In this podcast, three of the leading members of the 1991 “home rule” movement to form a Bainbridge island-wide city – Darlene Kordonowy, Vicki Johnson and Charles Schmid – reminisce about that transformative event on its 25th anniversary.

Darlene describes the 1988 to 1991 home rule movement and recalls her role as its co-chair. She discusses the resilience of the 21-member home rule group as they persevered despite initial rejections by certain officials. Darlene also discusses her transition, after the victory on the November 1990 island-wide ballot, to the 7-member group that drafted the new city’s first comprehensive plan.

Vicki Johnson shares personal anecdotes from her vantage point as the chair of publicity and citizen education for the local home rule group. She reminisces about the talents of the small group, and how they continued to bounce back when a tactic or strategy seemed thwarted.

Charles Schmid talks about his views of the process from the vantage point of being the pragmatic professional engineer on the home rule team, and the environmental leader of the Association of Bainbridge Communities (ABC). Charles tells an anecdote about driving to the Port Orchard county offices to oversee the recount of the close vote, and its triumphant outcome, with a return to the island accompanied by a musical overture.

The podcast follows this chronology of the home rule movement:

  • Nov 1988: Home Rule Committee formed
  • April 1989: Winslow City Council initially rejects annexation idea
  • Jan 1990: Boundary Review Board rejects island-city proposal
  • Jan 1990: crucial “Fight or Quit” meeting; the Committee decides to fight on
  • March 1990: Incoming mayor of Winslow (population: 2,800) invites resolution to annex the rest of the island (population: 12,200)
  • March 1990: new State legislation gives Bainbridge citizens a vote
  • Sept 1990: Winslow residents vote to approve annexing the rest of the island
  • Nov 1990: A 51.1% majority of voters outside Winslow say “yes” to all-island city
  • March 1, 1991: First day of new all-island City

You are invited to the 7pm Tuesday March 1st City Hall celebration and public commemoration of the 25th anniversary of all-island home rule, highlighting our community’s accomplishments over the past 25 years.

Credits: BCB host, audio editor and social media publisher: Barry Peters.