To the editor:
After attending a recent city council candidate’s forum, Mayor Val Tollefson offered up some revisionist history in support of incumbent candidate Wayne Roth:
“With a single exception, the candidates are all very uninformed about the way city government actually works, about the work and accomplishments of the council over the past four years.”
I’m not sure which accomplishments the mayor is referring to but I can think of one particular project that may shed light on the performance of our city council during Wayne and Val’s tenure: planning for a new police facility.
In 2014 the Bainbridge Island Fire Department generously offered to accommodate a city police facility within their new fire station. This option of co-location with BIFD was supported by our police chief and 70 percent of Islanders. Estimated cost was $7.5 million. It was a simple and cost effective solution supported by the community but it was rejected by the city council. Why?
Well, because co-location wasn’t good enough for city visionaries like Wayne and Val. They had a grander vision in mind, specifically a “city campus” with a new police facility and court built next to city hall. So Proposition 1, a $15 million bond measure, was placed on the 2015 fall ballot by the city council. It failed 25 percent to 75 percent. Fast forward to the present: plans for a new station on New Brooklyn Road have an estimated price tag of $28 million.
Lost opportunities and blunders during this planning process for a new police facility will end up costing us millions of dollars, in part because of Wayne and Val’s poor judgment. Probably not the kind of “results” Val had in mind in his letter to the editor.
There’s a lesson here for all of us. It’s that age and experience are no guarantees of good judgment. Please join me in supporting Wayne’s opponent, Rasham Nassar, to take his place on city council. She is young, intelligent and cares deeply about how city council decisions impact our community.