Council moves to urge Mayor to appoint Tom Wolfe as BPD Chief. New police contract approved. Drive-throughs in neighborhoods approved. Simpson claims that “lockdowns don’t work because it didn’t stop the spread of this stuff”. He supports people who have questions about masks and vaccination, but is ok with people wearing masks and getting vaccinated if they feel like it. “If you feel that you shouldn’t, then voice your opinion” (Councilmember Reports)
Please note, readers, that we are not in lockdown. Further, that every health authority on the planet says masks and vaccination are the best way to end the pandemic. And that feelings are an unreliable guide to best public health practice. We were getting ahead of Covid just a few months ago, before so many people listened to the kind of advice Simpson gave, decided not to get the vaccine, allowing the virus to replicate and mutate into the more contagious Delta, which affects young people as original Covid did not. This is irresponsible advice that would be flagged on social media. But City Council does nothing about it.
2. MAYOR’S REPORT
Kitsap Way Culvert, passable for salmon, nears completion & will be ready for salmon passage next year. Marina Square moving along. Please be careful about kids walking and waiting at bus stops.
3. PUBLIC RECOGNITION
Ki’aha Long: Union-related, specifically BPD – Gorman asks him to speak after Consent Agenda is read. Darryl Riley: Has an item, Gorman asks him to move it to 5A. I talk about Ref # 52516, Public Works, to facilitate installation of 4-way stop at 13th & Wycoff; and about 1317 Lafayette, a nuisance property demolished by City, now occupied by numerous vehicles, trash, dogs, generator. Gorman says Administration is moving on this.
4. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Claims & Check Register
B. Minutes of Meeting – August 18, 2021
C. Minutes of Study Session – August 25, 2021
D. Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Bremerton Police Officers’ Guild; and related Budget Adjustment
E. Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Bremerton Police Management Association; and related Budget Adjustment
F. Public Works Agreement with Petersen Brothers, Inc. for the Tracyton Beach Road Guardrail Project
G. Ordinance No. 5428 repealing Chapter 6.20 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Carryout Bags”
Public Comment: Ki’aha Long: Thinks police should be paid more, clothing allowance etc. should be increased, increases for add’l education, polylinguistic are all good. I ask about 3-year police contract, I say there won’t be another chance to really increase connection between BPD and the people they are sworn to protect and serve. I say this is a shame. Mr Rydal (?) talks about BPD responding when his house burnt & doesn’t think they’re using their units as efficiently as possible [Don’t understand this.]
5. GENERAL BUSINESS
A. Consent for Extension of Provisional Appointment of Thomas Wolfe as Chief of Police
Charlotte Nelson presents: We’re looking outside Bremerton for Chief, need to extend Wolfe’s appointment.
Public Comment: Joseph Rydal thinks he should be extended. Darryl Riley thinks Tom Wolfe deserves to be the Chief of Police. “Nobody’s jumping at the bit to come to Bremerton” As a convicted felon and a Black man, Riley thinks Wolfe should be Chief. You’re fooling yourselves if you think a Black man can come in here and run a mostly white department. Just do the right thing, and choose Wolfe as Chief. Lori Giotti – the letters about Wolfe represent a wide variety of people. Why do you want to spend all this money to find a “diverse” Chief when you have a more than well-qualified person? Why is a mostly white male Council seeking diversity over everything? Ki’aha Long: It’s important to have a more diverse BPD. Melissa Watkinson: Wants to discuss experiences of her and her neighbors. We can all gain from a transparent process, it’ll lead to stronger equity. I say Wolfe should be made Chief, can’t just import someone to run a massively undiverse department, as Riley said. We have to remake the department.
Discussion: Simpson – Dept needs to have a chief. We have an interim candidate, this is a good move. Daugs – wants to amend the Agenda item to extend Wolfe, urge Mayor to appoint Wolfe as Chief.
Discussion of the new motion – Daugs says BPD don’t want a chief from out of state. They want consistency, someone who knows these new laws. Right now, BPD is doing well. Last thing we need to do is bring in someone whom no one knows. She’s spoken not just with citizens but with many officers. Chief Wolfe would do great things for our City. She refers again to the search for Fire Chief which cost $35K. Dennehy – We have a chance here, with this process, to select a leader who decides which areas of the community are policed. I completely agree with Daugs and Riley that the last thing we need is a token leader. But I do believe we should have a more transparent process, with more accountability, rather than hand-picking a Chief. On the other hand, Wolfe has the support of both the community and the police department. Nobody else in the department wanted to apply for this job! Wolfe answered Dennehy questions about racial sensitivity in a way that convinced Dennehy to support Daugs’s motion, but going forward he wants this more transparent process. Simpson – I’m very supportive of this candidate, but I want REAC to review the process, which gives “the community” the chance to have input. Interim status is enough at this time. He reviews what everyone else has said for a while. Wants to make sure Council hasn’t missed a step in the process. Goodnow – loved Dennehy’s comments. I support this too. Wolfe is qualified. Also, Goodnow doesn’t want to go through the whole HR process in a world so full of changes. REAC didn’t formally discuss this, but five of its members have come out in support of Wolfe for Chief. Gorman – The intent is to get in front of systemic racism by choosing a diverse head of a large, public department. Since the Mayor has the right to appoint whom he wants, and he prefers to promote from within, it’s great that Mayor has opened the process so much, and Gorman agrees on promotion from within. Gorman’s changed his mind, doesn’t want to put BPD through tough times right now. What we wanted was stout, robust discussion on how we hire, and keeping the City accountable. Thank you all for the discussion. Substitute of the Pending Motion: Move to approve the provisional extension & request the Mayor to make the regular appointment of Thomas Wolfe. Motion carries, 5-1, Simpson opposing.
