Letters to the editor

Pingo nope

To the editor:

So far, the Pingo app for BI Ride is not working for me. I live in the Fort Ward area, two blocks from a BI Ride route, yet I get a “service not available” message, and I’ve had other problems.

The app does not appear ready and is being developed as it is rolled out. A frequent BI Ride user, I will just use the phone.

Sally Swanson

Bainbridge Island

Re-elect Nassar

To the editor:

Mayor Rasham Nassar should be appreciated for taking strong positions others may duck.

For example, her financial concerns with the Police Station-Harrison Project caused undeserved backlash and are squarely behind the current kerfuffle by those who want Rasham silenced. Without her leadership, the public would not know how and why COBI overspent $5 million of our tax dollars. Rasham did what government officials are supposed to do – be a custodian of public funds. Some others on council want to sweep the issue under the rug.

On March 6, 2018 City Council was presented Police Station costs by Morgan Smith, then city manager. Years of exploring possible sites boiled down to two alternatives: Harrison (remodel a failed medical facility) or Yaquina (new construction across Highway 305 from Harrison). Harrison was presented by staff at $25.6 million, Yaquina at $34 million. Rasham questioned the high costs but it was her first month on the job and was ignored.

On July 17, 2018 a special council meeting was called to make a final decision. Harrison costs were reduced by $15 million without any supporting detail. Yaquina costs were revised downward, also without supporting detail, to $28 million. Both proposals now also included land costs.

The choices presented by staff and affirmed by then-Mayor Kol Medina were Harrison for $20 million or Yaquina $28 million. Rasham questioned how Harrison costs could be reduced without explanation. Rasham subsequently presented documentation that COBI overpaid about $5 million for Harrison.

The necessity of an $8 million bond to fund the police station was again questioned by Nassar. She pointed out that if council had been presented with valid cost information Harrison would never have been selected. Yaquina was about $8 million cheaper and would not have required the bond that citizens did not want.

Nassar is honest, straight-forward and willing to call out massive financial waste. Re-elect Rasham Nassar.

Dick Haugan

Bainbridge Island

Vote Deets

To the editor:

I’d like to see Joe Deets return to council; in fact, there’s no better candidate for position 7. Watching the July 14 League of Women Voters Candidate Forum, I found Joe’s responses to be thoughtful. He understands the issues. Other participants resorted to canned answers and fear tactics to cause people to imagine the worst-possible outcomes when considering housing or any change that they personally dislike.

Bainbridge isn’t Mercer Island or any other place that people use to exaggerate the worst vision they can imagine, even though they know it isn’t true. Politicians use fear tactics when they have nothing else to offer.

We can have efficient/effective land-use policies that help to provide housing for everyone in the community. It’s not necessarily growth. Currently, we can’t support those who work or live in the community. Consider the young person who wants to move out on their own, the parent who is suddenly single or widowed who needs to downsize. Individuals claiming the island has met its housing obligations are short-sighted and out of touch with the community. Even wealthy communities need to address housing needs. No one gets a pass.

I want a council member who understands the Growth Management Act, state law, the community’s needs and be fiscally responsible. The ideal candidate is objective, isn’t afraid to tackle difficult issues and won’t feel the need to pander to the community NIMBYs. Vote for Joe Deets.

Catherine Freudenberg

Bainbridge Island

Vote Nassar

To the editor:

I attended a forum earlier this week to hear from all primary election candidates for Bainbridge Island City Council regarding their positions on a variety of subjects. It is so heartening to know that such a talented, smart, hardworking woman like Rasham Nassar is representing us on the council.

As an island we face many challenging and complex issues such as a rewrite of the unworkable Shorelines Master Plan or resolving the overpayment for the new police facility. You have to be pretty intelligent to be able to digest all this information and formulate fiscally and operationally sound solutions that protect taxpayer dollars. I think Rasham Nassar will do an excellent job and encourage you to vote to reelect her.

Jo Anne Hacker

Bainbridge Island

Don’t like tone

To the Editor

I take exception to the tone of the article titled, “They are not acting neighborly.” First of all, anyone who has had the experience of a homeowners’s association would say everyone is totally acting neighborly: you follow the agreed upon guidelines to protect and maintain the property, and you are willing to argue to make your point. Both sides are at odds because of a proposed change to an agreement that has worked for years.

