Letters to the Editor

Voters beware: There’s a conspiracy occurring | Letters | Oct. 30

There seems a common thread here calling for attention at voting time.

The city has been paying its way by fostering “continual construction” as its prime source of income.

No wonder city planning and administration seem “in-bed” with the realty/development/tourism industries. They are!

On a dynamic level, they actually work “for them” since these spec-marketed growth groups pay their salaries.

This puts the city directly “out-of-integrity” with the core value of the island, i.e., to retain its once intimate, small-town, semi-rural unique character (for which most came here and visitors take the ferry to spend the afternoon).

Alas, is the growth agenda facilitated by COBI – that produced 500 condos in the last five years, including Harbor Square, Best Western, Vineyard Lanes, and soon the 75,000-square-foot Island Gateway – consistent with that core value? Hardly!

The Winslow Way utility project is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Like Winslow Tomorrow and Winslow Streetscape before it, it is pitched upon a fear-based catalyst of “we need to repair the sewers.”

Yet, there has been little talking time given to implications involved in the plan’s increase of water pipes from 8 to 12 inches – despite the fire department asserting it is not needed for safety reasons.

Purpose? Increasing water pipe size allows an increase in Winslow building height and density – and there is no code commitment to retain existing one- and two-story heights.

Who will profit? Downtown property owners and the train of planners, architects and developers that build it.

Island Gateway is another example of a major development quietly rushed through the city planning and approval process.

This collection of seven buildings (five retail, plus two museums to “sweeten the deal”) does not have consensus of the community to represent who we are as our “Gateway.” Did we get a vote?

Alas, this development and its naming reflects the developer’s previous venture in which the taxes on a vineyard were increased to the point where the wine grower could no longer remain, making it available to build a gentrified collection of 45 upscale condos insensitively named “Vineyard Lanes.”

Don’t know about you, but neither seem characteristic of this community to me. Nor do I view them as “green” projects simply owing to material construction. “Green” for me accounts as well for the human impact of the sustainability equation.

As for the election, some candidates support a Winslow facelift via the utility project. Votes for them grow Bainbridge into yet another Mercer Island, Bellevue or Issaquah.

If that’s not what you want, vote for someone committed to absolute honesty, balance and whole community’s well being – which is not represented by the projects noted above.

At the end of the day, the two great questions seem to be: Who really runs this town? And for whom?

Larry Koss

Bainbridge Island

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