16 June 2021 City Council General Meeting, 5:30-8:03pm

Juneteenth is officially a City holiday! Over objections from Simpson & members of public, not because they’re racist, oh no no no, just fiscal conservatives. Same group deplored “bureaucrats” being added to our tax burden, i.e., new hires. Runyon comments “we gotta hire more people because we don’t have enough people to do all the work necessary it just makes no sense” and called for a tax revolt. Got to shake your head when people praise hard-working overworked staff in one breath, then dismiss need to hire more of them, especially when contracts cost 3x as much as in-house work, per Knuckey of Public Works. This “no more bureaucrats” thing came up again and again from Simpson and men who support his anti-government stance. At one point Simpson says “the government uses [your tax money] in a way that may or may not be in every you know in everyone’s best interest.” I’m really shaking my head on that one. We are living in a democracy. It is a representative democracy. He is a representative, he watches how voting works, yet he still seems puzzled by it. There is no single action I can think of that is in everyone’s best interest. In a democracy, somebody loses. You want the benefits of society — streets, healthcare, education, clean water, etc. — you pay the costs. I can’t say we have a fully representative democracy — look at the US Senate! — but the idea is that the majority rules. How hard is that to understand?

2. MAYOR’S REPORT

Plan implementation for SR 303 Corridor Plan (Warren Ave/Wheaton Way). Mayor going to Olympia to work out the details of all the segments. Also, the Joint Compatibility Transportation Plan, first cooperation between City and NBK-BR (the shipyard) to fix traffic congestion & mobility & parking. Timeline: Final report predicted for June 2022. Two Public Open Houses between now and then, comments should be sent to Katie Ketterer, the Project Manager. Applications for new businesses are getting back up to speed compared to pre-pandemic levels. Many businesses have closed: 543 in 2019, 629 in 2020, 316 so far in 2021. Our having an unusually high percentage of essential workers (shipyard again) kept the economy doing well through pandemic. BUT. We need to pivot to an online world, so Mayor asking approval for Kitsap Small Business Development to help local businesses with Marketing, other support. Permits forecast to bring in more than $22 million compared to 2020, which was itself a record-setting year. Sales tax income keeps increasing steadily. We’re $0.5M ahead of where we were last year in sales tax alone. Parking Survey for downtown businesses to find out how many spaces employees need, goal is to free up street parking for customers. Mayor asks Council to consider this as a way to foster more small businesses. (There’s rideshare in Bremerton! Who knew?) Melinda Monroe is the contact on this one. Quincy Square should be complete before end of 2022 if anticipated federal funding comes through, requested by Kilmer. Supply chain disruptions have halted dellivery of wastewater disinfectant, so people who live near the treatment plants are going to have to put up with some stink until City finds some other supply.

3. PUBLIC RECOGNITION

Roy Runyon: No candidate signs at corners where they can be a safety issue. One candidate got entry to BHA buildings to campaign, which is soliciting, and thus forbidden in BHA buildings. And, if we’re doing so well, why do we need to accept Covid money. Jeff Coughlin: Just thanking Council for getting Lodging Tax stuff out this past week. John Johanson: We’re coming up to the end of the term for the red-light cameras, an issue I’m not too supportive of. He explains why, same arguments as Simpson uses. Attributes bribery and fraud charges to Red Flex. Ki’aha Long: Pendleton Place (?) he’s reading very rapidly from a prepared statement, but it’s the only new group housing going up near the cemetery. Pleads for tolerance and help for those who’ll be in the supportive housing. Also asks for diversity in police department, speaks directly to Simpson and Younger who don’t believe there’s racism here. David Harris: Wants to talk about Juneteenth, Gorman refers him to Item 5D. I speak to thank Council for moving Public Recognition to the top of the agenda, and for referring me to Public Works re the 4-way stop at 13th & Wycoff, where in 2 weeks it has acquired a file number. I also ask that no Council member display the US Flag as drapery, quote the code that covers it, emphasize that this is not enforceable, just advisory, just a matter of respect. Jerry [Last Name missed] Why isn’t Norm Dicks open? County’s open, why aren’t we? Mayor says we have meetings by appointment, and go to job sites. We’ll open soon. Governor Inslee has set June 30th as state opening date.

