photo(5)Between the time he was called to dinner and finally took his seat, Thursday evening, I had a chance to catch up with former Bremerton mayoral candidate Carlos Jara. He was reorganizing his office when I called, cleaning up what became ground zero for his long-shot campaign for mayor.

From the beginning Jara — the youngest, least politically experienced, and final candidate to enter the five-person primary campaign — knew he was the underdog. But at the end of the day, he brought in 12 percent of the vote, earned the endorsement (along with Will Maupin) of the Kitsap Sun’s editorial board, and impressed finalist Patty Lent enough for her to proclaim that he would make a fine candidate for small-business liaison.

Here’s what we talked about:

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Mike Shepherd, addressing supporters mintues before the early returns came in.

Mike Shepherd, addressing supporters mintues before the early returns came in.

You could feel the oxygen get sucked out of the room when Mike Shepherd and about 30 supporters got the news just after 8:15 p.m. at Mad Moose Pizza.

“It’ll be alright,” he told the crowd as they noshed on pizza and sipped Moose Drool.

Shepherd, a city councilman who led the yard sign poll months before the other four candidates for mayor of Bremerton even entered the race, pulled in 23.98 percent of the votes in early returns tonight, enough to rank him third behind former Kitsap County commisioner Patty Lent, with 27.74 percent, and city councilman Will Maupin, with 28.57 pecent of the votes. Non-profit executive Daryl Daugs brought in 8 percent of the early votes, while local business owner Carlos Jara brought nearly 11 percent.

Though results in the close race will continue to be released later this week, “To me, it’s a victory,” Lent said in call from Brother Don’s, where she celebrated with friends and supporters. “From what the statistics are right now, I’m very confident.”

Lent says she plans to start doorbelling again on Wednesday. “If Will’s having a tough time making decisions on the budget, I want to see areas I can help improve that,” she said in reference to comments Maupin made at a budget meeting last month. “That’s a very important factor and we both need to be on top of our game.”

Maupin — who celebrated at home with his family and about 30 supporters — said he wasn’t surprised by tonight’s results and doesn’t expect them to change. “My real gut feeling ahead of time was that it was going to come out just the way it did,” he said in a call earlier tonight. Maupin said he plans to take a little bit of time off before getting his committe together and mapping out a strategy.

Shepherd, meanwhile, is not ready to give up hope.

“It’s amazing that it’s this close,” he said at Mad Moose. “100 votes might (make) the winner.”

Jara and Daugs have not yet returned calls for comment.

— Chris Kornelis

Note: During the primary campaign, Bremelog.com has focused its coverage on the mayor’s race. Look for coverage on the other races affecting Bremeton voters between now and November’s general election.

diddydddThere are only a few hours left to get your ballots in the mail before Tuesday’s primary election. Here’s a quick look at what Bremerton’s five candidates for mayor had to say about downtown. Click the candidate name to read the full conversation. Now don’t forget to vote!

Mike Shepherd: “You know, you get your basic structures, then you have to work on the people in the immediate area and start filling it in with families. So that it’s vigorous and there’s people around, then businesses will come and provide those things that the people want. The problem is though that the people that we expected to move here aren’t moving.”

Will Maupin: “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.”

Patty Lent: “I thought that Cary had a good start. I thought he brought in some good changes. But I think that the rest of the city limits missed out on what he was accomplishing. And if you don’t have a new look you’re not going to attract new businesses or residents. He accomplished that. Now I want the rest of the city limits to take and have some of that success and some of that invigoration.”

Daryl Daugs: “One of the things that helps out with downtown is that it actually can become 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.”

Carlos Jara: “The mayor, for all the good things he did in the community, you never really saw him in other businesses down here. How often would you come downtown and see him in Fritz? You sure saw him at Anthony’s. You sure would saw him at Starbucks. I don’t believe that. I would be in every business in the community, checking in on them. Because I’m part of that business community. The most important thing for me as mayor for me is checking in on them.”

All illustrations by Jessica Randklev.

All illustrations by Jessica Randklev.

Just thumbing through a few public disclosures and noticed that during his time running/not running for mayor, Cary Bozeman brought in $47,237 for his re-election campaign since 2007. That easily makes him the money leader in the race, even though he is no longer running. According to documents filed with the Public Disclosure Commission, Bozeman spent $33,685 of his haul, $3,150 of it refunding contributions.

As for the remaining $14,000 or so, Bozeman said in an email: “As soon as the primary is over I will be donating my funds to the Harrison Medical Center Foundation.”

Lori Anderson, a spokesperson for the state’s Public Disclosure Commission says that Bozeman is not required to return any of the campaign contributions, and that he is allowed to spend the surplus by donating to a charitable organization registered with the Secretary of State.

He made the following reimbursements:
— James Nall, $1,500
— American Maritime International Inc., $1,000
— Guy Stitt, $400
— The BJC Group Inc. $250

These gentlemen are among his contributors:
— Ron Sher: $750 (He owns the J.C. Penny’s building.)
— Tim Ryan Construction: $250 (You’ve seen his new building by the Admiral.)
— Gary Sexton: $350: He is, as Bozeman says, “The Man Behind the (Waterfront) Park.)

