Stinson understands policy

Posted 9/18/19

In the form of mayoral city the voters of Port Townsend have selected there are parallels with many local governments. Be they school, hospital, fire and rescue, port or county bodies, they all …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Stinson understands policy


In the form of mayoral city the voters of Port Townsend have selected there are parallels with many local governments. Be they school, hospital, fire and rescue, port or county bodies, they all govern by establishing and following policy. This is accomplished by employing an administrator to carry out the policies these various boards have established in the public interest.

On this basis I recommend that Port Townsend voters reelect Deborah Stinson to our city council. Simply stated, she clearly understands and follows the manner in which a policy maker must function relative to administration. In this regard, and many others, she has been an outstanding council member, so much so that in her present term her fellow council members selected her to lead them as our mayor. It makes great sense that we retain her to represent us on council.

Please vote to reelect Deborah Stinson to our city council. Thank you!

Dave Woodruff
Port Townsend


13 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Dawn mohrbacher


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I support the laws and codes that City Government is there to implement or change by lawful means that hold society together. Deborah Stinson has served 2 terms, at least one as Appointed Mayor. During those terms the volunteer parking enforcement program was deconstructed to nothing. Taken apart and thrown away. The Planning Commission requested but was not allowed to review parking codes and more. The police via a volunteer place all the blame for non enforcement and no plan on Stinson and the No Term Limit Council. I would gladly place that comment here that reveals so much. Just ask. Does the writer of this letter know more than this person and even myself about the current situation. Why are all on record Stinson supporters not currently in City Government?

My Stinson perspective comes as a 23 year PT business person with a considerable amount of my life savings at stake. I see parking problems daily including visitors who obey posted parking limits backed by Municipal Code being discriminated against and treated as fools. I live the day to day cultural meltdown of the new self centered folk who without concern take public parking all day in the Historic District. Stinson oversees and created the culture as Appointed Mayor. You have to do the whole job, not just part. First you don't damage members of your community. You act as a good neighbor, and follow law. Please answer that Mr. Woodruff. Stinson never has.

For 5 years including this week, there has been regular photo and text documentation of the chaotic anarchy and cultural damage (me first screw you) Deborah Stinson as Appointed Mayor managed into place. She has never responded to my ongoing information and documentation showing ongoing damage. Never once. Closed off shut down and not communicating. Minimal enforcement came and went when Stinson's failure was publicized. There is none now.

Every business, resident and employee in the Historic District knows they can park all day any day and block public access. Studies were not implemented and there is no Parking Plan. It is gross incompetence, not "Leadership." There is no leadership. No needed Parking Plan that provides solutions beyond ticketing. Cars parked illegally all day today and every day impacting visitor access are the proof. There are many legal ways to track illegally parked cars, chalk and camera. If Stinson claims that as a reason for no enforcement she has not done her homework. I invite once again Appointed Mayor and 2 term Council Member Stinson to explain her lack of leadership on this. The inconvenient is ignored. The legacy of damage is denied.

Stinson illustrates why term limits and an elected not appointed mayor are needed in Port Townsend. Voters please do your own research and vote out the silent picking and choosing of which laws and ordinances to enforce or ignore. Vote out corrupted thinking, in all Council positions. Stinson as Appointed Mayor places the current Police Chief and City Attorney in a difficult space. One police officer called Port Townsend politics the "Self Licking Ice Cream Cone". Leadership and morale go hand in hand.

Harvey Windle Forest Gems Mill and Gallery since 1996 in PT

Myself and others are Collateral Damage

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Tom Camfield

I can understand your arguments, Harvey—but I don't see going all out over parking being the only function of our city government. I don't want some one-trick pony with "rabbit ears" drawing up the proposed agenda for the groop of which she actually is an elected part. There remains for consideration a vast somewhat-silent majority of quieter voices

As a citizen I hsve concerns more important to me than where to park my car. One of those would be accommodating the continuation of the outstanding police protection we have at present. Lord knows that in this era of mass shootings, burgeoning population, etc. we could use more well-trained men and women in uniform (and fewer guns in private hands, while I'm on this subject). I'd rather have a cop keeping watch over our schools than downtown marking tires with chalk.

