Posted 2/28/24

Editor’s Note:

Reflection and renewal


While we wait for spring to bring its softness and renewal, the late winter season delivers a period of reflection.

Next week, …

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Editor’s Note:

Reflection and renewal


While we wait for spring to bring its softness and renewal, the late winter season delivers a period of reflection.

Next week, the annual State of the City address in Port Townsend looks back at 2023, and shares updates from city leadership about what’s around the corner. The live event is held on Monday, March 4 from 10 to 11 a.m. at Point Hudson Pavilion, 355 Hudson Street, and will also be available online. Mayor David Faber and City Manager John Mauro will discuss the 2024 Workplan and Comprehensive Plan, and the public is invited to attend and ask questions through the hybrid in-person and virtual format.

Advance registration through the Chamber is requested. If you can’t attend, there are other ways to make your voice heard. Contact city administration at 360-379-5047 to connect with your representatives.

John Mauro also contributes to our Opinion page this week with an important note on taxes, alongside the return of bi-weekly columns from Ned Luce and Carole Marshall.

Among your letters, a response to last week’s editorial cartoon highlights the good work of Habitat for Humanity, after several readers expressed upset over the illustration. I talked about it with Rob Pudim, our cartoonist, who once volunteered for Habitat and described himself as “very sympathetic” with the organization’s work and goals.

“I think I could have done the cartoon better,” he told me in a recent email. “It was not clear that I was supporting their efforts in PT.”

Pudim said he appreciates the sweat-equity approach and opportunities afforded by Habitat. During his time as a volunteer, his observation was that the state provided no funding and was not generally involved. “I did not intend to criticize their construction,” Pudim said. “The help I was referring to was state funding.”

My own confusion about the image should have given enough pause to discuss it more with Pudim before publication. This week’s letter from Habitat shines a light on their quality.

Today we’re also kicking off a series by Holly Erickson, profiling regional makers, with the story of The Chainmaker, a woman who’s forged a special tradition, one link at a time. Plus, you’ll find plenty of colorful art and performance in our pages, as new exhibits open for Art Walk and a concert comes to The Palindrome to delight Buena Vista Social Club fans.

Until next week … thank you for reading.

Share your stories and news tips via email to editor@ptleader.com, or on our website at www.ptleader.com online.


Habitat and humor


You may have heard a collective groan from the direction of your Habitat last week when our hometown paper published an affordable housing cartoon. The editorial message appeared to support the most recent state funding for affordable housing, but unfortunately at the expense of Habitat.



The artwork depicted a chaotic assemblage of house framing labeled, “Habitat for Humanity.”  This was a bit of a shock coming from a paper whose editors and journalists we so highly respect for their professionalism and past support for our efforts. While the cartoonist rightly noted that Habitat deserves help, the kind of help Habitat needs is not how to build a better house. Habitat’s volunteers and staff build homes to the highest level of professionalism, even exceeding building codes. Professional builders with literally hundreds of years in combined construction experience supervise dedicated volunteers from throughout East Jefferson County and beyond to complete homes of which we and they are rightly proud. The help we do need is the kind generously provided by the state with the recent grant of Housing Trust Funds, for which we are grateful. This help builds on the generosity of the donors who contribute to purchase the lumber, concrete, nails, and land that go into each Habitat home. In two years, we will break ground on the Mason Street Neighborhood in Port Hadlock, a property with 150 homes that are affordable to a wide range of families and individuals who live and work in Jefferson County. We are not new to this endeavor – our pedigree is extensive with hard-won, tested experience. On Monday, March 4, we release our annual Impact Report on our website, www.habitatejc.org. We invite you to review some of our accomplishments over the 25-plus years of our work in this community. I want to thank The Leader for giving us another opportunity to remind our community what we build together. 


Jamie Maciejewski, Executive Director

Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County




Rising taxes


Our property tax increased more than 11 percent. It is higher than all of our utilities and insurance combined. That combined with an increase in homeowner’s insurance and increased cost to maintain property should be considered before demanding rent stabilization. Many people still have mortgages on the property they rent out.


Jerome Druen

Port Townsend



Feeling filtered out


The City of Port Townsend is having a State of the City on March 4 at 10 a.m. This is an opportunity to “ask questions and learn how you can engage in 2024,” their flyer states. I for one will not be participating, because like all of my friends and a majority of my personal community, I will be at work. I know this is a retirement community, but we aren’t all actually retired, and scheduling events like this during conventional working hours heavily filters out a huge portion of the community. One can only assume that the City has no interest in the input of working people, and has no desire to engage with us. In that case, the flyer in the newspaper should be amended to read “State of the City: An Annual Address to A Select Portion of the People of Port Townsend.” At least then we would all be on the same page. The same goes for the golf course, which is having an open house to provide input at 3:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. When someone inevitably wonders where all the young people are and disparages us for not participating, I hope they eventually realize it’s not for lack of interest.


Christine Jacobson

Port Townsend



On the ballot


Jefferson County’s Presidential Primary ballot raises serious questions:

1) By requiring a voter to declare as Republican or Democrat on the outside of the return envelope, next to the voter’s name and address, does the envelope make public information about the voter’s party affiliation that is otherwise private? Voter registration in Washington is strictly nonpartisan; there is no public record of party affiliation.

2) Primary rules require that voters declaring as Democrats must vote in the Democratic primary and voters declaring as Republicans must vote in the Republican primary. How will the County Auditor verify — before discarding the envelope with the party declaration — that a voter has not “crossed over” to vote in the opposite party’s primary? Will that verification compromise the secrecy of the ballot?

I support Washington’s all-mail elections. But public confidence in the integrity of elections requires those who administer them — in this case the County Auditor — to be painstakingly diligent and vigilant. Does this Presidential Primary meet that standard?


Herb Cook

Gardiner, WA


Habitat’s homebuilding momentum


I was shocked to see what surely must have been an editorial error in choosing to run last week’s syndicated cartoon (Feb 21, 2024). Historically, The Leader has accurately captured the success stories of our local Habitat for Humanity. Here are a few examples. When Rep. Steve Tharinger and colleagues came to see the energy efficient, innovative design of Habitat’s six new paired homes on Landes Street, Kirk Boxleitner reported on it in “State Commerce Director visits East Jefferson Habitat” (Nov. 22, 2023). When Habitat held a community meeting to invite input on its future 150-home neighborhood in Port Hadlock, Boxleitner shared details in “East Jefferson Habitat previews Mason Street neighborhood” (Jan. 31, 2024). When our local Habitat Executive Director, Jamie Maciejewski went to Washington D.C. to advocate for families as part of the national “Cost of Home” campaign, Boxleitner wrote “Habitat lobbies Capitol for affordable housing funds” (Feb. 14, 2024). These articles tell the true story of what is happening locally: Habitat’s dynamic and committed staff is galvanizing the community to help address our affordable housing crisis. Volunteers are pounding nails, painting walls, donating furniture and cars, and writing checks. Local tradesmen and women are wiring, plumbing, and roofing homes. Funders are taking note of the synergy and matching our community’s commitment with grant money. In 2023, our local Habitat helped 11 families become first-time homeowners. This momentum is exciting. As a member of Habitat’s board, I could not be more proud. So rather than spend too much time being mad about a misleading cartoon, I opted to show my support for Habitat by writing an extra check. And, I am going to list Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County in my will to help ensure that our local Habitat will continue to build and steward permanently affordable homes long into the future.


Kathryn Maly

Port Townsend