Manchester is no Bremerton, Port Candidates Agree

Updated 11 a.m. Oct. 16 to make the link to the story. CTH

A copy of this posting appears on the Kitsap Caucus blog.

It’s amazing how many stories have become tied up in the Port of Bremerton’s new tax to build a $34 million marina.
As a story in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun pointed out, the port’s decision to form an industrial development district, caught many people unaware and has had far reaching repercussions.

South Kitsap School District’s bond measure and the Kitsap Regional Library bond were cited as casualties of the 45 cents per $1,000 tax port district residents will pay (on top of what they have been paying) for the next six years.

Port of Manchester candidates were quick to distance themselves from the Port of Bremerton at an informal meet-and-greet Saturday at the Manchester Library. Port districts are charged by state law with promoting economic development, and the candidates all have slightly different ideas on what that role should be. But when it comes to raising money a la Port of Bremerton, they were all singing the same tune.

Here’s the link to the story.

10 thoughts on “Manchester is no Bremerton, Port Candidates Agree

  1. People living within the port districts of Manchester and Waterman should thank their lucky stars that they aren’t within the Port of Bremerton. Their total property tax bills would have gone up by at least another 5 percent this year, if they were. (And we should all envy those living in an area just south of these two port districts — they aren’t in any port district at all.)

    The actions of Huntington et al at the Port of Bremerton in evading our right to put the new tax on the ballot should have taught everyone a lesson — even those of us who didn’t have to pay for the lesson.

    Small port districts can and do accomplish some good things for their communities, but the key is to ensure the community knows and supports (and is willing to pay for) what is intended.

  2. There were other reasons people had for not supporting the school levy, but it is as if those are ignored and forgotten. Many people didn’t feel that the bond issue was very well thought out and that there were indications that enrollment was dropping not increasing. Some people felt that we really didn’t need a new high school that the current one was built to hold the students we have. Others had environmental reasons for not believing we needed a school near McCormick Woods.

    It is too simple to blame it on the Port of Bremerton and unfair to Mary Ann Huntington, a consummate SKSD volunteer, to blame it on her. I think this blame should be stopped and the true reasons for the bond failure investigated.

  3. Mary,

    The most often repeated reason I hear from people that voted “no” is their concern about their property taxes being too high already. Many have said that the Port’s action was a “tipping point” in regard to their vote on the bond.

    Elected officials need to understand that their actions have consequences. Some intended, some not so intended. I don’t think that the Port of Bremerton intended for their action to affect the bond, but then again, I don’t recall any elected official from the Port of Bremerton giving anyone a heads up on what was about to happen, either. Was there any discussion by the Port of Bremerton about the potential of fall-out from their tax on other elections? I don’t know. Perhaps a Port commissioner can enlighten us.

    You say it isn’t fair to Commissioner Huntington and the Port of Bremerton? I say they weren’t fair to the needs of South Kitsap!

    Kathryn Simpson

  4. I don’t agree. I think that Mary Ann Huntington has been more than fair and giving to the South Kitsap community, much more in fact than you.

    Plus, you make an assumption based on your own bias that everyone wanted a new high school. Until you can accept that not everyone did, for reasons not related to the taxes, you, in fact, are the one who is not listening to the citizens of South Kitsap.

    Enough said.

  5. The people I hear from say the Port of Bremerton is the cause of lessons learned for all of us and will affect every decision by the voters for years to come.

    Nobody blames Mary Ann Huntington – all three share the same blame from those who must throw ‘blame’ somewhere.
    She is only mentioned so often because she is up for election.
    If you want to listen to the people…listen,.
    Her character is not in question.

    Sometimes people fight back the only way they can. NO on the election ballot UNLESS they are convinced the new tax they’re to vote on themselves has absolute merit. They won’t be fooled again.
    …in my opinion,
    Sharon O’Hara

  6. Mary,

    You have a disturbing knack for taking a legitimate discussion and attempting to turn it into a spitting contest.

    As for your comparison of Mary Ann Huntington’s contributions to this community being so much greater than mine, I’ll just flat out acknowledge that you are absolutely correct. Mrs. Huntington has given a great deal to this community. Far more than I have, since you feel it necessary to compare.

    That being said, I think very highly of many current and former elected officials (Republicans, Democrats, and non-partisans). They have stepped into the arena to affect positive change for the community (as they see it). However, I won’t vote for some of them in an election because their legislative and policy actions do not follow my expectations. That does not mean that I dislike them or disrespect them. It means I disagree with them on key issues.

    I strongly disagree with what the current elected officials of the Port of Bremerton have done recently and their methodololgy. I will demonstrate that in my discussion of issues and then at the ballot box this November and in future elections. That is democracy in action.

    You can vote and pursue your issues your way and I shall vote and pursue issues my way. Welcome to democracy.