Also, although I've not met Ms. Stinson, I've respected Dave's intelligent opinions on things for quite a few years.

And looking to things down the road a ways, low-cost housing is becoming more and more of a need as we become more and more a suburb of Seattle . . . including gentrification. I'm also concerned that in my grandchildren's lifetime fresh water is going to become a signifiant problem. Due to a decreased winter snow pack via global warming, ever-increasing population in the entire urban/suburban area served. I imagine that at some point among the short-sighted egocentric there will arise a hue and cry to close our paper mill. The self-serving critics haven't worked there, helping drive the community in the manner most of my family did after helping build the mill in 1927.

When some people talk bout "Our" community, I find it hard to envision where they're coming from . . or where they came from.

I've lived here for 90 years myself, 10 of them as a council member. My wife later spent 13 years there, perhaps in the same chair. One thing for sure is, those who stick it out upstairs at City Hall come more and more to realize the continuous change in our local society. During my time, my council pay was $20 a month. I don't know what Ms. Stinson and her compatriots knock down now, but it can't come close to compensating for the grief they endure.

So I'm opposed to small-town term limits; and on the basis of my experience and the nature of the opinions before me at the moment (and the manner in which they were presented), I shall be voting for Deborah Stinson;

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
David Thielk

Of course Deborah Stinson knows policy. And it is likely that any challenger will be less versed. This should be obvious because Ms. Stinson is the incumbent, and has been for some time.

All of your other comments emphasize Ms. Stinson's ability to follow policy, to follow administration's directives, and so forth. There is no doubt that Ms. Stinson knows her place in the system that was established by our first city manager. And she has done a great job of playing the role that has been assigned to her.

On the other hand, many of us voters want to vote for leadership defined by action and behaviors. One definition of leadership is "the ability to translate vision into reality." I am curious how you think that applies to Ms. Stinson.

I believe Ms. Stinson to have honor, integrity, and a wonderful person. But no one, including Ms. Stinson, will get my vote unless I can recognize actions and behaviors that turn vision in reality. One area in particular that I am focused on is carbon footprints and climate change. Can any one find a single action or behavior that has resulted in a lower carbon footprint in Port Townsend from Ms. Stinson's tenure? Affordable housing, traffic, quiet neighborhoods? Anything at all in the way of leadership on these issues? Diversity, support for working families? Give me something.

In the mean time, I will be looking at candidates who have demonstrated actions and behaviors which include leadership indicators. And, this also - I hear over and over from visitors and new residents about how "progressive" our little town is. And my reply is always the same - "Can you name one thing progressive that our city council has done in the last 10 years?"

The city manager is not elected and does not represent me. I can't vote for the city manager. But I can vote for city councilors. I expect to set the agendas and take the leadership role. With guidance by the city manager, of course.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Very true. The elected body should present the first draft, and the city manager should dot the i's and cross the t's . . . and coordinate the resources available. And Lord knows how feverish I am on the carbon footprint aspect of things, it being truly basic beyond the mere boundaries of our fine old town.

Everything boils down to money when push comes to shove. The public always seems to want more benefits without paying for them, expecting some savior to come galloping in on a white horse with saddlebags full of money. There's a limit on how much change we can expect from electing different people to office. The problems remain but their costs keep rising. Today's self-proclaimed hero will be just another villain come tomorrow.

So we can either shut down non-mandated services such as libraries and parks (non-essential to the public's physical health) and/or we can find a way to generate more money—like some sort of taxation based on a sliding scale between wealth and poverty. I'm below the median there, most likely, but I'm game.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Here goes Tom distorting my points and building on the distortion. Old trick. Of course "going all out over parking" is not the only function of City Government. It is in my face daily as I see a growing number of pretty damn rude folk empowered by Appointed Mayor Stinson flip the bird at law enforcement and social structure. I know that is way to abstract for Stinson, you too? I speak with the police regularly. The overall take on "city hall" meaning Council is not flattering. As I said "I support the laws and codes that City Government is there to implement or change by lawful means that hold society together. Deborah Stinson has served 2 terms, at least one as Appointed Mayor. During those terms the volunteer parking enforcement program was deconstructed to nothing. Taken apart and thrown away. The Planning Commission requested but was not allowed to review parking codes and more. The police via a volunteer place all the blame for non enforcement and no plan on Stinson and the No Term Limit Council." Here is what he said...