The rest of the field is as follows:
— Patty Lent: $34,878 and has spent $34,810
— Will Maupin: $19,990 and has spent $15,735 (Bozeman donated $100)
— Daryl Daugs: $15,410 and has spent $15,183
— Mike Shepherd: $11,397 and has spent $7,054
— Carlos Jara: $4,859 and has spent $4,929

— Chris Kornelis

Jack Black, on the K-Sun endorsement: “A sly declaration of new classic status slipped into a list of old safe ones. Very pussy.”

Diamond Parking2The “parking issue” has come up during virtually every conversation I’ve had regarding the election, and was discussed by all five candidates last week at the League of Women Voters forum. Daryl Daugs talked about dining with two businessmen interested in downtown, only to find that all three of them had been ticketed for staying barely more than two hours. Will Maupin and Mike Shepherd talked about metered parking. Carlos Jara talked about the small-business owner’s two-hour shuffle. And Patty Lent said she’d take a look at the Diamond contract.

Someday, somebody’s going to have to explain to my why an abundance of free, two-hour parking, and a wealth of reasonably-priced, long-term parking spots downtown is a “problem.”

If you drive to downtown Bremerton right now – I don’t care what time of day you’re reading this – you can find free parking for up to two hours. Caution: You may have to walk a block or two. Staying longer? $6 gets you covered, secured parking all day. $6 dollars. Now, will somebody please show me an urban center on the water that’s worth visiting that offers a better deal?

The whining that we’re hearing from residents, I believe, stems from something Lent told me the other morning. “People think of Kitsap, and even Bremerton, as rural.” And that while she doesn’t think $6 parking is unreasonable, the same people rallying against downtown’s redevelopment are crying foul on the parking situation. When candidates try to appease voter concerns on the “parking situation” downtown — as all of them have — they’re throwing downtown redevelopment under the bus. You can’t have acres of free parking and the urban development downtown, the latter of which all of the candidates agree is the objective.

Could metered parking help? Possibly. But wouldn’t the same people – and even more – be up in arms about having to pay for the first two hours of parking? Or, would the first two hours be free and drivers would pay for subsequent time? That’s not a bad idea. But, I’ve yet to hear a candidate say that parking downtown, for free for four hours at a cost of moving your car once isn’t a fantastic deal. It is.

Are their parking problems in the immediate neighborhoods? Yes. Guests should be able to park in front of homes without getting a ticket. Once there’s a reason for more residents to park downtown – a movie theater, perhaps? — using the Navy’s garage in the evening seems reasonable. And that underground parking garage, if we can get it, sounds hard to argue with.

Our core problem with parking is that not enough people are taking advantage of the spaces that are available. There’s isn’t enough of a reason to come downtown. For most people, five hours in downtown Bremerton is not worth $6. But if downtown’s going to become the bustling urban center that all of the candidates seem to agree it should become, there’s going to have to be a candid conversation with residents about the fact that their idea of parking downtown doesn’t hold up with their vision for an urban center.

photo(5)This is the latest in a series of interviews with candidates for mayor. My conversations with Daryl Daugs, Will Maupin, and Mike Shepherd are already online. My chat with Patty Lent will be live … soon.

Carlos Jara’s “campaign headquarters,” Fritz Fry House, serves pale ale, Stella Artois, and Belgian fries. And if he gets his way, downtown Bremerton will be filled with a lot more similar businesses: locally-owned, frequented by locals and tourists, and serving plenty of beer. In fact the guy who came of age in Austin, Texas at the same time that micro brews started taking off in town, says he envisions downtown Bremerton to be something of a microbrewery district.

As the youngest candidate lining up for the office of Bremerton, he also has the least amount of political experience. But as the owner of Harborside Market at the ferry terminal, he says his experience as the executive of a small business in Bremerton more than makes up for his lack of time in elected office.

For a guy who spent 13 years climbing the ladder at MCI/Verizon, do you think you’re skipping a few rungs by jumping from small-business owner to mayor?

No, No. The city, no matter which way you look at it, is a business. I don’t consider it a gargantuan jump. I’ve been my own executive for five years now. The basic premises of doing the right thing are there and leading by example are there.

I’ve managed a large group of people. I’ve managed budgets. Managing in a frugal manner is what’s key here. As a small-business owner, that’s something I excel at. Who else would you want as a mayor rather than somebody that believes you need to operate on a very tight belt. You need to be developing rainy day funds, and more importantly snow day funds.

Had you been on the city council for a number of years and had your hands in the inner-workings of the city, would that have made you more qualified?

I don’t think it would. City council is the legislative arm of the city. It’s not the executive arm of the city. So, if you’ve been a legislature for a long time, it might make you a good executor, but when you’ve been your own executive for a while, I think that’s more of the synergy you’re looking for in a mayor.
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