Letters to the Editor

Bainbridge Letters to the Editor | July 9

Vandalism

Vandals should join military

The recent felonies perpetrated by several of Bainbridge Island’s young citizens have prompted community discussion about the proper consequences for these young men.

While these crimes – particularly the brazen attack on the chief of police’s vehicle at his home – are punishable by prison time, another alternative is possible.

For generations, military service has been an important alternative for young people struggling with authority, self-control and boredom. Now – when our country is waging two wars and is struggling to meet recruitment quotas – is a perfect time for these young men to volunteer to serve. Service – particularly in the Army or Marines – would help channel their obvious energy, and, at the same time, allow them to make a meaningful contribution to society, when our survival as a nation is at stake. Luckily, due to recruitment shortfalls, recruiters are now accepting volunteers with felony records, so these crimes are no bar to service.

It’s a win/win, for while these men would benefit from the structure and discipline provided by military life, their fellow soldiers would benefit from hearing about life in an upper-middle-class enclave such as Bainbridge Island. The absence of military service among our upper classes is a national disgrace, one these youth could help to personally address. While sitting in their bunk hearing stories about gangs in East L.A., subway murders in Philadelphia, or joblessness in rural West Virginia, these men could regale the troops with tales about the stresses of taking the ferry to a baseball game, managing out-of-control condo growth, and the pluses and minuses of using recycled tires as a ground cover for athletic fields.

While jail has some of the same benefits as military service – structure, strong authority, and the opportunity to meet interesting people from other parts of the country – only the military couples these attributes with the added benefit of allowing the soldier to give back to the society into which he had the privilege to be born. I know our president and our Congress – having just allocated another $167 billion for the War for National Survival – would welcome them into service.

In old movies about juvenile delinquents, at the end of the film the judge could be seen leaning over the bench to say, “Son, you are guilty as charged, and I have to sentence you. But instead, I am sending you to the Army, where you can learn some discipline and respect for authority.” Why wait for the local judge to offer this alternative? Offer it yourselves, serve your nation, and see the world outside the cloistered life we enjoy here on the island.

JEFF BROWN

Walden Lane

Chamber of Commerce

A successful Fourth for all

Many thanks to those who sponsored, participated and attended the Chamber of Commerce’s Grand Old Fourth of July Street Fair, Parade, Classic Car Show and other auxiliary events in downtown Winslow.

An event of this magnitude – we estimate more than 20,000 people attended – can not happen without the support and cooperation of many organizations and scores of volunteers.

Special thanks to the city for use of its streets and Waterfront Park; Town & Country Market for the use of its parking lot (and for closing its store on the 4th); the Police Department for its help with monitoring traffic and handling barricades; and the following businesses whose sponsorships and in-kind services annually make this event financially feasible:

CFA Northwest Mortgage Professionals (premier sponsor), Wyatt Place, Hill Moving Services, Bainbridge Disposal, American Marine Bank, Cook Family Funeral Home, Suquamish Clearwater Casino, Sterling Savings Bank, Hockett & Olsen Automotive, Modern Collision Auto Rebuild, Kitsap Credit Union, Cris Ugles Building Inspection Services, Viking Bank, Island Electronics/Radio Shack, Kitsap Bank, Gateway Towing, The Harbour Public House, Winslow Green, Blackbird Bakery, The Bainbridge Review and Glass Onion CD and Tapeworks.

Finally, we want to tip our hats and wave our flags in the directions of the many volunteers – some long-timers, some rookies – whose hard work and community spirit helped make the Grand Old Fourth a truly memorable occasion!

KEVIN DWYER

Executive Director

Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce

Community

Memories of festival remain

It is unfortunate that the archives of the Bainbridge Review don’t go back 60 years, to the year 1948.

That was the year the first Bainbridge Island Strawberry Festival was held. The parade was on Winslow Way and included the Bainbridge Island Saddle Club; Hank Olson of Hockett and Olson in his Model T; a Scottish bagpipe band; Bainbridge Island Fire Department trucks; a band with a piano player on the back of a flat-bed truck; marchers representing the American Legion; a float from the Seabold community; an off-island marching band; kids on bikes and many other groups that are blurred in my old home movies.

Queen Sally Welfare (Johanson) reigned over the festivities as did her princesses, Ann Keigwin (Barnes), Virginia Cave (Berg), Faye Machgan (Dorsey), Ada Johnson (Flodin) and others whose names I don’t remember. The queen and her court were mostly members of the class of 1948. Those of us who still remain, miss our queen.

ADA JOHNSON FLODIN

Bainbridge Island

City

Speaking out is our duty

With his recent letter to the editor (“Rancor robs us all of decency,” July 5), Councilman Barry Peters runs the risk of marginalizing the voices of anyone who questions the performance of our city’s administration.

In the first line of his letter, he suggests that those who challenge the city’s policies and procedures lack “human decency.” Quite a statement from one purporting to champion “civility” and “neighborliness.”

Councilman Peters says he is only referring to those who use “personal attacks,” but it’s pretty hard to discuss deficiencies in city policies and procedures without discussing city officials and staff.

And while some public comment styles leave something to be desired, truly “personal” attacks are rare; criticisms are based on performance and underlying policies.

The truth is that the city is too often failing the community, particularly in environmental protection and land use, and now, fiscal responsibility.

It falls to citizens to ask the questions, do the research and insist that the city simply apply its own laws and policies to carry out its obligations to the community.

The citizens who comment on the city’s performance are your friends and neighbors, who more often than not “get involved” when an issue touches their neighborhood. They are not anti-social curmudgeons with axes to grind, but rather civic-minded folks who care deeply about our island.

Mr. Peters claims that a “useful debate of issues” is being thwarted by “personal attack style politics.” In fact, such a real debate is what he, and others at City Hall, are seeking most to avoid with their ad hominem attacks and campaign of “civility.”

They know that when citizens are characterized as shrill and irrational, many will shy away from speaking out for fear of being painted with the same brush.

Councilman Peters may wish to direct the community’s attention to social niceties rather than facts, but he knows very well that this is not a dinner party. This is the serious and messy business of running a city.

The issue is not the tone of the conversation; it’s the substance of it.

Not only must dissent be tolerated, it should be part of a substantive debate. Only then can we hope to create a city government that reflects the values and priorities of the community it represents.

KIRSTEN HYTOPOULOS

Blakely Heights

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