Opinion

Garrido could learn a lot from her predecessor

Charlotte Garrido, whose performance in her previous term as South Kitsap commissioner earned her an eight-year, voter-enforced hiatus from office, promised last week she’ll take a more balanced approach to her duties this time around.

“Bipartisanship is very important on the local level,” she said. “I am a Democrat. I ran as a Democrat. But I will represent all Kitsap citizens.”

That isn’t exactly her modus operandi, but we’ll try to keep an open mind — as should she, although the early indications aren’t promising.

Asked to characterize the accomplishments of her predecessor, two-term Republican Jan Angel, the best Garrido could manage was, “We just said how we are working to avoid any negativity.”

Not that her concept of bipartisanship would allow her to acknowledge it, but while Garrido was sitting at home for eight years and losing in a pair of primary elections, Angel — working for most of her two terms as the lone GOP voice among the commissioners — put together a record that allowed her to move up to the state House of Representatives.

And her election to the Legislature last week was all the more impressive coming as it did on an evening when every other local Republican was going down in flames.

With relative ease, Angel knocked off former Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, who not only had the benefit of name recognition but also the enthusiastic endorsement of Pat Lantz, the 26th District Democrat both she and Angel were vying to replace.

Garrido, meanwhile, capitalized on a perfect storm that included a rival in the Democratic primary whose father had infuriated South Kitsap voters by voting as Port of Bremerton commissioner to raise property taxes and then an underfinanced political newcomer in the general election who only ran because no other Republican seemed interested in the job.

Even so, in a year when just putting a “D” beind your name ensured at least 45 perentage points, Garrido managed to prevail in heavily Democratic Kitsap County by a margin so slender it may yet fall under the threshold required to force a mandatory recount.

If Garrido chooses to interpret that as a sweeping mandate, so be it. But our advice to South Kitsap’s once and future commissioner would be to approach the next four years as a way of persuading her constituents she isn’t what they thought she was eight years ago rather than settling old scores and making up for lost time by enacting the sort of hyper-partisan agenda that cost her the job before.

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