‘Stepping back’ from Kincer not a bad idea

Port of Bremerton Commissioner Cheryl Kincer, who announced last week she would not seek another term when hers expires at the end of this year, reportedly said either of the two candidates currently seeking to replace her would represent a step backward.

Then again, when you’re standing on the edge of a cliff looking straight down, backward isn’t a bad direction to consider.

Kincer would have faced long odds to be re-elected had she not decided that discretion was the better part of valor.

Former longtime Commissioner Mary Ann Huntington found that out when she was roundly defeated in 2007 by voters still smarting from a jaw-dropping property tax hike used to fund $17.7 million worth of improvements to the Bremerton Marina — whose subsequent occupancy rate currently hovers around a depressing 30 percent.

In the two years since, Kincer has demonstrated her own concern for fiscal responsibility by repeatedly approving the expenditure of additional millions to subsidize a vastly more dubious enterprise, the port’s Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project.

That said, it might have served a purpose had Kincer made the upcoming election a referendum on her and fellow Commissioner Bill Mahan’s leadership.

Instead, we’re concerned a Kincer clone could end up replacing her just because he or she has a different last name.

Roger Zabinski, for example, is positioning himself as a SEED agnostic, but given his endorsement by state Reps. Larry Seaquist, Kathy Haigh and Fred Finn, it’s hard to imagine him opposing anything with the cachet of “environmentalism.”

Gene Hart, on the other hand, clearly wants to be known as the anti-Kincer, calling himself the “taxpayers’ watchdog” and vowing to kill SEED before another dollar is wasted.

Given the train wreck Kincer is leaving behind, that message definitely resonates with us.

If that’s moving backwards, so be it. By all means let’s start backing up before we take one more step toward that long downward plunge.

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