Time to open your eyes | In Our Opinion

  • Friday, March 31, 2017 12:59pm
  • Opinion

Make your bed, now lie in it.

The Bainbridge Island City Council has, and decided last week it will stay snuggled in the idea that Bainbridge can create its own municipal electric utility.

City officials have been waiting for a draft report on the feasibility of a city-run power company to be finalized by their consultants, D. Hittle and Associates. The $100,000 study is expected to set out the pros and cons of a takeover of Puget Sound Energy’s power system on the island, and council members were asked this week to consider the steps they’ll take after the final report lands sometime soon.

The choices:

• Consider an ordinance that would put the takeover idea on the ballot in November 2017 or another date;

• Keep talking about the idea amid further community outreach; or

• Drop the idea and stop the debate about creating a municipal electric utility.

Public comment about the choices ran the gamut again last week, from those who think the notion is a foolhardy idea because of its considerable risk and expense, and those who believe Bainbridge can run a power company better than PSE, and go greener in the process by cutting coal-powered electricity out of the equation.

For some council members, however, it’s becoming clear that reality has yet to intrude upon their dreams of public power.

Some council members noted that while there has been much talk about the proposal, many residents, they said, aren’t fully educated about the takeover idea.

Citizens’ thoughts on the worthiness of the idea may change with more information, it’s believed, and one councilman went so far as to discount a recent Facebook poll of islanders that found 77 percent opposed to a Bainbridge power utility.

It’s obvious a few folks on the dais need to be shaken awake.

Opposition to the proposal is formidable, and city officials would be wise not to discount the sentiments shared on Facebook or the power of social media to form and solidify opinions.

So, too, should they not expect opinion to turn around once people are “better educated” about the public power proposal. Parents well know that reading the nutritional facts off a can of chopped spinach will not make it more appetizing to their kids.

The feasibility study is just that, and Councilwoman Sarah Blossom hit the nail squarely on the head with a blunt reminder of the city’s history of running its existing utilities.

“It’s doesn’t matter if the city can do it for less,” she said. “The question is, will the city do it for less?”

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