Accomplishments on Council

I started on Council on January 1, 2016.  Since that time, we have accomplished a tremendous amount.  Most of the decisions that a Council makes are fairly routine and have little direct impact on the community.  What I’ve listed below, in roughly chronological order, are the “big” decisions or particular decisions that I am particularly proud of.  


  1. Reasoned and Informed Decisionmaking.  What I am most proud of is how my work on Council has been based on thoughtful reasoning. The most important attributes we should look for in City Councilmembers are these:  intelligence; fairness; analytic ability; good nature; deep experience with our community; and an open mind.  These are the traits needed to make thoughtful and informed decisions.

  2. Prudent Financial Management.  During each year that I’ve been on Council, the City has had a balanced budget and received a “clean” audit with no substantial findings.  Of course, this is largely due to the work of our excellent City staff.  But those standards and expectations for excellence and prudence start with the Council. 

  3. My “Office Hours.”  Shortly after starting on Council, I started holding “office hours” for two hours every Saturday morning.  I felt that it was important for me to make myself available at a standard time for any resident to come and speak with me about any topic.  I can’t be a servant leader, if I don’t know what the people I am serving want leadership towards.  When I started doing this, I was the ONLY Councilmember who did this. Now there are 3 or 4 Councilmembers how hold regular office hours.  

  4. Comprehensive Plan update.  We completed a multi-year effort to update and overhaul our Island’s Comprehensive Plan. More than any other document, this Plan will determine our Island’s future.  You can see it here  Our Comp Plan places a high priority on maintaining our Island’s environmental services and values, in part because I pushed hard for that focus.  

  5. Climate Change. I was proud to write the ordinance that created the Island’s Climate Change Advisory Committee. The formation of this Committee was the first step towards Bainbridge Island completing a greenhouse gas inventory (will be done summer 2019), developing emissions benchmarks, and completing a Climate Change Adaption and Mitigation Plan for Bainbridge. This work will only get done if we continue to have Councilmembers, like myself, who are strong advocates for it.

  6. Electric Municipalization.  Prior to joining the Council, the Council voted to explore the municipalization of our electric system. They did this because they received a petition signed by over 1,000 Island residents asking them to do so.  I think exploring this was the right option, in large part because our island needs to find a way to have carbon-free electricity.  However, after exploring the issue in some depth, it became clear that municipalization was not the best path for our community. Therefore, I supported the council’s decision to cease further consideration.

  7. Shoreline Management.  I was proud to vote for an amendment to our Shoreline Management Program that would prohibit any new fish farms around the Island and the use of any plastics for aquaculture in the waters around our Island.  

  8. Puppy Mills. I was proud to write an ordinance that prohibits on Bainbridge Island the sale of puppies or kittens raised at “puppy mills”.  The Council unanimously adopted this ordinance.  

  9. Non-Motorized Transportation Improvements.  I was a leader in getting the Council to place a measure on the ballot to raise substantial funds to build bike shoulders, sidewalks, and trails to schools. I was the first Council member to publicly state that I would support such a ballot measure.  And I worked hard to get the Council to move the ballot measure forward.  Unfortunately, the ballot measure did not quite pass.  So now we are going to try again.  See “Sustainable Transportation” below.  

  10. Ward Meetings.  During my first two years on Council, the Councilmembers only had one ward meeting each year.  A ward meeting is basically a town hall meeting where two or three Councilmembers hold a meeting in each ward (north, central, south).  Anyone who lives in the ward can show up and take part in a town hall type discussion with their local Councilmembers.  Since I’ve become Mayor, due to my leadership, we are now holding four ward meetings each year.  Councilmembers must make themselves available to the public to understand what the public wants and to be held accountable. 

  11. Groundwater Recharge Protection.  Last year the Council approved changes to our Critical Areas Ordinance that provide substantially more protection to our Island’s groundwater through the creation of a new “aquifer recharge protection area” section of the Ordinance.  I am proud to have been the lead architect of this new section.  It provides much greater protection of our Island’s groundwater recharge while still being balanced and giving homeowners the ability to develop as they would like.  

