Tough Questions: Rich Hartman

Running for: OS City Council Position 7. Running against: Patric Hayes. Note: The North Beach News asked several questions of Hartman about three months ago, but waited to time “tough questions” for other candidates, as well. Hartman was offered the chance to update his answers, as well as to answer one new question (at the end, here).

Rich Hartman

Q: Do you have any business and/or development plans in Ocean Shores?

A: I have the parcel across form the post office that I have long term plans to develop.  If I had the money right now, I would probably develop it as a family friendly RV resort.  The timing isn’t right today, because of the inflated expense to build right now, but maybe in the future.  The zoning that the parcel has right now is perfect for any future plans I might have.

(Previously, he elaborated on this question: “I am always looking for opportunities in Ocean Shores for investment purposes.  I have a few parcels, and I just  bought a retail building with a partner, and I have the parcel across from the post office that I’m sitting on until the building market cools off a bit.  I will have at least one partner involved in that venture as well, and the plan today, until some other idea comes into play, is to have an RV park that is a comfortable, family friendly space.  I also had been looking with a partner to buy the Movie Theater, to keep it as an asset for our town, but when I did all the forecasting and budgets, and added in the amount of money we needed to put into it for new seats, tables, kitchen work and  HVAC,  plus  more food options for the customers, so they could enjoy a lite “dinner and a movie”, it just wasn’t even close to a sure thing financially.  So we made an appropriate offer, based on the economics of the business, and we were turned down by the current owner.  Even the counter offer just didn’t make sense for us, and here we are.”)

Q: Do you have plans to change any city codes or planning documents to make Ocean Shores “more developer-friendly”?

A: I have no plans.  In fact, we need to focus on enforcing our current ordinances that are already on the books, to hold everyone accountable, and follow the rules.  I know that Marshall in the planning department is doing his best, and we are enforcing more ordinances than in the past.  He has made great progress, but there is still work to do.

(Hartman’s previous answer to this question: “I have no plans on changing codes to make things more builder friendly.  In fact, the planning commission that I serve on for Ocean Shores is constantly working on updating current ordinance suggestions for the City Council to review and vote on.  I know of no new proposals to council that make things easier for builders..  In fact, we continue to “pressure” the city to enforce the current ordinances we have, but city staff is WAY overworked, and just trying to keep up.”)

Q: What is your personal and professional relationship with the Ocean Shores Golf Course and Curt Zander?

A: I’ve known Curt for 20 years.  I’m also a customer and a sponsor.  I support all small businesses, and his is one of many that I like to support.  Small business is the backbone of our country.  We all need to understand that our city and county is better with them.  We all need to do our best to buy local every chance we get.  I know it isn’t easy all the time, but we have to try.  What would this town look like without ACE Hardware?  Does everyone really want to drive to Aberdeen to buy at Home Depot to save 5 cents??  I know I don’t.  I took some heat last week because I paid more for my campaign signs that the team running against me.  I chose to buy from a Grays Harbor business instead of an internet company.  I can’t even believe that was an issue someone would bring up.

(Hartman’s previous answer to this question: “My relationship with the golf course was mostly business, but after this last year of covid, it has definitely grown to more than that. I appreciate the hard work the Zanders have put into this city asset.  You will find no one harder working than Curt.  I am extremely pleased to see that now EVERY SINGLE council person and candidate have stated their full support for Curt and the continuation of the golf course.  I know for a fact that Curt, in the past, has felt very attacked by different individuals, I am pleased to say, even the ones that had questioned him, are very supportive now, and that’s great.”)

Q: If elected, would you recuse yourself from any votes related to the golf course (including Mr. Zander’s potential bidding for golf course work)?

A: I will absolutely consult the city attorney for any issues that might come up if I am elected.  I think any issue involving the golf course is probably a moot issue, since every single council person and every single candidate pledges their complete support of this city asset.  So if the lawyer told me to recuse myself, the vote would still be 6-0.  But yes, I will get the proper legal advice for all votes that might have a perceived conflict. 

(Hartman’s previous answer to this question: “If I was elected, I would have to see what the situation was, that would cause a conflict.  I have no ownership, and as of recently, I am not even a sponsor of the course.  But I have definitely recused myself on the Montesano School Board in the past, on on different volunteer boards when necessary.  In a small community you always watch your step, but no one ever apologizes because they know someone, You just make sure that there is absolutely no ties to any kind of impropriety or monetary gain by the councilperson.  Good news is the city attorney will always give you direction.  that’s what they are there for.”)

Q: Would you recuse yourself from any other votes, such as any dealership-sponsored events that could receive city funding/support?

A: Absolutely.  As I answered above, I will consult the city attorney for all those situations.  Besides that, you are forgetting that there are 6 other council members that would say something to me ahead of time, if I am elected, if they thought a conflict was arising.

