Monthly Archives: November 2008

O Little Town Of Bremerton

Bob Rivers, master of the novelty song, has vulgarized a sublime sectarian holiday carol and poked Bremerton right in the eye. It’s pretty funny.

Listen to it here.

Here are the lyrics:

Oh little town of Bremerton
How still downtown lies
Cuz all the shops are in the mall
And now the cars go by
Yet in the narrows shineth
Our military might
The squids drink beers
Like buccaneers and
Look for Mrs. Right

Oh little town of Bremerton
You build your ships with pride
And when that twenty more set sail
The people often cried

Yet in thy White Pig tavern
You’ll always find good cheer
Cuz grandma knows that girls
With barfly looks
Will never disappear

When I listened to it, I heard different lyrics in the last verse.

Here’s what I heard.

Yet in thy White Pig tavern

You’ll always find good cheer

Cuz Bremelos like buffaloes

will never disappear

Can You Pull Over? I Think I’m Going To Gorst


A diseased mongrel limps through the post-apocalyptic remains of Gorst looking for a place to die.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel for affordable housing led the Seattle Times to feature that appropriately-named Gorst as its “neighborhood of the week.”

(Gorst, “You get what you pay for.” Next up, Skyway, “Assaults Aplenty” and Sunnydale, “We Smell Like Pig Poo.”)

Home to Kitsap’s only strip club, the Times tries to sugarcoat the hard realities of living in the crook between Bremerton and Port Orchard, which looks like a great place to make methamphetamine without arousing the envy of your neighbors.

This from the Times:

“To be honest, most of them are fixers,” said Sue Harding, a real-estate agent with Reid Real Estate in nearby Belfair, adding that two of them were manufactured homes.

And the $69,400 home? “A true fixer — don’t know if it’s livable,” she said, but noted that it came with “good septic” and natural-gas heating.

Homes in Gorst typically are sold as starter homes or investment property that’s rented out, Harding said.

You might not even know it’s in Gorst by its description since it’s usually referred to as being “around” Port Orchard or Bremerton, she said.

“Everything seems to be growing into Gorst,” Harding said.

Growing into Gorst? Is that like growing into a pair of sweatpants? Or growing into a
hockey jersey?

The article does provide some interesting facts about Bremerton’s unincorporated neighbor, including that it was named after a person named Gorst, and isn’t an onomatopoeic expression for the feeling one gets standing in a minimart check-out line listening to a canned country song while buying a refrigerated pork sandwich.

Ferries Honcho Moseley In Bremerton Dec. 2

Run, Run, Run

David Moseley, Washington State Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for the Ferries Division, will be a guest during an open forum at a Bremerton City Council district meeting Dec. 2.

The District 3 community meting will be hosted by Bremerton City Councilman Adam Brockus, who said he has been extending an open invitation to the state Department of Transportation for some time.

“I feel like the dog who has been chasing the car and finally got one,” Brockus said.

Moseley will be available at the meeting from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

From 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Councilman Nick Wofford will talk about funding for street paving.

The meeting will be held at the Bremerton Senior Center, located at the corner of East 13th Street and Nipsic Avenue.

Stranger Days Are Over For ‘Peninsula’

We shall go on playing/Or find a new town

The Stranger, Seattle’s most alternative alternative weekly newspaper, has stopped circulating on “the peninsula,” which means the paper will no longer available for pick-up in Kitsap County, and, presumably, on up in Jefferson and Clallam counties.

The paper’s publisher, Tim Keck, said the cut-back was due to booming business on the Web and the increased cost of printing a paper version on top of a cruddy economy. The move also includes a boost in circulation in Seattle and to King County’s more affluent suburbs. No word if the paper is slimming down elsewhere, or if it’s just “the peninsula” that is getting cut off from prurient American Apparel ads that can be clipped and preserved on one’s refrigerator.

Keck wrote:

This won’t help folks on the peninsula who’ve come to enjoy picking up the paper at the 7-Eleven, of course, but everything in the paper is online (plus Slog!)—and, there will always be a paper waiting for you when you get to Coleman Dock or Fauntleroy.

When people in Seattle say “the peninsula,” they are often generically referring to that green, amorphous expanse seen from the decks of Capitol Hill cocktail lounges. It has mountains, trees, and blocks the view of the ocean proper. They may not be aware of the sometimes fierce debate over whether the Kitsap Peninsula is part of the Olympic Peninsula, or its own peninsula, and they probably won’t care until an indy band writes a song about it and KEXP plays it and people with fixed gear bicycles start leaving stencil graffiti near Seattle Central about “reclaiming” Kitsap from the Olympic Peninsula.

