Fast Ferry or Fast Move?

While a lot of attention is being addressed to the Seattle Sound Transit rip- off (increased tab fees based on MSRP) very little is being directed to an even bigger rip-off here at home in Kitsap. In one of the most brilliant and deceiving marketing campaigns, Kitsap Transit convinced 51 percent of Kitsap voters to support a sales tax increase to subsidize a fast foot ferry operating between Kitsap and Seattle.  What was the promise and what is the reality?

First, the tax increase is estimated at about $12 million each year, but will grow as either prices increase, more money is spent on taxable items, or more items are moved into the taxable bracket. In reality, the total tax receipts will never go down (after all survival of the ferry is dependent on those monies). If you doubt the validity of that statement, please consider that we previously authorized a sales tax increase so we could have expanded and reliable bus transit throughout the county. How is that working out?

The “plus side promise” was economic growth in Kitsap County and less commuting time for our residents who worked on the other side of the “pond”. There was also a general promise of higher employment on the Seattle side because workers could get there easier.  In reality, things are not working out so well. First, the commuters who benefit from the shorter commute are paying less than 20 percent of the bill. The taxpayers are picking up the other 80 percent (The ratio for the WDOT ferry is 70 percent fare, 30 percent subsidy). A round trip ride that should cost about $100 is going for $20 or less). The actual funds for the ferry operation will be spent in Seattle because a Seattle side firm has been contracted to operate and maintain the fleet. In case you were wondering, that means that the people engaged in fleet operations and maintenance will also probably live on the Seattle side. The first hire for the system was a six figure salary Marine Division Director. That is really nice money for a person to oversee a system that currently has one ferry run. More recently, Kitsap Transit is advertising for Three “Ambassadors” who apparently will be responsible to sort out the riders for each boat and collect tickets. At a potential $52,000 and year (plus generous benefits) those positions will be more lucrative than the mean income in the county. Expect a lot of people to apply for these windfall sweet positions.  That accounts for a total of four jobs (at a very nice level of pay) for Kitsap. So where is this economic development we were promised?

Perhaps we can take a look at the potential to recover the tax cost by growth in the County. Currently the county receives $25 million in sales tax that goes into the general fund. The $12 Million that is separate for the Transit System (not in the County take) does represent a requirement for a 50 percent growth in the county tax revenue to make up for the transit tax. That can happen by a major (can you say huge) increase in retail sales of taxable items or a major increase in population. However, most of it will probably come in the form of increased property tax, Since 250,000 residents currently pay about $34 million in property tax each year(about $136 each)  it will only take about 88,000 additional residents or about 22,000 new families to move to Kitsap to equal things out. Of course in order to entice that many new families to Kitsap would require a massive increase in the job market in the County. Since that has not worked very well for the last 15 years, there should be some doubt about the validity of the assumed economic growth.

The bottom line of the entire issue is that while we will have a subsidized fast ferry system that moves commuter to the Seattle side, there really is no actual positive fiscal impact for Kitsap County. Just one more really good deals sent our way by the people we elected to protect our individual rights and to look out for us. Just remember that TEA stands for “Taxed Enough Alredy” the next time some bureaucrat or politician comes up with another grand idea to foster economic growth in the county.

Have you read my book “The American Political Conservative” available in paperback or electronic format on Amazon?

For related commentary and more,  follow my blog at noslackjack2017.wordpress.com  

 

Posted in Issues, Jack Hamilton, Latest News, Political, Tax Policy | Leave a comment

Republicans, Trump, and the Art of Being Winners

During the 2016 election cycle, especially following the Republican National Convention, there were two active camps in the Republican Party; Pro-Trump and Never Trump. Of course, since no one in their right mind (read media and DC establishment) gave any credibility to the Trump nomination and found no reason to even consider a Trump victory, it was sort of fashionable to be part of the Never Trump camp. And then came November 8 and the day of reckoning not only for Democrats but for Republicans also. Not only did Donald Trump win the presidency but Republicans also won control of the Senate and the House, a full up sweep of national government. Apparently the Republicans were not prepared for success because they have yet to find their “winners” uniform and continue to deck themselves out in “whiner” rags.

