To the editor:
We need to address the lack of adequate affordable housing on Bainbridge Island.
I’m lamenting, once again, that the most recent report of a City Council-mandated citizen panel Task Force on Affordable Housing appears to have been consigned to the storage shelves of City Hall.
Glaring evidence that homelessness and affordable housing have appeared to have dropped off the city’s list of priorities is that in the January 2021 edition of “COBI CONNECTS” there is plenty of news about things like roundabouts, a remodeled intersection, a Green Building Task Force, Climate Action Plan, etc. These are all good, however, I could not find any mention of our community’s ongoing crisis of the lack of affordable housing.
What will it take to awaken the council’s and our community’s righteous indignation about this situation? Will it take a homeless person’s death by freezing in a tent or car parked out of sight in the woods? Will it take a homeless person sleeping under a cardboard box at City Hall? Will it take a housing crisis of one of your neighbors, a friend or someone in your family?
Here’s what I’d like to see from the council:
• Show us what plan you have to do something more about homelessness on Bainbridge Island. The Affordable Housing Task Force’s Final Report has given you facts and recommendations for action.
• Do more than mouth good intentions about affordable housing. Commit more of our community’s money where it can help produce affordable housing on the ground.
• Don’t allow the mantra that putting ”affordable housing in my neighborhood will reduce my property’s value” to overwhelm the fact that not everyone this island needs and relies upon to make our community whole earns enough money to buy a house or afford a rental unit that doesn’t consume a large portion of their monthly income.
• Untangle the plethora of laws and negative attitudes that create barriers to affordable housing.
• Don’t accept that homelessness will go away by itself.
Give this crisis your devoted leadership and make the creation of affordable housing a priority in 2021.
West Port Madison
To the editor:
I read recently that Poulsbo’s new roundabout will include Nordic and/or maritime-themed artwork. I am hopeful that the installation will feature the art and culture of the indigenous people whose land we call home. This would be an excellent time for the Poulsbo City Council to consult and collaborate with the Suquamish Tribe to come up with an appropriate tribute to the first peoples of this area.
Such an effort would be a step toward healing the divide exacerbated by the killing of Stonechild Chiefstick, and build on the city’s recent workshop on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Happy New Year
To the editor:
This has been a difficult and unusual year for all of us; the pandemic leaves few untouched by its life-changing effects.
Through all this, we want to thank residents of Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County for their determination to go above and beyond to show support for local artists, small businesses and restaurants. As you know, many have altered their ways to accommodate and make the workings of their businesses viable to stay relevant. Thankfully you have stepped up and honored these changes showing your continued support.
We are hopeful that 2021 will be a better year. Please stay safe and healthy; we look forward to seeing you behind your mask. Have a Happy New Year.
Gregg Mesmer and Diane Bonciolini