Opinion

Kudos to Bozeman for call a spade a spade

If last week’s decision by the Port of Bremerton commissioners to put the controversial Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) project out of its misery seemed a bit anticlimactic, it’s because by the time Port CEO Cary Bozeman made his recommendation to the board, it had become painfully obvious to all but SEED’s most irrational supporters what the outcome would be.

But if the fate of the proposed incubator for environmentally friendly businesses was preordained, Bozeman’s handling of it wasn’t.

Given his background as a politician, one might have expected the former Bremerton mayor who’s only been on the job with the port for two months to be a little more circumspect in his comments — particularly since he was reporting to the commissioners for whom he works.

But Bozeman was refreshingly — and appropriately — blunt when addressing SEED’s failure.

“The project’s potential for success has been diminished,” Bozeman said. “The port itself has undermined its efforts by actions that have damaged its bond of trust with the taxpayers.”

Specifically, Bozeman was referring to the commissioners’ decision in 2006 to raise property taxes to pay for improvements to the Bremerton Marina without a public vote and after only minimal discussion.

Bozeman told the commissioners in no uncertain terms that act had eroded public confidence to the point where it would simply be impossible to undertake a project like SEED that required massive subsidization.

And his conclusion seems undisputable.

We can — and do — dispute Bozeman’s assertion that SEED might have succeeded under other circumstances, but in any case we believe he deserves credit for calling a spade a spade rather than pandering to the commissioners as a less assertive CEO might have.

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