Posted 9/27/23



Dear Editor:

I wondered what was going on when the vehicles which normally shoot down Cook Avenue toward town then race across 49th Street to the San Juan curve were …

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Dear Editor:

I wondered what was going on when the vehicles which normally shoot down Cook Avenue toward town then race across 49th Street to the San Juan curve were going slightly slower, yet probably over the famous PT 25 mph. I felt safer and looking to my far right I saw some unusual new white lines.

Later that day I rode my bike that way and was so happy to finally see something done for one of the many shoulderless and often times treacherous arterial roads in our town.

Thank you to the team that put this together and saw that it was executed. Walking or riding around town it’s easy to find more of these improvement opportunities.

The Admiralty curve over by Fort Worden is really bad, so are several others: the list is actually long.

Speed bumps and speed tables are great and needed but this budget- and time-friendly painted line solution is much appreciated as a move in the right direction.

Way too much speeding and dangerous driving going on in this town. Pedestrians and bicycle riders are taking their lives in their hands every time they go out on or near a city arterial street.

Thank you,

William Dentzel


Warning signs


Dear Editor:

Greetings. From the most recent edition of the Port Townsend Leader: “The city acknowledges the Cherry Street Building project was “an error.”

An “error”? That’s not an “error”, that’s a total boondoggle, a financial and mismanagement debacle, a catastrophe.

The Leader article also says there are still $62,000 annual payments to pay off the bond stretching out to 2040. That’s a million bucks, folks. $1,000,000 we still have to pay for this fiasco. Plus whatever has already been spent on bond payments for the past years, on abandoned work on the building, staff time, plus possible demolition costs, sales fees, etc. What do you suppose the total amounts to? Couple of million bucks? For absolutely nothing. No affordable housing. None. Zilch.

Then this, from the same article: “This does not mean we will stop working toward affordable housing”, (city manager) Mauro assured.

Holy cow. If the Cherry Street debacle isn’t enough for all of us to conclude that the city doesn’t belong in the housing business, what would it take? Do we really want to trust that any new city initiative involving housing will turn out any better?

The city staff, planning commission, and city council have recently enacted zoning and building code changes to encourage affordable housing built by the private sector. They are to be commended for their recent work to make housing more available and affordable. Expanding and relaxing zoning and building code options, using city legislative and regulatory authority, should be grounds for a round of applause, a laudable service to the public good. More could be done in this vein, perhaps in the form of incentives to builders, or reduction of fees for affordable housing projects meeting certain criteria. Creative input from all and sundry should be sought and welcomed. But kudos to the city for those efforts to address our housing issues.

However, and it’s a huge however, the city should stop there. Zoning and building code relaxation is appropriate and welcome. Any more direct involvement in housing, particularly using City assets of land or money, is a recipe for disaster.

Look no further than the Cherry Street debacle. If nothing else, all those wasted million-plus dollars should serve as a warning and a lesson.

City government shouldn’t be in the business of actually providing housing.

Directly using City assets, in monetary funds or appropriation of public land, including the golf course, to devote to private housing, is entirely inappropriate. Taking assets, including land designated “municipal use” that belong to each and all of us, and giving them over to a few, for their exclusive use, runs counter to democratic principles, as well as common sense. It might actually be illegal, or at least subject to lawsuits in opposition.

The City has a definite critical role in addressing our housing crisis, but it should be restricted to legislative and regulatory functions only. No further, please. Abandon the scheme to build housing on the golf course land.

Thank you,

Laurie Stewart


Good manners


Dear Editor:

This letter is about the importance of sharing our stories.

When we begin to listen to one another, new ideas and understanding happen. It’s a way of sharing our beliefs in a safe way without fear of being attacked.

Whenever I meet a new person on the bus or at a movie or concert I am curious about why they moved to Port Townsend and where they were born. It gives me a wider sense of our ever-changing community.

When I first moved here I walked everywhere since I had no car. In this way I learned about different neighborhoods and the different parks and playgrounds.

When I worked at our summer enrichment camp under the great guidance of Bill Kush I had new experiences exchanging ideas with students and took many field trips which opened my eyes and heart to new kinds of animals, art and music.

The kids showed me how to take risks too. Our trust in one another grew and I felt so connected to them over the summer.

Now there seems to me to be more rushing and speeding to get somewhere. We have lost the art of just being still and listening to each other.

How can we re-gain lessons in being present for one another and hear their story? I hope some of us stop and take more time to just listen.

Nan Toby Tyrrell


Fix our roads!


Dear Editor:

It’s not news to any resident of Port Townsend that the roads of our city are in terrible shape. The deterioration of our roads is the result of changes in street funding; the result of initiatives that reduced tax revenue starting in the 2000s and decades of deferred maintenance.

All those potholes did not appear in just the last few years.

The most reasonable way for us to fix this is to fund a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) A TBD is a taxing district authorized by the state for the sole purpose of funding transportation improvements. The funds can only be spent on transportation Improvements and the definition of transportation improvements is broad. Improvements can include city streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, and matching funds for grants.

