Monthly Archives: May 2009

The Boardwalk Beckons

We won't be pushed around. Photo courtesy
We won't be pushed around. Photo courtesy

No, Seattle Daily Weekly, this city will not be goaded into a tussle this afternoon. Not on an 80-degree day, not with two hot dogs stands fully up and operational near the PSNS gate, not with the city’s boys in blue busy reminding a pesky business that the sex trade is no longer tolerated on Callow.

There’s more to life, my friends. That and we’ve already scratched that itch a few times this year.

There’s also the fact that whomever of our six candidates emerges from the mayoral scrum this November will have a potential battle already in line: the boardwalk extension to Evergreen-Rotary Park.

Bozeman departs today, with the boardwalk still mapped on the city’s renderings of future Bremerton and some cash for preliminary studies still in our collective wallet. What he leaves without, however, is the Suquamish Tribe’s blessing. Last October Chris Dunagan covered the latest developments, in which a city analysis showed that the boardwalk would allow for a sewer replacement project. Not much traction since, however, leaving something for whoever takes over the corner office.

Our editorial board had hizzoner in Wednesday for a parting shot, and to hear about his plans for the new gig with the Port of Bremerton. So we asked about what’s to become of the boardwalk plan.

Bozeman says it’s a 50/50 shot at this point. He doesn’t see it as a money issue, but a question over what environmental precedent the boardwalk would set for the Tribe. If Bremerton gets its way on this one, what of every other request city to build along Puget Sound shorelines?

He did hint at a feeling this will be a campaign issue. Whether the candidates make it a platform or not, I’m sure it’s a question we’ll raise during election coverage. The boardwalk, after all, is the one public project that hasn’t been done as other revitalization projects wrap up, and it’ll be interesting to see where that ranks on each candidate’s agenda.

What about you? How important is the boardwalk? Are you willing to pay for it? Or do you just more to read more cheap shots across the water?

— David Nelson

McConnell Comments on Mayor Question

For the story on the Bremerton City Council’s third option for interim mayor, we were unable to contact City Council President Cecil McConnell by press time.

The story recounts how he suggested the idea of getting himself appointed full-time mayor. He may have suggested it, but on Friday he said he doesn’t want that to be the council’s solution.

“Personally, I prefer the mayor’s plan, which is pro tem until the mayor’s elected,” he said. That means he’d take his council president role of mayor pro tem all the way through November, when the new mayor’s election is certified. “I think that’s a simpler way of doing it,” McConnell said.

For the city it’s cheaper, too, a savings in the neighborhood of $50,000 that it wouldn’t have to pay in a mayor’s salary.

McConnell would be paid that money if he were appointed mayor for the interim, but to him it isn’t necessarily enough of a positive. It would bump him up a tax bracket and he’d have to give up his council seat, which he said he doesn’t want to do. He signed up for four years, he said. He wants to finish.

The idea he suggested at the council meeting had earlier been offered up by a staff member, he said. McConnell plans to push for the mayor pro tem proposal. The issue is supposed to be discussed at the council’s meeting Wednesday.

Jara Sixth to Join Bremerton Mayor’s Race

Downtown business owner and former city council candidate Carlos Jara announced he will run for Bremerton mayor. Jara becomes the sixth candidate for the job being vacated by Cary Bozeman, who will be taking the CEO job at the port.

Jara ran in 2007 for the seat won by Roy Runyon. He and his wife, Christina, moved to Bremerton in 2004. He opened Puget Sound Box & Shipping near the ferry terminal and later turned it into Harborside Market. Christina Jara owns and operates the Isella Day Spa, also in downtown.

The couple lives in West Bremerton.

And You Thought We Picked on Port Orchard

Perchance you saw Chris Henry’s story about ideas to spruce up downtown Port Orchard. If you read it, you saw this paragraph:

Calling Bay Street’s current hodgepodge of colors “butt-ugly,” Delilah last week described her ideas for a volunteer-driven “Paint the Town” party before Cedar Cove Days. She’ll buy the paint, she said, while local painting contractors would be called upon to lend their equipment.

“Delilah” is Delilah Rene, evening radio host of a show that combines love songs with chats between Delilah and her listeners, none of which I would ever suspect of using the term “butt-ugly.”

Give Delilah credit in this case, though. I complain about Port Orchard but I never do anything about it.

Bremerton Riding on Coattails Again

Not sure you remember way back to 2006, but that’s when Inc. Magazine had one of its lists and Bremerton ranked on it pretty high. Afterward an editorial writer for the CK Reporter wrote a blistering piece telling Bremerton to stop riding Silverdale’s coattails.

Well, Bremerton is doing it again, only this time it isn’t that Bremerton is particularly high on the list. ranks metro areas for its “Best Cities” list. The list measures how well cities maintain work in tough times, how the workforce stands to see more jobs created when the economy improves and something Kiplinger calls the “creative class” of jobs, described like this:

“Creative-class workers — scientists, engineers, educators, writers, artists, entertainers and others — inject both economic and cultural vitality into a city and help make it a vibrant place to live.”

