Letters to the editor

Hunger walk

To the editor:

It is with a bit of melancholy that we will take to the streets of Winslow for the annual Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap CROP Hunger Walk Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. Along with being socially distanced – and some participating virtually – this will be our last local Hunger Walk for the unforeseen future. Members have been transitioning off the group for retirement/travel reasons, and we realized that we will not have enough people to organize the event for 2022 and beyond. Of course, if someone steps up the regional fundraising folks would be delighted.

This year represents over 25 years of the local walk, and we will probably come close to pushing our lifetime total of dollars earned to over $1 million. Twenty percent of the money each year stays in the community at Helpline House, and 5% goes to Fishline of Poulsbo. Those organizations maintain an ongoing need for support.

This year we will be starting at Eagle Harbor Congregational Church. with an informal “gathering” event keeping everything outdoors. There will be free t-shirts for all walkers. Financial donations can be dropped off at that time.

We have a generous anonymous donor who has matched our walk funds for many years and has offered a 2-to-1 match this year. So, for every dollar raised, that donor will give $2.

Thank you for your support over the years.

David Beemer, Chris Christensen and Denise Brown

Bainbridge Island

What’s happening?

To the editor:

I am still waiting to hear of some sort of Bainbridge Island City Council decision, action or discussion since news came out in July about BI elected officials involved in a romantic relationship. Information from sworn declarations alleged serious improprieties among the two councilmembers. There has been no acknowledgment from the city, council or specific councilmembers regarding the allegations. I’ve looked through agendas, minutes. There is nothing on record. There has been no investigation, and neither party has addressed the issue.

While some information may not be “our” business, the effects of these individuals’ behavior and their lack of disclosure do have serious implications on city business and the community, and our trust. Accusations of interference with council work have resulted in staff resignations and financial consequences to residents. It’s unfortunate, but their personal business is our business when the consequences affect us.

It has been suggested that their lack of transparency goes back to December 2020, still, there has been no action taken, and it continues to this day. This should not be business as usual. I trust that elected officials have our best interests in mind and are working within the guidelines of governing principles. I assume they adhere to high standards of personal and professional conduct.

The allegations, any evidence of wrongdoing, collusion or improprieties require a full investigation. Council must restore the public’s trust, they must either clear names or clean house, but not sweep it under the rug.

Beth Crittenden

Bainbridge Island

Park’s birthday

To the editor:

Happy birthday to the Grand Forest. Thirty years ago on Sept. 17, 1991 Bainbridge Islanders overwhelmingly voted to authorize the Park District to purchase the Department of Natural Resources forest from the state of Washington, keeping this centrally located treasure available to residents and visitors.

What was at stake? Two foreign corporations were looking to buy the forest and develop it into an exclusive tourist resort.

When you walk, ride or bike through these beautiful 240 acres, Hilltop, Forest-to-Sky Trail, and other connecting trails, please be thankful for the forethought and generosity of our fellow island residents who 30 years ago stepped up to protect our island’s character for future generations.

Ken DeWitt

Bainbridge Island

No expansion

To the editor:

Bainbridge Islanders of all stripes can agree to say “no” to an expensive and oversized police-court facility at the old Harrison building that does little to increase public safety.

Let’s say “no” to using city money inefficiently and unethically. At $23 million, this project would be one of the most expensive-per-square-foot police stations ever built. The building was bought under controversial circumstances, at a price over its assessed value, with unnecessary debt. Instead, we must prioritize accountability and transparency in spending, increase public confidence through reasonable spending, and funnel resources to underfunded social services.

We must say “no” to super-sizing police buildings, budgets and jobs. If the old Harrison building plan goes forward, our police station would expand into a facility about triple its size, and, as is so often the case, its budget would presumably grow too. The police department receives 38% of the city’s budget, while only 2.6% goes to social services. Instead, let’s honestly assess the police’s role in our low crime rate, consider hiring an independent consultant to determine what the community needs and redirect funds to resources that increase wellness for all.

We need fully funded, fully supported and community-connected human services. We need programs that are accessible for all, prevent crimes before they happen, and save lives.

