Let the city council do its job | Letter to the editor

To the editor:

On June 12, during its regular business meeting, the Bainbridge Island City Council will vote to amend current codes in order to allow citizens to put initiatives and referenda on the ballot for voters.

Claiming that his motivation is a “vote of confidence in the community,” Councilman Peltier has pushed the code modifications under the pretense of implementing direct democracy at its most fundamental level on Bainbridge Island.

Indeed, many of Washington’s largest cities such as Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton and Spokane have adopted the powers of initiatives and referenda through their city charters. Yet, most smaller cities (fewer than 50 of the 281 incorporated cities) in Washington do not have these powers available to their citizenry.

As a community of 25,000, we are fortunate that our city council makes themselves available to hear citizens’ voices not only in the council chambers, but also at regular ward meetings, through email and letter writing, and in our regular interactions as island neighbors. What Councilman Peltier has proposed is simply not necessary for Bainbridge Island.

In fact, in the wrong hands, it is a dangerous device that will undercut our council-manager form of government. Complex issues facing our community will be distilled to a quick “yes” or “no” vote under the guise of “letting the voters decide.” Those wealthy enough to pay signature gatherers will be able to play an outsized role in dictating policies for Bainbridge Island and special interest groups will seek to divide us with misleading information campaigns.

The most important democratic act is not forcing the people to decide and debate every small issue, rather it is the selection of representatives who can make thoughtful and informed decisions for our island.

Councilman Peltier’s proposal threatens the progress we have made as a city and will further distract from the most pressing issues facing Bainbridge Island.

ANTHONY ODDO

Bainbridge Island

More in Letters to the Editor

Senior center looks at sharing space with BIR | Letter to the editor

To the editor: As director of the Bainbridge Island Senior Community Center,… Continue reading

Hulet is a champion for our district’s kids | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Last fall when there was a vacancy on the… Continue reading

Vote to preserve island’s environment | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I have lived on the island for more than… Continue reading

Change of leadership needed on city council | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I am guessing most of us do not really… Continue reading

Wildsmith will bring fresh ideas to council | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I am writing to show support for Grayson Wildsmith… Continue reading

Medina is no-show at shoreliner’s forum | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I can’t believe it. I am a shoreline homeowner… Continue reading

Candidate will fight against development | Letter to the editor

To the editor: Fellow Bainbridge Islanders, I urge you to vote for… Continue reading

Hytopoulos can hit the ground running | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I am writing to recommend Kirsten Hytopoulos for the… Continue reading

Pollock has a strategy on new development | Letter to the editor

To the editor: City council candidate Michael Pollock has presented a gift… Continue reading

Fresh perspective needed on park board | Letter to the editor

To the editor: The upcoming election for the park board provides the… Continue reading

Vote Bellas for city council | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I am writing in support of write-in candidate for… Continue reading

Blossom has earned another council term | Letter to the editor

To the editor: My husband and I have both worked with and… Continue reading