Daily Archives: May 19, 2009

Scales now considering a run for council

Until tonight, Bob Scales was a candidate for mayor.

Now he’s pondering a bid for the newly-empowered City Council.

“I never say never,” Scales, a former councilman, said on Tuesday night, shortly after early election results showed over 70 percent of island voters want to swap their elected mayor for a manager hired by the council.

“I never planned to run for council again. I’ll just relax for a week or so before I make a decision.”

Still a toss-up for BI school bond….

As of Tuesday night, Bainbridge Island School District’s $42 million capital improvement bond was a few percentage points shy of the 60 percent it needs to pass.

Read all about it in Kitsap Sun education reporter Marietta Nelson’s story.

The measure had 57.6 percent of the vote as of 8 p.m. The Kitsap County Auditor’s office expects another 1,000 to 1,200 ballots from Bainbridge voters. Results will be posted on the auditor’s Web site at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We’re going to watch and see what happens over the next couple days. We remain optimistic,” Superintendent Faith Chapel said.

The last school bond was approved with 70 percent of the vote in 2006. Bainbridge voters also approved a $6 million school technology levy that same year.

The economy may have hurt this year’s bond, said campaign co-chair Clif McKenzie.

“I think the economy has everything to do with it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s an indication they don’t support schools. I think it’s an indication that the economy is difficult right now. This is just another sign that we’re going through an economic hailstorm the likes of which we have not seen in my generation.”

Get ready for a new government, Bainbridge…

Jim and Louise Mooney cheer as election returns show voters approving a new form of government for Bainbridge Island. Photo: Carolyn Yaschur
Jim and Louise Mooney cheer as election returns show voters approving a new form of government for Bainbridge Island.
Declaring a mandate for change, supporters of a new form of city government cheered early election results showing over 70 percent of island voters no longer want a mayor at City Hall.

“This is absolutely huge,” said Linda Owens to a crowd of about 50 people gathered to watch election results at the Treehouse pub on Tuesday night. “This vote to adopt the council-manager form of government…is a clear and direct message from an aware and aroused citizenry that they want a sweeping and profound change in how city business is carried out.”

Owens, manager for the Vote Council-Manager ’09 campaign, said the strong support in early returns all but guarantees that the island’s mayor will be replaced with a hired manager.

“It’s a mandate,” said Councilman Bill Knobloch, a supporter of the council-manager form. “It sends a definite message to the government – including the council – and we’d better listen.”

The city’s management now falls under the authority of the City Council.

Supporters say the new form of government will heal many of the city’s ills, making it more transparent, responsive, cost-effective and efficient.

The Kitsap County Auditor’s office reported 71 percent support for the council-manager form shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday. About 44 percent of the island’s voters had cast a ballot on the change-of-government question.

Council-manager supporter Elise Wright celebrated the results but girded herself for the transition ahead.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “But now we really have a lot of work to do.”

Wright said the council, which now takes the reins of city government, must find a way to work more collaboratively.

“They have a lot of new responsibilities,” she said. “They really are in charge now.”

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy, who now has the option of becoming an eighth council member until her term ends, announced on the eve of the election that she’d not seek reelection.

“The early results are pretty definitive,” Kordonowy said shortly after the results were announced. “It’s sad to see this change. I expected (the measure) to win, but not by that margin.

It’s time to step aside. That’s what voters are saying.”

BI voter turnout at 46 percent so far…

The Kitsap County Auditor’s office has received ballots from almost 46 percent of Bainbridge voters as of 5:50 p.m. today.

That means 7,780 ballots have returned out of the 17,070 ballots sent out.

The auditor’s office plans to post unofficial results shortly after 8 p.m. tonight.

Ballots dropped off at pickup points or postmarked today will be counted after today’s election.

On the ballot are a school construction bond and a change-of-government measure.

Check back later tonight for more details….

Viesturs makes seventh trip to Everest’s summit

Ed Viesturs on the summit of Mansulu, 1999. www.edviesturs.com
Ed Viesturs on the summit of Mansulu, 1999. www.edviesturs.com
Bainbridge Islander and renowned mountaineer Ed Viesturs climbed to the summit of Mount Everest for the seventh time early Tuesday morning.

“Conditions were good. The weather was almost perfect. You could see forever,” he said in a radio dispatch while descending the world’s tallest peak.

Viesturs, who turns 50 next month, recently reached a 16-year goal of climbing the world’s 14 highest mountains without the use of supplemental oxygen. He became the first American and the fifth person in the world to do so.

His Seattle-based team climbed through the night to reach the 29,000-foot summit at 8:30 a.m. Nepal time.

The round trip from their base camp at 26,000 feet to the summit was about 14 hours.

“It could have been a lot quicker had we not been dealing with traffic problems,” Viesturs said, referring to a glut of other climbing teams near summit. “The only drawback, in my opinion, was the traffic that we had to deal with. A lot of bottlenecks. A lot of just standing around really going nowhere, but that’s pretty much what you sign up for these days.”

Viesturs plans to recuperate at base camp and then spend a few days descending the mountain.

“We’re going to spend the night again here at camp,” he said. “We’re pretty hammered. We don’t have the energy.”

You can track Viesturs climb at http://blog.firstascent.com