Posted 11/1/23

Our terrible roads

Our roads are horrible!! As a fair-weather bike rider, I really see up close how bad they really are. Initiatives passed in the 2000s reduced taxes that were previously used …

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Our terrible roads

Our roads are horrible!! As a fair-weather bike rider, I really see up close how bad they really are. Initiatives passed in the 2000s reduced taxes that were previously used for transportation. Washington cities lost most of their transportation maintenance funding.

This loss of funds combined with 20+ years of nearly no preventative maintenance has led to the deterioration of our city streets.

I think there might be a solution! On our upcoming ballot there will be a chance to vote for the Transportation Benefit District (TBD). With a TBD we can preserve many streets before they get to this point. Unfortunately, many streets in Port Townsend are already past the point of no return but there are many that we can preserve now. Funds from a Transportation Benefit District can only be used for the sole purpose of transportation improvements. All of us complain about the streets! Here is a way all of us can contribute to making them better.

The TBD would be funded by a 0.3 percent sales tax, this does not include food or prescription medications. A 0.3 percent sales tax means that everyone who uses our roads pays for them not just the people who live in Port Townsend but also tourists and people who live in the county. 114 other cities in Washington state already have TBD's formed, including Port Angeles, Sequim and Poulsbo. When you shop in these other communities you are paying for their streets.

I am more than willing to pay a 0.3 percent tax to improve our roads. Please join me in voting for the Transportation Benefit District in November.

Debbi Steele

Port Townsend


Appreciation is appreciated

As a 20-year subscriber and occasional contributor, I’m encouraged by the last few issues of the Leader.  We are seeing less petty crime and unreadable filler, and more community news – the election update, KPTZ radio, the return of the orcas, the search for the sunken treasure ship, local sports and thoughtful letters to the editor.

While community newspapers across the nation struggle to survive, The Leader remains healthy, thanks to aging readers like me who understand that community news is crucial to our civic and economic lives.  We continue to subscribe despite a chaotic revolving door of editors and reporters and frequent abuse of journalistic principles and basic grammar.

Port Townsend has benefited from a newspaper with a long, proud record of consistent community news.  This is one of the reasons I chose to live here.  In recent years, we’ve remained loyal not because the paper was good, but because we cling to the hope that you can sort out your issues and get back to the business of small town journalism.

The last few weeks suggest that our patience may yet be rewarded.  We still yearn for serious reporting from city and county government, from the port and the PUD and more. We need a useful arts and events calendar, and updates on projects like the Point Hudson seawall and the new roundabout.

But you’re reminding us that a new editor and a couple of good reporters can make a big difference.  I hope you can keep it up.

Ross Anderson

Port Townsend

Thank you. Quality content matters and Jefferson County / Port Townsend deserve the best newspaper we can create when truth itself is under assault. ~ ED


But we suck

While I will be quite surprised if this makes it to print, I feel it’s time to express the madness of the elephant in the living room: the rapid descent of what used to be a lovely little hometown newspaper.

Port Townsend has changed a great deal in the 30 years since I came to her lovely shores. Some of it for the better. Some of it tragically not. 

Most of us viewed The Leader as part of our community. If we wanted “gloom and doom”, we could get something from Seattle. The Leader used to cover local events like the Kinetic, sports and other hometown based activities. We could count on a positive view of reporting and accurate information.

What we have now is a junior high level writing style that really wants to be the next Seattle Times. What we have now is nothing short of shameful. The layout looks like a rough draft and the syntax and misspelled words are an English teacher’s nightmare. 

I will be amazed if The Leader exists in another 5 years.  Obviously, by then, the editor and current staff will be enjoying their days working at the local burger shop (or similar professions) far away from journalistic pursuits, for which, they appear to be much better suited. 

It’s a genuine shame that something as delightful as this local newspaper is being destroyed. I’ve enjoyed The Leader from numerous journeys across the world. I was always eager to hear light hearted stories regardless of where I was reading it. However, I, like many others, am canceling my subscription today.  

Rest In Peace, dear Leader. Welcome to the half baked, poorly executed version of your once lovely self. 

JD Wilder

So much for enjoying the accolades. (smile) ~ ED


Gratitude for community

This letter is to express my gratitude to all those who helped me during a difficult accident. Sometimes we forgot all those kind words and actions that our neighbors give us with their time and positive actions when sudden challenges happen.

