Letters to the Editor

Bainbridge Letters to the Editor — May 24

Open space

Farmland is prime wildlife habitat

When I did trail surveys for the British Columbia Parks Branch around 1970, I would spend days at a time in old growth and second growth forest. The trees were magnificent, but the animal life was limited. An occasional spruce grouse, as I moved along, whiskey jacks in scrublands, and a Steller’s jay or two per day along the dusty roads. At the timberline and in old lightening strikes was where bird and small animal concentrations were evident. In my biogeography classes this was referred to as “edge effect.”

All of this made me somewhat surprised to read in the Review (“Islanders turn to open space,” May 14) that island farmlands were not habitat for wildlife. Here at the Day Road Farms observers have assembled some of the most complete bird lists found on the island.

A check with some of the island’s premier birders would seem to be in order. I know twice at grape harvest time we were thrilled to see Sandhill cranes circle and land, an extremely rare event for Kitsap County.

I believe the consultant driven study we are all paying for conceives of farmland as a kind of “Iowa” type of farming, with miles of unending fields of corn or soybeans. Here at the Day Road Farms you will find small fields of a variety of crops bordered by streams, ponds, trees large and small.

It is specifically the edge effect I was taught was prime wildlife habitat. If it is not, someone should tell the turtles in the ponds and the plethora of birds in the fields they are not living in habitat. Someone should tell the multitudes of school children whose classes we have taken around the farm to see wildlife.

Are the farms habitat? This is a critical issue as we define the purposes of open spaces and farmlands in particular.

We, and our Audubon friends, strongly believe that not only are island farms desired by the community for cultural and aesthetic reasons, they are also desired by the birds and animals that share the land with us because these lands provide a rich and varied series of types of habitat fast disappearing on the island.

GERARD BENTRYN

Bainbridge Island Vineyards

Schools

Financial support aids math students

Our school community is very grateful for the generous support we receive from Windermere/Bainbridge Real Estate. Woodward Middle School’s math curriculum is challenging and fast-paced, and sometimes students need extra support to achieve success. Windermere/Bainbridge has provided funding, once again, for any student to receive tutoring.

More than 100 kids have taken advantage of this extracurricular math program during the 2007-08 school year. Thanks to the employees at Windermere/Bainbridge for their contributions to this very valuable school-community partnership.

SUSAN IRISH and RONNELLE BROWNING, WMS counselors STEPHANIE HILLIER,

program coordinator

Iraq

We need U.S. out of Iraq immediately

Continued U.S. occupation of Iraq is depriving the U.S. and its citizens of security, respect, moral values and billions of dollars better spent on the many domestic needs we have. This occupation is bankrupting us! Stop it now!

OIFAN PETERS

Northeast Vineyard Lane

City

17 questions for Mayor Kordonowy

This week the Bainbridge Review started a new column, which appears to be a forum where Mayor Kordonowy asks and answers her own basic questions about city government. Since the mayor does not normally respond to questions at public meetings or town hall forums, I hope that her column will provide an opportunity for the public to get some real answers about our city government.

I have prepared some questions for the mayor that I hope she will answer in her next column.

Dear Mayor Kordonowy,

1) What are your five greatest achievements during your last six years in office?

2) What do you hope to accomplish in your remaining year and a half in office?

3) Why is your Public Works Department able to complete only 30 percent of the capital projects that are funded each year?

4) The 2007 Benchmarking Study found that the city costs more to run and is less productive than comparable cities. What are you doing to fix this problem?

5) Why did you propose a 2008 budget with $10 million in councilmanic debt when the city did not have the financial capacity to pay for that debt?

6) Why did you and city staff oppose the council’s directive to cut $2.5 million in operating expenses from the 2008 budget?

7) Why did the city administrator and planning director resign after such a short time with the city?

8) Winslow Tomorrow was your initiative. City Council has scaled back the plan by millions of dollars so now it is nothing more than a basic utility project. What is your vision for this project now? Should it proceed?

9) In your column you say the city is now making routine “adjustments” to the adopted 2008 budget. Here are just a few of the “adjustments” you have made so far: cut $1.5 million for affordable housing; cut $592,000 for bike lanes on North Madison; cut $500,000 for bike lanes on Miller Road; cut $1.7 million for improvements on Wyatt Way, cut $539,000 for Wing Point Way improvements. The finance director has asked the City Council to make even more cuts. Basically the entire capital improvement plan for 2008 has been eliminated. The city appears to be in a major financial crisis. Mayor, do you honestly believe that all these budget cuts are just routine “adjustments”?

