Archive for September, 2007

walker.jpgArthritis. Joint replacement. Walkers. Insurance. Yawn.

Now that you’re bored, I’ll just slip this in: I’m taking a short break from blogging because I’m having surgery.

I’m going to say it’s knee surgery because that sounds athletic and cooler than hip, which automatically makes nurses talk louder and enunciate carefully, as if it’s ear replacement we’re talking about. Whatever. I’m just writing this to inform the guy from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office for Asset Forfeiture, who has stopped by this blog a couple times, that I’m keeping my opinions to myself for a week or two. Unless I run into Michael Moore. Oops. Now I’m on another watch list. (more…)

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bhsconstruct.jpgApparently, that lockdown ambience on the high school campus is coming from more than the construction work.

According to the school year’s first edition of The Spartan Standard, a dramatic package of new security measures is being implemented. Some of the changes are common-sense improvements like better lighting, door-locking systems and fencing.

Others are more disturbing.  The installation a couple of years ago of four security cameras outside in the “wagon wheel” area raised eyebrows around the island. Now, the Standard reports, the School Board is considering a proposal to install security cameras at ten to fifteen locations on campus.

On top of that, the School Board has already approved half the funds necessary to pay for a police officer at BHS, and Police Chief Matt Haney has submitted a budget request to the City for the other half of the money. Past attempts to assign a police officer to patrol the school have been controversial among both parents and students. But the current effort seems to be almost a done deal. (more…)

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Oh those wacky gals from Bainbridge Island…

The Kitsap Sun reports that last Friday, a 38-year-old Bainbridge woman:

1. Went to the Silverdale Mall.

2. Sat on a bench pretending to doze.

3. But was actually watching an ATM machine through her make-up mirror.

4. After someone withdrew money, she sauntered to the machine which was designed to keep asking customers if they want another transaction after they’ve taken their card and gone on with their mall crawling.

5. “Why yes I do,” she answered and withdrew a couple hundred bucks.

6.  But she was observed by a mall employee who called the Sheriff, who threatened her with arrest if she ever did that again. Take that, you Desperate Housewife.

Read all about it (plus the entertaining comments) here.

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Just when I thought the City was muddling through its responsibilities with a passing grade–and showing improvement from years past–the administration throws an inexplicable curve ball.

Late last week, the administration sent out notices that this week’s Council
committee meetings have been cancelled. The City meeting calendar reads like an airport departure board in a snowstorm.

Posted on the City’s website (tucked in the calendar, under the agenda for the cancelled Public Works Committee meeting) is the following notice:

The City has suspended Council committee meetings for the present, as we are struggling with Council’s calendar, and with Council and staff’s workload, as we face so many important issues and decision points. We hope to have the calendar resolved soon.

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Democracy isn’t pretty. But it’s alive and almost well on Bainbridge Island.

Yes, it’s annoying to watch the City Council and the administration jab, glare, snarl, scold, seethe, and pontificate with a hair-thin veneer of civility and procedural niceties.

They don’t much like each other, but we didn’t elect them to be buddies. We elected them to accomplish the impossible—weigh competing priorities in our community, at a time when voters have decided that the highest priority of all is to spend as little money as possible on the rest of our priorities. This is the age of shrinking government down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub, as tax grinch Grover Norquist infamously said.

A drowning government isn’t going to support many community centers, playfields or diverse housing options. It has an understandable tendency to seek out private money interests with whom to collaborate for its public projects. Guess what kind of projects private interests like to get in on? (Hint: the proposed parking garage, which was discussed at this week’s City Council meeting, is touted as a wonderful “public-private partnership.”) (more…)

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Tonight’s Council meeting and the Parking Feasibility Study workshop beforehand promise to be some lively governance-in-action.

Read the Bainbridge Postcript’s article on the maneuvers behind Winslow parking here. You can read the feasibility study here.

A cursory review makes me wonder why Winslow needs this giant parking garage, when Winslow regulars say parking is rarely a problem. There’s always the future we have to plan for, I guess. But I’m curious why parking–as opposed to affordable housing, a community center or Senior Center, to name a few important projects–is such a high priority. I’m going to reserve judgment, though, until I’ve heard the discussion tonight. The workshop is part of tonight’s Council meeting, and starts at 5:30 at City Hall.

There’s more on tap, if the Council can keep to their schedule: (more…)

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Remembering this day

Furious dreams, rivers of bitter uncertainty,
decisions harder than the dreams of a hammer
flowed into the lovers’ double cup,

until those twins were lifted into balance
on the scale: the mind and love, like two wings.
–So this transparency was built.

Pablo Neruda

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