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Hansville forum mixes plenty of pie and politics

HANSVILLE — Aside from pie, standing-room only was the other tall order at the Hansville Community Center on Monday evening during North Kitsap’s only state and county candidate election forum. But everyone got their fill on both, including issues from acquiring open space to ferry services.

Local candidates, minus Terry Ducheane, Dist. 23, Position 2 Representative challenger, fielded questions from residents as selected by moderator Lynn Hix.

For the county commissioners race, South Kitsap Commissioner candidates incumbent Jan Angel (R) and challenger Charlotte Garrido (D) and North Kitsap candidates incumbent Chris Endresen (D) and challenger Scott Henden, (R) answered questions on development and the environment.

On the subject of impact fees, Henden and Angel said they believe these development costs are passed on to taxpayers, making it harder to afford housing in Kitsap. Endresen and Garrido agreed that balance needs to be achieved in paying for impacts of new growth or else school districts will be asking for tax increases, Endresen said.

“I believe new developments should pay for the cost that incurs,” Garrido said.

Residents also asked how they weighed the environment versus growth in their decisions on development.

Angel said that both need to be balanced when making decisions.

“It’s critical we must bring all folks to the table,” she said.

As an urban planner, Garrido said with new growth comes new patterns, which need to be studied.

Henden argued that while there has been much planning for growth in the past 10 years, no action seems to have taken place. Endresen countered, noting that improvements have taken place, such as the widening and repaving of West Kingston and Lindvog roads and the construction of the new Kingston Sewer Treatment plant.

All four candidates acknowledged the importance of acquiring open space but gave vastly different reasons.

Garrido said open space was acquired in Illahee and Indianola when she was a Kitsap County Commissioner from 1996 to 2000, and stated, “If there are good opportunities to purchase again, I would.”

Henden feels the county is not purchasing open space responsibly, noting that the money used to purchase recent property was borrowed and more of the same will take place in the future.

“We need to take a look at our priorities but we haven’t spent enough on active uses,” he added.

Endresen said that the nearly $40 million that has been spent on purchasing open space recently has come from grants and county funds set aside specifically for such purchases. An additional $17 million has also been spent developing active use areas, such as community centers, tennis courts, ballparks and skate parks.

“I think we’ve done a lot,” she said. “Just because it’s bought as open space doesn’t mean it isn’t available for ballfields.”

Candidates for the state positions then faced questions on education, property taxes and ferry fares.

In the 23rd District, Phil Rockefeller (D) and Doug Kitchens (R) are running for State Senate, incumbent Beverly Woods (R) and Ducheane (D) are vying for Pos. 2 in the State House of Representatives and Frank Mahaffay (R), Sherry Appleton (D) and Dan Goebel (L) are competing for Pos. 1 in the House

Ducheane’s prepared statement claimed that “virtually” nothing had been done in the Legislature to create jobs and it’s time “to start saving our great state by cleaning (the Legislative) house.” Several ideas he had in mind, if elected, are to not tax the poor, provide health care for everyone, reform education and the tax system and have a sweatshop-free state and products.

As for the candidates in person, education was a big topic of interest. All agreed the state could do a better job in providing funding, however, it was a matter of where to lay the blame.

Woods said it was within the school districts while Kitchens said the state needs to look closer at whether the money is going toward classrooms like it should be. Rockefeller said he doesn’t believe the state is meeting its constitutional requirements in providing school funding, as school districts are having to ask taxpayers for raises in taxes. He and Mahaffay both agreed that performance audits would be helpful in finding out how school funding is being spent. Goebel suggested working on a federal level, such as using vouchers or dollar-for-dollar tax incentives.

As for charter schools, Appleton, Goebel, Kitchens and Mahaffay opposed the proposal because the institutions would take money from the public school system. Woods said it would be a new approach to fixing failing schools. Rockefeller believes that such an environment “brings innovation to schools.”

