Category Archives: Port Orchard

Heads Up: On the Agenda

Steven Gardner writes:

Brynn had herself a little holiday and left the agenda reporting to me. Unlike last week, I’ll actually have to go to a couple of these this week. See you there. Aloha!

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Monday, June 28: 1 p.m. Note the earlier start time, but the first half hour is yet another executive session. Then there is a budget update to detail how recording and licensing revenues are down, property tax delinquencies are up, penalties and interest on those delinquencies are up, expenditures are down, unemployment payments are up, supplies are down and Bremerton owes the county $200,000 for jail stays. The rest of the meeting deals to some degree with budget meeting, until 4 p.m. when there is a half hour on countywide planning policies.

Monday, June 28: 7 p.m. Jon Brand was named Engineer of the Year for an Urban County, Cami Lewis is employee of the month and a couple other awards will follow the pledge of allegiance. Some public airing will happen dealing with closing the streets for Whaling days and an interlocal agreement for the Newberry Hill Heritage Park. Public hearings will be on a “no parking” restriction on parts of Sidney road at Horshoe Lake Park and road closures on Seabeck Holly Road for culvert replacement. As always, there’s an option for you to stir things up at the beginning and end of the meeting.

Wednesday, June 30: 8:30 a.m. The board will spend three hours in a discussion about “water as a resource.”

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 30: The City Council study session will have a few short items, but the longer conversation is likely to be about the city’s 2010 budget. The council could make recommendations on how the budget will be cut, responding some to proposals from department directors and making unwanted mandates on others.

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)
Meeting dates: It’s the fifth Tuesday of the month, which means no meeting, unless we’re notified otherwise, because if Port Orchard has a problem, it’ll deal with it.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)
Meeting dates:
No meeting until July 7

Port Orchard Neighbors Get Action on Parking Complaints

A tale of public process at work.

When the residents of Advantage Avenue in Port Orchard got sick and tired of not being able to find adequate parking street, they took their complaints to the city in the form of a petition. The result was a bouncing baby resolution, approved by the city council on Tuesday, specific only to Advantage Avenue.

Who knew such a creature existed?

City code allows the council to establish regulations and fees related to parking in the city. Before the resolution, parking was not allowed on either side of the street, which is a dead end. Seven of the 8 residents who live along the north 350 feet of Advantage Ave., asked that they be allowed to park long the east side of Advantage and at the north end of the street. They agreed that parking restrictions would remain in effect along the east side of the street. The petition was circulated at the request of the city to resolve the matter.

South Kitsap Fire & Rescue reviewed the proposal to ensure safety would be maintained.

The council approved the petitioners request with the following conditions:
* On-street parking will be allowed through issuance of a permit, with a limit of two permits per household.
* If the parking modifications prove to be problematic, the resolution will be repealed.

Problem solved.

Now I wonder what kind of precedent this will set, if any, with other neighborhoods. Councilman Rob Putaansuu asked if the public property wanted the council to look at other areas. No, said Fred Olin committee chairman, “If something comes up, we’ll deal with it.”

Heads Up: On The Agenda

Brynn Grimley writes:

For those who have been living under a rock, in case you didn’t know today’s a holiday. Which means that all government offices are closed. That means for this blog there’s one less meeting day to have to review. (Woo Hoo!)

Without further adieu, here’s the agendas for the week:

Kitsap County Board of Commissioners (meet at 619 Division Street)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 2: 8:30 a.m. The board’s weekly work study session will include a 30 minute presentation by Parks and Recreation Director Jim Dumwiddie about parks grants, County Fire Marshal David Lynam will follow with a 45 minute presentation about special events. The board will take a 10 minute break then reconvene for an hour presentation by DCD Director Larry Keeton about large onsite sewage systems. The board will then recess into executive session for 30 minutes to discuss existing litigation and then recess again into executive session from 11:30 to noon to discuss real estate matters. They’ll adjourn following the executive sessions.

