Letters to the editor

BI overspending

To the editor:

I think our local government has not stepped up in the past six years to move this project (police-court facility) along in a way that is financially responsible. It’s time to call this out and for the new government to commit to a higher level of fiduciary oversight.

If you break this project into three parts the struggles are clear:

1. The project started in 2014. Had the city been able to select a site and bid the project in 2017 (three years earlier, as the fire department did), the total cost would have been less than $10 million. I know because my company designs such buildings. So, the “struggles” have resulted in a doubling of costs for islanders to $20 million.

2. It would appear that the city overpaid for the Harrison building. Depending on how you calculate the value, this could result in $3 million to $5 million in overpayment above market value. Optimal value is obtained by a sale from one use to a similar use. But Harrison was not sold to be a healthcare facility, but a police-court facility. The city is planning to pay $400 a square foot to remodel, when it should cost $100 a square foot. Islanders will not get back that money.

3. This third part of the project is what we are in now. The city has estimated that it can guide the project to not exceed $20 million. What I would expect is that our new government would commit to not exceeding that total limit, but they haven’t so far. It won’t be easy work, and it’ll take a level of care in watching costs and managing people that just hasn’t been done to date with this project.

Rich Mitchell

Bainbridge Island

State facts

To the editor:

In a recent letter, the writer states that three city councilmembers flagrantly demonstrated their lack of caring for people of color by voting for Jane Lindley instead of Brenda Fantroy-Johnson for Bainbridge Island City Council. This is a serious charge and is evidence that the writer does not really know these women, their histories or their motivation.

It was also claimed that Fantroy-Johnson had better qualifications. Certainly a different conclusion would have resulted from a review of the resumes of each candidate available on the city website.

Lindley is unarguably more qualified to help our city implement the Comprehensive, Climate and Sustainable Transportation Plans and with negotiating our 20-year contract with Puget Sound Energy. Lindley’s in-depth knowledge, derived from years of experience working at state and local levels, stands in stark contrast to the very limited experience of Fantroy-Johnson’s with these and other island-specific issues.

The writer states that Fantroy-Johnson had substantially more public support. That should come as no surprise since her email requesting support was widely circulated throughout the island. The email contained council email addresses and instructions for making public comment.

I am sure Fantroy-Johnson is sincere in her desire to serve our community while on council, and we should all welcome her appointment. However, she is – and we are all — ill-served by unfounded expressions of inequity.

Robert Bosserman

Bainbridge Island

Tree mistake

To the editor:

I think the Bainbridge Island Park District is making a mistake by thinning the trees at Moritani Park because they are destroying the partnership between the trees and the fungi. Fungi and trees have a special relationship. The fungi networks act as passageways that connect trees to each other. The trees give food to the fungi while the fungi pass messages and nutrients to other trees. Now the remaining trees will not live as long or be as healthy.

Weakening the fungi networks also degrades human health. Most of our important drugs come from fungi, including a $1.6 billion drug for cancer that lives on yew tree trunks. We have only discovered about 10 percent of total existing fungi. So, by thinning the trees, the park district is threatening the health of future generations of humans.

The district claimed that by thinning trees they are making the forest healthier since more native plants will grow on the forest floor. I want the forest to be healthier too. But if you leave the forest alone it will do that by itself, becoming more diverse and healthier than we could ever make it. In Germany they are successfully doing this. Moritani Park will become an old growth forest on its own if you give it time to heal.

Sebastian Ford

Bainbridge Island

Voting easier

To the editor:

Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse are the only two representatives out of the 10 in Washington state who signed and supported the amicus brief (signed by 126 Republican House members) that went to the Supreme Court in support of the lawsuit brought by the Texas attorney general asking the court to consider a petition to discard votes in the swing states in the presidential electoral votes of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Notably, our only other Republican Jaime Herrera-Beutler did not.

They challenged the states’ results because the states enacted various actions: allowing folks to vote by mail without needing an excuse (as the military always have), allowing ballot drop boxes, prepaying postage on mail in ballots, or sending all registered voters applications to mail in. It is interesting that they only challenged swing states — the brief did not mention other states that would have gone traditionally Democrat or Republican.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia changed voting rules for the pandemic (primarily by encouraging vote by mail). Find out how at https://abcn.ws/3paKr8z The amicus brief was against making it easier for people to vote. Please remember that Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers supported this. To see it, go to https://bit.ly/2WxZ0a1.

Holly Brewer

Bainbridge Island

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