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Archive for April, 2012

This is great news for farmers, gardeners, environmentalists and people who eat!

Greetings, Friend of Local Food, farmers,  and Permaculture,

We would like to invite you to our first organizational meeting to create a local Tilth chapter we are calling Kitsap Tilth: Permatilth in Action.

The meeting will be Thursday, April 26th 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  It will be at OfficeXPats, on the 2nd floor of the Pavilion Building, 403 Madison Ave No, Bainbridge Island.

Our mission will be aligned with other chapters within the Washington Tilth Association.  For example, Seattle Tilth’s Mission is: inspires and educates people to grow food organically, conserve natural resources and support local food systems i order to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community. Washington Tilth’s Mission is “to provide support for and promotion of biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture”.  (more…)

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Last week the Bainbridge Review reported that former Secretary/Chief Examiner of the Civil Service Commission Kim Hendrickson had kept hundreds of pages of City files in her garage. She returned a large plastic tub full of Civil Service files at the end of March.

Hendrickson responded to the report with comments on blogs and Trippwires, downplaying the importance of the files (saying they were “dated” and “trash”) and striking back at City officials for discussing the incident in executive session and politicizing the story.

So were the files “trash”? (more…)

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The conversation at the Council meeting tonight began with council member Anne Blair talking about the many communications the council has received from citizens and staff about the choice for Interim City Manager. She also indicated that she and others on the ad hoc committee who brought Mike Caldwell to Bainbridge had been surprised at his remarks about change during his interview.

There was a smattering of citizen comment–about equal for and against Caldwell.

And then the surprise. On a motion by Bob Scales and seconded by Kirsten Hytopoulos, Acting City Manager Morgan Smith became Interim City Manager. The vote was 4-2, with Scales, Hytopoulos, Anne Blair and Sarah Blossom voting in favor, and Debbi Lester and Steve Bonkowski voting against. Dave Ward was absent.

I want to give a shout out to Sarah Blossom, who broke with her usual voting bloc. She said she’d been in favor of giving Caldwell the nod, but was voting for Smith because in the time it would take to find an outside Interim, the council may well be close to finding a permanent City Manager. (more…)

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If you’ve seen enough drama at City Hall this year, Pay Attention. If you want the Council to deliver on promises to quiet the turmoil, Speak Up.

Interim city manager candidate Michael Caldwell has been clear that he sees no reason to calm the turbulence at City Hall. His interview answers directly oppose earlier Council assurances on that subject.

At several meetings in March, Council member Steven Bonkowski, speaking on behalf of the ad hoc city manager search committee, promised that no more changes are in store for City Hall until a permanent city manager is hired.

At the March 21 meeting, Bonkowski emphasized that the Council’s philosophy during the transition to a new permanent city manager would be stability and avoidance of conflict. He took pains to assure city management in the legal, planning, finance, public works and police departments that they will continue in their roles. Changes may come, he added, once a new city manager is in place, but won’t occur now.

He repeated those assurances at the March 30 meeting, promising that in its search for an interim city manager, the city isn’t looking for a “change agent.”

But here’s that promise in action at last week’s Council meeting, while the Council was interviewing Mike Caldwell. Caldwell is the only candidate under consideration for Interim City Manager other than Acting City Manager Morgan Smith (whose experience has been found wanting by members of the ad hoc committee): (more…)

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The Bainbridge Review reported yesterday that Kim Hendrickson, former Secretary and Chief Examiner of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), has turned over hundreds of pages of CSC records she had kept in her garage.

This report comes after months of high octane press reports and Trippwires over lost files and claims of retaliation by Hendrickson against former City Manager Brenda Bauer and Council member Bob Scales.

At a December City Council meeting, Bauer reported that some of the CSC files were missing. The Review wrote at the time, “After the position was transferred to a city employee and Hendrickson was terminated from the job, it was discovered that files from the years 2007 and 2008 were missing, including Benkert’s background material and other files pertaining to his testing and ranking as a candidate. Only personnel files have not been located, and no files relating to the shooting incident itself are absent.” [Jeffrey Benkert is one of the officers involved in the shooting of Douglas Ostling in 2010.]

Bauer was quoted as saying, “It is disturbing that they are missing. This is why you have a human resources professional who understands how they are organized.” (more…)

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You can set your watch by it—when anyone tries to be helpful in the realm of politics, someone else will smell conspiracy. Opposition and different viewpoints are wonderful. The innuendos and silliness used to kill other people’s ideas are not.

And by innuendo and silliness, today I mean former Council member Debbie Vann’s latest blast on the Trippwire, trying to discredit Kirsten Hytopoulos’s recommendation to hire a nationally recognized police consultant, Michael Berkow. After Vann griped about the utter nerve of Hytopoulos and her colleague Bob Scales (who, as members of the City’s Police Management Study ad hoc committee, are supposed to be working on reform) for daring to look for a policing expert, she fired her kill shot:

“I think the reason they want this man is that he is a friend of Althea Paulson’s and she recommended him to Kirsten.”

OMG. Busted!

Herein lies my confession.  (more…)

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When it first appeared on the scene in 2009 during the waning days of the Kordonowy administration, the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance was vigorously criticized by supporters of the Winslow Way reconstruction project, a few Council members, the Chamber of Commerce, citizens, and various downtown business people. Remember the disapproving letters to the editor and signs in a few merchant windows, telling them to knock it off?

Times change. A couple of years of aggressive lobbying by president Dick Allen, secretary Sally Adams and their supporters–who include past and current Council members and Utility Advisory Committee members—so effectively turned public opinion against the City that voters elected an entire slate of Ratepayer supporters to Council: Dave Ward, Sarah Blossom, and Steven Bonkowski (all of whom advocated for water utility divestiture during their campaigns, and were endorsed at a campaign event co-hosted by Sally Adams. Two of them, Dave Ward and Sarah Blossom, also accepted campaign contributions of money and volunteer services from Alliance members).

In the process, the Ratepayers Alliance transformed from a seemingly populist, if secretive, handful of people focused on remedying unfairness in utility rates, to a group of secretive, behind-the-scenes operatives who appear to be fixated on disabling the City and recouping their legal fees in a largely unsuccessful lawsuit.

The “Ratepayers” have become the “Alliance.” (more…)

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