Monthly Archives: October 2009

Sun endorses Jacobsen, Lester and Scales

The Kitsap Sun’s editorial board endorsed City Council candidates Tim Jacobsen, Debbi Lester and Bob Scales.

The Sun also gave a nod to the local school bond and EMS levy.

Read the endorsements here.

It seems a day didn’t go by recently without someone (sometimes more than one someone) asking me who the Sun was going to endorse. Truth is, I learn who the Sun endorses the same way everyone else does: by reading the paper.

Also, be sure to check out the Sun’s online voter guide. It’s right over here. Lots of information supplied direct by the candidates, and some interactive wizdings to allow side-by-side comparisons.

Happy voting.

Killer whales swimming near The Rock

Some 50 killer whales moved into Central Puget Sound on Wednesday night, and on Thursday they were seen at various locations from Vashon Island to Bainbridge Island, according to Susan Berta of Orca Network.

The orcas included J and K pods as well as a few whales from L Pod, she said.

The three killer whale pods, known as Southern Residents, often visit Central and South Puget Sound in the fall and early winter, when they feed on chum salmon returning to streams in the region.

Researchers confirmed that the whales were feeding, Berta said, because at least one was spotted with a fish in its mouth.

In other local killer whale-related news, the Bainbridge Historical Museum is showing the exhibit “Whales in Our Midst: Killer Whales in the Salish Sea” through the fall.

Liveaboard issue on KUOW at noon

KUOW, a Seattle NPR station, plans to discuss the Eagle Harbor liveaboard issue during The Conversation, today starting at noon. One of the producers told me this morning that former liveaboard Paul Svornich has been lined up to discuss the city’s newly approved open water marina and how it will impact the harbor’s anchored-out liveaboards. See my below post for more information on the plan.

You can listen to The Conversation online by clicking here.

Liveaboards may soon disappear from Eagle Harbor

A close vote by the City Council initiated a process that may clear Eagle Harbor of its anchored-out liveaboards.

“They’re done. That’s it,” said Ryan Landworth, who lived in the harbor for more than a decade.

The council approved a plan on Wednesday that would essentially reduce the number of liveaboards in the inner harbor from around 20 to four. Rules and fees (perhaps $500 a month) would likely drop that number down to zero as liveaboards move to maintain their low-cost lifestyle elsewhere.

Landworth, who was active in fighting a state effort to make living aboard boats illegal in the 1990s, said no Eagle Harbor liveaboards plan to sign on to the city’s plan.

The city’s action came as a result of pressure from the state, which has in recent years evicted liveaboards from state-managed waters like Eagle Harbor. Bainbridge was the only community in the state working on a plan that would allow some liveaboards to remain anchored out.

Read my story here.

Will the election decide the fate of Winslow Way?


A lawsuit, money problems and disagreements at City Hall could push some of the final decisions on the Winslow Way reconstruction on to the next City Council. With three open spots, the seven-member council could see a shift in support for the project after next month’s election.

I asked the six candidates about their positions on Winslow Way. I heard plenty of nuanced opinions.

Read my story here.

BI council candidate discussions on video

With the election less than two weeks away, it’s getting close to crunch time for all you undecideds. Here’s our latest study aid: video discussions with the central and south ward City Council candidates.

They answered questions from Sun editor David Nelson about the city manager’s resignation, the Winslow Way project, community division over city issues, how to prioritize spending and their vision for the island in the coming years.

Scheduling conflicts prevented the Sun from getting the North Ward candidates (Debbie Vancil and Bob Scales) in front of a camera together.

Grab some coffee, maybe a snack, and see your local politicians in action!

CENTRAL WARD: Dee DuMont (to the left) and Debbi Lester (right).

SOUTH WARD: Tim Jacobsen (to the left) and Kirsten Hytopoulos (right).

Prosecutor may reopen BI molestation case

Kitsap County prosecutors vowed to refile charges against a Bainbridge man accused of following a young girl into a bathroom at the island’s aquatic center in March 2008.

A court of appeals decision released Tuesday has the potential to reopen the door for prosecutors to charge Michael J. Gaffney with attempted first-degree child molestation.

