Workshop gives would-be candidates election introduction

For citizens interested in entering the island’s political ring, they might get a taste of what lies ahead by attending a “workshop for candidates” scheduled for April 30 at the Bainbridge Island Commons.

The three-hour event, sponsored by the Bainbridge unit of the League of Women Voters of Kitsap County, has two purposes – offering information for those already committed and to entice prospective candidates for several open positions that will be decided by the August primary and November general elections.

It’s a relatively full slate, involving six different entities, ranging from the Bainbridge Island City Council to the Crystal Springs Water District (No. 3).

The council election promises to be interesting since four of the seven seats are open and the four incumbents have indicated they are still undecided on whether or not to seek re-election.

It’s early, of course, but until the incumbents – Barry Peters (At-Large), Hillary Franz (North Ward), Bill Knobloch (Central Ward) and Kim Brackett (South Ward) – make up their minds, the jockeying by potential candidates will continue.

Peters said Wednesday his decision would be made in a week or two, while the other sitting councilors indicated they probably wouldn’t decide until sometime in May. All of them said they are “considering” their options.

“Being on the council has almost become a full-time job,” said Knobloch, who is now in his 10th year with the council. “With the council-manager form of government now, most of us spend at least part of every working day on the job. So there are considerations to weigh regarding our personal lives.”

As of now, John Green is the only announced candidate. Green, who operates a construction business and has served several years on the city’s Design Review Board, announced his candidacy two months ago and has registered with the state. He lives in the Central Ward, but he said it’s possible that he could enter as an at-large candidate.

Green said his primary goal if elected would be to get the city to live inside of its means.

“We need to change the way we do business at City Hall,” he said Wednesday. “I would suggest the city needs to contract out as many services as possible without hurting its ability to serve the public.”

Robert Dashiell, who ran as a South Ward candidate in the 2007 election, said he is considering another attempt.

Neither Peters nor Franz were opposed in the 2007 election, but there were three candidates for each of the three open positions during the 2009 primary election. Bob Scales (North), Debbi Lester (Central) and Kirsten Hytopoulos (South) were eventually elected.

Approval by voters of the council-manager government early in the year likely led to there being nine council candidates in 2009. Some political activists on the island say this year’s response by the community will be more telling because the current council has been asked to make some difficult decisions regarding finances due to the downturn in the island’s economy.

Charles Schmid and Bob Conoley have both been involved in previous candidates’ workshops for event sponsor Association of Bainbridge Communities (ABC) and consider the sessions important for potential candidates, especially those who haven’t run for office.

“This is the old-fashioned way of getting people interested in the elective process,” said Conoley, an attorney who is also a member of the city’s Ethics Committee. “It’s an opportunity to provide information to people who are considering getting involved so they can see how the process works. The approach is neutral and none of the sponsors (which includes the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce) are endorsing any candidates.”

There are three Bainbridge Island School District board positions up for election this year. The incumbents – Patty Fielding, John Tawresey and Tim Kinkead – have all said they would run again, Fielding said Thursday. Kinkead will be running for the first after being appointed to the District 4 position more than a year ago.

Speakers will include the League’s Nancy Quitslund, King County Auditor Walt Washington and representatives from the Bainbridge City Council, Park District, School District and Fire District.

Workshop schedule

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to noon April 30 at the Bainbridge Commons. The schedule:

9:10 a.m. – Introduction by Nancy Quitslund

9:15 a.m. – Kitsap County Auditor Walter Washington: “What every candidate should know,” followed by questions.

10 a.m. – City Council: Mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos

10:15 a.m. – Running a Campaign: Lin Kamer-Walker

10:30 a.m. – School District: Bruce Weiland, former board president

10:45 a.m. – Fire District: Maureen Halligan, current commissioner

11:10 a.m. – Park District: Ken DeWitt, current commissioner

11:15 a.m. – Other open offices

11:30 a.m.-noon – Current issues with open question/answer session

OPEN POSITIONS (office and incumbent)

City Council

(4-year term)

Dist. 1 At-Large: Barry Peters; Dist. 2 North: Hilary Franz; Dist. 4 Central: Bill Knobloch; Dist. 6 South: Kim Brackett

For boundaries, go to

BI School District #303

(4-year term)

Dist. 1: Patty Fielding;Dist. 3: John Tawresey; Dist. 4: Tim Kinkead

BI Metro Park & Recreation District

(6-year term)

Pos. 5: Kirk Robinson

BI Fire District

(6-year term)

Pos. 3: David Coatsworth

Crystal Springs Water District No. 3

Pos. 1: Penny Lamping; Pos. 2: Earl J. Krause; Pos. 3: Mary Zehrer

Kitsap County Sewer District No. 7

Pos. 1: Roger Tielman; Pos. 2: Christopher Dew

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