City of Bremerton (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 2: 5 p.m. The City Council will have a briefing until 5:30 p.m. where they’ll convene their regular session in council chambers. The following items are on the general business agenda: approve parking enforcement services contract with Diamond Parking; award contract to Stan Palmer Construction for construction of the Lions Park Renovation project. The public hearing portion of the meeting includes: review of a Local Solicitation 2010 Justice Assistance grant application; public hearing on an ordinance to amend Title 18 titled “City Fire Code” of the Bremerton Municipal Code and to adopt the 2009 changes to the International Fire Code; hearing an ordinance to amend Chapter 17.04 titled “State Building Code Adoption” of Bremerton Municipal Code, to repeal the adoption of the Washington State Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality Code and to adopt the 2009 editions of the various building codes. Council committee reports will follow and then adjournment. (A story on the Diamond Parking contract is here).

City of Port Orchard (meet at 219 Prospect Street)

No meeting this week.

City of Poulsbo (meet at 19050 Jensen Way)

Meeting dates:

Wednesday, June 3: 7 p.m. The council will begin the meeting with an update from Mayor Becky Erickson. There are only two items on the business agenda. They include: reviewing a contract amendment with ICF Jones & Stokes for a Dogfish Creek study; and a contract amendment with Krazan for the Fjord Slide Repair project.

Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 2: 1 p.m. I either didn’t receive the agenda for KCCHA before the long weekend or I accidentally deleted it. The agenda is not listed on the website (or if it is I can’t find it), but here’s what the organization submitted for the civic calendar listing for its meeting: The Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority commissioners will meet at the Norm Dicks Government Center, 345 Sixth St. This public meeting will include an executive session (closed to the public) to discuss real estate and potential litigation.

Kitsap Reginoal Coordinating Council (meet at 345 6th Street, Norm Dicks Government Center)

Meeting dates:

Tuesday, June 2: 8 a.m. The meeting kicks off with a study session to review countywide planning policy revisions between council representatives and Health District staff. The regular meeting will call to order at 9 a.m. and will cover a public hearing on funding recommendations on the homeless housing grant program; a report on a ferry service meeting held recently with Kitsap legislators and citizens; a work program report which includes a report from the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance/KCCDC; report by the non-motorized ad hoc committee; a report on the progress of the revenue sharing/UGA program partnership Kitsap County staff is doing in tandem with city of Port Orchard staff; a report on the city and county’s roles; and a report on the broadband ARRA grand application. Adjournment is slated for 11 a.m. (A story about the revenue sharing/UGA program is here.)

Port of Illahee (meet at the CKFR Station 41 off Old Military Road)

Tuesday, June 2: 5:30 p.m. The Port of Illahee is holding an informational meeting for district taxpayers to learn about the Illahee Plan, the port’s opportunity to buy land from the Timbers Edge development, a petition for the community to sign if they support the purchase and how these issues could effect the community. Commissioners want to hear from all community members in the port district. (The story about the petition and the option to buy the Timbers Edge property is here.)

That’s all I got for the short week. Hope everyone is enjoying their day off today.

Heads-up on the Agenda – Port Orchard Work Study

Coming up this week at the city of Port Orchard.

7 p.m.: The city of Port Orchard Planning Commission will meet at city hall. On the agenda: McCormick Village Park Plan Update, status update and subcommittee report; Discussion and recommendation for Title 16: Business and Professional Land Uses, Subject: Resolution for revision to Business-Professional Zone.

7 p.m.: The Port Orchard City Council will meet at 7 p.m. at city hall. On the Agenda (among other things): Bay Street Pedestrian Pathway; Sanitary Sewer Rate Study (according to utility committee member Fred Olin, this pertains to McCormick Woods residents who have the STEP sewage treatment system; the city is considering replacing all this systems, which must be regularly maintained, with grinder pumps that are used by all other customers); and something about a hot dog vendor (wonder if city hall will get a hot dog stand like the Kitsap County administration building, which has two).

Port Orchard’s Design Review Board Not Working as Designed

The city of Port Orchard spent at least two years drafting its Downtown Overlay District Plan, approved in 2007. The plan included much discussed design standards intended to promote an upscale look in new developments or renovations of significant size. To that end, the city created a design review board, to be made up of citizens with certified good taste, some of whom were to have some formal knowledge of design.