Join us at Kitsap ERACE Coaltion, Bainbridge! Say “no” to oversizing the police, underfunding human services, and throwing good money after bad. Say “yes” to investing in real community safety for all.

Akuyea Karen Vargas

Bainbridge Island

He has integrity

To the editor:

I have known Ron Peltier for approximately 25 years. During this time we have worked together on numerous construction projects, most often in house remodels. In addition, I have known him socially for the same period of time, though not as intensively as the work setting.

Ron is a man of very high standards, and the integrity and attention to detail he applies to his work are the best, along with his impressive problem-solving abilities. His good-humored wit is also a pleasant bonus to be savored during the work day.

Charles J Sicina

Bainbridge Island

Vote Deets

To the editor:

Joe Deet’s vision is long-range and big picture. Instead of focusing on a single roadside tree in the way of a bike lane, as his opponent did, he works collaboratively with others to enact protective codes such as the Landmark Tree Ordinance, the Tree Retention Requirements on small lots, a tougher Subdivision Ordinance and building design guidelines that promote greater energy efficiency.

Before being on council, Joe put the solar panels on City Hall. In office he supported establishing a Climate Change Advisory Committee (and serves as council liaison) and vehemently supported enacting their recommendations by hiring a Climate Mitigation officer, a Natural Resources planner and a hydrogeologist (to safeguard our aquifers). These wise and strategic investments will prepare us better for hotter summers, wildfire risk, wetter winters and rising seas.

Joe’s a hard-working, well-informed, and creative gentleman. He was a frequent volunteer at the COBI COVID-19 vaccination sites. He’s a consensus builder, not a disrupter. He has rock-solid ethics. He respects the processes and decisions of the council rather than torpedoing them down the road. He raised the bar on constituent communications by regularly hosting weekend office hours at a coffee shop downtown. He listens with full attention to all who seek him out, not just a small group of avid supporters. We need to reelect him.

Ted Jones

Bainbridge Island

Goodlin for parks

To the editor:

As longtime supporters of the Bainbridge Island Land Trust and Bainbridge Parks Foundation, we’re pleased that Tom Goodlin is running for a position on the Bainbridge Island Parks District Board of Commissioners. In the many years we’ve known Tom, we’ve found him to be thoughtful and well-spoken about issues important to the community.

Tom’s experience as a professional hydrogeologist for 35 years and his work with the land trust give him a broad perspective on balancing environmental concerns with park district objectives.

We support his goals of increasing transparency and public input for new park district projects, as well as expanding park holdings, recreational opportunities and trail access with an eye to sustainability. Please support Tom Goodlin for parks commissioner.

Vicky and Charlie Wenzlau

Bainbridge Island

Letter inaccurate

To the editor:

A letter published last week was full of untruths and exaggerations about Ron Peltier and me.

The letter says about Ron, “His wife leveraged his position on the council to have truckloads of city wood chips delivered to their private property for mulch.” This statement is false and was proved by an independent investigation conducted for the city of Bainbridge Island in 2019.

The letter writer no doubt feels free to say whatever he wants about Ron Peltier because he is a public figure for whom defamation is nearly impossible to prove.

The letter writer, however, crossed the line when he made a false statement about me. I am not a public figure. You might be able to lie about Ron but not about me.

The truth is I requested one load of chips from a city crew working next to our driveway. I was asked to call the crew’s supervisor for permission, which was given. I have called all the local tree services for wood chips and often have a pile of them on hand. The city’s crew added one small load to my pile.

According to the city’s independent report, at no time did city workers know the chips were being delivered to the property of a City Council member. I don’t like being lied about.

Polly Longworth

Bainbridge Island

Parks vote

To the editor

I am delighted to support Tom Goodlin’s candidacy for the Bainbridge Island Parks Board. I’ve had the opportunity to serve with Tom on the BI Land Trust and Bainbridge Aquatic Masters boards and have been extremely impressed with his work ethic, leadership abilities and decision-making skills. As I’ve witnessed on numerous occasions over the years, Tom takes the time to learn about issues confronting a given organization, in-depth, and he listens to all sides before settling on a course of action.

