Letters to the editor

Plastic concerns

To the editor:

Have you been concerned by all the plastic that surrounds your food? The good news: in the next week or so, Bainbridge Island City Council will be considering an ordinance that would reduce plastic use and waste on BI. Each one of us and our children ingests five grams of microplastics a week, the amount in an average credit card. Most of that comes from food packaging. The health effects of plastic in our bodies are becoming increasingly clear: They include autism-spectrum disorder, ADHD, lower IQ and behavioral disorders in children, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cancer in adults.

The other important reason to cut down on plastic is our love for the island and our need to keep it healthy. We have already seen the dramatic effects of climate change with the extreme heat this summer. How does that relate to plastic?

Plastic production, and disposal, will shortly generate more greenhouse gases than all of our coal plants in the form of methane (72 times more potent than CO2) because the 465 million tons of plastic produced in 2018 will triple by 2050 if we don’t do something.

The proposed city ordinance will prohibit disposable foodware for inside dining and require that all takeout containers be naturally compostable and contain no toxins. And these ordinances spread from city to city – great news for our health and the health of the beautiful place we call home.

Oriana von Specht

Bainbridge Island

Homeless again

To the editor:

Housing Resources Bainbridge just evicted me, and I’ll be moving into my truck again. The first time I became homeless: 2003, age 50. I lived in my truck on $300 a month DSHS benefits for five years while their psychiatrist tried to determine a “diagnosis” for me. He finally figured out: autism, “high-functioning”, with visual and audio processing disorders. Anything produced electronically is an undifferentiated blur for me. I didn’t find out until I was 53 that I’d been fighting daily to see and hear compared to other people.

The diagnosis got me increased benefits: about $600 a month, medical and housing in a 40-unit Bellingham apartment. I put myself on the waitlist for Bainbridge Housing. After a three-year wait, a unit opened up.

They tried to evict me multiple times by “ending my lease” during the eviction moratorium – both illegal and terrifying. I live on $812 a month, half goes to bills. I had made multiple and simple requests of maintenance for my vision, hearing and balance issues, supplying my five-page autism diagnosis to HRB per their requirement. Every request was refused.

The eviction moratorium is over, and I was evicted. It will take me another three years to get on top of a waiting list for the low-income Section 8 housing. I’ll be living in my blue 1999 Ford Ranger with my cat until I come up on some waiting list somewhere. I’ll hang out at the Starbucks in case there is somebody considering helping me.

Shannon Morris


Not safe

To the editor:

Here’s what the bad guys now know about the island’s policing. A criminal parked a stolen U-Haul while they broke into the Fletcher Bay mini-mart to steal the entire ATM machine at 2:40 a.m. One of our police force caught them in the act, whereupon, they hopped into the U-Haul, escaping to High School Road. The officer gave chase that amounted to little more than a police escort off the Island, as the officer was forced by policy to give up trying to catch him, once they passed 50 mph.

Apparently, this officer was the only one on duty, and/or their radio was dead, as the thief managed to speed the U-Haul over the unblockaded Agate Pass bridge to their eventual freedom, despite being observed by multiple law enforcement folk along the way. No one, apparently, could stop the panel van-driving miscreant.

I moved here in part because I assumed an island with but a single exit to block would be a deterrent to off-island criminals choosing us as a target, so imagine my disappointment at funding near 40 officers armed with shiny brand-new SUVs, only to find out the police can’t overtake, call for assistance with, or even blockade criminals. To recap, a bad actor caught in the act on an island gets away with the crime due to bad policy. Our defenses now tested and revealed as wanting, it’s bye-bye, island-centric deterrent to future crime. Please fix this, before the more violent offenders arrive to plunder us.

Chris Neal

Bainbridge Island

Library raise

To the editor:

Kitsap Regional Library must uphold its promise stated in the 2017 library levy: “align salaries, after nine years without cost of living increases, to match the local region and industry.”

Of KRL’s $3.27 million surplus in 2020 — $1 million saved on KRL salaries and benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic hiring freeze — was redesignated for capital expenses such as building updates and furniture.

That was disheartening to low-paid library staff, who struggle to afford living in Kitsap County and continue to not receive the full cost of living adjustment. The current regional COLA is well over 5%.

Did you know the starting pay for a KRL library associate is $17.73 per hour (in perspective, McDonald’s pays $16 and $19 at Dick’s Drive-In) and that library employees pay over $10,000 a year to include spouse and children in their healthcare benefits? KRL librarians and classified staff are among the lowest paid in the region.

Our dedicated library workers found ways to continue service throughout the pandemic, keeping us in reading materials, and providing access to computers and printers.

If you agree our library workers deserve a living wage, a full COLA and affordable healthcare benefits, let KRL Board of Trustees know you’d like them to prioritize staff over furniture. Send your public comment to trustees@krl.org by 5 p.m. Nov. 22. Be sure to include your name and address.

Debbi Lester and Jing Fong

Bainbridge Island