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Citizens for Silverdale backs out of debate

"The board of Citizens for Silverdale, the consolidated group supporting incorporation, on Monday declined the League of Women Voters’ invitation to speak at a Jan. 12 forum on incorporation. The League of Women Voters already had announced the debate in area newspapers. Eloise Andrus, president of the League of Women Voters of Kitsap County said the forum will go on as planned despite Citizens for Silverdale’s announcement.Citizens for Silverdale President and possible city council hopeful Richard Sheak said the board did not want to lend any legitimacy to Save Our Silverdale. SOS is the incorporation opponent, and is scheduled to provide a speaker for the league forum. Sheak objected to SOS’ participation because the group had not filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission.“In the letter to the League of Women Voters, we stipulated that we will only debate registered opposition groups,” Sheak explained. “The last campaign they were unregistered and their campaign got out of control and there was no accountability for what happened and we can’t let that happen again.”SOS spokesman and Silverdale attorney Rick Smith was not impressed.“I think it is a very weak excuse that Mr. Sheak put forward. We had a series of debates around the first election and we didn’t even plan on filing then,” he said. SOS announced its intention to file with the PDC for the Feb. 1 election two weeks ago, and Smith said the papers would be filed Monday afternoon.Sheak’s mention of an “out of control” campaign referred to his own allegations of unconfirmed SOS skulduggery. Sheak objected to illegally posted anti-incorporation signs that appeared in the days before the now invalidated Nov. 2 election. “Any group that comes out in opposition to something on the ballot has to register ... It comes off like it’s a big conspiracy trying to undermine the whole thing,” Sheak said. “Voters have to know who is controlling these people and who’s funding these people. It’s only fair.”Smith said Sheak’s accusations are unfounded. “I’ve been campaigning in Kitsap County since 1960 and I’m very aware of the sign laws. I saw those signs myself and I wondered who put them up,” Smith said.Smith said no one from SOS put the signs up or knew who did.During the last stretch of incorporation campaigning, Sheak himself debated SOS members in league forums. That was a more patient Sheak. Now the only way to get him participating alongside the incorporation opponents is if they declare their campaign with the state. Smith said it would be a pity if Sheak and other Citizens for Silverdale leadership refused the speaking engagement. “I don’t know what they are going to do – the only reason it was as close as it was is that there were a number of forums where both sides presented their positions. That’s the way people got their information,” he said.Sheak stood firm, but said the door was open for future engagements. “It would be a little late at this point (to set up a forum),” he said. “I’m not in any position to speak for the board, but they’ve (SOS) had plenty of time to do that (register).”Sheak said since both members of SOS (Silverdale attorneys Smith and Ron Templeton) live outside the boundaries, their opinions on the issue are questionable anyway. Before consolidating with the two other incorporation proponents, Silverdale-Now and Silverdale 2000, Sheak’s Citizens for Silverdale allowed participation to Silverdale residents only.Sheak added incorporation equals local representation and allows Silverdale residents control over taxes and better service delivery.Smith added nobody wants to see Silverdale grow bigger, taller and faster and that would happen if Silverdale incorporates."

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