4. CONSENT AGENDA

A. Claims & Check Register

  • th Street Phase II Pavement Preservation Project

5. PUBLIC HEARINGS

A. Public Hearing and Resolution No. 3339 to adopt the 2022 CDBG/HOME Policy Plan

Same presentation as at Study Session. Ki’aha Long: how much was allocated for various categories, like rental assistance, and who’s doing oversight to make sure there’s no racial discrimination in this process. Achaoui lists all the categories. Long asks a second question: What happens when a member of the Board of Directors is homophobic, what part does City Council play in making sure this prejudice doesn’t affect any decisions made. Roy Runyon: Question about Small Business Development, which is in Poulsbo, we’ve lost the hospital, now this – it seems like the center of gravity is shifting to the north, who is responsible for that? Mayor answers that Western Washington University, which is in Poulsbo, houses the Small Business Development. He talks about what they have to offer. Gorman, finally, asks Runyon to keep his comments to the subject at hand. Runyon says part of the grant is for economic development, so it is relevant. Asks have we tracked previous recipients to find out how it’s helped low and moderate income people achieve small business success. Achaoui says she’ll find out and email Runyon. She notes that economic development is one priority, but not a set-aside. Council discussion: Daugs asks about CDBG Project Review Committee, Achauoi lists participants. Goodnow: Thanks. Motion to approve resolution carries unanimously.

6. GENERAL BUSINESS

A. Approve promotion of Chris Mottner as the Internal Services Manager at Band 16, Rate 8 of the 2021 Management, Professional, Confidential and Fiduciary Salary Plan Item pulled

Karen Wikle makes the same presentation as at Study Session. Roy Runyon: Asks Council to vote No because City of Bremerton personnel has ballooned. And [Start Transcript] we gotta hire more people because we don’t have enough people to do all the work necessary it just makes no sense.[End Transcript] He wants a tax revolt, City is taking our money, it belongs to us. Ki’aha Long: Urges Council to vote Yes, as we need people to do the jobs. The amount of work has increased, we need employees to do that work. I support Ki’aha, and point out that Knuckey says many contracts cost 3x as much when sent to contract as compared to being done in-house. Johanson supports Runyon, hire fewer bureaucrats and give the money back to the people. Daugs: asks about time frame of projects remaining in queue with the new staffing levels. Andrea Spencer says, since Council approved new hires effective 7/1, they’re still in the same position: permits that used to turn around in 6-8 weeks now turn around in 12-16 weeks, if not longer. Riley interjects that this is just the usual mid-year accounting adjustment, no FTEs will be hired in this ordinance change. Younger points out that Council majority voted for these FTEs, so he’s voting for it. Simpson: Life doesn’t happen at the speed of government. We have a chance to take a second bite at the apple. Government is unfortunately, inherently inefficient. Every time that we pull one dollar out of the economy, [Start Transcript] and put it in and government gets the $1. It’s $3 that are really pulled out because the $1 can’t be spent in the economy and return to other persons in the economy. So, This is the other reason that the government is inefficient in this matter when you put $1 out. It can’t be. It can’t be borrowed it can’t be spent.
It’s given to the government and the government uses that dollar in a way that may or may not be in every you know in everyone’s best interest. But that’s not necessarily the case here but that does happen. And that’s why I would urge my fellow council members so those new on this issue, simply because it is a housekeeping issue, but we are the, we are the ones who hold the purse strings, and we should use the power to hold the purse strings and make sure that things are done in a timely fashion. Thank you.
 [End Transcript] Goodnow: This is just housekeeping, Finance is just documenting the changes approved by Council. Riley says, Yes. Sullivan: Echoes Younger and Goodnow, I’ll be voting yes. Motion carries, 6-1, Simpson opposing.

C. Affiliation Agreement with Central Washington University for Training of Health Care Professionals

Chief Pat McGanney presents, same as at Study Session. David Harris: How doesn’t this cost any money? Paramedics are doing this on their own time? McGanney explains it’s a ride-along where the paramedic mentors. Roy Runyon asks about City indemnification against injury or death. McGanney: they’re just students, if there’s danger, they stay in the vehicle. School has the responsibility for students’ actions. Ki’aha Long: asks about BIPOC applicants, why wasn’t Olympic College included? He tried to apply many years ago when he attended, and it wasn’t possible. McGanney: OC doesn’t have a paramedic program. We work with two local colleges that do have this one-year program. Daugs: Appreciating Mr Long, but it’s true, OC doesn’t have a paramedic program. She talks about what a great program this is. Simpson: Talks about what a great program this is. He explains it, he praises it, he explains it some more. He asks “the Chief” to talk about the history of the program as he thinks it would help. McGanney: With Tacoma Community College, at least since early 90s, for a total of some hundreds of students. Most of our current paramedics have graduated from TCC or CWU. Motion carries unanimously.