But in all this, the Sev (i.e., downtown Bremerton’s only grocery store in the foreseeable future) got a few mentions, and not just from Keck.

This from Kevin Shurtluf, Stranger circulation manager:

I’ve driven that route (through Kitsap) many a time and I really enjoyed winding the  “C”-shaped drive from ferry to ferry.  Funny you should mention the 7-11; it’s always a bee hive of personalities.

Does Bremerton Need So Many Councilmembers?

The Bremerton City Council during a recent meeting*

It’s a question that comes up every so often, but never seems to go anywhere.

Why does Bremerton, with a population of 35,810, have nine city council seats, when cities several times larger have less?

Seattle, with 586,200 people, has seven at-large council members.

Spokane, with 202,900 people, has a seven-member council with six members representing districts and the council president.

The most recent letter to the editor calling for a smaller legislative branch of city government can be found here.

To change how the city elects council members takes a charter amendment. The charter is like the city’s constitution. The council agrees on a resolution to change the language in the charter, and the question is put to voters at a general election.

Most council members polled weren’t keen on reducing their ranks, mostly because they felt the council could be more responsive to residents. The city’s nine members each represent a district, Bremerton has no at-large council members.

Council President Will Maupin agrees, the council is unnecessarily large.

He had supported putting the charter amendment on the ballot in years past, but Maupin said the effort fizzled.

That proposal would have reduced the number of members to seven representing seven districts.

The nine-district council was established in 1981 based on the nine neighborhood associations in the city, Maupin said. Previously the city had been governed by three commissioners.

Maupin now supports a seven-member council with four members representing districts and three at-large members.

That way, each resident will have the chance to vote in or out of office a majority of the council, or four members. Currently each resident votes for the candidates in their district.

“The people would have more say in who makes up their city government,” Maupin said.

The biggest obstacle to changing the system, Maupin said, was getting the resolution through the council, or, getting a majority of members to agree on the details of a new system.

And while most new systems would offer positives, they also offer negatives, depending on a person’s point of view. For example, although at-large members would theoretically not be beholden to one neighborhood, there is the chance that at-large members could all live in the same neighborhood, something a purely district-oriented political map avoids.

Adam Brockus said he is agreeable to bringing the issue up for debate and to a vote of residents, but he said he didn’t think nine was too many and said access to members and services for constituents would be reduced with a smaller system.

Carol Arends said she supported the nine-person council, and believes those who crafted the current system were being thoughtful and got it right.

Mike Shepherd said with less members, the remaining members would take on more work. Right now a seat on the council is considered a part-time position. Shepherd said the intent of having part-time legislators rather than full-time is so councilmembers have other jobs or otherwise can remain active in the community.

Council members receive $1,000 a month. Cutting two positions would presumably save the city $24,000 over the course of a year, enough to cover the city’s summer playground program deficit and add two more parks.

That’s also assuming the remaining councilmembers would not be paid more for the additional work load.

Even if the council were to agree on a new system, and voters approved it, the savings to the city would not be available for the budget currently under review by the council.

But that doesn’t mean residents will stop writing letters to the editor and questioning the current system. The most recent letter is the second I have seen, and I haven’t been on staff here two years.
*This is, of course, a joke. And no, I’m not trying to compare the city council to the Chinese National People’s Congress. However, if you’d like a laugh, check out the last photo and its caption.

Could Spare Biogas Fuel Bremerton’s Fleet?

Dads are another good source of biogas

The Bremerton City Council approved a $30,000 contract Wednesday night to commission a study of how the city could use a byproduct of wastewater treatment to power cars.

The city’s Westside treatment plant has two anaerobic digesters to process the tellingly titled “biosolids,” and those digesters yield a steady flow of “biogas,” a “high energy product,” according to the measure approved by the council.

A portion of the biogas is captured and used to heat the plant and the digester. The remaining gas is burnt “with no beneficial end use.”

If the gas could be efficiently captured and used for car fuel, it could offset the city’s demand for gasoline, said Phil Williams, director of the city’s Public Works and Utilities Department. The study would determine the potential benefit of buying and installing the equipment to capture and use the biogas, he said.

The city would also look into whether it was a better idea to convert passenger cars – which could cost about $3,000 a car – or buy already converted cars when old ones reach the end of their service life.

As the city grapples with a $4.4 million budget shortfall, the need for cheaper vehicles is apparent, Williams said.

“We certainly have the incentive to reduce the cost of operating the city’s fleet,” he said, adding that other cities across the country have converted parts of their fleet and are using the byproduct of turning sewage into energy.