But the title of the article highlighted the conflict, and gave initially credence to the argument of an attorney for one side. The story makes it sound like a longtime islander is being shut out of his birthright by mean-spirited others that arrived later than him and who don’t care about trees or the environment. This is ridiculous. The Hannons are a wonderful, generous family. The neighbors are also wonderful, generous people who have made many contributions to the community. Some have put their land in conservation easements to protect it from future development.

This issue is about a legal land dispute, and not City Councilmembers re-election platforms, like a chance to save trees, or non-motorized transportation. Take a look at what trees are involved and where, before opining.

I would hope the council, mayor and city manager would take pains to notify all parties and gather information before voting on an item. I am curious how it came to be that such a one-sided presentation was allowed and voted upon. I would think that the planning department should look at the issue and offer a professional opinion about the relative merits, environmentally, of the different proposals.

I thank the Review for presenting more of the story after the City Council’s one-sided voting. This is to their credit.

Mary Stowell

Bainbridge Island

No on Parks

To the editor:

I love our Bainbridge parks and use them regularly, so normally I would be a supporter of the proposed Aug. 3 levy increase. But I think the Park District needs to get a message and voting no on this levy increase will send that message.

The district justifies the levy by saying, “The Park District cannot increase its tax revenue by more than 1 percent per year without a vote” and points to inflation and a growth in island population. But if you use their own numbers (a growth of 3,000 residents since the last levy adjustment 13 years ago), that is consistent with 1% annual growth, and inflation since 2008 has been just over 1% per year.

The real question is whether the district needs money when it is considering spending $13 million to purchase a private athletic club. The price is eye-popping enough that this former Chicago resident perhaps cynically asks, “cui bono?” – who’s getting the goods? By rejecting the levy now and forcing the district to reconsider this move, and be more transparent on its spending plans, I believe we send the right message.

Mike Kelly

Bainbridge Island

Trust Moriwaki

To the editor:

Community trust in local government is required if we are to effectively address the big challenges we face including over-development, climate change and environmental degradation. This trust is earned when our elected officials act ethically and, at a minimum, observe the same land use and environmental regulations they help set for others.

In the Central Ward, we badly need to make a change in City Council representation. Clarence Moriwaki with his lengthy history of public service has proven himself to be the kind of honest and trusted representative our community deserves.

As a long-term environmental advocate, I know Clarence will dedicate himself to innovative and workable solutions to our mounting environmental problems. But more importantly, Clarence is endorsed by proven environmental leaders like Gov. Jay Inslee and former State Sen. Phil Rockefeller.

Erika Shriner

Bainbridge Island

Vote Nassar

To the editor:

As a woman of color, Mayor Rasham Nassar is supported by Progressive Democrats, shoreline owners, property rights advocates, environmentalists and race equity advocates. She has earned broad support by being the smartest and hardest-working member on our City Council who listens to citizens, comes up with solutions and then enacts them.

She led the fight to stop megahotels in Winslow, worked to stop a 100 unit high-density housing project near North Town Woods, led the fight for racial equity, and worked to end the cronyism and wasteful spending that has marred city government for years.

She is now fighting to stop the city from wasting millions on one of the most-expensive police stations ever for its size. Her support for property rights comes from her family’s bitter experience of having some of their ancestral homelands seized without compensation in Israel. Her support for simplified shoreline regulations comes from a belief that people should be able to understand the rules they are supposed to follow.

Rasham Nassar is a rising young political star with a brilliant future ahead of her. Re-electing her will ensure our community continues to make meaningful progress on groundwater protection, aquifer recharge, repairing our overflowing sewer system, protecting Puget Sound, affordable housing, property rights, climate change readiness, more streamlined permitting, and stopping wasteful and unnecessary government spending. A vote for Rasham is a vote for a government that collaborates with all its people to find consensus-based solutions.

Michael Pollock

Bainbridge Island

BAC boondoggle

To the editor:

As a Bainbridge resident for 35 years, I was shocked by what seems like a boondoggle the Parks and Rec Board is telling us we must support. From a knowledgeable business person, I learned that the $13 million sales price is approximately $3 million too much. Why has the public not seen a minimum of three appraisals with an “open and transparent” policy at “arm’s length.” (which means none of the appraisers has a personal relationship with a board member).

