Industries need to take effects of pollution seriously

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On the day before the mid-term election, a big brown smoke-cloud was visible somewhere south of Port Hadlock — a “slash-fire” from one of the many land-clearing projects on this peninsula. While the blustery weather was clearly blowing it to the east, don't we account for the pollution?

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency explained that, other than restrictions related to "urban growth boundaries and dry-season burn-bans, the fire marshal will issue a permit for fires large and small." In other words, our fire-smoke guidelines are mostly about proximity.

In the modern context of climate change, which doesn't recognize the difference between King County and Beijing, air quality/pollution laws should reflect the big picture. And the burden of behavioral adjustment should be shared accordingly.

The list of cultural modifications we've made as individual consumers seems like a much longer one than that of industry. Burning “slash” to clear land for development seems like one of those examples.

Get with the program.

Art James

Port Ludlow

Those who are pushing gun range ordinance are ‘bullies’

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Making a personal decision under duress is not wise. Making a business decision under duress is a recipe for failure. And making a governmental decision under duress inevitably leads to disaster.

These maxims were manifested when the Jefferson County commissioners voted to approve the new gun range ordinance. Officials cannot govern under the threat of lawsuits. Those making such threats are clearly and blatantly demonstrating why they should not be allowed to do business in Jefferson County.

There’s another name for these types – bullies.

Let’s not allow bullies to run things in this great and beautiful county.

Rob Sullivan

Port Townsend

What the Midterms Mean to LGBTQ People

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LGBTQ people in Jefferson County, the United States, and around the world are breathing a sigh of relief.

Prior to the 2018 U.S. midterms, matters were looking pretty dire for us in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer community. An actively anti-LGBTQ lawyer, Eric Dreiband, had been put in charge of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Justice Department – the most anti-science administration since the reign of Attila the Hun was hell bent on using enforced DNA testing to define transgenders out of existence – and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence, in league with the most extreme wrong wing of the Evangelical Christian movement, were championing “religious freedom” as a tool to restrict rights.

The list of injustices, affronts and absurdities was long, and it kept growing.

When Democrats took control of the House, a major shift occurred. More than 100 LGBTQ candidates have claimed victory (including two governors, a senator, several new members of Congress, and a record number of new state and local legislators), and a true and extremely articulate friend of our community, Nancy Pelosi, is on track to become Speaker of the House.

No longer are the forces for freedom, equality, health care for all, and planetary preservation under house arrest, as it were.

While Republican control of the Senate and presidency means that President Donald J. Trump can continue to try to pack federal judgeships and even the Supreme Court with anti-LGBTQ ideologues, attempt to issue anti-democratic executive orders at an alarming rate, and appoint anti-LGBTQ enemies of freedom such as Matthew G. Whitaker as acting attorney general, anti-LGBTQ legislation is most likely dead in the water. Rather it than us.

According to Mark Segal, a four-decade LGBTQ activist who edits Philadelphia’s award-winning Gay City News, “Approximately 80 percent of the country believes in equality for LGBTQ people, but we are not a protected class like religious groups. Nancy Pelosi, as the expected Speaker, has promised to reintroduce the Equality Act. This is the most important LGBTQ issue of all, and we expect the House to pass it. If the Equality Act passes, teachers can no longer be fired for being LGBTQ, and our seniors can no longer be discriminated against.

“The LGBTQ Victory Fund, National Lesbian Gay Task Force, Lambda Legal and Human Rights Campaign need to help push this legislation forward. If the Equality Act had been law, we probably would have won the wedding cake case that came before the Supreme Court.”

Cynthia Laird, longtime news editor of San Francisco Bay Area Reporter and wife of Victoria Kolakowski, the first elected openly trans judge in the United States, also believes that Democratic control of the House will serve as a check on the Trump administration. Nonetheless, the trans community continues to be in the crosshairs of Republicans in general and the Trump administration in particular.

“I fully expect Trump and his cabinet to push ahead with their real and obvious effort to erase transgender rights and identity,” Laird said by phone. “Pelosi, if she retains power, will be a forceful advocate against this. In addition, the Dems will have subpoena power, and the health committee can call them in and grill them.”

