Monthly Archives: February 2012

VIDEO: Cyclist’s-eye view of Chilly Hilly

Here’s what Sunday’s Chilly Hilly looked like from the saddle.

Posted on YouTube by a Edo1932, the video starts from Magnolia in Seattle and passes various Chilly Hilly highlights, including cookie stands, Frog Rock and Hall’s Hill.

While you’re at it, check out Josh Farley’s coverage of the ride. A journalistic triathlete, Josh rode the Chilly Hilly, took photos and then wrote about it before our evening deadline.

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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IslandWood helping to turn soldiers into nature lovers

Photo: Sierra Club

IslandWood and the Sierra Club are teaming up to get more military service members and veterans into rock climbing, snow shoeing, bird watching and mountain biking.

About a dozen current and former soldiers and an equal number of Sierra Club volunteers are expected to gather for a retreat at the Bainbridge environmental education center this weekend. The topic: How does a decidedly liberal environmental organization make itself and its outdoor programs more welcoming to conservative-leaning military families?

The retreat is organized through the Sierra Club’s Military Families and Veterans Initiative.

Heading up the initiative is Stacy Bare, an Iraq War veteran who credits rock climbing for helping him overcome severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We went to war to support our country and to support democracy, and there’s no greater expression of that than our public lands,” he said at a conference last year. “One of the things we’re very interested in is connecting military veterans and military families back to those lands that they defended. And the benefits are tremendous – opportunity to connect, opportunity to regain trust, and to allow your mind to wander in the natural beauty that is our country. Though that connection, we think we can re-integrate our American fighting forces back into our society.”

The retreat begins Friday evening and ends on Saturday at noon.

For more information, head over here.

Bainbridge City Council hosting ward meetings

The City Council is hosting public input meetings tomorrow (Tuesday) in each of the three island wards.

Council members want to hear feedback about proposed policies and other city matters.

Here are the meeting locations:

Central Ward: City Hall, 280 Madison Avenue.
South Ward: Lynwood Commons meeting room, 4779 Lynwood Center Road.
North Ward: Bainbridge Island Grange Hall, 10340 Madison Avenue.

All meetings start at 7 p.m.

You can email questions and proposed topics to before the meetings.

If you’re not sure which ward you’re in, download the ward map found on the city’s website. It’s listed in the middle of the page under “Ward Map.”

Poll: What do you think of the city manager’s departure?

Some say she saved the city. Others say she did more harm than good.

Brenda Bauer’s 18-month tenure as city manager has been quite eventful. She led the city though a serious budget crisis, an employee restructuring, the Winslow Way reconstruction project, controversies involving the police force, the Civil Service Commission drama and several other headline-grabbing matters.

Now the City Council has decided to part ways with Bauer, preferring to find new leadership for a mostly new council.

What do you think of the decision? Do you think the council should have kept her on, or was it time for her to go?

Head over to the poll in the right column to cast your vote.

As for our last poll about how to spend the $2 million Washington State Ferries settlement, it looks like the Waterfront Park dock improvement idea won out – but just barely.

See the details below…

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Meeting set for turning empty lot into ‘gateway’ park

The group of islanders working to transform the former Unocal gas station lot into a public park has set its first public participation meeting for Feb. 16.

The meeting, which starts at Bainbridge Commons (370 Brien Drive) at 7 p.m., is aimed at gathering ideas for the 1-acre park’s design.

The group got the City Council’s OK on Wednesday to begin the planning process after they promised to foot the entire $300,000 park-building bill.

The site is at the southwest corner of the Winslow Way-Highway 305 intersection. It has sat vacant and surrounded by a fence since 1989.

The group, which calls itself the Bainbridge Park Task Force, considers the site an eyesore, and provides a poor welcome to visitors unloading from the ferry or streaming into Winslow from the highway.

For more information, see their blog here.

PHOTO: Tristan Baurick

City’s statement on Bainbridge city manager’s removal

Last night, the City Council voted to end Brenda Bauer’s short tenure as city manager. It was an emotional meeting, with one council member leaving in protest after he was cut off from discussing the recruitment process for the next manager.

You can read the story here.

The city issued a press release this morning. You can read it below.

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