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The Last Word

By Don C. Brunell

Steal $200,000 from a bank and you’ll go to prison.  Steal $200,000 from the taxpayers and you’ll probably get a slap on the wrist.

A Chicago man was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for stealing $250,000 from a bank. In San Diego, a burglar who stole nearly $250,000 worth of jewelry was sentenced to four years in prison.  

In Portland, a man who stole $221,000 from taxpayers got six months in jail. read more »


It is with mixed emotions that I write what may be my last column for the Business Journal, for what is our 26th anniversary edition. As you probably know by now, we have sold this paper to the E. W. Scripps Company, which also publishes the Kitsap Sun. read more »

The Last Word

It’s no secret to any non-Kool-Aid-drinking person actually paying attention to the world around them, that the Obama administration’s corrupt practices have led to a systematic dismantling of the protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Now that I have your attention, of course I realize that sounds blatantly partisan — like an alarmist Fox News rant, with a cup of Tea Party flavoring mixed in. However, if you’ve read George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, you know it isn’t.

The novel, originally published in 1949, is set in the superstate of Oceania, in a world perpetually at war, and where highly intrusive government surveillance of its citizens is omnipresent. Can you say NSA? read more »

The Last Word

Of the three potential choices to replace Commissioner Josh Brown, who resigned to become executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council, the choice of Linda Streissguth was the best one. Commissioners Charlotte Garrido and Rob Gelder deserve kudos for having the fortitude to stand up to their own party’s Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs), whose choice was Bremerton City Council member and self-proclaimed ultra-liberal, Leslie Daugs — who hadn’t even begun to serve the term she was re-elected to less than 30 days before Brown’s replacement process began.

The choice of Streissguth ignited an internal battle within the local Democratic Party, with PCOs whining publicly in a Kitsap Sun article that the commissioners had no right to override their first choice. Excuse me? If their first choice is to be the anointed one, why bother to select three, or even consult the commissioners at all? read more »

The Last Word

This was written on an early deadline a few days before Christmas. The outcome of the appointment of a new Kitsap County commissioner to replace Josh Brown, who resigned become executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council, has yet to be decided, but very well may be by the time you read this. So keep the timing in mind — as things could change between now and Jan. 6, when the remaining county commissioners will name Brown’s replacement.

They’ll choose from three people recommended by the Kitsap County Democratic Party’s Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs), who narrowed the field down from eight potentials to three — with Bremerton City Council member Leslie Daugs as their top pick.

Leslie Daugs? Seriously? That’s the best quality candidate they could come up with? read more »

The Last Word

I’ve written many times in this space — including just last month — that there isn’t a way for Republicans to shoot themselves in the foot they haven’t thought of, but that I have great confidence in their ability to invent new ones. Lo and behold, once again, they’ve not let me down.

In a world where Democrats have convinced most women in America that the Republican Party has declared war on them, their bodies, and their rights under the Constitution, guess what the state Republican Party did to further that perception?

As you may be aware, the recently elected head of the state GOP is a woman — former KIRO-TV news anchor Susan Hutchinson. In that position, she makes $75,000 a year, which is $20,000 less than her predecessor, Kirby Wilbur, a former conservative talk radio host, made. read more »

The Last Word

I’ve written many times over the years in this space that it’s my belief there isn’t a way for the Kitsap County Republican Party to shoot itself in the foot that it hasn’t thought of, but that I have great confidence in its ability to invent new ones. And once again, they haven’t let me down. The most recent blunder came when the party mailed out a piece in South Kitsap endorsing Democrats over its own Republican incumbents in a nonpartisan race. Yes, you read that correctly.

You have to feel sorry for local party chair Chris Tibbs, who is being undermined by his own people — people’s whose personal agenda is more important than the good of the party, or in this case, the good of Port Orchard.

The first time I met Tibbs, he was running for county commissioner in Central Kitsap, and I didn’t care for him. He was uninformed about basic issues any candidate seeking the commissioner’s seat should have known. read more »

The Last Word

Watching the state birth an entire bureaucracy for dealing with legalized marijuana has been a little like watching a late-season Mariners game — you know it’s going to be a meaningless comedy of errors. There’s no chance of making the playoffs, because the game is being played primarily with rookies and guys who started the season in the minors, along with a few end-of-their-career veterans.

I recently attended a meeting, where the speaker was Clallam County District Court Judge Rick Porter, discussing the state’s impending (it’s not yet legal) legalization, proposed enforcement, taxation, and marketing of reefer. The judge was a pretty entertaining speaker, and made a lot of his more serious points using humor. read more »

The Last Word

Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hague recently filed yet another lawsuit against embattled Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (KRRC) Executive Director Marcus Carter. This is a civil suit against Carter personally, not against the KRRC.

Carter has beaten Hauge in court three different times, without the benefit of a lawyer. When Hauge couldn’t win that way, he resorted to using the land-use code to try and shut down KRRC — which is still in litigation. Now this. Am I the only one who believes that Hauge is using our tax dollars to finance what amounts to a personal vendetta against Carter?

We filed a public records request asking just how much of our money Hauge has spent pursuing this personal vendetta. The total had exceeded $338,000! That’s prior to the land-use action — which went to Superior Count and is on appeal — and the most recent civil suit. At this point, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it’s topped a half a million dollars. read more »

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