Letters to the Editor

Letters

City government

Petition sponsor addresses issue

Bainbridge Island Institute is sponsoring a petition campaign that enables the Island to vote in November whether to change its form of government from the current mayor-council system to council-manager.

Our volunteer signature gatherers have reported back that some Islanders are unwilling to sign the petition because they hold two misconceptions about Washington law. The first is that the change of government question can only be voted upon in odd numbered election years. The second is that change of government requires the entire City Council to stand for re-election. Both of these are untrue.

This petition effort was vetted by a major law firm attorney who specializes in municipal legal matters. The petition itself was drafted by him. He has advised us, if we submit a valid petition this year, we will be able to vote on it this year. Also, the council does not have to stand for re-election if we vote to change our form of government.

There is a bit of Bainbridge Island history which contributes to confusion on this latter point. In 1993, Darlene Kordonowy, our current mayor, led an effort to change Island form of government from mayor-council to council-manager. It failed.

One of the reasons: Washington law at that time DID require the entire council to stand for re-election if citizens voted for change. Obviously, the council wasn’t pleased about this and didn’t support the proposal. Neither did the community. In 2001, the Washington Legislature repealed the council resignation legal requirement. Under current law ONLY the mayoral office is affected.

So, if someone approaches you to sign a “Choose Mayor or Manager in 2008” petition, we urge you to do so. Submitting our petitions soon will give us six months to discuss the pros and cons before we vote. The island surely needs to settle this persistent divisive question one way or the other and move on.

DENNIS VOGT, CMM ’08 Campaign Bainbridge Island Institute

Island roads

Vehicle fees needed to repair roads

Regarding council member Barry Peters’ recent letter (April 9) and road fund suggestion, I would like to lend support to the proposal that residents on Bainbridge Island pay a $20 annual special vehicle tax to set aside for island road repairs. I would add a stipulation that the money be restricted to road construction and repairs and not loaned out for other island projects. (Editor’s note: By law, fees collected through this special tax could be used only for road projects.)

I have forwarded other suggestions for financing a road budget on the island to the council members and the mayor based on the success of a comparable city. However, Mr. Peters’ suggestion suits the needs of this community well. A new and better idea is always welcome in a healthy community.

Many of the roads are in serious disrepair. Postponing addressing these issues results in greater expenditure later on. Some of the roads are patched using temporary measures and then patched again several times over the course of the winter.

Mr. Peters noted that the island has a disproportionate number of miles of roads to maintain compared to other county cities. There is no industry or large shopping mall anchor store to bring in tax revenue. Hopefully, other residents of the island will forward letters with constructive suggestions for this budget item or offer constructive comments on Mr. Peters’ proposal. Your coverage of current island events and concerns is appreciated.

BONNY LAWRENCE

Port Blakeley Height

Ericksen/Hildebrand

Council should open Ericksen now

Kudos to Karen Tardiff (“Don’t let minority speak for majority,” April 19 letter). Well put! The Ericksen-Hildebrand issue has been badly handled by a gutless council for decades. The city had to know that congestion and the attendant traffic would increase dramatically in a tightly packed area when they approved related building permits. Council should not be allowed to ignore this issue further. No washing of hands by shoving this onto the November ballot. It needs to be addressed now.

Last time I looked, Ericksen Avenue appeared to be 75 to 80 percent business or mixed use. It no longer warrants the “neighborhood” designation. The mini-park use of a scrap piece of property was good for the time.

But progress (?) has made that use no longer viable. And the city should recognize the densely populated mixed-use area now reached via Hildebrand Lane as a potential source of steady revenue. Seems to me that common sense dictates smoother and easier access.

JASPER R. CUTTER

Palomino Drive

Waterfront Park

Bathroom visions should be praised

Please check facts when you are trying to illustrate a contested issue such as the Winslow Waterfront Park bathroom. I was disappointed to read your story on the topic, as it did nothing to illuminate readers about the many people involved who tried to transcend the predictable outcome with their creative and well-intensioned vision.

Instead, readers are treated to writing that galvanizes the eye-rolling and negative cast of this old news and confirms the puritanical attitude toward the notion of talking about a restroom. I was also dismayed to read your description of the artwork, which, fortunately for all involved, never came to fruition at that site. I can speak with authority that it certainly never included a waterfall, but rather passive stormwater channeling tied into the city’s infrastructure.

If you had intended a neutral portrayal of the park restroom and its evolution, it would have benefited you to talk to a broader base of the many islanders who have been involved along the way. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.

KRISTIN TOLLEFSON

Eagle Harbor Drive

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