Opinion

Shoreline homeowners get to know council candidates | Our Opinion | July 22

Perhaps the state’s demand that each Shoreline Management Plan must be updated this year by municipalities and other jurisdictions fortunate to have land abutting water is just one of those attorney things. You know, where they’ll get rich furiously writing briefs for years because they’re the only ones who really benefit from this country’s age-old struggle between individual rights and our collective interests. They love that Constitution.

State lawmakers and the Department of Ecology say it’s needed to keep the shoreline healthy even though communities such as Bainbridge Island, for example, last updated the SMP in 1996 and is having trouble proving it really needs to be struggled over once again. At least, the legal representatives for shoreline homeowners – those often wealthy, constantly victimized clients that attorneys just love – certainly are getting ready for the battle ahead.

With that in mind, there was an interesting exercise the other night in which a local interest group called the Bainbridge Shore-line Homeowners cornered 10 of the 11 candidates fseeking the  four City Council seats up for election this year in a local church, where, presumably, no blasphemy was uttered above a whisper.

Essentially, the majority of the audience of more than 100 people were ones who likely consider SMP just another dirty acronym, though there were a few tree huggers sprinkled among them who were generally wise enough to keep quiet.

While the homeowners group represents a small fraction of islanders living on the shore, they have become vocal about their land values eroding and the state saying what they can and can’t do with their property. And, simply put, they wanted the candidates to show themselves so they’ll know who to put on the council to give them a leg up on the future. That’s the theory anyway.

Unabashedly, a few of the candidates didn’t back down from their convictions, but most steered clear of the individual vs. collective rights argument because currently they are candidates, not council members, and it’s no time to take sides in a complicated issue fraught with misunderstandings and misinformation.

No, it was easier to criticize the city’s process or your opponent’s stance or one thing or the other.

There’s no doubt that many of those shoreline owners, oops, homeowners, left church knowing who they want representing them next year in the city’s pulpit. After all, a survey prepared by the group before the meeting asked the candidates whether or not they live on the shoreline. “Are you one of us?” That’s fair.

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