Letters to the editor

No secret meetings

To the editor:

Island Center’s planning process is already a nation divided by the Minority Report that confirms the committee overrode the Island Center community’s aversion to added residential zoning density by doubling it — shocker.

Next stop – the Planning Commission, which, at most, is to make recommendations to the City Council to ensure the committee’s plan comports with the BI Comprehensive Plan and the Growth Management Act.

Some on the Planning Commission, including Commissioner (and City Council candidate) Jon Quitslund, who want Island Center expanded then upzoned beyond what the committee already did. On June 10, Quitslund said at the PC meeting: “I would like to see efforts made to create a plan that all members of the steering committee, and members of the public, can accept as a good outcome of this long and difficult planning process…

“Perhaps the Planning Commission will, in the end, condition its recommendation to the council on acceptance of a list of specific revisions. To that end, I recommend the formation of a subcommittee to explore the appropriate next steps.”

The chair agreed with the subcommittee idea, to be taken up at the July 10 Planning Commission meeting. City senior planner Jennifer Sutton thinks it’ll take at least four meetings for the Planning Commission to do its work.

In other words, the Planning Commission intends to set up a “subcommittee” that will work outside the public eye to come up with a new plan for Island Center that will likely be rubber-stamped by the rest of the commission.

Island Center’s planning process is supposed to be done per the OPMA and placed before the entire Planning Commission for minor input/tweaks, not before a select/interested few, and it should be quick.

The Planning Commission is about to take months to secretly undo all, or most, of the IC Committee’s work done over the past three years, while sidestepping the community’s input. It may happen, but don’t let them do it without a fight. Before July 8, tell them “No secret subcommittee for Island Center — the community has already spoken.” — pcd@bainbridgewa.gov

Chris Neal

Fletcher Landing

Ethics wrong

To the editor:

I filed a complaint with the Bainbridge Island Police Department against Ethics Board member James Cash for, in my opinion, making false statements to a public official. Cash had been evaluating complaints for months and should have been an expert on what was a violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethics Program. He filed two complaints against a councilmember without including a single valid allegation. Thus, he made false statements to public servants that caused them to evaluate his complaints at a meeting that would become permanent public record.

Then I watched three other members of the Ethics Board say things about the complaint that, in my opinion, would have humiliated any reasonable person, causing them to feel fear that they would again be attacked if they dared to express opinions contrary to those of the Ethics Board in the press ever again.

I realized that councilmembers might not realize that what the Ethics Board had been doing was illegal under Title 18 U.S. Code 241, which says it is illegal for two or more people to agree to injure, oppress or intimidate a person for having freely exercised a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. The right to freely express opinions, through speech or in writing, is so fundamental that it was shocking to me that members of the Ethics Board would dare to make it appear that the councilmember had done something wrong by submitting an article to the Bainbridge Island Review.

Councilmembers Kirsten Hytopoulos, Leslie Schneider and Joe Deets voted against having a discussion to change the way the Ethics Board operates. Hytopoulos is a licensed lawyer who would know the law. Deets earlier said that he did not know what the Ethics Board did. His statement of ignorance will protect him, and perhaps Schneider and Hytopoulos, from being held accountable as accessories to what the Ethics Board has been doing to councilmembers that the three of them almost always vote against.

Cindy Anderson

Bainbridge Island

Keep it clean

To the editor:

For 26 years I have been going to Hidden Cove Dock, jumping into the water, walking the dogs or enjoying a quiet respite. Last weekend I wasn’t surprised to see other people enjoying the park, but I had never seen it so crowded. I went back this morning, and even though there are three trash/recycle containers I picked up trash for five minutes. Adults – it is your responsibility to teach the children how to care for our planet by picking up after yourselves.

To continue my rant, when I moved here the mantra was “Don’t Californicate Washington.” I now better understand that sentiment. Allow yourselves the opportunity to slow down to the pace of a rural island. Don’t pass me using the shoulder through a 30 mph zone. Please don’t fail to halt at stop signs. Please quit being so pushy about getting a parking place. Please don’t run me off the road because there is a pedestrian, or a bicyclist, in your lane. It is legally your responsibility to yield and pass only when it is safe.

Finally, years ago it was decided that our island could inhabit 50,000 people. The study was based on water availability. A house burned to the ground last weekend as there was not enough pressure coming from the fire hydrant to quell it. The study states that hydrants need to pump 2,300 gallons a minute. Fire department water tenders carry 4,000 gallons, which is gone in two minutes, so even with our very capable firefighters there wasn’t the needed pressure, even with the help of other departments. I think that 50,000 figure needs to be reassessed – not because I made it through the door and want to close it behind me, but for the sanctity of the island and its finite resources.

We need to rethink how we live on this island. We need to care for it in a kind and respectful manner, and we need to lend this kindness to one another in our parks, on the highways and downtown. And, when you pick up your dog’s poop, don’t throw the plastic baggie into the woods, place it in a trash can. Carrying around a bag of poop is a badge of honor showing that you are a responsible citizen.

Dana Rosenbaum,

Rolling Bay

HOA or BI?

To the editor:

Who needs a Home Owners Association HOA when they have the City of Bainbridge Island?

John Babcock

Bainbridge Island

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