Laird wisely points out that most beneficial LGBTQ proactive policy-making and legislation continues to takes hold on the local level (albeit mainly in urban/liberal areas, according to Paul Schindler, editor-in-chief of New York’s widely read Gay City News).

“Local legislation sometimes trickles up,” Laird said, while pointing to the anti-discrimination victory in Massachusetts and major gubernatorial wins in the Midwest. “Trump will continue to nominate bad judges, and the federal landscape will continue to be a wasteland for a while, but state courts remain an avenue of recourse.”

Locally, LGBTQ residents can rejoice that approximately 83 percent of registered voters – more than 85 percent in Port Townsend – cast ballots in the midterms. Port Townsend City Council members, Jefferson County supervisors, and most residents and faith leaders remain our trusted allies.

Now we must continue to define ourselves openly as proud, responsible and loving beings fully deserving of rights and freedoms. Simultaneously, we must join with our straight allies in opposing efforts to divide our populace on the basis of race, spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, national origin and more.

Those who seek power at the cost of freedom cannot be allowed to use fear of the other as a smokescreen for their unfettered greed and evil acts. When we all claim our power and responsibility to unite as one against tyranny, freedom flourishes.

Jason Victor Serinus is a gay rights activist, whistling voice of Woodstock and opera/art song instructor at Peninsula College.

PTHS production of ‘Almost, Maine’ well worth your evening

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As new residents of Port Townsend, we were delighted to happen upon the Port Townsend High School production of a charming play, “Almost, Maine.”

Although we are somewhat jaded regular theater-goers, we found this play had everything we look for in a night at the theater: a snappy, smart script that let the kids explore the phenomenon of love from different angles, heartfelt acting, and even a shooting star.

Hats off to the kids and teachers who made this wonderful experience open to members of the public who happened to wander in on a dreary weekend night. Sad to say, the kids played to an almost empty house. I don’t know why everyone in town wasn’t there.

Lucky for you that it runs for two more weekends.

Dana Standish and Noah Seixas

Port Townsend

Jefferson Land Trust acquires forest on Marrowstone

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Right in the middle of Marrowstone Island, you’ll find a forest that many people care passionately about. This special place has been part of the Fite family holdings for several generations, going back to Peter Nordby, who founded the first European settlement on the island in 1892.

More than a decade ago, several members of the island community brought this property to Jefferson Land Trust’s attention. Wanting it on our radar, they asked Conservation Director Sarah Spaeth to make the forest a priority for protection should the chance ever present itself.

What we found was indeed magical. The mature forest features a lush canopy of western red cedar, alder, hemlock, Douglas fir, big leaf maple and grand fir. Its vibrant understory is rich with thimbleberry, fern, evergreen huckleberry, salal and wild rose.

Two wetlands offer refuge for birds and other wildlife, collecting water that feeds local aquifers for neighboring homes, farms and forests.

The holdings include 400 feet of bluffs that face Puget Sound which nourish the marine environment below and offer a pathway for wildlife to reach the forest above for food and shelter. Together, the bluff, forest and wetlands boast 51 acres of varied wildlife habitat ideal for preservation and recreation.

Recognizing how rare undeveloped properties with such compelling features as on Marrowstone, Sarah added it to our priority list.

Fast forward to December 2017 when Scott Brinton, island resident and founder of CedarRoot Folk School, let us know that the properties had been listed for sale. Scott hoped to collaborate with us to protect the land as a community nature preserve.

Like many neighbors, Brinton has a personal connection with this forest. The previous landowner, Bartow Fite, had allowed CedarRoot to use it for youth education. Brinton said Bartow Fite loved having students use the land, believing it honored his wife, Marilyn Fite, who passed away in 2010. The great-granddaughter of Peter Nordby, Marilyn was a dedicated conservationist who modeled environmentalism at home and worked to protect wildlife habitat internationally.

