Pritchard worthy of park honor

At first glance, it seemed a wee misstep twixt cart and horse (or, depending on one’s view of congressional appropriations, putting the park before the pork). After all, what was anyone doing proposing a new name for the Wyckoff property, when $8 million (and goodness knows how much time) still stand between those coveted 55 acres and a sign reading “Joel Pritchard Park and Japanese American Memorial”?

On further reflection: (cue wild applause)

The selection is shrewd, calculating and wholly praiseworthy. Backers are candid in their hope that by using a “working title” honoring the late Joel Pritchard – statesman, gentleman, islander to the last – they will draw support from legislators and citizens across the political spectrum. Coupled with the planned memorial at Taylor Avenue, it gives the drive for public acquisition renewed focus and purpose. It also frees the land of its association with a company that fouled it throughout most of the last century.

We had occasion to look back this week on the many eulogies for Pritchard, who left us in fall 1997. His quiet but profound legacy recalls a time when Washington politics had an identifiable center, and our state actually moved forward on critical issues. His style of leadership is sadly needed today.

In a briefing on the park project Wednesday evening, a council member reminded us all of the maxim by which Pritchard undertook his public service: “There’s no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Sage words, from a man whose cherished memory holds a place of honor in Washington politics. It’s not much of a stretch to see that “working title” etched onto a permanent sign someday, and a grand dedication.

Peace pix

Proving the cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words, consider the recent Portrait for Peace.

As evidenced in today’s Letters column, the event has provoked widespread discussion and debate on the impending war with Iraq. Our public agencies are re-evaluating their place in “community events” that have a political purpose or subtext. Even the Bainbridge Island City Council may be drawn into the fray. Mayor Darlene Kordonowy mentioned Wednesday that her office has been asked to broach a resolution opposing U.S. military action. With no specific draft before the council, it’s unclear whether such a document would find an audience, much less support.

We welcome the discussion, and are glad to provide a forum. In the meantime, the Review has had a number on inquiries about the portrait, with some readers wondering why it doesn’t appear on our website. The answer is that the photo isn’t ours. We printed it with the kind permission of Joel Sackett, who snapped the image during his now-infamous trip into the sky atop the fire department’s aerial ladder. Event organizers tell us the photo will appear online sometime in the next week, at www.bainbridgeforpeace.org.

Agree with the portrait or not, any event that brings so many islanders to one place at one time is worthy of note. We’re proud it appeared in these pages first.

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