Monthly Archives: January 2009

Do You Know This Woman?

The city of Bremerton would like to know who the woman is pictured at the end of this entry. Gary Sexton, the city’s economic development director, picked her photo as one representing what went on at the shipyard during the first world war. A statue of the woman will be placed at the newest downtown park, expected to open in a few months.

If you know who she is, contact the city at (360) 473-5269 or by e-mail at

Coffee Saves the World Again

To know the concept of “pay it forward,” I hear, all you have to do is drink expensive coffee and spend no time out of your car to get it. It happened again today, at Starbucks on 303 in East Eastern East Bremerton. (Technically, that’s Central Kitsap, but I answered the phone.)

Well, that’s not true if you wrote this letter, which said this:

“While it’s nice to buy a stranger a cup of coffee, Paying it Forward involves doing significant good deeds. If all that coffee money was spent instead on someone who needed it, that would be Paying it Forward.”

Here’s how it works. Someone decides to buy the next person’s order. That next person, it turns out, is you. You get to the window, ready to pay for your somethingiatto and the attendant tells you that the woman in the Pacer who just left paid for your order. “Cool!” you think. Here’s where it ends, though. The attendant then asks, “Would you like to pay for the next person’s order?”

Shannon Bray of Bremerton was the 180th person in the “Pay it Forward” line today at Starbucks. She thought it was pretty darned neat. In fact, “neat” was her word. “Especially with the economy, it’s really neat.”

Brynn Grimley, formerly of “The CK Beat,” said around the holidays she was about 180th in one of these, and thinks another time the woman in front of her broke the chain.

She takes some issue with the letter writer above, because she really does need the coffee in the morning.

I called the Starbucks folks and they said the thing ended at 183, which they said might be a local record. No one really keeps track, though. I say the record is 211. Go ahead. Disprove me.

Brynn and I talked about the nuance between this pay it forward routine and what the letter writer proposed, that you do something similar to what was done in the movie with the kid who who was Forrest Gump‘s son and sees dead people. In that movie, Pay it Forward, the kid does a good deed and tells people to pay it back by doing something good for three other people and telling them to do the same, paying it forward instead of paying it back.

OK, so maybe buying a coffee in a cup and in a cake isn’t the same as fixing someone’s bike or giving them your ticket to the inauguration, but Brynn said it was pretty nice when it happened to her. That’s probably the point, don’t you think.

If you focus on the money, then there are clear winners and losers. Bray ordered a coffee and a treat, but the person behind her only bought a cup, so she came out ahead financially.

If you don’t focus on the money, though, you get surprised by someone’s generosity. Then you get the opportunity to continue the good will. Maybe you feel guilted into it, but you don’t have to feel that way. Today about 183 people had that choice. I bet more than half of them talked about it with others. I bet a few of those others will decide to do something nice. It could happen.

Another Satisfied Customer

In a week that hasn’t exactly been one to write home about for the state ferry system, a writer’s-blocked Seattlite jumps on the pile with a pot shot at the Bremerton route. See his blog, hosted for the time being by the Seattle P-I, here.

Since Sean is a pilot for a major airline, you wouldn’t think he’d be one to cast a stone at an agency trying to wring an extra dollar for additional service to pass the time. Not that I want to be nickel-and-dimed by the ferry service for Wi-Fi or galley service any more than need be, but a writer searching for solace and inspiration should look beyond fried food and an Internet connection.

To things like, for example:

— Coffee, and beer, in the galley. Don’t stray from the basics, WSF can handle these.
— Silence, or near silence, in the galley seating during pretty much every run from 10:30 until 3. Try it on a Sunday sometime.
— Manchester, Mt. Rainier, West Seattle, cargo ships on the starboard side (headed into Seattle), downtown, Manette, Bainbridge and Elliott Bay out the port windows. Plenty to muse on there.
— The occasional run-in with Bremerton ferry commuter/critic/sage Chris Kornelis to wade through the issues of the day.

It ain’t much Sean, I’ll admit, but for me those sooth the experience. Given the threats coming out of Olympia this month, for now we’re hoping to hold on to that.

— David Nelson

Silence is argument carried out by unemployment

<i>“I don't care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my pen and keeps on writing.” -- What Andy Binion would say, I think, unless he was just asking for directions to the Sev.</i>
“I don't care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my pen and keeps on writing.” -- What Andy Binion would say, I think, unless he was just asking for directions to the Sev.

Wherever we are in the stages of grief, it’s clearly not over, based on the complaints aimed at those of us trying to fill the shoes Andy Binion left behind here.

Believe us, we’re not happy about this either.

I’ve been in contact with Andy a couple of times and he is, if nothing else, staying pretty busy, which explains why I haven’t seen any police reports that include his name. I guess the other part is I don’t read the police reports where Andy hangs out these days.

When we started the Bremerton Beat in late 2005 it was with the idea that this could be a central hang out for people interested in the city, for people who wanted to get beyond the Code 911 stories in which Bremerton figures so prominently and the stories about downtown redevelopment. Along the way we had some fun, a lot of it at the expense of Port Orchard, and developed a bit of a voice.

Then I shifted primarily over to county, port and state issues and Andy took over and made this place his own. I, as much as anyone, looked forward to his take on dead cats on his car, visitors to the city and the tickets that were being issued even when mail wasn’t being delivered. I think the Bremerton Beat was the funnest blog on the street, kicking the crap out of the Caucus in wit and wisdom.

Oddly, Andy doesn’t think he did a very good job at the blog. I got an e-mail from him yesterday saying as much. I beg to differ. So do most of you, I bet.

