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Archive for the ‘Winslow Way’ Category

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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There’s lots to talk about on Bainbridge Island these days. Feel free to use this post (or any other) to kick around ideas, reactions, and concerns about our island. And while you’re at it, take the new Notebook Poll on the right-hand sidebar  (yes, I know none of the answers given will solve the whole problem. So definitely post a comment if you have more to say). 

Hot topics this week:

*  What do you think about the possibility that the City will cut funding to community organizations supporting Comprehesive Plan-mandated programs like the arts and social services? (Read the Review article about it here.) Should the City lay more staff off instead? How would City services be affected?

*  Will you vote for the $42 million capital bond for schools (scheduled for a May vote)? (more…)

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The global economy has tanked, the real estate market is in the dumpster, and consumers are failing to consume. The one bright spot in the entire world: Bainbridge Island, where Mayor Darlene Kordonowy and the City Council majority—Kjell Stoknes, Chris Snow, Barry Peters and Hilary Franz—have never wavered in their efforts to commit taxpayer money and credit to the vampirish Winslow Way Streetscape project (no matter how many times reality stabs it in the heart, it keeps coming back for more blood). 

In contrast, regular citizens, who apparently don’t know that presumptive incoming Council Chair Stoknes is fed up with anchors dragging down his Winslow Way project, keep asking bummer questions like “How can we afford big public works projects in this recession when we’re already facing supersized revenue shortfalls?”  

Here’s the latest plea for some financial reality at City Hall, sent out today from Bob Fortner of the local financial watchdog, Bainbridge Resource Group. Anchors aweigh Bob. 

Council members:

Two declarations were made at the recent retreat: First- the Mayor noted… “We have no money”; and second, the City Administrator observed… “We do not have a cash management system”.

I do not envy the difficulties that these problems, having been brought to light, pose for members of the council. Unfortunately, timing of the revelation occurred only when the cash stopped flowing. Citizens look to you to make tough decisions in a sobering context…one that is the result of our own city inadequacies and framed now by an ever broadening national depression.

The realities are clear:

*The City’s year end balances fell from several million to essentially zero during the past few years.

*Early drops in tax revenues and building fees were apparently not discovered until the end of 2007.

*Budgets for 2008 and 2009-10 relied on unrealistic revenue projections despite available data. (more…)

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Three weeks ago, Heery International, the design consultant on the Winslow Way improvement project, picked up its marbles and went home, notifying the City 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.” Heery also complained that “the repeated delays to the contract demonstrate that the City is uncertain what scope of services is desired from the Winslow Way design team.”  Read the Heery withdrawal here: heeryletter1

Of course the withdrawal wasn’t a real breakup, just a little hiatus until the City could figure out how to show mom and dad (the taxpayers) that Heery is a really nice guy. Tomorrow night, Heery in a cheaper-looking suit will be on the Council’s agenda in the form of a revised contract featuring dramatically reduced costs and services, with no indication of what the plans are for the rest of the Heery services.  (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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