To the editor:
I’m in favor of providing our police with a new police station and in favor of changing the seismic standards if doing so significantly reduces the cost of construction. What I’m not in favor of is having four councilmembers stifle a discussion about how to reduce costs by severely limiting the topics of discussion. Why would they want to do this?
A discussion of paying too much for the Harrison building is going to lead to a discussion of former councilmember Kol Medina’s relationship with the members of the Harrison Board of Directors. RCW 42.23.030 generally prohibits a municipal officer from directly or indirectly receiving a financial benefit from a public contract.
Deciding where to the draw the line is really tough, and many local governments have supplemented state law with their own code of ethics-but what the elected officials on Bainbridge Island did was wrong. They made it impossible for our councilmembers to be in violation of the ethics code as long as the councilmembers did not to disclose relationships with people and issues that might be on the agenda that could affect their vote.
They did that in Article II J of the City’s Code of Conduct and Ethics Program simply by using the word “should” instead of “shall” in the first paragraph and using the word “encouraged” instead of “required” in the second paragraph.
What kind of elected officials do this sort of thing? Did they use one effective date in the body of the document and another effective date on the signature page to make the 2020-13 resolution invalid? If so, it matters not because the previous version, Ordinance 2019-26 signed by Medina, accomplished essentially the same thing in Article II, J.
To the editor:
The City Council needs to stop this crazy process. It is time to start making decisions based upon facts not fanciful stories.
If you are told by the architects for the new police station that the building will be green, that is totally false. It is impossible to take a new building built for a medical facility, gut it, and turn it into a police station and say it is green. The number of resources wasted in that process is overwhelming.
The new building would have to use zero energy and be kept in operation for 100 years to make up for the wasted resources put into its construction. This is not even considering the excessive price paid for the building. All the materials and labor that were used to finish the medical center, that will be in the landfill, had a 20- to 50-year life expectancy. They were used for two years and will be thrown away.
I find this extremely hypocritical. The council has focused on green building and now Bainbridge Island will have the least green police station ever built.
J Mack Pearl
Take it back
To the editor:
The Triangle Sandpit Shawn Liden refers to in a previous letter is located within a critical aquifer recharge area as well as a Well Head Protection Zone that serves over 100 households. Numerous other neighbors share the same aquifer. In 2008 the city permitted Bill Nelson and William Moore to mine on one acre of the Triangle after imposing a number of conditions that incorporated extensive analysis by Aspect Engineering that mitigated the impact of that mining.
The permit transfer Liden and Moore signed off on in 2014 imposed the same conditions. It also required them to complete reclamation of each segment of the sandpit within two years of cessation of mining in that segment. To date no reclamation is evident and new mining continues unabated without the review state law requires. The reclamation plan in the city permit, as well as the DNR 2009 and 2014 permits, required a nearly 3-acre stormwater infiltration system on the 8-acre Triangle, as well as revegetation of all disturbed areas. It also required quarterly monitoring of adjacent wells.
The infiltration system was never constructed and the vegetated berms Liden takes credit for are covered in prohibited noxious weeds. It appears none of the hundreds of required well monitoring tests was done until the single test Liden says he voluntarily completed last September.
The central area that 10 years ago was supposed to be a grass-filled meadow is instead a mud-filled area that drains into a pit whose bottom lies close to the aquifer that supplies neighbors with water. Unlike the rest of the island businesses and residents who are required to obtain grading permits when they move more than 100 yards of material, Liden regularly moves thousands of yards of material without one. And there are other issues as well.
Eleven years is too long to wait for compliance with measures designed to protect the water supply. DNR has demonstrated it is unable to enforce protection measures. It’s time for the city to take control of the site.
Give kids a brake
To the editor:
As our community’s children head back to school in person, let’s do our part to keep them safe not only from COVID-19, but also from the dangers of the road. With so many students walking or riding bikes to avoid crowded buses or simply returning to their daily school routine, more children than ever will be on roads throughout the day.
We can help protect them by braking and slowing down as we go by and by giving them as much space as possible. State law mandates sharing the road and allowing at least 3 feet of space between vehicles and cyclists.
A little extra caution from all of us behind the wheel could keep our families from more harm than the pandemic has already brought us. Please be extra careful and patient. Please remember to Give Our Kids A Brake!
