Monthly Archives: May 2009

Gehring Joins Mayor Race

Brad Gehring, Bremerton city councilman revealed today that he will seek the mayor’s position in the November election.

Gehring joins fellow council members Mike Shepherd and Will Maupin as candidates who have announced their intentions to run.

Other names surfacing as possible candidates include former county commissioner Patty Lent, who on Monday said she had not ruled it out.

Gehring said he likes both Shepherd and Maupin, but “I just don’t feel Bremerton needs to go in the direction they would take it.”

What has been done so far to revamp Bremerton has been “fabulous,” Gehring said, praising outgoing Mayor Cary Bozeman for laying the groundwork for re-establishing Bremerton’s economic strength.

Gehring said there needs to be more emphasis on private investment into the city and more effort to benefit small and medium-sized businesses.

First elected to the seat in 2003, Gehring was re-elected in 2005. He also ran for state representative in 2008, coming in third in the primary to Kathy Haigh and Marco Brown.

They Got Bremerton’s Back

Here at the Beat we sling arrows at others, mostly Port Orchard and on one occasion Seattle. It’s our way of staying powerful, under the notion that you really can make your own lawn look better by peeing on someone else’s. (Was that inappropriate? I miss Binion. He never would have bothered to ask.)

It’s also a way of distracting people from our own missteps. “Hey look at that marquis. HA!”

Well, the condos are high on the list of lapses that get attibuted to us. In our first story we had Mayor Cary Bozeman (for now) speculating that the prices might have been too high.

But on another Bremerton blog, appropriately named the Bremelog, Bozeman went into more detail, and well before this all blew up.

You talk about bringing people downtown: Did the housing authority overshoot with the condos in not making it something more affordable?

Yes. Chris, to answer your question, they missed it. They built too far above the market. Their initial sales interest looked encouraging. They really felt like they were OK, the county backed the bonds on it, and in the end, they misjudged. I think had they built a nice project but a little less expensive, they’d have all sold.

The entire Q&A with the mayor (for now) is a good read. So is the entire blog, though readers shall be warned that on it you’ll find words on it that you’d never find here. I’m guessing they wouldn’t ask about the appropriateness of the imagery I created up top. And over there they have an ongoing bickerfest with Bainbridge Island, er, Old Man Winslow. Who’s willing to take on Poulsbo?

And now, back to our regular programming.

Did you notice Port Orchard stores no longer have the marquis? Me neither.

Patty Lent Considering Bremerton Mayor Post

Former Kitsap County commissioner Patty Lent’s name has been among those bandied about as a possible mayoral candidate for Bremerton, but I had no luck contacting her until last night.

Lent attended the county commissioners’ meeting in which the commissioners restructured something Lent did while a commissioner. In 2005 she, Chris Endresen and Jan Angel approved a move that put the county as second guarantor on the loans for the Harborside Condominium project. Since the complex opened the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority has had little luck selling the units, laying the blame on a construction delay that led to the real estate and broader economic meltdown.

Lent took responsibility for the county’s decision in 2005. From Tuesday’s story:

Former county commissioner Patty Lent took responsibility for the current situation. She was a commissioner in 2005 when the board agreed to back the housing authority’s loan for the condos.

“It was an economic time that we thought we were well protected,” she said. Lent said the federal government was investing heavily in economic development at the time and the housing authority leaned into that role. She then praised the current commission for taking the step it took Monday.

“I was part of the problem in the past and you are really moving in a forward direction,” she said.

After the meeting I asked if she was running for mayor. “I haven’t decided, but I’m not saying ‘no,'” she said.

Monday night cleared one thing she said she had to do before deciding. “Tonight was a hurdle I needed to face.”

She described her choice in 2005 as a “poor decision,” but as she did in the meeting she said it was a time when the federal government was spending heavily on local economic development. “There was lots of money for revitalization,” she said.

City council members Mike Shepherd and Will Maupin have announced they are running and Shepherd has been campaigning for a while.

Naked and Looking for Rachel in Edmonds

The Herald in Everett reports that a 35-year-old Bremerton man was entering homes in Edmonds, removing his clothes and telling folks he was looking for Jennifer Aniston. Oh, and he was drunk.
I guess the guy was expecting to see this.

Herald writer Jackson Holtz wrote,

Police don’t know if the man’s life was always stuck in second gear, but if his alleged behavior Saturday morning is any indication, it wasn’t his day, his week, or even his year.

Not his month either, presumably.

We partially blame ourselves here at the Bremerton Beat. In our smackdown with Seattle we mentioned that the alluring Zooey Deschanel was engaged to former Bremertonian Ben Gibbard of the most excellent musical ensemble Death Cab for Cutie. Perhaps our drunken co-citizen got the two ladies, one of whom can sing, mixed up.

We got this photo of Zooey here.

But we don’t absorb any responsibility for the nudity or breaking into homes. Bad form, drunk man! How much alcohol does one need to think that even if Aniston were to be found in Edmonds, that this is how she would like to be approached? I know she wants to be a mother, but I doubt this is how she plans to fulfill her goal.