(Hartman’s previous answer: “Yes, I would have no choice but to recuse myself from those kinds of votes.”)

Q: What have you done as a private citizen in Ocean Shores to make you worthy of being elected to represent the city?

A: That is a very humbling question.  I don’t feel anymore worthy than anyone else.  I have worked hard to support this city for 20 years.  I have been involved in City business like many others, for years.  I have made a point to know the past mayors and city employees and department heads, much like everyone else that is familiar with small town living.  I’ve supported local charities, business’s, business organizations and festivals as well.  I don’t feel any of that makes me more worthy than others though.  The only thing I’ve done of late, is raise my hand, and offer to volunteer my time and efforts to be a part of a city council that can make headway for the success of this town, for the next 50 years.  I feel I have had the proper training and experience over my last 35 years in business to be a valuable asset for the other council members and citizens of this town, to help maneuver thru all of the issues Ocean Shores is facing.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Enforcing codes includes getting a permit to build a retaining wall BEFORE building it. And getting permits to drive heavy equipment on the beach.


    1. Curmudgeon says:

      Piffle! A man of his stature should not have to adhere to stupid rules obviously created to keep the peons in line! By the way, Skippy did it!


    2. Rich Hartman says:

      Good try. All permits were acquired and Parks Dept was out of line and got closed down immediately for overstepping. I love the anonymous false accusations.


      1. robin hoodwink says:

        Well, if the permits were in order then you were wronged; but somehow I have a hard time believing that the parks dep’t was “closed down”. Don’t think you are that powerful; yet!


  2. hooterville hick says:

    Interesting that he alleges a 6-0 vote prior to hearing the question, there is actually precedent here for that. I am heartened that his managers have fleshed out some of his answers to make them go down easier and not reveal or tell too much; wouldn’t want to have to eat too much crow. I wonder if he knows that he will be denied access to the city attorney like the rest of the council is? Or will he? Finally, is it just me or were no other candidates responding to the “tough” questions given a choice or suggestion to “freshen” up their previous answers? Maybe they just chose not to or didn’t ask? I totally understand his positive attitude toward Mr Zander, what business person wouldn’t like a highly visible sign on city property advertising their private business. Sheesh, a no brainer! I do agree that Mr Zander works hard and has overall done a very good job managing and improving a city asset. I don’t think I can believe that their relationship is based only on Mr Hartmans practice of supporting all local businesses. Remember the “Save our golf course” sham he helped try to foist off on the people of O/S? Not real upright! Finally, I heard a suggestion that if you wanted to see a list of politicians he has financially supported, take a look at the contributions to the list of people endorsing him according to his mailer. Quid pro quo, anyone?


  3. Anonymous says:

    He can be a great asset to our City. Keep in mind that he is only one vote in a council of 7. He will have great input to the group.


    1. howdy rowdy says:

      It’s possible! Then so is world peace! Given the sum of all his comments and statements he is more likely to be in lockstep with a disgraced mayor and her enablers. Basically, we can’t trust or afford him.


  4. The Right Choice says:

    There is no need to try and compare Mr Hartman to his opponent, because there is no comparison. Hartman is transparent while his opponent hides behind hateful FB pages Dump the Mayor and OS confidential which promote hate and division in our City. I believe that Mr. Hartman will be respectful to every citizen in Ocean Shores and listen carefully. He will stand tall with his seperate ideas and his votes in council will not be swayed by the Mayor as his opponent would like you to believe. While Hayes will need time to crawl out of the mud pool from which he slings cheap shots and try to improve his bullying image…Mr Hartman is ready to roll up his sleeves and go to work for all of us.. The only positive choice for our City is Richard Hartman.


    1. the un-duped voter says:

      “Right Choice”? well it really boils to this. Both candidates are great guys, jerks, seditionists or domestic terrorists! Pick a description from the list or create your own, it just depends on your personal choice and values. If you are comfortable with the agenda and direction that the city is operating on then you can continue with that by voting for Hartman, all his campaign rhetoric and public responses indicate that is his direction; if you can believe his professional handlers. If you are concerned with the performance of this administration legally and ethically; concerned about the continually rising costs with no associated extra services; if you are troubled by the pattern of planned improvements in the downtown area not being mostly paid by the businesses they benefit; if you want a more representative type of thought pattern; if you are concerned about the apparent block of power politicians enabling the mayor to continue her “reign of error”; if you are concerned about the arrogant lack of transparency; then you might want to vote for Hayes. As the mayors’ time grows shorter and her overall agenda is yet unfinished there is a legitimate cause for concern that the next council will be in a rush to lock those projects in at most any cost, regardless of the wishes of the public. This city, somewhat like this nation, is soon going to have to make some harsh value judgements about who we are and how we want to live. There may be some few areas in which both candidates agree on the end result but their views on procedures and policies are polar opposites. Be careful what you ask for, in this case we well may have to pay for it for many many years!


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