Posted 2/21/24

Facing the changes


Mitzi Jo Gordon


It sounds cliché, because it’s true: Change is the one true constant.

 I’m changing all the time, and …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in



Facing the changes


Mitzi Jo Gordon


It sounds cliché, because it’s true: Change is the one true constant.

 I’m changing all the time, and so is The Leader. The newspaper is also meant to reflect the changes taking place all around us.

Occasionally a drastic shift will happen fast, but most often, these things take time. Like a city you revisit after years away to discover that gradual demolition and construction have rendered it unrecognizable.

When I started at The Leader last month, I asked a question about what you, as readers, want to see more of in the newspaper. And you answered, sending in dozens of emails with feedback and suggestions.

You’ve asked for more reporting on local government, and expanded event listings. For news from all of Jefferson County, beyond the County seat. You want to hear from affected community members, and see unbiased reporting about important issues: parks, shoreline and sewer management, affordable housing, schools, food resources, the local economy, gentrification.

Know that you are heard, and with each weekly edition I am working to bring in new voices, and develop a balance among these topics in our pages. Change takes time. Thanks for sticking around. I hope you will continue reaching out to share your stories, your ideas, and your feedback — both positive and critical. Your emails are always welcomed.


Until next we meet — thank you for reading.




Dim the lights


Port Townsend is home to many species of birds, whether they live here year-round or are just migrating through.

Migratory or resident, all Port Townsend birds are affected by light pollution—excessive use of artificial or outdoorlight, which often has a negative effect on human health as well as wildlife behavior. Even small towns like PortTownsend have a light pollution problem. Many people contribute to it, whether they know it or not. It can be assimple as leaving a few bright lights on all night in your house, or as drastic as having spotlights in your yard.

Birds, especially migratory ones, are some of the creatures most affected by light pollution. It’s estimated that a whopping one billion migrating birds are killed each year in collisions with illuminated buildings. Along with death bycollision, light pollution can drastically throw off bird migration routes. Many birds migrate at night, following the light of the moon. But studies show that birds will be confused by artificial lights and fly toward cities and towns,instead of following their natural migration routes.

The problem is even worse for seabirds, who often use the moon’s reflection on the water to find their way. In Iceland,puffin fledglings use the moon’s reflection on the water as a guide when they make their first flight from the nest.

Now, however, instead of seeing reflected moonlight on the sea, they see and fly toward the lights of Icelandic towns,where they gather, confused and vulnerable to predators. The townspeople must bring them back to the sea andrelease them.

So next time you notice that your upstairs light is still on and nobody is in the room, turn it off. Talk to yourneighbors. And, most important, turn off any exterior lights shining into the neighborhood.


Hilina Taylor-Lenz

Port Townsend



Insurance recovery


As l make my way to my semi-annual doctor’s appointment today, and a minor surgical procedure next month, l do so secure in the knowledge that l am insured. Two weeks ago this was not so. In checking with Humana regarding my supplemental coverage l was told, point blank, “Due to nonpayment of your premium three months ago you are not covered by us. “Whaaaat?” I gasped. At 79+ years of age, this was a breathtaking gut punch.

Seriously stunned, l called Kristin Manwaring’s insurance offices to find out how to get re-covered. Not so fast there Bucky. l then discovered l was no longer their client — hadn’t been for 6+ years and it appeared l had passed Humana’s legal deadline to even plead my case.

Kristin’s warm response to my rendition of “The Perfect Storm” was nothing short of kindness personified. “I can’t promise anything, but l shall try.” She reported back after days of nail-biting uncertainty that her efforts to work with a distant colleague from within Humana had produced success.

Her contact, Samantha, shared that she went out on a limb for me, because the request had been made out of good-hearted neighborly care with no monetary gain for Kristin. Should you require health insurance assistance, l wholeheartedly recommend Kristin Manwaring.


Susan Cook

Port Townsend



Protect the octopus


As a long-time resident of Washington, I am deeply concerned about the potential establishment of octopus farms in our state. It’s essential to recognize that we currently have no octopus farms here, and the one that existed in Hawaii was shut down following animal cruelty investigations. The potential facility in Spain has faced heavy protests and delays. Octopuses are extremely intelligent creatures, recognized as sentient beings in the UK, where the House of Lords is considering similar legislation. By supporting Washington’s potential law, HB 1153 (Prohibiting octopus farming), we can proactively prevent octopus farms and set a precedent for other states and countries to follow. Let’s take this opportunity to lead the way in animal welfare and environmental stewardship. Contact your State Senator and encourage them to vote yes on saving octopus.


Wendy Linton

Seattle, WA



Rent stabilization needed


As a developer who has spent most of my work-life creating affordable housing for low- and moderate-income folks, I strongly support the measure to stabilize rents that is moving forward at the State Legislature. It deserves your support as well.

The bill, ESHB 2114, passed the House last week. The heart of the bill is a reasonable limit on annual rent increases (7 percent) for existing tenants. A cap on rent increases means predictable costs for renters, eliminating for many the threat of displacement and homelessness, while allowing landlords sufficient rent to keep up with expenses. The rent stabilization bill is a compromise and has the backing of housing advocates and property owners; now, with over 60 percentof the public supporting it, is the time to make it law.

I know from my work that while increasing the supply of market and affordable homes and apartments is critical to resolving the statewide housing crisis, it will take much time to do so. It is no less important at the same time to protect renters who are stably housed today. The lack of housing impacts us all, and if rents continue to increase faster than incomes, then families will be forced into a market with scarce affordable options, thus few opportunities to remain in the community. Clearly it will be effective and far more efficient to keep someone in housing they can afford than to develop a new subsidized apartment for them.

ESHB 2114 will be up for a hearing in the Senate Thursday, Feb. 22, and our 24th District Senator Kevin Van De Wege is a key vote. You can help secure passage of this fair and just measure by calling or writing to Sen. Van De Wege at 360-786-7646 and kevin.vandewege@leg.wa.gov.


Mark Blatter

Port Townsend