Legislative Update

by Jack Hamilton

Here in Kitsap

The fun is starting over again. The Commissioners are tired of being the bad guys and having to enforce the regulations they passed so they have come up with a process to mediate appeals to permits and the hearing examiner. Let’s see, they have a 4 day work week and they need more relief. Go figure.

Using the primary criteria of “Shovel ready in 90 days” to decide how to best (?????) spend your federal stimulus (read tax) dollars, Poulsbo is now embarking on rebuilding Viking Way at Poulsbo Junction.

The Gov was in town to kick the project off and was overflowing about the economic impact this was going to have. Lets see, a road crew stays at work for about 6 months even though they would been kept at work regardless of the project selected. The upgrade is going to bring major economic improvement to an area that just lost nearly every revenue producing business on the street. Have heart, bike lanes will be available from the south end of the project to the Junction intersection. Let’s all go buy bikes to take advantage of this great project. (Can anyone say Bethel Corridor or Bucklin Hill Road?) Great choice Gov!!!

The Commissioners have decided that water is a natural resource. I wonder who gave them the first clue. Apparently none of them bothered to review the carnival that was the WRIA study that ended as a costly nothing. Apparently the Commissioners just figured out that there is no real understanding of the actual water presence in the County or the status of the aquifers that are our only source of water. If they did some homework they might find that the very same county employees who were involved in the WRIA debacle are now raising concerns. Too bad they didn’t do the job that cost us over $750,000 in the first place. Have heart, we may finally be able to get a rain barrel without a water right. Oh, sure!!!

This year has been a lot of fun watching county road projects in full swing (as in hammock). It took longer to install a simple turn pocket on Anderson Hill than it did to complete the rebuild of the Hood Canal Bridge. (“But they planned the bridge project well in advance” – County employee).

We may see a replacement bridge over Chico Creek some time this year. Interesting that the county was able to complete the “restoration” project through the golf course without disturbing the migrating salmon. But there is even money that the Chico project will finish before the Waaga Way extension. Of course that was held up to complete a master plan for the possible development adjacent to the road and perhaps a short time to allow the naming contest to complete.

I’ll bet it came as a surprise that the developers for the projects north of the road were not happy with the master plan and indicated that continuance with the master plan would probably kill the projects. Nothing like working with businesses and developers to facilitate economic development. I am sure that landscaped boulevards, and bike lanes were right at the top of the list of needs for the developers and that they were happy to delay their projects for six months to get that kind of “help”.

Sometime in the near future, in order to meet the PSRC mandated (hey we don’t listen to them, do we??) deadline, the County will begin to rework the County-wide Planning Policies to come in line with the policies in Vision 2040. If you thought the planners were out for blood in the past, standby for this round. Not only are we going to hear “But GMA requires that” we are also going to hear “Its required by Vision 2040 and federal regulations covering the RTPO”. Please remember that the other side is not constrained by fact, law, truth or logic. This is going to be fun.

In the State and Region 

Bob Benze offered some insight with respect to the negative impact of PSRC Transportation 2040 from the aspect of implementing “social justice”. In addition the rest of us are in for a very rough time if the plan is adopted. Although the plan contains five Alternates, the only one that has a chance of acceptance is the one that limits new lane miles, converts HOV and other lanes to toll lanes, and transfers road funds to mass transit.

Transportation 2040 argues that it simply provides the means to implement the transportation policies in Vision 2040. In reality, transportation and a “car free Washington” are the controlling agenda for all land use decisions.

Of note, other than to identify parts of Highway 16 as a toll road, Transportation 2040 hardly mentions Kitsap. There are certainly no benefits to Kitsap in any of the Alternates. KAPO has a detailed review and comments to submit on this PSRC dream document. 

In the other Washington

It appears that no amount of common sense and hard science will deter dedicated politicians from forwarding an agenda. The rule of unintended consequences has carried the day one more time and allowing science illiterates like our current members of the House to continue in office has brought us a potential “cap and trade” bill that will essentially destroy the free market system and devastate the American economy.

A reminder, one more time, that nothing in the legislation passed by the House will reduce one gram of any “greenhouse” gas released into the atmosphere in the US and certainly will have no restrictive impact on any other country in the world. To the contrary, emissions will continue at current levels in the US at a much higher cost of goods sold to the American people with a resultant significant reduction in our standard of living.

The first to feel the crunch will be the low to moderate income families. The rest of the world will continue as they are today and continue to produce goods at lower cost and out compete the US in the global market. This is not going to be fun if the Senate also adopts this bill.

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