SK Parks: Hearing Completed

Update 3:36 p.m. Friday: Marc Brenman executive director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission confirmed that his organization was contacted by Warren Collver, who has had discussions with staff members. They sent Collver a claim questionnaire, Brenman said, but he has not acted on the concerns he voiced as yet.

Update, 12:26 p.m. Friday: SK Parks: Dissolution is Finalized

After 28 years as the governing entity for South Kitsap Community Park, the South Kitsap Parks & Recreation District Board of Commissioners is no more.
Judge Anna Laurie today granted the board’s petition to dissolve, which was filed in Kitsap County Superior Court last month, along with a quit claim deed to the park, which the board has turned over to Kitsap County.
The board had struggled for years to maintain the 200-acre park, which was not supported by taxes, and in April, it reached an agreement with the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners. The county last year pressured the parks board to release the park by bringing suit against it for past election debt.
During prolonged negotiations with the county, board member Margie Rees actively resisted the transfer, while other board members appeared to move toward resignation and eventually acceptance of the arrangement, under which the county has promised to put $2.19 million into the park over the next six years. Rees signed all documents relating to the transfer, however, and said at a celebration of the park’s history June 30 she was ready to work cooperatively with county staff.
Parks board chairman Larry Walker, and board members Rees, Ron Flerx and Mary Colborn were present at the hearing. Not present was board member Warren Collver, whose threat last week to file a discrimination complaint against his own board with the Washington State Human Rights Commission threatened to delay the dissolution. Since four people had filed to run for positions on the board, any delay could have incurred on the board the cost of the November election, an estimated $25,000 to $30,000.
During the hearing, Otto asked Laurie to bar any future claims against the parks board. Laurie refused, but granted the dissolution after no one came forward to file a claim against the board.
Otto said he is not concerned about Collver’s threat. As of Thursday afternoon, no complaint by Collver had been filed with the commission (although he last week said it was “in the mail”), said Otto. Otto on Thursday received an e-mail from Collver, who said he believes he has six months to make a filing. Even if that were true, Otto said, Collver’s claim of discrimination lacks merit.
Collver has complained about a meeting held in a location that, he says, was not adequately publicized and not accessible to people with disabilities. Collver uses a wheelchair because of multiple sclerosis. Otto has e-mails showing how the meeting was publicized, and he said he can prove that his office is fully wheelchair accessible.
Walker said he is relieved that the dissolution is final.
“I am currently unemployed as a politician,” he quipped after the hearing, adding on a more serious note, “I’m glad this is over with. We’ve finally turned the corner. The stagnation’s over, and we’re moving forward.”

10:53 a.m., Friday: As I’m on vacation, I didn’t attend the parks board dissolution hearing today, but I thought you’d all be interested to know Kathryn Simpson just called me to say she was at the hearing, and the parks board is dissolved.

Warren Collver, who had said last week he was planning to file a discrimination complaint against the board, did not attend the hearing, which was presided over by Judge Anna Laurie. Kathryn said she understood that as of 3 p.m. yesterday, there was no claim against the parks board on file with the Washington State Human Rights Commission.

The board’s lawyer, Tony Otto, asked the judge for a ban on any future claim against the board, Kathryn said. The judge did not grant that, but did grant the dissolution and said it would be next to impossible for anyone to successfully bring a claim against a non-existent entity.

Also see a blog comment Kathryn made yesterday:
“As for my post about withdrawing, I need to update the situation. After going to the Auditor’s office Monday afternoon and being told that if we withdrew there would be no “special election filing period” and there would be no elections for SKPRD, I received a call with an about-face from the Auditor’s office Tuesday morning. Their position changed back to what they told us when we filed in June… if we withdraw after June 14th, there would be a special filing period and still there would be a potential for elections in November. Thus, Tuesday I called back the others who had filed (sorry, I couldn’t reach you, Mike) and suggested that the withdrawls be held off pending Friday’s hearing.”

2 thoughts on “SK Parks: Hearing Completed

  1. I wish I had something profound to say. I’m sure most are relieved for a variety of reasons. Personally, I’m looking forward to being able to focus my attentions more fully on my first public policy passion… public education in our community.

    Thank you to all who have preserved, volunteered, and advocated for what is best for the park and our community. Where you may have stood on the issue is less relevent than your willingness to step forward to make our community a better place. I wish more passionate citizens would get involved in issues.

    Kathryn Simpson

  2. Even the most beautiful butterfly had to undergo a metomorphosis before it could fly. “Fly” South Kitsap Park “Fly.” We won’t recognize you in a few years but your beauty will be worth the wait!
    Kathy-You have always given everything your best-though there are a few who try to attack you’re every word. “Give your best anyhow and just remember that in the final analysis it is between you and God and was never between you and them anyhow.” (Mother Theresa)

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