A League of Bremerton’s Own

Our friend The Bremelogger hosted a debate for Maupin and Lent last night, following a Monday League of Women Voters event for the Bremerton mayoral hopefuls.

No slight at the LWV, since they’ve been in the business of promoting elections for years and have covered the county with forums this season, but when phrases like “pool of blood” and a question about urban chickens* become part of the debate, you know it’s not the typical candidates forum. Which is a good thing, given a primary turnout that clearly showed many voters aren’t being reached. So the candidates were good sports to participate in something a bit out of the ordinary.

Host Chris Kornelis played it glib (joking about those turnout numbers, former Mayor Bozeman, and his daily ferry commute), let audience members take the mic for their own questions and follow ups, and finished at least one can of Pabst Blue Ribbon during his hour of interviewing. Wednesday’s gig also boasted better attendance than Monday’s, with maybe 50 in a standing-room only at the cramped back room at the Hi-Fidelity Lounge on Sixth Street just off Wycoff**. (The LWV forum played to a 3/4 empty council chambers at the Government Center, though it will be replayed on BKAT three more times, including this morning at 10 a.m.)

That was the third public forum between these two I’ve watched, not including two editorial board interviews***. So I’m a little fatigued on listening to how downtown can improve or what the budget strategy should be next year****. A lot of the viewpoints have been very similar, and the tone, for the most part, has been cordial. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always paint a clear picture to help voters decide. The two butted heads just a bit in our interview last week, when Maupin scoffed at Lent’s suggestion to save money on future street repairs by including the work with stormwater projects funded by the state. Other than that, the gloves stayed on.

Wednesday’s most aggressive statement came again from the sitting city councilman, asked to name a different between the two. Maupin had played on his working-class Aberdeen roots and shipyard background early in the interview, and concluded with this: “She’s a politician, I’m not.” (Lent was a county commissioner for one term, before losing in the 2006 primary.) Lent wasn’t baited by the comment, and stuck to her guns by simply reiterating her passion for the city, business background and “fresh” perspective.

Lent’s best point of the evening, which also came up in our interview and seems to be one of the campaign’s really good ideas, was her promise to aggressively court small manufacturing businesses here from the Kent Valley, where they are in pretty serious danger of being flooded by the Green River due to a leaking dam in the Cascades.

But she missed one with the crowd when she passed on giving an opinion on state issue R-71, saying she hadn’t yet made up her mind. Maupin said he’s in favor of keeping the domestic partnership law on the books. (To be fair, Maupin drew his own eye-roll, when an opening joke about being “born at a very early age” fell flat.)

The other state issue, Tim Eyeman’s I-1033, came up Monday. Both Lent and Maupin said they disagreed with initiative, as presently worded.

Both answered the “pool of blood” question with assurances that law enforcement, and cleaning up blighted neighborhoods that harm Bremerton’s reputation, will be a priority. And then they walked out onto those very streets in the Callow neighborhood, letting the kids stay and listen to Boise rockers Finn Riggins*****. The opening act had done its job.

— David Nelson

*City Councilman Roy Runyon is hosting a district meeting at 5:30 tonight at Cora’s Diner on 4th Street. On the agenda? Yup. Urban chickens.

**Maupin’s father-in-law, former Bremerton Mayor Whitey Domstad, owned a tavern at that site until the mid-1950s, called “Whitey’s.”

***Endorsements begin this weekend and run through next week, if you want to hold your ballot a few days to see our opinion.

****Believe it or not, there’s at least two more coming up. Monday from 5-8 p.m., Mike Siegel of KITZ radio will interview the two at the Comfort Inn, and then Tuesday they’ll be at the Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs and Issues breakfast (also, incidentally, held at a bar).

*****Kornelis told me he used to be in Finn Riggins. But having two drummers is awkward in a rock band, and that was that.

2 thoughts on “A League of Bremerton’s Own

  1. If you want to see (or more accurately hear because something happened to the quality of the picture when recording) a replay of that debate, here ya go:

    – Angela Dice

  2. Why doesn’t The Sun look into where the funding for the “Whitey Dolmsted” park came from. Big hint, the sewer replacement fund out of the Utilities Fund might be a good place to start. I don’t think that is the intent of of utility rate payers fees.

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