Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Kirsten Hytoploulos’

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…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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…)

Read Full Post »

Plotting to fire City Manager Brenda Bauer from their first days in office, and accomplishing the deed in their first six weeks, wasn’t radical enough for the new City Council. They had to fire her again last night in front of a crowd of stunned citizens and surly Council majority supporters. Bauer was given twenty-four hours to clear out, and will collect nine months worth of salary and benefits from the City.

By “new City Council,” let me name names, because all Council members are NOT equal in this swath of destruction at City Hall. The wrecking crew is  Debbi Lester, Steven Bonkowski, Dave Ward and Sarah Blossom.

Minority Council members Bob Scales, Anne Blair and Kirsten Hytopoulos walked into the Council meeting from executive session with the air of people who know they have little chance of salvaging the remains of Bainbridge Island’s reputation after a bad month of making the regional news for all the wrong reasons.

Noting that the majority’s action was a complete surprise so they had no prepared response, they labored to express their disgust and helplessness in the face of their colleagues’ behind-the-scenes maneuvering. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Update 2/10/12: I have checked the Council’s meeting minutes. Although the threesome claimed they engaged Inslee Best on Debbi Lester’s mayoral authority, she was not mayor on the day the firm was hired (Jan. 5). She was elected mayor at the Council meeting on Jan. 11, when most of the firm’s work was already done. Although under our Council-Manager form of government, the mayor is ceremonial and has no more power than any other Council member, this debunks the threesome’s main argument that they acted lawfully.

 In a remarkable display of inexperience, Council members Dave Ward, Debbi Lester (who is also taking a turn as mayor this year) and Steven Bonkowski engaged the law firm of Inslee Best in January for advice about their plan to fire City Manager Brenda Bauer, without informing the full Council or the City Attorney.

At last night’s Council meeting, Councilor Bob Scales revealed that according to an Inslee Best bill, Ward, who took office at the beginning of the year, contacted the firm on January 5 to discuss an employment agreement. By law, the City Council has authority over only one employee, the City Manager, and it became apparent during the ensuing discussion that the law firm was retained for advice about Bauer. Click here to read the bill: Inslee Best invoice. (more…)

Read Full Post »