Category Archives: Government

City losing senior lawyer, planner

Floyd and Koontz at city hall recently.

Two of of the city’s most prominent employees are departing for new jobs.

Nicole Floyd, a senior planner who has been with the city about a decade, is leaving to become the planner for the city of DuPont. Mark Koontz, the city legal department’s top litigator, recently accepted a position at Levandowski and Morgan, a Tacoma-based personal injury firm.

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent praised both for their work in the city and wished them well, though she admitted she preferred they’d stay.

“They’re both success stories,” she said. “Both departures are bittersweet.”

Floyd has been the primary planner on the city’s most prominent projects — the new movie theater, downtown apartments, the Washington Youth Academy, to name a few. She also spearheaded the city’s version of the state’s Shoreline Master Plan, which increased but also “cleaned up” regulations for shoreline development here.

The North Thurston High School (Lacey) graduate of 1998 is moving closer to family in DuPont, where she’ll be the single planner for the small Pierce County city.

Floyd said she’s sad to leave town because of the relationships she’s developed here, but also because she believes the city is close to a “tipping point” where a surge of development occurs. During the Great Recession, she said permitting for big developments was pretty quiet. This year has been different, with lots of developers contacting the city for potential projects.

“I believe Bremerton is about to take off,” she said.

Koontz, meanwhile, has been the city’s chief courthouse litigator for the better part of a decade. The Seattle University law school graduate of 1996 worked for a prominent personal injury firm in Seattle before joining the city in 2006.

Koontz recalled his first case litigating on behalf of the city was when a woman arrested for DUI somehow wiggled her way out of a state trooper’s cruiser and ran off. The city police brought in a dog, which bit the woman. She sued, alleging civil rights violations. Koontz said the city successfully repelled the suit.

Koontz, whose wife, Claire Bradley, is a judge for Kitsap County District Court, said he was simply looking for a job where he could be in court more often.

“Frankly, I would’ve left a long time ago were it not for the people here,” he said. “I’ll miss working with them.”

No replacement has been announced for Floyd’s position; the city will cover Koontz’s position with a familiar face — attorney Dave Horton, who has worked for the city before. Retaining Horton is up for discussion by the City Council Wednesday.

Bremerton’s bizarre borders

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 1.08.35 PM

On a map, Bremerton is a Tetris champion’s worst nightmare. Geographically, it’s filled with holes: West Hills, Gorst (for now), Navy Yard City. There’s even an island in Port Orchard.

In sum, it has quite a bizarre set of borders.

Since I took over coverage of the city for the Kitsap Sun in late 2012, I have been perplexed as to how it came to be this way. Each area, of course, has its own story — Rocky Point, anyone? — but here we are, an oddly-shaped blob of a municipality.

As we have seen in this past week, Bremerton is widely known as a much larger area. The postal code includes areas in Seabeck and at the Fairgrounds. Bremerton’s public works department also provides water to a larger swath of land than is the city.

You may have seen Sunday’s story about how Bremerton is actually barred by agreement from annexing the area north of Riddell Road. We’ll see if that changes, following conversations between the city and the county over South Kitsap landowner David Overton’s desire to end the agreement.

This year, I plan to write a series of articles focusing on some of those holes. Many of them are UGAs — short for Urban Growth Areas, destined to come into the city under the state’s Growth Management Act. What’s kept them from coming in?

And for that matter, how different are services between those offered in Bremerton to those in the unincorporated county?

I offer one example regarding emergency services. There are already mutual aid agreements that ensure fire trucks and police cars are on their way, regardless of jurisdiction (South Kitsap Fire & Rescue, interestingly, is still the official fire department for Rocky Point). But when it comes to policing, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office is spread thin around the county, whereas Bremerton’s force is concentrated. The result more frequent patrols on city streets, and the ability of Bremerton police to respond much more quickly to emergencies.


Taxes and regulations are also different. Bremerton has a B&O tax that some cite as a deterrent for coming into the city. Of the regulatory climate, here’s one interesting nuance. There’s a storefront for a medical marijuana collective garden tucked into a sliver of county land near the Perry Avenue Mall. The city banned such gardens in 2013. It’s surrounded on three sides by Bremerton.

I think there’s a general assumption that coming into a city means more taxes, more regulation, more services. That doesn’t always turn out to be the case. I talked to a Rocky Point resident who recently told me why he didn’t want to be in the city. He recalled a relative supporting Marine Drive’s annexation into the city.

“Marine Drive got in because they wanted sewer and sidewalks,” he recalled. But they got nothin.'”

I hope to learn a lot this year on this issue, and welcome your knowledge and opinions.

More On Bremerton’s Red-Light Cameras

It happens in the news biz. You’re working on a story and tell your editor it might be a little long, only to receive the wince/sigh combo that only means one thing. “Space is tight in tomorrow’s paper.”

I had a conversation with Bremerton attorney Stan Glisson, who made a few points that I I thought people might be interested in. The Interwebs have unlimited space, so I’ll write them here.

I called Glisson because he’d written a letter a while back defending Municpal Court Judge Jame Docter, and the way the tickets are adjudicated in court. That said, he’s not a fan of the camera systems.

Glisson isn’t involved in the lawsuit over the traffic cameras, but he isn’t surprised to see some legal action.

“The frustration level people have is very high,” he said.

He researched the law himself a couple months ago after getting a ticket in the mail. He received the ticket a couple of weeks after it caught his car driving through the intersection. We’ve reported before that some people get out of the tickets by testifying in court – under threat of perjury – that they weren’t driving the car, it was someone else.