    As to your perception that I’m not listening to the other reasons people voted “no” on the SK Bond, I would take offense at that, but you would enjoy it too much. Suffice it to say that I feel I have worked hard to get the message out about the need, listen to concerns, and protect taxpayer interests. Part of the reason I participate in the blogs is to “listen”.

    If I decide to run for re-election, folks will have the same opportunity with me in 2009 that they have with Mary Ann Huntington in 2007. if you feel I’m not serving in your best interest, please vote your conscience! I’m sure you’ll be leading the charge for my opponent.

    Kathryn Simpson

  7. “The true reasons for the bond failure investigated”? Happy to oblige, Mary. When are you beginning that investigation? As co-chairman of the South Kitsap School Supporters let me be the first to volunteer to be investigated.
    “The bond issue was not well thought out”. I spent the better part of two years working on the need for a school bond and the drive to make that happen. Many of our fellow citizens participated as well. I don’t remember you being a part of that process so how do you determine the bond was not well thought out?. Or is it that it didn’t conform to your world view?
    There is a deep current of mistrust that runs through this community and the Port of Bremerton tapped into it. The fallout, weather you want to believe it or not, materially effected both the school bond and the library levy. You have to be in deep denial to believe that 2000 more “no” votes than ever before in a school bond/levy election can be attributed to the new high school alone. You might also consider that a majority of your fellow citizens voted in favor of the bond issue. What does that tell you?
    “I think that Mary Ann Huntigton has been more than fair and giving to the South Kitsap community, much more in fact than you”.
    What a “snarky” comment.
    First,no one is demeaning Mary Ann’s giving to the ommunity.
    Secondly, I’m not sure how you measure who gives most to a community. I do know that Kathy Simpson is a career woman with a full time job, mother, school board member (elected of course), youth sports advocate and participant, advocate for the parks, and community activist. Her contributions to this community are not in question and it is unfair to both Kathy and Mary Ann Huntington to attempt to pit ones accomplishments against the other.
    While it might make you feel better to think that this is personal with Ms. Huntington that is not the case. What seems to gall a number of people is the apparent arrogance of incumbency and the disdain demonstrated by comments like “lazy voters”.
    There comes a point in time when we have all reached our maximum level of effectiveness. The best among us let their ego’s go and accept the fact that our ideas are getting stale and we have overstayed our welcome.
    I think that time has come for all of the Port of Bremerton Commissioners.

  8. I voted for the school bond. My son and all of his high school friends did not, however. I doubt they were considering the port’s tax increase.

    However, if you keep using this tone with me, I might not vote your way next time. Contrary to what you want to believe there are legitimate questions over whether we really need a new high school with enrollment dropping. CK is already closing schools for that reason.

    Maybe we should call for a consolidation of the districts the way that they are considering consolidating the fire districts. We’d save on those expensive superintendent positions.

    Oh, by the way, you don’t need to use an apostrophe when you add an “s” to egos. The apostrophe makes it possessive, not plural. How is that for snarky?

  9. Mary,

    I happen to know kids at the high school who were active in the Bond campaign. I guess none of them know your son?

    Had you participated in the process by which we studied the issue of improving SKSD facilities, you would likely know that the Kendrick study said that enrollment may continue to decline moderately for a year or two more, but then it would steadily increase over the next 10 years. We also looked closely at what is happening around us. A new bridge (which now provides easier access to the Kitsap Peninsula that exceeds even the most optimistic of expectations). Lowes, Home Depot, Target, Costco, and a new hospital are all large new businesses building here (or within a 5 minute drive from the district’s border. These companies have also studied the demographics and see growth on the horizon.

    Wayne Gretzke once said that what made a great hockey player great was that they didn’t go to where the puck was, they went to where it would be next. The SKSD Bond wasn’t about current enrollment, as construction would take 4-5 years. It was all about preparing for where we would need to be in 4-5 years to accomplish the mission of improving student achievement and preparing our students for their futures.

    So, I don’t know what studying you did or what special knowledge you have, but we did our homework and we asked for what is needed in this community. A majority of voters agreed with us, even you (apparently). Unfortunately, the Port of Bremerton disenfranchised property owners at a time when SKSD needed them the most!

    Schools have to ask the taxpayers for money to build. When decisions are made in other taxing authorities that don’t have to run an election, the angry taxpayers will express their displeasure at the next opportunity… and they did.

    By the way, CKSD averages 1055 10th – 12th graders in each of their three high schools (we have over 2400 at SKHS). What do you call the difference? I call it opportunity.

    As for consolidating school districts, have you done the research on whether that really saves money or not? Do you realize the ramifications of losing local control of one’s community schools? Have you really thought that out?

    Kathryn Simpson

  10. By the way, notice how you threatened witholding your vote the next time the Bond came around because you didn’t like the “tone”?

    Ya think that might be similar to what the taxpayers in South Kitsap did when they saw what the Port of Bremerton did to them (without asking)?

    Something to think about.

    Kathryn Simpson

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