Opinion

Everything Bremerton: Bremerton residents are anything but chicken

Now, I can take it or leave it when it comes to the issue of urban chickens. I grew up on a farm. I raised chickens and entered several of them into the Puyallup Fair for judging. I know that chickens, especially hens, when husbanded properly are more of a benefit than a problem. It was not the issue of chickens that drew me to the City Council District 4 meeting Monday.

What drew me to the meeting was the passion and involvement that a significant group of Bremerton citizens have harnessed and channeled into the existing system to go after what they want. Many of them have been attending City Council meetings and study sessions. They have organized, met and communicated amongst themselves on various occasions. They have invested a significant amount of personal time putting together a citizen initiative with some language assistance and/or correction from Assistant City Attorney Ken Bagwell. They are forcing a rather apathetic and uninterested City Council to sit up and take notice of their particular issue. For this I applaud them and thank them.

This is exactly how the system is supposed to work. These are the checks and balances necessary to manage local government decision making. Citizen participation and personal education on matters they care about are paramount to the success of any organized effort. It may only be the issue of chickens this time, but this issue is going to set an important precedent for every decision made by this council going forward that citizen opinion does matter and that the citizens will find a way to make themselves heard. This initiative will show that the citizens of Bremerton are not always willing to just lie down and accept whatever decision is handed to them if they do not feel that the system has served them to its fullest potential.

I do challenge this group to continue their momentum and expand beyond just the issue of urban chickens. Bremerton is currently facing some significant budget shortfalls and cut backs in the months ahead. Let us resolve the urban chicken issue once and for all. Let us turn the City Council’s time and attention back to the important fiscal and operational issues that are vital to the health and welfare of our entire community.

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