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Spier bows out, gives support to Tooloee

Kit Spier said he wouldn’t be running for City Council if someone younger were doing so, and he meant it.

Although he can no longer have his name removed from the ballot, Spier announced Monday that he is withdrawing from the race for the at-large council seat and will instead support Nezam Tooloee.

“After talking to him, I learned that our views were almost identical,” said Spier, “so it didn’t make any sense for two of us to be running for the at-large seat.

“He’s bright, articulate, smarter than I am and a hell of a lot younger,” Spier said. “I will back his candidacy, and I am pulling out.”

Spier said he hopes that his campaign committee – manager Sarah Lee and treasurer Merrill Robison – will follow his lead to support Tooloee.

“I will use whatever skills and following I’ve got to support Nezam,” Spier said.

Spier, a retired television producer, said he filed for the at-large seat currently held by Michael Pollock to insure a competitive race.

“I hate the idea of someone sliding in with no contest,” he said.

But on the final day for filing declarations of candidacy, three men filed for the seat – management consultant Tooloee, print-shop manager Larry Johnson and environmental activist Arnie Kubiak.

And instead of seeking to retain his at-large seat, Pollock filed in the southwest ward to oppose former council member Jim Llewellyn.

Spier said that on Saturday, the day after the filing deadline, he called Tooloee, and the two talked for well over an hour.

“At the end of the conversations, I said that no matter how the race turned out, I hoped we could be friends,” Tooloee said. “Then on Sunday, to my surprise, I got a message from Kit saying he was withdrawing.”

The two men came to the Review office together Monday to announce Spier’s withdrawal and endorsement.

Neither man has taken positions on specific issues. The similarity, Spier said, lies in their overall approach.

“I think I am a realist and a pragmatist, and so is Nezam,” Spier said.

Spier is the second candidate to withdraw after determining that their views are represented by an opponent. Annette Stollman withdrew from the race to replace Norm Wooldridge in the north ward after attorney Bob Scales filed.

Stollman withdrew in time to have her name removed, but Spier did not. His name will appear on the Sept. 16 primary ballot, which will be mailed out Aug. 28 to those who have requested mail ballots – over two thirds of Bainbridge voters.

Tooloee said that campaigning against Spier would have been difficult because of those similarities.

“I would have argued that your choice is 30 years more wisdom or 30 years more energy,” Tooloee said.

Spier, old enough to have seen combat in World War II, said he thought the age difference was relevant, but for a different reason.

“I don’t think a City Council consisting of retired people is representative of the community,” Spier said. “People my age tend to be conservative, especially about raising taxes.”

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The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and Bainbridge Concerned Citizens are sponsoring a forum for the three at-large council candidates from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 25 in the council chambers at City Hall.

Candidates Larry Johnson, Arnie Kubiak and Nezam Tooloee will field questions from the audience and be able to debate one another.

Former councilman and interim Mayor Andy Maron will moderate. Information: 842-3700.

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