The DRB got it’s first “case” recently when jeweler Rudy Swenson proposed to renovate his building at 701 Bay Street in a New Orleans design, complete with wrought iron railings, brickwork, hanging baskets and other acoutrements reminiscent of the French Quarter. The council, on April 13, received a recommendation from the DRB approving Swenson’s design.

Ultimately, however, the process to not go as planned, said Councilman Jerry Childs at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Childs spent a lot of time before he was elected riding herd on the council to enact design standards that, as he said, would enhance Port Orchard’s “charm.” That’s pretty much why he ran for the council seat, he said. So he has a vested interest in making sure the DRB are effective gatekeepers for all that’s tasteful in Port Orchard.

Childs blew off steam at Tuesday’s meeting A. because the DRB, in it’s debut performance, approved Swenson’s plans without having access to schematic drawings of the design elements, and B. Some members of the five-person board approved the plans without having attended the meeting at which they were discussed, Childs said. One of the five did not vote. The other two who were absent voted by e-mail, he said.

Childs and the city’s development director James Weaver will meet to work out the bugs on the design review process. After spending so long on the DOD plan, the city should be getting more out of the design review board, Childs said.

“The very reason I ran got it’s first test, and it failed miserably,” he said.

Mayor Coppola Apologizes to Port Orchard for DUI Arrest

Update May 12: Lary Coppola, speaking as a private citizen at the Port Orchard City Council meeting on Tuesday, took the opportunity “to address the situation on May 2.” Once again he apologized to the city and to his family. His statement and a comment of support from Larry DeBarthe are within the first five minutes of the city’s video recording of the meeting. The video is posted on the city’s website.

7:45 p.m. : I received an e-mail from Lary Coppola, who believes I misquoted him in the interview with Dori Monson.

I have revised this post with deletions (struck through) and additions (italics) to indicate where the mayor believes he was misquoted.

Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, who was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of drunken driving, appeared on KIRO radio Friday afternoon and apologized to his constituents.

Host Dori Monson, who was harshly critical of Coppola earlier this week, mispronounced his name … saying it as in Francis Ford etc.* But he gave the mayor props for appearing on the show. Apparently state education chief Randy Dorn, who recently found himself in a similar pickle, turned down a similar invitation from Monson.

Coppola, asked to describe the events that let to his arrest, said he was driving home from a “charity event” (that would be the Port Orchard Rotary Crab Feed & Auction Saturday at McCormick Woods Clubhouse. About 100 yards from his home, Coppola said, he saw someone “run out of the shadows and jump in a car.” Suspicious, Coppola followed the car into “a driveway” (near The Rockwell apartments, Coppola’s home) and called 911. The other driver also called 911 to complain that Coppola was blocking his vehicle, according to a police report.

Coppola said that when law enforcement arrived, “They said, ‘Have you been drinking?’ and I said, ‘Well, yeah.'”

Monson asked if, given the mayor’s .12 blood alcohol level, he should have been driving a car.

“I should not have,” Coppola said. “There’s no two ways about it. It was an egregiousgrievous error in judgment.”

Does he have a problem with alcohol? Monson asked.

“No. I drink rarely and very little when I do,” Coppola said.

“There was a time in my life I was a pretty heavy drinker in between marriages,” Coppola said, adding that over the past 20 years he has consumed alcohol “very little.” “I do not drink every day,” he said.

Monson asked what it’s like to be a public figure in this situation.

“It’s personally and professionally humiliating beyond belief,” Coppola said. “This has got to be the worst experience I’ve ever had.”

“It’s been hard on my family,” Coppola acknowledged, telling Monson that a pending adoption of his 6-year-year-old grandson, Bryce, may be in jeopardy as a result of the incident.

Coppola and his wife Dee have custody of Bryce and have raised the boy since he was a toddler. Coppola said Bryce is aware that something is wrong. “Papa, did you do something bad?” Bryce was related to have said.

What about calls for his resignation? Monson asked. Should public officials be held to a higher standard?

