Letter to the Editor

COBI needs lodging

To the editor:

Once again, we find the City Council of Bainbridge Island creating a policy with little or no in-depth study of the issues. At the moment the Inn Moratorium has been enacted in response to the expansion of the hotel at Pleasant Beach. The owner has purchased the land, formulated a plan, and submitted the plan to COBI for nearly a year believing he was acting within the approval process. Suddenly, COBI turns at 180 degrees from the process to enact a moratorium.

This treatment of our lodging industry professionals has gone on for some time. We have another company seeking to build in the Winslow area that has been treated in an unjust manner. Now in litigation, you would think COBI would act with thought and purpose and avail themselves of a full study of what our industry provides to this community. Litigation is paid via our citizen’s tax dollars….

Closing off an industry, like ours, does not provide the much-needed taxes the city claims to need. Given that COBI does not provide the courtesy of meeting with our lodging community and its leaders their reasoning is difficult to understand. Will they also close off expansion of restaurants, retail shops and event centers? Those are the businesses that lodging supports in providing accommodations to our guests. Each guest that stays on Bainbridge eats in our restaurants, shops in our retail areas, and visits our wineries and our museums. If we continue to send our business elsewhere how do these survive?

Will COBI also limit participation in weddings, family reunions and high school graduations? Should we end the Pickleball Tournament, the Island Cup and the Winery tourism? Should we terminate the employment of our staff members….we are one of the island’s larger employment sectors. All questions were shown no regard in this latest round of “discussion.” With great consistency, there is no value placed on business for the Bainbridge Island owners and operators. There is no meeting to find a consensus. There is no in-depth study to see what we are saying no to. What is the cost of this quick decision? This process lacks fairness in its approach.

Shall we remind the City Council that in addition to providing quality lodging for our guests, and employing hundreds of people on the island we also support many of the community members who contribute to the citizens and visitors alike? Just read the current LTAC awards to see our contributions via the Lodging Tax…Bainbridge Island Art Museum, the KIDS Museum, the Historical Museum, the Creative District and Bridge Festival, the Winery Tours, Bainbridge Island Parks and Trails Foundation, the Downtown Association, and the Chamber of Commerce. Does any other industry on Bainbridge Island support our community on such a level?

Saying no to lodging that is badly needed to keep up with the demand is a poor choice. We in the lodging industry also live here, our kids and grandchildren go to school here, and we volunteer in our community here. We want this island to be a wonderful place to live and visit. Open the door of communication COBI and let’s find an honest way forward, one where we count on the word of our local officials. Surely there is room to meet together and find a way forward…there is room here for growth on many levels.

Christine A. Cochran

Violent society

To the editor:

I don’t like guns. I’m afraid of them. And I have a hard time understanding how anyone, outside of the military, has need of an assault weapon. However, those who think that banning and confiscating guns will stop the madness of violence in our society are not facing facts.

We are a violent society—we tolerate violence. We even advocate for it, demanding that violence in our own private lives is a sacred right. In the past 50 years, our society has fought for the right to commit over 6.5 million abortions. Abortion is not some abracadabra magic word and poof! No more pregnancy. Rather, it is the incredibly gruesome dismemberment and inhumane disposal of the most innocent and dependent members of our families—the living but not yet born.

That kind of violence, in these numbers, cannot only affect the mothers and those close to them. The grief, sadness, mental/spiritual suffering, anger, and disillusionment that comes from this amount of private, personal violence can’t help but bleed out into our society as a whole. We have become a society alienated.

Yes, we ought to protect ourselves from the guns out there and the crazies who are using them. But we have created this society. We are the ones who have stated very clearly that life is disposable when it’s not convenient. And now we’re reaping what we’ve sown.

Mary Corbin

Bainbridge Island

Stop aquaculture

To the editor:

The Washington and Bainbridge community is still recovering from the escape of Atlantic salmon from Cooke Aquaculture, and it could happen again. When Cooke Aquaculture allowed hundreds of thousands of fish to escape from its cages in Cypress Island, it crippled the local marine life and the local fishing practices.

This is just one example of how these corporate fish farms are a disaster waiting to happen. Thankfully, the industrial fish farming operation at Fort Ward was denied a permit, but this just scrapes the surface of what we need to do to prevent another disaster.

Our ocean, a public resource, is being privatized by the federal government and being sold to foreign companies who are polluting our waters and crippling the local fishing industry. These offshore finfish farms also take from the Native communities in Washington, who have been sustainably fishing these waters for generations.

The Lummi Nation had to bear the weight of the Cooke escape and declared a state of emergency. We must support our Native Tribes of Washington and not the large corporations that are depleting our resources for their own personal profit.

President Biden must revoke the Executive Order 13921 which promotes these offshore fish farms. We need to support local fishermen, sport anglers, scientists, environmentalists, and Native communities who understand the importance of keeping our oceans wild.

Lillian Mitchell