Hamilton targets public safety as top priority

PORT ORCHARD — Jack Hamilton, a Republican candidate for the Central Kitsap commissioner’s seat, feels that public safety trumps politics in local government.

“Public safety is the one function that citizens cannot perform as individuals,” Hamilton said. “It should not be an issue of parks or police. The police should come first. The more effective the public safety of our government, the less cost our entire governance will be.”

Hamilton, speaking last Friday during the Kitsap Bar Association’s meeting at Givens Center, said several times his remarks were “not a campaign speech.”

“I have a good feel for how our government functions and where significant improvements can be made,” he said. “This is not a campaign speech, just another discussion of how we can improve the Kitsap County government.”

Incumbent Republican commissioner Patty Lent spoke to the same group several months ago.

Hamilton was elected in 2001 as a freeholder to prepare a home rule charter for the county, which was subsequently defeated by the voters. He currently serves on the CK Community Council and the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Silverdale sub-area plan.

Hamilton also serves on the board of directors of the Kitsap Alliance For Property Owners (KAPO), a property rights group that backed Lent in 2002. Lent has not voted in KAPO’s favor on several issues, prompting Hamilton to mount a challenge in the Republican primary.

Hamilton agrees with the current county commissioners that unfunded mandates from the state provide one of the biggest obstacles to effective government. His solution, in some cases, is to just ignore them.

“The county’s response should be based on the mandate’s impact rather than automatic compliance,” he said. “We should do what’s best for the county — start up with minimal compliance and move up from there. If the penalty for non-compliance is the denial of some funds, then we can look to other sources to provide those funds. Once that plan is complete, we can just send a nice note to the governor saying we do not intend to comply.”

Hamilton believes the idea of performance audits has proven to be a successful tool in the business environment and is appropriate for use in government.

A department head, who is already stretched to the limit in the meeting of their responsibilities, cannot complete a meaningful self-evaluation.

Hamilton said that current county codes are too complicated for the average person and suggested that all current codes should be reviewed or rewritten.

“A citizen review committee might be useful in reviewing the codes for simple English comprehension,” he said.

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