“I don’t really know how to answer that question,” said Coppola, who added he’s received scores of e-mails, phone calls and even cards of support since his arrest. “(They say) you’re doing a really good job as mayor. Don’t let the naysayers talk you out of it staying.”

So has the mayor entertained the notion of stepping down?

“It’s not even on the table,” said Coppola. “You can count on ‘no.’ Not only ‘no,’ but ‘hell no.”

To the question, “Would you drink and drive again?” Coppola said, “Not only ‘no,’ but ‘hell no.'”

Finally, “Do you have a drinking problem?” Monson asked, noting that Coppola’s admission of a bout with heavy drinking earlier in his life raised a red flag.

Coppola deflected Monson’s suggestion, talking about how difficult the divorce was. “It changes your perspective on about things,” he said.

He repeated that being Bryce’s dad gives him an incentive to stay sober. “I don’t want to set that kind of example for him,” “My wife doesn’t drink at all, and we don’t keep liquor in the house because I don’t want to set that kind of example for Bryce.” Coppola said.

Coppola also had a message for the locals. “I would like to apologize to the city of Port Orchard for embarrassing our city,” he said. “And I’d like to apologize to my family.”

So Dori, about that name, it’s Lary, with one “r,” like Cary Bozeman. (I don’t know what this is all about; it’s just something with our public officials here in Kitsap.) And it’s “Cop” — as in “Oh, no, the cops are here.” — “po” — as in “podunk,” the image we’re trying to shed — and “la” as in do-re-mi-etc. Thanks for your interest in our town, and you’re welcome.

Chris Henry, South Kitsap/ government reporter

Kitsap Flooding 2007: FEMA Noticed, One Business Pays

Rudy Swensen, owner of Rings & Things jewelers, wants to expand his store at 710 Bay and turn the showroom into a destination even for those not in the market for rings and things. The project is the first the city will permit under new rules aimed at promoting downtown redevelopment.

Swensen, a native of New Orleans, proposes to remake the front of the building in the style of the Big Easy’s French Quarter, with brick walls, arched windows, wrought iron sconces and hanging flower baskets.

Swensen’s choice of motif is ironically appropriate, given that his showroom floor was under six inches of water on Dec. 3, 2007, the day a deluge caused flooding of historic proportions throughout Kitsap and Mason counties. While not on the scale of Hurricane Katrina, Kitsap’s December storm was an event those who endured it will tell their grandkids about.

Bay Street has been prone to flooding over the years as a result of the city’s forefathers building it on fill about 10 feet too low, according to city engineer Mark Dorsey.

Swensen secured financing for the project, on which he expects to spend more than a quarter million, through a Small Business Association loan. Because Bay Street is officially a flood zone in the Federal Department of Emergency Management’s books, Swensen is required to pay an annual premium of around $3,900 for the life of the 30-year loan. He hopes to be able to pay the loan off in 15 years, but even so that’s a considerable chunk of cash.

“Given that Bay Street was mostly fill during the 1940s and 1950s or even earlier, the Federal FEMA Flood Maps still consider much of downtown as within the Flood Zone and would require additional flood insurance and/or requirements for new construction,” explained James Weaver, the city’s development director.

Port Orchard, like other jurisdictions, is developing a stormwater utility under updated federal and state guidelines. The improved system for managing run-off, now in its infancy, will be phased on over the next decade. Swensen (and FEMA) can’t expect a quick fix. Swensen doubts that even when the system is in place FEMA will promptly remove the Flood Zone Scarlet Lewtter. Give it a 100 years or so to see how it holds up, officials are likely to say.

In the meantime, he’ll pay extra on the loan.

“Let’s say this, for everything you do in the world, you’re going to get tagged,” Swensen said.

Here’s the city’s flood zone map. Is your property on it?

Flood Zone

Speaking of New Library Taxes

It seems the Kitsap Regional Library Board faces a steep climb if it does indeed ask voters to approve a library levy id lift in November.

Comments on a story I wrote for today’s Kitsap Sun sounded a lot like this one from jetvilleres:
“With the internet available just about everywhere these days, who needs a library anyway. And for all you parents with kids, books are cheap at the Goodwill and Value Village.”