The City Council has already proposed a 3 percent sales tax to provide the funds for the TBD, amounting to 0.30 on a $10.00 purchase. This new tax will go before the voters in November.

By using a sales tax, folks who visit and who live outside of the city will help maintain the streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes that they also use.

This means that the cost of maintaining our infrastructure will not be paid solely by residents of Port Townsend.

Over 114 cities in Washington state now have TBDs, including cities such as Leavenworth and Walla Walla that, like us, have lots of visitors.

Also, when you shop in cities that have a TBD supported by sales tax, you are paying to maintain their infrastructure.

This November please vote “YES” for a Transportation Benefit District sales tax and let’s fix our roads.

Rebecca Kimball




Dear Editor:

I am writing to try and stop and reverse the bogus solution to street usage that is coming out of our local department of transportation.

It first started on Kuhn Street leading to North Beach and although I find it quite annoying, I let it  go as a way of dealing with a very unique situation. But now it has spread to 9th street and I just learned it is also on 49th Street.

What I am referring to is the dashed lines that were put in the middle of the driving lanes as a substitute

for fixing the real problem of our streets that have decayed and do not have shoulders wide enough for pedestrians and bikes. The dashed line solution will cause problems especially for our older citizens. I use 9th Street quite often and occasionally see a bicyclist using it or pass some pedestrians walking their dogs, etc. Mainly it is two cars passing one another and the two dashed line situation makes it harder to pass properly.

The edge line on the side of the road and the road divider no longer exists. These two lines help an elder to stay in their lane and not drive off the road or into an on-coming vehicle. Please repair our streets and paint the proper lines that are necessary to navigate them, not the double dashed line solution that is confusing and possibly dangerous.

Have there been reported accidents and injuries that necessitate this road line design change or just the whim of one of our city officials?

Frank Saladonis

Laughing matter


Dear Editor:

In regards to the “humor” column by Bill Mann in the Sept. 20th Leader, this is ultra-serious cinema, is neither humorous nor correct.

It includes very little direct knowledge, and downright nasty opinion.   

Mann, and his anonymous neighbor, seem to have an axe to grind about this Port Townsend institution that had its 24th annual run last weekend.

He presented the whole film line-up as being depressing, sternly preachy, and carrying a “woke” sensibility. He laments the lack of entertaining films with humor, like in the good old days.

Complaints are based only from the printed screening schedule, not from any experience of recent festivals. 

After viewing several film programs this weekend, I must say I laughed a lot, often teared up, and learned a great deal about aspects of the world that we all benefit from knowing.

The worst trash talk was leveled at Mom and Dad’s Nipple Factory, a very personal film about a conservative religious family and the unusual business that the shy, reserved father created to help his wife through breast cancer. In the process he developed a solution to one aspect of healing and breast reconstruction that hadn’t been solved by any of the “experts.”    

It was a film full of humor, sensitivity, respect for varying opinions, and genuine Love and Humanity. That, and many films like it, are what Mr Mann, and his “neighbor,” missed while they were grumbling on the sidelines.

A 12-year follower of the PT Film Festival,

Larry Stein


Housing first


Dear Editor:

Right now, we don't have enough money for all the infrastructure investment that needs to get done here.

And so far, the "leaders" don't seem to have the ability to understand why it is housing should be adequately funded first. So when it comes to investing in a pool run by an inaccessible nonprofit paid for with public monies; forget it!

Housing first.

And you can go to and see how it is that housing people adequately reduces health care costs and opens a way up to pay for crap like a pool later.

You are a narcissistic yuppie boomer who only thinks of himself and the whole GD country knows it – me, me, me first. And off goes Anna somewhere else so you don't have to face the mess you have made of this place by your poor choices.

See how people go to Silverdale to swim competitively? Go ahead if  you have the money to pay for it. All that will happen is you will exclude those members of the community who can't afford to pay.

That's why we presently have a public pool not mismanaged by a GD nonprofit.

And yes, replacement of the pool and the building will cost $20-40 million dollars-cost overruns-you haven't done this before, have you?

We can afford to wait, first things first.

Lyle Courtsal


Rational thinking

Dear Editor:

Help the most and hurt the least is hurting all.

Over the last few weeks the Leader reported on many topics which appear to be separate but really are interconnected. 

The Cherry Street building "mistake" has made the City responsible for 17 more years of annual $62,000 payments. The City is asking for the creation of a Transportation Benefit District and an increase of 0.3 percent in our sales taxes to pay for road improvements.  At the same time the road from Rainier Street to Salish Coast Elementary using funds from a grant that originated in 2018 will commence.  I am unaware of the details of this grant but I am sure that there has been a large increase in the costs which will require more tax revenue. We have the potential of required Local Improvement Districts (based on a law passed over a decade ago) so the adjacent landowners will "borrow" money from the City to build sidewalks in front of their property should the road be improved and will "pay" the city back over some period of time with additional taxes.  An article discussed the potential focus of road improvement taxes to areas of high use meaning those poor roads in existing neighborhoods like mine are to be left to crumble.