Sadly, this is the state of our business these days. The newspaper business is, I hope, transforming, but in the meantime good writers hit the road. Andy was certainly one of those.

I say “I hope” above, because I hope the biz is not dying. I trust that however it looks, news gathering will continue. The rise of the Internet should mean more people are providing it. We hope that means there will still be money in it, enough for me to send my kids to college so they can get better paying jobs than their old man. And yet here I am, to some degree, contributing to the industry’s demise, by posting something you get to read for free and hidden from those who pay for our stuff.

Beyond hoping there’s a place for me in the future of this business, I also hope there’s a place for Andy and the writers who will be umbilical cordless when the P-I shuts down.

For Andy I’m optimistic, because as good as he was, I never got the sense that “reporter” was what he was. For some of us, what we do probably matters too much. My dad retired from being a police officer 30 years ago, but he’s still a cop. Some of us in this business come in as reporters and have to learn to write or writers who have to learn to report. But at our core, we remain mostly what we came in as. Andy, I believe, is a story teller and an activist. Surely, there is a place for that somewhere in this world, probably now more than ever.

Another Glowing Review of Bremerton

Apparently news of Bremerton’s revitalization projects are still making the rounds in the tourism magazine circuit. Enter the January 2009 edition of Sea Magazine.

It’s a five-page splash with photos, factoids and a feature-length article. In break-out boxes, they highlight such fine dining restaurant experiences as Uptown Mike’s (don’t think there’s love lost there, they make a mighty fine New York Style hot dog and have Italian ice in the summer), and sights like the Naval Museum and Isella Day Spa.

“Bremerton is blanketed with an energy that makes the hair on your arms stand up,” the article states.

Now, being a born and raised Bremertonian, I have my own special love for the city, but I couldn’t help but think that the Port of Bremerton or the city paid for this glowing review.

Well, I apparently should’ve put my snarky bit of skepticism (at least some of it) aside.

I talked briefly with writer and Sea Magazine managing editor Brian Quines. Turns out, he’d heard about the new marina opening, was up here on a trip.

“I’m from Orange County, so any time I can breathe fresh air it’s a good time,” he told me.

But it apparently wasn’t just the light-headed giddiness of real oxygen sans smog. He spent a whole day here, got the grand tour and met with some good local folks.

“Everyone’s just warm and refreshing up there,” he said.

Read the whole thing at

– Angela

Bremerton, You’ve Got (Part of) SKIA

Over at the Caucus blog we’ve got a little ditty about SKIA annexation. You might not be surprised to hear that I’m seeing slightly different characterizations from Port Orchard and Bremerton. The official word from the board, for now, is the annexation of the northern property was accepted as submitted. A written decision will be issued later this month.

Bremerton Still Tasty, Port Orchard Not As Much

Bremerton gets smug with Port Orchard after enjoying a delicious meal from Popeyes.
Bremerton gets smug with Port Orchard after enjoying a delicious meal from Popeyes.
Remember that time when Bremerton got Popeyes?

And remember how someone from Port Orchard got all superior and stuff because they had Popeyes first?

They were all, “We had it first.”

And we were all, “Whatever.”

Remember how there seemed to be a pent-up demand when Popeyes opened here, because there were long lines and stuff?

Yeah, that was awesome.

And you can still get in line in Bremerton.

Not so in Port Orchard. The Popeyes there is closed. I’ve contacted headquarters to find out why, which is really Rachel Pritchett’s job, but I couldn’t resist an opportunity to get all childish.

On my home one of these days, I’m going to stop by and get me some Popeyes, because I still can. The spicy chicken in still in the house in Bremerton.

Yo, Port Orchard. Now that I’m contributing here again, you’re back on notice.

Bremerton’s Hanging Chad Council Election

Examining the hanging chad from Adam Brockus' ballot.
Examining the hanging chad from Adam Brockus

You see that story below this one? I’m referring to the one about how Bremerton is going to forgive you your parking ticket if you received it between Dec. 18 and Dec. 26. Bremerton City Councilman Adam Brockus would like you to skip right over this entry and go to that one.

For one, he was largely responsible for getting the momentum to get those tickets forgiven. The former council president and the still-going mayor said as much Wednesday. So if you got one of those citations, Brockus launched an effort that saved you some money.

Secondly, though, the council elected a new president and vice-president Wednesday night. It was done with little drama, befitting a council that generally appears to get along. There was one close vote, however, for the vice-president’s position, an election that gave Brockus a moment Floridians who used butterfly ballots in 2000 would have loved.

Cecil McConnell, who was council president two years ago, was elected 7-2 as president again, beating out Brad Gehring.

The vice-presidential contest was between Roy Runyon, nominated by Dianne Robinson and Nick Wofford, who was nominated by Brockus.

Carol Etgen, city clerk, read the names from the vote and said Runyon had won 5-4. As is custom, she read the votes from the individual council members.

Brockus, she reported, voted for Runyon. Brockus then asked if his ballot really said that, because he meant to vote for Wofford, who he had nominated. Etgen said the ballot did say “Councilman Runyon.”

Brockus asked if he could “correct” his vote, a question that required the legal study of Ken Bagwell, assistant city attorney. Bagwell read, then told the council it would be up to them to decide whether Brockus could make the correction. The council voted 7-2 that he could. Runyon voted to allow him to change the vote, helping ensure his own defeat.

Etgen found another form for Brockus to vote on. He went over and, based on what we heard at the meeting, cast his vote for Wofford.

Runyon later quipped, “I don’t know if I feel more like Norm Coleman or Al Franken.”