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Thoughts on NASCAR, Rossi, Sims, and the rumor mill

The announcement that everyone has either waited for — or dreaded — finally came. International Speedway Corporation announced that it has selected Kitsap County as the site of a new, $250 million racetrack to be built in the Pacific Northwest.

Our elected officials, ISC and the Kitsap Economic Development Council, which has supplied ISC with demographic and other decision making information for the last year and half, are all committed to a completely open, honest, and transparent public process.

This is NOT a deal to be had at any cost. Everyone involved understands that.

There are numerous issues to be resolved, including environmental impacts, quality of life concerns, cost to the taxpayers, traffic, noise, and much more. However, ISC has proven in other places it will do the right thing in addressing them.

But before any decisions are made — or opinions formed — citizens should keep an open mind while the public process moves forward. What concerns me is an extremely small, but highly vocal, group of anti-progress demagogues who are already working to disrupt, prolong and derail that public process. They openly use political misdirection, disinformation, and outright lies to obscure the facts in an effort to sway public opinion and promote their own personal, no growth at any cost, agenda.

This is all the more reason why an exhaustive public process is absolutely mandatory. The aforementioned issues, plus a myriad of other concerns no one even has a complete list of at this point, all need a thorough and comprehensive airing until every question is answered.

ISC is planning an open house for the public later this month to begin doing just that. If you have questions or concerns, don’t just rely on inflammatory rhetoric, rumor, scuttlebutt or intentionally disseminated misinformation. SHOW UP! Ask your questions in person, and get the facts firsthand.

This is an extraordinary opportunity. Just like the Trident base, it’s the kind that comes along once in a generation. Let’s not allow a small, vocal minority that selfishly despises change, plays fast and loose with the truth, doesn’t want economic growth, and has no concern about the future of our children, steal it.

A lot of the credit for the ISC success belongs to the Kitsap Economic Development Council , and specifically, Executive Director David Porter, who had this project heaped on his plate the moment he arrived here.

Porter is the first true economic development professional to head the KEDC since its inception almost 20 years ago. In a little over a year and a half, he’s certainly made his mark and proven his worth.

Porter and the KEDC have earned the right to hold their heads high and be proud over the ISC announcement. For years, local businesspeople, myself being among the most vocal, questioned what the KEDC actually does. Now you know. It’s also time for all those who’ve insisted the organization justify its existence, to step up. If there was ever a time for the local business community to get behind the KEDC, that time is NOW!

What’s left to be said about the Governor’s race? Personally, I believe Judge Bridges made the correct legal decision based on the evidence presented. In watching the decision, I had the distinct feeling he didn’t want to rule as he did, but had little choice legally.

In my view, the Republicans blundered badly by pinning the bulk of their case on the proportionality issue. Not only was it a fatally flawed legal strategy, they were simply out-lawyered by the Democrats.

Do we know for absolute certain who really won? Not in my view. Personally, I would have liked a revote. That way, either Dino Rossi could have been able to legitimately claim victory, or Christine Gregoire would have earned a clear mandate to govern — something she sorely lacks, even at this point in time.

That’s evidenced by an independent poll taken two weeks after the ruling that shows 59 percent of the state’s voters still believe Rossi won, while less than 35 percent believe Gregoire did.

Coincidentally, I had an unexpected opportunity to chat with Dino Rossi recently. His graciousness and sense of humor about all this are a stark contrast to Christine Gregoire’s usual dour demeanor. Talking with Rossi only makes you wonder what could, and perhaps should, have been for our state.

In an ironic twist, Green Party activist Gentry Lange has announced he will run against King County Executive Ron Sims on a “Voting Reform” platform. This has to restore your faith that honest, clean elections are a universal issue, and not sour grapes whining by Republicans.

In liberal King County, it also gives those outraged at Sims and Dean Logan, but not comfortable voting Republican, a progressive alternative.

Finally, although neither side is talking on the record, the local rumor mill is buzzing with the news that Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent is being actively courted by the Democrats to switch parties before next year’s election.

The Democrats have no viable, electable candidate at this point, but without Lent, neither will the hapless Republicans.

Meanwhile, the woefully inept, extreme right-wingers ruling the local GOP are unhappy over the moderate stance Lent has taken, and continue threatening her with primary opposition.

Once again, they’ve loaded their gun and and are determined to aim it directly at their feet — as usual.

 
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