Litigation situation mitigation
June 9, 2008 · Updated 9:22 PM
Sometimes it vows to see you in court, sometimes its dragged there itself. Willingly or otherwise, our city spends a lot of time these days in the realm of the argument and brief, the bench and gavel.
For more than a dozen years (since before all-island incorporation), the citys attorney has been Rod Kaseguma, a partner at the Bellevue law firm of Inslee, Best, Doezie & Ryder. By all accounts, he and his colleagues are fine attorneys in matters both routine and litigious. Nevertheless, it may be time to reconsider the arrangement, and whether its still in the best interest of the Bainbridge Island community.
First, the islands legal bills have been rising for some time, and nobody sees the end in sight. Because professional services are exempt from state and city competitive-bidding requirements, the
contract itself is not scrutinized on any
And while the Inslee, Best attorneys do not bill the city for travel time, the fact is that they are based in Bellevue, which may limit city officials day-to-day access to them. That non-lawyer city employees are drafting ordinances and reviewing the city code for inconsistencies suggests that in at least some situations, the city tries to avoid using its lawyers.
Of the citys track record in court, there arent a lot of conclusions to be drawn. The city has prevailed in some worthy cases in the public interest (the Fletcher Landing road end), but the council at other times has stumbled into litigation more on political whims than legal merit (Papa Murphys). And even good cases can be lost if new facts turn up mid-stream or the case winds up before the wrong judge. Thats the law for you. Whats more revealing, perhaps, is the sheer number of recent actions to which the city has been a party.
An examination of city legal services begins in todays
edition and concludes next week. The mayor and some council members say they too are interested in exploring the issues. Heres to sound deliberations, and a fair verdict.
***Room for all
It was a good day for a country founded on dissent.
Saturdays rally in the Winslow town square brought out several hundred islanders in peaceable assembly, petitioning the government for redress of the Bush administrations hawkish stance on Iraq. While they represented a multiplicity of views and persuasions, its fair to say there was one point of consensus: If there is any case for war, it has yet to be made.
Too, we were struck by the comments of several speakers who sought to reclaim the notion of patriotism for all Americans, including those opposed to military conflict. Some popular representations of the term hew to loyalty to
government and leaders, particularly in times of national
challenge; demonstrators Saturday pledged allegiance to the moral principles on which the country was founded - including the right to speak out and the inalienable value of life, here and elsewhere.
Some profess great love of country; others, love of country, and a different, perhaps greater, love still. Those notions can co-exist, and theres room for all beneath the same flag.