The fact that the board is having private, “professional” financial people looking over the contract is anathema to a “free and fair” democratic process when that contract is hidden from the taxpayers. Bainbridge Island Fitness, not this exercise center, has been listed as the favorite place on the island in the “Best of Bainbridge” contests every year, so the spin the board stated that this was the “premier” center on the island seems prejudiced at best.

If one looks into these centers in other states, there is a mixed bag of results, though a couple items remain clear: “Community” centers, not ones only for exercise enthusiasts, seem to have the best chance for succeeding financially. Many of the exercise centers are in continual need of additional funding through bond issues.

I urge every thinking, caring citizen to vote “No” on this proposal. Until the board decides when it’s our money they are spending, we, as taxpayers, have a right to expect a process that is “fair and transparent.”

Gail M. Shackel

Bainbridge Island

Pick Moriwaki

To the editor:

In the July 23 Review, a supporter of Rasham Nassar, Chris Neal, claimed that neither of her challengers is “qualified” to prevail in the primary. One of those challengers is Clarence Moriwaki.

Clarence is unqualified? Really? He was the Bainbridge Island Citizen of the Year in 2017; he’s president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community; he’s held responsible positions for numerous elected officials and agencies; and he’s a former Tukwila City Council member. Clarence’s qualifications to serve on the Bainbridge City Council are as long as my arm.

Mr. Neal is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Vote for Clarence Moriwaki.

David Johnson

Bainbridge Island

Choose Nassar

To the editor:

I attended a forum last Sunday to listen to our candidates for Bainbridge City Council express their views on our confusing and unnecessarily complicated Shoreline Management Program. Not surprising was the fact that no one had read the 3-plus page document, and most answered with the predictable and lame, “I promise to assemble a group to study the matter” [once again].

The outstanding exception was Mayor Rasham Nassar, who understood the problem and proposed immediate action to simplify and shorten the document. Her bold action plan included dumping the current plan entirely and adopting a SMP of neighboring shoreline communities that have already been vetted and approved by the state EPA. This would free city resources to focus on more-immediate environment issues such as stormwater runoff and sewage plant overflows. I was impressed that she is exactly the kind of leadership we need, and she should be re-elected.

Doug Hansmann

Bainbridge Island

Pick Moriwaki

To the editor:

I am writing in support of Clarence Moriwaki for City Council of Bainbridge Island.

Clarence has been such a positive influence not just our island but our state. He will bring his well-known energy and focus in support of preserving our island for future generations to come.

Those of you in the Central Ward please vote for Clarence. It’s a vote for the Bainbridge we know and love.

John Ellis

Bainbridge Island

We like Peltier

To the editor:

We live in a time where appearance supersedes substance. The collective expectations are minimal yet many are consistently disappointed in the decision making bodies.

Talk is cheap and the all-too-common characteristic of saying one thing and doing another, succinctly embodied in the phrase, “They are such a good politician” continues to erode trust.

Ron Peltier is not a “good politician”. What you see is what you get. You know where he stands on the issues. I for one value that.

Ron has shown he is not interested in participating in a popularity contest. Rather he will continue to work for a livable island for all of us.

Isn’t that what Bainbridge Island wants?

Andy and Charlotte Rovelstad

Winslow

Misuse funds

To the editor:

I am deeply concerned about a recent decision by the Bainbridge Park & Recreation District to spend $13.5 million on the purchase of Bainbridge Athletic Club, a privately owned recreation facility.

It obligates BIMPRD to spend nearly $4 million on intangible business assets that are of little or no value to BIMPRD. Purchasing these intangible assets exceeds the statutory authority of the BIMPRD and represents an unconstitutional gift of public funds. Our community has strongly supported development of the Sakai property with an indoor sports facility, and approved the public purchase of that property for recreational purposes in 2015.

BIMPRD’s plan to purchase the BAC will likely undermine this plan for the Sakai property. Taxpayers take note.

Ann Knight

Bainbridge Island

Peltier detailed

To the editor:

A comprehensive vision embracing the island’s past and future together with respect for the nitty gritty details: this is what City Council candidate Ron Peltier possesses. And then there’s Ron’s love of a place, its flora, fauna, its landscape features and its people. Without a councilmember’s deep caring, as though for a home, and for one’s ancestors and descendants, the other traits may be present but shallow.