"As a former Police Volunteer and Parking Enforcement Officer, I wish to

comment on the issue of parking in the city of Port Townsend. The root of

the problem is the city council and its refusal to adequately address the

problem. The police department does not make the laws but only enforces

them. The department is at the mercy of the city to pass reasonable laws

and provide the police with the means to enforce them.

Sergeant Troy Surber is correct when he recently commented that there are

adequate parking places in Port Townsend. Unfortunately, there are also an

adequate number of persons who repeatedly flaunt the laws. Fines are a

necessary evil to curb these violators in order to provide available

parking places and ensure reasonable access to our businesses. However,

the fines are antiquated and ineffectual. The fine for violation of the

two-hour limit in much of downtown is $15.00 and cannot be given to a car

more than once in a day. In 2919, $15.00 for a full day of parking is a

bargain, and in this case, a joke. Too many times, I have written a

citation only to see the violator come to his car, look at the ticket and

laugh over his getting away with this parking bargain. Then, he/she

usually repeats the act time and time again, occupying a space all day for

days on end.

As I said, this is not a police matter but one for the city council who

pass the laws and set the fines. In addition, they are the people who

determine the financial resources of the police department with which to

enforce the laws. Police Chief Michael Evans has stated that he has never

been in favor of the tire-chalking method of parking enforcement because

it is cumbersome and time consuming. I strongly agree. When I would do a

parking enforcement duty, it would take me at least four hours, which is a

considerable amount of time and energy for a volunteer to do several times

a month. It is also disheartening to know the offenders scoff at the fines

and repeatedly come back for more.

As a former volunteer, this policy is one of the reasons why I am a

*former*, not current, volunteer. The other is the “dumbing down” of the

volunteer organization, but that is another subject for another

discussion. It would be great if there were 30 volunteers as there were

just a few years ago. This is possible to achieve because there are other

cities with such organizations that have even larger volunteer groups.

Achieving that goal requires significant alterations in policies and this

also is a different topic for another day.

It would be great to have a parking lot for downtown visitors, but a few

simple changes in the current situation would create huge improvements in

the parking problem. Doubling the parking fines and providing Chief Evans

with the funds with which to modernize the enforcement process would prove

Sgt. Surber’s contentions that adequate parking places do exist. Relief of

the parking problem is ultimately on the shoulders of the city council."

Exactly what policy does Stinson understand Dave Woodruff?? The policy of denial? Lets get some clean hands onto the No Term Limit City Council.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mr Woodruff- Regarding Appointed Mayor Stinson you say " This is accomplished by employing an administrator to carry out the policies these various boards have established in the public interest" Stinson denying the Planning Commission to review codes and laws for the Comprehensive Plan seems to be contrary to what you describe. The "public interest" surely was not served in the following account. If someone with good access to alert the public is treated as described, how then can any member of the public with problems or issues with Appointed Mayor Stinson's current City Government expect to be treated? From Leader Editor Dean Miller prior to the focus on elections. It is just about fair and open government. This is City Government, not a social club. Or is it? God help us if the voters can't think for themselves and believe signs and slogans.

"When Mayor Deborah Stinson and the City Council announced their top pick for City Manager had signed and returned Port Townsend’s job offer letter, we thought Port Townsend taxpayers would be interested to read it and asked for a copy.

City Hall said no.

We trust our elected officials to do their job, but citizens do not give up the right to verify what’s being done with our money and in our name. Democratic government relies on the consent of the governed, which presumes informed consent, not blind fealty.

It’s not just us saying it. In case after case, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the public’s right to know what government is up to.

Washington’s good open government law (RCW 42.30.110) gives elected officials leeway (not a requirement) to evaluate candidates in secret. Once a selection is made, salaries, wages and other working conditions are emphatically the public’s business.

