All posts by abinion

So Long, Bremerton, Here’s Snow In Your Eye

This is it, the end.

Where will I go?

I’ll be aroun’ in the dark, behind the 7-Eleven.

I’ll be everywhere-wherever you look when you’re at the 7-Eleven.

Wherever there is a fight at a 7-Eleven between crack heads hungry for crack, I’ll be there.

Wherever there is a crack head at a 7-Eleven accusing a cop of beatin’ him up, I’ll be there…

Thank all of you. You’re the reason for all of this.

Your friend,

Snowbound Cars Easy Prey For Bremerton Parking Tickets

The innocent shall suffer big time

In the name of all that is decent and holy, the city of Seattle has suspended issuing parking tickets to cars remaining past their limit.

Not Bremerton, where the tickets have flowed like spiked punch at a freshman mixer.

Diamond Parking agents, scooting through the slush in their gocarts, are targeting any vehicles that remain on the almost deserted streets, trying to shoo away anybody looking to spend money downtown on Christmas Eve. Not that there are many businesses open downtown today, or any day, for that matter.

Walking into work this afternoon, I noticed a single pickup truck parked Fifth Street, alone, with a parking ticket. That’ll teach that person I’m not sure what, life isn’t fair?

So, in other words, if you have money to spend on last minute Christmas shopping, go to Seattle, or Silverdale, or anywhere but downtown Bremerton.

“If people want to go out and try and park in some of these conditions, you know, more power to them,” a Seattle police spokesman told the Seattle Times. “We’ve got more pressing concerns than citing somebody illegally parked.”

The Bremerton Police Department does not handle parking tickets, that duty belongs to Diamond Parking, a privateer whose zeal reaches beyond downtown, to the working class enclave of Anderson Cove. And apparently Diamond Parking has no more pressing concerns than making sure that the insolent be punished for their insolence.

It should be noted that “working class” is a bad euphemism, most neighborhoods work, that is, except Bainbridge Island. Anderson Cove is poor, it’s one of the poorest neighborhoods in a poor city.

Jackie Courtney, for instance, had his pickup truck loaded for the dump and waiting on the 1700 block of Anderson Street, but then the snow dumped on him.

A neighbor complained the truck remained past the 72-hour limit, so like a scene from a poorly written satire about privatized government run amuck, a Diamond Parking agent appeared with chains strapped to their macho machine and told Courtney he had to move his truck. He claims he has four witnesses who had helped him move it, without a little difficulty.

But Courtney claims the heroic Diamond Parking agent reappeared and ticketed him, $27.

Courtney argued that he had moved his truck, but the agent allegedly said that was a dirty, dirty lie, because in a cunning, MacGyver-like move, the agent had placed a leaf in the truck’s tailpipe, then claimed since the leaf remained in the tail pipe, Courtney deserved a ticket.

“I”m in the middle of the snow here,” Courtney said, noting he hasn’t had mail delivery in three days.

This comes as no surprise to the people who live in Anderson Cove, who by now should be used to this kind of tough love. For example, Mayor Cary Bozeman pledged to include money for a sub-area plan for the neighborhood in this year’s budget. Guess if that money was included. Go on and guess.

Calls to Diamond Parking Tuesday seeking comment were not returned.

A Manette Bridge By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

In the early days of linguistics, a man named Ferdinand de Saussure forwarded the idea that units of language (words) are made up up two components, the “signifier” and the “signified.”

An example would be a bridge, say, the Manette Bridge. The signifier would be the sounds that, when linked together, form “M-A-N-E-T-T-E B-R-I-D-G-E.” The signified would be the steel structure that spans the Port Washington Narrows and furthers Bremerton’s insatiable hunger for land acquisition and iron-fisted power.

Soon, assuming the state and city survive the snow and the conversion to digital television signals, Bremerton will have a new signified, a new Manette Bridge, but it may also get a new signifier in the form of an honorary name.

Comes now, Jacob Metcalf, writer, activist, roller-derby emcee, video game scholar and perhaps bridge-name-campaigner

His plan is to lobby a local state lawmaker to introduce a bill in the Legislature. He’s pushing to get a small metal plate on the bridge, so that would be the extent of the state’s involvement, which will cost very little.

Here are his ideas:

Bob Deitz – Former county Democratic party chair, OC instructor and friend to Kisap Democrats. Metcalf admitted this is a long-shot, but noted that “Republicans have a bridge named after Adel Ferguson.”

