Questions for the Candidates – North Ward

We at the Chamber asked all of the City Council primary candidates for a bio, their website and answers to the same two questions.

Here are the responses from North Ward candidates. We will publish those from the Central and South Wards in our next post.

North Ward District 2

Brenda Fantroy-Johnson    Brenda Fantroy-Johnson

I believe that the voice of every Bainbridge Islander has value and deserves to be heard. During my 14 years on Bainbridge Island, I have been active in local government serving as your City  Council Member, on the Sustainable Transportation Task Force, and on the interview committee for the Planning Commission. I am strongly committed to the work of racial equity, creating low-income housing, sustainable transportation, and working cooperatively to achieve the mission of the Comprehensive Plan.

I live with my husband, Harvey, and am an avid hiker and mountaineer, having climbed Mt. Rainer and completed the Mt. Everest Base Camp trek. I am mother to five adult children and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren. In my spare time, I completed a memoir, “Imagine Me” available at local bookstores and on Amazon.com.
Website:  BrendaForCityCouncil.com

1. Why are you running for City Council?

As a city council member, I would like to act as a uniting presence on the council with a goal of working cooperatively to achieve the mission of the Comprehensive Plan. Regardless of where each of us stands, it’s of utmost importance that we work collaboratively to represent the people of Bainbridge Island. I’m the only African American on any City Council in Kitsap County and I evolved into this position with my work on REAC. My unique perspective as well as my presence as one of the only Black City Council members in Kitsap history shows those who look like me and those who have similar backgrounds that they too can run and serve in local politics. I was appointed, but I’m running to finish my term because I want to serve and contribute to the City that I love living in to continue to lift the voices that have been stifled for too long.

2. What is the single biggest issue facing Bainbridge Island right now, and how do you propose we solve it?

The single biggest issue facing Bainbridge Island right now is the availability and accessibility of affordable housing. I have voted in favor of a Housing Assessment on Bainbridge and have fought tirelessly to get the City Council to create actual accessible units of affordable housing on Bainbridge. When elected to finish my term, I intend to vote to support existing infrastructure  such as Housing Resources Bainbridge and empower community-led initiatives such as the affordable housing proposal at Bethany Lutheran Church in order to create real, sustainable, units that Bainbridge Islanders can live in for years to come.


Chris SmithChris Smith

My wife, Kerry and I are 25-year residents of Bainbridge Island. I grew up in an Air Force family living in locations from the Philippines to South Carolina. I earned a Political Science degree in Constitutional Law from the University of Arkansas, and an MBA with an emphasis in Finance, from the University of Utah. After college, I served 6 years in the Army in various classified missions in Europe and completed my service back in the United States as a Captain in the 82nd Airborne Division. I am proud that my son continued our family’s military tradition by serving multiple deployments for 5 years as a Marine. Following my military service, I began a 30-year career at IBM in various marketing and management positions. Since then, I have been sharing my passion for aviation as a flight instructor, earning an Airline Transport Pilot rating in 2016, and the FAA Gold Seal Instructor designation in 2020.
Website: chrissmith4bicouncil.com

1. Why are you running for City Council?

2. What is the single biggest issue facing Bainbridge Island right now, and how do you propose we solve it?

I believe the greatest roadblock to a sustainable future for Bainbridge Island is population growth. While it has been steady over the last decade, it will increase as “tele-commuting” untethers us from a geographic workplace. We need to begin building a reliable infrastructure for a future where local business, medical services and residents can thrive. This goal lies at the intersection of three influences that call for definitive action. They are:

  • transportation
  • broadband
  • greenhouse gas emissions

The transportation system must improve mobility and safety for all users while respecting the character of neighborhoods and maintaining a climate resilient environment. To do so, we need to reduce reliance on carbon-based transportation, and provide safe sustainable access to our neighborhood centers, Winslow, and the ferries.

