"Nasser, Pollock, Wooldridge for council"

"Continued pressures from growth, the imminent disappearance of island farmlands, unmitigated highway traffic spurred on by poor regional planning – the next city council will face issues that go to the very heart of Bainbridge Island living.Four races, three of them opposed, will determine the direction of island planning and policy-making well into the next millennium. Our endorsements:Of the newcomers, the brightest prospect by far is Christine Nasser, and we give her our enthusiastic support for the South Ward, Position 6 seat. Educated, bright and articulate, we expect Nasser to bring to the council vigor and direction, to match her quick understanding of the issues. In her we also place the hope for a new generation of politically involved, civic-minded islanders who will establish themselves as this community’s future leaders. Opponent Ron Gibbs, an islander for less than two years, has re-geared his message to “leadership.” But it’s hard to get fired up for anyone who declares candidacy before they’ve even read the comprehensive plan.The Central Ward, Position 1, race is problematic. We endorse Michael Pollock over opponent Jeff Moore, albeit a bit grudgingly. Moore has volunteered his time with several advisory groups and become a bit player in a few local issues. But after witnessing his rather bizarre presentation on impact fees before the city council last week, it’s apparent that he’s still trying to make sense of the issues in his own mind. His credibility and effectiveness at this time are, sadly, much in doubt.If Moore’s is a candidacy in search of a position, Pollock’s is one in search of a point. We believe his professional policy-analysis experience would be invaluable on the council in this or any time, and that he would be a far more effective decision-maker than his opponent. Certainly he understands land use law.Yet the only local issue with which he has deigned to get involved has been the “Woodless Village” subdivision in his own back yard. Note to future candidates: If we were running for council, we think we’d attend a lot of meetings, to demonstrate interest and find out how things work. Still, with this upbraiding, Pollock is the clear choice.Running unopposed for the other South Ward, Position 3 seat, is incumbent Lois Curtis. In her terms on the council and planning commission, she has dealt with complex issues with grace and aplomb, and we welcome her return.Finally, in the North Ward, Position 2 seat, we endorse incumbent Norm Wooldridge over the unusual “registered write-in” candidacy of John Eremic. We urge the latter – an impressive thinker who offers dynamic views on growth issues – to mount a full-fledged campaign the next time a north-end seat comes up. But that said, island citizens would be ill-served without Wooldridge on the council for the next four years.First, with the entire council having turned over since 1996, institutional memory is in short supply. That leaves the temptation for others to put the whip anew to dead-horse issues like the storm drain utility, to the exclusion of current, more pressing matters.More important, in losing Andy Maron and Shelly Halligan to retirement, the council loses its only two proven leaders. This is troubling, as over the past few years, the council has devolved into an often mirthless body marked more by mistrust, snidery and grandstanding than actual consensus building. We are counting on Wooldridge to fill the void left by Maron and Halligan and establish himself as organizer and leader, one who will instill in newcomers and incumbents alike a respect for open and consistent process, for decorum and maybe even some much-needed levity at meetings – indeed, for the dignity of the council itself. #####"

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