Archive for October, 2013

Bainbridge Island…in the home stretch.


So get after it. Keep calling and emailing your friends and neighbors. Get your ballot in. Keep spreading the word.

And…..Happy Halloween.

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It’s not our good government gang of Roth, Tollefson and Townsend, but it’s pretty awesome. Way to clinch it Boston.

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As of today, October 30, the Kitsap County Elections Division has received 3,847 ballots from Bainbridge Islanders. Ballots must be delivered to a polling location or postmarked by November 5. The Bainbridge drop off location is the Bainbridge Island Fire Department, 8895 Madison Avenue N.E.

Kitsap County Elections is projecting a 50% turnout county-wide. On Bainbridge, that would mean a turnout of 8913 votes. If that projection turns out to be accurate, about 43% of the vote is in.

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If you haven’t made up your mind about the City Council races, here’s a roundup of news article that might help:

***Do you want a government that serves only a select group of “customers,” or one that serves an entire community of multiple stakeholders who don’t necessarily agree with each other? Do you want elected officials who will try to shoehorn government into the for-profit business model? Do you want money to take precedence over every other community value? Or do you want officials who know the job of government is efficient, responsive service to the public and to the common good?

Val Tollefson has a long record of public service. Dick Haugan has years of experience in marketing and advertising. This article highlights the differences: Bainbridge candidates bring business and public service approach to dais. 

***Dick Haugan is running on his expertise as a businessman who can solve the City’s “fiscal woes.” But read this article, and you’ll see that Haugan is either math-challenged or honesty-challenged. Then ask yourself how such a person is qualified to run our City: Candidate’s claim on total SMP cost raises questions.

***On the truthfulness of the claim that our City has “fiscal woes,” read this article about its excellent credit rating. Moody’s doesn’t believe T-PAC candidates and your shouldn’t either.

***Read about Wayne Roth, who has been a “key figure in shaping today’s dynamic and successful public radio system” in this article: KUOW’s Wayne Roth, co-founder of SRG, to retire in September. Roth is credited for reinventing National Public Radio, reducing its reliance on federal funds, while strengthening local stations, nurturing careers and increasing participation in minority and rural stations. He’s known for astute management decisions as well as dedicated public service. In 2005, he received the Edward R. Murrow award, public radio’s most prestigious honor. (more…)

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As of October 28, 2,838 ballots from Bainbridge Islanders had arrived at the Kitsap County Elections Division, according to Tina Agnew at the County Auditor’s office.

That’s just under a third of the estimated total turnout, if past elections are any indicator. Voters have another week, until November 5 to mail or deliver their ballots.

Total active registered voters on Bainbridge Island is 17,827. Historically, during years when there are no national elections, between 8500 and 9500 islanders have voted.

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trick-or-vote-graveyardI’m now sending daily nag-texts to my three 20-something sons to vote and mail their ballots. Like most Americans, they’re not much interested in local elections, even though the government decisions that affect us most directly are made at the local level.

For the past decade, the turnout on Bainbridge in local elections has been in the neighborhood of 40%. By contrast, the island’s turnout for the 2008 presidential election was over 90% in many precincts.

Low turnout can happen when voters don’t think their vote will have much consequence. Several council candidates in the past were unopposed. Christine Rolfes and Bob Scales walked on in 2003. Hilary Franz and Barry Peters were unopposed in 2007.

Most races hand the winner a convincing victory. The closest race in the past two cycles was the 2009 matchup between Bob Scales and Debbie Vancil. Scales took the race with 250 votes, which was a two percentage point advantage.

The Anne Blair/Melanie Keenan race was the most lopsided win in the past two races, with Blair garnering 1389 more votes than Keenan, beating her by 16 percentage points.

Turnout was lower in 2011 than it was in 2009. The numbers vary slightly by Council race, but in 2009, the Kirsten Hytopoulos/Tim Jacobsen race gained the most votes at 9959. In 2011, the most votes were cast in the Barry Peters/Steven Bonkowski matchup, with 9173 votes cast.

The year 2011 was also when the island saw the emergence of a special interest group promoting a slate of candidates. The Ratepayers Alliance rallied voters in Winslow, many of whom were angry over high water rates charged by the City. The Alliance was in litigation with the City and its members had urged that the City divest itself of the water utility.

Sally Adams, Alliance secretary, hosted at least one campaign event (to which I was invited, and still have the invitation) for the slate of Sarah Blossom, Dave Ward and Steven Bonkowski.  According to state campaign finance records, Sally Adams and Dick Allen (president of the Alliance) made contributions to Blossom’s campaign. Allen also contributed to Ward’s campaign. At the time that Allen made his contribution to Ward’s campaign, Ward was a member of the City’s Utility Advisory Committee, which was working on its recommendation to Council on whether to divest the City’s water utility.  (more…)

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It’s the end of an intense week and you’ve earned a bit of election fluff.

IMG_4237I used to tell my kids the story of “The Three Sillies.” When a young man goes to his girlfriend’s house for dinner, she and her parents go to the cellar for beer and notice a mallet stuck in a beam. They sit down and cry until the beau shows up to see what’s wrong. The father says, “Suppose you and our daughter was to be married, and was to have a son, and he was to grow up, and was to come down into the cellar to draw the beer, and the mallet was to fall on his head and kill him!” The young man pulls the mallet out of the beam and vows to travel the world until he’s met three bigger sillies than his girlfriend and her family.

People being people, he finds plenty of sillies. The biggest sillies of all are a cadre of folks who gather around a pond with rakes and pitchforks, trying to get the moon out of the pond. He tells them it’s only a reflection and says to look up in the sky, but they “wouldn’t listen to him, and abused him shamefully, and he got away as quick as he could.” He went home and married his girlfriend.

Yup, we saw some election sillies this week. On Wednesday, many of us received a robo-call, recorded by island lawyer Ryan Vancil—husband of Council member Debbi Lester–on behalf of the Washington Conservation Voters (WCV), a state-wide environmental advocacy group. Vancil urged a vote for Val Tollefson and Roger Townsend for Council. The call left some people scratching their heads, wondering how that particular selection was made. But people are busy and had more important things to worry about.

Then a Trippwire went out on Thursday, with a copy of a press release from Sally Adams and Lin Kamer-Walker, identifying themselves as the Chair and past Chair of the Bainbridge Conservation Voters, the local chapter of WCV. The press release was carefully worded to suggest that maybe the call was a fraud: “A Robo political call was made to most island households yesterday morning, which left the erroneous impression that Washington Conservation Voters…had endorsed two candidates as the preferred environmental candidates in our island’s current Council election. WCV did not so endorse.” (more…)

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