We enthusiastically agreed to look into protecting the land. After inquiring, however, we found that both time and a price tag of more than $1 million were stacked against us.

Land conservation projects of that scale often require long lead times to assemble the necessary partners and funding sources. Upon learning of our interest, the Fite family was willing to give us six months to put the funding together. A very generous agreement, but far shy of the one to two years typically needed.

Although it represented a big challenge, sometimes you have to act when an opportunity presents itself. So we set to work and evaluated funding options. Spaeth was miraculously able to assemble $800,000 in grant funding within just a few months — about 80 percent of what was needed. That left us with less than five months to raise the remaining $210,000.

I’ve spent most of my career as a fundraiser for nonprofit organizations, and I must admit I trembled a little at that point. But I should have known better. The passion, enthusiasm and generosity of this community has a way of making the improbable possible. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

Several people immediately stepped up to help get the ball rolling. Two island residents underwrote due diligence costs for the project. A team of qualified neighbors conducted a biological survey of the property. The board of CedarRoot Folk School quickly pledged $1,000. And, as news spread, others soon followed. People held house parties to talk about the project with friends. Folks knocked on doors to share the opportunity with neighbors. In all, 271 people contributed to this effort, raising $216,705!

Working side by side with community members to make this vision a reality has been profoundly inspiring. I heard moving stories from generations of Marrowstone families, newer island residents, and friends far and wide. Many shared childhood memories of exploring neighborhood forests, and their strong commitment to preserving the chance for our kids and grandkids to have those experiences, too.

What’s next? The Land Trust successfully purchased the property last week. Now we’ll begin to work with volunteers to get the preserve ready for enjoyment. When it opens in spring 2019, it will feature a walking trail through the lush forest, outdoor education space and excellent wildlife habitat.

Our first scheduled activity at the new preserve is a volunteer work party from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 27. Several more will be held in the coming months in anticipation of its opening. A ribbon cutting next spring will be sponsored by Miller & Ashmore Real Estate. To find out more or learn how to get involved, visit

Chris Clark is deputy director of Jefferson Land Trust. She brings her passion for connecting people with the land to her role in overseeing fundraising and community engagement. Jefferson Land Trust’s column appears monthly in The Leader.

‘Students of the Week’ a positive feature in newspaper

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It’s a pleasure to have the Students of the Week feature in The Leader. These young people are contributing to their schools and to their communities in their daily lives and probably think nothing of it. They are merely being themselves without realizing they are planting the seeds of example in their peers and nurturing their own growth.

And we adults in the community gain a more natural, positive perception of our youth. Good for us all.

Another observation: They look just like we did when we were teens. I hope we were as eager and enthusiastic. I hope we were as pleasant and gracious.

James E. Pate

Port Townsend

Those seeking asylum deserved to be treated like humans

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When I was little, my father told me stories of his childhood. We village people were banned from moving to the city. If one traveled to the city without a pass, she/he would be sent to jail.

When I was in college, a college senior student was sent to a detention center and beaten to death because he didn't have his ID with him so he couldn't prove that he was legally staying in another city, for a job interview, not for crime.

I heard how soldiers used to shoot people trying to cross the water between Hong Kong and mainland China. I also read that people who had successfully crossed the river between North Korea and China were deported and persecuted.

So cruel. Humans against humans. All they need is an excuse: illegal.

Naïve, some of you would argue. This time these asylum seekers coming to the United States are different.

No. It's the same. Same Shame.

And same cure: Change the wicked law and be human, be kind. Be humankind.

Hailian Zhou

Port Townsend

Americans don't need another tax cut

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When a group of people embark on a misbegotten enterprise, other people should be wary. So it is with both the ill-conceived tax cut ripoff and the circus-like Kavanaugh appointment. Now we have clowns in office who shouldn’t be there.

If a lot of money is concentrated at the top doing little but being counterparty to the next Wall Street scam, maybe we should’ve stopped and thought about it before we jumped off a cliff into shallow, rocky waters.

Clearly a tax cut is not what the majority of Americans need right now, since this is the revenue-eliminating side of the Republican budget cuts — six waves of them now — that created a serious recessional crisis.