My prediction: it’s 7:09pm. This will take at least 20 minutes. Update  — over 30 minutes.

Mayor Wheeler presents, same as his Study Session presentation. Coughlin approves. I approve, and ask Mayor to recap what the purpose of the holiday is, “as there was confusion about its purpose during study session”. He does. Harris: We need to include ALL the citizens of Bremerton. It should be more like Blackberry Festival. All it does is give 300-400 people a day off. He goes on and on, pretending that his objections aren’t racist, but fiscally conservative. This affects “just a small percentage of our population”. Ki’aha Long: This holiday represents freedom for people who were enslaved. This holiday is specifically for people of color who have not been represented. Cites Simpson and Younger as opposing holiday in name of saving money, intimates that’s not their real reason. Roy Runyon: I come from a very old American family. 200 of them were Union (fought on the Union side, I think he means). I do not support the establishment of Juneteenth as another public holiday. Makes government less productive. Demands the figures! the figures! to cost it out. Mayor Wheeler: We have holidays to single out signiificant moments in our history. This is a day of respect and service to observe a holiday that’s been ignored for too long.

Discussion:  Daugs talks about how diverse Bremerton is, how important this celebration is. Wheat makes her study session presentation, goes on to state that 47 states AND the US Congress have already made this a legal holiday. Simpson: I was not aware of any of this stuff. First time I heard about this was 2 years ago (yet he did not know what it was one week ago). I lived in Texas for a year and I never heard about this holiday. This holiday is about liberty and freedom, but it’s only for city employees. We should amend the motion to prevent the city from collecting taxable revenue on any holiday listed in the ordinance, including sales tax and property tax, nor could they issue any fines. The motion was not seconded, and so failed. Simpson: That’s unfortunate, thereby we have to force the city to prioritize, [no freaking clue what else he said as I was literally laughing too hard to hear him] Younger: Upset that his data accuracy was questioned, i.e., the $4.8M cost to King County for taking one extra day off he cited in study session. Says the source was the Seattle Times, but he’s received data from Finance that it’ll cost the City $80K per extra day. He supports it. Sullivan echoes this by saying that Juneteenth is the day that all of America became free; on the 4th of July we became free from England, on Juneteenth all of America became free [as long as you were a MAN. MEN were free from Juneteenth forward. Not so much in reality, but in law.] Gorman: This is an important holiday, it’s worth the cost. Motion carries unanimously. [shock! Shock!]

7. COUNCIL REPORTS

Simpson: It was great on Flag Day to see so many flags out. He talks about flags. The flag behind him is a storm flag. It is designed to be flown during a storm. so I fly it. It flew over Iraq to celebrate my grandfather. He talks more about flags. Wheat: Notice of Juneteenth Resource Fair tomorrow at 11-2, Wilco parking lot. Wheat tells Council how difficult it was for her and her husband to decide to sell their house so they can live closer to family and friends. She can’t see how to serve Bremerton and be with these East Coast people. So, she is resigning. Her farewell speech is pretty freaking moving. You should watch it. Lori Wheat is a real Friday’s child, loving and giving. Thanks staff by name and by what they did. Starts around 7:49, ends at 7:56. Gorman: You’ll be missed. Daugs: Keep holding us accountable. School is out. Be safe, driving out there, as more kids will be out and about. Happy Pride Month. Thanks Councilmember Wheat for her service, affirms that she will be missed, but she gets it, family is such an important thing. (Wheat presses palm to heart in response.) Sullivan: I will be attending Juneteenth. Astounded by Wheat’s resignation. Goodnow will be attending Juneteenth Resource Fair too. [At 7:58 I had a puppy emergency and missed the last 5 minutes]

8. ADJOURNMENT OF CITY COUNCIL BUSINESS MEETING and so it came to an end at 8:03pm

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