We have proposed changes to the golf course and the swimming pool. Tied to this are the rising interest rates, increase in food prices, and other inflationary pressures. While the claim that the Golf Course changes may be paid for by a "grant" there will be a time lapse and most likely increased costs to be paid for out of local taxes and of course the increase in maintenance costs. If the new complex is built for the swimming pool concept we have a need for a temporary (or permanent) police station, food bank, and YMCA. Some of these will require to be paid for out of taxes).

This whole process of "physical infrastructure" improvements is actually "Gentrification" which has always hurt the current residents. Gentrification causes increased housing costs, increased taxes, and increased pressure to sell and move away.  Mayor Faber said, "is there some rational change we have to embrace?"  The implication is that what he is proposing is "rational" but it is based on a faulty assumption.  Deputy Mayor Howard said, "I want safe, open and transparent process [that will] do the most good for the most people while harming the least."  If we are to use their "rational change" and "harming the least" we should get rid of the "skate park" and turn it into some sort of low income housing, same for an apartment at the Cherry Street park (keeping a small playground), in the park just up from the Laural Grove Cemetary, and at the Pink House. Are there other areas that would "hurt the least"?

But is it rational to vastly increase the population of Port Townsend?  Let us consider a major infrastructure issue - the water and sewer systems and sources. We have a need to replace systems downtown due to failures (oh, more tax revenue down the drain). However our Olympic Mountain glaciers are predicted to be gone in the next 50 years. They are a source of our water supply. Where will we get the water to maintain a larger population, let alone our current population? Will our sewage treatment plant be able to handle an increase in population?  With the sea level increases how will we pay for any protections for our "downtown"? What will happen if and when the tourism business disappears?

But we must have "rational" change. Well, to do this they made a "stakeholder" committee for the golf course which only focused on that piece of property. In this very paper I asked for the City Manager to define what made someone a "stakeholder" and why there was only one person who was a golfer on that committee.  It seems that the "transparency" Ms. Howard wants is not something the City Manager is willing to do in our local newspaper so that the citizenry would have a clear understanding rather than listening to the propaganda label of "stakeholder committe" and going forward with the "rational" change.

David Johnson


A plea for

common sense


Dear Editor:

I urge the city to modify the newest residential lane configurations before anyone is injured or killed.

What we've seen on the short stretch of Blaine where this started is inept drivers and texters continuing to drive in the middle lane when another vehicle approaches.

But drive on 49th to Cooke, and you'll see blind hills and blind curves where this scheme creates a stunningly obvious hazard. Can you imagine two vehicles approaching each other at the 25 mph limit and not reacting in time? If only one driver fails to revert to their default lane, they will collide.

This is why traffic engineers place solid lines instead on blind hills and curves; it reduces injuries and deaths.

Moreover, swerving to avoid a collision puts cyclists and pedestrians at risk because so many drivers aren't paying attention as they drive by.

And why is there no bike lane on the hilly stretch of Cooke by those two new developments? Anyone who fails to see the need for this should peddle up that hill on a bicycle until they understand why. There's also a "trail" along part of that roadway, but disabled folks are just supposed to stay home, it seems.

Meanwhile, some keep insisting we borrow up to $50 million (plus $58 million in interest at 6 percent) to build a pool for the few who like to swim every day. Others can't imagine shutting the all but deserted golf course unless we spend millions on a central park that has never been on any community wish list.

And I don't believe we're saving a dime by making homeowners maintain right of ways, especially in the era of climate-caused fires. Surely it costs residents more, not to mention the cost of staff getting them to do what is most efficiently done by the city.

All of which leads me to believe we'll soon see the roll-out of a "Pave Your Own Pothole" program, where residents of all skill levels are encouraged to check out the requisite equipment and pave any pothole they like so that we can devote more public resources to our local one percenters – golfers and swimmers!

Barney Burke


Lip service


Dear Editor:

An open letter to Governors DeSantis and Abbott.

We live in a beautiful welcoming Victorian city of Port Townsend, Washington.

Basically, a clone of Seattle and King County, Washington. We are dismayed at the migrant crisis and feel compelled to help.

Many of our citizens have yard signs saying basically “Refugees and Muslims welcome here.”

We would love to help ease the burden of the sanctuary cities having received so many migrants, by doing our part.

Why should New York City, LA, Wash D.C. all have to brunt the burden of open borders, assisting the influx of criminals, fentanyl, terrorists.

Feel free to send us some drop them off at these wonderful homes locally. We have beautiful parks and open spaces that would be a great place to locate these people to.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could start by sending us about 500 of these migrants?

What a further gesture of welcoming if you threw in several MS-13 gang members, rapists, murderers and terrorists, looking to expand their business and entrepreneurship. After all, they need help expanding their fentanyl distribution network and attacks on our citizens.


Craig Lohner