And remember how the Republicans wheeled out the subversive drug war in order to blame the victims of the initial drop in our economy that left so many people homeless. That diverts attention away from the economic consequences of the budget cuts at that time.

The uninvestigated 2008 collapse similarly threw many people into homelessness and consequent crisis, but the bankers and their friends were more than happy to ride off into the sunset with the loot that time and the time after that (

Our infrastructure is in even worse shape now than it was back then, the opiate suicide crisis is still going on, and the low housing shortage is more than troubling. It is lethal for those left out in the cold without help. Somehow the combination of housing and solar panels makes sense to me, but greed makes you stupid.

In dark times, the eye begins to see.

Happy Halloween. Let’s hope for a better Thanksgiving. 

Lyle Courtsal


Disapproving carnival due to security, noise is 'absurd'

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This is one of the more absurd quotes I've seen from a public official in some time.  From Susan McIntire, manager of the Jefferson County Fair, regarding turning down the Rhody Fest’s Funtastic Carnival, “mainly” due to security concerns, but also because “Our neighbors don’t like it when we get too loud.” 

Really?  Excuse me, aren't we talking about neighbors who live next to a fairgrounds?  If I live next to the airport, shouldn't I expect airplane noise?  If I live next to the drive-in theater, shouldn't I expect some noise from movies and traffic? 

Such excessive concern over hurting people's feelings is ridiculous. 

And what are the "security concerns" cited? It sounds to me as though there is an unspoken agenda here, and I suspect it is likely due to people who disapprove of carnival rides because of the danger and risk of liability. 

Let's just state what is true rather than making lame excuses about bothering neighbors with noise.

W. Carl Miller

Port Ludlow

Faith leaders in community stand united

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Our hearts break at the news of yet another mass shooting in a house of worship on Oct. 27. An intruder entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, murdering 11 worshipers and wounding six others, including four police officers. The killer made his motive clear, “I just want to kill Jews.” This was the deadliest act of violence against Jews in our nation’s history.

As faith leaders in the community, we stand in solidarity with our Jewish sisters and brothers, especially our local community of Bet Shira, as we condemn anti-Semitism in any and all forms. Hatred and violence, of any kind, cannot be tolerated. We, as a country, are better than this. An attack on one portion of God’s family is an attack on us all. We stand with all people of faith to claim the right to worship in safety and security, without fear of violence or reprisal. We cannot remain silent in the face of such atrocities.

It is for all of us to recommit to lifting up and affirming the worth and dignity of every human being regardless of race, gender identity, immigration status or faith tradition.

Words are important. We denounce all attempts to dehumanize anyone, any group, any community. Such attempts to dehumanize diminishes the humanity of all.

Virtually all faiths share a common tenet of “Love Thy Neighbor,” and we pledge to live out that tenet. Through our own words and actions, we seek to build bridges and nourish caring, supportive, respectful communities.

We invite the wider community to recommit to that essential promise.

Rev. Coe Hutchison

Grace Lutheran Church

Rev. Dianne Andrews

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Rev. Paul Heins

First Presbyterian Church

Rev. Kate Lore

Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Pastor Collette Pekar

Port Townsend Seventh-day Adventist

Rev. Ron McClung

Peace Lutheran Fellowship

Rev. David Eekhoff

Presbyterian Counseling Center of Port Townsend

Pastor Scott W. Rosekrans

Community United Methodist Church, Port Hadlock

Sarah McMahan, M.A.

Port Townsend

Rev. Skip Cadorette

First Baptist Church

Rev. Tony Brown

Trinity United Methodist Church

  • 11

We are aware of the rapid increase of the deer population in our town. Sadly, it is to their detriment. Many appear to be underfed, unhealthy looking, and it is sad to see them and their young scavenging for nourishment.

