Gov. Jay Inslee recommended small gatherings for Thanksgiving, due to COVID-19 spikes statewide. But he didn’t even get his wish at his own home in Bainbridge Island.
BI City Manager Morgan Smith said at last week’s City Council meeting that the police department was preparing for three days of protests at the governor’s home – from Thanksgiving Day to Saturday.
BI Police Chief Joe Clark said Wednesday that between 30-40 people demonstrated at Inslee’s house each day.
“There were no issues at all,” he said, adding anyone has the right to demonstrate for any reason, and it’s the job of police to make sure everyone stays safe.
The protests were against Inslee’s most-recent restrictions. Smith said the city learned about the protests on social media. She said protestors planned to park in the Winslow area and walk to the governor’s house. The Washington State Patrol and Kitsap sheriff’s department were expected to help out Bainbridge police.
“We have the resources to respond,” she said.Planning Commission
Also at the meeting, Ashley Mathews was named to the BI planning commission out of about 20 applicants.
Mathews is a real estate broker with Windermere. In her application, she shared an interesting story about growing up in the town of Hunter in upstate New York. She says her grandmother served on the planning commission there and when she was a child took her to most meetings. She also shared that her family owns a huge tree farm. “That’s the land I grew up stewarding and do to this day.”
As a broker she says she is well-versed in zoning and planning issues. She has lived all over BI, including Winslow, Fletcher Bay, Pleasant Beach and The Sand Spit. She is a board member with the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, board development chairperson with Treehouse for Kids, NAACP lifetime member with the Bremerton chapter, and a member of the Banbridge Chorale and BI Saddle Club.
In July, some members of the City Council tried to name Mathews to the planning commission. Mathews had not even applied for the post. But some on the council tried to name her to add diversity to the panel. Others said it was an effort to keep Sarah Blossom off the commission, after she had been approved. That position had been open since Matt Tirman left in February. With themost- recent vote, Mathews will take the place of Don Doman, who resigned in June.
Mathews said on her application she did have some bad feelings over that.
”I did go through a bit of a tense/sad situation a few months ago concerning the last seat,” she says. “I stand by my feelings that it’s time for some racial diversity on the commission, but hope you can see that isn’t my only attribute.
“I hope through this process that you can get to know me better and understand what I have to offer and what I strive to learn from you. I think someone within the Real Estate industry who isn’t a developer or attorney is also a welcome change. I hope that you consider my application in the genuine way it is delivered.”
In other council news
• Deputy City Manager Ellen Schorer gave an update on the search for a new city manager. Morgan Smith’s last day will be Dec. 10. The City Council will interview candidates Dec. 2-3. Community and city employee open houses will take place the following month via Zoom.
• The council OK’d the budget: planning to spend $54.542 million in 2021 and $45.5 million in 2022.
• A public hearing will take place Dec. 8 on the city’s tree ordinance. Arborist Nick Snider is asking for an extension as this one is set to expire Dec. 26. It’s already been extended six times since 2018. He said they hope to be done with it by early 2021.
• Due to increased recreatial use in Blakely Harbor, speed and wake restrictions will be added there.
• Bill Corbin, Jon Dinsmore, Denise Dumouchel and Peter Raffa were named to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.
• Deputy Mayor Joe Deets said during committee reports that he met with tenants of affordable housing, and they are not doing well during this time of COVID-19. He also said as council liaison to the business community he was glad to report that the Rotary Club stepped up to fund the digital store for the holidays for local businesses.
• Responding to a public comment, Mayor Leslie Schneider said she supports a City Academy to educate residents about how city government works. She blamed COVID for slowing that effort. “We were so close. Let’s not drop it off the list, and keep it in our hearts and minds.”
• During public comments it also was mentioned that businesses shouldn’t have to pay to be part of the chamber of commerce or downtown association to have a voice in the community. It was suggested a task force or advisory group open to all might work. Deets said he would love to talk with people about that idea.