As I age, as well as my dog, I realize how precious each day of our lives are and the freedom we sometimes take for granted.

When I ride the bus I am thankful for the careful bus drivers who navigate the roads. The opportunities to reach out to others with just a smile, the stranger who holds the door open for you, the nurse who listens to your story without interrupting, the cook who prepares a warm and delicious Indian curry soup for you, the veterinarian who helps keep your pet alive, those artists who create paintings and poems that raise our souls to higher heights... and the quiet way the sea and lakes and mountains and trees keep us connected to the mystery and beauty in our world, in spite of all the other violence and hatred right now in the universe.

For these things I give thanks,

Nan Toby Tyrrell

Port Townsend, Washington

And for those who share their gratitude, reminding us to live within our own — Thank you, Nan Toby Tyrell. ~ ED


Affordable housing

Dear Editor:

I just wanted to thank you for your op ed on affordable housing in Port Townsend. Thank you for a very readable clear summary of our situation. I am retired, but standing by for the next generation I hope our community will be able to have.

Cathe Clapp

Thank you. The coming population implosion will rock the world and change dynamics even here in desirable Port Townsend, but it’s nice to think we may be able to sail out ahead of the looming storm. ~ ED


Mistakes that multiply

Dear Editor,

A letter I had written which appeared in the October 25th edition of The Leader was mistakenly published despite the assurance of the Editor that a revised version would be supersede it. I submitted my revision in plenty of time to meet the deadline. When I opened the paper, much to my dismay I learned that my original letter about candidates submitting information to the Voter’s Guide was the original version that I did NOT want published.

I had written my original letter before I found out some information about a particular candidate that I didn’t previously know and I didn’t want to make any type of director indirect endorsement in the midst of my rant about the lack of candidate info in the Voter’s Guide. I guess this illustrates my point about the value of the Voter’s Guide because I inadvertently endorsed someone based on this lack of information.

The Welch family has a long history of political and historical involvement, and as descendants of Port Townsend pioneers, we take pride in service to our community and preserving its past. My sister-in-law in particular has been instrumental in showcasing Port Townsend’s history. We also happen to share the same name: Ann(e) Welch. My inadvertent endorsement of a candidate I do not support and the published letter has been highly embarrassing; not only to me but my sister-in-law as well.

Both my sister-in-law and I heartily endorse Nathaniel O’Hara, the incumbent, for School Board. I (we) do NOT endorse his opponent as indicated in last week’s edition.

We also urge our Port Townsend neighbors to vote for Simon Little, Matt Klontz, and John Nowak.


Val Anne (Annie) Welch

Apologies. Good reminders here for all of us to take care. When we have multiple copies of the same document, sometimes we pick up the wrong one. We’re working on it. ~ ED


A No! Vote for yet another Regressive Sales Tax

Dear Editor;

Our family is voting no on the proposed PT retail sales tax hike – not because our streets and roads don’t badly need repair – hoo boy! But because it is cruel and unfair to our lower-income residents.

With ever-widening income gaps and the spiraling recession/depression, times are very tough and getting tougher for many of us.

Regressive taxes, such as the one being proposed, force those with LESS income to pay proportionately MORE tax. Though 0.3% may seem a pittance to some, it can be a tipping point for those slashing their food budgets to stay housed.

There is more than one way for the city to balance its budget. An economist on the program “Bioneers” said,

“When your output is more than your income, Your upkeep becomes your downfall.”

Money comes in, yes, from us taxpayers. Then it goes out... for projects that city departments, the city manager and the council decide upon.

Over the past 20 years we have seen large amounts of our city tax money spent for things of questionable need or value. Just a few examples:

•Cutting the poplars at the entrance to our town (thank goodness it hasn’t happened yet – maybe we can still stop it).

•High priced public art that few appreciate.

•A lavish Maritime Center -- when the very sewers that service it are falling apart and spewing pollution into our bay!

We want citizens to be part of the yearly process of deciding practical priorities for our city and our budget. We request a vastly more transparent budgeting process, with town hall meetings that include lots of room for public input. Let’s make these decisions together, before big-ticket items -- that citizens may see as unnecessary -- are budgeted and spent.

Alea Waters and Lang Russel

Port Townsend