Letters to the Editor

Editor’s note: The deadline for Letters to the Editor for the Nov. 7 election is 5 p.m. Oct. 27. Letters printed in the paper the Friday before the election, Nov. 3, can only be supportive of a candidate and not include negative comments about their opponent since there will be no opportunity for rebuttal. However, those types of letters will still be able to run online Nov. 3.

Vote Kirsten

To the editor:

In the upcoming election for Bainbridge Island City Council member at large, please join me to vote for Kirsten Hytopoulos.

Kirsten is a current council member, a longtime BI resident, business owner, collaborative attorney and mediator, mother of three, member of several island boards, and a past council member (mayor in 2011) with years devoted to community service.

I have known Kirsten for many years and worked with her on a variety of issues. She is a team player with intelligence, integrity, and a deep understanding of our city’s policy and history. She is always a voice of reason who actually listens with respect to differing viewpoints and works toward the best outcome for the island.

She is concerned with the whole island, not just her personal property and agenda. Her dedication to preserving the character of BI is unswerving and she knows and follows the Comprehensive Plan.

When difficult issues have come before the City Council, I have been grateful so many times to know that Kirsten is working for our benefit. Please keep Kirsten on the council. You can check out all her endorsements and other information at www.voteKirsten2023.

Linda Owens


Answers vague

To the editor:

In the article featured in the Bainbridge Island Review (10/13/23) titled “Bainbridge Island council incumbent faces challenger” the most-outstanding contrast between Dick Haugan and Kristen Hytopoulos is that Haugan spells out specific bullet points to be addressed to manage funds, projects and goals for the City Council. He points to facts and failures that need immediate attention.

I found Hytopoulos’ answers vague, without actually identifying how she planned to take actual action to address the points she herself identified. And given her tenure of eight years on the council, she needs to own up to the issues such as the cost overruns in the Harrison/police station fiasco and the rampant disregard of preserving and managing natural resources by developers.

Personally, I’ll take bullet points over whimsy any time it comes to managing and governing.

Larry Kida


Goodlin good

To the editor:

Incumbent Tom Goodlin brings to the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District board of commissioners the expertise, experience and temperament needed for the position. His professional background in hydrogeology and geology informs his environmental and land use insights. He has long served our community as a board member and volunteer for various island-based nonprofits, working to improve the island for everyone.

Above all, Tom listens. His measured approach, marked by thoughtful consideration of various perspectives, fuels sound decision-making and action. In the two years that he has been on the parks board, Tom has made a solid impact, inviting community engagement and advancing multiple projects with professionalism and transparency.

I am the parent of two children who actively enjoy Bainbridge’s parks, trails, facilities and recreation programs, just as I did as a kid and continue to as an adult. I’ve known Tom for nearly a decade and have never known him to be anything but dependable, hard-working, sharp and community-minded. I fully trust Tom to represent the interests of islanders across demographics, and urge you to join me in voting for him.

Janice Huang


Better route

To the editor:

A substantial and growing body of scientific research has found that the presence of people on trails drives wildlife away. Yet the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District is planning a trail over a wetland and through the largest undisturbed area in the Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve to complete a Winslow-to-Gazzam trail, despite having an alternative route that wouldn’t adversely affect wildlife.

We (The Friends of Gazzam Lake) and the BI Land Trust oppose this route.

The Gazzam Lake conservation easement provides that when planning trails, “wildlife habitat and forest land conservation values shall take precedence over enhancement of the other conservation values (including recreation); thus, placement of trails in a way that leaves intact large undisturbed areas shall be preferred over a design that would result in smaller undisturbed areas.” Parks has not conducted that comparison of the two options.

The easement also requires parks to conduct a public process with the advice of a “qualified professional wildlife biologist with a view to minimizing adverse impacts on the habitat area.” That has not been done.

We and the land trust support the original trail route proposed by the Parks & Trails Foundation, which would connect the trail to the preserve at the Marshall Road entrance. That would result in far less negative impact to wildlife. And, that route would cost far less. We ask parks and the land trust to diligently examine the route along Marshall Road.

Dale Spoor


Dead deer

To the editor:

Saturday morning a 2-year-old male deer awakens and plans his day. Nothing definite. Pretty much going to graze over here awhile, then go graze over there awhile, but he’ll be mindful of predators, dogs and other hazards of deer life – it’s not just about the grazing, as most believe. Saturday afternoon, around 5 p.m., a human home dweller looks out his window to see the deer grazing on his neighbor’s lawn and becomes mindful of how lucky he is to live in a place that allows him such a sight. Within the hour, I had to call that home dweller to tell him someone had hit and killed that deer in front of his house, where the residential speed is limited to 20 mph, and the road approaches a blind grade to a Stop sign.

Kids, dogs, old people, strollers, bikes and, yes, deer, use this no-sidewalk road to get around our neighborhood. Someone was going fast enough to not notice a deer, and/or be able to stop his/her/their car in time to keep from hitting it hard enough in the head to kill it. That’s mindless, not mindful. If a deer, with its tiny brain, can manage to be mindful, maybe you can make the effort to be a little more mindful about what might get in your way while piloting your vehicle through our residential neighborhood. At least give it a try.

