Category Archives: Election 2013

Bremerton to have a one-month council member

Remember how we had to elect a member of Congress to serve in the First Congressional District for one month following Jay Inslee’s resignation? Same goes in Bremerton, it seems.

Despite the fact that the Bremerton City Council named an interim council member, Wendy Priest, following the resignation of Roy Runyon, county elections officials say there has to be someone elected to fill the remainder of the term. That election will be in November and the new person would serve from the day the election is certified, late November, until the day a new council is sworn in, early January.

Again, what makes this necessary is redistricting. The council boundaries will change beginning in January. In fact, they’ll go from nine council seats to seven.

statefilingFiling for races across the state and in the county has begun. To the right appears to be the first filing in the state, an 8 a.m. entry by Republican Bill Brunson of Legislative Distirct 7. As we pointed out in the story about the legislative race in the 26th District, odd-year elections are typically reserved for local races, such as city councils and port and utility commissioners.

This year, though, voters in the 26th Legislative District will get to participate in a high profile race. I plan to add more to the blog later about the nature of that race and why it’s high profile, as well as diving further into some side issues.

The county will update county filings beginning at noon. Candidates can file online now, but Dolores Gilmore, county elections manager, said there is still a need to verify a candidate’s eligibility before the filing is posted online.

10 a.m. update: Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and Bremerton City Councilmen Adam Brockus and Greg Wheeler were among the first to file for re-election this week. Also running for Bremerton City Council, the first to file in District 5, is Dino Davis. In Port Orchard incumbent Jerry Childs filed, and Bek Ashby filed to run for Position 2. In Poulsbo Ed Stern is running for re-election. Ken Ames will run to retain his North Kitsap School Board seat, and in Central Kitsap Victoria Crescenzi filed to run for the seat she sought appointment to. In the South Kitsap School District Rebecca Diehl will run for the District 4 seat held by Kathryn Simpson. Larry Stokes is running to hold on to his Port of Bremerton seat. Fire districts and other port districts also have candidates.

Noon update: Becky Erickson is running for re-election as mayor in Poulsbo. Faye Flemister and Nick Wofford have filed to run to hold onto Bremerton City Council seats. Val Tollefson wants Bob Scales’ Bainbridge Island council seat. Jeanie Schulze will be running to keep the seat she was just appointed to, facing off against at least Victoria Crescenzi.

2 p.m. update: John Green is running for Debbi Lester’s seat on the Bainbridge Island City Council. In Bremerton Cynthia Triplett Galloway wants the First District seat. Robert B. Putaansuu seeks re-election to his Port Orchard City Council seat. So does Christopher J. Lemke for his South Kitsap School Board seat. In Manchester Steve Pedersen and James E. Strode both have seats on the Port of Manchester and the Manchester Water District seats. Pedersen, so far, has only signed up for the port board and Strode has only signed to run for the water district. I believe the next update will be the last one of the day.

5:30 p.m. Jerry McDonald joined the race for the Bremerton City Council seat Adam Brockus wants. Jerry Childs seeks re-election to the Port Orchard City Council. So does Jim Henry in Poulsbo. In the North Kitsap School District Cindy Webster-Martinson will run for the seat currently held by Tom Anderson. Bruce Richards is running for re-election for his Central Kitsap School Board seat.

More tomorrow.

Angel, Schlicher have allies in opposite chambers

Jordan Schrader at the (Tacoma) News Tribune gives both sides of the story in the gamesmanship question about the 26th District.

“There are games being played. I can’t say there isn’t,” Port Orchard Republican Angel said. Her rival, Gig Harbor Democrat Schlicher, similarly decried “stupid games” and concluded in frustration: “This is why people hate government.”

Recall that this is the district in which the appointed incumbent state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, is likely to face off against state Rep. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, to finish the last year of the term former state Sen. Derek Kilmer was elected to.

We addressed both sides of the issue when it comes to state Schlicher when we posted The Politics of Diabetes, because we did ask why he was the sponsor of the diabetes bill in the first place when it was sponsored by another legislator a year ago.