Affordable housing is the linchpin of neighborhood vitality and the character of Bainbridge Island. The scarcity of affordable housing lowers the quality of life for vulnerable segments of the population and increases carbon-emitting transportation. Furthermore, as longtime residents age, they may become cost burdened. To make adequate provisions for the housing needs of all segments of the population, we need innovative, multifaceted planning techniques and incentives.

Improving broadband communication will serve to make our education systems more competitive. Education is being transformed at an unprecedented pace through digital learning. From AR/VR field trips to computer science classes and online testing, there are increasingly high demands for our classrooms to be equipped with sufficient bandwidth. We need to foster a diverse telecommunication infrastructure that will remain robust as the demand increases. This will serve all aspects of our Island life.

Greenhouse gas emissions can be addressed through safe sustainable multimodal transportation and “green building.” Green building is aimed at optimizing materials and emissions by using low energy materials, low-carbon power, and protection of the water supply. It also calls for structures with architectural appeal that blend with the character of their surroundings.


North Ward District 7

Joe DeetsJoe Deets

I was born in California, raised in Montana, then after university moved to Seattle, whereafter I went to Hong Kong to work in financial securities regulation. Returning to the US in 2000 we settled in Bainbridge Island, where I have lived happily ever since. I am married and have a daughter.

Professionally, my background is in investment finance and renewable energy, particularly solar energy. In the field of solar I’ve developed a niche in community solar. I decided to enter public service in 2017, and upon being elected it has been my honor to represent the interests of all Islanders.
Website: joedeetsforcouncil.com

1. Why are you running for City Council?

Now more than ever, Bainbridge Island needs experienced leaders. Individuals who have demonstrated that they have the necessary depth of knowledge, skills and dedication to do the work that the community expects of them. And, not least, that they have the temperament to establish effective working relationships with everyone – not just those they agree with. All these things I possess, and have the track record to prove it.

Some examples:

Climate: After leading the adoption of the Climate Action Plan in late 2020, I initiated efforts to complete projects identified for immediate action. These include, a) addressing the use of single-use plastics by creating a multi-disciplinary task force that will deliver recommendations to Council, b) reducing waste by leading the exploration of a bio-digester plant on the Island, and c) recommending that the City include climate change events in its emergency preparedness planning.

Recovery: The pandemic has been challenging and stressful to many local businesses and front-line workers. The City has no staff assigned to work with either constituency and I stepped up to address the need. Throughout, I led the dialogue between the City and businesses, and with workers. Among the outcomes was a grants program for small businesses, and a hazard pay ordinance for some frontline workers.

As I write, the pandemic’s economic impact is thankfully receding. But it would be short sighted of us to conclude that the local economy is out of the woods, for many challenges remain. In my second term I will ensure that the momentum I created during the pandemic carries forward post-pandemic. Being an Island, losing local services carries outsized negative impacts (one recent example is the loss of the Swedish Primary Care Clinic). We accomplish more when we work together, and in my second term I will continue to collaborate with the business community, to help ensure that Islanders have local access to the services they want and need.

Equity: When a group of constituents came to a Council meeting to state during Public Comment that people of color often did not feel welcome on the Island, I took that as a call for action. I responded by leading the creation of the Race Equity Task Force (now the Race Equity Advisory Committee), helped to secure their request for funding, and joined them in solidarity in many events. I’ve also enthusiastically supported the first women of color to serve on Council and the Planning Commission, thus creating greater representation in our governing bodies.

And in the area of affordable housing – a matter that badly requires our attention – on April 20th, 2021 Council took an important step forward, directing the City Manager to prepare a consulting scope of work for developing a Housing Action Plan. This was a responsible decision, an easy decision for me to make. It was however a surprisingly close vote, 4 to 3. Surprising considering how far behind we are in creating affordable housing on Bainbridge Island. It is perhaps worth noting that I was the only Councilmember running for re-election who voted in favor of the motion.