He also consistently puts forward excellent, well-reasoned ideas and action plans, and his love for the island and our amazing parks system is evident at all times. Since 2016 Tom has engaged in the park district’s planning process for Sakai Park and the Aquatic Center, making him well-informed and engaged on these important development projects. I believe Tom would make an outstanding choice for the parks board and encourage everyone who cares about the future of our parks system to support him.

Ken Bennett

Bainbridge Island

More inaccuracies

To the editor:

A letter last week included numerous false statements about City Council candidate Ron Peltier.

Here is the record-supported truth: 1) Ron never posted anything about the former city manager on social media; 2) it is undisputed that the Eagle Harbor Inn owner’s claims against Ron were untrue; 3) the Ethics Board conclusively determined that Ron did not have a “conflict of interest” regarding the speed limit issue; and 4) following what appeared to some to be a politically motivated “investigation” into “woodchip-gate,” an independent taxpayer-paid investigator concluded that “neither Peltier nor his wife leveraged his status as a councilmember in order to the obtain the [wood]chips.”

Ron’s wife did not “leverage [Ron’s] position,” as falsely in the letter. The truth is readily available on the internet, and in Bainbridge Review articles. Either the writer deliberately submitted false statements to further his political agenda or failed to investigate the truth of his statements.

The letter writer may seek to distract from Councilmember Joe Deets’s dismal record on the issues: 1) Deets voted against aquifer protection (the Critical Areas Ordinance); 2) Deets voted for a loophole to save the Winslow Hotel project; and 3) Deets voted for clearcutting Suzuki.

Don’t be fooled. Vote for Peltier and for our island.

Lisa Neal

Bainbridge Island

Stop hate

To the editor:

Joe Guzzardi, an opinion writer from California, has become a regular columnist for the Bainbridge Review, which publishes him at least once a month, in spite of his lack of relevance to the island. His favorite topic is the danger immigrants pose to the United States. Under his affiliation with the deceptively named “Progressives for Immigration Reform,” Guzzardi uses far-right talking points to blame immigrants for numerous problems, including COVID, taking jobs from US workers, threatening national security, and creating a Democratic majority with the votes of “2 million illegal immigrants who will surge the Southwest border this year.”

These columns are echoes of the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory promoted by white nationalists. This theory claims that white Americans are in danger of being replaced by immigrants, with dire consequences that have been repeatedly debunked. Guzzardi has written hundreds of articles for white nationalist groups such as VDARE and Californians for Population Stabilization, and cites to studies done by the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies. All of these are identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Stoking racial and ethnic division has a shameful and violent history in this country. White supremacist propaganda is simply unacceptable in the Bainbridge Review, or anywhere else. I’ve been puzzled about why there has been no outcry about these columns. I hope it is because nobody is reading them. Please stop publishing this hate rhetoric.

Althea Paulson

Bainbridge Island

Fair a success

to the editor

It was wonderful to have the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede return after its cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you to the association’s board of directors and staff, the Kitsap County Parks Department, vendors, sponsors, exhibitors and volunteers for making the 2021 event a big success.

This was the first year the newly created nonprofit association put on the fair after it was transferred from Kitsap County. This small group of volunteers are dedicated to preserving the traditions of the Kitsap County Fair that dates to 1923.

Organizers ensured extra COVID precautions were in place so everyone could return to the fairgrounds to have fun in a safe environment.

Families and friends enjoyed the rodeo and Xtreme bulls, concerts, carnival, demonstrations, visiting vendors and checking out the great exhibits. And the fair food did not disappoint. The fair is also the premier event for the young people who participate in 4-H to showcase the animals they raise. I love talking to these kids and am so impressed with their passion and knowledge.

The fair provides small businesses, entrepreneurs and craftsmen with an opportunity to exhibit their products and connect with the community. The event also brings regional exposure to Kitsap, as many visitors come here to enjoy the activities.

My appreciation goes out to everyone who pulls together the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede and all of those who attend to ensure this county tradition carries on.

Ed Wolfe

Kitsap County Commissioner