Williams also noted that although gas prices have dropped about 50 percent since the summer, using the biogas could, “Insulate the city from the vagaries of the marketplace, and that would be a good thing.

Guns Now Allowed In Bremerton Parks, Sort Of


The “sort of” comes from the fact that the city had, until very recently, a rule on the books banning guns from parks, but an opinion from the state attorney general in essence says they cannot be banned from these public places.

Additionally, a story in the Seattle P-I earlier this month even said that cities haven’t been able to ban guns in parks for 47 years, although a source in the story said dozens of cities do it anyway.

Until tonight, Bremerton was one of them.

The City Council voted Wednesday to change the language in the city code, nixing the ban. It was done as part of a “consent calendar,” which is a list of measures the council as a whole agrees upon. They are not dealt with individually, the whole package is approved with a single vote.

The measure is a brief one page, explaining that the city’s law is to jibe with state law (RCW 9.41.300), a passage that does not explicitly prohibit cities from taking this step.

It does say, however:

Cities, towns, counties, and other municipalities may enact laws and ordinances:

(b) Restricting the possession of firearms in any stadium or convention center, operated by a city, town, county, or other municipality, except that such restrictions shall not apply to: (those with concealed weapon permits)

In the opinion, Attorney General Rob McKenna referred to RCW 9.41.290, which shoots city bans in the stomach with “Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted …”

The council approved the calendar 8-0.

It is still illegal to shoot a gun in a city park, unless it is part of the class of “small bore arms” and is for an occasion authorized by the park director “at designated times and places suitable for their use.”

And a person can’t carry a concealed weapon in public without a state-issued permit.

This comes as Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said he will ban guns in parks following a shooting last May at the city’s annual Folklife Festival where 22-year-old man with a concealed carry permit and history of mental illness shot and wounded two people.

Squirrels And The Horror Of Modern Life

First there was a war between neighbors over the army of squirrels adding a Hitchcock atmosphere to the neighborhood.

Then there was the editorial, the letter to the editor and finally the crucified squirrel on the porch.

As noted by a few commenters – otherwise known as Bremerton’s brain trust – the story about squirrels is stupid and not news. They remind me of Woody Allen’s pinched-faced old women sitting around a Catskills resort, complaining that the food is terrible and the portions are too small.

So this goes out to you:

Keeping squirrels as pets poses health risks

West Nile-infected squirrels pose little risk to humans

Rabies risk low with squirrels …

Feeding squirrels peanuts can pose health risks to peanut-allergy sufferers …

Why peanuts aren’t good for squirrels …

A fan site for squirrel lovers

The ninth person to post a comment that says this is not news will have their choice of being slathered in peanut butter and tied to a light pole on Fourth Street or drinking a bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill and trying to overhear vague threats at a downtown convenience store.

Councilman Brockus Joins Latest Fad, Gets Laid Off

It’s all the rage

As evidence of the spiraling economy, Bremerton City Councilman Adam Brockus announced Wednesday that he has lost his job.

The structural engineer who has worked for Art Anderson Associates for more than five years was laid-off, effective Wednesday.

Brockus made the announcement during the council’s regular meeting, where he represents the Manette neighborhood.

He said he is looking for another job locally, and said his hope is to remain in Bremerton.

However, with unemployment rates up and businesses cutting back, he conceded the chance that he will look across the water and elsewhere for a new job.

“I would definitely prefer to have one in Kitsap County,” said Brockus, 42. “If it’s Seattle, I’ll commute like many other people in Bremerton who need to these days, but I would really rather stay here, and here in Manette.”

Brockus, who is up for re-election in 2009, said he would like to remain on council. If he is gone from the city for 30 days, he will have to give up his seat, he said.

Most of the the city council is made up of retirees.

“I’m not the only one being affected,” Brockus said, referring to the economy as a whole. “It just goes to show it can even hit a city councilman.”

A message was left at Art Anderson Wednesday afternoon seeking more information about the company’s layoffs.

The unemployment rate for Washington state in September was 5.8 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Keep Your Hands To Yourself

The word “nerd” gets thrown around all too often these days …

Many lessons were learned by this LDS missionary, whose faith and devotion may have been shaken like a baby while trying to save Bremerton’s soul in 1997.

He discovered that poor people’s houses smell the same, a potpourri of stale, sour and urine.

He discovered the depth of passion that makes people turn every day into a renaissance faire.

He discovered that bails of hay make good pummel horses for dragon-slaying training with Braveheart swords.

He also discovered that no matter how captivating Star Wars is, one should always look before petting a cat.

This is a great story about Bremerton, about our peeps, but it comes with a warning:

This story is funny, but it doesn’t pass the breakfast test.