Letters to the Editor

Applaud Bethany

To the editor:

I applaud and strongly concur with David Swardling’s column in the Aug. 12 Review concerning Bethany Lutheran Church‘s efforts to enable an affordable housing development on its property.

As Swardling documents, Bainbridge Island continues to have an urgent, widely recognized need for concrete actions to redress a severe shortage of affordable housing. In 2016, a letter to our City Council, urging such actions, was approved and signed by representatives of 17 widely diverse Bainbridge-based faith groups, as delegates to the BI/North Kitsap Interfaith Council.

That letter pointed out that because of this worsening shortage, large numbers of people who work on Bainbridge cannot afford to live here, nor can many young families wishing to live here, nor seniors and others wanting to continue living on Bainbridge but becoming unable to remain in their current homes.

It also emphasized that this shortage greatly inhibits realization of healthy and vibrant diversity in our community. The letter urged the city to “actively seek and pursue opportunities [for] substantial increases” in affordable housing, thus to help Bainbridge be a community where people with varying needs for affordable housing are not fenced out or forced out by economic barriers but are welcomed as residential neighbors — a caring community, inclusive, diverse and truly responsive to human needs.”

I believe the Bethany Lutheran congregation deserves much thanks for its vision, commitment and determined efforts to address these needs and goals

Richard Goff


Council’s blinders

To the editor:

The recent article in the 98110 newspaper regarding the proposed 23-home development at Bethany Church should be read with blinders removed. There are too many misleading statements.

First, few islanders would not support affordable housing. About a third of islanders, including myself, are housing insecure — paying more than ⅓ of their income on housing. I pay over a ⅓ on property taxes alone.

Second, it is confounding to read statements by council and others who seem to be selective in their support of affordable housing at the compromise to adjacent neighborhoods, the Comprehensive Plan, and the reason we choose to live on Bainbridge — its rural qualities.

The Comp Plan is clear — reduce sprawl, retain open space, and affordable housing should be in designated centers, i.e. Winslow et al.

Third, basic planning dictates that you put high-density development where there are services and infrastructure — not in rural areas. That preserves island character and is the most sustainable and climate-friendly option.

Fourth, council has a quiver of tools to ensure both development and affordable housing in designated areas but has been shy to use them.

The question was raised in council about public trust, while at the same meeting it was said there was no harm by allowing Bethany to build an out-of-scale subdivision. If we cannot trust the council to protect the values in the Comp Plan it seems like a slippery slope. Existing zoning, neighborhoods and climate change matter.

I applaud Bethany for wanting to build affordable units. But let the city swap land in Winslow for the orchard and park that would be bulldozed. That happened with Vineyard Lane and Strawberry Park.

The units are proposed at 80 percent of area median income, which is about 30 percent of island residents — so the project is likely to be profitable to any developer. Any profits should be given to the city for future affordable housing.

Let’s not stumble into a crevasse of poor land use and sprawl. Let’s protect our neighborhoods and rural character.

Kent Scott

Thanks paper

To the editor:

Thanks so much for printing the article about the Hiroshima observance and civil resistance at the Trident Base in the Review. It seems as though everyone is worried about nuclear weapons in Iraq and Russia, but nobody seems concerned about those in our own backyard.

Also, thank you for publishing the Opinion piece, “Suquamish to fight for basic reproductive rights,” and hats off to the tribe for addressing this fundamental issue from their very important perspective. I agree with the conclusion that the Supreme Court’s recent action presents a very real and immediate crisis and am grateful for the Suquamish Tribe’s appeal to policy makers to take action to preserve the reproductive rights of all people. Thanks for speaking out and encouraging others.

Mary Gleysteen


Kuss for sheriff

To the editor:

What is a Constitutional sheriff? Who do you go to when your rights are threatened or violated? The sheriff stands as the upholder, defender, protector and servant to the liberties of the people within the county.

In addition to upholding the law, the sheriff is also charged with upholding the supreme law, the Constitution. Within the county, the Constitutional sheriff’s enforcement powers supersede those of any agent, officer, elected official or employee from any level of government.

Kitsap County desperately needs a Constitutional sheriff — for all of us.

Ingri Berg

Bainbridge Island Committee to Elect Rick Kuss for Constitutional Sheriff