Letters to the editor

Town Hall wrong

To the editor:

It’s disappointing that the “Town Hall” May 22 on Bainbridge Island police funding was rigged to a pre-determined outcome instead of an unbiased event to weigh all the facts.

Statements by Mayor Rasham Nasser and Dean Spade of the Seattle University School of Law display an appalling ignorance about policing. In Nasser’s case, the comparison to Sammamish’s police budget also misses the mark.

“Police don’t prevent crime, they only respond to crime.” This is a common assertion that’s become a refrain among some who want to “defund” police. It’s also one of the stupidest statements that can be made.

Police patrol presence prevents crime. The mere presence of police walking the beat or patrolling the streets is a deterrent to would-be criminals. Stopping a car for “suspicious activity” can discover a trunkload of drugs, guns or other contraband before a worse crime occurs.

On May 27, a citizen notified police about a suspicious man boarding the Mukilteo ferry. Police confronted the man, who was armed with an automatic weapon and scores of rounds of ammunition. Who knows what disaster that could have been?

We hear about criminal acts that succeed. We don’t hear about the acts that are prevented. Those who assert police don’t prevent crime simply don’t know what they are talking about.

Nasser compared the BIPD budget with Sammamish’s police department budget, noting each city has a similar crime rate. This comparison shows Nasser didn’t do her homework. The Sammamish Police Department is a contract PD with the King County Sheriff’s Office. All police and cars are supplied by King County and branded Sammamish. All training, detective work, shooting ranges, etc., are handled through the sheriff’s department. Traffic and misdemeanor court is through the facilities in Issaquah. The Sammamish PD is housed in City Hall.

BIPD is a stand-alone police department that covers this overhead. This police department isn’t housed in city hall. It’s in an ancient building that is inadequate. The local court is in another location. Trying to compare budgets in this example is a case of Nasser picking data to support her preconceived conclusions.

Scott Hamilton

Bainbridge Island

Help Hunger Walk

As the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap CROP Hunger Walk committee starts organizing the event, I am struggling to find a way to communicate the reality that is facing the future of our local fundraiser.

Our Hunger Walk is one of the strongest and longest-running such walks in the nation. Each year, we rank near the top for funds raised for Church World Service – thanks to the amazing support of our local faith communities and our anonymous matching donor. In 27 years, the local walk has earned about $1 million. That amounts to about $200,000 for Helpline House (20%) and 5% goes to Fishline of North Kitsap, so about $50,000.

While rain, wind and even pandemics have never stopped the local event (although, we went “virtual” in 2020), there is a serious possibility that our dwindling volunteer team may be forced to announce that 2021 will be the final chapter in this great happening. We are down to just three of us working on the walk. We have remained innovative in these trying times, but we can’t see a way to continue if we don’t pick up some new energetic people to help.

Our hope is to have a couple of fresh faces on the team by early summer to have them join the 2021 effort. With a handful of folks on the CROP team, the event flows quite smoothly with just enough organization to keep Church World Service amazed at our efforts and always using us as an example for the rest of the country.

Ours is not a unique problem among volunteer-run organizations. Groups like Habitat for Humanity are reporting difficulty finding help. While we understand the responsibility of working for an annual event can take time, we have organized our CROP Walk to function quite successfully with only a few meetings.

Excited to get involved? Shoot an email to me at d_beem@comcast.net or Chris Christensen at cschristensen@msn.com. We’d be happy and excited to welcome you aboard.

David Beemer

Bainbridge Island

It did hurt

To the editor:

Why would Councilmember Joe Deets say that the release of executive session information by former Mayor Kol Medina about obtaining the Coultras New Brooklyn property through the eminent domain process did not hurt anyone? (May 25 council meeting)

Let’s look at the history of the purchase-something Deets has repeatedly indicated he did not want to do. By April 10, 2018, the New Brooklyn location for the police/court facility had been eliminated because the owners had taken it off the market. That left the choice between Harrison and Yakina. The consultant had indicated that he preferred the Yakina site. He said so much work was needed at Harrison that building from scratch would be more cost-effective.

On April 10, 2018, the council was supposed to make a decision between Harrison and Yakina. That did not happen because Medina disclosed executive session information indicating that he wanted to obtain the New Brooklyn site through eminent domain. He said he was proposing a “compromise” resolution that would limit the choices to New Brooklyn and Harrison. That eliminated what we now know would have been a more cost-effective option at Yakina from the discussion. Deets and Councilwoman Sarah Blossom supporting Medina with Councilmembers Ron Peltier and Rasham Nassar opposing.

In supporting Medina, Deets and Blossom ratified Medina’s release of executive session information. Nassar and Peltier probably did not complain about his release of executive session information because the damage was already done.

Even though Deets voted against paying about $5 million too much for Harrison, Councilmembers Leslie Schneider, Matt Tierman and Blossom voted with Medina to purchase Harrison, putting us in the position we find ourselves today.

