Quality Bainbridge Endorses Roth, Tollefson and Townsend

Press Release - Full Text - October 9, 2013 to Bainbridge Review, Kitsap Sun/Islander, InsideBainbridge.com and Bainbridge Notebook. A new nonprofit is forming on Bainbridge Island this week, and it’s a response to an unprecedented local election. The nonprofit is called Quality Bainbridge, and its immediate goals are to:

  • advocate for good, smart, local government,
  • celebrate widely-shared Bainbridge values, and
  • endorse good candidates and alert the community to a threatening attempt to buy the election.

President John Ellis of Quality Bainbridge said: “Scores of islanders have been liking the island values we celebrated, as a small group of residents, on our Facebook page and website. Now, with our new nonprofit organization this week, we’re independently looking at the field of candidates for City Council this year to find advocates for those shared values. In the past couple of weeks we’ve become alarmed at what appears to be an unprecedented attempt by a PAC to buy the election and control the City Council for years.”

For education purposes, Quality Bainbridge circulated substantive questions to all six candidates for City Council.  Three responded: Wayne Roth, Val Tollefson and Roger Townsend. Their answers show that they stand for the kinds of values, and the kinds of civility and mutual-respect, that islanders want for their City Council.  No response was received from the other three.

Gloria Sayler, Vice President of the new nonprofit, said: “Quality Bainbridge is today enthusiastically endorsing Wayne Roth, Val Tollefson and Roger Townsend for City Council.  We’ve had an independent look at the candidates, and we found that each of those three have great qualifications and embrace the values that so many islanders share. And, frankly, we’re concerned about a big money PAC that is collecting unprecedented amounts of money to push their slate.”

Ellis points out that the Quality Bainbridge endorsement of Wayne Roth, Roger Townsend and Val Tollefson adds to their endorsements from the local chapter of the Sierra Club, the local organizations of Democrats, and scores of respected local residents of various political persuasions.

Reports at the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) show that Gary Tripp, a long-time email blaster with negative views of our City and our home rule island government, formed a PAC last month that, according to his public disclosures, has already raised about $21,000.

Ellis said, “That PAC money is far more than most candidates on our island have historically spent on their entire campaign. And one member of their slate has, in addition, already exceeded the most money ever assembled for a Council election, reporting nearly $23,000 to date on the PDC website. That PAC and its slate are substituting big-money PAC politics – close to $50,000 for the PAC and its 3-person slate -- for the small-town person-to-person campaigns we’ve appreciated on Bainbridge Island in the past.”

The PDC reports show, for example, that just one donor to the Gary Tripp PAC has contributed almost as much as the largest amount of total contributions to any candidate in 2011 ($11,456 to then-candidate Steve Bonkowski). According to the PDC, Boyer Towing Inc. of Ketchikan, Alaska recently put $10,000 into the Gary Tripp PAC (formally known as “Common Sense Bainbridge”).

The only other named officer of that PAC on PDC filings is Glenn Avery.  The King County Republican Party website reports that Avery is the chairman of the 36th district Republican Party organization in Seattle.

Ellis said: “A big-money PAC with an off-island officer is a threat to the local values and culture that makes our island so special. On the one hand, we have three extraordinarily well-qualified candidates who embrace island values. On the other side is a PAC that is threatening to make Bainbridge as polarized as the other Washington -- where extremists have shut down our government and its services to people and businesses who depend on it.”

This week marks a new step for Quality Bainbridge.  A month ago, Quality Bainbridge created a Facebook page and the QualityBainbridge.org website to simply express shared island values and advocate for good government. The community response has been positive. For example, last week, with no paid advertising, there were 400 visits to the Facebook page and dozens of likes. But recent disclosures of big money influence via the Gary Tripp PAC have led Quality Bainbridge this week to decide to start the process of registering as a political committee with the Public Disclosure Commission. That step allows QB to endorse three excellent candidates and alert the community to the disturbing Gary Tripp PAC influence behind the three opposing candidates.

Other members of the Quality Bainbridge Steering Committee, in addition to Ellis and Sayler, are Kathy Dunn, Maradel Gale, Juliet LeDorze, Barry Peters and Randal Samstag. All are local Bainbridge residents who want to preserve our island’s character and its shared values such as: a beautiful and conserved environment, safe neighborhoods and good schools for families, good and smart governance with local control, maintenance of our roads and other infrastructure, and a good quality of life for all residents.