During the eight years of the Obama reign, it was easy and comfortable for Republicans to make noise, complain, and push positions that would never see the light of day. When the Republicans took the House, that carried on through innumerable “votes” to rescind Obamacare knowing nothing would come of that action. For all intents and purposes all a Republican House or Senate member had to do was make floor speeches in opposition to Democrat proposals and then get in behind a media microphone to tell the world what a staunch conservative and believer of the faith they were. George Shultz in a famous Charlie Born sequence once told us “Its hard to do anything wrong if you don’t do anything at all”. He was right and apparently a significant number of Republicans were listening.

The recent fiasco regarding the American Health Care Act is perhaps the most immediate indicator of the lack of readiness of the Republican Party leadership in the Congress to put into play the power and support given them by the American voters. While much has been said about the lack of leadership demonstrated by the Speaker and his House leadership team, equal credit for success needs to go the Tuesday Group and the Freedom Caucus. Certain Senators also need to belly up to the responsibility table for their action. AHCA may not have been prepared and offered in the best possible manner but the two named caucuses with about 90 members combined, represent a strong voting block that could have brought sufficient pressure to bear to get things right before bringing embarrassment to the Party and the President. By expressing immediate public opposition to the bill proposal and finding fault with the process over an open microphone, the disgruntled Republicans did the job of the Democrats and set the stage for ultimate defeat. The public pronouncements about the “failures” of the Bill in satisfying all “conservative” requirements opened the door for a continuous flood of calls and emails to House members from the opposition Indivisibles providing the appearance of “grass roots” opposition and apparent support for a no vote on the bill. The Republicans set the stage and the Democrats took the lead role. In essence the Republicans allowed the losers to become the winners. Well Played guys. You make us so proud, NOT!!!!

OK, chalk it up to lessons learned and now ask where do we go from here? Step one is to get the Republican caucus acting as a united body with fewer internal fights over who is more or less conservative. Get the absolute majority on board to a set of priorities and a legislative schedule that will support the satisfaction of the promises made during the campaign (that includes the President’s promises also). Place responsibility and sworn duty over personal desires and eliminate days-off and vacation-days until the agenda is either satisfied or the enabling legislation is set in stone for adoption. To do this will require that separate committees or working groups, with membership from all caucus factions, contributing and agreeing on the end product. Walk all legislation through the caucus, with the committee members doing the individual selling jobs, so that true consensus is reached and the requisite number of votes are assured before the bill goes to the floor. Invite the Democrats to play before the bill leaves committee, but always remember that “elections have consequences” as we reminded by a prominent Democrat. In essence use “regular order” but know the outcome of that process before it is started.

The last bit of advice is perhaps the most important for all Republicans to remember and act upon. Winners are winners only as long as they act like winners and take advantage of the value gained by winning. During the desperate fight over Obamacare, Republicans had the ability to stop the bill dead in its track. One Senator folded to allow cloture and the rest is history. The Democrats are very good at what they do and single minded in their pursuit of their agenda (and in opposition to anything else). Republicans need to be equally united and unwavering in their determination to restore American to its basic principles and limited governance under the Constitution. If we thought that eight years under Obama moved us toward the end of America as we know it, rest Assured that four years of Republican bungling and disorder will complete that journey.

