To the editor:
Bainbridge Islanders care about the natural environment deeply. On the biannual citizens survey, “Protecting the Natural Environment” consistently scores as one of the highest priorities.
In light of this, I encourage Bainbridge citizens to vote for Rasham Nassar for city council.
The incumbent in this race, Wayne Roth, has been an unreliable advocate for our island’s natural systems. In January 2016, Mr. Roth spoke against a motion asking city staff to investigate whether fixes to our code can be made to prevent the clear cutting of large forested stands. He did not offer an alternative, and left it to other council members to find a solution to move forward. In March 2017, he criticized a tree resolution proposed by Sustainable Bainbridge and the BI Watershed Council as “too prescriptive.” He edited out sections committing Bainbridge Island to “creating progressive regulations that encourage tree retention” and “prevent inappropriate tree removal.” During discussions on the Suzuki property, Mr. Roth favored letting the developer assess the ecological value of the large, forested stands on the property, rather than obtaining an independent assessment commissioned by the city.
Bainbridge Islanders are dissatisfied with city council members that have proclaimed their love for the island’s forests and environment, but have moved slowly to actually protect them. In the latest National Citizens Survey commissioned by the city, the percentage of respondents who feel positively about land use and planning, and about the “overall direction” of governance, has slumped.
This election is a chance to bring needed change to our city council. Rasham Nassar will be a strong voice that protects our island’s resources and represents its citizens.