Read Josh Farley’s story here.

UPDATED: City water resources manager resigns

CummingsJalynCiting the challenges of working at Bainbridge City Hall and the lure of a new job, Jalyn Cummings announced on Thursday that she’ll resign from her post as city’s water resources manager.

“Simply put, this is a tough place to work,” she said, noting several other recent resignations. “Now it’s just my time to go.”

Cummings, who will leave the city on Nov. 4 for a job with the National Park Service, has led high-profile efforts to determine the limits of the island’s groundwater supply and investigate contamination along its shorelines.

Focused on water quality and quantity monitoring, the water resources program Cummings leads is considered a vital city service by many local officials and residents. A recent community priorities survey ranked “ensuring adequate water supply” and “protecting water quality in Bainbridge’s streams and shorelines” as the city’s first and second priorities.

While she enjoyed the work and her coworkers, Cummings said “there is a fair amount, as a city employee, of defense you have to do.”

She said public “distrust of city employees” makes the job difficult, as does “everything on the list” noted by her former co-workers who have resigned in recent months. That list has included infighting and indecision on the part of elected officials, and an overall nasty tone to Bainbridge politics.

“All the controversy, it takes a toll on the average worker,” she said.

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Winslow Way grants at risk from lawsuit

The city could lose about $5 million worth of grants for the Winslow Way utilities project if the lawsuit with the Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance isn’t settled in just over a week.

Whether the city and alliance, which have been in negotiations for over two months, can come to agreement depends on who you ask. Some are hopeful a compromise can be reached. Others predict the project will be delayed or canceled and that the grants will have to be paid back to the feds and the state.

Read my story here.

No more delays for Eagle Harbor liveaboard plan

City Harbor Commission member Bob Selzler sent in a guest column explaining the development of a long-proposed open water marina for Eagle Harbor. The plan is the only one of its kind in the state and is aimed at striking a balance between preserving the harbor’s century-old liveaboard community and meeting state rules. Read Selzler’s column below.

Very soon the Bainbridge Island City Council will take up the matter of whether or not the city should establish and manage an offshore marina in Eagle Harbor along with determining its size and number of vessels it will accommodate. The impetus for developing a marina (consisting of buoys only) has been to provide some number of permanent, legal mooring locations for long-term use by local citizens. Long-term use (simple definition) describes any boat staying in the harbor longer than 30 days.

Other than a thin ribbon of tidelands around the perimeter of the harbor (owned by adjacent waterfront property owners), Eagle Harbor belongs to the state of Washington and is subject to its use laws as established by the state Legislature. State rules require that publicly owned property being used for private purposes can only occur through the approval of the state’s property manager, the Department of Natural Resources, and that fees for such use must be paid. Additionally, DNR rules state that any proposed offshore marinas can only be developed by municipalities.

Eagle Harbor happens to be heavily populated with boats on moorings or at anchor that have been in the harbor for longer than thirty days. In fact most have been in the harbor for several years. Some of these boats are used as full time residences (liveaboard vessels) and others are only used occasionally or not at all (long-term unoccupied vessels). The DNR has been encouraging the city to actively manage this ongoing private use of public lands through the establishment of a municipally operated offshore marina that would, among other things, collect fees from long term moored boats that would then be forwarded on to DNR in the form of a property lease. Under such a lease the city would commit to a fixed monthly payment to the state for the use of a designated (and very specific) portion of Eagle Harbor. In that leased area the city would install new mooring buoys and rent them out to boaters wishing to stay in the harbor longer than the 30 day state and local mandated time limit. The remaining state owned portion of Eagle Harbor not leased by the city for use as a marina would be vacated of all long term boats and any remaining illegally placed mooring balls not otherwise removed by their previous owners would be pulled out and disposed of.

A recent letter from DNR to the city has put us all on official notice that a lease must be established with them before the end of this calendar year otherwise all long-term boats in Eagle Harbor that are currently anchored or moored on state-owned property face eviction and would be required to either leave the harbor or find legal moorage in a private shore based marina or move to a legally permitted private mooring.

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