Gateway: Opinion

Letters to the Editor, Sept. 7

Guernsey brings leadership to mayor’s office

As a citizen of Gig Harbor, I support Jill Guernsey’s race for mayor. She supports our schools. Guernsey served as a Peninsula school board member for 10 years — four of those years as president. I often ask her about what transpired while she was on the board. I was surprised when, at the Dem’s candidate’s debate, her opponent stated that the mayor needs to help our schools.

Jill Guernsey introduced the idea of getting impact fees for schools from developers that build in our city. When we needed to change how we assess those fees to keep up with inflation, she helped us with the changes at the city so we could amend the procedure.

The mayor’s opponent said that under her leadership, she gave the “55 and older” project developers a waiver on impact fees. The mayor had no say with the granting of the waivers. The school board opposed waiving impact fees for “55 and older” communities and appealed to Washington State Superior court. We lost and now lobby our state senator for the change.

When I hear we need leadership in our mayor’s office, I agree. Vote for Jill Guernsey, the best leader for our city.

Rand Wilhelmsen, Gig Harbor

Guernsey ignores agency’s recommendation

Regarding Sharon Shaffer’s support to re-elect Jill Guernsey for Gig Harbor mayor (Gateway, Aug. 31 letter), please note that in February of 2016 the Puget Sound Regional Council, a planning agency with specific responsibilities for transportation, growth management and economic development, mandated that Gig Harbor, as a small city, limit growth. The population target was set at 10,500 by 2030. Gig Harbor has a current population of approximately 9,500. Gig Harbor city limits is approximately 2 1/2 miles square in size.

On August 30, Jennifer Kester, Gig Harbor’s planning director under Jill, stated that the city anticipates a population of approximately 14,500 by 2030. The Regional Council stated Gig Harbor is growing too fast and that it should slow down. Jill has completely disregarded that mandate.

Under Jill’s tenure as mayor, Gig Harbor has increasingly sacrificed its little “fisherman’s village” charm in the interests of rapid development with insufficient infrastructure to support the population increase. Ignoring the Puget Sound Regional Council’s mandate is not “balanced leadership,” as Ms. Shaffer would like us to believe. It is a travesty.

Cynthia Beebe, Gig Harbor

Appropriateness of accepted contributions?

In 2014, the Peninsula School District’s Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution opposing the establishment of retail marijuana dispensaries within the city of Gig Harbor.

Therefore, I was surprised to discover that David Olson, a member of the board running for re-election, recently accepted campaign contributions worth $2,000 from two local marijuana shops, according to David’s filing with the Public Disclosure Commission.

Although Washington voters legalized marijuana, it remains prohibited under federal law. Is it appropriate for a school board director to accept such contributions?

Marijuana use among teens has been on the rise, particularly here in Gig Harbor, with damaging effects. Teachers, school administrators, and board directors all serve as role models for our young students. It’s important that they set a good example.

Ron Wider, Gig Harbor

Olson’s hands-on approach is what students need

I have three children in the Peninsula School District, one at Goodman Middle School and two at Harbor Heights. I am writing to support David Olson to remain on the school board. I appreciate his presence at the schools and his hands-on approach to being involved with what the kids need.

He is about spending time meeting with city developers to understand the ongoing growth of the city and what our kids are going to need as our city keeps growing. He helped to pass the M&O Levy, and graduation rates and academic achievements have increased each year since he has been on the board. Gig Harbor High is ranked 18th out of 300 in schools around the state. He spends time in Olympia working with legislators to understand and help to fully fund our kids’ education. I appreciate it when I see him with my kids at school, and I know that he has their best interests at heart. He is a veteran, has a beautiful family and his wife and son are both teachers. Being a member of the school board should be about the kids and making our schools the best that they can be.

That is why I will be voting for David Olson.

Jill Ghent, Gig Harbor

Olson has unique perspective on teachers

David Olson has served the Peninsula School District well since assuming his position on the board four years ago. He was instrumental in helping pass the Operations & Maintenance Levy with over 70 percent “yes” votes, and hiring the new superintendent. David is passionate about the kids, teachers, and community he serves and has plans to build upon the success of the past by focusing on the building of a new school in the Harbor North area and advocating for enhanced programs such as AP and vocational/trade classes.

David is married to a school teacher and has a son who is also a school teacher. This gives David unique perspective into the life of one of the districts most precious assets — its teachers.

Let’s keep the momentum going that’s been building over the past few years and re-elect David Olson.

Richard Dessert, Gig Harbor