Posted 11/29/23

Leader omitted quotes

I was sorry to find that quotes Centrum was asked for were entirely omitted from the story about the end of THING. I believe that context matters, so I submit the same …

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Leader omitted quotes

I was sorry to find that quotes Centrum was asked for were entirely omitted from the story about the end of THING. I believe that context matters, so I submit the same comment here for the benefit of conscientious readers in our community.

“We’re [Centrum] sorry to see STG ending THING in Port Townsend but respect their decision and we remain gratified for our 20-year partnership with STG in presenting our high school dance workshop on campus each August—that endures. Centrum knows how hard it is to make Port Townsend a competitive destination for folks along the I-5 corridor from Ashland to Bellingham—there are a lot of events and destinations along the way. For Centrum, the key is lifelong learning, not purely entertainment, which makes what we do different from THING festival. Our events are a full week of immersive instruction and social exchange, with the concerts as the finale, not the main event. That’s why our model has been successful for 50 years.

The STG staff has been stellar in communicating with all of us at Fort Worden, and Centrum’s production team has benefitted enormously from THING and STG’s inclusion of our local talent, behind the scenes. We wish them nothing but the best as they explore other venues, but local audiences can be assured that Centrum will ‘stay in its lane’ and keep the lifelong learning mission front and center in our programming. We don’t seek to be a presenting agency, like STG. That’s a different kettle of fish and one that increasingly finds competitors in casinos, vineyards, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry who think it’s easy to stage large scale public gatherings. The scale of the infrastructure required to mount THING was intense, impressive, and undoubtedly expensive. There’s nothing simple about it.”

Robert Birman

Port Townsend

Thank you for sharing feelings. For more reactions, please see page 7.~ ED


Do the math

In the Article “Two Stores Close In downtown Port Townsend,” written by By Thais Oliveira, it was written:

“The owner did not want to disclose the rent amount but according to The Leader’s research, the common rate for commercial spaces downtown is $22 per square foot per year.”

No one pays $22 per square foot. Maybe you’re off by a decimal point, I’m saying $2.2 per square foot. I was the owner of the Mad Hatter, as stated in the article, we recently closed. But rent in New York City, Manhattan, may be $22 per square foot. Did anyone do the math, really, your saying for a 10’ x 10’ or 100 square foot space, rent is $2,200.00 per month. Math is important. A correction should be done as this is outrageously inflated.

Paulette Lack

We agree with Ms. Lack, math is important. We also think hers is off by a factor of 12. As she accurately quoted, our story said $22 per square foot per year, or $1.83 per foot per month. So, Ms. Lack’s 100 square foot space would cost $183 per month, not $2,200. ~ ED


Thanking Jason Serinus

I wanted to thank J. V. Serinus for his essay in the Nov. 22 edition of the Leader. What is happening in Gaza and Israel right now is indeed madness. We must stop supporting the war hawks like Netanyahu and their revenge tactics.

Yes it was horrible what Hamas perpetrated, and I fear there will be increased anti-semitic deaths and threats with every additional day this insanity goes on. But we cannot support further bloodshed on either side. How is violence still a “solution” in the 21st century? Will we all end up blind?

Rachel Rutledge

Cape George


Can’t imagine life without lap swimming

I am an avid swimmer and over the age of 65. My spouse and I are moving to PT and I can’t imagine life without having access to lap swimming. I appreciate all the free access currently offered to the community but I think charging a monthly membership fee of $100 might help fund a new aquatic center and help with upkeep. You could charge extra if the regulars wanted to rent a private locker in the locker rooms, much like our current fitness club does. I am all in favor of a fully operating aquatic center on the peninsula. Why not make it an olympic sized competition center which could draw in swim teams for competitive meets? This would bring in revenue to restaurants and lodging as well as the pool center itself. Why not think big for the longevity, prosperity and health of the community? The current pool is too small to be profitable for the long run. Please consider this!   

