Timing of May 19 election is far from happenstance | In Our Opinion | March 13

And it begins: Should Bainbridge be led by an elected, autonomous mayor or a council-appointed, professional manager? Wednesday’s council resolution made May 19 judgment day for island voters.

The next two months promise to be intriguing for many reasons, including the eccentricity of such an election. Since the council-manager form is an undisputed minority in a democracy that generally has a bias toward being ruled by an elected executive (mayor, governor, president), the burden of proof will be borne by those initiating the alternative. Rightfully so.

The mission of those supporting a change is to convince voters to join them by engaging in an open-minded process that emphasizes education. Not an easy task, but taking the high road in any civic exercise never is.

Organizers and proponents of this island effort promise to take a positive, enlightened approach by stressing the importance of providing information that they hope will persuade voters that the council-manager is more than just the lesser of two evils. This campaign, they believe, will not be about mud-slinging, personalities or even Mayor Darlene Kordonowy.

That’s great, though it may be difficult to expunge the mayor and her controversial seven-plus years in office from the consciousness of many island voters. Remember, the campaign was initiated about a year ago by citizens whose actions were at least somewhat triggered by their general distaste for the way she runs city hall. Her name likely dominated conversations when signature gatherers were discussing the petition (accepted with 1,076 certified signatures) to put a measure on the ballot.

Still, voters should base their decision on what’s best for the city at this time, right now, not what has transpired in recent years. This is especially important because of the city’s financial crisis and the distinct possibility that there will be some restructuring of our government going forward. In other words, we may have to design a government the community can afford.

This appears to be a critical time in the city’s young life, and voters should learn as much as possible about each form before making an informed decision. Forget the past and look forward.

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