Posted in Issues, Jack Hamilton, Latest News, Political | Leave a comment

April 17 General Meeting – the Gender Revolution

 

Gender Revolution with Joseph Backholm, Family Policy Institute

With the Kitsap Patriot Tea Party’s strong advocacy for Washington State Initiative 1552, there have been a lot of concerns about how the political left has managed to redefine and erode the common biological understanding of a male and female to be merely optional choices in law, affecting how we are allowed to protect our historic cultural values, religious practices and individual liberty, while dramatically increasing government power to divide and control our lives. Welcome Joseph Backholm, President of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, who will help us understand the background, how it affects education, and why it is important to fight the modern gender revolution. Let’s pack the house for this dynamic speaker who will be discussing a topic of incredible importance to everyone.

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“Let’s Roll” – keeping the Republic on course

In an old cemetery in Virginia, there is a tombstone with my name on it. Underneath my name is the inscription “Captain Revolutionary War”.

Buried in a mass grave by the British, at a place that was called Wall Bay during the Revolutionary War era, lie the remains of another of my ancestors who was taken prisoner by the British and who died aboard their prison ship located there. Wall Bay is now the location of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in the Borough of Brooklyn, New York – just across that famous bridge from Manhattan. My ancestor’s history was unknown to me at the time that I served at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in the early 1960’s.

I have other direct ancestors who fought for the Union in the Civil War and some that fought for the Confederacy.

My mother’s brother was killed in Germany in WW II. His body was not returned home for several years. He had fought for some time in a unit that included Congressional Medal of Honor holder Audie Murphy. I know this because Audie Murphy told me. Murphy was from a small town just a few miles from where I grew up and he would visit the area occasionally. When I was 14 years old, I got to sit down with him and have a one-on-one conversation.

Two of my wife’s uncles (who were brothers) lie buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery near  Paris, France, and close to where they died in service to our country. By the way… they were both Hispanic.

Then I did my “bit” – serving during the Cold War, in the U.S. Navy, as an enlisted man, with a battle station aboard an aircraft carrier for a while, working with Navy Public Relations in New York City while my ship was undergoing renovations at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and, finally, working on the staff of the Commander of the Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force, Norfolk, VA, as a “Journalist”.

OK… so… blogger… where are you going with all this?

Your blogger is ANGRY!!!!!! My ancestors, I hope, did not serve and die in vain!

I’m sure that many of you have family histories and military service records similar to mine and that you may be angry, as I am, at the attacks upon our history, our military, our culture, our religious institutions, our beliefs and our Constitution. You may be angry enough to DO SOMETHING! If your family fought and died for our Constitution and our way of life and, if you want to respect their sacrifice, DO SOMETHING. If you are angry, as I am, then I urge you to DO SOMETHING – but keep it within the Constitutional boundary of expressing your anger peaceably! Pick up the phone and call your Congressman, your Senator, and your Washington State office holders. It’s not so bad. It could be someone like me answering the phone in the Congressman’s office – as I and my wife did when attending college in Washington, D.C. and working on Capitol Hill.

You are likely aware that the Bremerton City Council did not take up the resolution on becoming a “Welcoming City.” I would like to thank KPTP President Johnny Walker for his presentation at the Council’s meeting on behalf of the members of KPTP.  I would, also, like to thank those of you who wrote letters, sent emails and called the Bremerton City Council. Council President Younger noted that there were 24 letters received in favor of the “Welcoming City” resolution and 40 letters received against it. The nays won this time, but this fight is not yet over.

Finally, I urge each of you to engage and keep our Republic on course with its timeless principles and in the words of 9/11, Flight 93, hero Todd Beamer: “Let’s roll!”

Posted in Issues, James Carender, Latest News | Leave a comment

We are already a welcoming country

This is an open letter to the the City of Bremerton, Washington, concerning their council’s consideration of a “welcoming city” resolution as a so called symbolic gesture of inclusive respect for all people.

Honorable Mayor Patty Lent, Councilwomen and Councilmen,

 

Summary:

The welcoming city resolution as proposed to the Bremerton City Council is a thinly veiled adaptation of sanctuary city resolutions. The resolution is unnecessary, divisive, creates risk, has no tangible benefit, is distracting to the business of the city with a host of unknown outcomes, and likely benefits no other single group but the petitioner and its clientele. It is a misguided construction of political platitudes by those who support open borders and are opposed to the enforcement of existing federal immigration law. The KPTP rejects both welcoming and sanctuary city initiatives as contrary to the rule of law and equality under the law.

