Islander makes short list for county commish

Clarence Moriwaki is among a trio of finalists to succeed Chris Endresen.

Islander Clarence Moriwaki is among a trio of finalists selected by Kitsap County Democrats to serve the remainder of North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen’s term, winnowed from a field of 11 hopefuls Monday.

Indianola resident Stephen Bauer, Kitsap County Planning Commissioner Tom Nevins, and Kitsap County spokesman Moriwaki were the respective first, second and third choices of precinct committee officers at a meeting at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel, a Republican, and Democratic Central Commissioner Josh Brown will choose one name from the three, with the announcement expected on July 2.

Until then the commissioners will meet with the candidates individually, and then deliberate in an executive session that will be closed to the press and the public.

Brown has declined to publicly endorse any candidate, but said at the meeting that “the choice is clear.”

It took three ballots for Bauer to earn a majority, but only one ballot each for the 86 PCOs to select a second and third choice. All of the eventual winners placed ahead of the pack during the meeting.

While the new commissioner will serve out Endresen’s current term, he was chosen with an eye toward the 2008 general election.

All the candidates have committed to that race, with Moriwaki saying “people from Bainbridge Island can get elected county wide. A candidate will be selected for the quality of their character rather than the numbers in their zip code.”

Each of the candidates was allowed five minutes to address the group. This was an orderly process that took just under an hour.

“It is critical that the new commissioner be accessible and open to what each citizen is saying,” Bauer said during his allotted time.

“No one person will solve the problems that we are going to face. We have more growth ahead of us that we are going to have to accomplish in a way that preserves the quality of life that brought us here in the first place.”

Budget issues were addressed by each candidate.

“If the county has to reduce services you will want a commissioner who understands the values of your neighbors and yourself,” Nevins said. “I have listened for a long time, and am aware of all the problems in the county.”

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