Christine Perkins Deb Rudnick Naomi and David Spinak
To the editor:
We would like to express our appreciation to the growing numbers of Bainbridge school children who are making the extra effort to walk or bike to school these days. For those outside of walking or biking distance from schools in the Winslow core, thank you for your increasing usage of the dropoff facilities at Island Church, First Baptist Church and the library. Combined, these actions are helping alleviate the extra motor vehicle traffic in our school zones due to COVID-19 transportation issues.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the cooperation of the children’s parents, leaders and staff with the churches, city and school district. Their efforts to quickly create and use safe “pop up” infrastructure for our kids has been inspiring. These collaborations highlight just a few of the many strengths of our community and what we can accomplish when we all pull in the same direction.
Christy Carr Leslie Schneider Squeaky Wheels and Bainbridge Greenways Bainbridge Island
To the editor:
The March 1 article in the Review, “Low carbon fuel bill passes state House,” reminds us that right now much of the cause of climate chaos comes from dirty fuel whose dangerous effects are not priced accordingly. Dirty fuel is still relatively cheap. This bill will make clean fuels cheaper. The bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Fitzgibbon said “this credit system would make cleaner fuels cheaper for consumers.” No wonder the Western States Petroleum Association opposed the bill.
The new Congress in the other Washington needs to pass a national bill that would price carbon as a pollutant and return the funds to individuals — “carbon cash-back” is a great nickname for this. Let’s encourage all of our elected representatives, at both the state and federal levels, to pass legislation that prices dirty fuel for the danger it causes. Let’s push them to pass legislation that “pushes” the market to the cleaner, healthier energy sources we must have. Here’s to pricing co2 truthfully, so that our strong market forces will get pushed to the clean energy economy we need. Now!
To the editor:
Regarding the March 1 article, “Low-carbon fuel bill passes state House,” I’m interested in why no Republican legislators voted in favor. Seems like a good opportunity to ask why bipartisan legislation is such a rarity.
Stereotypes to the contrary, many Republican voters do share a concern over climate change and want their leadership to support innovative approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Though the need to act on climate change is urgent, I’m sympathetic to the disproportionate impact this bill would have on small farmers. Could more discussion have produced some sort of compromise? Or are there not enough moderate Republicans left in our state House?
I think a more equitable approach would be a nationwide carbon-dividend approach, along the lines of the Energy Innovation Act (HR 763). In this case all of the carbon-pricing fees are returned to consumers, the government keeps none of it. Consumers are incentivized to use less and cleaner sources of energy.
It’s past time to move on to solutions that both parties can support.
To the editor:
In the last session of Congress, only 1 percent of House bills passed the Senate. A filibuster is a Senate rule and a serious problem. Any senator can object to and stop a bill moving forward. The only way to move a bill forward then is by 60 senators voting for cloture — a custom that limits debate on bills. Bills are now routinely voted for cloture to get past filibusters. There are 50 Democrats (and Vice President Kamala Harris can be the tiebreaker) and 50 Republicans in the Senate now, and so there may be no legislation passed. When a party has the majority, it should be able to lead. With the logjam, legislation is not coming out of the Senate — whoever the majority is.
It has been used to deter or stop all kinds of bills. Those pertaining to gun control after the Florida shooting where 17 people died. Those to enable two million immigrants to have a path to citizenship. Those to stop one in 10 Americans having access to health care options — and on and on. This is a big part of why so many common sense laws are not in place in our country. Please contact Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and ask them to support getting rid of the filibuster. It would only take a simple majority, 51 votes.
To the editor:
The Feb. 20 Review Opinion piece: “Time for BI to open up about Harrison” was an excellent piece on the status of the debacle overshadowing the proposed Police/Court project in the former Harrison building. I urge anyone who hasn’t read it to do so, and also go back to a Letter to The Editor on Nov. 7, 2020, “Station too costly,” which cites other aspects of the debacle, including ethics questions.
The decision to proceed with the purchase of the Harrison building was made by a different City Council (mostly) and under a different city manager. We should expect the current administration to cease shrugging their shoulders and absolving themselves of responsibility. We the citizens deserve to see a thorough investigation, simply so that things like this aren’t allowed to happen again.
And a “blue ribbon” committee should be created immediately to help decide whether the project should proceed at the Harrison site or be reconsidered for a better site, and to monitor costs going forward. There are a number of experts in the community willing to serve.
I think someone else’s suggestion that the Harrison building be used for affordable senior housing is a fine idea. The city could actually do something tangible about affordable housing.