Port Hadlock Looks Ahead
I am writing to express my interest and curiosity about the upcoming installation of a new sewer system in our Port Hadlock community. It's undoubtedly a …
Port Hadlock Looks Ahead
I am writing to express my interest and curiosity about the upcoming installation of a new sewer system in our Port Hadlock community. It's undoubtedly a positive step toward enhancing our infrastructure and encouraging new businesses. But as we witness these changes, it raises questions about the overall plan for community growth.
Are there comprehensive plans in place to accompany the new sewer system installation? Will there be initiatives to improve our neighborhoods aesthetically, such as the addition of new sidewalks and landscaping projects? A community thrives not only on functional systems but also on the visual appeal that contributes to a sense of pride among its residents.
Changes in the landscape are already underway in anticipation of the new sewer system. I understand that a Dollar Store will be built on the corner of Hwy 116/Ness' Corner and Christney Road. A large stand of evergreen trees that once covered the lot has been cut down, making way for construction of the new metal structure. The location borders The Meadows, a quiet subdivision that will likely be impacted by the increase in activity associated with the store. While new businesses can bring convenience, this also generates questions about the types of establishments we can expect to see in the future. Are there plans to attract a diverse range of businesses, or are there guidelines in place to ensure a balanced mix catering to the varied needs and preferences of our community?
As we embrace change, it's important for county leaders to communicate their vision and plans for growth. This transparency will help us understand the direction our community is heading and ensure that changes align with the collective aspirations of residents.
Changes are already taking place. What will Hadlock look like in five years?
$300 million. That is the bill facing Port Townsend for fixing and upgrading its aged, deteriorating sewers and sewage treatment plant, the city’s only potable water pipeline, and its failing streets. That price tag includes improving the Lord’s Lake Dam, which retains the city’s drinking water so it doesn’t fail during a seismic event and flood Quilcene.
City finances, in the words of the city’s 2023 Financial Sustainability Task Force, are heading “over a fiscal cliff.” The city’s budget requires burning reserves, with the General Fund reserve being drawn down sharply in recent years. Yet City Manager Mauro and Mayor Faber continue to push for an expensive aquatic center that will realistically cost close to $50 million to build and require huge operating subsidies for its lifetime, and also heavy interest payments over three decades.
Our community’s limited resources (taxpayers and ratepayers only have so much money) are needed to address critical infrastructure needs. A pool is a great community asset. But it is an amenity, not something absolutely necessary for a city to live.
Two engineering reports commissioned by the city in the Fall of 2023 show the existing Mountain View pool can be completely refurbished and modernized, with all deferred maintenance and problems remedied, for only $4.1 million. A rehabbed Mountain View pool can serve this community for another 20 years while we take care of daunting infrastructure challenges.
The same three consulting companies that gave us their fantastically expensive proposal for a large, new aquatic center in Port Townsend (the one favored by the city manager and mayor) were behind similar proposals in Camas (2019) and Kirkland, Washington (2023). Voters in those communities had the good sense to vote them down resoundingly. Despite a well-funded, professional campaign by proponents, the Kirkland vote was 2-to-1 against a pool tax. Camas delivered a stunning 90 percent “no” vote.
Voters here should display the same common sense if asked to create new taxes to pay for an aquatic center we cannot afford. Our leaders need to pull their heads out of the clouds and get their priorities straight.
Brent Shirley, Mayor 1983-1993
Considering the Swami
I found the Jan. 24 article about the racism of Swami Beyondananda disturbing. Reducing chronic racism and building a more just, inclusive, and diverse community is an important goal.
I can see two arguments for labeling the act racist: Do East Indians take offense at an aspect of their culture being disrespected? Is an Indian swami a negative cultural stereotype we need to eliminate?
The article improperly argues these points through the lens of the African American experience. It’s non-Indian racism authorities claim privilege to speak as members of the Global Majority. This is a spurious argument. If the East Indian community organized and protested the act, that would be a legitimate reason for ending it.
Steven Bhaerman can be seen as playing a charlatan swami in his comedy act. He purports to impart esoteric knowledge by presenting truisms about love, levity and acceptance in the form of clever puns. As a swami, he plays a high-status individual dispensing wisdom. This is different from the demeaning depiction of African Americans in minstrel shows. If he is mocking anyone, it is gullible European American adherents of fake gurus, but this is at most, gentle satire.
Concerning the minstrel show argument, I am reminded of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Each feels a different part of the animal’s body and comes up with a different description. One feels the ear and says it’s like a fan, another feels the tail and says it’s like a rope. We have a choice of what aspects of reality we focus on.
The most disturbing aspect of this article is that this is how an online cancel movement starts. The author laid out arguments that the act triggers people and does harm, and maybe it’s time for it to be retired. If this catches fire on social media the target can come under extreme pressure. I believe Beyondananda helps advance the vision of a more just and loving society, and it would be a loss if he were pressured to retire.
Round and round
There are moments in ones life when The Grim Reaper seems to be a present and palpable companion. Two days ago, while attempting to cross Sims Way at the new, and still puzzling, Kearney Street roundabout, I felt the Dark Presence.
My plan was to walk across the street and to the Food Co-Op, there to buy two cookies for the ladies (Polly and Pat) at the laundromat on Washington Street. I’d been doing this for the past decade or more; simply walking from the laundromat to the store and back, with the cookies.
So, I approached the oddly marked crosswalk (more than likely, and quite obviously, unseen by motorists) at the new roundabout. There I stood for five to six minutes waiting for a break in the traffic in order to cross the street. Minus the old stoplight, there was no break in the main traffic flow, so I waited.
While waiting, I thought; maybe the City could build, and install, small chapels capable of containing one or more human beings who are waiting for a safe passage, not to their heavenly reward, but to simply get across Sims Way and hoping (praying?) to remain among the quick. Four small wooden chapels, placed at the pedestrian crosswalks, painted in a bright yellow color, with blinking caution lights to alert the vehicular traffic about their presence. The yellow, blinking caution lights could certainly be solar powered.
The chapels would, of course, be non-denominational, to be used in whatever way necessary by earnest and hopeful pedestrians, like myself a few days ago.
Might I imagine there are others, too, who’ve made the rather perilous trip across the roundabout on foot and reached the other side, thankful to be counted among the quick, and not the alternative?
I recently had two appointments at Jefferson Healthcare, and found out both times that both employees I worked with were in the middle of a 10-hour shift, in the middle of four such tens. For one of them, this didn’t count their commute to and from Bremerton, adding at least an hour each way. I received great care, but I want to make sure that these folks are of the utmost priority. When I drive by and see a massive demolition going on, and a subsequent multi-million dollar addition going in, I wonder and want to ask, ‘How are the nurses doing? Are they of the utmost priority when we think of bigger and better expansions?’
I sincerely hope so.
This letter expresses my gratitude for so many people responding to the letters I’ve written over the many years I have lived here. When I write a letter I am thinking of something that has touched me deeply, like the recent letter about the pain of putting my dog to sleep after almost 14 years together. When we open our hearts to others, we give people a chance to see beyond their own world. In many small ways it widens our understanding of one another, and changes perceptions.
For me, writing a letter gives an opportunity to share something both mysterious and positive in my community. Since 1991, I have traveled many different paths and listened to so many stories from friends and strangers, each giving me their unique gifts with words and laugher and smiles.
At this time in our lives, it’s so good to read the letters each week in the Leader. And as the darker days of winter are soon leaving, the light we now find brings us closer to the beauty and mystery we have living here.
Thank you to each person who has reached out to me. You are appreciated!
Nan Toby Tyrrell