But then we posted about Schlicher’s Narrows Bridge toll bill getting killed by a floor vote to not have a floor vote. (Confusing. It just means they voted to not vote on the bill.) The bill had overwhelming support out of committee, but the majority coalition blocked it from the floor. What we didn’t know at the time was that Democrats got the question to the floor while Republican Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry was off floor feeding her baby. She came back to the floor to cast the coalition’s 25th vote against the bill.

After that incident I emailed Port Orchard state Rep. Jan Angel’s press rep the following:

We’ve paid some attention to how bills sponsored by state Sen. Nathan Schlicher have seemed to meet political reality. In one case he sponsored a bill that had Republican cosponsors, including from the committee. But at the last minute was pulled from committee executive session schedule. When another senator essentially forced a vote it went down on party lines. Yesterday another bill he sponsored was refused a floor vote by the Senate Majority Coalition after it had sailed through committee.

A cynic would suspect politics are at play.

A cynic would also assume that the same kind of politickacracy has been dumped on Jan Angel. I was hoping you might suggest some examples that come easily to mind.

Angel returned the request and left a voicemail message.

Angel said in her first session she had four good bills introduced, but only one passed. In the second session she introduced six bills and only one passed. She’s had three pass this year.

“This isn’t at all unusual for a freshman in their first session and for me in my second session and the fact that when you’re in the minority party, it’s difficult,” she said.

Angel said she got a bill out of committee unanimously, but it got killed on the floor, similar to what happened with Schlicher’s bridge toll bill.

“Have I had those things happen this session? You bet I have,” she said.

Angel has had three bills pass this session.

As Schrader writes in his story, proof that politics are at play is elusive. Leaders from both majorities deny it.

In an earlier story by John Stang of Crosscut about the bridge toll vote, there was a comment from Rodney Tom, a Democrat who leads the majority coalition, about Schlicher getting his one vote. “It is a Senate tradition that every senator — even those in the minority — gets one bill passed,” Stang wrote.

Schrader wrote that six senators, including Schlicher, have had just one bill pass. Not on that list are Republicans Sharon Brown or John Smith. Like Schlicher, they are appointed incumbents. Unlike Schlicher, both of them have five bills passed this session.

The politics of diabetes

While the sequestration drama has again revealed partisan gamesmanship, legislators in Olympia have every bit the skill of operating with suspected “politics first” motives.

One case involves an issue that doesn’t pack the punch of a 20 percent pay cut. It could potentially touch 11.6 million, the number (PDF) of Americans the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates has diabetes.

State Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, was the chief sponsor of a bill, SB 5423, that would have three state agencies dealing with diabetes coordinate their efforts to report every two years to the governor how much diabetes is costing state agencies, the effectiveness of existing diabetes programs, a report of agency cooperation and ideas for legislative action to help with costs.

The bill had bipartisan support and was cosponsored by three other members of the Senate Health Care Committee, including Republican Chairwoman Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, and Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor.

On Feb. 19 the bill had a hearing in front of the committee. Steward Perry, a Kentuckian volunteer with the American Diabetes Association, was there to discuss the impact of a similar bill in his state. He didn’t point to tangible changes, saying the first report had just been given to Kentucky’s Legislature.

The night before the Feb. 21 executive session, where members would have voted whether to send the bill to the Rules Committee, the bill was still on the agenda. By the time the meeting started it was gone. John Stang, writing for Crosscut, said Becker told him the agenda was crowded and some bill had to be removed. Schlicher noted later that the committee ended a half hour early.

And in the committee there was more than a crowded agenda as reasons given to kill the bill. The diabetes legislation got a full conversation, thanks to the bill’s sponsor a year ago, state Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent. Keiser made a rapid motion to send the bill to Rules with a “do pass” recommendation and was quickly seconded. That’s when the fun began.

We will go to recess
Madame Chair?
We will go to recess.
I do not, I do not, I object. We cannot go to recess when a motion is on the table.
We’re going to recess. (pause) We’re going to recess.

The committee was away for awhile, then the TVW recording returns in the middle of a dispute over whether they were voting or going to have a roll call vote. Becker asked for those in favor and those not and the “Nays” were a committed bunch, much louder than the “Ayes.”

Becker then said the committee was adjourned, to which Keiser said adjourning is not appropriate. Becker said it was and then adjourned the committee for 26 seconds, coming back saying there is a disagreement over procedure.

