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Archive for May, 2008

Bob Scales, former City Councilor-turned-voice-of-conscience, sent this email to the Council and administration this afternoon.   

Councilmembers, Mayor, City Administrator and City Attorney,

At the May 28 City Council meeting the Mayor and her City Administrator asked the Council to repeal the cityʼs biennial budget ordinance and return to an annual budget process. This matter was referred to the Finance Committee. The City Attorney offered to draft an ordinance that would repeal the cityʼs biennial budget ordinance (Ordinance 2007-29) which the Council passed last year. (more…)

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Bob Scales, who served on the Bainbridge City Council from 2004-2007, has been sending a series of letters to City Council and Administration providing background on the City’s financial problems and suggestions for working through them. Here’s the letter he sent today: 

Councilmembers,

As you know, the city you are responsible for is in a major financial and political crisis. Unable to provide basic services, unable to build projects needed by the community and unable to plan for the future, your city is in a state of paralysis. Every week more red flags emerge warning you of the cityʼs pending demise. Last week you were told by staff that the city will be unable to complete any new capital projects before the year 2015 without raising taxes or issuing more debt. This week the City Administrator is telling you that the City does not even have the capability of producing a basic biennial budget. He said the City needs two more years to prepare a biennial budget despite the fact that the Council decided in early 2007 to go to a biennial budget process. What has the finance department been doing for the last 18 months if not preparing for a biennial budget? (more…)

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Bainbridge Island isn’t the only city with financial troubles. A recent New York Times article describes the bankruptcy of Vallejo, California, “in the face of dwindling tax revenues, the housing market meltdown and a faltering economy.” Folks at City Hall should read this article and weep. And when they’re done weeping, they should heed the warning signs from other cities, perhaps only a step ahead of our own community. (more…)

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Bob Scales, who served on the City Council from 2004-2007, has some questions for Mayor Darlene Kordonowy, in light of the City’s serious financial problems.

This week the Bainbridge Review started a new column, “You ask, the mayor answers.” This appears to be a forum where Mayor Kordonowy asks and answers her own basic questions about city government. Since the Mayor does not normally respond to questions at public meetings or town hall forums, I hope that this new column will provide an opportunity for the public to get some real answers about our city government.

I have prepared a few questions for the Mayor that I hope she will answer in her next column. (more…)

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BHS juniors Simon Paterson and Jake Mallove received Honorable Mentions in Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre High School Musical Theatre Awards for their work in the high school’s spring musical, Anything Goes.

Paterson, who played the gangster Moonface Martin, received Honorable Mention in the category of “Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.” Mallove, playing the alcoholic Elisha Whitney, was recognized for his “Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Featured Ensemble Role.” 

This is the first year BHS has entered the 5th Avenue awards competition, in which hundreds of Western Washington high school students participate. The recognition comes at the end of a rocky transitional year for the high school theatre program, following last year’s retirement of long-time theatre head, Bob McAllister.  (more…)

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Heery International, the Atlanta-based consulting firm that has managed the City’s design and public relations efforts for Winslow Way improvements, has withdrawn its $1.4 million proposal for the second phase of its services. By letter dated May 16, local Heery representatives notified Planning Deputy Director Chris Wierzbicki that, “because of delays in agreeing to a scope of services for the next phase of the contract, the described scope of services cannot be completed within the agreed-to time frame and must therefore be withdrawn.” (more…)

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Maybe it’s the brush of spring after that long winter. Or the hours needed to follow the meetings and maneuverings at City Hall, with no return save the hope that I might play a quiet note in the community fugue. 

Certainly it’s the sobering news of troubles and tragedies of much greater proportion than island controversies, from China and Myanmar to my very sick friend in Port Townsend.

Whatever the reasons, I hit the wall on Bainbridge Island politics this week. No matter. The budget, the projects, the battles will all be there next week. And the week after. (more…)

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