For our area the site calls us Bremerton-Silverdale, so it looks like Silverdale is riding Bremerton’s coattails. Actually this is a classic example of what the CK reporter blast was talking about, though in this case Silverdale gets mentioned. In fact it’s clear by the population numbers that what Kiplinger is talking about is all of Kitsap County. So in this case Bremerton is riding on the entire county’s workforce, because we all know Bremerton has no steady workforce, well except for that shipyard thingy.

For cost of living we’re right at the national average. For the percentage of our workforce in the creative class, we have 29 percent, which is 139th out of 361, assuming my count is correct. Longview is around 344th with 21.6 percent. Olympia is 19th with 36.1 percent.

In median family income we’re 40th at $57,139. Seattle-Bellevue is tops in this state at $61,740, which is 22nd in the country. Yakima is in the neighborhood of 290th with a median of $40,321.

In salary growth, and this won’t surprise anyone skeptical of government, Olympia is sixth in the country at 22 percent between 2004 and 2008. Lewiston, Idaho-Washington is about 340th at 2.5 percent. Kitsap gets in at number 86 with a 9 percent jump in salaries.

Imagine how well Bremerton would have done if it didn’t have to carry Port Orchard. Zoing!

City to Lay Off Three in Public Works

Citing a need to make sure the department’s expenditures match income, Phil Williams, public works director, confirmed Tuesday that three Bremerton employees will be laid off. One was informed Friday, another on Tuesday and the third was to be notified on Wednesday.

Williams said two of the employees are in the street division. A third employee is one who had planned to retire, but reconsidered. That employee will be given the lay-off notice, but under union rules will be able to replace someone else with less seniority. That will continue until a position is eliminated.

The street fund crew has been able to do work for other departments, such as paving work at the National Guard Readiness Center and construction at the new downtown memorial park, but “even with that we were barely kind of breaking even,” Williams said. “It was pretty obvious we needed to cut even more.”

The street fund borrowed $100,000 from the city’s Equipment Reserve Fund to shore up cash flow until revenues pick up during the summer.

And Patty Lent Makes it Five

Former county commissioner Patty Lent confirmed Tuesday she plans to run for mayor of Bremerton.

Lent was commissioner from 2003-06, losing in the one-time “pick-a-party” primary in the Republican race against Jack Hamilton.

Lent’s confirmation puts the number of mayor candidates up to five, following Daryl Daugs’ announcement hours earlier. City council members Mike Shepherd, Will Maupin and Cecil McConnell Brad Gehring announced earlier.

Daugs Makes it Four for Mayor

Daryl Daugs, chairman of the 35th District Democrats, announced on his blog Tuesday that he intends to run for Bremerton mayor. It means he gives up the Democratic post.

Daugs ran for state representative in the 35th District, losing the race eventually won by fellow Democrat Fred Finn.

His campaign Web site from that run indicates that most recently he was a lead organizer for the Washington Federation of State Employees in Olympia focusing on system reform of Child Protective Services. He and his wife have been foster parents for 54 children.

One reason he decided to run:

“Not one of the people that has stepped up to run makes me very happy.”

Beyond that, he writes:

“For me … this is not political … it is personal. I grew up here. I cruised Pacific Ave in my 66 Mustang. I watched movies in the Roxy and the Admiral. My kids have all gone from grade school through high school here. I love and care for my community and the many friends and family that live here with me.”

Daugs joins Mike Shepherd, Will Maupin and Brad Gehring in the race. He’s the only one running, so far, who isn’t a member of the current city council.

Heads Up if You’re Headed Downtown

People, boats and cars have crowded into downtown Bremerton this morning for the Harbor Festival — good thing.

You trying to catch a ferry in the midst — bad thing.

I just got stuck in a back up on Washington from Burwell to Sixth, where cars detoured by a car show are stacking up on their way to the terminal. Pacific is closed from Sixth down to Burwell, and Fourth and Fifth streets are more or less closed at Park.

For drivers headed to the terminal it’s a mess. I can’t imagine the 11:25 left on time, so if you’re planning on driving on to the 12:45 or 3, I’d suggest an early start. (Or, like I did, ride your bicycle in. But I’d recommend that regardless.)

Then again, with all that’s happening down there on a sunny afternoon, not a bad day to skip the trip across the water entirely. I’m going to go have a look around now, it’s pretty full down here.

— David Nelson

A Cheap Timelapse of the Tunnel

I recently decided to punish myself by committing to riding my bike to work at least a couple days a week. After a couple feeble, exhausting attempts on my squooshy, heavy mountain bike I’ve decided to get a proper road bike. I also decided to plan my route using Google’s Street View function.

And that’s when I stumbled upon a virtual time lapse of the downtown Bremerton ferry tunnel project. First, the satellite view before the buildings along Pacific were demolished. Second, the street view shows the construction when there was a mighty hole in the ground. Third, a photo from last week as the city polished off the last few details of the park that now rests atop the tunnel.

A timely diversion after Ed Friedrich’s story today about the tunnel.

– Derek Sheppardpicture-4picture-520090514-174722-pic-77560516_t600