Opinion

Everything Bremerton: In 2011, make sure to get a seat at the table

This week closes the door on another year here in Bremerton. A year filled with highs and lows. A year in which legalizing chickens and the city council’s interpretation of whimsical fish art took front and center stage. The good, the bad and the ugly fishy smell of it all.

Don’t get me wrong. My feathered hat is off to the We Want Urban Chicken folks. Not only were they able to maneuver a rather reluctant City Council into giving them what they wanted, but they also managed to reaffirm individual property rights for city residents and reminded all of us as to why there are certain checks and balances ingrained in our local representative governmental process.

We lost a few really good friends this year to the hardship of the economic downturn, such as Parker Lumber and Pat’s Cookie Jar. Others rose up from the ashes of adversity to once again serve their community, such as Arnold’s Furniture. We also gained a few new friends along the way such as Der Blokken Brewery for some of the best beer in town and a recently announced brand new family style restaurant coming to the heart of downtown.

This past month a friend of mine reminded me of a great saying that I wanted to start passing around a little more often. That saying is, “If you are not seated at the table then you’re on the menu.”

With the start of the new legislative session in January, the menu chopping block is looking to be backlogged for cutting, with a whole bunch of sacred cows that have escaped any if not all attempts at trimming or streamlining in years or even decades past. As citizens, if we are not seated at the table when it comes to oversight and participation in some of these cuts, then we are most definitely an item on the menu in one form or another, either as an open wallet to pay for it all or as one of nameless victims of endless public service reductions.

There are seats at tables all over Bremerton. Seats on school district committees, seats on City Council committees and commissions. Citizen commentary is wanted, needed and encouraged on land use, shoreline management, park improvements and a bunch of other community resources I don’t have the space to list.

Changes are coming to Bremerton in 2011. Cuts to local programs and services that we all use are going to touch each and every one of us. Some cuts finally being made will have been long overdue and some will be very painful and hit close to home.

Where is your seat at the table?

Happy New Year.

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