Monthly Archives: February 2014

Kitsap Bar Poll: Enright and Houser finish in front

Kitsap lawyers polled on who should fill a vacant Superior Court seat showed their favorites are Deputy Prosecutor Chad Enright, finishing strong with 22 first choice votes, and public defender Bill Houser, who got 19.

Although missing out in the first choice column, Houser may have finished strongest overall. He received 23 second choice votes to Enright’s six second choice votes.

Houser also took the crown for “most qualified” with 53 votes. Enright and private practice attorney Greg Wall tied for second with 37 “most qualified” votes.

The results of the poll were forwarded Wednesday to Gov. Jay Inslee, who will likely make his pick during the first part of March. He is expected to interview a couple candidates in the coming weeks.

Whoever is picked will have to stand for election shortly after, and is expected to get to work immediately.

The seat was formerly occupied by Steven Dixon, who split Kitsap for the hills of Eastern Washington after being tapped for the only Superior Court seat in Adams County.

The poll has been criticized as a popularity contest. Others see it as a useful tool for gauging the opinions of lawyers about the colleagues. Who knows better a lawyer’s fitness for the robe than his or her peers?

Voting in each column was not required, so nothing kept lawyers from submitting ballots with undervotes. That didn’t stop bar members from giving U.S. Labor Department Specialized Examiner Tracy Flood 57 “not qualified” votes.

The poll was open to active members of the Kitsap Bar Association.

Kitsap Bar hears from Superior Court applicants


The 11 Kitsap lawyers applying to fill the open Superior Court seat gave their pitches to their colleagues Friday at the county bar association’s monthly luncheon.

The next to step is for bar members to rank and rate the applicants. The local association plans to forward the poll results to Gov. Jay Inslee’s office next week. Check back here for poll results Wednesday.

Inlsee will decide who will replace Steven Dixon, who left his seat here to take the single Superior Court seat in Adams County, Eastern Washington.

What good is a bar poll? It’s one of the things that Inslee will look at when making his decision, but their value has been questioned. Critics have called them popularity contests, those who think them useful tools consider them “barometers.”

The association has about 210 members, and 75 of them were present at Friday’s luncheon.

The applicants are, in order that they spoke:

-Kati Lappi
-Greg Wall
-Jeff Bassett
-Tracy Flood
-Melissa Hemstreet
-Karen Klein (did not appear)
-Bill Houser
-Diane Russell
-Tom Weaver
-Chad Enright
-Stephen Greer

Poulsbo attorney Matt Clucas headed up the process for the association and said 11 applicants is an expected turnout.

Nick Brown, Inslee’s attorney leading the process from Olympia, said candidate interviews will begin next week. One of two finalists will be asked back for additional interviews, and Inslee will make a decision by the end of the month or the beginning of March.

He said 11 candidates isn’t a lot, and the number is usually a reflection of the size of the county. He said empty court seats in King County have drawn 30-plus applicants, and smaller counties have drawn as many as three or four.

One-on-one with Poulsbo Police Chief Townsend

al townsend

All four of Kitsap County’s cities swore in a new police chief in 2013, but one simply headed up north for his new job.

Poulsbo Police Chief Al Townsend, 47, started as the chief of the Port Orchard Police Department when he was 33 years old.

He took over the smaller department in April, in a smaller community, and has high praise for it. Poulsbo has 17 officers, including Townsend. Port Orchard has 23.

I caught up with Townsend on Tuesday to see how he has been fitting in.

How’s it been going?

It’s a great place, a great group of people, a great community. And the nice thing is that it has allowed me a little bit more time than I had in Port Orchard to work on other little projects, regional concepts, mental health, things like that which are coming up.

What’s different from Port Orchard?

It was a little bit of a busier place. The crime rate is a little bit higher and the structure of the department is a little bit different here. We have really good support, the department developed a little bit differently. The administrative duties I used to do in Port Orchard are taken on by some other people here. The deputy chief does a lot of things operationally, which has freed me up to to do other projects.

What are your enforcement issues in Poulsbo?

Biggest enforcement issues are drugs, property crimes and traffic related things. The common small town issues come up. Obviously the heroin issue that came up earlier in 2013 was a big one and the community really rallied behind that. It was kind of a denial thing at first: Poulsbo is a great city, we can’t have this really as a problem in our community, I’m not sure I’m falling for this. But once people got slapped upside of the head, as the mayor would have said, it took a slap to really understand that the problem existed. People rallied behind that. The mayor and her plan to help eradicate it has been pretty successful I think.

That intertwines with other crimes as well?

Probably about 75 percent of property crimes we’re seeing had some intertwining with drug activity, people stealing stuff to buy drugs. We just put a body into Bremerton’s Special Operations Group, we’re rotating them through on a 30-day trial basis so they can get a feel for it and SOG supervisors can see what they like about the different people who might be interested in it. Hopefully there will be one person there for at least three years. They’ve had some really good cases come out so far.

