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Mayor promises documents, doesn’t deliver
After more than a week of requests and repeatedly unfulfilled promises, Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent has not been able to produce what has been described by her and others in published media reports as a request to the United States Navy to approve a years-long effort to allow a bicycle trail and greenbelt between Bremerton and Gorst.
Mayor Lent said she sent a letter to the Navy urging them to allow the Sinclair Inlet Trail Project to move forward and that Rear Admiral Mark Rich wrote her back, outlining the Navy’s reasons for nixing the effort.
Since efforts got underway in earnest several years ago, the Navy has seemed to have had other ideas regarding the tightly controlled rail corridor that can be used to transport nuclear material. That seems to have ultimately doomed the popular shoreline project which was found to be in compliance with Kitsap County’s Shoreline Master Program and was also supported by the Kitsap Trees and Shoreline Association and the National Park Service.
Many supporters were hoping that the mayor could sway the Navy after five years’ worth of effort.
Lent, though, has yet to produce the letter she sent or the admiral’s reply.
Lent first said she would provide her letter of support for the project, along with the admiral’s response denying that request, by mid-day Tuesday, July 2. The documents would be provided, she estimated, by about 2 or 2:30 p.m. that day. During a brief phone call at 5:30 p.m., the mayor said she would have her assistant, Elaine Valencia, send the letters “first thing in the morning at about 8 o’clock.”
Come July 3, though, there were still no letters provided, but the mayor once again promised the documents by the end of the day. But in an email, sent by Valencia at 5:24 p.m. the night before a federal holiday, the assistant said: “Mayor Lent asked me to send you the letter she gave to Admiral Rich regarding the trail project. I have not yet located it because it was created elsewhere but I hope to get it soon. The person that has it is out for a few days. I will email it to you as soon as I get it.”
In a brief phone conversation on Monday morning following the holiday weekend, Lent said she would have her assistant send the documents right away and call back in “ten minutes.”
The documents were not sent and the mayor never called back.
Separate emails exchanged with the mayor’s assistant indicate that a third party wrote the letter that the mayor “sent,” which has apparently made it impossible to get a copy of to share with The Patriot. There has been no explanation for not sharing the admiral’s response.
As of press time Wednesday, neither Mayor Lent or her assistant had produced either of the letters. An official Freedom of Information Act request was submitted for the documents Wednesday morning.