2. What is the single biggest issue on Bainbridge Island and how do you propose we solve it?

Bainbridge Island has been my home since 2000. Its natural environment and strong sense of community make it a wonderful place to live, raise a family and retire. However, climate change events and the pandemic have exposed our vulnerabilities. It is essential that we strengthen our resiliency and work together to become a more environmentally sound, economically viable and socially equitable community.

To achieve those ends my focus is on three priorities, which are Climate, Recovery, and Equity. As your question was that I discuss one issue in detail, I will keep my comments to climate change only.

The horrid experience of the “heat dome” in late June demonstrated in no uncertain terms that the impacts of our changing climate are not only a concern for the future, but of the present. It is fortunate that the City had the foresight to create an ambitious Climate Action Plan (CAP), a comprehensive roadmap to not only reduce greenhouse gases but increase our resiliency and decrease our vulnerability to climate impact events. The CAP was approved by Council in late 2020 and the hard part, implementation, is before us. In my second term I will utilize my expertise in renewable energy project management, experience on the City Council, and ability to work well with a broad range of people, to deliver on the plan.

The following are examples of CAP-related work that I am currently involved in.

Increase the number of emergency cooling centers. I am active in emergency preparedness (in addition to being a Councilmember I am a member of the Bainbridge Island Emergency Medical Responder team) and believe it is a necessity to incorporate climate change events into emergency preparedness. With that in mind, I will be working with Bainbridge Prepares to turn at least five of the Island’s Emergency Hubs into cooling centers. After the “heat dome” experience this has now become an essential project.

Reduction of single-use plastics. Among the priority actions to be undertaken in the next twelve months under CAP is the reduction of single-use plastics. This includes reducing, single-use cups, utensils and take-out containers by Island food service establishments. Under my leadership Council recently approved establishing a multidisciplinary Plastic and Waste Reduction Task Force. I will be serving on the Task Force, whose task will be to bring recommendations to the full Council. In addition to three
Councilmembers, composition of the Task Force includes individuals with expertise in plastic and waste reduction and members of the impacted business community.

Bio-digester plant. Closely tied to the reduction of plastic is the reduction of waste. I will be working with members of the City’s Climate Change Advisory Committee to explore having an innovative bio-digester plant on the Island. The envisioned plant will take a full assortment of food waste, craft beverage waste, cellulose products and more. Out of those inputs, which are presently trucked off the Island, will come high quality fertilizer and storable energy.


Dennis MillerDennis Miller

I have 40 years of experience as a General Contractor and small businessowner. Washington has been my home for 27 years with the last 19 on Bainbridge Island. It’s the rewarding feeling I get when meeting new clients and working with them to complete their projects that keeps me passionate about my career. I will bring professionalism and a commitment to honesty, integrity, and open communication to my candidacy. I will invest the time to learn our concerns, listen to your voices, openly discuss, and then take action and make decisions that will best serve our whole community. During my 50 years as a registered voter, this is the first time I will be on a ballot. I will be hearing ideas and looking at the issues of our community without the influence of any past political bias. I have the time, the desire, as well as, the energy to take on the responsibility of this new commitment, first as a candidate, and if elected, as your Council Member. Education: Humboldt State University, Arcata California.
No website provided.

1. Why are you running for council?

I’m excited about this opportunity, I’m ready for the challenges this role brings.
It’s a job I’m confident I will do well in, I’ve decided now is the right time to do it.
It’s that simple.

2a. What is the single biggest issue facing Bainbridge Island right now, and how
do you propose we solve it?

Are the city’s spending and fiscal responsibility big? Is moving forward with a $20 million police station big? Are the concerns we have regarding climate action andour carbon footprint big? Is race equity big? Is supporting our Island’s business community big? Is sustainable transportation big? Is shoreline management big? Is the comprehensive plan big? Is affordable housing big? Is the city’s ethics committee big? Are all of these big? There are more than 125 ongoing projects on the city’s work plan and the council’s agenda. Our advisory committees are working on issues and offering new recommendations, our citizens and community groups are bringing new concerns to our attention, there are State regulations and guidelines to incorporate into our decisions, and there are issues that reach beyond our shores. Choosing which one is the biggest depends on where you stand and your perspective. If you have chosen your biggest, then stand up and let the council know your concerns and your ideas for helping with a solution. As your council member, I will be working to address every one of our concerns, they all are important to me. I will work to help focus the council on taking action to accomplish positive steps toward “community first” solutions without delay.

