Opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

BITV

Impartial and valuable

Mr. Olsen’s commentary about BITV warrants clarification.

Public Access Television differs from Public Television (PBS) and commercial television. I suggest that Mr. Olsen read the FCC guidelines for public access television, and review BITV rules and policies before making misleading statements.

Briefly, public access means first-come, first-served, non-discriminatory use of access production equipment and/or channels by local groups and individuals who meet minimal eligibility requirements. It is available to any resident of Bainbridge Island and surrounding communities. As long as the requirements are met, BITV will air their program on Comcast cable, channels 12 or 22.

There is no political season in access television. All member-submitted programming is treated similarly. BITV does not judge, preview or censor programs prior to airing. BITV does not charge for program airings. After a program airs once, BITV has discretion about subsequent airings. It is not BITV’s responsibility to balance member-submitted programming by creating alternative programs. Members decide what is relevant community programming by choosing the subject matter and submitting the programs.

B news, BITV’s weekly self-produced newscast sponsored and supported by individuals, organizations, and businesses, routinely shows both sides of issues as we did with Prop. 1 in the Oct. 24 newscast. The newscast is replayed daily on BITV and available online at bitv.org.

As members, Mr. Olsen and his wife, Mary Dombrowski, received many primetime hours for programs they have submitted. Mr. Olsen has first-hand knowledge that BITV does not charge for his program airtime, and we treat all members fairly while serving a larger community.

Scott Schmidt

Executive Director, BITV

Election

This vet isn’t ‘decorated’

The letter to the editor regarding Walt Washington (“Washington as auditor,” Oct. 25) referred to him as a “citation- and medal-winning” Vietnam veteran. In the voter pamphlet, he represented himself as a “decorated veteran.” In Kitsap County there are 40,000 veterans and a major active-duty contingent. To them it has a very specific meaning.

Decorations are just that...individual awards for service or acts of valor. They are “hung” on the recipient and made part of a permanent service record. To veterans, being “decorated” is not a matter of opinion, it is a fact. Including this in his resume, it was intended to appeal to that audience.

Questioned as to his qualifications for being a “decorated veteran,” he replied that he has “three meritorious masts.” I am not aware that he made claim to service in Vietnam. For those not acquainted with military decorations, nowhere in the list of authorized decorations is a “meritorious mast,” which is essentially a Letter of Appreciation that is not part of a permanent record.

Referring to himself as such based upon that misleads voters and trivializes the service of those who have served and are legitimately entitled to that description. Actions like this are offensive and should be an insult to the broader community who should be able to rely upon the representations of those seeking elected office.

If there is any question as to the facts, then a disclosure of “decorations” should be made to the readers so that the veracity of this statement can be determined by them and not by a newspaper, such as the Sun, that is acting in the capacity of a publicist.

This is an issue of honesty.To those of this community who have worn the uniform and served this country, the term ”decorated veteran” is not taken lightly.

Frederick J. Scheffler

Bainbridge Island

Accusatory, plain wrong

The Review published Mary Dombrowski’s letter (“Danielson possess unique qualities,” Oct. 11) in favor of her chosen Kitsap County judicial candidate. Ms. Dombrowski is radically accusatory and woefully wrong when it comes to the Kitsap County Bar and our elected judiciary.

With a swipe of her pen, Ms. Dombrowski seems to accuse the entire Kitsap County judiciary of corruption. Of course, she does not use that word, but when she states and infers that the Kitsap County bench is beholden to or serves special interests, Dombrowski is really saying that all Kitsap County judges are corrupt. That’s quite a charge to make without citing one factual example or a grain of tangible proof.

Ms. Dombrowski then claims that a judicial candidate who finances her own campaign somehow becomes a servant of special interests.

Dombrowski’s attempt at logic is fatally flawed and left me dumbfounded. According to Ms. Dombrowski, the candidate who has “grass-roots support” and accepts campaign contributions is free of influence, but the candidate who self-finances her campaign is accused of being beholden to vested interests.