Comments like that outnumbered comments like this from Robin_in_Manette:
“We have an excellent library system. Good luck with the levy!”

The board will make a decision on whether to run the levy in the next few months. In the meantime, they’re keeping their eyes on the economy, voters’ moods, other possible measures that could run at the same time and “political” factors, including the possibility that Port Orchard’s library could join the KRL system.

Finance committee chairman Rob Putaansuu, says annexing into the library district would give Port Orchard residents a say in any library levy lid lift. Putaansuu and other council members have said it would not amount to a tax increase, and that’s true … in one respect. Port Orchard property owners would not see an increase in their library tax, but, according to Kitsap County Assessor Jim Avery, the city could raise its levy rate as a direct result of the library annexation.

To give credit where credit is due, I got the heads up about this from a piece by South Kitsap columnist Bob Meadows, who gave a detailed explanation. I’ll try to give the Cliff Notes version.

Port Orchard residents have access to the same books, CDs and other materials available to KRL patrons. They can check out and return those materials at any KRL branch. And they pay the same library property tax rate as KRL patrons, but they pay it in the form of a Port Orchard library tax as opposed to the regional library district tax. The city forwards revenue from its library tax to KRL, essentially acting as a pass through agency.

As Meadows points out, Port Orchard’s annexation into the library district would create a gap or void between its highest allowable tax rate and the amount it actually collects, presenting the council with the opportunity to raise taxes. Avery calls it bonus taxing capacity. Significantly, the council would not be required to act on the option immediately, but they could “bank” the increase for future use.

I’ll let Avery explain the details:

“This is the same thing we saw play out when the fire district annexed all of Port Orchard (and Poulsbo) several years ago.

The City of Port Orchard and other regular taxing districts are limited by two things when it comes to how much they can levy in property taxes each year. They cannot levy above a statutory maximum levy rate (dollars per thousand of assessed value). And as long as they do not exceed that rate they can levy 1% above their “highest allowable” levy amount, exclusive of new construction.

The “highest allowable” amount is usually their prior year’s levy. Because our assessed value increased dramatically from 2002-2007 levy rates were driven down to a point where they generally are not a factor unless voters have recently approved a levy rate increase.

The problem creating all the confusion here is that while annexing districts (e.g. fire, library and cities) who are increasing the size of their district get to add an appropriate amount above the 1% to their “highest allowable” levy amount, there is no corresponding reduction to the “highest allowable” levy amount from the district that is losing property (emphasis mine, CTH). Logic would suggest that there should be a required reduction to the levy amount when a service area is reduced.

In this case with the proposed annexation of the City Port Orchard to the regional library district, even if the city chooses not to take the bonus levy capacity of about $370,000 in the year following annexation, the money is still banked and available for future use.

It seems to me it is going to take a very strong resolution on the part of the city council to convince the voters in the city that they will not see higher taxes as a result of annexation to the library. And then of course any resolution made by this council can be undone by future councils.
Jim Avery
Kitsap County Assessor

Is Bremerton the Beer Caucus?

The Dude, charter member of the White Russian Caucus, though he often consorts with legislators from Seattle.

This is really a topic more suited for another writer, one you might know, who because he now works for a competitor I won’t name. I’m not trying to insult him (Oh dear, now you know his gender.) by suggesting he’s an expert in mind-altering substances. But almost anyone is more of an expert than I am, given that I have chosen a life in which I really only get anything close to high when the dentist shares some killer nitrous. Unfortunately my dentist lives by a code himself, so we’re both on our best behavior around each other. The point is I’m no expert on the subject matter, and could really only guess at any place’s intoxicant of choice. Then again, I do read police reports.

In political circles you have your caucuses. Our nine legislators are free to call themselves the Kitsap Caucus without any fear of copyright claims from us. We’re that noble.