2b. How do you propose to solve it?

It takes more than one council member, a city manager, a department head, a volunteer, or a concerned islander to explore options and find solutions for our issues, concerns, or planning for our future. We need input from all the city staff, all the council members, all concerned citizens, and all the volunteers to address our community’s policies and our island’s growth. We are fortunate to be living in a community where so many care, so many are volunteering, and so many are looking to be part of the solution. On Bainbridge, a lack of community involvement is not the issue. What needs solving is our council’s delay instepping up and making timely decisions when we have reasonable solutions presented to us. At times our council’s delay seemingly stems from thinking that
a new task force, a new committee, or new advisory consultant might recommend a better idea so perhaps we should explore more. The result is often just more delay. Later there are new council members and once again they look to re-explore before they decide. Let’s stop that cycle, complete today’s work and move on to address the new. I will be Diligent in my responsibilities, Direct in my
approach, and Decisive in my actions. I will work to keep the council focused on our important issues, address them, and make decisions without delay.
It’s that simple.


Lisa MandelkornLisa Mandelkorn

Lisa grew up on Mercer Island, WA as the daughter of a pioneering ADHD pediatrician. Her childhood home lost its small-town look and feel due to overdevelopment. Lisa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Music from Whitman College and a master’s degree in Music from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Having lived most of her adult life in Manhattan as a professional opera singer, Lisa and her husband, Alex, decided to return to the PNW and carefully selected Bainbridge Island to be their permanent home to raise their children. Lisa and her husband have successfully founded and operated small and large businesses in Washington and New York. She cherishes Bainbridge’s natural beauty, art and hometown feel, and does not wish her new Island home to experience the same loss of charm and character as the island of her youth.
Website: lisa4council.com

1. Why are you running for City Council

When I grew up on Mercer Island, it was very similar to Bainbridge in values, atmosphere, and appearance.  Mercer Island became overdeveloped and is now unrecognizable. I decided to run for Council because I see poorly regulated development causing the same degradation on Bainbridge Island.  Bainbridge Island could take a cue from other seaside communities that know that the quality of life for current residents, and their tourism-driven livelihoods, depend upon the preservation of their limited natural resources, support for the small-town businesses in their community, and real commitment to funding of the arts.  As your Councilperson, I will support protections of our natural environment by working with Council and City Staff to tighten the existing regulations including protections for tree cover, rural lands, and groundwater.  I will work to promote sustainable small-town businesses and funding of the Arts.  I will compel transparency, enforce fiscal responsibility, and restore trust in City government.  I ask for your vote to preserve our charming town’s look and feel.

2. What is the single biggest issue facing Bainbridge Island right now, and how do you propose we solve it?

We must preserve and protect our natural resources.  I have one overarching concern – that our quality of life is in danger. Protecting the environment and sustainability of our groundwater – which equates to the preservation of our way of life – is a Councilmember’s No. 1 job. When I grew up on Mercer Island, it was very similar to Bainbridge in values, atmosphere, and appearance. Mercer Island became overdeveloped and is now unrecognizable. I decided to run for Council because I

see poorly regulated development causing the same degradation on Bainbridge Island.  My plan is not different from the current Council, but my methods will be different. We must prioritize new ordinances that will protect our groundwater. I will support spending on infrastructure that will lessen stormwater runoff and the loss to our aquifers caused by

runoff. I will support policies that will prevent new housing density that degrades the environment, causes sewer spills into the Sound, and fails to result in any significant affordability.


