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Port Townsend Election thoughts

Ballots arrived yesterday. Some thoughts for those of you needing them.

Advisory Votes: Maintain all of them.

We pay our legislators to do the work to pass laws (or not). I am not willing to second guess any of the ballot measures. They all look like the kind of thing that we expect our legislators to do. I am not in favor of having 2/3rds of the legislature have to approve taxes. A simple majority is fine with me. And to expect the voters to approve all tax bills directly is patiently an absurd idea.

Port of Port Townsend – Either candidate, Diana Talley or Steve Tucker.

This may seem like a copout ,but the Port race pits two excellent candidates. The issue before voters appears to me to be about policy issues rather than environmental ones. As stated in this morning’s Port Townsend Leader, and a good review point, the Commissioners are elected to set rates and Port Policies, along with hiring (and firing) the executive director (currently Larry Crockett) to implement those policies.  Both candidates have very different  views in terms of their approaches to Port policies. As far as environmental issues are concerned however, they are very similar. I have worked with Steve Tucker on the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, and found him very effective and concerned about helping implement environmentally sensitive issues of concern for the Committee (it’s members include a wide variety of interests, from aquaculture, tribes, environmental organizations, sports fishers and others). Diana Talley is a well liked long time resident and owner of a highly regarded business that is located in the Port. Her support of environmental issues has been demonstrated over many decades, and is not at question. There is very vocal opposition to many Port policies implemented during Steve’s time on the Port, and decisions that have been made regarding fees, boat ramp construction choices, and other issues.  Diana is running in opposition to some of those policies and says that she will be more critical of choices decided by the Port moving forward. If you are a boater or other user of the Port facilities, and are concerned about the Port policies then you should do more digging to understand the contentious nature of this race. But no matter which candidate wins, support of environmental protections will continue.

Public Hospital  – Kees Kolff and Paul Stafford.

People won’t care much about the environment if they are sick and without health care. The current two incumbents are far too supportive of the current administration of the hospital, which seems to be building a legacy of huge construction projects for a tiny rural hospital. Are these needed? Could other choices that put us less at risk for debt repayment be made?  Was there any real debate about Mr. Glenn’s choices of expansion? No. This hospital charges far more than other hospitals, I know because I priced minor treatments for myself and ended up going to Seattle to get them done. The cost here was almost double that of Seattle. And it was not easy to get a price to begin with. Because of that, I’m very much in favor of shaking up this cozy group, and putting some people who will seriously challenge the status quo of the hospital management. Kees is a perfect person to put in that role, and I believe that Paul will support that kind of change as well.

City Council of Port Townsend

I’m not familiar with any of these candidates and their debate on the radio left me with a feeling that no one  really understood what was needed on the City Council. So many bad financial decisions were made in the last decade that put the city in a difficult position to get out of financially, then and now. I wish whoever wins good luck.But I’m not willing to endorse any of them. They seem very inexperienced and their answers left more questions than answers in my mind. For example, the notion of supporting expansion of tiny houses inside the City limits raises far more questions about density, noise, taxes, etc. To simply say we need to do this without putting forward explanations as to what are the pros and cons is not something I support. I love tiny houses, but expanding density expands traffic, and infrastructure needs. This seems like needing a great deal more thought before deciding to implement.

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