Steve Elliott on OpEdNews, in a pro-marijuana decriminalization post that insists Washington’s Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp is missing part of that which makes him a man (Actually, there is a pair of said parts and they are not socks or trousers.) suggests legislators could be broken into caucuses that have yet to be made official, the intoxicant caucuses. From the blog entry:

“Chopp, who grew up in Bremerton, WA, likes to describe himself as a ‘Bremerton Democrat’ (translation: ‘I’m almost like Norm Dicks. Besides, I don’t smoke pot; I drink beer. Vote for me, please!’), presumably to distance himself from the ‘effete Seattle liberal’ image that scares him so badly . . .”

It’s not the first time “Bremerton Democrat” has meant that the speaker drinks beer. In 2007 Josh Feit at “The Stranger” wrote:

“First elected to the state house from Seattle’s 43rd District in 1994, Chopp, who likes to refer to himself as a ‘Bremerton Democrat’—meaning a beer-drinking, blue-collar, populist 26th District Democrat, as opposed to an effete, latte-sipping, pot-smoking 43rd District Democrat . . .

In both references Bremerton’s preference for beer over marijuana is, I guess, intended as an insult of sorts. Frankly, I know many people who think “beer” is probably being too general and too kind to the “We’re working on it” city. A random sample of stereotypical assumptions freely offered by co-workers within earshot led to the irrefutable conclusion that the beer of choice in Bremerton is anything that comes in a 40-ounce bottle, because it is more easily pilfered from the Sev.

We could be high (And by “high” I mean “wrong.”), of course, so we ask you dear readers to come up with your own thoughts for what the intoxicant of choice in Bremerton is. While we’re at it, let’s include Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo and Port Orchard. Don’t feel limited to legal substances, because I know that would be a particular challenge for Port Orchard. Remember, Seattle is claiming marijuana (despite there being not a single White Castle restaurant in the city) and possessing marijuana will get you more than a stern reprimand that kills your buzz.

2005 Quote from Bozeman on Mayors, Councils, Managers

Peter Callaghan from the (Tacoma) News Tribune discusses whether cities should be led by strong mayors or managers. In the process he interviews someone who has seen both types of governments, former Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman.

In 2005, in the wake of the Brame scandal and the Corpuz dismissal, I asked Cary Bozeman, now the director of the Port of Bremerton, which form was best. He had been both the “weak” mayor of Bellevue and the “strong” mayor of Bremerton.

Strong leaders are the key. But because it is more likely that a city can hire a strong leader from around the nation than find one to elect in town, he said he thinks a council-manager system is best for most cities.

When Bainbridge Island was going through its conversation about whether to dump the strong mayor, I also asked Bozeman what he thought about it, and what he thought Bremerton should have. He declined to answer.

Makes you wonder, though, doesn’t it? The question has come up in the past. Anyone here for changing the form of governments in the three other Kitsap cities now led by mayors? Or are the cities better off sticking with what they have?

Updated: Some New PO Residents Received Wrong Ballots

Walt Washington, county auditor, just phoned to say that about 75 McCormick Woods residents did not receive the correct ballots and will be issued new ones.

The residents were part of the area annexed into Port Orchard in July. The ballots they received did not have any city council races on them, which as residents of the city they are now authorized to vote on.

The addition of McCormick Woods added about 2,000 residents to Port Orchard.

UPDATE: The auditor’s office will be mailing out correct ballots Tuesday to the 71 voters who received the wrong version. Since it is early enough in the process, no extension will be offered. Had the mistake been discovered closer to election day, voters would have been given some extra time to send ballots back, Washington said.

Video: Discussion with South Kitsap School Board Candidates

The Kitsap Sun editorial board interviewed South Kitsap School Board Dist. 3 candidates Christopher Lemke, Naomi Polen and Gail Porter. Watch a recording of that by clicking on the video below. Due to an early technical difficulty, Porter’s opening introduction was cut off and audio does not start until 8 seconds in.

We’ll be live broadcasting more interviews with Kitsap candidates before the upcoming primary election and posting them on the Kitsap Caucus blog. You can find which ones are upcoming and watch them live at

Port of Bremerton Candidates Answer Questions

The Kitsap Sun editorial board interviewed the three candidates vying for a seat on the Port of Bremerton board of commissioners. Watch a recording of that by clicking on the video below.