Ron PeltierRon Peltier

My family moved from Seattle to Bainbridge Island in 1965. I attended Bainbridge Island High School and Olympic College where I studied music and art. My primary occupation has been carpentry, having operated my own business since 1975. Other interests include music, art, and photography as well as our fruit orchard. Between 1993 and 2016 I travelled on 13 cedar canoe journeys with the Suquamish and other Tribes from Washington and British Columbia as an official photographer. My photos of cedar canoes have been published, displayed, and were featured in the exhibit, Tribal Journeys, at the Washington State Historical Museum in 2003. My Wife Polly and I were married in 1986 and have one Son, Reggie, who attended Bainbridge High School. Polly and I helped develop a five-acre parcel of land near Rolling Bay in the early 2000’s and built our own house there. As part of our development we voluntarily retained a maximum amount of open space, leaving unused one of our development rights. In 2015, I ran for and was elected to the Bainbridge Island City Council. During my term on Council I was instrumental in crafting a new critical areas regulation that prevents the clearing of most residential lots on the Island. Called the Aquifer Recharge Area Protection Requirement, the new regulation combines low impact development with protection for aquifer recharge areas. Instead of completely clearing residential lots, developers are required to retain up to 65% of a property in native vegetation. I also sponsored a building moratorium in 2018 that resulted in extensive revisions to the City’s land use review process. In addition, I collaborated with the Island’s Indipino community and the Suquamish Tribe to write and sponsor Bainbridge Island’s Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution in 2016. During my term I voted against wasteful spending, including the “Bridge to Nowhere”, the $100K Island Power study, and the purchase of the Harrison medical facility for $9 million. I also represented Kitsap County at PSRC’s Growth Management Policy Board, where I advocated for policies requiring the upgrading of sewage treatment and storm water facilities throughout the Puget Sound region.
Website: peltier4council.com

1. Why are you running for City Council?

I’m running for Council because I’m concerned about the future of Bainbridge Island and the Region as a whole. Our current Council is not doing enough to address important issues including:

• The increasing threat of wildfire and the need for better forest management on Bainbridge Island.
• The uncertainty of our Island’s carrying capacity, especially in regards to our aquifers and transportation system.
• Affordable housing: Our City Council talks about the “housing crisis” and affordable housing but doesn’t have a plan. I have an innovative plan that respects the Island’s carrying capacity. It can be viewed and downloaded on my website www.peltier4council.com.
• Non-motorized facilities: Our current city council has spent two years and nearly $300K on a “Sustainable Transportation” plan when they really should have just used that money to build non-motorized shoulders on the “Core 40”, an existing plan for meeting the most urgent safety needs on our main roads.

Growth is high on the list of Bainbridge Islander’s concerns. We live here for the semi-rural feel and are uneasy with the potential for becoming more and more like Mercer Island or Silverdale. Outsiders tend to see us as “NIMBYs” for wanting to protect our Island. I won’t apologize for wanting to protect Bainbridge Island but I do agree we can’t simply say no to growth. We have to be more sophisticated than that. Protecting Bainbridge Island from overdevelopment is going to require defensible metrics for determining the Island’s approximate carrying capacity.

Bainbridge Island’s carrying capacity
Bainbridge Island’s Comprehensive Plan stresses the importance of better understanding the Island’s carrying capacity in order to responsibly plan for the future. Here are the factors that determine our carrying capacity:
1. The sustainable use of our freshwater aquifers.
2. Our transportation system.
3. Adopted goals and policies regarding the character of the Island, including protection of critical areas, forests, and biodiversity.
1. Our aquifers: we need a groundwater management plan
From our Comprehensive Plan:

Guiding Principle #2
Manage the water resources of the Island to protect, restore and maintain their ecological and hydrological functions and to ensure clean and sufficient groundwater for future generations.

Guiding Policy 2.2
As part of long-range land use planning, consider the impacts of future development to the quality and quantity of water that will be available to future Islanders and to the natural environment. Maintain sustainable groundwater withdrawal, protect aquifer recharge areas, guard against seawater intrusion and prevent adverse impacts to water quality from surface pollution.