10) The city has a $1 million emergency fund. Why haven’t you used this fund to pay for emergency road repairs from the storms last year? Why have you chosen to cut other capital projects (like nonmotorized) to pay for these repairs? Why have an emergency fund if you do not use it to pay for emergencies?

11) Why is Bainbridge Island the only city in Washington State that was not able to predict an economic downturn in 2008? Other cities and counties were able to plan and prepare in advance for anticipated revenue shortfalls in 2008. For example, in 2007 Snohomish County projected that its revenues would decline by $4 million in 2008. As a result, it factored these numbers into the budget process last year. The Snohomish County executive has said the county does not need to make any major changes to their 2008 budget because, “We anticipated it, we prepared for it, it’s not a surprise.” By contrast, Bainbridge Island did not anticipate any revenue shortfalls in 2008 and so did not prepare for it. It came as a complete surprise to the city’s finance director. He thought we would have plenty of money in 2008. That is why he accused the council of mismanaging city finances when the council asked the administration to cut $2.5 million from the operating budget. The finance director said those cuts were not necessary. Are you satisfied with the performance of your finance director and his department? Why was the city so far off the mark with their revenue projections for 2008? Can you name one other city or county in our state (besides Bainbridge Island) that is facing a “surprise” 10 percent shortfall between the adopted budget and actual revenues?

Below the mayor’s column was an opinion piece by Sally Robison, who believes the mayor’s job is difficult and suggests that we give the mayor some slack. The mayor does have a thankless job. It is impossible to please everyone, all the time. The mayor is constantly being scrutinized, evaluated and critiqued. This is how it should be. The mayor campaigned and convinced the community that she was the best qualified candidate. We should expect our mayor to be capable, competent and professional. We expect her to respond to the community’s needs and concerns. When our government is in trouble we should expect the mayor to take responsibility and solve problems.

The citizens of Bainbridge Island have a right to know what the mayor’s priorities are and how she plans to fix the immediate and chronic problems at City Hall. Perhaps the mayor’s new column will provide a forum for the public to get some answers.

BOB SCALES, former councilman

North Madison Avenue

Community

Police protective

of ‘silence’ riders

I just want to say, as a participant in the Ride of Silence Wednesday evening, how much we all appreciated the competent support, escort and traffic control provided by the Bainbridge Island Police Department during the ride. We were able to stay together and feel protected as we honored the injured and fallen riders among us.

CHARLES SHARPE

Bainbridge Island

Thanks for kindness at a time of grief

The family of Robert H. Smith wishes to thank our friends and neighbors for their many expressions of sympathy for our loss of Bob. Your kind messages and thoughtful actions have meant a great deal to us.

RACHEL SMITH,

NATHAN SMITH and PATTIE BORMAN,

AUDREY and ERIC NICKELL,

TOBY SMITH

San Carlos, Madoka are chili winners

Last Saturday was piping hot and so was the chili at the 11th annual Hyla Chili Cook-Off. Red, green, white, fiery, musky, fruity – island restaurants went toe to toe with a wide variety of delicious offerings. It was a close contest demanding discerning taste buds. After much deliberation, the panel of esteemed judges gave this year’s award for best chili to San Carlos Restaurant, while the popular vote for the best went to Madoka.

Thank you to the chili chefs from Andante, Café Trios, Doc’s Marina Grill, Harbour Public House & Marina, Madoka, Mon Elisa’s, Real Foods Market & Café, San Carlos Restaurant, Winslow Way Café, and to the Blackbird Bakery and Real Foods for great cornbread. Thanks, as well, to Sound Reprographics, Corey Signs and BITV for helping us get the word out. And lastly, we would like to thank the judges: Jim White, chef from IslandWood; Chris Schmit, island firefighter; Bob Campbell, local VIP; and journalist Becky Fox Marshall and chef Toni D’Nafrio. It was a great day!

If you are wondering about Hyla Middle School, don’t wait until the next cook-off – come by and see what we are doing.

THOMAS WEBER, head of Hyla Middle School,

THE FAMILIES OF HYLA

Bucklin Hill Road

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