From what I’ve heard, you need flowers, a nice dinner, and to be a movie star or a famous singer with mad texting skills.

Still, we doubt this is the first time this has happened.

And we’re guessing that this blog post is going to get a lot of hits from people (mostly guys) using the search terms “naked” and “Jennifer Aniston.” Sorry to disappoint you, but thanks for stopping by.

Bremerton Gets Boils

Dear Bremerton,

This is just a little note in case you’re feeling a little blue lately. You’re walking around with pride in chest and a comfortably fitting hat because you held your own in that smackdown with Seattle. All is well in B-Town, you think.

Then your hometown bank gets taken over by the feds and a bank from Port Orchard, your mayor and your high school principal quits and you’re losing police officers while those guys across the bay are talking about hiring more. And we’ve still got a lot of empty condos.

Let me start with a story I think you can relate to.

There was this guy. Job. (Pronounced Jobe, and it’s not the one from “Arrested Development,” but the one from the Bible.) According to the books written about him, he had it goin’ on, if you know what I’m saying.

OK, he lived in a place called Uz, but otherwise he had a pretty good gig.

He had a hot wife, amazing kids, tons of bank, a loyal posse of friends and a killer crib. Actually, I don’t know if his wife was hot or if it’s appropriate at all for me to speculate. But the guy had 10 kids. You decide.

Word was he was a righteous dude, but Satan didn’t buy it. God and the devil get into this conversation and decide to let Job get tested. First he loses his stuff and some of his kids.

Job shaves his head, which is something I can relate to, because I once shaved my chest hair after a girlfriend broke up with me. TMI. Sorry. Then he says something like “Easy come, easy go.”

So then he gets boils all over his body. Now I don’t know what a boil feels like, but I had an abscess that got me hospitalized for a couple days and off work for a week. I had the benefit of drugs to get me through it. Job’s boils were so bad his wife suggested he curse God and die.

Job’s friends came to see him and didn’t recognize him, then didn’t say anything for a whole week. When they do speak they tell him all this stuff is probably his fault.

Job complained a lot, but not about God. In the end Job eventually gets it all back and twice as much.

This could be your lot (not “Lot”) Bremerton. Sure things look tough now, but let’s just call this a Job moment on the way to the “twice as much” part. We’ve got a new downtown park opening this weekend and I had someone tell me it’s pretty kickin.’

And if we needed any other reasons to feel good about ourselves, there’s this display on Sixth Avenue:


We’ll be fine, Bremerton. Keep your chin up. We’ll be making fun of Port Orchard again in no time.


Steven Gardner

A Look Inside the Westsound Takeover?

What a week in Bremerton. News, news, news; Apparently someone left the back door to the city open. No confirmation yet on whether the Armed Forces Day Parade has moved to Port Orchard.

One thing that is staying: the Bremerton farmer’s market. Tomorrow afternoon at 4 is the season opener, down at Evergreen-Rotary Park. If a seamless, sunny start to the outdoor shopping season is the top story in the city for Thursday, it’ll be a nice break from the recent flow out of the news hose. At least for a day, then we’re back to craving six-column headlines.

In the rush since Friday, there has been something I’ve been meaning to pass along. We were prepped for the Westsound Bank seizure last week, as our fleet of Sun tipsters kept hinting that something was going down. Of course, given the bank’s recent dealings with potential litigants and SEC investigators, rumors of something awry on the way could have meant anything.

I kept telling people here about a 60 Minutes video I had seen earlier this year. When community banks began to fail a few months ago, the FDIC let those reporters ride along on a seizure. It would always happen on a Friday, and very clandestinely — or exactly as our sources were hinting toward with Westsound. I have no idea if this is the same way things happened at Pacific and Sixth Friday afternoon, but there are some similarities between the video and what Kitsap Bank President Jim Carmichael told us Monday afternoon.

So here’s the link (or, a link to the link, I suppose). The video is long, but an interesting look at how you sweep a bank out of town.

Now, how about the rain following some of these civic leaders out of town?

— David Nelson

Bozeman Trades City Hat for Port Job

What the . . . heck?
What the . . . heck?
This story is being updated as the day goes on. By now it’s not new news, but it’s still news that Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman is resigning as hizzoner to become CEO at the Port of Bremerton.

The mayor said it was a tough decision, but that it was a decision made in his best interest. He said history will show whether it was the right decision for Bremerton. “Change is inevitable,” he said. Indeed. Mike Shepherd could have beat him in November and he’d be gone anyway.

So Bozeman will take his cheerleader role to the port, where he hopes to have much success in getting businesses to locate into the South Kitsap Industrial Area.

We’ll get more as it develops.

Remember Charly B Shirts? Some ’80s Bremertonians Do

Sun file photo from 1982
Sun file photo from 1982

In the early 1980s, Bremerton child chic included acid-washed jeans, double slouched socks — and Charly B sweatshirts.

It was Bremerton’s hometown brand during a time of brand-logo mania and when there were department stores and lots of people downtown.

