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Handbills posted downtown leave leaders perplexed

A series of fliers accusing the city of Port Orchard of corruption has cropped up downtown, leaving Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel and the Port Orchard City Council scratching their heads.

City officials noticed the sheets of paper stapled to posts and pilings downtown last week. The first sheet is in the form of a letter, presumably directed at the residents of Port Orchard.

“Would you rather have a say in how your city does things or have it forced upon you by those who may think that they ‘know what is good for you’ and find out the hard way that what is happening is not at all to your liking?” the flier asks.

“There are many special interests at work here, people who have a lot to say about what goes on in our city,” it continues. “People with a lot of money and influence. They have their agendas, and your welfare is not on their minds. You will have to stand up and tell them what You really want!...

“All dictatorships start out as being benign and honest, but human nature soon creeps in and things happen. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

In another posting, the writer further alludes to corruption.

“Do you think there is corruption in the city of Port Orchard?” he asks. “Why don’t they enforce building codes on certain developers? Why do all the city councilmembers vote the same way? Why do they hire so many consulting firms? What’s going on with sewer and water?”

The writer then directs the public to contact Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge and ask for an “investigation into city corruption.”

Abel said she is stunned.

“There’s clearly some feeling that there’s a worry that people aren’t getting heard somehow,” Abel said. “We certainly do want people to come to our council meetings. We are going to be broadcast on (television) this year.”

Abel said she encourages people to come to council meetings and speak to the council about “what they think is wrong and how they think is should be righted.”

“What’s not clear to me is what issues specifically (the writer) feels the council is not being open about,” Abel said. “We will continue our citizen’s update. We do respond to letters when we receive them. I really am all about open government as are my councilmembers.”

According to Abel, the council is not making decisions behind closed doors.

“The council can only take action on ordinances and spending money at its two previously-scheduled council meetings every month.”

The meetings occur every second and fourth Monday on the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the third floor of Port Orchard City Hall.

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