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Two compete for commissioner seat

Sandra LaCelle wants to be the change she seeks

North End — Challenging for the position of North End Commissioner is Republican Sandra LaCelle.

A resident of Kitsap County for the last 25 years, LaCelle now lives north of Poulsbo. Although new to working in government, she said she's not new to politics.

LaCelle, who grew up in Seattle and attended law school at Seattle University, worked as an attorney in her own small law practice. She's currently in the process of attaining another degree in homeland security from the American Military University.

Her motivation for challenging Bauer for the position: She said she's not satisfied with the way things are currently run and she's ready to make a few changes.

"I watch the news and I'm the person who gripes a lot but I don't want to do that anymore," she said.

LaCelle said there is a lot of mistrust toward local government and it's her goal to be as open and honest with constituents, as she believes in a transparent government.

"I'm ready to make the tough decisions and be accountable at the end of the day for them," she said.

With her background in criminal justice and forensic psychology, LaCelle said she's the type of person who likes to have all the information laid out before she makes a decision.

She's definitely ready to make changes to the budget.

"Cuts need to be made in as many places as possible and if it has not been done already, more realistic forecasting of revenue so that goals can be targeted for cuts in the budget," she wrote in an e-mail interview. "I think it is fair to have all departments look for places cuts can be made, but in focusing on the priorities in government we need to be mindful of providing the services that we must provide first, then the services we are allowed to provide, second."

What must be provided, she said include: law and justice, roads and infrastructure and assistance program to the most vulnerable. "We will need to be creative and look more to public/private partnerships to solve some of the other program cost issues in the future," she wrote.

LaCelle said she learned a lot about tight budgeting from her previous onership of two restaurants — Captain K's — in Bremerton and Port Orchard.

Instead of Citizen Advisory groups, currently used by the county to keep in touch with residents, LaCelle said she would favor town hall meetings.

"I still feel Kitsap County is small town USA, which is why town halls would be appropriate," she said. In her e-mail responses, she added, in addition to the meetings she would, "make time each week to answer e-mails and phone calls so that I can keep up on top of the issues that may arise in the county that I will not know about unless I hear from a citizen and it is vital to keep up with those smaller issues before they become larger ones."

The current citizen advisory groups, LaCelle said, are a good way to gain information about a community but are not representative of the voices who aren't involved.

Addressing the local tribes in the area, she said good communication and focus on common interests is necessary to create and maintain better relationships between tribal and non-tribal members in the county.

"Many voters are frustrated over the rights tribes have that have been granted to them under federal treaties," she wrote, "but we need to work with them in the most positive way possible to create a community atmosphere where our common goals can be focused on and the differences can then be worked on in a positive way."

If elected to the position, LaCelle said she will focus on how communities and businesses symbiotically benefit each other. She said it's imperative to reach out to them to make them succeed and attractive to future businesses.

"Ensuring that DCD (the Department of Community Development) has staff available to be assigned as a liaison to a new business to help walk them through our permitting process and smooth over the bumps in the road so that undue delays in permitting do not occur would also be helpful," she wrote. "In our current economic climate it would be difficult for many entrepreneurs to think about starting businesses but we must look to the future at what kinds of businesses and industries our community could support and needs in order to be properly planning for a prosperous economic future for our county."

LaCelle's vision of the North End's future includes several changes within the county to ensure safety of residents.

• Maintain levels needed for law and justice and roads and infrastructure.

• Plan for more law officers to serve the growing population.

• Maintain existing roadways to lessen traffic accidents and lawsuits against the county.

• Change DCD's vision to focus on customer service for serving the projected growth. This, she said, will help ensure property owners are able to use their land in ways that don't violate the county's Growth Management Act.

"Government should not be in the business of telling people where they must live," she wrote, "but rather, must listen to the people's ideas about where they do want to live, and then do the required future planning to be in accordance with the law."

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