Recommendation: The Bremerton City Council should 1) reject the proposed welcoming city resolution, and 2) honor their oaths of office to uphold the municipal code of Bremerton, and support the Washington State and United States Constitutions.

Discussion:

First and foremost, Kitsap County and the City of Bremerton are already welcoming jurisdictions. There are no unwelcoming laws and there are adequate provisions in city, state and federal law to protect all classes of people from unlawful discrimination. Indeed, we are a country where all people are considered equal under the law. There is no need to distinguish otherwise. The region in and around Bremerton is awash with a constantly changing diversity driven by the U.S. Navy, the shipyard, and the generations of families who developed the area since the 1800’s. We have a strong and respectful integration with first nations. To suggest Bremerton is not welcoming is disingenuous and perhaps a lie. The resolution is unnecessary.

The proposed welcoming resolution is not only unnecessary, it is divisive. By proposing the idea that “all people” requires further definition by “including immigrants,” makes the inference that we are not a people equal under the law and that some people deserve special dispensation to evade the law. The resolution creates a protected, unlawful, class of people and encourages acceptance of unlawful behaviors. This idea is contrary to your oaths of office and to our fundamental principles of equality under the law; that no person is above the law.

The proposed resolution creates risk without true benefit. The risks of adopting a welcoming, sanctuary, status are numerous beginning with the loss of integrity and ethical credibility in relation to your oaths, the subsequently divisive political distractions, and votes. The city risks the regional threat to direct federal funding, the loss of military investment, jobs, relocation of contracts, or certainly the costs associated with defending itself in court. There are no projections to anticipate the adverse impact of unexpected population growth attracted to sanctuary regions, including the increased demand on social services, education, law enforcement, fire services, or medical care, nor the mitigating factors that would lead to an increase in taxes. What is the benefit, if any, to adopting an allegedly “symbolic” resolution other than to pander to a far left ideology zealously opposed to the enforcement of existing immigration law, undermine secure national borders, facilitate the drug trade, and establish lawful citizens as acceptable losses to ideological gain. The resolution has nothing of value to truly offer.

There is one speculative benefit to the resolution that lies under the radar and that is the potential direct benefit to the resolution’s petitioner, the Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Center. A 501(c)3 organization, KIAC could benefit in status and financial growth as a result of any influx of immigrant population seeking protected status. According to the KIAC 2016 annual report posted online, 42.8% of their $107k budget is funded through grants, up from 22% of $71,910 in 2015. The KIAC is a growth industry. An influx of population seeking protected status, perhaps from Seattle seeking to avoid higher costs and density, would likely drive an increase of services resulting in increased opportunities for grant funding and donations.

As a secondary concern, as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization, KIAC seems to be acting as a lobbyist for legislation. Before any resolution is adopted, consideration should be given to whether or not KIAC is acting substantively as a political action group (PAC), and whether or not its “campaign” contributions should be properly filed with the State for transparency.

To be very clear about any presumed motivations of KIAC, the KPTP fully respects the legal rights and legal activities of the KIAC as a valuable community service organization. The KPTP; however, does not agree that a welcoming-sanctuary resolution is of reasonable benefit relative to the risks, and openly undermines law.

Please honor your oaths.

This written testimony should not be considered a full analysis of the welcoming resolution debate but does articulate primary objections to the inherently flawed proposition. The KPTP holds in reserve any additional analysis that may become relevant in future discussions as more information becomes available.

Respectfully submitted

Johnny Walker, President

Kitsap Patriots Tea Party

Posted in Immigration, Issues, Latest News, Legislative Advocate, Political, President | Leave a comment