We provided that citation July 10, but Mayor Stinson and Acting City Manager Nora Mitchell still refused to let any taxpayer read the offer letter and in six days of stalling and delaying, neither Stinson nor Mitchell produced a single citation to support the delay.

Instead, Mitchell, with Mayor Stinson’s full knowledge, asserted powers and privileges that don’t exist in law and that make a mockery of the comprehensive plan, which declares Port Townsend is devoted to “engagement” and other bedrock principles of responsive government.

Instead, Mitchell conjured a new extra-legal principle: Citizen review would be “premature” Mitchell wrote in response to our request. She’ll send us a copy later when City Hall feels the time is right.

In other words, City Hall wants citizen input when it’s too late to make any difference, a point we emphasized several times in demanding public access to public documents.

Monday night, City Hall, having consulted with City Attorney Heidi Greenwood, cited a section of Washington Law that allows them to “deliberate” in private.

So we asked if a correction is in order. After all, we reported last week the decision had been made and the offer accepted (signed) by the new City Manager.

That doesn’t sound like evaluation or deliberation. That sounds like an all-but-done deal.

Mitchell has advanced the idea that releasing the letter will harm the citizenry by hampering the city’s ability to drive a hard bargain.


City officials have read the letter.

And so has the gentleman offered the job.

So whose prying eyes are Stinson and Mitchell worried about?


This would have been an excellent time for interested citizens to take a look at the city’s offer and provide informed consent or dissent.

What’s the worst that could happen?

City Hall might not get rave reviews for its work.

The new City Manager might have to explain why he wants more money or time off than was offered.

Too bad.

Democracy, as Sir. Winston Churchill often said during messy debates or slow deliberations, is the worst possible form of government…except when you consider the alternatives.

We understand caution, but in erring, why not err on the side of the public’s right to know?

Opacity leads to distrust and our fine public officials will serve the public best with a policy of openness and engagement, not secrecy."

-Dean Miller

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Tom Camfield

In any case, I feel that readers must be tired of hearing about public parking by now and definitely are not hanging on and digesting every word of the continuing proliferation of verbosity here.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

In any case Tom, the Editorial about open process choosing the City Manager had nothing to do with parking. You can't drive this one into the ditch. The editorial has to do with the very core of Appointed Mayor Stinson's and Patsy for the status quo's ethics and this election. Sorry to have exceeded your attention span and ability to answer specifics. Discussion and debate are the delight of those with deep thoughts and firm arguments. You come off as a spoiled child losing at checkers and sweeping the board clean. Still waiting to hear from Mr. Woodruff. Are there any boiler plate slogans that can neutralize this and so much more????? Truly the only hope for Stinson supporters is that voters are as disconnected with reality as Appointed Mayor Stinson. If so and she wins it is a shallow victory. Who would want to be Queen of Fools?

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Tom Camfield

Hmmm. Where did I get the impression all of your comments stemmed from downtown parking, via council term limits, etc.? The role of a mayor vs. city manager? I keep seeing branches of the same tree.

In any case I've Iived in the town for 90 years, worked on the local paper the greater part of my life. Reported city council most of the way from 1954 though the 1970s, sat in a council seat for 10 years . . .

so I have a pretty good idea of how things have operated around here. For starters, city government is not an official adjunct of the chamber of commerce. Local business just comes under a broad umbrella covering the health and welfare of the general public. Waste disposal, for instance, is of greater importance than parking.

Friday, September 20, 2019
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

Tom- Somewhere around 1968 this was on the radio. Nights in White Satin. I give you a few lines from the song and then the poem that ended it "Late Lament" I think all of what we participate in is just a morality play. The backdrop is the shifting sands of time. Decade after decade of changing back drop. "Core values" are the North Star. Bless your time, my time, and the times of others. None belong more than another. On and on and on it goes.

