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heatchangeUniversity of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass posted a series of maps this week showing impacts of climate change in the United States. His maps, based on climate models, indicate areas of the country most likely to be affected by rising sea levels, water availability, hurricanes and storms and heat waves.

His conclusion: “A compelling case can be made that the Pacific Northwest will be one of the best places to live as the earth warms.” 

Read Cliff Mass’s post here: Will the Pacific Northwest be a Climate Refuge under Global Warming?

Also coming across my desk today was an article about the city of Eugene, Oregon, which has just passed an ordinance seeking to cut community-wide fossil fuel use by 50% by 2030.

The ordinance also sets a goal for city government operations to be entirely carbon neutral by 2020, either by reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions or by funding local emission reduction projects. It requires city officials to prepare plans for achieving those goals, as well as periodic progress reviews and status reports. Continue Reading »

This letter was sent by Nancy Fortner to the local media, in response to the recent actions coming from the 23rd Legislative District Democrats.

I am an idealist with high standards and expectations to match. I value diversity, freely acknowledge that democracy is messy, and suffer no illusions that we must all always agree in order to be successful.

I do not know how many registered democrats live within the 23rd legislative district, but I’m pretty sure that the 140 of us who pay dues to be on the district’s mailing list represent a small portion of them, especially when you consider the sheer number of elected politicians and their accompanying family members and staff within the district included in that 140. I am also pretty sure that lots of people take note of information that all the local party organizations put out for public consumption, and expect it to be accurate and truthful. Judgements are made and votes are cast based on what people believe to be true and most closely aligned with their values.

To the 23rd dems board, and the dues paying membership, whether you are an elected politician, on their staff, or just a citizen like me: last time I checked, this is still a democracy and it may not be perfect, but I am here to say I am paying attention, and do not approve of dishonesty, lies or dirty politics. Stop it.  Continue Reading »

Here’s a response to the unfortunate Democrat vs. Democrat politicking of the 23rd L.D. Democrats, from Kirsten Hytopoulos, campaign chair for Bob Scales.

I’ve watched this primary election unfold as a voter, a Democrat, a former elected official, and co-chair of a campaign, and I must say that it’s been a quick and painful education in partisan politics.

When my former colleague, Bob Scales, announced his candidacy for Prosecuting Attorney, I didn’t hesitate a moment before offering to serve as his co-chair. Having served with Bob on our City Council, he’d long ago earned my respect as one of the smartest, hardest-working, most ethical individuals I’ve worked with.

What a rude shock it was to attend the 23rd District Democrat endorsement meeting in May, only to be met with a wall of insular partisanship that placed more emphasis on preserving the status quo than on recognizing a critical need for change.

After going forth, campaigning across the county where Bob has been received with open arms by voters hungry for change, it was a sadly fitting slap across the face to be met with the recent letter to the editor penned by several PCOs and board members from the 23rd Legislative District Democrats, who had the audacity to insinuate, among other things, that Bob is not a Democrat.

Now, members of the 23rd are forwarding an e-mail suggesting that Bob is a member of the Tea Party because the Kitsap Tea Party gave him high marks for his responses to answers on a questionnaire sent out to all four of the candidates in the race.

It’s a very sad day for Democrats, and for Kitsap County, when partisan operatives sink to such levels to protect an entrenched incumbent and to smear the reputation of a highly qualified candidate.

I urge my fellow voters, do your own research and vote for the most qualified candidate across all party lines, Bob Scales. http://www.ScalesForProsecutor.com

—Kirsten Hytopoulos, former City Councilmember

The Kitsap County Deputy Sheriffs Guild sent this press release out late yesterday:

The Kitsap County Deputy Sheriffs Guild hasn’t determined which candidate it will endorse in this year’s Kitsap County prosecutor’s race, but it has decided who it will not endorse — incumbent Russ Hauge. The Guild announced today, in a strongly worded statement, that while it was still assessing the other three candidates for the prosecutor seat, it had decided to officially oppose Hauge and encouraged the voters to consider one of the other three candidates in the August primary.

Guild President Jay Kent explained that the Guild took the unusual position of issuing an “anti-endorsement” because of its strong opposition to Hauge. “The prosecutor’s office is a mess” Kent said “and Hauge is responsible for that. We are not going to get the office’s problems fixed until he leaves the office.” Kent said the Guild wanted more time to assess the other three candidates — Bruce Danielson, Tina Robinson, and Bob Scales — but that it was “firmly set” against Hauge’s reelection. Continue Reading »

It’s July, and chances are you don’t know anything about the candidates listed on the primary ballot that came in the mail this week. You may not even know there’s a primary, but your ballot is due August 5.

