Posted 4/10/24

The water’s fine


Wars start by misunderstandings, by distortions of fact - or by seeing things through different lenses.

I find myself thinking that the Julie Jaman …

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The water’s fine


Wars start by misunderstandings, by distortions of fact - or by seeing things through different lenses.

I find myself thinking that the Julie Jaman incident is such a situation: first a misunderstanding, then responses, then divisions exploited by various groups, near and far.

I wasn’t there so my understanding may be off but something like the following appears to have happened:

An 82-year old woman (Julie) is showering off the chlorine, she hears what she perceives to be a male voice a few inches away. She does not realize it is a person who now actually identifies as a female. Julie responds from a place of fear. Things get said, perhaps loudly. The YMCA, which manages the pool, bars Julie for life.

Rather than “coming together” and working this out, sides are taken.

Divisions grow amongst us and we seem to reflect the growing darkness of our country and world.

From this perspective there are several things I’d like to say, hopefully in service to a solution.

1. (Full disclosure) I met Julie Jaman 35 years ago shortly after moving to Port Townsend. She quickly became a mentor and inspiration for community involvement. She is on my shortlist of those who have contributed to the quality of life here for balance rather than for the tourist facade.

2. Communities usually have an oft-invisible “immune function” that emerges when misunderstandings arise - something we noticed when first moving here. Perhaps this current conflict might call that out, for starters anyway.

3. Issues arising from this incident have been - apparently quite easily - latched onto by outside and local groups with axes to grind. I encourage cutting through this so we can get to the core issues where a resolution can emerge.

4. Issues of the LGBTQ community - pressures on them - unwillingness of other groups to learn and listen - and issues of elders (fragility, health, old habits - whatever). This implies an opportunity for adapting to “new ways” as we change.

May we all swim together in the life of this place we call home.

Robert Greenway


New day


I appreciate Celeste Peterson’s plea that children need more adult guidance, but I disagree with her reason. She seems to be worried that they might be getting the wrong kind of guidance from the adults they now trust. She mentions gender transition in particular, and youth being “encouraged by influencers to self-label …” I don’t know who these influencers are, and if they exit. But I would rather our children experiment with self-labeling than live with the misguided assumptions of the rest of society about who they ought to be. It’s a breath of fresh air to know that today a high school student can claim to be gay, bisexual, non-binary, or just unsure for a day or a lifetime - with much less concern about the reaction of their peers than in previous generations.

Yes, we should “help the youth learn to think critically.”  But we also need to help them learn to listen to their hearts.


Matthew Miner


County budget woes


Regarding Jefferson County budget difficulties due to the inflation life becomes unmanageable.

Oooohhhhh, how I feel your pain! And the same pain to most Port Townsend residents.

As I see it, this is the only solution.

Stop it! Just stop printing money and giving it away. How much money has been paid to the national debt?  It would sure be nice to not have to pay my debts and just keep printing money, wouldn't?

Here is something you will never, never hear, "The USA Government is lowering taxes"!

How much money is paid toward the US national debt? How can I get away with not paying my debts just like the Government gets away with.

Barely surviving,


Zan Harlich


Where's the Village


It takes a village to help raise our youth, and there appears to be a critical disconnection between our elders and our youth, so it's no surprise to me that there is a lot of confusion about how to help young people and their families in Port Townsend.

There are a number of issues I hear young families asking for help with, such as affordable housing, higher paying jobs, and inclusive spaces. Some of our youth are homeless or on the verge of homelessness. Many families live in poverty in Jefferson County, and the minimum wage for a single person to afford housing here in Port Townsend is over $27 an hour. Inclusive spaces where families feel welcome is also an issue. Diversity keeps communities healthy and vibrant.

What I don't hear from youth or their families? The need for elders to teach them about gender. I would like to invite our elders to ask questions, stay curious and let the youth (and their doctors) lead the way. Let's not forget that bodily autonomy extends to us all.


George Marie


“Sometimes we don’t get it right,” said John Mauro.