Chris Neal


Choose Haugan

To the editor:

I’m facing the unappealing option of voting for unopposed Bainbridge Island City Council candidates that have negatively impacted my job at Pleasant Beach Village. Dick Haugan might bring more rationality and cooperation to the table, but the current council has not earned my vote.

Kirsten Hytopoulos demonizes Pleasant Beach Village for proposing to build worker housing, undercutting her own stated environmental and housing goals. The council voted down affordable worker housing that required no special treatment or tax breaks. Punishing businesses in Lynwood Center hurts employees who depend on their jobs to support their families. These businesses generate tax revenue that can help solve issues that affect the entire BI.

Visitors to BI can also be part of the solution through education and patronage of local businesses. Hytopoulos has discouraged people from visiting BI, even insisting that the businesses in Lynwood Center exist only to service nearby neighbors. That illustrates a fundamental ignorance of economic reality. I know of no retail business on BI that can sustain itself without the support of customers from beyond their neighborhood. While wrapping themselves in the unassailable mantle of environmentalism and affordable housing, Hytoupolos and other council members demonstrate their hypocrisy by pursuing policies for political gain that are counter to their stated objectives. We need a council that brings businesses and residents together to work toward a more sustainable future for BI’s environment and the economy.

Robert Freitag


Re-elect her

To the editor:

I am writing to urge Bainbridge Islanders to re-elect Kirsten Hytopoulos to the Bainbridge Island City Council. Kirsten’s record of public service both on and off the council is admirable. She is a careful and thoughtful voice on every issue on the council’s agenda. We mostly agree, but when we do not I nevertheless appreciate Kirsten’s principled approach to this important job. Above all, Kirsten has steadfastly worked to make sure that BI has the excellent and professional management that it deserves.

Contrast Dick Haugan, whom I defeated by over 30% in the 2013 City Council race. His actual record of public service seems to be limited to several ill-conceived and losing lawsuits against the city, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Make sure that Haugan continues in his role as a former council candidate. Vote for Hytopoulos.

Val Tollefson


Re-elect Kirsten

To the editor:

Kirsten Hytopoulos has been a smart and civil voice for two non-consecutive four-year terms on the Bainbridge Island City Council spanning 14 years. She’s worked tirelessly for islanders alongside 20 other councilmembers and with five city managers.

Opponent Dick Haugan says he’d bring a more “businesslike” approach to council decision-making. But over the last nine years, he’s used private money, frivolous lawsuits and character attacks to try to derail the democratic process.

When he didn’t like the outcome of the long and involved public process for the Shoreline Management Plan, he sued the city to try to overturn it. When he didn’t agree with city’s purchase of the Harrison Hospital property, he brought baseless racketeering and bribery charges against a former mayor and city manager to try to reverse it.

While his cases have been dismissed at every level, defending against them has cost city taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. (Rather ironic for a candidate who also promises he can manage our money better than anyone else.) Just last month he told shoreline property owners he’s going to appeal again to the US Supreme Court.

Haugan has repeatedly placed the desires of a few property owners above the many other needs of the community and shown that he’s incapable of working well with the council or staff. His is not a voice we need on our council.

Ted Jones


Need business

To the editor:

Bainbridge is a small community. As such, financial resources are limited and our ability to attract the kind of talent to manage complex programs is also limited.

That is why we need more businessmen and women on the City Council. And that is why I am voting for Dick Haugan. As a businessman and entrepreneur, Dick understands that priorities must be set to put limited resources to work efficiently. Dick also understands that he will answer to the taxpayers of BI. He will find out what the citizens want, he will advocate for the citizens of BI, and he will make sure the horrible waste of your money we have witnessed over the last couple of years does not happen again.

We have a wonderful opportunity to tap into this talent pool of business people that are in abundance on the island. Dick has been a taxpayer and citizen here for over 40 years. I absolutely know he will protect your interests. He gets it. Please vote for Haugan for City Council.

Jo Anne Hacker


No Greene

To the editor:

Bainbridge Island School District board candidate Tom Greene is not fit for the office. Voters should know that he is aligned with the homophobic, book-banning extremist group Moms for Liberty. His recent comments at a school board meeting—parroting Moms for Liberty talking points and speciously suggesting that “pornography” is available in our public schools—show that he’s more interested in fake culture-war nonsense than in educating children.

On the district’s curriculum committees, he has been a consistent voice for whitewashing history and for turning back the clock on district efforts to make our schools a welcoming and inclusive place for all students. Greene does not deserve your vote.

Eric Stahl


Vote Greene

To the editor:

I support Tom Greene for the school board at Bainbridge Island School District. He has served on the Curriculum Advisory Board for three terms (18 years), and attended school board meetings regularly for over 20 years. His ability to communicate and help resolve difficult and complicated issues is a vital element in supporting and improving our schools.

Christine Tucker