Photo credit: Facebook page of Bob Scales for Prosecutor-D

Photo credit: Facebook page of Bob Scales for Prosecutor-D

It might be worth your time, though, to tune in to the small local drama playing out in the four-way primary contest for Kitsap County Prosecutor that illustrates why so many of us have a distaste for party politics.

Russ Hauge, a Democrat, is an 18-year incumbent who has drawn three challengers. The Kitsap Sun has called the number of opponents in the race an indication of “a critical mass of dissatisfaction with Hauge.”

Hauge has garnered detractors for a variety of deficits, including a reputed bad temper, his failure to fire a deputy prosecutor after two drunk driving arrests, and his expensive and largely unsuccessful fifteen-year crusade against the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club.

Tina Robinson, the Republican challenger, has limited legal and prosecutorial experience, and the Independent, Bruce Danielson is a far-right, self-described “constitutional fundamentalist” who has lost to Hauge before (though not by much).

Bob Scales, a Democrat and former Bainbridge council member who has spent his career in public safety, has shaken up the race as a same-party challenger to Hauge. As a result, the Hauge crowd has been playing hardball as the primary winds to a close. His supporters are particularly targeting Bainbridge Island because of our history as reliable primary voters who are mostly Democratic. The strategy depends on discrediting Scales, who has lived on Bainbridge for fifteen years, and has served the island during two terms on city council.

Scales is highly qualified. He was a King County deputy prosecutor for six years. He was a senior policy analyst for public safety for the City of Seattle, and worked on developing programs to enhance police accountability, firearm safety, drug enforcement tactics and treatment programs, and community engagement, to name just a few. He has been nationally recognized for his work on strategies for prosecuting juvenile firearm offenders.

Now that the ballots have dropped, Hauge’s campaign is showing the ugly side of politics: when your candidate’s qualifications and track record aren’t enough for the win, go for lies and propaganda.

One example is today’s letter to the editor in the Bainbridge Review and the Islander, signed by several precinct committee officers and board members of the 23rd Legislative District Democrats (signed as individuals, not as representatives of the 23rd).  Continue Reading »

In an editorial today, the Seattle Times has lauded the decision by Kitsap Superior Court Judge Jeanette Dalton in our public records case.

The Times editorial begins with a problem all too familiar to open-government advocates:

“A spate of public-records cases in Washington state are raising a question that shouldn’t have to be asked at all: Should public officials be allowed to evade public-records requests when they use their own cellphones, computers and email accounts? Of course not, but that hasn’t kept them from trying.”

Discussing several public records cases making their way through the Washington courts, the Times said this about Bainbridge Island:

“A private cellphone really is no different from a private email account; and where email is concerned, the courts have been clear. A series of rulings have established that, whether a public official uses a personal mailbox or an official one, the emails still must be disclosed.

“The state Supreme Court laid down that rule in a City of Shoreline case in 2010, and last month a Kitsap County Superior Court judge further clarified the issue. Two Bainbridge Island council members, David Ward and Steven Bonkowski, did public business from their personal computers, and they deleted their emails before two island residents filed public-records requests. Judge Jeanette Dalton ruled the council members were subject to the same records-retention requirements as the city, and she ordered Bainbridge Island to conduct a forensic investigation of the council members’ home computers. Continue Reading »

Last August, we filed a Public Records Act lawsuit against the City of Bainbridge Island and certain individual councilpersons, after learning they had been conducting City business from their personal email accounts, and had failed to produce these records after receiving our public records request.

As we said in our press release at the time, “The last thing we want to do is sue the city….But the way the Public Records Act is written, we have to sue the city in order to require rogue officials to obey the law.”

We have tried to make clear throughout this litigation that our primary concern was not with individuals on the City’s staff, whom we had found to be cooperative and professional. It was unlawful activity by the councilpersons that troubled us, because they have consistently placed themselves above the law and have refused to turn over public records. Council members Dave Ward and Steven Bonkowski have admitted under oath that they deleted emails concerning City business, relying upon their own personal definition of what constitutes a public record, and without seeking advice from the City. In doing so, they ignored guidelines that were provided to them on multiple occasions.

In a 32-page decision issued May 29th, Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jeannette Dalton agreed with us, finding that the councilpersons’ refusal to turn over the records was of “grave concern for the people of Bainbridge Island.” Judge Dalton found that the City failed to do an adequate search for the requested records as required by law, because even after the City knew the council members were conducting City business on their personal accounts, it did not make any effort to search those accounts. She ruled that the City violated the Public Records Act and ordered the City to pay our attorneys fees and sanctions for the violations.

Continue Reading »

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