Posts Tagged ‘Bainbridge Island’

Last night the four proposals for the Suzuki property debuted before the Council and a good sized crowd at City Hall. The written proposals have been available on the City’s website for weeks, but this was the first of the scheduled three public meetings to review the proposals. Each applicant had a half-hour for an oral presentation, followed by questions from Council members. At times the presentations sounded like oral term papers, where presenters made sure to highlight all the required elements of the assignment: Mixed housing, green construction, affordability, open space, community gardens, buffers, connectivity, safe routes to school, compatibility with neighborhood character, experienced development team. Check, check and check.

Oh yes, and a decent offering price. Presenters did not talk much about their offers for the land, other than to note that the price might have to be adjusted if significant traffic mitigation or other plan modification was required by the City. Offers ranged from zero to $2.6 million.

First up was the Bainbridge Parks Department. Board president Tom Swolgaard devoted less than ten minutes to the very simple proposal: if the City gives the land to the Parks Department, the use of the land will be determined by a community planning process, similar to that being used for the recently acquired Sakai property. Swolgaard said Parks’ interest in the property arose because the department had been asked by various members of the community to submit a proposal. But, he said, they are “not proposing any specific use at this time.”

The Parks Department is offering only a transfer of the property, with no payment, on the theory that the same taxpayers fund both the City and the Parks Department.

The Parks proposal is here.

Next was a presentation by Blue Architecture. Theirs was the only proposal that provided for permanent affordability for all housing on the property. The Blue plan calls for clustered housing, surrounding a grassy courtyard, on the flatter portion of the property, on the north-eastern side. The presenter, architect Bob Guyt, said Blue’s proposal had the smallest footprint of any of the housing proposals. Much of the property would be left in its natural state, perhaps with a system of trails running through it, which could be deeded back to the City or the school district. Only a third of the site would be developed, and 75% of the land would be open space. The pond would be undisturbed, as would the old growth trees on site. (more…)

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The City of Bainbridge Island is hosting a series of public meetings to review and discuss the four proposals for the use of the city-owned Suzuki property.

According to a city press release:

“The first meeting will occur on Tuesday, January 26, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, and will be a three-hour special study session of the City Council. Each applicant will have the opportunity to give a half hour presentation, followed by approximately fifteen minutes for questions from Councilmembers. This meeting is open to the public and will be televised, but public comment will not be taken that evening.

“The second meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 9, in the Council Chamber, and will include both an open house and presentation component. The Open House will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be an opportunity for community members to visit with the applicants in a less formal setting. At 7:00 p.m. each applicant will give a fifteen minute formal presentation. After the presentations, there will be a question and answer period moderated by the City’s Community Engagement Specialist. The meeting will conclude with another short Open House segment to allow for additional conversation with the applicants. (more…)

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The following press release was sent out today:

A community candlelight vigil to stand against fear and bigotry aimed at Muslims is planned for Monday, December 14 at 7 pm at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, at Pritchard Park, 4192 Eagle Harbor Drive.

The idea for a vigil grew from conversations on a Bainbridge Island Facebook group, formed after several national politicians made reference to the exclusion of Japanese citizens during World War II, in an attempt to justify calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Japanese Americans living on Bainbridge Island were the first in the United States to be sent to camps, shortly after the commencement of the War. That exclusion “remains a stain on the honor of our nation, one that has been recognized by every US president since President Jimmy Carter,” the group said in a statement that has been posted on Facebook. Volunteers will be gathering signatures for the statement at the vigil and in the upcoming weeks. (more…)

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imagesUpdated at the end of the post:

Denise Garcia, the tireless and awesome Bainbridge ambassador to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense-WA, sent a note this morning about last night’s city council action on a resolution to support I-594.

“Just a quick email to let you all know about last night’s vote,” she wrote. “We had about a dozen Moms members in the chamber and two of us spoke.

“The council voted 6-1 to approve the resolution supporting I-594! Dave Ward’s was the lone dissenting vote. Bainbridge Island now officially joins Mercer Island in this important endorsement!”

Garcia quoted Mayor Anne Blair as saying, “Please extend my appreciation to the whole crew of folks who support this effort and encouraged, urged, pushed and cheered us on as we voted last night. Onward we go – now to get voters across the state to follow this pattern!” (more…)

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IMG_1563The National Climate Assessment issued this week doesn’t have much good news about solutions to our climate problem. The report says natural processes remove about half the carbon dioxide currently being emitted due to human activities. As a result, mitigation efforts that merely keep emissions from increasing are not enough to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but will only limit their rate of increase.

To meet the lower emissions rate used by the report (the “B1 scenario”) in its climate change predictions and assessment–which would still result in significant changes—the world would have to limit global carbon dioxide emissions to 44 billion tons per year for the next 25 years and decline thereafter.

In 2011, global carbon emissions were 34 billion tons per year, and have been rising by .9 billion tons per year for the last decade. We are on track to exceed the 44 billion tons per year within the decade, assuming the rate of emissions does not increase.

