18 August 2021 City Council General Meeting, 5:30-6:29pm – the 59-minute meeting

Please get vaccinated. Until most of us are vaccinated, young people are at risk. Children were generally more immune in the first three or four waves of Covid. We got used to that. Now 14 year old kids are on ventilators. We’re seeing healthy 35 year olds cough, sicken, and die in days. Even a bout of this Covid, especially the Delta, can hurt your breathing for well over a year later. Doctors who study epidemics are going on the record, telling the NY Times they have infants or toddlers, so they simply won’t fly with the kids, or visit malls, etc. These doctors know that we simply don’t know enough about Delta yet to have evidence on how it hits the very young, so they’re taking precautions.

Look, when viruses replicate, they mutate – when they become a mob, they get rowdy. This Delta mutation, or variant, is going for young people. The first Covid variants were knocked out by the vaccine. This new variant means that even if you’re vaccinated, you can pass on the virus to the people you love or work with or meet around Kitsap, or beyond. You may not even feel sick. But you can pass on Covid.

When most of us are vaccinated, there won’t be enough cases for mutations to take hold. We could be dealing with a virus we’ve had time to study, instead of always being on the defense as the virus mutates, and its mutations mutate … We’ve all seen the movies. This is a bad scenario. When cases go down, the virus starts to break up, like an angry crowd breaks up. But we can turn it around by considering our common good. So – PLEASE GET VACCINATED!

Stay safe out there. Get the shot. Protect the people you love, and protect strangers who also have people they love. Wear a mask. Socially distance. Go back to the old grind of isolation and fear because around 34% of Americans are dead certain their personal freedom trumps our responsibility to take care of each other.

Take care of each other.

I should say that this is just me speaking from doing my epidemiology homework since January 2020. Any errors are on me, not on the sources I relied on: The CDC, the NIH, WA Dept of Health, Kitsap Public Health District. And of course Dr Anthony Fauci, to whose expertise I bow.

Summary of City Council Meeting
Bremerton has lowest vaccination rates in our county. Cases are surging, highest rates since pandemic began. Several councilors – not Simpson – urge us to get vaccinated. Simpson tells us to observe personal hygiene.

LOTS of concern about Harrison ER closing which brings up, again, the closing of Franciscan/CHI hospital in Bremerton and moving it to Silverdale. The Certificate of Need must be waived or eliminated! Per Younger, and echoed by all other Councilors. Pres. Gorman and Mayor to contact our lobbyists to petition county and state to effect this change.

Customers have to have or install a water shut-off valve on their property, should run about $200 to be installed by licensed plumber.

Several members of the public applaud the open selection process for new Police Chief, urge Mayor and Council to appoint a candidate who represents the diversity of Bremerton.

Half a million bucks to erect a fence around Reservoir 4 at 3rd & Roosevelt because of adjacent housing development. Developer of that housing will not have to contribute one thin dime of that cost. Read my comment on Item 4D.

2. MAYOR’S REPORT

Kitsap Covid update – we’re seeing an increase in Covid cases, most of them are unvaccinated. Delta variant is highly contagious. KPHD Public Health Recommendations – the old masking, social distancing, avoidance of crowded indoor spaces. You can book a vaccination at kitsappublichealth.org. He’s only bringing this up now because actions are being taken around the state.

Nuisance Abatement Program – 6 projects currently in queue, 20 new properties added this year. Waste Management has a worker shortage. If you’re looking for work, plenty here! A few routes were missed in Aug. If your pickup was missed, you can put out a double load at next collection time. No more disruptions expected.

3. PUBLIC RECOGNITION

Ki’aha Long – Kilmer’s office won’t open until Sept., Long wants it to stay closed for longer. Re police chief, he refers to Wolfe, lists “improprietary aspects” of BPD like police harassment, racial profiling, theft, deleted texts, etc. Homeless being targeted, we have to stop doing that. Jeff Coughlin – about healthcare, staffing shortages, closure of Harrison ER. In long term, he has concern about one company taking control of more and more facilities in our area. He thinks shortages may be in part due to restrictive policies (I think this is the Catholic slant of Franciscan & St Michaels, etc.) People still driving up to Harrison ER, even though closed. Mayor says situation is so volatile that anyone who needs ER should call 911. Melissa Watkinson – appreciates the way Council & Mayor have come together to open up the police chief selection process. She has community members who are concerned about diversity in BPD. Susan Brooks-Young – reiterates her support for Coughlin’s and Watkinson’s messages. She too wants to open up the selection process. I quote Bremerton vaccination rates, lowest in Kitsap County – ask Councilors to reach out to their constituents to get vaccinated so that more of us can stay alive to fight for justice, as in the open selection process for Chief of Police.