What kind of changes have your made?

A lot of it is just morale issues, making people feel connected to the department. And making some of those decisions decentralized. Let’s empower people to make decisions on their own. And just being here and trying to get out and work with the troops at night. It’s not rocket science, it’s just a different way of doing business than the way they were used to up here. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the cops, and the community. And the community really likes their police. One of the things I noticed when I got up here and was walking around and talking to people was that a lot of people knew a police officer by name. In Port Orchard I wouldn’t have saw that. They’re going more call to call down in Port Orchard. We have a little more time between calls here. A little more time to interact with the community, and I think the community really likes that.

You’ve been in law enforcement since 1989, what’s changed?

Tell you one thing for sure, on drug side, never seen heroin like it is today in my 25 years in law enforcement. In the old days, like on TV, heroin was in back alleys, kind of that disgusting drug, nobody had anything to do with. It is everywhere now. And it is cheap. And as the Percocet and some of those tablets are becoming more expensive and they’ve changed the makeup of them, people had to switch from that to something else. Meth is harder to get now that precursor drugs are being more controlled and so it’s put a lot of pressure back onto the heroin thing. And it’s readily available and it’s cheap. It’s kind of become the drug of choice I think. You can buy a hit of it, or whatever you call it, for what a 12-pack of beer costs. For somebody who needs to go that next step, that’s a pretty cheap drug.


Huge changes. When I started you had three-part reports and you filled them out on paper and that is it. Polaroids. We took Polaroids. It’s amazing, now we’re taking photos with phone, uploading into a cloud system. Finger printing systems, you have live scans instead of ink prints.

For a line officer has it made it more difficult?

In a lot of ways it’s a little more difficult. They can get more data, and be more informed, but there is process to follow there. There is so much expectation on cops that they use all these other technologies and skills, and responses to mental illness, and new levels of training, new things have to develop. There are a lot more special interest groups, special responses to different issues that we expect them to know. So, yeah, I think it’s a more difficult job than it was. It seemed like 25 yeas ago it was much simpler to me.

Super Bowl ‘rioting’ likely made Seattle neighborhoods safer

12th man 1

In some cities, a team winning a national championship might result in the kind of fanfare expected at Armageddon.

But this is the Northwest. We love our crowd violence, but not when it comes to a measly Super Bowl win. It may be hard for outsiders to understand that while we are passionate about our teams, we keep ourselves pretty high.

Some climbing on buildings and signs in Pioneer Square, two people shot, and college kids lighting a few couches on fire in the University District?

This means there was actually less crime and violence in those neighborhoods than usual.

It’s unknown if the shootings were related to celebrations, or people furious that the Pergola had been damaged. The Pergola, if you don’t know, is an important symbol in the history of crack in Seattle.  Hopefully it will be repaired, and lots of crack will be smoked under it again.

Here in Kitsap County, there was a report of a couple fights at a bar on Perry Avenue at about midnight. Cops came, told everybody to go home. So they did.

If the Internet is to be believed, however, the barbarians have overrun the streets.

Something called had this to say:

“Seattle Seahawks fans reacted to their team’s Super Bowl victory by behaving like animals – lighting fires, damaging historic buildings and ripping down street signs during raucous scenes last night.”

What kind of animals use fire, InfoWars? Most animals don’t even have opposable thumbs.

Another media outlet, Breitbart News, its name derived from a Spanish obscenity, fantasized that riot police restored order.

After the Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl in franchise history on Sunday, fans in Seattle jumped on cars, took over intersections, torched couches, and riot police had to be brought in to restore order.

Let’s be honest: those couches needed to be torched anyway.

One venerable outlet, called American Live Wire, ran a headline that breathlessly cried, “Seattle Riots 2014 After Winning Super Bowl.” Here are the facts that supported the headline:

At least one bonfire had been started near the University of Washington campus.

At least … one?

The New York Daily News, whatever that is, said six people were arrested when crowds turned unruly. Sounds like they may have got that from the Seattle Times, which said six arrests were made throughout the city. The crowd on Capitol Hill had been posing for photos with police all night.


All together, it was a fun and safe time had by almost everybody. The world thinks we are animals, the Denver Broncos realized they might as well text “jk?” and a smiley emoticon to Tim Tebow and Seattle can now sit smug with the knowledge that our team won the the Super Bowl of Super Bowls: The Super Bowl.

UPDATE: Here is a post from the Seattle police on dealing with those animal 12th Men.

UPDATE: I removed a paragraph from the lower middle section. It just bugged me. It was critical of Seattle police, and made fun of their reputation for being heavy-handed, but like any time you make fun of a group based on their reputation, it didn’t reflect accurately on all the Seattle officers who do a good job and a harder job because of that reputation. Nobody said anything to me, this was my decision. It was a Richard Sherman moment. Carry on.