I moved to Bainbridge Island seven years ago. Prior to coming to Bainbridge, I lived in Mukilteo, Kenmore and Seattle, and was a long-time member of the Kenmore Shooting Range. When I moved to Bainbridge, I was delighted to discover the Bainbridge Island Sportsman’s Club (Club) a mere five minutes from my new home. The Club is a real treasure that we must work hard to preserve now, and for the future.
I am running for Trustee because I think that I have skills that can be used to help preserve the Club, and enhance its standing in the community. I spent my professional career as a lawyer working with consumer owned utilities (such as Snohomish PUD, Seattle City Light), and more particularly with their governing boards. Further, I served on the Mukilteo Planning Commission, the Mukilteo City Council, and as a Commissioner for the Olympus Terrace Sewer District. Based on this experience, I have a good understanding of how successful boards operate, and how to make the case for the Club to other boards, commissions and community institutions, such as the Bainbridge Island City Council.
So what would I try to do as a Trustee? First and foremost, I would recognize the strengths of the Club. It is a strong financial position, the physical facilities are generally in good repair and it has a strong membership base. Further, the Club has a reservoir of good will with the general community, and is recognized as a community asset that does many worthwhile things (Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher fishing to name a couple). So for starters, I would urge the Board to capitalize on our successes by consciously tooting our own horn, advertising the things that we do for the community to make sure that everyone on Bainbridge knows the good that the Club does. I also would suggest that the Club conduct more open-house meetings with other community organizations, such as the City Council, the Planning Commission, and other groups of community influence. Having other Bainbridge residents visit the Club, get to know the Board and Officers, and understand our role can only help the status of the Club in the community.
We also need to become much more pro-active with our neighbors. We need to have a group of Club members that reach out to our neighbors to help them understand the role of the Club on Bainbridge. This would include meeting with new neighbors soon after they move in, on the theory that the first impression is the lasting impression. Although some neighbors will undoubtedly be anti-club, more are likely to be impressed with our dedication to safety, our limited shooting hours, and our willingness to accommodate their needs from time to time. In this vein, I would urge the Board to investigate steps that can be taken to manage the noise profile of the shotgun range.
That said, there are others that are ready and willing to spread lies, half-truths and falsehoods about the Club and its activities. We must be ready to forcefully counter such efforts with the truth, presented in a calm and confident manner. The truth cannot prevail unless we are willing to speak it to those who have been told lies and half-truths about the Club.
There are also actions that can be taken to strengthen the operation of the Club and the Board. In particular, the Club Bylaws are in need of a major overhaul to create a more understandable and systematic Club operation. Just a couple of examples include establishing the number of Trustees that constitute the Board, clarifying the Officer and Trustee election process, and including an attendance standard for Officers and Trustees. These provisions are commonly included in club bylaws, and their inclusion would improve the operation of the Board and the Club.
Finally, I truly believe that we are in the position to ensure the continuance of the Club on Bainbridge Island for the immediate future, and for the long-term as well. Doing so will require dedication and energy, but the goal is well worth it. I would very much like to be part of that effort as a Trustee for the Club.