Letters to the Editor

No to Wilkes

To the editor:

Ideally, an institute of learning should reflect, in its name, values associated with standards the student can identify with or strive for.

That is not the case at Charles Wilkes Elementary, and that school’s name should be changed.

A previous letter in the Review says that, “Every single one of us possesses pride, anger, indifference and greed. Charles Wilkes, whatever good or harm he has done, should be honored with a school named after him.”

I beg to differ. First, I do know that there is more to most of us than only “pride, anger, indifference and greed.” And, second, “whatever good or harm he has done” is not enough, does not justify a plaque with his name on any school.

To judge a man by standards of the context of the time he was living is not an excuse either, because every person created his or her ethical, moral standards. The good existed next to the bad and folks made good or bad choices based on their standards.

Wilkes killed a large number of Fijians. He threatened to come back and kill them all, was court-martialed for a number of charges and eventually suspended from the Navy.

A former principal said, “This is not in line with what we believe in.” I should hope so.

School board, do change that name. The students and the community deserve better than Charles Wilkes.

James Behrend

Bainbridge Island

Kilmer leads

To the editor:

Thanks for the story on the “Fix Congress” Committee (1/18/23).

It’s become popular to hold members of Congress in contempt and so it’s important that Kitsap residents, who are all represented by Rep. Derek Kilmer in the U.S. House, know that we have a dedicated person working for us in Washington D.C.

The “Fix Congress” Committee is a great example. Kilmer conceived of that committee and sold it to House leadership. He ran it differently than other committees, giving Republicans then in the minority a full voice on the committee. That may seem like common sense, but is not typical and won’t be the way Democrats are treated on any committees in the new Congress.

I know Republicans in the 6th Congressional District may disagree with Kilmer on some issues, but they can be proud that their representative doesn’t think they don’t matter, or are somehow the “enemy.”

A couple of weeks ago you ran a story on “Braver Angels,” a nonpartisan group trying to bridge the partisan gap. That story noted that Kilmer had partnered with them to use their insights on running this committee.

I’ve had the privilege to work with him and his staff as a volunteer on climate change and am always impressed by his consistent bipartisan approach. That’s who he is, and I thank him for being a voice and beacon for sanity in the midst of all the partisan strife in our country.

Mike Kelly

Bainbridge Island

Not right plan

To the editor:

Reaching Bainbridge Island’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires inviting, safe and equitable options for transportation. The City Council-approved solution for biking was to first build projects to a standard that meets the needs of most of the population. That would enable the community to experience them before choosing whether to fund additional high-quality facilities.

Around 60 percent of the population wants to bike but doesn’t now, due to inadequate facilities. They require protection from passing cars — not just a shoulder. Only 8-12 percent of the population will bike on a shoulder, and only 3-5 percent of the population prefers shoulders, to maximize speed.

Yet the $4 million plan for Eagle Harbor Drive to Wyatt consists mostly of adding shoulders to the road with no protection. Since everyone biking from Winslow to the south end must travel through that busy route, it will break a major link in the network.

Public funds are being used to benefit only a few, with the rationale that it costs too much to include children and others. Building for 70 percent of the population instead of 10 percent has higher and longer-term value, so a project should be phased rather than downgraded. It’s prohibitively expensive to upgrade a shoulder.

The Public Works Department has provided only one month for potential redesign. I urge people to write your councilmembers.

Susan Loftus

Bainbridge Island

Walk with kindness

To the editor:

When out and about you’ll see it a lot. A rambunctious puppy so excited to experience life and sniff so many alluring smells that it doesn’t appear to mind the frequent yanking on its neck. But dogs do, and over time that awful technique will kill the dog’s spirit.

The jerking on the neck, the repeated near strangulation, can cause pain from scarring of the esophagus, blood vessels, cervical vertebrae and delicate trachea that can cause coughing and difficulty swallowing.

The animal will not, cannot, tell you. It will still love and remain devoted to you. But there are more humane ways to train a dog to walk calmly and ignore those smells that would contribute to its quality of life. Simply stopping periodically as the puppy goes off track, gets its attention. Using a clicker or small treat to reinforce preferred behavior, is so much better. Or apply a halter harness to your pup instead. Above all, never ever use the diabolical choke collar, as most animal welfare groups advise.

Just imagine someone constantly, forcefully tugging at your own neck. You would suffer, too. So please be more compassionate and take good care of your best friend, and walk with kindness.

Linda Troup


WA Cares

To the editor:

As we get older, one thing that we never want to think about is needing long-term care. But it’s a fact that 70 percent of us will need it sooner or later. Most people want to continue living in their homes rather than going to a long-term care facility. That was the case with my aunt.

As my aunt aged, she was able to stay at home because of family support. We all pitched in to care for her. And while I hope to have this kind of support network my aunt had, I don’t know for certain that it will be there.

That’s why I’m grateful to our Sen. Christine Rolfes and Rep. Drew Hansen for supporting WA Cares. The WA Cares fund gives us a choice of how we want to receive care, including in-home care and paying family members to be caregivers. When I retire, I’ll be glad to know there’s a fund I can tap into should I ever need someone to help me someday so I can stay in my home, too.

Lisa Pelly