Carbon storage in land ecosystems in the U.S. (carbon “sinks”) offset 17% of annual fossil fuel emissions annually, but scientists believe the positive effect of these carbon sinks may not be sustainable.

Between 2008 and 2012, there was a decline in the U.S. in annual emissions of carbon dioxide due to energy use, due to changes in our economy and improvements in government policies and development of alternative energy sources.

In spite of the slight improvements in recent years, the report warns that we need “aggressive and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions by the U.S. and other countries” in order to achieve the B1 scenario that is described in the report.

The report suggests national policy that is urgently needed to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, with a mix of new energy technology for wind, solar and bio-energy, stricter emissions regulation, additional research, and market solutions. The report emphasizes that even if such policies were adopted today the task would be hard, “but delay by any of the major emitters makes meeting any such target even more difficult and may rule out some of the more ambitious goals.”

City, state and regional mitigation actions

The country’s most ambitious state activity is California’s “Global Warming Solutions Act” which sets a state goal of reaching 1990 greenhouse gas emissions rates by 2020. The statute uses a cap and trade mechanism (a cap on emissions and a market-based system of trading emissions credits), as well as a number of regulatory actions.  (more…)

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Here are some important facts about the Shoreline Master Program update, written by three community members who worked on the update.

By Maradel Gale, Elise Wright and Marcia Lagerloef

IMG_19731. Bainbridge Island has recently submitted an updated Shoreline Master Program (SMP) to the Washington Department of Ecology for approval. This SMP was the result of over three years of intensive public input into the requirements of the SMP and review by large numbers of citizens of our community.

2. The SMP is required by Washington State law, having been mandated by a public initiative in 1972, sponsored by the people of the state, that became the Shoreline Management Act (SMA). The SMA is an environmental protection law, and the required SMPs are intended to help restore the viability of our Puget Sound. As such, the SMA addresses many of the causes of decline in the productivity of the Puget Sound. Some of these are discussed in the points that follow. The current update process by cities and counties is also required by law, and the key mandate is that future shoreline development result in “no net loss” of shoreline function.

3. Bainbridge Island sits in the middle of our Sound, containing 53 miles of shoreline. Much of this shoreline has already been developed, mostly with residential uses, and much of it is already armored (it has bulkheads, riprap or other non-natural structures along the shore). Residential use is a preferred use of developed state shoreline properties, and remains so through the update process. (more…)

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Inflammatory emails released by the city pursuant to a Public Records Act request reveal behind-the-scenes strategizing and advocacy among some Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) members, frequent emails about city business from UAC Chair Arlene Buetow to certain council members’ personal email addresses, testy exchanges between Buetow and City Manager Doug Schulze, and scorching criticisms by Buetow of city staff, UAC colleagues and citizens with whom she did not agree.

Buetow assumed the chairmanship of the UAC in March of 2012 and is now running for Bainbridge city council.

Under her leadership, the UAC’s mission has expanded well beyond the scope of the city’s UAC ordinance. She regularly emailed council persons Sarah Blossom, Steven Bonkowski, David Ward and/or Debbi Lester at their personal email addresses, with extensive comments on utility issues. Those four council persons often vote as a bloc on a variety of contested issues. When they were running for council, Ward, Blossom and Bonkowski were critical of the city’s management of utilities. Their candidacies were supported by the Ratepayers Alliance, a group that sued the city in 2009 over utility issues. Sally Adams, secretary of the Ratepayers Alliance, was occasionally included as a recipient of Buetow emails.

Except for routine matters like scheduling and a thank-you note to Anne Blair, Ms. Buetow did not include council persons Bob Scales, Kirsten Hytopoulos or Anne Blair in the emails produced to me.  (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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Last Saturday at 3 a.m. the phone rang at my house.  Caller ID showed the cell phone number of one of my sons, who is in college in southern California.

But the voice on the other end was not my son’s. It was a crying girl. Before I could make out what she was saying, one of Jake’s housemates was on the line explaining that they were taking Jake to the hospital. They’d been walking home from an all-night campus eatery when they were accosted by three drunk men yelling racial and anti-gay slurs. One of them jumped Jake from behind and shoved him headfirst into the pavement. The attackers ran away.

Jake has a broken nose, some stitches on his chin and multiple lacerations and bruises. He’s recovering from the physical wounds. The invisible damage won’t heal as quickly.

Fortunately, he has many close friends and an entire campus of passionately caring students and faculty behind him. People have already organized gatherings to talk about the hatred and bias that still afflicts us all, whether based on race, religion, sexuality, or any other reason.

These events have been on my mind this week as I’ve tried get interested in the island politics I usually blog about. As controversial and entertaining as City Hall has been lately, none of it seems important. We are an island of privilege. We have little crime and our problems are ordinary—unhappy marriages and divorces, domestic violence, loneliness, rebellious teenagers, alcohol and drug problems, financial setbacks, illness. Even during hard times, we are mostly blessed beyond measure. (more…)

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