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Recently, a small, but vocal, minority initiated a public campaign to discredit certain elected officials by circulating a purloined copy of a Kitsap Economic Development Council document. The document contains the information International Speedway Corporation requested when the original issue of possibly locating a NASCAR track in Washington originally surfaced almost two years ago. ISC requested similar packages from numerous other jurisdictions besides Kitsap County — both in Washington and Oregon.

As one of six local people invited to witness ISC’s Kansas City operation firsthand, as well as the current KEDC chairman, I am openly dismayed these people have actively engaged in an obviously corrupt attempt to discredit our elected officials and deceive the public, using pirated KEDC documents. Their methods are not only disingenuous, they border on outright demagoguery.

This leads me to wonder if they are circulating only the parts intended to smear our elected officials, or is their overwhelming zeal to politically discredit only certain electeds while ignoring others, simply being exploited by the person who pilfered the document to further a completely different agenda?

Here are the facts:

Kitsap County made NO official “proposal” to ISC.

The KEDC is not a public agency, but a private, non-profit corporation with no legal authority to submit any “proposal” on behalf of the county, or obligate it in any way.

The file in question is a KEDC document — NOT a Kitsap County one, nor is it a so-called “proposal,” as opponents allege.

The KEDC supplied responses to a series of requests by ISC for very specific and detailed information — as did other jurisdictions — in a comprehensive package, graphically designed to impress.

Supplying this type of information in high-quality packaging, to dozens of other companies that routinely make inquiries, as well as ISC, is the EDC’s job. It offers no apology for doing so, and doing it well.

ISC’s requests consisted primarily of demographic information, as well as questions about traffic numbers and patterns, necessary infrastructure upgrades, possible financing methods for these upgrades, required public process, and a number of other items. As anyone reading this dishonestly obtained package can readily see, it’s obvious that’s what the bulk of the information consists of.

However, these demagogues are focusing on questions concerning what was termed “political will.” Did not only Kitsap County, but other jurisdictions — as well as the state — have the necessary political will to move a proposal for such a project forward — IF one were offered?

By simply answering the questions ISC asked, none of our elected officials betrayed any public trust by signing a document stating the county, and the state, were willing to listen — IF a proposal from ISC came forward. And make no mistake; ISC is the decision maker about bringing any proposal forward — NOT Kitsap County.

Should ISC bring a future proposal forward, it WILL be subjected to a very rigorous, transparent and certainly, very lengthy public process.

Using such ethically dishonorable tactics is little more than political misdirection. It’s a lame attempt to deceitfully circumvent a public process opponents already know will not support their own, well documented, no-growth at any cost, agenda. Denying the public its right to openly learn all the facts clearly exposes the depth of their desperation, and willingness to readily deceive the public to achieve their own ends. Such tactics are not only pathetically hypocritical, they’re just plain dishonest — the very thing they falsely accuse our elected officials.

In my view, these people have succeeded in publicly calling attention to their own reprehensible actions and lack of integrity. Any decision must be based on a full and open public process that respects the truth. This issue must be decided on facts — not scare tactics, half-truths or full-blown duplicity calculated to serve a certain political agenda.

I was a guest at a recent meeting of the Kitsap County Medical Society. There were two main topics that evening — changes at Harrison Hospital, and the sale of KPS to Group Health.

The Group Health deal is a bad one for everyone except Group Health. Local doctors are cheated out of half their rightfully earned money. Harrison is left holding the bag for millions. The real estate KPS owns outright is worth more than the entire Group Health offer.

At that meeting, doctors were asked how many would support Group Health if they received full payment upon sale, instead of continuing the current repayment schedule were KPS not sold. Not one doctor raised their hand.

Approximately 45 percent of KPS’s revenue comes from outside Kitsap. If the sale proceeds, over $17 million annually will leave our local economy — even if Group Health keeps KPS here as promised.

KPS management and board are under a gag order by Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler. But we’ve learned from another source that a substantially better offer from an out-of-state insurer has been put on the table. Makes me wonder how much his previous employment with Group Health impacted Kriedler’s decision to not even consider it — or make it public.

Kriedler is doing a serious disservice to our community allowing this to proceed. The business community needs to rally behind KPS to stop the sale. If we don’t, we’ll all wish we had.

Newsweek magazine recently apologized for publishing a story that said U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a copy of the Koran down the toilet. It turns out the story was false. The reporters, of course, will be punished in the usual way — with jobs at CBS News.

Lary Coppola's picture
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