Monthly Archives: April 2009

More Paper Bag Dining on the Way

This rapid fire succession of blog posts is the result of yours truly catching up with e-mails after the weekend in Olympia.

The News Tribune, as in the newspaper from Tacoma, has all the hubbub over Sonic’s arrival in Puyallup.

Chris Henry, over at the “Speaking of South Kitsap” blog points out that the article mentions that the franchise owner is scouting other locations, including Port Orchard and Bremerton.

Chris, however, has never been to a Sonic. As a person who has, I want to correct one point. I don’t think it carries the cachet Krispy Kreme once did. (“When Krispy Kremes are hot, they are to other doughnuts what angels are to people.” — Roy Blount Jr.) I don’t think Krispy Kreme is as beloved as it once was, given that you can find them anywhere now, except here, of course.

Being one who knows the highs and lows of paper-bag dinner fare, I can talk a little about Sonic. I think people like Sonic, but I don’t know that there’s the affinity for that as much as there is for the heavenly doughnut, or the In-N-Out hamburger. If there are Sonicaholics among you, feel free to correct me.

This whole development, however, is important for another reason. It opens up a little battle between Bremerton and the red-headed stepchild across the bay. Both of us, I believe, have enough vacant store fronts that would accommodate a Sonic, but Sonic wants a place where its employees can roller skate to your window, so I don’t know where the best place for that is.

Should Sonic arrive in Port Orchard first, I hereby commit to come spend my money at your store, as a gesture of my acknowledgment of your victory. And I’ll bring along someone’s red-headed stepchild.

Want Attention? Insult Seattle

Now Crosscut has something on Mayor Cary Bozeman’s remarks on Seattle’s waterfront being an insult to something.

Some noses wrinkled with offense when Bremerton mayor Cary Bozeman recently made a few criticisms of Seattle during a meeting with state mayors. Bozeman described the Seattle downtown waterfront as an “insult to American ingenuity,” complained about Aurora’s “visual garbage” and called Pioneer Square a “less-than-mediocre public space.”

Worse, his insults are largely true.

You may recall that we engaged in a “childish” back-and-forth with the writers at the still-going Seattle Post-Intelligencer when they answered back. We thought it was kind of fun, but if that’s childish, well then I know you are, but what am I?

Bremerton Native Writes Checks

Not that we’re looking for each and every Bremerton reference in the big newspapers or anything, but golly I didn’t see Port Orchard mentioned in the Wall Street Freaking Journal recently.

Oh hey look! Bremerton got mentioned, as the hometown of a Mr. William Gates Sr., of the Bill Gates ancestry.

“Mr. Gates Sr. understood that counsel because of his own childhood, an hour’s ferry ride from Seattle in the working-class town of Bremerton.”

Yep, we mold the people who mold the titans.

Now, the New York Times refers to us as Bremerton Island, an understandable mistake given this fair city’s understated sophistication and elegance, combined with the almost always sunny weather.

City Buys Post Office — Not Our City or our Post Office, But Still

Jim Thomsen, a copy editor here, e-mailed this news story to me over the weekend. It seems one city is willing to pay nothing for an old post office and the postal service is willing to take it.

One council member said it was a great deal . . . for the postal service. A resident said it was a “sweetheart deal,” but meant it in a good way, not the way we normally associate sweetheart deals.

A Different Kind of Support for Bremerton Artists

Mike Shepherd emailed me this week with an announcement worth sharing. This coming Sunday, at the Friends of Eagles on Washington and Sixth, a group of friends will get together in support of an artist that’s been giving to Bremerton for the past two years.

She’s Rose Smith, founder of the Artists for Freedom and Unity Hall on Callow, which we wrote about two years ago when it opened. Well, it’s still there, still giving Bremerton bands and artists a place to perform and show, and from what I understand Rose deserves credit for fostering that community. Now some of her friends and other artists are doing something to help her out. There’s also a benefit on May 8 at AFU. Here’s the announcement with the details for this weekend:

Rose Smith is a gifted and established local artist who has done a lot to further the Kitsap art community. She and her family have made a point of working with younger artists who often lack a nurturing venue. Rose and her son Gabriel Lee worked tirelessly to establish the Artists for Freedom and Unity all ages music venue and art gallery in Bremerton. Rose has been instrumental curating and promoting art events at the Westside Burrito Connection and Metropolis, the Gallery. Now Rose has been diagnosed with cancer, and is undergoing both chemo- and radiation therapy. Money is in short supply. We urge Rose’s friends and supporters to join us for a fund-raising spaghetti feed  and art sale on Sunday, April 26th, 2009, at the Bremerton Eagles Aerie #192 (located at 205 6th Street) between noon and 3 pm. Donations will be accepted and appreciated. We are also hoping to have donations of art and baked goods for sale at this event.  Please contribute whatever you can, have a plate of spaghetti, and enjoy some good music and pleasant companionship.
If you would like to contribute art work or baked goods for sale or want to help us cook & serve food please contact Pat Cooper at or Jane Rebelowski at