Love of Bainbridge Island, and the moral courage to defend it, are particularly strong with Ron, demonstrated by his long- running advocacy for a groundwater management plan, his work to protect trees and native vegetation, and a building moratorium in 2018 that Ron sponsored resulting in major revisions to the city’s development code It is for these reasons that having known Ron for over 30 years we urge to vote in favor of returning Ron Peltier to the BI City Council.

Marc and Hajni Joslyn

Bainbridge Island

Vote Deets

To the editor:

As a recent high school graduate, this year’s City Council election is my first opportunity to vote, and I am excited to cast my ballot for Joe Deets. Serving on the council since 2018, Joe is building off an impressive first term and focusing his efforts on COVID relief, environmental protection and social justice moving forward.

Addressing such important issues requires experience and hard work, which Joe has proven he has time and again. Joe has consistently been an advocate for small-business owners, fighting to elevate the voices of laborers and working to build in hazard pay for front-line workers during the pandemic’s worst days. Additionally, he recognizes the looming threat of climate disaster and ambitiously works to advance the city’s Climate Action Plan.

He possesses extensive experience in clean energy solutions, specifically in solar power, and brings this unparalleled knowledge and dedication to our council’s climate response. Finally, Joe recognizes the importance that equity plays in a thriving community. Previously serving as council liaison to the Race Equity Advisory Committee, Joe continues to communicate with social leaders and advocate for increased equity training and education on the local government level.

Joe’s enthusiastic support from many highly respected cross-disciplinary community leaders speaks to his accomplishments and vision for our community. Joe’s endorsements range from small-business owners, to climate scientists, to social activists, to engaged community members. Join me and countless others in voting for Joe Deets for City Council.

Claire Walters

Bainbridge Island

Vote Peltier

To the editor:

I voted for Ron Peltier in 2015, and I encourage all of us to vote for him again.

Ron worked hard when he was on council. He sought to revise the zoning code to reflect the Comprehensive Plan, as well as a rewrite of the Critical Areas Ordinance along with supporting the establishment of the Aquifer Recharge Protection Area, plus a moratorium on development while the city made substantive changes to the rules governing subdivisions. These were all important and needed additions for environmental protection of our island.

Looking ahead, Ron is focused on sustainability, and our aquifers and transportation systems are front and center. Ron has the fortitude and the knowledge of our laws to develop a comprehensive groundwater management plan, which we have needed for a very long time. Ron knows we need accurate information about our sole source aquifer in order to make cogent decisions moving forward. We should all know how much water is in the well.

When you make your decision, weigh the candidate’s abilities. It’s not just a matter of being nice and getting along. It’s conviction, proven know-how and strength. Vote for Ron.

Lisa Macchio

Bainbridge Island

I know Peltier

To the editor:

Ron Peltier and I grew up on Bainbridge Island since the 1960’s. He was one of my roommates in college.

As a young man in his 20s, he was committed to truth and transparency and a love and respect for the environment…and even today…as a mindful representative of our island, he is still one of the most thoughtful and conscientious friends I know.

He’s a straight shooter. He listens…no matter what your political leaning. He’s watched the island’s growth (over 50 years ) and understands intimately its history as a caring, tight-knit community. As a veteran of the City Council he also knows that maintaining that very beauty and character is not a given.

He speaks thoughtfully of his concerns for unbridled growth and of managing limited resources and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. He walks his talk and embodies a true reverence for our shared island home and knows that it all can be lost. And like Dr. Suess I think Ron embodies this same famous phrase “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better…it’s not.”

I fully support Ron’s re-election to our council, and I hope you will too.

Kevin Tomlinson

Bainbridge Island

Correction

To the editor:

My recent letter supporting Clarence Moriwaki stated that unlike other candidates for the Bainbridge Island City Council, his campaign would not utilize signs because of their environmental impact and unsightliness. The campaign is using signs.

It is true that if not properly handled after use most signs’ plastic material and their metal posts can have a negative environmental impact. But his signs will be recycled through Kitsap County’s Public Works Solid Waste Division. I encourage all candidates to do that.

Gloria Sayler

Bainbridge Island

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