By Charlie Bermant
Kitsap County's success in avoiding the base closure
hatchet last week is attributable to a coordinated
effort between 13 community members who prepared
material about the area's strengths with regard
to their respective expertise.
Among these, Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman wrote
about urban areas, Poulsbo City Council member Ed
Stern wrote about broadband infrastructure, Kitsap
County Sheriff Steve Boyer covered law enforcement
and Kitsap County Treasurer (and former United Way
Chairman) Barbara Stephenson discussed human services.
Stern said he had heard from a source within the
Washington governor's office that the Kitsap BRAC
submission was "hands down, the single best document
of is kind that came from the state."
The 232-page document, the key part of the Kitsap
strategy, was not widely publicized in order to
avoid tipping off the competition, according to
county spokesperson and BRAC
commission member Terrie Battuello.
Now that it has served its purpose, the document
is viewable on the county's Web site (go to www.kitsapgov.com/news.htm#BRAC_congrat
and select BRAC
Commission assessment to download).
Kitsap County has three bases that could have fallen
under the BRAC
knife - the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Subase Bangor
and Keyport. BRAC
chairman Will Lent felt the first two were always
safe, since they contain unique and important strategic
Keyport's escape was a pleasant surprise.
"The military value of our bases is sufficient to
keep them open," Lent said.
"The whole community worked with the BRAC
task force and prepared a good study. We delivered
it early on, when they were making the initial lists."
"I was very pleased with the results of the recommendations,"
said Olympic College president Dr. David Mitchell,
who authored the workforce development section.
"Our program at the shipyard has built some very
strong partnerships. It's a model program. I don't
know what role it played in the decision, but anyone
reading the report can't help being impressed with
the strong relationship between Olympic College
and the bases."
North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen said she
was "surprised and happy" about the decision, and
the possibility of bringing 1,400 new family-wage
jobs in the county.
"We don't know how that will shake out, because
it will happen over the next five or six years,"
said Gene Straw, a realtor with John L. Scott in
Bremerton who worked on the committee. "Right now,
the housing market is very hot and we are building
mostly high-end homes. If this trend continues,
it will still be a problem."
So the job isn't over. While BRAC
committee members, elected officials and citizens
rejoiced in the results, Lent is continuing his
involvement in the process. He is sending copies
of the BRAC
report to all members of the current committee on
the rare chance it moves to change the list.
"We're pretty much in the clear," he said, "But
I didn't want to sit here and do nothing."
In order to change the list, seven of nine BRAC
commissioners must vote to do so, according to Lent.
The Kitsap BRAC
committee was subsidized by a $10,000 state grant
along with an additional $10,000 when it separated
from the Puget Sound Naval Bases Association and
moved under the auspices of the Kitsap County Board
"The county commissioners did a great job on this,"
Copyright 2005 Port Orchard Independent