Why this would be so escapes me, and it is certainly not explained by Ms. Dombrowski’s letter. She also seems to misunderstand civics and government. She argues that “grass-roots support, hard work and small contributions” somehow qualify a candidate to be a judge more than does experience and integrity.

Judges must work diligently to see that the law serves all of the people as intended by the state Legislature and Constitution.

Although popular support counts where it comes to getting elected, such things are a poor means of determining one’s fitness for being a judge.

To me, Jeanette Dalton’s qualifications, judicial experience and integrity are what count most. Such matters are far more important than “grass-roots support” for an opponent who lacks the judicial experience he apparently claimed to have.

Brian Danzig

Bainbridge Island

Community

We’ll miss fallen giant

The other evening, while watching Junkoh Harui interviewed in a documentary on the Grand Forest of Bainbridge Island, we were reminded of the enormous impact Junkoh had on all of us on Bainbridge. The often-quoted philosophical riddle of the tree falling in the forest took on a different meaning as we all learned of Junkoh’s passing.

The reverberations of this falling giant resonated throughout our island. An arboreal metaphor for Junkoh is apt for many obvious reasons; Junkoh’s work to save the Grand Forest, his depth of horticultural knowledge, love of bonsai and his devotion to the red pines at Bainbridge Gardens that were the legacy of his father.

Early in Junkoh’s life, the Harui family left the island to avoid internment. Junkoh faced bigotry born of fear. He met this challenge as he met other obstacles in his life, with perseverance, hard work and a generosity of spirit.

It’s this spirit that enabled him to rebuild Bainbridge Gardens from a tangled memory and continue to work while battling a debilitating condition.

When a tree falls in the woods, it continues to nurture the forest. With the prospect of globally challenging times lapping at our shores, we can draw on the lessons of the life of this gentle man to sustain our community.

The island is a richer place because of Junkoh’s strength and kindness. Our deepest sympathy to Chris and the Harui family as well as gratitude for sharing Junkoh with all of us.

Robert Freitag,

Jason Devinney

Bainbridge Island

Distinquish this ill wind

An old English proverb says that it’s an ill wind indeed that doesn’t profit someone.

While we may take some consolation that the very evil wind which has descended upon our economy has at least ensured the probable return of responsible government at the federal level, we should be prepared for some nasty accompanying consequences – over and above the anticipated financial difficulties.

In every culture, beneath the surface layer of civilized behavior there lie a number of anti-social tensions and antipathies.

They are usually based on differences in religion, race, nationality, economic status, political persuasion, sexual preference, even geographic sectionalism on a scale varying from global to neighborhood.

In good times, these feelings usually find expression primarily in a verbal form – one need only peruse the blogosphere to observe the entire range.

Even comfortable Bainbridge has witnessed recent incidents of anti-Semitic or anti-Japanese graffiti, holocaust deniers or internment supporters.

In times of economic anxiety and social dislocation, these expressions can escalate into violent acts. One needs only to recall the emergence of the KKK after the Civil War, or its resurgence in the 1920s and 1950s, or the political assassinations in the 1960s.

It is especially unfortunate that just as the current financial crisis is making us particularly susceptible to internal rancor and discord, the McCain/Palin campaign, in its desperate attempt to avoid defeat, has been actively “stoking the fires” of these fears and prejudices.

Terms such as socialist, communist and anti-American have all been used by the candidates or their surrogates in referring to Sen. Obama.

In addition, when shouts of “terrorist” or racial slurs, or undue emphasis on his middle name were voiced at McCain/Palin rallies, there was little disapproval shown by the candidates.

In the uncertain and dangerous times that lie on the near horizon, we must resist the efforts of demagogues and other anti-social elements to divide us one against another.

If we must assign blame, let us recognize that we have all either participated or acquiesced in the financially self-indulgent policies which have brought us to this point.

To paraphrase Shakes-peare, the fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves. To be successful, we must overcome our fears and put aside our differences and find a common pathway to meet the serious challenges we will encounter.

Philip Ss Griffey

Manitou Park

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