Name Hall to REAC

Point well taken.

Olivia Hall should be appointed to the opening on the Bainbridge Island Race Equity Advisory Committee.

It was never about Hall not being qualified for the position. We never said that. Neither did anyone on the council. She is a great leader in our community.

It was about a relationship that should have been disclosed. The City Council and city committees have been under fire in recent years for not disclosing information to the public about relationships. So the process was just being enforced.

However, one of the many public commenters at the June 28 City Council meeting brought up an excellent point. What is more important for our community? Having an extremely qualified candidate on REAC or emphasizing the importance of the process?

Why should Hall, and the community for that matter, be penalized because of an error in judgment made by others?

Lest anyone think the paper is caving in to public pressure we must let it be known we almost took this step in our last editorial. But, frankly, we were afraid that would be considered racist.

We are, however, listening to the public – something our City Council should do, too, in taking the next step in approving Hall. We all have to work together to improve racial equity.

We do hope a lesson is learned by everyone in government that they need to let others know about relationships that could be seen as a conflict – no matter what anyone says. Better to err on the side of openness.

But we at the paper also learned a lesson – many government processes could be considered racist. And we would not have come to that conclusion without community input, which, frankly, needs to be part of the process in selecting committee appointments.

The City Council has vowed to work toward racial equity. To do that we need people like Hall on our committees, and they should not be denied for procedural reasons.

Hall should be named to REAC at the next council meeting. It would be a very positive step in the continuing effort to work toward racial equity.

P.S. – Since we are self-reflecting here, the community should question why there wasn’t a similar public outcry in support of Lisa Macchio, who was denied reappointment on the Planning Commission for political reasons.