Monday, October 13, 2008

An Open Letter - the "SEED" Project

Port of Bremerton Commissioners,

As assertively and respectfully as possible, I urge the Port of Bremerton Commissioners to refuse the EDD Grant and end the SEED project, unless it can be accomplished without taxpayer subsidy. We are facing extraordinarily harsh economic times that will require the preservation of property tax dollars for the most necessary priorities of government... infrastructure, law and order, and public education.

If you go forward with betting even more taxpayer funds on the SEED “entrepreneurial activity” (as termed by the Berk Report), you risk the good will of the public to vote yes for real quality of life investments like schools and public services.

Current national economic conditions should be teaching us valuable lessons. We cannot afford to continue to speculate with taxpayer dollars. Speculative investment is not a priority of government. Those who want to speculate on “green” jobs can invest their own funds in the form of venture capital. I would encourage the Port to work with private investors to fund the SEED project. However, I object to any further insistence that taxpayers continue as the only investors in this highly speculative project. The Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority tried speculating with the taxpayer's money and we, the taxpayers, lost. Surely you see and understand the parallels.

Our local employers need highly educated high school graduates who have the math, English, and communication skills to grow into a trade or to attend college and return for engineering positions. To attract employees to relocate or remain here, our local employers need to be able to market a high quality of life in Kitsap County, through parks, recreation, and public safety. Every tax dollar that goes towards subsidizing SEED is a tax dollar unavailable for the priorities of government.

Page 45 of the Berk Report is quite clear:

“Establishing an incubator in a location with relatively low levels of immediate research and entrepreneurial activity is a catalytic, market-making venture and so the plan absolutely comes withuncertainties and risks…”

I implore the Port of Bremerton Commissioners to vote NO to further speculative investment of tax dollars in SEED. We have not seen private investment in SEED after three years. We have not seen any commitment of private industry to SEED. It is time to cut our taxpayer losses. We face deficits in the county budget and in the state budget ($3.2 billion and growing). Please give taxpayers some relief and good will. Please focus Port of Bremerton activities on growing jobs that don’t need subsidies from taxpayers.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kathryn Simpson
Citizen within the Port District

Kitsap County Commissioner Endorsement

I had a unique opportunity a few evenings ago to have an extended conversation with Tim Matthes about the state of the county and our most pressing issues. Tim Matthes has a strong understanding of our economic condition, the needs of our citizens, and where we need to prioritize tax dollars.

Tim understands how issues affect each other and how other jurisdictions affect county issues and county citizens. Tim says it is important to prioritize the duties of county government, fund within the resources available, and exercise fiduciary responsibility, especially in difficult times.

I support Tim Matthes because he is the candidate who appreciates the need for developing our business base while still protecting our ability to fund the priorities of local government and preserving a high quality of life.

Economic development and a high quality of life are not mutually exclusive. Tim Matthes understands this. His opponent didn't earn a second term (or the seat back four years ago either) because it appeared to many (myself included) that she didn't understand the need to find win-win solutions.

In a recent Kitsap Sun article, his opponent states that she has learned a lot about "common ground" since then. Perhaps she has. However, electing her again would be quite a risk to find out.

Please vote TIM MATTHES for Kitsap County Commissioner, Position 2.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seasons Change

The picture on the left was taken in the Spring during our adventures in Florida. Seems like centuries ago. Of course, the seasons have changed again. Yesterday I had the first frost of the season on my car windshield. The kids claim that it snowed for a few minutes at a friend's house in Manchester. The fall fog is back. Yes, indeed, seasons are changing again.

It is evident that political seasons are changing again too. Though it is a very hard season of change to read. The economy has turned bitter cold, the partisan political fever is rising mercilessly, and families are wondering whether the pending storms will wash away any hope for real change in national, state, or local politics.

The hurricane last week on Wall Street is, hopefully, behind us. But there are still storms on the horizon. Perhaps today, more than ever, we need to remember the flowers of last spring and remain hopeful that the flowers will bloom again.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Gregoire and the State Deficit

Yesterday, on the way to work, I heard the latest ad by the Gregoire campaign attempting to downplay Rossi's campaign ads about the state economy. Arggg!!! Doesn't she get it? Does she think we are ignorant?

The ad said that Dino Rossi is wrong and Washington State doesn't really have a deficit of 3.2 BILLION dollars because Washington State is required to balance it's budget each biennium.

Excuse me, Governor. But to "balance" the budget, Washington State is going to have to do one of two things... increase taxes or reduce services. So, please be honest. The 3.2 BILLION dollar deficit is real. It is a matter of deep concern to Republicans and Democrats across the state.

Defend your position on how we got here. But it is absurd to attempt to out and out mislead the public on this! We have kids to educate in our public schools, bridges that need repair, services to provide to those in need of assistance, parks to protect, and lots of other important things that will be impacted by the deficit. The first step to solving the problem is acknowledging that a problem exists.

Whether you are our governor for the next three months or the next 4 years, I expect you to step up to the issue and work in a bi-partisan manner to solve the fiscal crisis facing our State.