Keiser and Schlicher both urged passage of the bill.

Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, said he appreciated the sentiment around the bills’ impact on patients, but that at its heart it was a bill about state agency cooperation. “I believe that we owe our new governor a chance to have his agencies act on this,” he said. “The governor has talked a lot about lean management and about breaking down silos, I think that’s exactly what this bill purports to do, but I don’t think it is necessary to do it statutorily.”

Becker then said the bill was discussed a lot the night before “when we broke for caucus.”

For those not familiar with the Legislature, breaking for caucus means each party steps away from the floor to meet among themselves and discuss legislation and strategy. Typically that means Democrats meet among Democrats and Republicans meet among Republicans. In the state Senate it’s Democrats and the Majority Coalition, made up of Republicans and Democrats Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom. Becker reiterated Dammeier’s point about agency silos and said passing legislation might actually put unnecessary restraints on the agencies.

Going to caucus, though, gets to Stang’s suspicions.

Schlicher — who was appointed to his seat — faces his first election in November against Rep Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard. The rookie Schlicher has a sparse record of passed bills compared to the veteran Angel. Becker denied that the bill was killed for reasons related to the upcoming Schlicher-Angel race.

That Schlicher was the sponsor of the bill could be interpreted as politics, too. Keiser sponsored it last year. Her bill would have established a public-private partnership to do much the same as Schlicher’s bill, and it would have expired in 2014. The bill made it out of the Senate Committee on Health & Long-Term Care and died in Ways & Means. Keiser said this year in committee that the problems that stalled last year’s bill were worked out.

Schlicher said the thought behind having him be the sponsor this year was to have a physician run some of the hurdles for what had been a non-controversial health care bill until Feb. 21. He cited his support for a Becker bill, ESB 5305, which requires hospitals to report when a patient is being treated for a stab or gunshot wound, whether the patient is conscious or not. Existing law only required the reporting when patients were unconscious. Schlicher said Democrats traditionally did not favor that requirement, but his status as a doctor helped persuade his caucus otherwise. The bill passed the Senate 49-0.

There is no proof or testimony yet that the diabetes bill was killed for political reasons. A House version of the bill, HB 1795, passed out of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services in an 8-1 vote the day after it died in the Senate. The House bill is in Rules on that side of the capitol, but it would need to go through the Senate again.

And Schlicher said the governor’s office has expressed support for the idea, so it may get the treatment Republicans in the state Senate are calling for.

Campaign season

Josh Farley writes:

It’s February, and you know what that means: the beginning of political campaign season.

OK, maybe that’s not the first thing on your mind. February’s supposed to be about groundhogs and hearts, while voting’s more more akin to pumpkins and the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. But those running are already plotting their courses to November. And while the fireworks of 2012 included a presidential and gubernatorial election and our state’s historic legalization of marijuana, 2013 will have some firepower of its own — at least at the local level.

In Bremerton, the city council will be reduced in size, from nine to seven, thanks to a staunchly voter-approved measure a few years back. Increasing the population of each district could make the races more competitive, in a city where it’s not uncommon to see council members run unopposed.

Greg Wheeler, first-term councilman currently representing district 5 (an area that includes a chunk of West Bremerton near Evergreen Park and a portion of East Bremerton near East Park) called me Monday to say he’s throwing his hat in the ring for what will be the new council district 4. That new district will encompass a big portion of West Bremerton, from the Port Washington Narrows to the Shipyard north to south and from Warren Avenue to about Hewitt Avenue east to west.

I asked Kitsap Sun political guru Steven Gardner if he’d heard of anyone yet filing with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission (candidates have to wait until May to file in the county officially) and he took a look at the PDC’s web site. Wheeler’s not there yet, but Adam Brockus, city councilman representing Manette, is — and he appears to be the first from Kitsap’s local governments to file.

Brockus, in seeking a third term on the council, is running for a district 3 seat that will expand to encompass downtown Bremerton as well as its existing Manette territory.

We’ll keep you posted as filings come in. I should also mention that aside from all council members being up, the terms of Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent and Municipal Court Judge James Docter are coming to an end this year. Before you know it, the campaign signs will be up.