Some try to tell me

Thoughts they cannot defend

Just what you want to be

You will be in the end


Breathe deep the gathering gloom

Watch lights fade from every room

Bedsitter people look back and lament

Another day's useless energy is spent

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one;

Lonely man cries for love and has none

New mother picks up and suckles her son

Senior citizens wish they were young

Cold-hearted orb that rules the night

Removes the colours from our sight

Red is grey is yellow white

But we decide which is right

And which is an illusion

Saturday, September 21, 2019
Tom Camfield

We true old-timers of eastern Jefferson County always have had a major problem with late-comers. So many seemingly fled the problems of elsewhere, only to create pretty much the same problems here--disturbing our peace as we attempted to move along with the times at our own pursuit-of-happiness speed.

It may not be intentional, but each newcomer seems to think he/she is no major change to things, but multiplied many times, these individuals become a horde.

And the baggage they bring with them seems to feed and grow stronger on the peace and humble existence of others. It's not just Port Townsend, where some people choose to elbow others aside in their own interests these days; it's also the same in the various outlying communities.

Used to be we elected our local officials, then didn't argue with every move they made. I served the city with that sort of ambiance still somewhat in existence. We made some major strides forward for the community. Thank God we weren't shackled as we put in place a zoning code, a sewer treatment plant, created Pope Park instead of a parking lot, etc. We were allowed to ride the crest of the wave from the past into the future.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Harvey Collateral Damage

Tom let me pull you out of the ditch and back onto the subject. Your words and ideas do define you as someone who would be comfortable in todays No Term Limit Council, bypassing laws, deconstructing the volunteer parking organization, and shooting from the hip to the detriment of "newcomers" and old timers alike. Stinson claims in her marketing campaign and signs the following--

"BROAD EXPERIENCE" Translation-- experience in deconstructing parking enforcement contrary to Municipal Code and denying review of those codes by the Planning Commission.

"Effective Collaboration" Effectively collaborates with other 6 No Term Limit Council members to not answer or deal with problems resulting from the total hands off Parking Tolerance Policy after 5 years of requests to do so. The Mayor and Council's failure is described by a police volunteer for city employees the Police Chief and Sargent who can't speak up on record. At the end of the day they are employees that can be fired.

"PROVEN DILIGENT LEADERSHIP" Has the same depth of "World Famous Burgers" simply not true. Leaders respond to the public, give reasons for policy, especially policy that harms and ignores Municipal Codes. Appointed Mayor and Patsy Stinson "Diligently Led" the entire No Term Limit Council to deny review of Laws and Codes by the Planning Commission that saw the need for the Comprehensive Plan.

True is true. Signs are marketing denial and hoping to doublespeak failure.

The subject Tom is Stinson not being a leader. Not who belongs in Port Townsend the most, although apparently it is those who can bypass law and order in some minds. The Appointed Mayor encourages others to break and flaunt law, and won't give answers. Five years of detailed documentation is ignored. Remember my first comment here Tom? Keep out of the ditch.

"I support the laws and codes that City Government is there to implement or change by lawful means that hold society together. Deborah Stinson has served 2 terms, at least one as Appointed Mayor. During those terms the volunteer parking enforcement program was deconstructed to nothing. Taken apart and thrown away. The Planning Commission requested but was not allowed to review parking codes and more. The police via a volunteer place all the blame for non enforcement and no plan on Stinson and the No Term Limit Council."

Regarding your comments about garbage pickup being more important than parking, I accept your slight and smile back at you with this.....I do believe both are covered by municipal code and or other law. If I don't pay for garbage pickup I don't need or use I will be fined and eventually jailed. Why does the leader Stinson get to pick to ignore the municipal code regarding parking and encourage some to break posted law, and not that one regarding garbage pick up. Or can she? Where are her limits? A good historian my not be an adequate legal mind, just someone needing to move the focus to what they can relate to.

The real City of Port Townsend is laws and codes Tom, with set ways to alter or remove them such as the Appointed Mayor denied review by the Planning Commission. When "Leaders" or in this case Appointed Patsy's bypass the legal process and will not respond when problems arise and are documented year after year after year, the people need to send a firm message that this is not acceptable. Electing Stinson sets us up with an new City Manager that to keep his job will have to take part in the practice of disregarding laws and codes. Clean hands will become dirty quickly. Best to you Tom, perhaps try to think of a hobby based in today.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019