Opinion

A message to the council | IN OUR OPINION

The word on the street was not very kind.

Actually, it was the writing on the wall.

A spray-paint can-toting vandal reportedly struck earlier this week downtown, defacing a wall with the message: “Worst city council ever.”

Though some citizens may not be particularly pleased with the recent workings of the Bainbridge Island City Council, that assessment is off, however, for a number of reasons.

For starters, it’s too soon to make any sweeping judgement of how our local leaders are faring, and where they will rank in accomplishment when compared to councils of the past.

A majority of our council came aboard in January, and it’s been just a bit more than four months since they took their oath of office.

Though there have been clumsy moments as the new council has started to find its way, and examples of what seem like petty political paybacks, this council is still at the start of its learning curve, and there is still ample opportunity for council members to figure out ways to work together.

There have been deep disagreements, for sure, most notably, over the dismissal of the city manager.

And there has been a reluctance, it seems, for greater openness and transparency, as evidenced by the continued closed-door meetings of the council’s ad hoc committees.

But with time, comes wisdom.

As council members expand beyond the closed cliques and agenda-driven interests that helped get them elected, they’ll discover that governance requires more than the 50 percent plus one needed to prevail at the ballot box. Bainbridge Island expects its elected leaders to work in the best interests of all of its citizens, and not solely in response to the loudest voices or their most stalwart supporters.

Best council ever or worst, this council’s reputation will be created over time, and it will be of the council’s own making.

It will also be much more permanent than any spray-painted insult.

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