Letters to the editor

Reject ordinance

To the editor:

If you care about the future of affordable housing that preserves the rural character of Bainbridge Island, please attend the City Council public hearing on proposed ordinance 2022-02 Oct. 11. This ordinance threatens both the future of affordable housing and the rural character of the island.

The ordinance 1) could allow religious organizations to build affordable housing on their properties throughout the island’s rural areas and low-density neighborhoods at densities currently allowed only in Winslow; 2) specifies that one church — Bethany Lutheran — may exceed the currently allowed four homes on its site to over 21, a 700+ percent density increase; 3) disregards the themes and vision in our Comprehensive Plan that call for protection of the island’s rural character; 4) ignores the myriad functional issues associated with building high-density housing in the island’s lowest-density areas; and 5) affirms a precedent-setting and potentially litigable land use fiat.

Ordinance 2022-02 is reactionary rather than strategic. Why has the council not pursued the many proven methods for creating affordable housing that align with conservation of natural resources, sensitive lands and open space while simultaneously addressing neighborhood fit, climate change and transportation goals? Lack of will?

No. I believe there has been an absence — until now — of seasoned, courageous city staff. Our new planning director, whom I believe has the skills and experience needed, was handcuffed with Bethany. I am hopeful, however, that, given the chance, staff will provide sobriety and clarity to address affordable housing while honoring our Comp Plan.

Jane Rein

Bainbridge Island

Back Tawresey

To the editor:

We endorse Alice Tawresey’s candidacy for commissioner for Kitsap PUD. We have known Alice since the early 1980’s when she was mayor of Winslow. She has an admirable record of community involvement at local, county and state levels. We served with her as leaders in Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts and for over 12 years as founding members and leaders of Bainbridge Island Ropeskippers, where she served as coach and GM.

Level-headed and pragmatic, as mayor she administered a $30 million budget; served 11 years on the state Transportation Commission, where, as chair, oversaw budgets of several hundred million dollars. Alice is visionary, as evidenced during her tenure with Olympic College’s Board of Trustees, where she was instrumental in the school’s implementing the first four-year degree program of any community college in the state. Alice has leadership with nonprofits. She led the fundraising effort for Bainbridge Performing Arts theater’s first expansion. As board chair of Arc of the Peninsulas, she’s leading its efforts to enhance services to people with developmental disabilities.

KPUD is working to make sure island customers have reliable water service. The district is absorbing many private water systems that can no longer meet changing regulations. As a provider of the fiber optic backbone on the island, the PUD is the reason local agencies, companies and many home-based businesses have lightning-fast internet service.

Alice has the vision, skills, and experience necessary to lead Kitsap PUD as it grows to meet our needs. Please join us in voting for Tawresey.

Ken and Barb DeWitt

Vote Simmons

I’m voting for Tarra Simmons for her second term as my 23rd Legislative District representative (Position 1). I hope you will, too. In her first term, Tarra has demonstrated her passion for social justice. Tarra’s lived experience informs her work to address addiction, homelessness and community re-entry after incarceration.

Tarra made her mark with the passage of three of her bills with broad bipartisan support.

The high cost of health care is one of the largest drivers of bankruptcy in our country. House Bill 1616 (Concerning the Charity Care Act) standardizes and expands eligibility for charity care. It will increase access to free or reduced healthcare to 2.2 million Washingtonians.

HB 1412 recognizes that trapping formerly incarcerated people in a debt cycle only increases recidivism. That legislation also reduces racial disparities in Washington’s criminal legal system.

HB 1818 will extend the time that the Department of Corrections can provide housing vouchers for people leaving incarceration from three to six months, allowing more time for a person re-entering society to get on their feet and avoid homelessness.

Tarra’s skill in achieving legislative successes has helped many Washingtonians who are struggling for a brighter future. Please join me in making sure that Tarra returns to the legislature to continue the important work she has started.

Cathy Knight

Bainbridge Island

Vote Democracy

To the editor:

The outcome of the mid-term elections will help strengthen or weaken our democracy.

With this in mind, I created a list of characteristics I will look for in choosing candidates running for office. The value of each depends on the office sought. Readers may have some different ideas. Many of mine are about healthy human development because that is my study as my former students will tell you.

• Find common ground working with others to solve a problem.

• Has compassion for those who disagree

• Helps opposing sides work together in preventing and working through problems

• Values honesty, truth and trustworthiness

• Helps establish a calm, productive atmosphere when working with others

• Has compassion for those who are different

• Realizes that encouragement is healthier than the use of fear

• Values children

• Is a good model for others, especially for youth

• Helps youth and others develop good leadership skills

• Uses great care in choosing a leader

• Realizes some leaders are bad to follow

• Disapproves of the Jan. 6 insurrection

Helen Hoover


Fund transportation

To the editor:

The Bainbridge Island City Council passed the Sustainable Transportation Plan about six months ago. The plan offers a bold vision to create a safe and connected network for people walking, rolling and using transit or shared mobility. During the plan’s development, many advocated that the plan must focus on implementation. I’m concerned that it hasn’t compelled the action I had expected.

