Council of 2013 has fulfilled mandate | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

Your Nov. 10 editorial does the city council, city staff and the many, many citizens who have participated in the civic life of Bainbridge Island over the past 4 years a disservice. This was not a surprise, as you have spent most of that time finding fault with our work, and given little attention to the city’s progress and many successes. Allow me mention a few.

The city council election in 2013 was hailed by the Bainbridge Review as a mandate for a city council that worked, worked together, and honored the value of public process and good governance. We have largely fulfilled that mandate, and in this day of political name-calling that is no small thing.

The Comprehensive Plan update, which you toss off as an incidental achievement, started in the summer of 2014. Over the next 32 months there were dozens of meetings of the public, the Planning Commission and the city council, and thousands of hours of work, culminating in an unanimously adopted statement of goals and policies to guide the city over the next decade that is recognized regionally as an example to follow.

Meanwhile, we found time to engage the community in a comprehensive public process around possible development of the Suzuki property, which resulted in a compromise approach that protects critical environmental interests while also providing an opportunity to increase the stock of affordable housing on the Island.

Redevelopment of Waterfront Park also involved the public and a successful search for grant funding so that Islanders are now enjoying a beautiful amenity, while they watch the rebuilding of the city dock currently in process.

Bicyclists and pedestrians have improved safety on Wing Point Way, North Madison and Bucklin Hill Road, with other projects funded and awaiting construction.

The list could go on and on. Certainly, we have not accomplished all we hoped for, and certainly there have been missteps. But we have accomplished a lot for the people of Bainbridge Island, and we have done it with mutual respect for each other and for the people of Bainbridge Island.

There is no reason the new council should not be just as successful.

VAL TOLLEFSON

Bainbridge Island

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