Tag Archives: Debbi Lester

Lester won’t seek reelection to City Council

20091103-222517-pic-898493243_t120Bainbridge City Councilwoman Debbi Lester will not seek reelection, the Central Ward representative announced Wednesday.

Lester’s announcement leaves three positions on the council up for grabs this year. Kirsten Hytopoulos and Bob Scales also have terms expiring at the end of the year and have said they will not seek reelection. Candidate filing week is May 13-17.

Lester joined the council in 2010. She served as mayor last year.

In an email Wednesday, Lester said she decided to step aside to encourage new voices on the council. She said the city has reached “an incredible moment,” with the hiring of Manager Doug Schulze, new police chief Matthew Hamner, and a number of projects and policy revisions coming to fruition.

You can read Lester’s full letter below: Continue reading

Bainbridge councilman silenced…yet again


The City Council dysfunction-o-meter rose a few notches on Wednesday night when the council voted to silence one of their own.

The council voted 4-2 to stop Councilman Bob Scales from asking certain questions about the mayor’s authority to spend city money. The meeting marked the second time in three weeks that Scales has been silenced by his colleagues.

“I’ve been on the council for six years, and I’ve never been treated this way,” he said at the meeting’s conclusion. “I’m getting fed up. I’m not going away, and I’m not keeping quiet.”

Scales had asked Steve DiJulio, a municipal law expert invited to discuss the city’s council-manager form of government, whether a minority of council members could spend city money without the full council’s approval.

Earlier this month, Scales accused Mayor Debbi Lester and council members David Ward and Steve Bonkowski of overstepping their authority when they hired a law firm to aid them in removing the city manager. The spending was done without the full council’s knowledge.

The council voted to reject the $3,500 legal bill once the spending was publicly disclosed.

In answer to Scales’ question, DiJulio said unequivocally that a minority of council members cannot spend city funds.

“You don’t have any authority to represent the city without the consent of the full council,” he said.

Lester interrupted Scales when he brought up whether her largely ceremonial mayoral position has any special spending authority. She told Scales to save his questions about the spending issue for another meeting. When he persisted, council members told him he was out of order.

“I’m out of order asking a question? Are you serious?” he asked.
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“Ka-Ching” go the wedding bells

Bainbridge business and city leaders say the island should be doing more to cash in on weddings.

The island has all the right ingredients to attract these highly lucrative events. Bainbridge is surrounded by water and draped in greenery. It’s a scenic, 35-min. boat ride from Seattle, where chances are good that some of the close to 1 million people over there will get hitched at some point. Bainbridge also has plenty of quality service providers, including caterers, musicians, beauticians and decorators.

With the average wedding costing just over $30,000, island business leaders say there’s a lot of money to be spread around. And two weddings on one weekend can easily fill every hotel and B&B on the island.

One way to pull in more weddings would be to substantially reduce the $10,500 conditional use permit that is blocking some of the island’s many bed and breakfasts from hosting weddings.

City Councilwoman Debbi Lester is proposing such a measure, and it’s strongly backed by the island’s chamber of commerce.

“The requirement of the (permit) has pretty much killed the wedding business for B&Bs and farms on the island,” she in a story I wrote for today’s paper. Read it HERE.

I didn’t have room for it in the stor, but it’s kind of interesting how this issue came to Lester’s attention.

Back in ’07, Lester, who is an officiant with the Universal Life Church, was called in at the last minute to help with a wedding that had been moved from a Bainbridge B&B to a North Kitsap B&B.

The soon-to-be wed couple had long planned to tie the knot on Bainbridge.

“Our first date was a ferry ride to Bainbridge,” said Joel Shepherd, who lives in Seattle with his wife Beth. “We knew we wanted to incorporate Bainbridge into our wedding.”

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