Tunnel fight continues

A Kitsap Superior Court hearing has been set for 9 a.m. Friday to determine if the city’s decision not to send the Bremerton tunnel project to a public vote will stand.

Del Knauss, a member of the Citizens Against The Tunnel (CATT) filed an appeal with the court Aug. 13.

“We had 3,125 people sign that petition,” he said. “We owed it to them.”

The appeal is not affiliated with CATT.

Knauss and other CATT members spent six weeks standing in front of grocery stores gathering names for a petition that they hoped would have placed the $28 million project on the November ballot.

But the City Council voted 5-4 on Aug. 4 not to honor the petition and place it on the ballot because they said the project is not Bremerton’s jurisdiction.

Bremerton’s City Attorney Roger Lubovich wrote a three-page Aug. 2 memorandum urging the Council to reject a vote.

“The key decisions relating to this project are no longer subject to the control of the City Council,” he stated in his memo. “These key decisions are not being made by the City but rather by the state.”

Second, the City Council cannot mandate the tunnel to be or not be constructed.

Third, a vote on the matter would confuse the public into thinking they actually had legislative power, Lubovich said.

Although Knauss would not disclosed legal costs, he joked on the phone Monday that he may have to sell his boat if the case continues in court.

If Knauss gets the vote on the ballot, he plans on working with CATT members to inform voters.

At the City Council Aug. 4 meeting, dozens of people for and against the vote spoke at the podium. Some of the tunnel foes mentioned they were members of CATT, others did not.

Knauss met with City Attorney Roger Lubovich in early May to legalize the petition process. Lubovich did not agree or disagree with the content, he said. He waited until the petition was authenticated on July 23 by the Kitsap County Auditor’s office before issuing the memo.

“I still believe in my recommendation,” Lubovich said. “But he has the right.”

To get the vote on the November ballot, the city auditor’s office must review the initiative by Sept. 17, Lubovich said.

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