Back to the original motion, simply extending Wolfe’s tenure: Motion carries unanimously.
6. PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. Public Hearing for 2022 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Application
Capt Randy Plumb presents – applying for local solicitation. Since 2010 this money has gone to Community Resource Specialist, now filled by Joe Sexton. DOJ grant, no matching funds needed.
Ki’aha Long – This is a good grant. This is imperative.
Discussion: Everybody loves Joe Sexton’s position. Motion carries unanimously.
B. Public Hearing on Ordinance No. 5429 amending Section 20.44.120 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Drive-Through Facilities”
Garrett Jackson, Planning Manager, recaps his study session presentation. He describes Chris Lux’s frustration at not being able to open a coffee drive-through. He shows each Neighborhood Business Zone and discusses each. He recaps the three comments received – from Chris Lux, from me, and from Jamie Forsyth. Jeff Coughlin, Planning Commissioner, recaps the Planning Commission meeting included in the packet for tonight.
Public Comment: Ki’aha Long has some questions. Will there be more studies done so it doesn’t end up like the Starbucks cluster-F, an accident waiting to happen. Props to me for my email to Council. Faye Flemister: I was satisfied that staff had adequately vetted and adequately addressed all the concerns that I had. Katie Swanson: In favor of the drive-through. Removing barriers to our small-business owners can only benefit our community. Joseph Rydal: Agrees with the proposed amendment because cars at a business near him don’t have a drive-through and they drive up on the sidewalk. If more $$ is made, everyone will profit. Chris Lux: We started this project as a community-focused effort. Really appreciate all the consideration, hopes the ordinance passes. I say that this is a bad, bad idea, bringing increased vehicular traffic into neighborhoods. That I’ve seen the effect of a drive-through introduced into my neighborhood, and it’s not good.
Discussion: Sullivan – Thanks everybody for presentation. She’s been back and forth on this bcuz she doesn’t want to have a drive-through near her, but zoning now allows cars and businesses, so what’s the big difference. And, most members of the public support it. Goodnow: Drive-through will bring green to our empty lots. Daugs – goes back and forth on this. She’s gonna support it bcuz Goodnow elicited that we can adjust zoning in future and current zoning is pretty tough, “so I will have little difficulty voting yes.” Dennehy – personally, I love the transformation the Luxes have made to their lot at Naval and Burwell. Shout out to me re flyer vagueness. 15,000 people (he repeats Sullivan’s error of order of magnitude). He asks to see the flyer. Jackson says it’ll take a while. Goes to Simpson, who moves to postpone, as he wants to know if this will lead to drive-through alcohol and marijuana shops. Jackson doesn’t know, but think it’s state law, he will check. While he checks, back to Dennehy – who says WA state law prohibits drive-through marijuana. Simpson doesn’t want to add in anything that could be detrimental to our community, i.e., alcohol or marijuana or tobacco. Simpson tells Gorman he’ll settle for just finding about alcohol ban – WAC 3.14.11-1.5 , says Jette, prohibits liquor drive-through sales. Simpson withdraws his motion. Discussion continues. Gorman says he is torn. He describes how he’s torn. Gorman asks pertinent questions. Jackson says the tribe’s drive-through would in no way be allowed by current zoning. Motion carries unanimously.
7. COUNCIL MEMBER REPORTS
Council members urge vaccinations & staying safe, announce cleanup parties in their districts, BIPOC Forum 9/9, etc. Except Simpson, who, it appears, supports those who refuse to mask or vaccinate. Reader, you be the judge, as I’m not 100% sure what he’s driving at — Start Transcript: Thank you, brother. So, in world events we’ve seen an end to the Afghan conflict and locally we have many members in our community who are veterans of the Afghan and conflicts and to you I say thank you for your service and thank you for doing your part. Your, your contributions were not in vain.Thank you to the city staff for for working on the, the nuisance property at 13 and 1317 lafayette, it’s been an ongoing issue, and I’m glad to see we’re on top of it. And also, congratulations to Chief wolf I think he should update his, his voicemail by now. And we are coming up on a labor on Labor Day weekend. It’s time to spend with family it’s traditionally the end of the end of the summer, as we go into in autumn. If, if you feel you need to wear a mask, please do so. If you feel you need to get vaccinated, please do so. But a mandate. Be safe over the weekend. We should be doing it lockdowns capsule we shouldn’t be doing that. There are plenty of people out there who do not have it have questions about these sort of things and I support them. You know, these are the, we know that lockdowns don’t work because it didn’t stop the spread of this stuff, and the vaccines. Well, we’re having some issues with those but if you feel that you should get vaccinated, please do so if you feel that you shouldn’t be, then voice your opinion, continue to stay safe. Have a good weekend. End Transcript
8. ADJOURNMENT OF CITY COUNCIL BUSINESS MEETING and so it came to an end around 8:20pm.
9. EXEMPT CLOSED SESSION
A. As allowed under RCW 42.30.140 (4) (b) to discuss Labor Negotiations or Proceedings; No action anticipated…