Opinion

Lent's support, non-support, worth noting

It was worth going to Kitsap County Commissioner Patty Lent’s re-election fundraiser breakfast the other day just to see who showed up and who didn’t.

Among the invited guests who filled all the tables in the Silverdale Beach Hotel banquet room were three well-known Democrats, former Sen. Gordon Walgren, former Sheriff Pat Jones and Bremerton Port Commissioner Bill Mahan — a former county commissioner himself.

Their support won’t mean much, however, unless she makes it through the primary, which is a big hurdle for her because she’s angered the Republican establishment to the point she has a primary opponent who is being publicly supported by many in the GOP.

Her vote with Democrat Commissioner Chris Endresen to pass the Critical Areas Ordinance ticked off many who worked for her election in the first place. They’re now in the camp of Jack Hamilton.

Not attending the Lent breakfast were county chair Matt Cleverley, state committeewoman Shirley Brown and committeeman Duane Wadlow.

At least I didn’t see Wadlow there. Cleverley tells me he was in Portland or would have attended.

Brown says she wasn’t invited.

State Rep. Beverly Woods was there. Assessor Jim Avery and Coroner Greg Sandstrom weren’t there but RSVPed as supporters.

Others in public support were former U.S. Rep. Rick White, Central Kitsap School District Superintendent Greg Lynch, attorneys Ed Wolfe and Joe Mentor Jr., Bremerton School Board member Robin White, and Poulsbo City Council members Ed Stern and Connie Lord.

What matters here is that voters in September will have to pick one party ballot and can’t cross over the way we used to do. So presumably only Republicans and independents who opt for that ballot will choose between Lent and Hamilton.

Whoever comes out on top has a good chance to win in November, whichever it is.

It’s the GOP establishment that appears to be ticked at Lent, judging by the attitudes concerning the race I’ve seen at a couple of women’s luncheon groups I’ve attended, but nobody knows how she’s perceived by others who consider themselves Republicans but don’t belong to the party central committee.

Adding to the mix here is the primary race for sheriff that may force Democrats like Walgren, Jones and Mahan to stick to their own party ballot rather than voting in the Republican primary to help Lent.

Actually, I don’t think Steve Boyer has anything to worry about from Deputy Sheriff Jim Rye.

Anyway, to get back to Patty Lent, her prize catch for the breakfast was Attorney General Rob McKenna, who told the crowd, “We can’t afford not to have Patty Lent on the commission,” and promised to return to Kitsap throughout the campaign to help.

Commissioner Lent dived right in on the Critical Areas Ordinance, saying, “I felt I was doing the right thing for all citizens.”

A compliance report will be done on its effect at the end of the year and if she was wrong to support it, “I’m not too proud to say I can change. We’ll look at it in December and see if that was the right thing to do and if we can move forward.”

As for the NASCAR track, which she has not taken a stand on, for or against, generating criticism for lack of decision, “Whether it’s land-use or the proposed NASCAR track, my philosophy remains the same. What is best for all of Kitsap County, even those who may choose not to vote for me, and what is the most efficient and responsible course of action I can take. Those two questions have guided my decisions as commissioner and will continue to guide them during my next term.”

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.

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