Review Bainbridge Island
READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? Spartans finally take to the field. A12
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013 | Vol. 113, No. 34 | www.BAINBRIDGEREVIEW.com | 75¢
City hit with lawsuit over council members’ emails COUNCIL MEMBERS WARD, BONKOWSKI AND LESTER NAMED PERSONALLY BY BRIAN KELLY
Bainbridge Island Review
Two “good government” advocates on Bainbridge Island have filed a lawsuit against the city of Bainbridge Island and council members Steve Bonkowski, David Ward and Debbi Lester, claiming the council members have been conducting city business from their personal email accounts. Althea Paulson, a blogger who writes about city politics, and Bob Fortner, a leader in the successful 2009 campaign to change the city’s form of government, filed the Public Records Act lawsuit Tuesday in Kitsap County Superior Court. The pair said they both filed public records requests with the city to gain access to council members’ emails on the council’s recent deal-
private emails to correings with the city’s utilities, but three council spond with the public members refused to and get advice on issues provide the records and before the council. only one council memPaulson and Fortner said the state’s open ber — Councilwoman records law requires the Sarah Blossom — procity and its council memvided the emails that were sought. bers to publicly release Paulson and Fortner emails that relate to city said Blossom’s emails business. Steve Bonkowski David Ward Debbi Lester made it clear that “The last thing we Blossom, Bonkowski, want to do is sue the Ward and Lester have city,” said Paulson, Council members have official been conducting city business from the former co-publisher of the email accounts set up by the city, their personal email accounts. Bainbridge Buzz news website. and city policy dictates that counPaulson and Fortner said there “But the way the Public Records Act cil members use only their city was no indication that the other is written, we have to sue the city in accounts for city business. three council members, Anne order to require rogue officials to Emails recently released by Blair, Kirsten Hytopoulos and Bob obey the law.” the city show that council memScales, have relied on their personal Paulson said she submitted her bers Bonkowski, Ward, Lester and accounts for city business. request for documents two months Blossom have long been using their
ago, and while the city has provided some documents in response, the three council members have not provided their emails. Paulson recently met with City Manager Doug Schulze and Interim City Attorney Jim Haney to resolve the records issue, with no success. The lawsuit against Bainbridge Island also names Bonkowski, Ward and Lester both personally and in their role as council members. “These councilpersons have been conducting city business out of public view,” Paulson said. “They’ve had advice from city attorneys and have received training about their duties as public officials, but they continue to ignore the law. Mr. Bonkowski even admitted See lawsuit, A8
Bainbridge council puts marijuana on the table at this week’s meeting City eyes potential locations for retail pot shops, farms BY CECILIA GARZA Bainbridge Island Review
Cecilia Garza / Bainbridge Island Review
City Planning Director Kathy Cook1 explains BOD_BIReview_Cinema.pdf 8/21/13 potential 1:54 PMlocations for new marijuana businesses at Wednesday’s council meeting.
Rolling Bay and Lynwood are the most likely spots for retail marijuana shops to take root, the Bainbridge’s community planning chief told the city council this week. The Bainbridge Island City Council dug into the nitty gritty of the new Washington legal marijuana law at this week’s council meeting. Planning Director Kathy Cook gave an overview of how the city can implement zoning
policies for licensed marijuana businesses. Cook also told the council that while most of the property on the island would allow agriculture and greenhouses under the existing residential zoning, legal marijuana grow operations won’t sprout up everywhere. That’s in part because of a 1,000-foot “no-go” areas for marijuana operations and regulations that dictate properties with marijuana grows have farming as a primary use. The council made no decisions on potential city regulations on marijuana businesses this week, and will continue to study the issues involved at its next meeting.
One island resident, however, noted the city’s response to an application for a medical marijuana business last year. It was an example that the city was unprepared to deal with legal marijuana. Aston Reeder said a friend had submitted a business application for a medical marijuana operation that was denied. “I certainly hope that we get more people applying for apothecary shops,” Reeder said. “The good that it does sick, hurt, dying and elderly Americans is extraordinary,” he said. “It’s time that we get that kind of resource for the people See marijuna, A17