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I am an addiction medicine specialist in rural Washington. Despite serious access issues to my specialized services and the morbidity and mortality involved, I have decided to opt out of Medicare because of the administrative liabilities. Furthermore, I find it unacceptable that patient conf…

  • 2

I took my children and grandchildren swimming at Lake Tarboo on many summer days. I have enjoyed the false sense of being in the backwoods created by the drive from the paved highway on the gravel road through the corridor of trees left explicitly to create this veneer of remoteness.

  • 5

Patrick J. Kennedy, son of the longtime Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, stated he grew up in a home that had a bulletproof vest in every closest. 

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Originating in the hills above Beaver and Center valleys, Chimacum Creek flows through the fertile lowlands, home to many of Jefferson County’s oldest family farms and prime agricultural land.

  • 0

On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. On that day Germany surrendered to the Allied Powers at precisely the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month bringing to end “the war to end all wars.”

  • 0

I write in support of Mindy Walker’s election as our next District Court Judge. What sets Ms. Walker apart, in my opinion, is her innate sense of ethics.

  • 0

The re-election of Sheriff Stanko should be a given because he has worked tirelessly and well for Jefferson County.  Unfortunately, there seems to be some discussion about Sherif Stanko’s ability to continue to do the job. Most of this unfounded discussion comes from the Democratic Party in …

  • 0

When Stanko was elected as sheriff, he had an assessment of JCSO. The assessor who evaluated the public records department spent little or no time interviewing the records staff. Instead, she spoke almost exclusively with a part-time volunteer who had nothing to do with public records.

  • 1

When our sheriff, Dave Stanko, took office almost four years ago, the department was in disarray, according to an assessment by the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs.  In their evaluation they found the sheriff’s department failing ten of the twelve standards, including j…

  • 0

I am responding to two of the many misleading statements made by Wendy Davis Pate in her 9/12/18 Letter to the Editor.

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The Jefferson County Public Utility District is an extremely important institution in this area. And, as a retired resident, I really value Tom Brotherton’s history of positive action.

  • 9

Grammatical and typographical errors are annoying to readers and show sloppy carelessness on the part of any publisher, but those that depict factual inaccuracies are not only unprofessional, they are hugely damaging. In this time of misleading information and downright lying, every respecta…

  • 0

Considering the partisan and divisive times we are experiencing as a country it is critical to remain focused on the truth. Whisper campaigns are the absolute worst. Posting hysterical rants on Facebook, spreading unsubstantiated stories, creating “good ole boy” networks via letters to the e…

  • 2

In a social setting, you would find that Dave Stanko is a nice guy. Thinking the same, I supported Dave in 2014 because he was the better of the two finalists for sheriff. It didn’t take long after the election when I learned that Dave Stanko was not the person I thought he was.

  • 0

Two decades ago I served as a grand juror in Ohio. One of our last cases was difficult. The Assistant District Attorney explained that a pregnant woman had been seriously beaten by her husband, who had been arrested following her complaint and significant injuries.

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Thursday evening I had the pleasure to attend a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters and other women groups at the Chimacum Senior Center.  

  • 3

Thank you for taking the time out of your week to become a little more informed about the happenings in Jefferson County. If you’re reading this, chances are you live here or at the very least, know someone who does.

  • 2

The 2018 elections for municipal, county, and state offices take on added importance given the current circumstance of national politics. Skipping over the hundreds of single offenses made to the office of president by the current occupant, and listing only the broad categories into which th…

  • 4

CNBC surveyed its Global CFO Council to gain insight into the status of the global economy. “In the third quarter survey the CFO’s note that the only one economy in the world is currently improving, the United States.”

  • 0

Michael Haas is a good person and prosecutor. Jefferson County is lucky to have an elected prosecutor who has done both defense and prosecution creating a progressive view of the criminal justice system.

  • 0

I have been involved in our Criminal Justice System in Jefferson County for 27 years and I will be endorsing Mindy Walker for District Court Judge. I know both candidates and I respect each of them. Mindy gets my vote because she has a broad base of experience that will inform her work on th…

  • 1

I’m not in the habit of writing endorsements for candidates, however, the importance of this coming PUD Commissioner election and the significance of voting for this candidate demand scrutiny.