I did a quick archive search on Rose and found something I thought worth sharing. Below is a letter from September 2001 published in the Sun, before the mayoral election that year. I won’t make this political, since Shepherd is running for mayor now, and the letter doesn’t indicate whether she was supporting Cary Bozeman or Louis Mentor, the two final candidates that year. It’s just an interesting twist on a letter to the editor, and doubtless from an artist’s mind.

— David Nelson

To the Editor:
Who, Who?
Who wants in for just the perks?
Who’s a power junkie?
Who’s a fat cat paid off jerk?
Who’s somebody’s flunkie?
Who has no experience?
Who’s a grinning player?
Who is gonna raise our rents?
Who should be our mayor?
Signs abound in every street,
Every nook and cranny.
Hands are out to meet and greet,
Who will save our fanny?
Please remember you must vote,
Think about the issues.
I’ve been here for 12 long years,
I’m running out of tissues.

Rose Smith

Seattle Got Its Feewings Hurt — Updated

Did you see what Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman said about Seattle?

Seattle did.

Bozeman, and I’ve got at least two dozen witnesses, told other mayors that Seattle’s waterfront was “an insult to American ingenuity.” For Aurora Avenue he suggested trees to “block off the visual garbage.”

The Seattle P-I’s Monica Guzman mused, “The mayor of Bremerton, gateway to Gorst, dissing Seattle? Really? The mayor of Bremerton?”

Then she threw out an insult about fine dining in a paper bag. I nearly choked on my steak and egg burrito when I read that. (OK, it did come in a paper bag, but I never tried to say Jack in the Box was fine dining. It’s just fine.)

So, let’s aim our insults away from Port Orchard for now. We’ve got a bigger piece of meat to skewer.

And by the way, Bozeman is absolutely unapologetic about his comments, as the Seattle media is finding out.

“The truth sometimes hurts,” he said. “If it takes a voice like mine to get people thinking, I don’t mind stirring the pot.”

Seattle, he said, has done a bad job over the past 50 years developing its waterfront.

UPDATE: Bozeman did want me to mention that during the conversation yesterday, Greenlake and Pike Place Market were held up as examples of great public spaces. So Seattle gets points for those. The waterfront? Pioneer Square? Not so much.

Seattle, it is on.

And we’ve got some retorts to that weak cheese you threw our way.

Bremerton: The Susan Boyle of cities.
Seattle: The Courtney Love of cities.

Our clothes were recession-chic before there was a recession.

Our baristas wear pasties.

Did Sir-Mix-A-Lot write songs about YOUR women?

Seattle: Decision free for 27 years.

We rebelled against overpriced condos by not buying them.

It didn’t take us six years to decide to build a tunnel.

Our congressman works for us (see tunnel reference).

Where do you think you got Bill Gates from?

Pipe down, Seattle. We’ve got nukes.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Seattle responded to our response.

OK OK. You got us on the pasties. And yeah, the viaduct was a process. It’s the whole Seattle gridlock thing. We’re working on it.

Good job with that list, though. Really. It left us so impressed, we tried to think of some your own past transgressions to fling back at you.

But the truth is, we don’t think about Bremerton very much.

Come to think of it, where is Bremerton?

They then went and posted the MxPx video “Move to Bremerton,” that includes the classic line, “Quit your job you’ve got a place to stay.” Nothing says Bremerton like quitting your job.

Anyway, we’ve written a somewhat conciliatory response that goes something like this.

We get it. Bremerton is to Seattle what a shoelace aglet (that little tapelike thing at the end of a shoelace) is to a shoe. We serve a role but we’re probably not necessary for Seattle’s survival. That “We don’t think about Bremerton much” line is the same one I use on my Canadian in-laws when they whine about the U.S. So I can relate.

We, on the other hand, are well aware of Seattle. I’m aware of it every time I have to leave a Mariners game early to catch the 10:30 p.m. ferry. We take our guests to your Pike Place Market and your Space Needle. Lucky guests also get to see the troll.

Can’t say I’ve ever been to the sculpture park, though.

