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Publisher's Corner


As the world evolves around us and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape the safety and health of our communities, it becomes more vital than ever to stay informed.

The Leader’s first edition was created in a small shop on Water Street on Oct. 2, 1889, then editor and proprietor W. L. Jones launched the Morning Leader. Little did he know that leap of faith would result in the same paper prevailing for more than a century.

Almost 131 years later, The Leader has the same commitment as it did in 1889: to keep the communities around us informed of the latest news, events and everything in between. In today’s world, that includes myriad stories on the health and safety of the communities that we serve.

But we cannot do it without your support. For the next two weeks, we are mailing The Leader to all non-subscribers in Port Townsend. Our goal is to increase our subscription base so we can continue to bring you the news, entertainment and profiles of the wonderful people and businesses that call Jefferson County home.

We need boots on the ground, reporting day in and day out, from county commissioner meetings, zoning meetings, school board meetings.

As print advertising continues to decline, reader subscriptions (which used to be only a fraction of news revenue) are quickly becoming the foundation of our business.

Local journalism is critical for democracy. Newspapers help sustain cultures and communities, they educate and inform, and they hold local governments accountable. They preserve history, help shape the future and foster a sense of closeness – especially in times like these.

Subscribe to The Leader or buy it as a gift for a friend or family member.

Next week we will produce a special section dedicated to 85 years of the Rhodedendron Festival. This will be a keepsake for sure.

It truly is a privilege to serve our community, and as always, I want to end by saying if there is something we miss or you want to share with us, please give me a call or send me an email at detchey@ptleader.com

(Donna Ethchey is the publisher of the Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader.)


4 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
HarveyW Collateral Damage

Hi Donna-

Welcome- As always I am long on words, but a stand alone comment with some detail is needed.

I own the business across the street, Forest Gems Woodcraft, currently closed. I was a fervent supporter of the Leader for a while. For years I knew the Leader as a mouthpiece for the FWPDA, that took part of Fort Worden from all the people of the State, and put it into the hands of the local special interest status quo.

With a brief exception, The Leader took no issue with the no term limit City Council, and the Mayor they appoint from within (currently a 3 term appointed Mayor with a near 20 year history of over spending on curb appeal as a Council Member, who's influence grew with the years. The Leader described her as "outspoken". She is very quiet about parking, ignoring studies, and kicking the problem endlessly down the road.

The $1.2 million visitor center concrete and carbon heavy "park" is an example. $600k cost (for what) and $600k to finance. The opening of the park was the first time the new City Manager met his public. Your readers owe that money, and don't seem to mind. Why should the local paper? Give them what they want.

The 3 time appointed Mayor, who has her own parking lot for her Real Estate franchise just outside the historic district, participated in actively deconstructing the volunteer parking program, and ignoring expensive studies, which benefited developing the upper floors of Water Street. There are no requirements for parking for new occupation or development that has grown. Things got out of whack with a 20 year City Manager, that many say did not act in the best public interest. Creating chaos is not planning as it is supposed to be. When the 3 term Mayor again took office she did nothing regarding parking.

The Leader, under the very temporary Editor Dean Miller, who's background was open government, took on for a brief moment the issue of manufactured parking problems and more, including the less than open process for selecting the new City Manager.

Parking deconstruction gave us all a cultural shift to "me first" by many residents and workers displacing their own and everyone's customers. The Leader found missing parking funds related to permits involving the Silverwater. The story and all related deconstructed parking issues going back 5 years died. The focus died. The public yawned. Dean Miller left for a job that more suited his abilities.

Newspapers can do fun things like the Rhody Fest section you speak of. Historically newspapers are most important as the "Fourth Estate" DEFINITION--The term Fourth Estate or fourth power refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues. Though it is not formally recognized as a part of a political system, it wields significant indirect social influence.

So the Leader lost focus, and Dean Miller, and my sense of its potential. One reporter moved to entertainment. The parking problems continue, of course not visible for the last 2 months, but will factor into any recovery at the hands of our new and improved (if you believe the PR) City Manager. He took on the job knowing full well about ignored municipal codes he is responsible to fund. He hired a new interim Police Chief who is not allowed to fulfill his entire obligations and oath of office. Corrupted thinking at the top flows down hill. No mask can keep you from catching it, or hide your face for those that look past the masks.

What was the understanding the incoming City Manager had with the same old Council member and appointed Mayor who vetted and hired him? The public didn't care. The public still doesn't care, it seems. We get the government and news we deserve. Locally and nationally. Locally, one like myself is portrayed as picking on individuals. Some individuals want all the rewards and no responsibility.

17 million in City Debt, 1.7 million yearly debt service that eliminated funds for road maintenance and moderate income housing. The housing lost out as REET funds were used elsewhere. Obviously, tax revenue is way down, things won't be improving any time soon unless bankruptcy is declared.

The last from the new City Manager is that he will look into parking, which has been done, and promises of solutions I have from the last City Manager broken. A convenient reset, trashing many studies and common sense. Now, who benefits?

So, some will miss Rhody Fest this year. I miss the town I thought I was a part of for 25 years. But lets all think happy thoughts. Lets not make problems for our Council and Mayor. Things are tough right now. Some people just won't let things be, like the Leader and its readership did.

So, I step up with a little history so you can make your choices with information from many sources. I know you have met the Status Quo. Welcome to PT. Don't rock the boat, its had a slow leak for years.

Harvey Windle

Forest Gems Gallery

Collateral Damage of the Status Quo

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Concerning parking downtown;

I have lived in P.T. for many years, and most of the time , unless it's a festival or a busy summer weekend, there isn't, if you're not too lazy, that much of a problem parking if you just look around. I wish merchants would stop complaining about it. You may need to drive around the block, and you might not be able to park right smack in front of the exact store you want to go in to, and you might need to walk a block or two. Geez. Get out and walk a bit and enjoy our cute downtown. You might discover something new!

The 'secret' places are; up the hill a bit on either end of downtown,(Washington and Monroe Streets)and also above downtown and walk down the steps to the fountain. (pretty much unlimited parking up there) Yeah, sure ,it won't work for the disabled, of course, but they have their own spots.

The classic head shaker for me was when I first met a young shopkeeper years ago who was just starting out downtown, and her idea for parking was to turn the athletic field into a parking garage. At the time I was horrified at such a cheek from someone who had just barely unpacked here. What an horrific thought.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Mike Galmukoff

Read on what's commonly known as, "The Cherry St. Project" in "The Leader."

Then read about, "The Cherry St. Project" at "Port Townsend Free Press".

Readers can then make their own decision about, "The Leader" on accurate and timely reporting.

Thursday, September 24, 2020
HarveyW-Collateral Damage

Shiela- Because you choose to be anonymous you could easily be the Appointed Mayor, past or present City Manager, any No Term Limit Council member or just someone who doesn't see a bigger picture. Ignoring laws and codes to benefit those in power.

I see parking problems pre covid daily and assure you some merchants are the problem as well as employees and residents. Residents now have no requirements in new or re sold condos for parking. All day if you like. No problem. The ballfield threat has been used repeatedly as a worst case not even considered threat to anyone talking of the very real parking problems. Why not proudly use your name? Your data if pretty flawed to get to your point. All is Grrrrrreat!!!!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2020