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My turn: Accountability needed from Kitsap Transit


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The November 2016 ballot measure Proposition 1,  which increased Kitsap sales taxes by 3/10th of 1 percent, was passed by voters based upon statements, information and commitments made by Kitsap Transit. 

Some of the information available to voters was contained in the business plan approved the Kitsap Transit Board of Directors and promoted by a group called Friends of the Fast Ferry. However, it is our belief that not all the information related to financing the large capital costs were made available to voters before the vote occurred.

Voters were promised that operations would be contracted out and run by the professionals at King County Marine. That turned out to be false, as an agreement with King County has still not been reached. Right now the ferry continues to be managed by the same individuals who have existing challenges even providing decent bus service to Kitsap.

Voters were dazzled with the idea of flocks of tourists shuttled from Seattle to Bremerton that would restore it to its former destination glory. Prior to the vote there was no mention of the restrictive reservation system hiding in the background that heavily favors a small Seattle commuting crowd.

The $50 million in ferry construction bonds are backed by the 3/10th of 1 percent ferry tax as well as by the pre-existing 8/10th of 1 percent that was dedicated to support routed bus and ACCESS service. Should the county economy go into recession with a drop in sales tax revenue to Kitsap Transit, the bond holders must be paid first. This will result in a reduction in bus and ACCESS service. In other words, the entire transit agency has been subordinated to building and running passenger-only ferries, possibly at the expense of its existing services.

Voters were assured across the board that the Rich Passage 1 could perform alone while other boats were being built. In reality this single boat has failed/or and broken down five times just in the first month.

Now it appears that taxpayer may have to purchase a used backup boat for another $1.7 million or rent back the Spirit of Kingston boat from the same King County Marine that still has no operational contract with Kitsap.

Were the month of free promotional rides to Seattle on the taxpayer’s dime ever mentioned in the plan? Has anyone calculated the actual cost for that sleight of hand?

Kitsap Transit owes the community that funds them some straight forward reality and honesty about this service, its cost and its actual operational abilities. No bait and switch. No made up guesstimates, just a complete and honest list of the problems and what the solutions to those problems are going to be.

Is it time for another vote? A public vote of no confidence to start?

 

Robert Parker was the chairman for the committee who wrote the opposing statement in the voters pamphlet for Prop. 1 in the November 2016 election. Other committee members were Colleen Smidt and Roy Runyon. 

 


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Four ICO Startups Refund Investors Hours After China Bans Token Sales

This week China’s central bank declared Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) illegal in the country, sending shockwaves throughout the entire cryptocurrency environment. The Peoples Bank of China (PBoC) alongside government officials, stated that not only is the nature of token sales considered illicit activity, but startups who offer these tokens also need to issue refunds to their investors. According to reports, some China-based ICOs are already issuing refunds since the PBoC’s latest announcement.

Also Read: Chinese Blockchain Conferences Cancelled in Fear of ICO Crackdown

PBoC: “ICOs Should Refund Their Investors to Protect Their Rights and Interests”

ICOs are now considered “illegal” in China according to the PBoC, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, China’s Securities Regulatory Commission, and many other government agencies. The central bank’s recent announcement explains that ICO’s are unregulated in China, and these operations have been evaluated by the bank as “financial fraud and pyramid schemes.”

“Any kind of ICO should stop immediately on the day of this announcement,” explains the central bank’s mandate. “Organizations or individuals that have already completed the ICO process should refund their investors to protect their rights and interests and handle the risks. The relevant departments will seriously investigate and deal with ICO activities which refuse to stop and the illegal acts in the past ICO activities.”

Four ICO Startups Refund Investors Hours After China Bans Token Sales
China’s central bank and the government’s joint announcement banning ICO operations.

Four ICOs Shut Down Shop Just Hours After the Central Banks Announcement

Since the PBoC announcement, four token sales startups have issued refunds to their initial investors. Just hours after the bank’s statement a firm called, ICOinfo, a platform that hosts a variety of token sales details that four of its hosted ICOs would be shutting down. According to the website, refunds were given back to investors from the ICOs UIP, LLToken, CCC, and HMS. The ICO’s websites also reveal the same information about shutting services down. Another token sale called Atmatrix has also announced it is in the midst of discussing a contingency plan for investor refunds.

Four ICO Startups Refund Investors Hours After China Bans Token Sales
ICOinfo refunds four China-based Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

App Stores and the Chinese Telecom Department May Soon Delete ICO Websites and Mobile Apps

These ICO startups are taking the bank’s statements very seriously as the PBoC clearly doesn’t want these tokens exchanged “between legal currencies and tokens.” Exchanges and hosts like ICOinfo in China are mandated not to act as “intermediary services” and will face punishment if they participate. Soon regulators plan to ban ICO websites and mobile applications further down the road stating;      

The financial management departments will require the telecom management departments to shut down the websites and mobile applications of these platforms, and will delete these mobile applications from the App stores. And the business administration department will revoke their business licenses according to law.

Time will tell if more ICO or ERC20 startups based in China will close operations on their own accord based on the bank’s threats. U.S. based ICOs are also in a similar boat as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is scaring token sale startups to initiate refunds as well.

What do you think about ICOs based in China closing down operations due to the central bank’s recent statements? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, ICOinfo, and the PBoC announcement.   


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Atlantic Marine Buys Eastwood Road Property To Expand

With the purchase of 2035 Eastwood Road, a Wilmington boat dealership is expanding again.

Atlantic Marine bought the property, which includes 33,000 square feet of buildings on about 2.4 acres, for $1.75 million from Eastwood Canal, a Crocker family limited liability company, according to a New Hanover County deed.

N. Kay Crocker bought the location in 1973 and operated a Grady-White Boats dealership that grew to prominence within the boatbuilder’s network of dealerships, according to a news release. After N. Kay Crocker died in 2009, the dealership closed; Atlantic Marine added Grady-White Boats to its other new boat lines and hired former Crocker’s Marine employees.

These days, Atlantic Marine is one of the largest Grady-White Boats dealers in the Carolinas and has gained accolades for its sales volume from the boat brand, the release said.

The Eastwood Road acquisition is the latest sign of growth for Atlantic Marine, which added a more than 30,000-square-foot, climate-controlled warehouse in 2013 and an indoor Grady-White Boats showroom in 2014.

David Floyd, president of Atlantic Marine, said the recently purchased Eastwood facilities will allow his business to expand its service operations, which will be moved to Eastwood from Wrightsville Avenue. 

“It’s ideal for us. We had outgrown the current spaces that we have,” Floyd said Tuesday. He added that the facilities are at “a great location for what we have to offer.”

The property is close to the Wrightsville Beach bridge and was formerly home to retail locations for Coastal Urge and the Ella Vickers Sailcloth Collection.

Now that Atlantic Marine owns it, the Eastwood Road location will soon feature a new facade that will complement its showroom at 6707 Oleander Drive, the release said. 

“The facility design will allow customers and staff to see between the lobby and the shop. An expanded parts facility will allow stocking of more specialty parts and easier inventory management,” the release said.

According to the release, customers without trailers will also be accommodated. Boats will be hauled to and from Atlantic Marine’s Wrightsville Beach location, 101 Keel St., by the dealership’s growing fleet of service trucks and trailers.

“Atlantic Marine considers the acquisition of this property the next step in improving their customers’ experience and increasing capacity to meet demand. Improvements to the property are expected to begin in the next 30 days, with the facility opening early 2018,” the release said.

In addition to selling Grady-White Boats and Yamaha Outboards, Atlantic Marine has been family-owned and operated in southeastern North Carolina since 1976 and offers a marina, service facility and storage facility.


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