As a mom of a 4-year-old and a 17-year-old, I have a somewhat unique perspective. I allowed my older child to bike to school and activities since 5th grade. I’ve seen other parents make other decisions — often because they feared the roads weren’t safe enough. I get that. As a home with two working parents, we didn’t have the choice. But I still had that worry in my core until I saw him ride home safely.

My 4-year-old rides with me on the back of my e-bike. Like the other caregivers I see out biking with kids in tow, the time is ticking. We’re comfortable riding on the island roads as adults with our kids, but what happens when they are older? Will it be time to pull out our family car, leading to more cars on the road and less sense of safety for those still choosing to ride or walk?

My 4-year-old wants to know — will she be able to ride on her own in a few years? We have a good plan that was unanimously adopted. Council, please adequately fund the STP this budget season.

Alyse Nelson

Bainbridge Island

Kuss unworthy

To the Editor:

I must first thank Thad McManus and agree with his description of Rick Kuss’s campaign for Kitsap County sheriff as being a “stealth” campaign (letter to editor 9-23-22). Stealth is the perfect word for it.

After questioning him on his campaign site, he offered to meet with me personally. We had a brief but cordial conversation, during which I brought up several issues and stated my concerns with each. However, other than nodding politely here and there, he never gave his position on any of those issues.

He repeated his desire for unity, which sounds great to everybody, and that he is a strict follower of the Constitution. I asked him his viewpoint on extremism, and he assured me that he did not support it in any form. I left the meeting giving him the benefit of the doubt while continuing to check his page for more information.

Later I was shocked to see his support for the notoriously extremist Joseph Arpaio and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. I found that it indeed is known to be an extremist organization, which believes every sheriff is the highest authority in the land, above elected representatives.

Either Rick Kuss is dangerously ill-informed or naïve as to what constitutes extremism or he is fully aware of it and is purposely misleading people. I suspect the latter. Don’t be taken in.

Iris Smaus


Auditor’s office

To the editor:

I wanted to give a shout-out to the Kitsap County auditor’s office. We had a small community on Bainbridge that had their districting updated and is now enfranchised to vote for school board or even run for school board.

This wonderful group of people live aboard boats in Eagle Harbor (I have lived on a boat almost 10 years, on the island since 2015). I have worked in early childhood education since 2008, and I had been thinking about running for school board. While looking into that process it came to my attention that myself and some neighbors were in a small pocket not districted to be able to vote or run for that, since we live in the middle of the water, and districting is based on residential address.

Luckily I contacted the county auditor and that oversight was fixable. The auditor’s office is easy to contact so one can get a copy of the most recent maps to know which districts they fall into from anything to fire districts, water districts, or Senate. With that taken care of, we can all rest assured more members of our community are now enfranchised, and know that there are updated maps if anyone needs a copy.

Ariel Shultz Armijo

Bainbridge Island

Pick Walters

To the editor:

I have worked with Katie Walters for six years as a member of the Board of Leadership Kitsap, where she served as executive director. I was impressed the first week I met her and am even more impressed six years later. I encouraged her to run for county commissioner because of the following attributes she will bring to the position.

First, she is a very smart and courageous person who will be willing to take difficult positions on important issues. As we experience tremendous population growth in the near future we must have leaders who can lead on issues like affordable housing, homelessness, transportation and public safety while making decisions that will protect our quality of life.

Katie also has the important skill of being able to bring people together to accomplish goals. That’s what real leaders do. I have been an elected official for over 30 years with experience as Bremerton’s mayor and as a port commissioner. Rarely have I met anyone with the skills and leadership qualities of Katie Walters. I will be proud to cast my vote for her.

Cary Bozeman

Global health

To the editor:

What if you could help millions of people just by convincing a few people to vote yes on something? Well you can.

We are the Bainbridge Island Youth Partners in Health Engage Chapter. We fundraise, educate, and, for these coming months, are advocating for global health equity. Our focus is getting the Paul Farmer Memorial Resolution passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Before his death in February, Dr. Farmer dedicated his life to helping make health accessible to all. He serves as an example for how far we can take empathy for the poor, specifically in the field of healthcare delivery. The resolution we are advocating for was written in his honor.

The resolution calls for four essential things. First, increasing U.S. global health spending to $125 billion per year. Second, using these funds to invest in national health systems and support local partners to ensure effective spending. Third, supporting global economic reforms to end the exploitation of low-income countries. And finally, acknowledging the harmful legacies of colonialism to the health of people around the world.

This resolution is crucial for millions of people across the world, so please, call or email Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Derek Kilmer and tell them what this resolution means to you.

Dashiell Tibbals

Bainbridge Island