Recently I attended a JeffCo BOCC meeting virtually where city manager John Mauro, representing the city and the Healthier Together Steering Committee which he is a member of, supported the idea of creating yet another “task force” about the proposed aquatic center. I bet many don’t know that there were reports bought and paid for with our tax dollars and then buried because it didn’t provide results in support of the Taj Mahal of aquatic centers that Mauro and other staff members wanted. The reports referenced the possibility of remodeling the current pool instead, at a cost closer to four million dollars. These reports were only uncovered after a freedom of information request was submitted to the city! To date, we are nearing close to a million dollars spent including city and county staff time and expenses, and now, because of community input, they want a redo? At how much additional cost? We could have been 25 percent of the way to having a finished, improved/remodeled existing pool! We do not want to see a PFD taxing authority created! If Port Townsend wants a Taj Mahal pool they can raise the funds to pay for it without tax implications for the rest of us. I will end this as I started, with John Mauro, “sometimes we don’t get it right” Well John, sometimes there are not second chances, and the odds are that you would not get it right with a second chance either.


Shellie Yarnell



Stay informed


We can have an informed conversation about the demands Julie Jaman has made on the city and the YMCA if we read the demand letter. 

As The Leader pointed out in its 4-3-24 edition, the demand letter is available on The Center for American Liberty website @ https://libertycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/20240319_Jaman_Demand_Letter.pdf


David Goldman





My subscription recently expired and I was weighing whether to renew or not, but today's paper answered that question for me. You printed a letter by Celeste Peterson in the April 3 edition that ignorantly condemns parents and adults who support kids to be themselves and embody their unique gender expression. This is a transphobic and homophobic viewpoint and there is enough transphobia in mainstream culture already, especially in rural small towns. Giving this hateful opinion a platform in the local newspaper emboldens people to be hateful and hurtful to transgender and gender non-binary people. These ideas lead to actions that hurt actual people.

You also published a complete falsehood in that letter, stating that supportive adults accepting their kids as they are can "lead to permanent physical harm". This is a falsehood commonly circulated by transphobic people and organizations pushing for the erasure of trans people. Gender-affirming surgeries are not performed on kids under 18 and they aren't performed at all without a lot of medical and therapeutic intervention. Please do your research and don't publish letters that include and circulate the kind of misinformation that would be found on Fox news or other nefarious sources. One thing that is proven to "lead to permanent physical harm" is the bullying and abandonment the gender non-conforming kids often experience, which leads them to commit suicide more frequently than their peers.

The writer of the letter blames social media and supportive adults for the rise in the number of out non-binary and trans children and clearly believes that this increase in visibility is a problem. Access to information and representation (seeing others who look like you feel) is a way that kids figure out who they are in the world. The legalization of gay marriage and a shift toward more acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people has led to more visibility in mainstream culture. Instead of suffering in silence, more non-conforming kids are being loved as they are and not forced to suppress important parts of themselves, which is a beautiful thing that should be celebrated.

Also, only six-tenths of one percent of the population identifies as transgender. This number includes kids and adults both. If in fact, the transgenders are taking over as this writer seems to fear, they are still dramatically outnumbered by cisgender people. Again, more evidence of the transphobic mania that has been blown out of proportion. I am very disappointed that the PT Leader chose to amplify this harmful message.



Bethany Hays


Yes to levy


Quilcene School is the heart and soul of our wonderful community, literally and figuratively. Its buildings, gardens, buses and playfields fill with 250+ members of our town, most days, with a multitude of activities nourishing the minds, bodies and spirits of its participants. Much of this is due to our continued support of the Educational Programs & Operational Levy (EP&O).

"Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant Nation." Walter Conkrite

We are a taxpaying, homeschooling family who have participated in many opportunities at the Quilcene School for over 30 years. Families, neighbors and school personnel welcomed us as we joined the Quilcene Theatre, sports, computer labs, testing, and gymnastics, all at the school.

In later years my son graduated from QHS and I was on the school board. The Board and community have worked hard to create the School Garden Program, Drama and Performing Arts programs, and we also established the PEARL program which provides a great service and helps supplement school expenses.

"Education breeds confidence, confidence breeds hope, hope breeds peace"- Confuscius

Quilcene School provides Career and Tech Ed., Sports, Wilderness survival and game clubs. All the while maintaining and adding to the physical infrastructure, and a unique school lunch program . We also employ a large number of folks from our community! We couldn't do this without the EP&O Levy. Quilcene School and our community are richly entwined and need our continued support for this Replacement Levy.

Our kids deserve this. We can do it. Please vote Yes!

"A child without education is like a bird without wings." Tibetan proverb



Kit Kittredge




Just wondering.... all the docks and piers in downtown Port Townsend, including the nice new walkway on the break water, do not have benches. One walks all the way out there and there is no place to sit down and enjoy the view and the cormorants.


Linda & Rust Spurgeon