Saturday, August 18, 2007

local political & blog scene heating up!

I guess its just the coming election - but we're suddenly seeing a lot of blog activity locally. I count at least 4 actively covering Bainbridge Island and its diverse politics. Attack ads in the local newspaper, stealth telephone campaigns, mailers and well-funded but "cheap-looking" hand-painted signs seem to be the tools of the local property-rights/anti-environmental/anti-govt camp (seems to be a vendetta - they don't propose their own candidate); while so far doorbelling and support letters are used by the candidates themselves. Gee, which do you think will be most effective in a campaign? I hope not the attack ads, although it certainly worked in national elections.

I hope that after the election some of these people remain actively involved. There is (and probably always has been) a lot of crap that goes on, some of it intentional, some of it simply naive. There are real issues to sort out, implications understood, decisions made.

Here's an example that bugs me at the moment: a planned boardwalk & trail linking a neighborhood to Winslow and the Ferry just disappeared off the table.
provides a picture and info.
What happened to this? I've worked with members of the NMTP and the TAC for a couple of years now, helping to site and scope this potential link. Its been discussed at several TAC meetings. The City has known about it, and supposedly budgeted for it. City wetlands experts were brought in. Permit issues were discussed and resolved. The whole project was a no-brainer: just a simple matter of finding the money for the boardwalk. Not cheap of course.

In a recent TAC meeting, when asked about this project, Park District staff claimed to have never heard of it, and questioned the need for it anyway. Case closed. Nothing to see here. WTF? First off, the City was supposed to be funding it as it was a non-motorized link. And its been discussed several times in open public meetings. So, what's happening here? At this point I don't think people really forgot, althought its certainly possible. Perhaps their workload just exceeded their capacity/funding and so they decided to reprioritize projects themselves? Unfortunately with an active volunteer community and neighborhood groups, that's neither fair nor just. But I guess what it comes down to is that we don't really know. One month this project was one the list of work to be done, awhile later its gone. Who made that decision and why?

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