All this is to say we know our place, and we’re fine with it.

Wethinks, however, thou dost profess too much ignorance of Bremerton. How else would you even know about the existence of Gorst? Nobody knows about Gorst, save those who drive through it or stop by for some quick partial nudity.

Also, we’re kind of proud of MxPx. And Quincy Jones. And Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. Next time you see his fiance, Zooey Deschannel, hanging out on your side of the Sound, you can thank us. And let’s not forget that your namesake, Chief Sealth, is resting over here on our side, in a town that has a nice view of, um, Seattle.

I will point out, however, that Bremerton has a couch and a pair of pants named after it. I know that doesn’t compare to a horse and an entire genre of music, but we take our victories where we can get them.

Meanwhile, no matter how insulting to ingenuity your waterfront is, we will keep bringing tourists to your shops, workers to your offices and spectators to your venues. And we’ll keep waiting for our own first Zooey sighting.

A Dime Rolls in Bremerton

During an early evening drive around Bremerton Tuesday, I decided to stop by a convenience store for a diet beverage, and perhaps some chocolate to make up for the lack of sugar in the drink.

I stopped at a store that sells gas. Inside the store I did select a candy bar, then walked over to the beverage cooler, crossing paths with a man clearly intent on picking up chilled adult liquidity. He grabbed a six-pack of Bud Light. I chose Diet Mountain Dew, a partial homage to the days we use to wonder if NASCAR would be here. It’s partial because it’s a diet. I’m not sure most NASCAR fans know that Mountain Dew comes in a diet version.

Bud Light man arrived at the register, then I , then a guy running a finger of one hand through a collection of change in another.

Coins dropped, the man behind me whispered a profanity.

I looked on the ground and saw a dime landed near Bud Light man. He saw it too, bent over, picked it up and placed it in his own pocket. That’s how we roll in Bremerton. Abundance comes our way and we don’t quibble about how it got there. We just accept it and give thanks for the universe’s gift, hoping the witnesses will forgive us but not really caring in the end.

I saw the whole thing, though, and I know the guy behind me knew he was still missing one dime. I didn’t want to make a scene and point fingers at Bud Light man, but I didn’t want the guy behind me to lose his hard-earned ten cents. Actually, I didn’t know if it was hard-earned. Maybe he found it, or took it from a kid. I had to assume the best, though. So I pulled a dime out of my own pocket and gave it to him. He used all the change he had to buy gasoline, probably about a buck and a half’s worth from what I could see. I’m guessing he made it home on that. He thanked me once as I gave him the dime and again as I left.

It’s a win for everyone. Bud Light man gets his sixer for a dime less than advertised. The guy behind me recovered what he lost. I got something to pat myself on the back and brag about, important to anyone who thinks a 17 on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory is about right.

More Port Plans for Downtown?

Gardner’s got it up on the Caucus already, but here’s the refer for Beat readers interested in what the Port of Bremerton’s looking at now.

According to reporter Rachel Pritchett, who was at the Port’s meeting earlier today, commissioners are floating the idea of acquiring the land along Washington Avenue vacated by the Sinclair Building demolition last year. It’s currently a parking lot and grassy field, and the asphalt part may be its future still, according to Cheryl Kincer, who says they’ve heard from boaters that there’s a need for more spaces. (Other development could become part of the plan also, it’s all very preliminary).

A commentor has already pointed out that there’s a three-tiered parking structure just up the block that isn’t doing anyone eye a favor. I’ll beat the next one to the punch and suggest that more asphalt could be called a less than optimum use for a great waterfront view these days, in particular given the time and effort already spent rehabbing that stretch of downtown B-town (partially at a cost that the Housing Authority needs to get out from under, as this story points out, which is why the land may become available). Also, without knowing what could come of the JC Penney building (still waiting, Ron) or knowing how much parking is added there, determining a need that looks ahead more than a few years feels iffy.

The ‘pave paradise…’ cliche would be a stretch at this point, but you get my drift.

— David Nelson

Bremerton Beat Adds Its Responses to Port Orchard Podunk Talk

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola spoke recently at a chamber meeting, and after seeing a video (courtesy of, the Bremerton blog (at least two of of us) can’t let it go without some response. (I mean we do have to maintain the Bremerton vs. Port Orchard rivalry on this blog and the Speaking of South Kitsap blog..)

Coppola: “We’re not in podunk anymore.”

Bremerton Beat: Oh really?

Coppola: “We are tired of being the red-headed stepchild of Kitsap County …”

Bremerton Beat: Redheads out there: are you offended?

— Angela Dice