To the editor:
Saturday a Zoom Town Hall took place, and they had a message worth the listen.
Bainbridge Island Mayor Rasham Nassar laid out a handful of slides with factual economics of the police station project (Harrison) as well as city budgets for the police department and social services. Highlights included gross overspending on Harrison. The city spends relatively insignificant amounts on social services. The police budget is roughly a third of the entire budget. There was a single slide that showed very few of the police responses involved crimes of significance.
State Rep. Tarra Simmons spoke and has a unique perspective because she clawed her way out of homelessness, drug addiction and dysfunctional family life in Bremerton to earn a law degree at Seattle University.
The topic of “defunding” came up in the Question and Answer session. That term has a certain unappealing stigma. What I heard was more of an appeal to
fairly evaluate our true local policing needs. A better message would be “reallocation” to better align needs with available resources. The tone of the presentation was not alarmist or anti police. It occurred to me for the first time that we do not really know what we need.
There was a project in Seattle a few years ago concerning awful motels on Aurora. They were a coven of prostitution, drugs and neighborhood theft in Fremont. Catholic Housing Authority bought the property and turned it into a 72 unit rehabilitation facility, and Fremont improved dramatically.
Timing is perfect for Bainbridge to look at similar options because it is election time, and four City Council seats are up for grabs. That means council will pay attention.
It is an opportune time to evaluate policing vs. social services vs. cost/benefit. As Simmons said, we have an opportunity to look at these issues and make a better decision as a community – not just blindly accept what has been put forward so far.
No to plastics
To the editor:
It’s time to do something about the proliferation of plastic in our lives. Globally the production of plastic increased 620% between 1975 and 2017. Plastic is now found in the placenta of newborn babies, in the organs of humans, in our drinking water, our soil and our oceans. We’ve seen the images of plastic litter on beaches, gyres of floating plastic in our oceans and read about the plastic ingested by wildlife often leading to death.
We drink expensive hot coffees in unrecyclable paper cups coated with plastic that can contain toxic chemicals. We are encouraged to store our food at home in glass rather than plastic containers because of chemical leaching, yet our food manufacturers increasingly package almost everything in plastic, including acidic foods.
Only 9% of plastic produced has ever been recycled, and the number of plastic items we can recycle is constantly decreasing. Locally – other than plastic bottles and jugs – we are limited to milk product containers (yogurt, etc) in our recycling bins.
It only makes sense to do everything we can to limit our use of plastics and to demand that food suppliers, manufacturers of all types, groceries and restaurants make use of healthier, more-sustainable alternatives that are now available. It may cost them a few cents more until increases in use drive prices down, but the verifiable cost to our health and our shared environment is too high for us to pay.