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Archive for February, 2008

Bainbridge’s Virginia Mason Medical Center has been awarded a $20,000 grant by the state Department of Health to work on plans for a teen health center at Bainbridge High School. According to Nancy Klein, DOH Health Services Consultant,  DOH hopes to be able to provide additional funding for operations next year.

Virginia Mason was one of eleven applicants to receive the grant, given to support school-based health centers throughout the state. VM prepared and submitted the application in partnership with Bainbridge High School, with assistance from the Teen Clinic Advocacy Group, an informal assembly of parents and community members. 

Work on the project began two years ago, around the time the BHS newspaper reported that eleven students had gotten pregnant in a single school year. According to Cyndy Salisbury, coordinator for the Advocacy Group, the report was inaccurate. She says the students had expressed concerns about pregnancy, but were not actually pregnant. (more…)

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Rod Stevens, the author of the post below, writes:  This is part of a series looking at how the Administration of Bainbridge Island city government has spent money on professional services organizations. Part I of this series, titled “I Get By with a Little Help From My Friends,” looked at the amount of money spent on management consulting.

The next installment was to have been “Lovely Rita, Meter Maid”, but this has been delayed because of problems getting access to public officials. This article comes in its stead, and looks at how the Planning and the Public Works Departments spent money on consultants and service providers. Like the first article, this one is based on the results of public records request for payment records for 2006 and 2007. Unless otherwise stated, all figures below are for this period.

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Over the last two years, the City Administration spent close to a half million dollars on financial and economic studies. Let’s start the tour of this spending in the lower City Hall parking lot, where the Administration planned to build a parking garage, and contracted for more than $166,000 in feasibility studies. (more…)

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craterlake.jpgA couple of people have emailed to ask what’s up with my blog silence for the past week or so. Here’s to let you know all is well. My husband and I have been in Southern California helping our oldest son with a painful shoulder surgery. We didn’t think his dorm had enough of a healing atmosphere (!) so we holed up in a hotel with him and watched about a dozen movies and lots of TV while he tried to get comfortable and occasionally dozed off (sleeping is especially hard after this surgery, we’re told). I recommend this year’s Oscars as an effective sleep aid (sorry Jon Stewart). 

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The following article is by islander Rod Stevens, a development consultant specializing in revitalization.


I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

If you walk into City Hall, you’ll see just some of your tax dollars at work.  The other dollars are going out the door to various community organizations and to the legion of professional consultants who prepare studies and plans, make presentations at public meetings, search for new staff, coach the Mayor, and litigate.  This article is the first in a multi-part series that looks at how much the Mayor is spending on these professional services, and what she is getting for the money.  The figures cited are based on a public records request of this spending for the last two years.  (more…)

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How’s that for a tabloid headline?

Sadly, this week it’s a legitimate way to flag the nonsense that has ensued after the MSM (“mainstream media”–the Review and the Sun) published stories on the police misconduct claim filed against the City by islander and lawyer, Kim Koenig.   (more…)

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Rod Stevens, an islander and City Hall watcher, sent this letter to the Planning Commission and also to me, for posting here. Stevens is a development consultant specializing in revitalization.

I watched with half-bemusement and half-frustration recently as the Planning Commission struggled with yet another consultant study commissioned by the Planning Department for the Winslow Tomorrow effort, this one from a consulting firm with the curious name of Community Attributes.  Half-bemusement, because the Planning Commission knew there were some problems with the assumptions of the study and just couldn’t quite put their finger on it, and half-frustration because I am tired of playing this game of “whack-a-mole”, of dealing with yet another study intended to justify a Mayoral initiative that threatens our sense of place downtown.  (more…)

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If anyone still doubts that people care about their democracy, the reports from caucuses around the state should convince them otherwise. The Washington Democratic Party is estimating as much as double the turnout as in 2004. Click here for the caucus results.

My husband and I were Obama precinct captains for Torvanger precinct which, with three other precincts, met at Sakai. We were told our precinct had 89 caucusers in 2004. Today there were 252. All told there were close to 1000 people at Sakai, which completely overwhelmed our resources. We ran out of sign in sheets (not to mention Obama stickers) and the entryway was a huge bottleneck until almost 2 p.m. The Seattle Times blog had a report from Sakai this afternoon which was fairly critical about the location and other details. (more…)

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Barack Obama looked tired, as every candidate does these days. But with his message of hope, he inspired the 18,000 people packed into Key Arena today like no other politician I’ve seen in my adult life.  As he said about this moment in American history, “You don’t get many chances like this in life.”

It was a long wait for the main event (as you can tell from some of the pictures below). Doors opened before 11 a.m. and Obama didn’t take the stage until 1 p.m., after speeches by Representative Adam Smith, who was an early Obama backer, Seattle’s Mayor Greg Nickels and Governor Chris Gregoire, who announced her endorsement of Obama Friday morning. (more…)

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Listen up Democrats. If you think you did your bit for democracy by completing the primary ballot that came in the mail last week, you did not. I’ve only recently stirred from my Vote ‘n Gripe brand of national citizenship (vote and spend the next four years griping). For reasons I still can’t explain, when I heard Barack Obama’s victory speech in South Carolina, for the first time ever, I went to a campaign website and volunteered my money and my time.

That’s when I learned that in the state of Washington, the mail-in ballots DO NOT COUNT when the Democratic Party chooses its nominee. (more…)

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Nearly 150 people braved blustery weather to fill the American Legion Hall at last night’s Town Hall meeting. Heavily skewed to the middle-aged and older, the group included several people with mobility challenges–crutches or canes–a sign of just how committed people were to participating in democracy at its most grassroots level. 

The fact that citizens felt it necessary to call a meeting, and that so many turned out on Super Tuesday to air concerns and complaints, amounts to a poor performance review of Bainbridge Island electeds.

To put the size of the crowd in perspective, it was well over 1% of the island’s voter turnout  in last fall’s election (9598 ballots), and more than 10% of the margin by which Council President Bill Knobloch survived a challenge from John Waldo (he won by 915 votes). That’s a sizeable constituency of unhappy citizens.

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