Letters to the Editor

Letters from Sept. 8, 2007

Port of Bremerton

Huntington

was wrong for blaming reporter

Other than Steven Gardner of the Kitsap Sun, I don’t know what reporters were at the one and only Port of Bremerton meeting at which the commissioners went on record as intending to impose the new tax. That was on Jan. 10, 2006; and the minutes don’t list the persons present. A separate sheet supposedly shows who was there.

At that Jan. 10 meeting, Mary Ann Huntington and her fellow commissioners voted to direct the staff to publish the required legal notice of their intent to levy the new tax.

According to Attebery’s answer to my public records request, the legal notice was published in the Kitsap Sun on Jan. 12, 2006.

The following Sunday edition of the Kitsap Sun carried an article by Gardner that said the port commissioners were still in the planning stages and still considering their financing options. In short, he missed it entirely — as he admitted on his blog.

This was an important point, since the voters had only 90 days after publication of that legal notice in which to gather signatures on a petition and put the new tax on the ballot during the primary election in 2006.

The port obviously let the Sun reporter’s error go uncorrected for the same reason Huntington and the others didn’t issue a press release or take a reporter aside for a talk or otherwise ensure the public knew of their intent.

Huntington and the others didn’t want to face what the Port of Vancouver faced this year — a successful petition drive and rejection of the new tax at the primary election.

Huntington and the other commissioners were successful in evading the voters’ right to put the tax on the ballot, but even then they were coy about letting people know what was coming. They wanted to avoid a petition to put the tax on the ballot and any public comment prior to their November meeting, and they got what they wanted.

Even now, the port is not being candid about what happened.

It is the same sort of story the port used a while ago, when they got reporters to tell people that the tax wasn’t subject to voter approval — without saying that it could have been put on the ballot by a petition.

That ought to be unacceptable, and perhaps Huntington’s attempt to blame the reporter for missing it will cause people in the news media to stop treating Huntington and the others as candid, trustworthy sources of information. Whatever they say, check it out.

ROBERT MEADOWS

Port Orchard

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