Candidates were also asked how they would keep property taxes low for senior citizens.

Goebel said he believed that property taxes could be grandfathered when someone purchased a home and increases could be kept to a minimum.

“This question is impossible to answer in 30 seconds,” Mahaffay said, noting that better infrastructure needs to be provided and impact fees need to be removed.

Woods said legislation passed in the last session allows for deferment of taxes for seniors who have an income of less than $35,000 a year.

Kitchens believes that taxes should be frozen at the time when someone retires or their income becomes fixed. Rockefeller questioned why the state is depending on property taxes to fund public schools and believes the state should be held to that responsibility again.

“I do believe there is room to adjust the inequities here,”he said.

Appleton said that if exemptions and deductions for new corporations in Washington were closed off millions of dollars would be saved into the state coffers.

Most of the candidates believed the state should be footing the bill for ferry services. Rockefeller said the state needs “to test the limits, the ability to use state highway funds.”

There is also a plan keep ferry increases at 5 percent a year, he added.

Woods said that she was disappointed when residents from Kitsap lobbied against legislation to allow the state to provide passenger only services and believes state needs to fund the ferries with “dedicated funding from the state.”

The other candidates felt the state should be held responsible for the service and the systems finances need to be examined more closely.

In the 23rd District, Phil Rockefeller (D) and Doug Kitchens (R) are running for State Senate, incumbent Beverly Woods (R) and Ducheane (D) are vying for Pos. 2 in the State House of Representatives and Frank Mahaffay (R), Sherry Appleton (D) and Dan Goebel (L) are competing for Pos. 1 in the House.

Ducheane’s prepared statement claimed that “virtually” nothing had been done in the Legislature to create jobs and it’s time “to start saving our great state by cleaning House.” Several ideas he had in mind, if elected, are to not tax the poor, provide health care for everyone, reform education and the tax system and have a sweatshop-free state and products.

As for the candidates in person, education was a big topic of interest. All agreed the state could do a better job in providing funding, however, it was a matter of where to lay the blame.

Woods said it was within the school districts while Kitchens said the state needs to look closer at whether the money is going toward classrooms like it should be. Rockefeller said he doesn’t believe the state is meeting its constitutional requirements in providing school funding, as school districts are having to ask residents to pay additional taxes. He and Mahaffay both agreed that performance audits would be helpful in finding out how school funding is being spent. Goebel suggested working on a federal level, such as using vouchers or dollar-for-dollar tax incentives.

As for charter schools, Appleton, Goebel, Kitchens and Mahaffay opposed the proposal because the institutions would take money from the public school system. Woods said it would be a new approach to fixing failing schools. Rockefeller believes that such an environment “brings innovation to schools.”

Candidates were also asked how they would keep property taxes low for senior citizens.

Goebel said he believed that property taxes could be grandfathered when someone purchased a home and increases could be kept to a minimum.

“This question is impossible to answer in 30 seconds,” Mahaffay said, noting that better infrastructure needs to be provided and impact fees need to be removed.

Woods said legislation passed in the last session allows for deferment of taxes for seniors who have an annual income of less than $35,000.

Kitchens believes that taxes should be frozen at the time when someone retires or their income becomes fixed. Rockefeller questioned why the state is depending on property taxes to fund public schools and said he believes the state should be held to that responsibility again.

“I do believe there is room to adjust the inequities here,” he said.

Appleton said that if exemptions and deductions for new corporations in Washington were closed off, millions of dollars would be saved in the state.

Most of the candidates believed the state should be footing the bill for ferry services.

Rockefeller said the state needs “to test the limits, the ability, to use state highway funds.”

There is also a plan keep ferry increases at 5 percent a year, he added.

Woods said that she was disappointed when residents from Kitsap lobbied against legislation to allow the state to provide passenger only services and believes state needs to fund the ferries with “dedicated funding from the state.”

The other candidates felt the state should be held responsible for the service and the system’s finances need to be examined more closely.

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