the Bremerton Beat have crafted an itinerary to make your Kitsap experience complete.

8:45 a.m. – Curious, yet not curious enough to ask yourself, “Isn’t there anything better I could do with my day?” you decide to ride the ferry to God’s county on the other side of the Puget Sound. The longest ferry ride is to Bremerton, which sparkles like a concrete jewel in the forest. “Why not?” You ask yourself, in a rare moment of self-reflection. However, you fail to answer your own question and disembark for foreign sands.

10:30 a.m. – Arrive in Bremerton late after the aging ferry springs a leak when scraping against an underwater mountain range of old television sets. They were dumped there when Bainbridge Island bought flat screens en masse. Be put at ease by the disembodied voice booming over the ferry PA system, “There is no need for concern.”

10:35 a.m. – “Exit the ferry terminal and walk straight ahead to Washington Avenue” and buy a 99-cent tall boy of cheap, powerful beer at the convenience store between two bars. You can’t miss it, those two bars and that seedy convenience store are the first two things you’ll see.*

10:37 a.m. – Buy another. It’s going to be a long day.

10:40 a.m. – Now you’ve done it. Your day is ruined. You’re drunk in public and it’s not even noon. You should be ashamed of yourself.

10:42 a.m. – If the weather is nice, go to the Harborside Fountain Park. Ignore the fences and no trespassing signs around you. Watch the fountain, take in your surroundings and get in touch with your inner bully. Find a child, or an adult smaller than you, and shove them into the water.

11:10 a.m. – Leave quickly, you fool! The police have probably been called, you just assaulted a child! But as you flee, observe how the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard “dominates the skyline.” Lay low in one of Bremerton’s many historic parking lots. Hiding in some bushes is encouraged.

12:09 p.m. – You’ve sobered up, but not so much that you can think clearly. Hang around the Bremerton Harborside and encourage the people you meet to complain. They can complain about the fact that downtown is tore up with construction projects, or that more of downtown isn’t being torn up, or they could take a different angle and complain that Port Orchard is getting ripped off for being forced to support the tearing up of things. If you can’t find anyone with something to complain about, do some complaining yourself. Here’s a good one: complain that the Kitsap Sun’s Bremerton reporter is lame and more interested in writing low-rent blog items than responsible journalism.

1:00 p.m. – Dodge the swift current of cars racing off the ferry. Then dodge cars leaving the shipyard at shift change. Trespass into construction sites and dodge heavy machinery. Dodge the overly-cautious construction workers trying to ruin your fun. Make a game out of it. For every car you dodge, you get 10 points. For every car that hits you, subtract two points. If you are run over by a bulldozer, subtract five points.

2:06 p.m. – Get a hot dog at one of the stands near the ferry terminal, drink a coffee at Calvary Chapel’s espresso bar and also at Fraiche Cup Espresso and Gallery. Hit the Puget Sound Navy Museum, the Downtown Arts District, the Aurora Valentinetti Puppet Museum, the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum, climb aboard the USS Turner Joy and take a shot of Jagermeister at the Boat Shed in Manette. Do everything the squares would do, only make off-color remarks to the employees while doing it. Remember, you are from Seattle and Wherever-This-Is could benefit from hearing about how things get done back home.

2:17 p.m. – Skip the foot ferry to Port Orchard and instead get arrested by a Bremerton police officer. Take a scenic, and free, drive around Sinclair Inlet through cheerful Gorst to the county jail in Port Orchard. Don’t worry about staying silent with your new Bremerton friend. Chat them up. Here’s a conversation starter: they might not know about each and every illegal thing you’ve done during your visit, so tell them. And don’t forget to remind the officer that YOU have rights and pay THEIR salary. They love that.

An Undetermined Time Later – Bail out of jail after making several new friends. It’s just $500,000, pocket change for you, a 45-year-old Microsoft retiree. Walk down to Bay Street, “where there’s an assortment of bail-bond businesses, bars, (and) antique shops,” and other places where you might find a child begging, or something. But make sure you are out of Port Orchard by sundown. That’s when the Others emerge from the shadows to prey on the infirm.

What’s the time? – Ride the foot ferry back to Bremerton. Contemplate the view while informing fellow passengers that you just bailed out of jail. Make it painfully clear.

Shortly after that – Arrive in Bremerton and head for the 7-Eleven at Park Avenue and Sixth Street. This is a Bremerton after-hours favorite, a great place to meet new and interesting people and then fistfight them. Select from the store’s virtually complete selection of inexpensive wines. They have it all, from the MD 20/20 of your youth, to the more sophisticated and bountiful Night Train, to the Dom Perignon of fortified wines, Boone’s Farm.

Within 20 minutes – Pass out in one of the many vacant lots behind the “Sev,” as it is known.

??? – Wake up. Your wallet is gone and your freezing cold, but you’re alive. Luckily, the trip back to Seattle is free. Unluckily, it’s the last ferry for the day, so you better get going.

Late – Safely aboard the ferry, recall your day’s adventures fondly. Wave goodbye to Bremerton. “I’ll be back,” you think to yourself, wanting nothing more than the hot tub in your Belltown condo. “Once I get a summons to appear in court, I’ll be back.”

*I spoke too soon. That convenience store is gone. The one with the 99-cent beers. Now there are only two bars.