4. CONSENT AGENDA

A. Claims & Check Register

B. Minutes of Meeting – August 4, 2021

C. Minutes of Study Session – August 11, 2021

D. Contract with Chinook Properties, Inc. for the Construction of Reservoir 4 Fencing and Security Improvements Project; and related Budget Adjustment

I ask about 4D – since the housing development was permitted, and since its presence is the excuse for the fence, was there no consideration that the developer might pay part of the cost of installing this fence. The answer is: No. Ned Lever says there was a floating cover, it was pierced by limbfall, so City cut all the trees. Now people can see it, so the Security Assessment determined it needed to be surrounded by standard chain-link fence with razor wire atop it. Motion to approve carries unanimously.

5. GENERAL BUSINESS

A. Ordinance No. 5427 amending Title 15 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Municipal Utilities”

All properties have to be hooked up to the GFC. Now, they don’t have to pay for hookup until they’re ready to hook up, i.e., until the building’s constructed. Every water meter in the City must have a shut-off valve on the customer side of the meter.

Public discussion –  I ask specifically what “the customer side of the meter” means. It is NOT the water out in the street as the plumbers told me. There is a shut-off inside the house. That’s what people should use. If they don’t have one, they will need to have a plumber install one.

Council Discussion – Goodnow says this is a good change, creates clarity. Daugs asks how many properties are affected. How many will have to buy a customer shut-off valve? Lever doesn’t know, but if PW has to make multiple visits to one property, PW will point to this Ordinance and require shut-off valves. This should cost about $200 cost (two hundred dollars) – any licensed plumber can install this. Simpson – This is an infrastructure cleanup bill that brings us in compliance with the state RCW. He explains what this is some more. Gorman – asks technical plumbing questions which I confess I can’t follow. He seems satisfied with Lever’s answers, though. Motion to approve carries unanimously.

6. COUNCIL REPORTS

Younger – eliminate or waive the Certificate of Need so that we can open a hospital here. He goes on at length, repeating a plea he’s often made over the years. Simpson – explains that a Certificate of Need creates a monopoly which does not serve our community. Petitioning the state legislature and county, as Younger suggested, is the way to go. He addresses constituents: District Six, stay healthy, stay safe. Observe personal hygiene. “The numbers are rising but not to a point where, where we need to lock anything yeah. And we know that locking us down is bad, so let’s not go backwards, let’s keep it open so we can continue to enjoy our lives.” Goodnow – he too thinks the Certificate of Need needs to be altered. If you’re not vaccinated, get vaccinated. Find a friend and do it with them. Don’t put it off. We’re seeing a good efficacy with vaccines, let’s do what we can to avoid any lockdown measures. Dennehy – the first District Four meeting will be September 26, most likely at noon. Constituents have asked for personal meetings and he’s already doing them, happy to do more. Get vaccinated! The side effects are minimal. The benefits outweigh the risks. Daugs – Lori Wheat is now living in Norfolk, VA, wants to let everyone know that she’s no longer leading a gypsy lifestyle, will be under her own roof soon. Please get vaccinated, wear a mask, observe social distancing — please do your part, would hate to go backwards, definitely. Re the Certificate of Need, she too would like to see it waived. Franciscan/CHI is nearing monopoly status in our area. This should be a future discussion for Council. Gorman – he too is frustrated and disappointed by the state of our healthcare, will reach out to our city lobbyists to see what we can do about getting more competition in this space. Definitely time to act right now. Asks Mayor to reach out to our City lobbyist to discuss this at one of the next two study sessions. Stay safe, do all you can to protect yourself and others.

7. ADJOURNMENT OF CITY COUNCIL BUSINESS MEETING and so it came to an end at 6:29pm

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