Former Bainbridge mayor announces run for council

Kirsten Hytopoulos to file to run for position held by Councilman Ron Peltier

Former Bainbridge councilwoman and mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos is hoping to return to Bainbridge Island City Hall.

Hytopoulos told the Review Monday she has filed as a candidate for the Bainbridge Island City Council. She is running for Position 1, the at-large council seat now held by Councilman Ron Peltier.

Hytopoulos is a Bainbridge-based collaborative divorce attorney and mediator. She is one of two people who have already registered with the state as candidates for Position 1 in the November Election.

Anthony Oddo, who currently serves as chairman of the city’s Marine Access Committee, has also filed for the seat. He is the policy and programs coordinator for the nonprofit Housing Resources Bainbridge.

Hytopoulos said the same reason that inspired her first run for the council is prompting her return to the political arena.

“I’m not liking a lot of development I’m seeing,” she said.

However, development isn’t her sole reason for seeking the seat.

“I want to run because I think we’re going to be choosing a new city manager very soon, and I think it’s the most important thing the city council does,” Hytopoulos said.

“And I know from experience it’s a difficult job for Bainbridge Island to pull in a good selection of candidates, and I want to be involved in that process,” she added.

Hytopoulos was elected to the Bainbridge council in November 2009, and served a four-year term that ended in December 2013. She first ran for office after serving on the committee that changed Bainbridge to a city manager form of government, a switch from the “strong mayor” form where mayors are elected by a direct vote of the people and perform as the day-to-day managers of city hall.

She was the second mayor after Bainbridge adopted the new form of government.

Hytopoulos said her four years on the council saw two years of cooperation and success as the city rose from economic jeopardy to a solid financial footing, followed by constant conflict; with strife between council members, disputes between the council and city manager, and clashes between the city and community.

“I’m prepared for that,” she said.

The skills she has developed as a collaborative attorney and mediator will be helpful to the city as it works through divisive issues, Hytopoulos said.

“You have to feel as much excitement and passion about representing the community in the worst situations, as well as the best situations,” Hytopoulos said.

Peltier has not said publicly if he will seek a second term. He has been dogged by ethics complaints since late last year, and some have called for him to resign from his position on the council.

“It’s a shame for the city council to be distracted by the series of ethics complaints they’ve been having to deal with,” Hytopoulos said, noting that she will focus on what she will bring to the city council during her campaign rather than the current office holder.

Both candidates in the Position 1 race have already started fundraising efforts.

Oddo filed as a candidate for the council in March; Hytopoulos registered as a candidate in early April.

Oddo has raised $3,722 so far for his campaign, according to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, the agency that serves as a watchdog on campaign financing. The largest donation so far was $1,190 that Oddo has contributed to his campaign.

Hytopoulos has raised $2,800 to date, which includes a $2,000 loan she made to her campaign.

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