Knobloch will run for central ward seatThe activist has yet to settle on one of two council positions.
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:55 PM
"Saying he wants to plan intelligently for development before it gets out of hand, retired pilot Bill Knobloch has declared himself a candidate for Bainbridge Island City Council from the central ward.We're at the early stages of growth, Knobloch said. It's important that we manage the assets we have correctly, because as an island, we do not have the option of adding land.Knobloch's previous political experience has been as a neighborhood activist. The Azalea Avenue resident has been one of the leaders in opposing to Wing Point Golf and Country Club's proposed practice range. An application for the facility was denied by a hearing examiner last year, but a new application for a modified project has been filed. Knobloch said he would file for the office Friday, most likely for the seat presently held by Merrill Robison, who has said he will not seek re-election. But he said that could change, and he could file for the seat held by Jim Llewellyn, who is seeking re-election.Knobloch, 64, joined the Navy after he finished at Fordham University in his native New York, and was a combat pilot in Vietnam. After retiring from the Navy, he began flying for commercial airlines, eventually retiring from US Air.He and his wife Liz moved to Bainbridge Island in 1988 from San Diego for the quality of life.We were in a position where we could live anywhere in the United States, he said, and we picked Bainbridge Island.Since then, he has been managing commercial real estate for a family corporation.I have a lot of experience and leadership qualities to benefit the community, Knobloch said.Knobloch said he thinks growth is inevitable, but that it is on the edge of steamrolling beyond what the comprehensive plan calls for. While he says that the city needs to direct development, he did not say where he thinks the island's growth ought to occur.The process of government also needs to be improved, he said.The proper flow of government process has increased citizen input, council decisions based on that input and a staff carrying out those decisions, he said.A symptom of processes breaking down is the spate of lawsuits against the city, he said, which he attributes to poorly defined policies that leave citizens unclear about what is permitted or required.Knobloch said he supports the island business community, and is in favor of a downtown parking garage financed at least in part by the city.There needs to be a partnership, he said. The city cannot distance itself from the business community.He favors preserving land. He backs the open-space bond issue that will appear on the November ballot, and calls for acquiring the Wyckoff cleanup site on the south shore of Eagle Harbor as parkland.Citing the heavy toll on the island from ferry-related traffic, Knobloch wants Bainbridge to take the lead in helping expand ferry service to other Kitsap County communities, including Kingston, Bremerton and perhaps new destinations such as Brownsville.We can't be the doormat for the ferry system, he said.Knobloch said he would work to make government more accessible to the citizens.People perceive the budget very mysteriously, he said. I'm in the process of making a complete review to develop a firm set of priorities that the residents will understand.Knobloch has been active in the Association of Bainbridge Communities, the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and Bloedel Reserve. He says a council position is a logical next step.I feel very good about the timing of this candidacy, and what I can contribute, he said. "