  12. Curtailing Poor Land Developments.  I was pleased to support a development moratorium on large developments.  This moratorium was passed by Council in January 2018 and is still in place today. I had voted for the moratorium in 2016 as well, when a majority of Council did not support it.  This moratorium put a halt on City permitting for new large developments such as subdivisions, multi-unit residential developments, and commercial development throughout most of the Island.  

  13. Unfortunately, our Island has seen a number of large developments in the last few years, mainly subdvisions, that did not, and do not, fit this community’s identity.  These developments were for the most part built by outside companies that do not live here and have no interest other than maximizing their profits. 

  14. The moratorium was put in place to give the Council time to adopt a series of new or revised land use ordinances that will make it much more likely that future development and growth is “good growth” that fits the culture of this Island.  There is a long list of land use law changes that the Council has made and is in the process of making to achieve this goal of good growth.  It’s too much to write here; but I’d be happy to sit down and explain it all to anyone who contacts me.  

  15. LGBTQ Rights and Respect.  I am very supportive of LGBTQ rights.  However, there is not a lot that a City Council can do in this area. I have been proud to support a number of resolutions and proclamations related to this issue.  And I was pleased to assist Councilmember Tirman with the development of an ordinance that requires organizations on Bainbridge to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice and requires all single-stall bathrooms to be gender-neutral.  This ordinance passed the Council unanimously.  

  16. City Manager.  The departure of our last City Manager was an unexpected occurrence.  It could have been a moment that sowed great uncertainty and division in and amongst our City staff and citizens. However, it was not.  This is largely because of the leadership that I used to get a majority of Councilmembers to install our Deputy City Manager as our new City Manager until December 2020.  The continuity the City obtained with that move was critically important at the time and throughout this year as many of our senior staff are retiring.  

  17. Groundwater Management Plan.  The City has started the process of creating a Groundwater Management Plan.  Considering that all of our water is groundwater, you’d think that our City had a robust Groundwater Management Plan.  That thought would be wrong.  But after years of diligent work by me and a small number of other Councilmembers, the City is now investing the resources needed to complete a Management Plan.

  18. Police Station.  For 15 or so years the City has been trying to find a location for a new police station.  I am happy to say that we have found the location and are moving forward.  The purchase and sale agreement is signed and the work is underway.  This was not easy.  There is no “perfect” location for, or process for designing and building, a police station.  However, I am a person who places high value on getting stuff done, especially on an endeavor that has been festering for 15 years.  So I applied the leadership necessary to get a majority of Council to agree on a solution and move forward with it.

  19. Affordable Housing.  The lack of affordable housing is a crisis on our Island.  Our median home price is nearly three times that of the rest of Kitsap County and is higher than Seattle.  Our City government can not solve this problem, but we can take many steps towards alleviating it a bit.  I’m proud to have supported every effort our City has made in this area, including our recent decision to invest substantially more resources towards implementing the recommendations of our Affordable Housing Task Force.  This work will only get done if we maintain people like myself on Council who will make sure that it gets done.

  20. Transparency of City Operations.  In April of this year, the City started mailing a monthly hardcopy newsletter to every resident on the Island.  This newsletter is the result of more than a year of work and leadership by me.  A major problem on our Island is the lack of knowledge amongst most residents of what the City and Council are doing.  The Council can only make good policy if the residents of the Island tell us what they want and participate in the process.  People can only participate if they know what the City is doing.  

  21. Sustainable Transportation.  I have been a leader in designing and moving forward a process for the City to develop a new plan for its future transportation system.  The goal is to involve the community in developing a new vision for how transportation will function on the Island 20, 30, and more years from now.  Climate change is coming.  We need to be prepared.  I hope this plan will have a new vision for non-motorized improvements to build on the Island, for new and increased use of public transit, for support of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles, and much more.  This process is just getting started now.  If we want this to continue and be successful, we need to maintain on Council people such as myself who support it and understand it.  

  22. Councilmember Ethics.  Some of our Councilmembers have had complaints filed against them recently for poor or unethical behavior.  As a Council, we had a choice – we could ignore these complaints and just leave it to our Ethics Board, or we could get involved and make an effort to maintain the high standards for ethics and elected official conduct that (I think) we should have.  While it is not easy, or pleasant, for anyone involved, I am happy that this Council has chosen to openly tackle this issue and hold tight to high standards for conduct. 

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