Harborside deal a winner for everyone

It’s hard to come to any other conclusion than everyone came out a winner with the recent sale of Bay Street’s Harborside Bar and Grill.

Former owner Scott Hlinka, who said, “I’m ecstatic,” managed to sell the establishment for what he described as a “very, very, very good price.”

He can now use the proceeds of the sale to open an even bigger and more raucus night spot in Bremerton and see if his particular brand of entertainment will play on a larger stage.

Gig Harbor resident Mark Long, who purchased the Harborside and plans to open a more sedate, adult establishment, also seems pleased with the outcome. “We’ve always wanted a bar,” he said. “We hope to turn it into something a little more appropriate for the area.”

Meanwhile, Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend, who had been required on several occasions to assign every officer on duty on Saturday night to the vicinity of the Harborside in order to maintain order, could barely restrain his enthusiasm for the change in ownership.

“I wish Scott the best of luck,” Townsend diplomatically noted, adding, “I think wherever he goes, he’s going to have to make sure he complies with the law.”

“(The city) just didn’t want us here,” Hlinka said.

That’s probably true, or at any rate it became true after several months of repeated ultimatums and second chances failed to bring any noticeable improvement to the problems plaguing the Harborside and the city was forced to recommend the state not grant the bar a liquor license.

From the standpoint of Port Orchard residents — whether they sided with Hlinka or his critics — the sale is a good thing if only because the city had been forced to expend an inordinate amount of time and energy debating the Harborside issue when it could have been dealing with more critical problems.

It’s safe to say the entire community wishes both Hlinka and Long good luck in their new endeavors and is just happy the story had a happy ending for everyone.

‘Montana-style’ mahem

We’ve sided from the beginning with those who opposed the state’s now-discarded blanket primary system. The purpose of a primary election, after all, is to enable the state’s political parties to select the candidates who will represent them in the general election, and it seems only reasonable a party should have the right to set the ground rules by which its standand-bearer is selected.

We still feel that way, but at first glance the sample ballot included in the voters pamphlet that arrived in Kitsap County mailboxes this week seems like a recipe for disaster.

Rather than simply asking primary voters which party they prefer and handing them a ballot listing only candidates from that party, the state opted instead to compromise by adopting the so-called “Montana-style” primary system.

Under this plan, voters will be given a ballot that includes the names of every candidate but instructed to only vote for those from the party of their preference.

Most voters, of course, will understand the instructions and fill out their ballots correctly. But almost certainly a significant number will misunderstand and continue to vote split ticket — as they have in Washington since the 1930s — and thus render their votes invalid.

Whether the number of spoiled ballots is significant enough to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the winning candidates remains to be seen. But it’s certainly possible. And it’s a possibility that could have been avoided by not adopting a “compromise” sure to satisfy no one.

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