Thursday, May 29, 2008

Republicans Field Challengers

In spite of itself, it appears the hapless Kitsap Republican Party has actually recruited folks to run for every elected position available in November except County Auditor and North Kitsap Commissioner.

Is it too much for voters to hope that they’ve inadvertently
uncovered some pragmatic moderates who will be able to work well with others and articulate a common sense message — people who will offer a real choice to everyone except the die hard party faithful?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Some Thoughts On Armed Forces Day

Today is Armed Forces Day. I hope the following serves as a fitting tribute to those we honor, and who, no matter what your politics or your views on the Iraq War, deserve our respect.

Definition Of A Veteran...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in one's life, wrote a blank check made payable to:

"The United States of America" For an amount of "Up to and including my life."

That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

— Author Unknown


May we always remember the General...

Unfortunately for our detractors, the true core of the American people comes shining through loud and clear. Bravery and selflessness off the charts, is alien to all but a few. However, the following, although it a gem that’s been around, is the perfect bitch slap. Yes, we’re an imperfect country, and many of the media delight in pointing it out to us repeatedly. But here’s a pleasant read about America, and our unselfish motives around the world. Enjoy.

When in England at a large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.

He answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."

It became very quiet in the room.

Finally, a couple of videos that perhaps say more than I know how to.

A Tribute — Please Don't Forget Them

If you appreciate our men and women in the service, but either don't know how, or feel awkward about expressing your feelings of appreciation for what they do, this is for you. It's called The Gratitude Campaign — and believe it or not, it started in Seattle.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Disappointment...

I have worked very hard over the years using my column in the Business Journal to promote local business. I have been especially hard on local governments, insisting they purchase locally at every opportunity. I've never advocated that local businesses should just be handed business by the government if they aren't price competitive, but that they should always be given the opportunity to compete — which hasn't always happened.

In fact, when it comes to buying services, Kitsap County and some of our other quasi-governmental agencies, seem to have a belief that there isn't the knowledge and/or expertise here to make it even worthwhile to look within our county. They also appear to think that if they don't pay big money (our tax dollars) for something, it must not be as good as what's available elsewhere else. My experience has been just the opposite. What I have found is that many service providers located here originally came from Seattle — and in many cases California — in search of a better quality of life. It hasn't diminished their ability to deliver high quality services, but it has in many cases reduced the price. Understanding Kitsap isn't Seattle and doesn't command the prices most service providers there can charge, many of those people have willingly traded money for quality of life.

In Port Orchard, I have instituted a simple purchasing policy. Assuming cost competitiveness, our purchasing priorities are to look first within the City itself (that way, we can at least recapture a portion of the sales tax we pay), then South Kitsap, Kitsap County, Washington State and then elsewhere — in that order.

So it was a major disappointment to me when the City posted an RFP to redesign our Web site and out of 28 bids received, only three were from Kitsap-based firms and two from Seattle. The rest were from out of state and came from as far away as Atlanta, New York City, Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, and of course, California. We also directly contacted a number of local Web designers whose work we were familiar with, encouraging them to bid as well. Not a single one of them did.

After reviewing the bids we did receive, we decided to revise the specs somewhat and will re-advertise the project hoping to draw additional bidders. Hopefully, this time some will be local.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Talk About Chutzpah...

It's a good thing the Washington Supreme Court ruled several years ago that lying in a political campaign was an acceptable form of free speech. I received the following as part of a campaign donation solictitaton press release from our esteemed governor...

"In 2005, when I was elected, Washington had the highest unemployment rate in the country, a government with too much red tape and a $2.2 billion deficit. But I entered office ready to take on challenges and get results."

Excuse me??? Dino Rossi — NOT Governor Gregoire — was the architect of the budget that solved that nasty little $2.2 billion deficit problem. To try and take credit for what Rossi accomplished shows an enormous amount of chutzpah, if for no other reason, than because it's a outright lie.

In fact, in the four years she's been governor, state spending has ballooned over 33 percent and we are projected by Gregoire's own budget office to have an even BIGGER budget deficit next year. And she'll solve that problem how??? Most likely, by new and increased taxes (Say, "Goodbye one percent property tax increase"). That's because she isn't about to anger the education and state employee unions, which along with the environmental lobby, are the backbone of her financial support, by making any meaningful spending cuts.

On the other hand, Rossi's campaign continues humming along, attracting people new to the political process — or at least new to donating to candidates anyway — which should worry Gregoire.
Many are moderate Democrats, which Rossi calls "Dinocrats." In fact, over 40 percent of Rossi's donors have never donated to a candidate before, and his campaign logged its 30,000th campaign donor yesterday.

Meanwhile, independent polls continue to show the race as a dead heat that's too close to call. That too, at this point in the campaign, should be a major concern to Gregoire — who has never polled 50 percent in the entire time she has been governor.