President Harry Truman – It’s said Truman gave his “Give em hell, Harry” speech on Pacific Avenue, that is, a heckler yelled the catch-phrase at him during the speech, presumably a Bremertonian. It’s nice that a president’s visit was the occasion for a memorable piece of profanity.

Robert F. Kennedy – Not sure about this one, but it was one of Jake’s suggestions.

Martin Luther King – Again, not sure what King thought of Bremerton, if he thought of it at all.

President-elect Barack Obama – “That would make the Republicans heads explode, but if they had their way they would name everything after Reagan,” Metcalf wrote.

State House Speaker Frank Chopp of Seattle – One of the strangest things about Bremerton, beside all the places where one can buy exotic swords and knives, is that living, sitting politicians get structures named after them. Chopp already has a building named after him here. “Of course he would actually have to vote on this bill,” Metcalf wrote.

Who Not:

Late U.S. Sen. Warren Magnuson – “Already has a bridge named after him.”

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks – “Has his building.”

Mayor Cary Bozeman – “Has his damn tunnel and condos.”

Late U.S. Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson – “Has a naval base in Everett and a submarine named after him.”

Metcalf also mentioned former President Jimmy Carter and U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, as out of the running.

Long shots:

MxPx – Pepsi pitchmen and sons of Bremerton.

Sir Mix-A-Lot – Wrote a song about women from Bremerton, demeaning them. We all know what a bunch of winners the men are.

Andy’s suggestions:

Quincy Jones – Not a strong Democratic connection, but before he left town and never returned, this Michael Jackson producer and Dizzy Gillespie band member lived here.

Pat O’Day – The scoutmaster of northwest rock, voice of the hydros, drug and alcohol treatment center owner and former Westpark resident, brought the Beatles to Seattle and was personally responsible for whipping up more youthful exuberance in the Puget Sound region than Rainer Ale.

Singh the 7-Eleven Man – Always remembers my brand of cigarettes, along with the brands of half of the city, endlessly patient and generous, tries to break up fights, once refused to sell me an old churro out of concern for my health. He’s a really good guy, I’ll vouch for him.

Santa Doesn’t Need Red Light Cameras To Tell Who’s Naughty, Nice

Santa gave a Christmas gift to the people of Tempe, Ariz. when he and his henchmen flew into town and gift-wrapped some of the town’s red light cameras, rendering them useless and extremely festive.

Read the story and see the video here

The end of the video reads, according to the story:

“Ho Ho Ho! Death to the surveillance state! Free movement for all people!”

Winter In Bremerton

Photo: Jacob Metcalf

Friends and family of ask me, “How stupid does the media think people are?”

“Pretty stupid,” I say. “In fact, the media doubts that you can read, and aren’t just faking it, moving your lips and running your eyes over those mysterious symbols.”

They are referring to, of course, the Inclement Weather Story, the most condescending, uninformative media product since VH1 revolutionized the top-10 list.

Not only does the press dwell on these obvious, easy-to-write, cliche-filled stories, they coin clever names for the storms and draw eye-catching infographics that are forgotten almost immediately by everyone.

People do not sit around and say, “Do YOU remember where you were when the Hanukkah Eve storm?”

They say, “A couple years back – wasn’t it? – we got a lot of snow. Jeez, what’s it been, two years? I thought that was a lot of snow. Not like this. Anywho, back to work, this pitcher of beer isn’t going to drink itself.”

Since Bill Gates invented the computer and the Internet, we have a better alternative.

And that’s what we have here, submitted by Bremerton Beat enthusiast Jake Metcalf, photos of his trek through the white wilderness.

Look at Jake’s photos here. If you want to hear a weather story, open a window and start talking to yourself.

Your Flat Screen Television Won’t Save You

photo by: Joyce Michaud

When historians fill out of the death certificate on our borrow-and-spend financial system, I expect to see the words “flat screen television” somewhere on the form.

With all the talk of subprime mortgages and gas prices, I don’t hear a lot of talk about this most insidious, ridiculous consumer item, which has done its share to pointlessly inflate America’s credit card debt.

I’ll admit, some of these devices treat viewers to impressive detail, I mean, what sane person doesn’t want to see the zits on the back of a football player’s neck after he is horse-collared to the ground during a spirited hour of American ultra-violence?

