Developer announces bid for Bainbridge city council seat

Election season for Bainbridge Island's city council has started to take root and the first citizen contender to crop up is John Green.

"Right now I'm in the early stages and people are talking with me about how to conduct this, and how to get elected," Green said Monday.

Green will compete for the Central Ward seat currently held by Councilwoman Debbi Lester. The election is in November, and three council positions will be on the ballot.

Green has been a real estate developer on Bainbridge Island since 1994. He is no stranger to the island's government, he noted.

"I've been active at city hall since 1995, as a volunteer, at various levels," Green said.

Green said he helped with the most recent update to the city's municipal code and has also contributed to developing the Housing Design Development Program.

Green also spent 6 1/2 years on the city's Design Review Board, but stepped down from the board when he ran for the Central Ward council seat in 2010 against David Ward. Ward ultimately won and now sits on the council.

But when Green ran previously, he said, it was an 11th hour effort after being encouraged by fellow islanders.

This time around he is gearing up to compete with Lester for a spot on the dais.

"The same people who pushed me before are pushing me to run again," Green said.

Green wouldn't say exactly who specifically has been asking him to run, but spoke more generally.

"Several retired council members, but many of the people on Gary Tripp's listserv," Green said.

Tripp, an outspoken critic of city hall who is well-known for his stance on property rights issues, often distributes emails around the island on various topics. He recently helped organize a march on city hall to protest proposed changes to the island's Shoreline Master Program that are currently being discussed by the council.

Green announced his candidacy on the website for Bainbridge Shoreline Homeowners, a property rights advocacy group, on March 17.

Green said the Shoreline Master Program was another inspiration to run. He opposes the update and said that it reaches beyond what is required.

"It's the initial spark because so many people have commented to me about it being an outrageous act against people in the community," Green said. "I really think that our council should be looking toward the community and not drawing lines down the center of the island, and not having shoreline residents treated differently than the upland residents."

"Environmentalists are pushing buttons and they shouldn't be, and some city council members are falling in line with these people," he said.

Green said that his approach to city government is all about getting back to the basics.

"My policies are very, very simple," he said. "My whole message is focused on the basics."

"I'm all for reducing the size of government and devoting government time to the needs of community."

Green said that city hall is legally obligated to take care of basic services such as roads and police. He said that he aims to back up the positions demonstrated by some current council members.

"We really need to set city hall back in a good direction," he said. "We are at a crossroads where the other council members like Ward, Bonkowski and Blossom need support from someone like myself."

Three council seats will be up for grabs during the next election in November.

Council members Bob Scales, Kirsten Hytopoulos and Lester all have terms that expire at the end of 2013.

Scales and Hytopoulos, who represent the North and South Wards respectively, have said that they will not seek re-election. Lester has stated that she is considering running to keep her seat.


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