We’ll be live broadcasting more interviews with Kitsap candidates before the upcoming primary election and posting them on the Kitsap Caucus blog.

– Angela Dice

County to Pay for Bulk of Ferry Study

One of the items of the Kitsap County commissioners’ agenda for Monday will be an allocation of the county’s hotel-motel tax revenues.

Typically such a meeting can invite a long line of those testifying, from those saying “Thank you” to those pleading for changes.

I don’t know what to expect on that score on Monday.

Part of what will be on the list of expenditures will be different than the allocations I’ve seen in the past. There will be $50,000 to help pay for an economic analysis of the ferry system’s impact on the East side.

This was the kind of study suggested less than a year ago in a meeting of Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council members, but eventually shelved when the different agencies that belong agreed they’d have trouble finding money in the budget.

What’s pushing this now, of course, is Washington State Ferries’ long-term proposals, one that would continue the current service as is and another that would reduce boats in Bremerton and Southworth and would reduce night service at those docks and in Kingston.

Commissioner Steve Bauer said the analysis would not be complete before the end of the Legislature. That could be a problem if legislators insist on picking one plan or another before “Sine Die,” the end of the session. Bauer is hoping the legislators will agree to push it at least another year, because whatever decision they make this year won’t have any financial impact until at least 2011.

The total cost of the study is expected to be in the neighborhood of $75,000. The remaining amount would need to come from the KRCC’s other members.

One SKIA Decision Down

The Washington State Boundary Review Board decided Thursday night to allow Bremerton’s annexation of the smaller part of SKIA to stand as requested. Port Orchard’s mayor, Lary Coppola, said the news was good for his city, because it doesn’t preclude Port Orchard from being the sewer service provider in the future.

In Bremerton, meanwhile, a planner for the city characterized the board’s decision as saying the board is not the place to determine how sewer will happen.

I’ll have more later, and Port Orchard’s press release and the Bremerton e-mail follow the “more” button below.
Continue reading

Seven Zip for SKIA Annexation

Andrew Binion covered the Bremerton City Council meeting Wednesday night, in which the council voted 7-0 to annex the bigger chunk of the South Kitsap Industrial Area.

As for a 2003 agreement that would have Port Orchard providing sewer to the site? “We’ll annex it, and we’ll decide,” said Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman. The “it” is SKIA, not Port Orchard.

This comes after the port requested annexation. The port represents about 54 percent of the ownership of SKIA property. The city’s opinion on the agreement is that it is not bound by an agreement it was not a party to.

Hot Talk Over a Three-Year-Old Pact

This (Tuesday) morning Port commissioners ratified the agreement they made in December 2005 with the Suquamish Tribe. The temperature in the conference room of the the port’s Bremerton National Airport main terminal building was fine before the meeting. It heated up later. Bill Mahan, port commissioner, took exception to residents’ complaints that the agreement the port made had been done in a back room somewhere.

It was not the angriest public meeting argument I’ve ever seen, but it definitely qualified as “heated” after several residents were critical of the commissioners for the agreement. Bill Mahan made the comment I quoted in the story about people thinking it was done back room as being wrong. Kathryn Simpson took exception to it and said so in terms that were direct, but not out of control. Mahan responded back. After the meeting Simpson said she needed to apologize for her reaction to his reaction. Simpson and Mahan talked after the meeting and it looked to me that the tones were civil.

Vivian Henderson from the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners said what the port and other agencies have to do is, to her, “paying bribes.”

She tried to soften the tone of the meeting at the end. “It was pretty emotional today and I believe you guys tried to do the right thing. I’m angry. I believe we’re paying bribes,” she said. “When you keep paying people who ask for bribes or blackmail, it doesn’t discourage them.”

Furthermore, “They have the casinos. They don’t share any of the money with us,” she said.

Mahan began to explain again that the treaties that make these kind of agreements necessary have been upheld in state and federal courts, that if you want to stop it you need to convince members of Congress.

Henderson said, “It’s OK. We forgive you.”