I know that there are many examples of conspicuous consumption to pick at, but the most vilified, the SUV, at least can theoretically take a person places that a 1985 Honda Accord cannot, although SUVs are rarely taken off-road.

Can a flat screen take a person where a regular TV cannot? Again, do you want to see the zits?

I can understand somebody with a passion plopping down the money to see the blemishes on their favorite millionaire man child. But it’s not just geeks, a third of American households own one of these boxes.

The bright side, I suppose, is that the other two-thirds of Americans won’t have to buy a television set for the rest of our lives, we have inherited all the perfectly good regular televisions from our flat screened friends and families.

Since this craze started, my partner and I accumulated three television sets between the two of us, big, perfectly good sets, and have had to turn down a fourth.

In addition to inheriting television sets we won’t use until we’re collecting Social Security, or scavenging for food in a post-apocalyptic winterland, we’ll also inherit all the mercury and toxic chemicals from the production and disposal of these items, plus a towering trade deficit with China. Then maybe we’ll get to help bail out the people who charged their flat screens with a stimulus package tax refund.

Interestingly enough, and just in time for Christmas, here we have a mixed message from the New York Times, with this story published Dec. 2 saying that prices on flat screens are falling, and then this story published Thursday that says sales of flat screens are falling.

Maybe people are realizing how silly these things are, or maybe they already have their flat screens, and now they want a Wii.

Flame-Broiled For The Ladies

Burger King is coming out with a cologne that smells like meat.

I guess this isn’t a joke.

With all the Burger Kings in Bremerton, and Kitsap, this could be the ideal stocking stuffer for your overweight lover.

And by “overweight lover” I mean ’90s rap sensation Heavy D, of Heavy D and the Boyz fame.

With the tumbling economy, and seeing as our society is on the verge of some Cormac McCarthy-like descent into chaos and cannibalism, it’s not a bad idea, I guess, to splash a little grease on your earlobe before heading to the club to do the latest dance craze, the leper.

But for those of you rediscovering middle-class poverty, do what I do.

Every morning after jumping out of my Murphy bed with a hole in it, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed like a Veneta Avenue squirrel, I walk across the street to the Burger King on Warren Avenue, climb on to the roof, and bathe in the flame-broiled aromas percolating from the smokestack, just rub that smoky goodness into my skin. It disturbs the employees, but they’re cool, they know I’m just having it my way.

When I show up for work, I smell like a big slab of burnt flesh.

Raising Car Tab Fees Harder Than At First Thought

A plan being pushed by Bremerton Councilman Nick Wofford to tack $20 onto the car tabs to pay for city streets may take quite a bit of time, and not just to convince fellow council members to support the plan.

After a teleconference earlier this week, Wofford said that the state Department of Licensing is designated as the contractor that facilities part of the funding system for cities.

But when the Legislature approved the law in 2007 allowing cities to raise tab fees without a vote of residents, it didn’t give Licensing any money to actually implement the program.

The cost to start up the system is about $250,000 to $300,000, and the department expects the first crop of Transportation Benefit Districts, or TBDs, to shoulder the costs, Wofford said.

There are about nine cities or jurisdictions that are seriously considering forming one of these districts.

If the money was raised to start the program if would take about nine to 10 months to get the money pumping through.

And when it is going, Licensing will keep about 1 percent for its costs.

Council Leadership Elections Coming Up

The Bremerton City Council will be considering new leadership with the new year.

Twice-elected Council President Will Maupin said Wednesday he has enjoyed serving as what amounts to the council’s “department head” and said he would serve again if nominated and elected, but he wasn’t actively seeking the post.

Cecil McConnell, who had previously served as president, said he was considering a run, and Brad Gehring said he wanted to run for the position.

That’s three possible contenders, with one confirmed.

As for vice-president, Dianne Robinson said it was a good learning experience, but she wouldn’t run for the post that’s a heartbeat away from the council president.

Instead, Robinson said she was interested in vying for a committee chairmanship.

The only confirmed candidate for vice is the council’s newest member, Roy Runyon.

“I always wanted to be vice-president,” Runyon said. “Or an admiral.”

Among the president’s responsibilities are supervising the council’s two staff members, representing the city at interlocal events, leading meetings and setting committee assignments.

The council will vote on new leadership at its first meeting of the year, Jan. 7.