To the editor:
The Paulson/Fortner lawsuit asks us to believe their legal and advocacy actions will encourage more open city government.
However, the Fortner lawsuit is strategically timed for one purpose - to undermine city council candidates not in concert with Bob Fortner’s anti-ratepayer agenda. (Fortner isn’t a ratepayer.) While the lawsuit will probably be dismissed, the damage will be done.
Fortner leads the Bainbridge Resource Group (BRG), a group of private and public citizens who meet in the privacy of Fortner’s residence, by invitation only. Fortner sets the agenda.
Who attends? The Fortners, Andy Maron, and council candidate Wayne Roth are among BRG regulars. Those who disagree with BRG’s agenda are soon removed from that invitation list. Occasionally, elected officials from the four city taxing districts are invited to discuss agency policy and direction.
Why does this matter? Well Fortner and BRG do more than meet. They advocate. On May 14, Bob Fortner and Barry Peters appeared at a KPUD board meeting to lobby for rejection of our city’s request for a KPUD proposal to manage our water utility.
Is this legal? Yes. Was this action of a self-described “citizen for good government” also in the best interests of the water utility ratepayers? No, unless you’re unconcerned about overcharging water utility ratepayers to cover high overhead charges at city hall.
The lawsuit is not about open government. It’s about the old guard maintaining status quo power by bullying those who dare to speak up to correct unfair city policies.
Former BRG member