SInce all I'm doing today is Google Image searches ... here's what you get when you search for "Will Maupin." The one at left is running for mayor of Bremerton.

SInce all I'm doing today is Google Image searches ... here's what you get when you search for "Will Maupin." The one at left is running for mayor of Bremerton.

A friend asked me the other day if Bremelog.com is going to do endorsements for mayor. No, Maureen, please tell the candidates that while I’m conducting interviews with all the mayoral candidates (you’ve seen my conversation with Daryl Daugs and my breakfast with Mike Shepherd), I’m gonna let readers make up their own minds, which they’d do anyway. Maybe if I advertised that I were doing endorsements — and that said endorsement would be worth the “paper” it was printed on — my street in West Bremerton would get more visits from the five people who want to Bremerton’s next mayor. And while I’m sure at least a couple would-be office-dwellers have been down my street, I hadn’t been home to greet a single candidate until Will Maupin walked up my driveway this afternoon. And while I felt more than a little sheepish for not having posted the contents of our discussion two weeks ago, I did learn from our front-porch meeting that his daughter (Denise Burnside at Seattle’s KEXP 90.3) and I have mutual friends. And while a couple other candidates may claim to be courting the young vote, I think I’m safe in saying that Maupin is the only candidate who knows that Hannah Levin’s show is on KEXP every Saturday night.

(Note: Questions and answers are edited and condensed for your pleasure.)

You have Former Mayor Cary Bozeman’s endorsement. Are you running to continue the Bozeman agenda?

Basically yes. I want to continue to work on projects to improve Bremerton, yes. I agree with his philosophy that you figure out exactly what’s the best thing to do for the city, and then figure out a way to do it. And work with people at the state level and national level and everything to try and figure out a way to get the money to do what’s right. We went through a lot of years in this city with people saying, “We can’t do anything because we can’t afford it.”

The reason I’m running is because I think I can carry on that tradition of making significant progress in Bremerton and making it a better place.

You seem to be of the opinion that building the downtown core is going to be good for everybody.

Absolutely. There is no doubt about that. Until the city of Bremerton becomes a vibrant urban center, Bremerton is always going to be seen as second class. And it will extend out to help everybody in the city. It will bring in more revenue, allow the city to provide more services, provide more money to do things outside the downtown core. But I would definitely not be as focused on just the downtown core as Bozeman has been.

When I talk to people and we talk about doing things outside the dowotnwon core, they say “yeah, how about fixing my street.” And so we need to figure out a solution to that street-funding issue.

Car tabs. Are you in favor of a $20 fee to pay for street repair?

We’ve been working for years to try to figure out a source of funds to fix streets. I don’t think $20 is all that bad. Now, I know to some people that’s a big thing. And it’s the only tool that the legislature has given us to come up with the money. Some of the other candidates will tell you that we can just change our priorities and not do something else. And they’re wrong. We’ve tried for years.* And — unless you just want to quit having parks in the city or quit having police officers — you just can’t do that. We should have another dedicated fund to fix streets. *(Maupin has been on the city council since 2001.)

So, you’re in favor of the $20 fee?

Well, I think that’s the only tool we have, but it needs to go to the vote of the citizens. Just like school levies. When our schools are in need of repair, the schoold district has to go to the citizens. And if the citizens are convinced that we need that money to fix the schools, they vote for it. If they believe that we really do need the money, and we can convince them of that, then they will vote for it and they will be willing to pay it. Having it done to them by the council just implementing it by themselves — which we could do that, at the $20 level — I don’t think that’s a good idea. What we don’t need is people mad at us.

Why do you think you’re best for the job?

I would not be running if I didn’t think I was best for the job. Because I never wanted this job. I don’t want a job at all. I’ve been working to try and make this a better place for at least 20 years. My career was as a manager, a leader, and I did some pretty big things in the shipyard. And I worked on a lot of projects — to coordinate with the city on projects. I got the statue build down on the boardwalk…the old one with the big propeller. My career was management. And when I got really good at it, I retired. But because of my connection with working with the city for all those years, I wanted to continue to help the city, so I got on the city council. Now I have the upper management skills to be the chief executive of the city, plus I have the knowledge of how the city operates and good working relationships with all the department heads to be able to easily step into the city. And I just don’t think anyone else has that level of experience and knowledge.

The mayor is a completely different job than a city council, or a county commissioner, or a state senator, or anything. All of those are policy positions. The mayor is the one singular person that has to run the whole city. So you have to have the ability to be a CEO. And you’re on your own. And you also have a number of department heads and 350 people below them that you have to supervise, and manage and lead and coach. For me that will be easy, because I have a lot of experience and ability to do that.

What will be the hard part?

Getting elected to begin with is the real hard part. Because I’m not a great politician, and I never wanted to be a politician, I just wanted to help the city. But beyond that, it’s tough. When you do what you believe is best for the citizens a lot of times there are people who don’t like it for lots of different reasons. Maybe they don’t understand what your’e doing. Or maybe they don’t share your vision for the future of the city. And so there’s a lot of negative things that come with being the mayor.

What needs to be done over the next four years?

The city still — the downtown to begin with — hasn’t achieved its full potential. We need to continue to work on getting more residents to live down here, fill up the condos, build the JC Penny project to get more residents and retail down here. We need to solve the parking problem to make it so  easier for people to come down here. We need to work on making this a real pedestiran friendly downtown area so that people will want to come down here and walk around. And all of that will support businesses like this (Fraiche Cup). And so there’s a lot left to do and a lot of coordination with a lot of players — both public and private — to get those things done.

— Chris Kornelis

Advertisements