Local kids saved allowances and begged their parents for the shirts. An elementary school had a Charly B day. The shirts popped up in spots across the country, though they were sold only in Kitsap.

Maybe it’s because some things from the ’80s (I said some) are trendy again. Maybe Bremerton pride is back. Or maybe its because those ’80s kids are old enough to be nostalgic.

Whatever it is, Charly B shirts are back.

A few shirts are appearing around town and being shipped off to former Kitsap residents across the country.

But before we get into that, a little background on the shirts:

They are the creation of longtime businessman Chuck Bair, who sold them first at a clothing store he owned with his wife, Patty, on Pacific Avenue, across from JC Penny — when there still was a JC Penny.

Chuck had created the logo, a doodled script, for their retail store and eventually printed shirts that he sold there and later at stores in Redwood Plaza and the South Kitsap Mall.

Nearly 70,000 shirts sold in the four years the Charly B clothing stores were open.

But then the Kitsap Mall happened to downtown Bremerton.

“We were one of the first ones to leave because we saw the writing on the wall,” Patty said. And they didn’t have the capital to open a store in the mall, Chuck said.

And with the Charly B stores went the Charly B shirts.

Since that time, the couple focused on other businesses: their property management business; Patty ran franchise Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores; they briefly opened an Ivar’s in Redwood Plaza; and in 2006, they opened Kitsap Lake Storage.

All the while, people kept asking about the shirts. They’d regale the couple with memories of their shirts, remembering even the color.

So the Bairs started printing them again and as people asked for more, they printed more. They lined the shelves of an office room with shirts in multiple colors. They put out a sign in front of Kitsap Lake Storage, “and lo and behold it’s taken off again,” Chuck said.

Some thanks for recent demand goes to online social networks.

One fan created a “Charly B. Resurrection” group on Facebook and news of the shirts’ comeback was posted on the wall of the Facebook group “I Can’t Believe I grew up in Kitsap County in the 80’s”, which has 1,700 members. They’ve referred to it as “AWESOME,” with exclamation points and called it a “great blast from the past.” One person wrote, “are y’all for real? i’ve been wanting another one. to match my black w/ multi-colored lettering Esprit tote bag that i am STILL rockin’ after all these years ;)”

In April, the Bairs put up a web site to sell the shirts and post old photos and memories from customers.

About 400 to 500 have sold.

LeAnn Williams worked in the clothing stores as a young adult, and now works at the storage facility.

“Who’d have thought 30 years later I’d be folding Charly B sweatshirts (again)?” she exclaimed.

The shirts’ renewed success may not portend the return of Charly B clothing stores.

“I think it still has potential,” Chuck said, though he said he doesn’t really spend a lot of time thinking about it. “Right now its a fun sideline.”

“We’ll just see where it goes. We’ve mad e a little investment in it again. Its not about making money, its about bringing something back that was important to a lot of people.”

—  Angela Dice

Want Attention? (Part II) Get the Bloggers On Board

Following up here on Gardner’s post about the Cary Bozeman vs. the Seattle waterfront prize fight that Knute Berger of wrote yesterday.

We’re back because, well, Crosscut contributors apparently haven’t had enough. This time a Highland Community College professor returns Berger’s volley, pointing out that maybe we Northwesterners should suck it up and live with our industrial, productive, and, yes, ugly waterfronts that help drive the economy more than a row of Hawaiian Shaved Ice and Ye Old Curiousity Shops would. He doesn’t point it out, but Bremerton’s waterfront, the one that kind of started this whole thing, still promotes it’s relationship with the city’s major industry fairly prominently.

Wherever you fall on the debate, and it is a decent exercise in urban planning, you’ve got to give Bozeman credit for igniting what apparently has become the Tastes Great/Less Filling debate of late April 2009.

Moving on, one of the Crosscut readers on Berger’s piece argues that the mayor was merely riding coattail on the condo, marina and tunnel projects, and his only real contribution downtown was two parks. If watching government teaches us anything it’s that two — and quite often three or four — are needed to tango in the redevelopment biz, so I’d question that the city played no role in securing those projects, even if the funds come from elsewhere.

But the point is, those parks have come to pass. (Here’s where the “news” in this post comes in.) Yesterday Sylvia Klatman with the Greater Bremerton Chamber of Commerce, the organization that hosts the Armed Forces Day Festival, told me they’re planning for the annual heroes barbeque to take place at the Pacific and Burwell plaza still under construction. I raised my eyebrows, seeing how the intersection at Pacific was just torn apart again Wednesday (note that, weekend ferry commuters).

But she said she’s been told construction will be done in the two weeks until the festival, and the city would be ready to dedicate the park. Before I could get a call in to Gary Sexton today to check, this arrived in my mail from the city:


So there you have it, on the Post Office’s record. I’m guessing the trees won’t be quite as mature as this drawing, nor the shipyard as subtlety monolithic as the architects imagine, but the park is scheduled to be done. Our last report had the tunnel opening no later than mid-June, so maybe this will all be ready for summer.

And then maybe Crosscut will have something else to write about.

— David Nelson