Guiding Policy 2.7
Recognize the water resource needs of farms, home gardens and domestic landscapes and support planning and conservation practices that ensure the sustainable use of our Island’s finite groundwater resources.

Bainbridge Island is solely dependent upon its aquifers for fresh water. Those aquifers are replenished by rainwater that percolates through the ground to a system of aquifers. They have a limited capacity for sustained pumping. In addition, pumping from the shallow aquifers, which provide over half of the Island’s fresh water, impacts streams, wetlands, and forests. The overuse of our aquifers is a potential threat to us and to the Island’s natural landscape.

To ensure that we use our aquifers responsibly we need a groundwater management plan for Bainbridge Island that’s based on true sustainability and water independence. As a long-time advocate for such a plan I would help craft a plan that requires adequate testing of wells and policies aimed at protecting our aquifers for the long-term so we can continue watering our gardens and being good stewards of our natural areas.

2. Bainbridge Island’s transportation system
From our Comprehensive Plan:

Guiding Principle #1
Preserve the special character of the Island, which includes downtown Winslow’s small town atmosphere and function, historic buildings, extensive forested areas, meadows, farms, marine views and access, and scenic and winding roads supporting all forms of transportation.

Our transportation system is mostly left over from when Bainbridge Island was a farming community, and we like it that way. The scenic quality of our roads is an important part of the Island’s special character that drew us here and keeps us here. Continued growth will require improvements to our system of roads to maintain reasonable levels of service. At what point, however, does that threaten both the character of our transportation system and the levels of service that are important to our quality of life? This is something we have a right as a community to decide.

The City of Bainbridge Island, on our behalf, sets levels of service and makes decisions regarding transportation-related improvements that can impact the system’s character. This is part of “concurrency” and the requirement that new development be adequately served by transportation facilities. Concurrency is a tool the City can use to limit development by enforcing level of service requirements, on one hand, and maintaining the semi-rural character of our roads on the other. The bottom line is that growth needs to be compatible with our expectations regarding the aesthetics and function of our transportation system. Do we want to become more like a typical city, with more roads and more congestion, or do we want to retain the character of the Island that drew us here in the first place.

3. Our adopted goals, principles and policies
Our official goals, principles and policies speak to what we want to preserve and/aspire to as a community. Here are some additional snippets from our Comprehensive Plan:

Guiding Policy 1.1
Develop an island-wide conservation strategy to identify and apply effective methods to preserve the natural and scenic qualities that make the Island a special place, including better protection for the shoreline, trees, soils, native plants, and farms.

Guiding Policy 1.3
The built environment represents an important element of the Island’s special character. Improve the quality of new development through a review process that implements the community vision and supports long-term goals for the preservation of the Island’s special character.

Guiding Principle #3
Foster diversity with a holistic approach to meeting the needs of the Island and the human needs of its residents consistent with the stewardship of our finite environmental resources.

Guiding Principle #5
The use of land on the Island should be based on the principle that the Island’s environmental resources are finite and must be maintained at a sustainable level.

Guiding Policy 5.1
Regulate all development on the Island consistent with the long-term health and carrying capacity of its natural systems.

Guiding Principle #7
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the Island’s climate resilience.

Stewardship of the Island’s special character and of its environmental resources is the central theme of our Comprehensive Plan. Those goals and policies are part of the metrics we can and must use in determining Bainbridge Island’s carrying capacity.

As a council member
As a member of your City Council I will work to balance growth and development on Bainbridge Island in a way that respects Bainbridge Island’s carrying capacity. To be effective within the requirements of State and Regional planning, this needs to be done wisely. Simply saying “no” to growth will ultimately not serve to protect the Island. We will need to understand our Island’s carrying capacity and be able to quantify it. Simply not wanting more growth may win votes, and get people elected, but ultimately that alone won’t protect the Island from overdevelopment.