Sabrina Ann Schultz

Not Here Yet

Can you imagine a “means-tested,“ sliding scale membership fee? So those for whom $100 a month would be a hardship (and there are many) may still have access? ~ ED


Of Pools & Taxes

 The proposed pool project is very expensive because it is not simply a swimming pool; it is multiple pools (2 or 3?) and other facilities under one roof.  Let us, as a community, acknowledge we do not have a tax base robust enough to fund this project as proposed, either by sales tax or added real estate tax.

Am I the only one in this community that finds the ever increasing real estate tax burden unsustainable?  Our current tax bill has just about doubled in four years, even without a pool tax!  These tax increases are sold to us as being astonishingly small numbers …”oh it’s just a few dollars on your bill”... 

Wake up! It is not just the tax mill rate (proposed 20 cents tax rate per $1000 of assessed value on your house), but as our assessment doubles and then doubles again a few years later, the result Is to double, then effectively quadruple the resultant tax bill. Is this what we want? We will be swimming all right; swimming in unsustainable debt.  

Keith Norlin

Port Townsend 

Giving Thanks for New Leadership

It’s Wednesday November 22, 2023, the day before Thanksgiving, and I am giving thanks for the new owners and current editor of The Leader. Today is the first time in five years of being a Leader subscriber that I have not examined my decision to continue supporting the paper.

Today is also the first day I read the paper from front to back without questioning the purpose of its existence. Kudos to the editor and staff for the noticeable shift in the content to local, important topics of interest. I do not expect to be in full agreement of all content, that would be counter to the purpose of journalism. I look forward to the continued shift in the direction of The Leader back towards pertinent local news featuring our varied community with a smidge of events further afield.

I am grateful that our town’s oldest news source appears to be in the hands of professionals and look forward to what next Wednesday’s edition brings.

Tracy Wirta

Port Townsend

Thank you. We strive to meet your expectations. ~ ED


On “Shed Boys”

Jon Karpilow’s Shed Boys of PT: Then and Now (Nov 16) sheds light on resourceful, resilient people who these days go largely unnoticed by the new mainstream.

The Olympic Peninsula has a history of people living off the grid. As Karpilow points out, Port Townsend’s earlier Shed Folk were embraced as contributing citizens and celebrated in the national media. Not so long ago there was a colorful community of old boats and vans right on Port Townsend’s downtown waterfront.

North of the International border, the lives and work of off-graders are studied for their diversity and for what the larger society can learn from them. In their book “Off the Grid: Re-Assembling Domestic Life,” Victoria BC Ethnographer Phillip Vanini and photographer Johnathan Taggart dig deep into values and motivations that inform house building, heating, food production and preparation, power generation, water, and sanitation. The accompanying film “Life Off Grid” documents the practices of those living away from contemporary civilization.

Through perseverance and grit, these homesteaders solve complex problems in a variety of harsh Canadian environments. “The learning curve is straight up,” claims one interviewee. While explaining the ecological soundness and simplicity of her home’s construction, another says, “Everybody could have a house instead of having a mortgage.”

Jefferson County’s informal homesteaders seem to have disappeared under the radar. Don’t we need their contributions to the civic discourse? Wouldn’t acknowledgment of the opportunities and challenges they face at least give us a better appreciation of housing wants and needs?

Carol McCreary

Port Townsend


Multicultural Night celebration

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Multicultural Night celebration involving the K-12 OCEAN program at Port Townsend schools. I was touched and moved beyond my expectations. There were interactive activities, student exhibits showcasing cultures from near and far, and a variety of live music.

To me, the best part of the event was the food, prepared by the students, which allowed the opportunity for a profound sharing exchange. The students were able to share with the attendees something of their identity, their family, their culture, their history. They were providers, givers, teachers.

By wandering the displays, interacting with the students and sampling the foods, the attendees were not just idle observers, they were active participants, recipients, learners. Sharing food is a universal experience, but at the same time a very intimate experience. This night was a celebration of our different origins and journeys in a way that was uniting, not dividing.

Many thanks to Sarah Rubenstein, OCEAN principal, to Zhaleh Almaee who I understand was the driving force behind this event, to the community partners like the Jefferson County Immigrant Rights Advocates (JCIRA) and the Shanghai Restaurant, and especially a huge thanks to all of the students for sharing so much of themselves so we could have this experience together. 

Sarah Martin

Port Townsend