Stokes, by the way, said he spoke with Bremerton city officials working a boardwalk promotional booth at the county fair that the city is prepared to fight the tribe’s objections in court.

Stokes, as is mentioned in the story, abstained from the vote.

Mahan said some people are upset at the port because it has to negotiate with the tribe at all. Henderson’s comments would seem to indicate that’s true. So do many of the comments on stories about tribal rights being asserted.

Port Orchard getting tribal boats is the other big issue. Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola had something to say about, but a few others did, too.

I was interested in the tribe’s take on the comments by Mahan and Cheryl Kincer that the tribe was not happy with the agreement. Kincer went so far as to suggest (Read that literally. She wasn’t explicit, but she did suggest . . . ) that the tribe did not agree to do a blessing during the Bremerton marina opening because it was not thrilled with the mitigation agreement.

Leonard Forsman, tribal council chairman, said, “We didn’t get everything we wanted in that agreement, but we’re glad to hear the port held up their end” of the agreement by ratifying it.

On the marina event, Forsman said the tribe decided to not attend for a number of reasons, the chief one being that it had made its contribution to the project by agreeing to the deal.

The Tribe’s Agreement with the Port

As mentioned in a comment on another entry, a letter to the editor of the Port Orchard Independent takes issue with the Port of Bremerton’s mitigation agreement with the Suquamish Tribe. The agreement was made as part of the port’s Bremerton Marina, which was controversial, because port commissioners passed a tax that could have been subject to a vote, had residents known about it.

The letter, Port gave the tribe a payoff, spells out the terms of the agreement. The letter writer, Mark Morgan of Port Orchard, became interested in the pact because before a free concert along the waterfront he had tried to go for a walk on the breakwater. Part of it was roped off and he saw the tribe’s fishing boats beyond the ropes. He called the port and asked questions, got a copy of the agreement, posted most of the terms and criticized the port because he believed the port got the matter “sneaked in with little or no public debate.” He also criticized us, writing that we’re willing to let government do things behind people’s backs.

Kathryn Simpson, a South Kitsap School Board member, has also questioned whether the port acted legally, because the contract with the tribe was negotiated by Port commissioner Bill Mahan, but no vote was taken. We’ve contacted the port to get their response to this legal question. They’re working on a response. So is the state attorney general’s ombudsman. We’ve requested his response as well.

The terms of the agreement (download PDF) do include the tribe getting 200 feet (You could read it to mean 250 feet.) of the breakwater to moor its fishing vessels, a $10,000 contribution to a net damage and repair fund and $7,000 annually (adjusted each year for inflation) to the tribe’s fisheries enhancement fund. The tribe is also supposed to cooperate when there are big marina events, abide by marina rules and it was required to write a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stating that it did not oppose the Bremerton marina project.

The net money, according to the port’s chief executive officer Ken Attebery, is because recreational boaters often unintentionally do damage to fishing nets. The fisheries money is for Gorst Creek and Sinclair Inlet.

In the letter, Morgan wrote:

I was told the last 200 feet of the breakwater were for the “exclusive” use of the Suquamish Tribe.

At least on the day I was there, public access was not allowed.

I read that to mean people would not be allowed to walk on the breakwater while the tribe is fishing, or possibly ever. I called the port’s marina manager Steve Slaton and asked. The ropes were up because hinges broke on a transition plate. Transition plates connect floats to each other. When a hinge breaks, there is a tripping danger, Slaton said. Those hinges have been replaced and that section is open.

I then asked if there was an opportunity cost to the agreement. In other words, is the port not taking in money in guest rentals that it could be getting if the tribe did not have that 200 feet. Attebery said the tribe’s main fishing season is July to September, so their presence at the Port Orchard Marina is during those months. Of course, those are prime months for boaters, too.

Slaton said that in his recollection there might have been one time that the port rented spaces where the tribe’s boats are docking. “It’s the least desireable spot,” he said. “It’s a very rare occurrence.”

The marina has never had to turn any boaters away, Slaton said.

An additional note: Because one of you requested it, here (download PDF) is the agreement between the tribe and the state’s Department of Natural Resources on mitigation for the Suquamish dock.