2016 Charlotte Garrido responses
County CommissionerCharlotte Garrido
- During your campaign, describe the ways you have, to date, met Bainbridge voters.
My relationships with Bainbridge voters have developed over many years, as I have been a county commissioner since 2009 (and for another term in the late 1990s). During this re-election campaign, attending meetings of the 23rd District Democrats (which includes Bainbridge) has offered opportunities to outline my goals and successes for the members. I am deeply grateful for the strong support this group has given me.
My preference for meeting voters during the campaign season is to “doorbell,” at the homes of registered voters – which I have done in several Bainbridge Island precincts since the primary election. Bainbridge Island supporters have often volunteered to accompany me.
I also received gracious invitations to meet with Bainbridge Island friends and neighbors. And, invitations to visit specific functions, such as the recent ‘Bainbridge Prepares Expo’ at City Hall gave me a chance to chat with many long-time friends and to meet some new ones.
Of course, business meetings as a commissioner bring me into contact with Bainbridge residents, too. For example, I chaired the Puget Sound Partnership “West Sound Local Integrating Organization,” held at City Hall on September 29.
- What Bainbridge Island activities and associations have you engaged in during recent years.
My husband Ray and I have many friends on Bainbridge, and we like the welcoming Island environment. My past, employment, activism, friendships, and Bainbridge culture have opened many opportunities for me. For example,
-- as North Kitsap Director for the YWCA ALIVE program about 10-12 years ago, I maintained an office at the Bainbridge Courts building, and worked Bainbridge human services agencies and law enforcement. I particularly enjoyed collaborating with the Bainbridge Health, Housing and Human Services Committee that met monthly at the Marge Williams Center.
-- a local foodie, I have a long-time friendship with the Gerard and Joanne Bentryn and with Betsey Wittick, and have supported Friends of the Farms for many years. I participated with Kitsap residents interested in sustainability when many communities in the region, including Bainbridge, sought to work toward a more positive future, and eventually became Sustainable Bainbridge. We dubbed the regional group Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound (SCALLOPS). Sustainable Bainbridge and the innovative Sound Food initiative emerged from Sustainable Bainbridge.
--In 2007-8, I worked with local businesses and educators to coordinate a plan for a four-year university in Kitsap County. Bainbridge businesses and educational institutions figured in this project. In particular, BGI (the name at the time) and Yes! were valuable allies.
- What do you see as the most significant upcoming County Commissioner issues and activities that will affect Bainbridge Island residents?
Most Bainbridge residents’ governmental concerns are addressed by the City of Bainbridge Island. The County Commissioners are responsible for the health, welfare, and safety of all County residents, and particularly within unincorporated Kitsap County. Yet our regional responsibilities bring us together to participate on regional boards such as the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, Kitsap Public Health, Kitsap Transit, Kitsap 911, and Housing Kitsap.
There are two significant issues that affect us all. One is opioids. And the recent introduction of fentanyl here has only made the situation more serious. As someone begins using, the need for more of the drug increases, which often leads to related concerns such as thefts to maintain the habit, and increased demands on medical emergency services and on jails. The Kitsap County Commissioners approved a .1% sales tax for mental health, substance abuse and therapeutic courts in 2013. The ability to seek grants to address these important issues is available to Bainbridge agencies, too. Our experience has been that creative “collective impact” approaches have introduced new prevention and intervention methods that are making a difference in our community.
Second, the effects of climate change impact us all. We can observe sea level rise, increased flooding in certain areas during rain events, and less snow pack on the Olympic mountains. We recently learned that the temperature of Puget Sound has risen, to the detriment of marine habitats. These issues cross jurisdictional boundaries and require multidisciplinary attention!
- What are recent County issues and activities at the County Commissioner level that affect Bainbridge Island, and how did you vote or engage on those issues?
The Board of Commissioners approves applications for open space taxation in partnership with the City of Bainbridge Island. We also recently voted to transfer County titles for some Bainbridge shoreline to City ownership. The City Planning Department does a great job of preparing the applications they present to us. When the Board of County Commissioners and the City Council hold a joint meeting, I ask questions if necessary, and vote in the affirmative for them.
Transportation is an important way that Kitsap County advocates on behalf of Bainbridge Island. The West Sound Alliance coalition of jurisdictions recommends priority transportation projects for Kitsap County, as well as all Kitsap cities , Mason County, and Gig Harbor. This group then advocates in Olympia during the legislative session for funding of top-ranked projects. The ad hoc Ferry Community Partnership (on which I serve along with Mayor Lent and Ferry Advisory Committee representatives) meets monthly throughout the year to support WSF service and vessel improvements. We meet weekly during the legislative session to push for bills of interest to ferry riders. emergency prep
- What’s your record as a champion of the environment?
I became an activist in the early 1980s because I did not want our beautiful county to take the natural assets for granted and continue developing at one unit per acre across the landscape. That took me back to graduate school to research methods to respect and sustain rural lands while maintaining livable communities. Over the years I have served on countless volunteer committees for open space, rural policy, water quality, and more. I co-founded the Port Orchard Farmers’ Market in 1978, and that led to initiating many more, known as the Farmers’ Market Association (although now the markets within Kitsap and cities are individual rather than collective). More recently, I have participated on the four-county Regional Open Space Strategies, and traveled to Washington, D.C. last year to support a Puget Sound Save Our Sound (SOS) bill. Sponsored by Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck, this bill is to name Puget Sound as a national estuary so that this region will receive similar recognition and funding as the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. I also host a monthly “Sustainable Cinema” program at Port Orchard’s Dragonfly theater. Each month a film about environmental or social issues is shown, simply to stimulate discourse about issues of importance to us. We live in a beautiful location, surrounded by breathtaking vistas, and are responsible to support the continued healthy functions of our natural systems.
- What are your priorities for the County in the next 4 years?
My priorities as a commissioner and a candidate for re-election have remained similar since my activist days: a strong economy, a healthy environment, and helping people work together on issues that enhance our quality of life in Kitsap County. For example:
Strong Economy. I am passionate about workforce development, and have been chair of the Olympic Consortium (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap) for many years. Our purpose is to establish pathways to careers in this region. We can strengthen local businesses and coordinate training that helps assure jobs for residents to work in our communities. I also served on a Washington State steering committee to implement the national Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.
Healthy Environment. I actively participate in outreach about Kitsap County Water Trails. Our County is officially designated as part of the national water trails system. This encourages recreational water travel – and appreciation – of this important asset.
Neighborhood Programs. I initiated the pilot for a Neighborhood Partnership program in the Commissioners’ Office, which will be presented to Commissioners Gelder and Wolfe on October 10. The purpose for the program is that Kitsap County will work in partnership with neighborhood groups – they offer expertise about their community and we coordinate community-serving functions available to them. The chief focal points of the program include 1) enhanced access to Kitsap County information, 2) assistance with Organizing Your Neighborhood, 3) mapping neighborhood assets, and 4) potential small grants for community projects.