daryl-daugs-downloadThis is the first in a series of interviews with the men and woman who want to be Bremerton’s next mayor. I’ll have my conversation with Will Maupin up soon. Promise.

In my takeaway remarks from last week’s Eggs & Issues breakfast with the mayoral candidates I noted that “Daryl Daugs sounds almost as anti-Bozeman as Shepherd.” The first thing he did when we sat down to eggs and issues at the Coffee Club, recently, was inform me that he was nothing like Councilman Mike Shepherd. “My campaign is not that everything that’s happened over the last eight years is crap.”

Among the topics discussed, Daugs had the following to say over a taco omelet and more cups of coffee than I can count:

On the notion that the Bozeman administration focused on downtown at the expense of neighborhood streets and sidewalks:

We have (some) original pavement and original sidewalks. The idea that we haven’t been maintaining and replacing sidewalks and the streets in the neighborhoods suddenly in the last eight years is not true. It’s been like that for a long time. As far as the stuff that’s gone on downtown. I haven’t liked how everything’s been accomplished downtown, but I like the flavor.

On neighborhoods other than downtown:

If you look at cities like Seattle and Bellevue … they used to have neighborhoods with distinct flavor and they become very homogenized. Take for example the community of Ballard. Ballard used to be the great little quirky little Norwegian fisherman community to go to. It’s completely lost that flavor. Everything in Seattle kind of looks the same no matter where you go to.

The people that have brought houses in Manette want to focus in Manette and the unique flavor of Manette. Same with the newer people who are moving into the downtown corridor. We really need to focus on that.

On what the mayor can do to spark more local businesses before the economy turns around:

(One) function is to be like a cheerleader in that a cheerleader for a city knows every community, knows the uniqueness of it and knows how to encourage people to bring businesses in and to broker deals and to bring different collaborations between different organizations.

How are you qualified to do that?

Couple ways. One is, for the last 15 years I’ve been an executive with non profits. And that’s the major function of an executive of a non-profit, to bring together different groups to support the organization. You don’t focus on money in a non profit, you focus on relationships. In our business I like to refer to it as friendraising, not fundraising.

And, specifically, the next big project downtown is gonna be the Third Place building, the old JC Penny’s Building. The reason that building project hasn’t started and it isn’t being revitalized right at this moment is because of the economic downturn and bank financing. Ron’s (Sher) ready to build the project. But the banks aren’t ready. And as the mayor I could help broker those deals. And I actually have some fairly strong connections with a couple funders — not banks — a couple capital organizations that invest in that type of project. So, I’m brokering — and this will happen whether I’m mayor or not because I care about the city — but I’m brokering some meetings between the Third Place people and some of these funders to see if we can get it going quicker.

Do you have any projects you can point to in other cites or deals that you’ve brokered and there have been developments?

Not as far as building real estate development, no. But as far as brokering friendraising … I was director of Families for Kids. A good share of what we did with that organization was with the business community and the non-profit community. For example, we had a standing development project going on with the Everett AquaSox and the Yakima Bears, where those minor league ball teams would work in relationship with their local foster care community to bring people into their games to promote foster care and support foster care, and it also benefited the businesses. That’s a good example of where I brought what wouldn’t seem like organizations to work together to collaborate.

Bozeman told me downtown wasn’t going to turn around until more people lived down there. Do you agree with that and that it’s going to take Ron Sher’s building to spark downtown?

No. But I think it’s going to help a lot. I don’t think that that’s essential, but I think it’s an important piece. One of the things that helps out with downtown is that it actually can becomes a destination …. and that doesn’t mean that people have to live there. The downtown area will be much better off when the condos are full. And when Ron Sher’s building has retail in it and residential is full.

Short of his building developing. is there anything the mayor can do to spark new small businesses in the neighborhoods including downtown?

And that is a combination of the mayor as the cheerleader and the mayor as the city manager. And what the mayor can do as the city manager is set up our community development department, and our planning department so that they’re user friendly. I’m not saying that Bremerton is worse or better than anybody else. I also think something that will help is one of the things that I’m going to be doing is establishing a function of a small-business liaison for the mayor’s office. We need the mayor out walking the streets knowing the businesses.  We need to have a person who is focused on being the liaison to the small businesses.

Talking about a new position?

It’s a new position but it will be within existing resources.

Do you put chips on your sandwiches?

Barbecue chips. It depends on the sandwich, actually. You don’t put barbecue chips on a tuna sandwich, just regular Lays.

— Chris Kornelis