Obviously this can happen with a family member, friend, etc. borrowing the car. But the delay between the alleged violation and the ticket in the mail can lead to doubt about whether you were in the car or not, Glisson said.

Can you remember what you were doing two weeks ago?

So while you have the option to contest the ticket that way, “an honest person won’t do that if they aren’t sure,” he said.

While he isn’t a fan of the cameras, his opinion is that the city is interpreting the RCW legally when it set the costs of the red-light cameras within the rates for parking tickets. Red-light tickets are $124, the priciest parking ticket is $250.

“That’s why I believe Bremerton is safe in this class action,” he said.

In addition, I got a PowerPoint file from Bremerton finance director Andy Parks that he’d shown the council. I’ve attached it here (now as a PDF so it’s easier for more people to read.)

Download it by clicking here.

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.

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.

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.

Live Video — Bremerton Car Tab Debate

Yesterday’s experiment with the live feed from the Sun editorial board meeting went fairly well, we counted more than 140 viewers watching the discussion with state ferries director David Moseley. If you missed it, the session is archived here.

It’s unique that the ed board meets more than once a week, but due to some creative scheduling we’re back together this afternoon. Today’s guests are Bremerton city councilmen Nick Wofford and Cecil McConnell, who’ll debate the car tab fee being considered by the council.

We’ll get started around 5 p.m. Our web editor, Angela Dice, will host a live blog during the meeting alongside the broadcast. Head to around then and there will be a link to the coverage. You’ll have a chance to comment there, or send a question and we’ll try to fit it in. And send along any feedback on the experience of listening in on the editorial board meetings, it’s a new idea for us and we’d  like to know how it works for our readers (or viewers in this case, I suppose).

— David Nelson

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.

Seattle Weekly: The Hi-Lo Is Good For What Ails You

Photo Credit

Former Kitsap Sun features writer and current Seattle Weekly staffer Chris Kornelis rolled out of bed Thursday to chase down this review of the Hi-Lo Cafe, the out-of-the-way quirky west Bremerton diner at 2720 15th Street. It’s a tale told from the perspective of a someone who may be rheumy-eyed and headachey from a night’s debasement of his body temple.

The author notes that the Hi-Lo does not serve alcohol. “But, this is Bremerton. And there’s a nearby convenient store with tall-boys and brown bags if you really need a morning fix.”

Kornelis lives in Bremerton, I think, and has been touting the glories of the Sucka Free Zone in the pages of the Weekly, which I use to plug the gaping holes in my Murphy bed box spring. I also use Strangers. Neither works very well, but it’s interesting to see big city coverage of Bremerton that doesn’t have to do with 1) murder 2) the Harborside Fountain Park 3) pasties. Now that Seattle is uninhabitable to those who weren’t born rich, maybe Bremerton will take the mantle of most-favored-suburb. Or even be considered a suburb. I guess that depends on fast ferries.


“In Bremerton — light on Breakfast options, but not as bad as you’d think — the Hi-Low reigns king of the scene.”

If anybody knows of any other non-corporate breakfast joints in Bremerton, drop us a line.

Art Is Long, Tempers Are Short

I found this picture here

If the comments after this Kitsap Sun story are representative of the community’s opinion of public art, then the two new sculptures in front of the police station are in danger of being sold for scrap metal and shipped to China.

Of 14 comments (as of 6 p.m.), two readers defended the pieces, and one veered way off-topic and blamed the former Republican Congress and President Bush for the country’s problems. But it wasn’t just the pro-camp that veered off topic. Some in the anti-art crowd suggested that the city money would be better spent to retain county employees and to fix state roads.

(It should be pointed out, again, that this is money from construction projects paid for by the city, and the city, county and state and separate political entities. Within the city there isn’t one pot of money that can be divvied up and sent to whatever project the loudest voice requests. And, also, the police department was involved in designing the pieces.)

Comments seem to be saying: public art is OK as long as 1) the public doesn’t have to pay for it and 2) it is appreciated by members of the public most likely to complain on newspaper Web sites.

Here are some choice cuts:

Posted by seattlermc on April 17, 2008 at 12:20 p.m.
Donate the art but don’t make me, the tax payer, fund it when we have to lay our county employees off the job to make ends meet. It just doesn’t make any sense. But then again something like this statutory requirement most likely keeps those who are in favor of the spending in the life style they can enjoy – me the tax payer, well, I’ll continue to go to my JOB and earn my money doing my JOB so I can pay taxes so someone without a real JOB can create the “public art” I have to pay for.

Posted by Jason1 on April 17, 2008 at 10:49 a.m.
Take that 1% and put it towards making the jails larger or actually fixing our roads/infrastructure. This is complete BS.

Posted by cya247 on April 17, 2008 at 10:48 a.m.
Look at police chief’s face in the photo. He’s drawing a blank. This is absurd.

Posted by berry on April 17, 2008 at 8:24 a.m.
… hungry babies can have their minds taken off how starving they are, by gazing at their reflections in the artwork. Public safety money should be spent on public safety; sidewalks, lighting, maintenance of vehicles, etc. Art is nice, but not necessary.

Here is the one defense of the pieces that stayed on topic:

Posted by rgdimages on April 17, 2008 at 10:42 a.m.
Public art is a small expense, and adds hope and character to the community.

People who complained about public money being spent in such a way are “uneducated and unappreciative,” this commenter wrote, which further infuriated the anti-public art people.

One unintentionally amusing post pulled this classic playground move:

Posted by ceakins on April 17, 2008 at 4:45 p.m.
rgdimages I’ll let my boss know I’m uneducated when I start my next software dev project.

Fine, but whatever you do, don’t tell your boss that you are reading at work.