Port of Port Townsend Primary Hopefuls Advocate Better Service for Tenants

By Charlie Bermant, July 20, 2013, Peninsula Daily News

The management of the Port of Port Townsend should provide better service to its customers and tenants, two of three primary election candidates for a seat on the port commission said at a forum last week.

“I think the administration needs to listen to the needs of the tenants,” said Brad Clinefelter, one of the three running for the District 2 seat in the Aug. 6 primary.

“The port should be taking care of its tenants without them feeling they have to grovel,” he added.

“There is no reason to have this kind of negative energy between the port and its tenants.“

Candidates for two port positions — with one contest on the primary ballot and the other only on the Nov. 5 general election ballot — spoke at a forum sponsored by the Port Townsend Marine Trades Association that drew about 50 people to the Port Townsend Yacht Club on Thursday night.

In the primary election race, Clinefelter, 53, a retired maritime heavy-industry worker and owner of Mystery Bay Charters & Services, is facing retired engineer-manager Bill Putney, 67, and entrepreneur Peter Quinn, 59, for the District 2 seat, which incumbent Dave Thompson lost when the district boundaries were redrawn in 2011.

District 2 represents Port Hadlock, Cape George and Marrowstone Island.

One of the three will be disqualified in the top-two primary, in which the two candidates who win the most votes go on to face each other in the November general election.

Races with only two candidates are not on the primary ballot and will be put before voters only during the November general election .

Among the November races in Jefferson County will be the contest between District 3 incumbent Leif Erickson, 62, a consultant, and challenger Pete Hanke, 54, owner of Puget Sound Express, a charter boat service.

“If I had to change something about port management, I’d want them to become a whole lot more communicative than they tend to be,” Putney said.

“A critical part of what should be their mission is to get the message out,” he continued.

“They need to be upfront with the tenants and the public, and need to understand why they have taken a particular approach.”

Quinn, who is a business owner and executive director of the Economic Development Council Team Jefferson, focused on taking risks for future gain.

“I think the port is a fiscally well-run organization,” Quinn said. “It takes care of its business very well. It’s really essential to take care of the fiscal piece, or else you have nothing.

“As the tax base increases, so does the revenue for the port, and we can use this to help create non-retail jobs.”

Quinn said he wants to “try some things that are this side of risky.

“If you try different things, something has the possibility of taking off, and the risks of not taking the risk can be greater than the risk itself,” he said.

Each candidate Thursday night was given a two-minute answer limit, with the end of that time signaled by a cellphone chime, which stopped most of the candidate statements cold.

Putney was in the middle of a statement that began, “A few years ago there was a big flap about . . .” when the chime went off.

“Now you’ll never know,” he said.

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