The release of executive session information did hurt – a lot of people. Think of a teenager contemplating suicide who has nowhere to turn because social services are so underfunded. Think about the bicyclist in danger of being killed by an automobile because of inadequate bike lanes. Think about the homeless person who is sleeping in a doorway because we don’t have a shelter. $5 million could have helped a lot of people.

Cindy Anderson

Bainbridge Island

Plastic laws

To the editor:

Plastics pollution is a serious problem both locally and around the world. There are 150 million metric tons of plastic swirling in the oceans. The average plastic waste per person in the USA is 232 pounds per year. Our cities and state need strong ordinances to combat plastic pollution. We need to require environmentally responsible food service items such as cutlery, cups, take-out containers, and food wrapping that can be recycled or composted locally.

Vegetable-based plastic often cannot be composted or recycled locally, and often the only plastic containers that are recycled other than bottles are plastic dairy tubs. We need truly effective ordinances that require food suppliers, grocery stores and restaurants to use sustainably manufactured alternatives that can be recycled or easily composted locally.

Ordinances used in other cities may not be adequate here because of our restrictive local composting and recycling rules. As consumers we need to be aware of whether the plastics we purchase can be recycled or composted in our city. We also need to protect our environment by ensuring that cities pass strong ordinances to only allow food containers and service items that are designed to meet the local restrictions.

Herb Hethcote

and Leslie Marshall

Bainbridge Island

Encourage council

To the editor:

We eat a credit card’s worth of microplastic each week – an estimated 40 pounds during our lifetime. According to researchers, these tiny particles of plastic often contain toxic additives along with bacteria and potentially parasites picked up in the environment. We ingest these microplastics in the food we eat, in the water we drink and the air we breathe. Plastic food containers also shed microplastics into our food and drinks.

Fortunately, the Bainbridge Island City Council is looking at ways to decrease plastic use on our island by requiring healthier and more sustainable methods for serving food in restaurants and packaging food for takeouts. Our hope is that they will address this serious problem with the diligence it deserves.

Council may wait to require compostable take-out ware until we have access to an industrial composting facility that is required to break down plant based bioplastics. However, there is real concern about bioplastics. As a report from the University of Florida state, “they provide no environmental benefit once discarded.” They will litter our oceans, injure or kill fish, sea mammals and birds when ingested, and pollute our soils.

We are hopeful that council requires that single use foodware must be easily compostable whether discarded, added to your home compost bin or put into yard waste containers. This is a plastic waste reduction plan that we could implement sooner and one that could be duplicated in any community.

Erika Shriner

Bainbridge Island

Patty explain

To the editor:

So Patty Murray had a family emergency to attend to that prevented her from voting on the creation of a commission to investigate the first insurrection since the Civil War but did not bother to tell her constituents what the family emergency was.

It seems to me that wealth and power has been given to Patty for two reasons: In the hope that she will help to create laws that will benefit the people she represents. And that she will vote for laws that benefit the people that she represents.

I sit here trying to think of a family emergency that could prevent me from missing the vote. Perhaps if a family member was going to die without a transfusion from me? Maybe if I was the only person with the skills to save the life of a family member? If I was the only person in the state able to successfully deliver a baby that my daughter was going to have? Perhaps those would be valid reasons. To actually save a life.

Maybe if someone was going to die and you wanted to say good bye? I do not know that I would accept that as a reason to not stay and vote to investigate why Capitol Hill police were murdered but I could understand how such a thing might cause her to make a bad choice. Consider the fact that your one vote represents something like 7,610,000 people.

How about the Capitol Hill police?What if they had been aware that a bunch off lunatics were going to attack the Capitol and attempt to murder them and the Senate? How would Patty be doing today had they all had private family matters to attend to that day? Not explaining your reason is unacceptable.

How about the folks who attacked the Capitol. I would think if one of those clowns had not shown up they would have had to explain it to someone. But not Patty. No explanation required for a U.S. senator. It is a private reason, and we should just quietly accept that.

I suggest that if Patty is too busy to vote on a bill as important as this one then perhaps it is time for us to vote for someone who is not so busy. Like anyone else. I have voted for Patty every time she has run for her office. I will not do so again until I am convinced that she had a family emergency that absolutely required her physical presence to resolve. I know her vote would not have made a difference, but what if a few more Republicans would have chosen country over fear of the orange one?

When she got on that plane to attend to her “personal” family emergency she did not know if her vote would have been enough to tip the scales. The senators who voted against the bill at least were motivated by fear of the evil one turning on them. Their votes were not justifiable but there was at least a self-preservation motivation.

From what I can tell without her giving an explanation Patty did not vote because she had better things to do. Who is worse?

Gerald Simonsen

Bainbridge Island

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