Gateway: Opinion

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 2

Guernsey has no hidden agenda

What qualities do you look for in a good leader? Personally, I look for honesty, integrity, experience, enthusiasm, confidence and a commitment to excellence. In the current race for mayor of Gig Harbor I believe that Jill Guernsey has these qualities and deserves our vote. She has lived in Gig Harbor for over 39 years and is committed to providing excellence to our community. While practicing law as a deputy prosecutor for Pierce County, she acquired extensive experience in administrative law, land use, zoning and municipal law. Her commitment to community service is demonstrated by her service on the Peninsula School Board for 10 years, having served as president twice; having served on the Gig Harbor Planning Commission for seven years and on the City Council prior to her election as mayor.

She believes that decisions should be made only after all the facts are known. As a result, she has no hidden agenda. Her only agenda is fair and open government, allowing all interests to be heard before a conclusion is reached. Her paramount concern is what is in the best interests of all of Gig Harbor. If this is what you want in your elected leaders I urge you to vote for Jill Guernsey.

Ron Roberts, Gig Harbor

Guernsey has impressive knowledge of facts

What do you do when you are relatively new to Gig Harbor and want to be informed about the city’s elections? After listening to friends talk about candidates on both sides, I decided to attend the Chamber of Commerce candidate forum for mayor on Oct. 12. I thought attending would be a good way to listen to both candidates for Mayor before making my decision on which way to vote.

During the question and answer period Mr. Kuhn’s answers were more of an attack on the current mayor than what he would do if elected. He had written notes that he read from for most of his answers and again, I did not hear specific solutions to the questions. This was the way he conducted himself throughout the debate.

I was more impressed by Mayor Jill Guernsey’s responses to questions. I found her presentation refreshing after listening to so many negative attacks. She demonstrated a clear understanding of how our city government works and the importance of working closely with county and state officials to address the needs of the city.

I want to thank the Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring this forum. After listening to both candidates, I will be voting for Jill Guernsey. She has impressive knowledge of facts and was able to clearly explain her vision for the future of Gig Harbor.

Tammy Finn, Gig Harbor

Franich is committed to working for the people

I, along with many others, am supporting Jim Franich for City Council Position #3. As a member of one of our original fishing families and a lifelong resident of Gig Harbor, Jim cares very much about his community and wants to work for all who live here. Jim realizes that there must be growth, but that it must be purposeful, well planned, and sustainable for the future. He supports downtown core businesses that serve the people living there.

Jim served on City Council from 2000 to 2010, where he worked efficiently and successfully with fellow Council members. He is very committed to working for the people of our city and has voiced his support for our local senior group, support that has been sadly lacking over the past decade. He is well liked and respected in Gig Harbor and we are very lucky that he wants to work for us again. We can count on him to be fair and honest and informed.

Susan May, Gig Harbor

Guernsey has the proven leadership, experience

Nearly two years ago, we sold our home on Henderson Bay and bought a 1952 house overlooking the harbor. That began our long journey working with the City of Gig Harbor. We have learned a lot about how the city functions, its strengths and areas needed for improvement. Mayor Jill Guernsey has earned a second term in office.

It’s important to begin with facts. The 18 development agreements approved by the city, all happened before the mayor and council were elected to office. Following the state’s Growth Management Act, our economy pummeled. Up zoned residential areas in Gig Harbor that were approved for development quickly stalled.

During Guernsey’s administration, our economy has rebounded and those developments moved forward. Gig Harbor is grappling with the same record growth that most cities in Washington are experiencing. Significant issues are happening at once … roads, traffic, zoning, planning, design, engineering, trees, views and parking.

In times of adversity, two different sides emerge. The first pulls back longing for easier, simpler times. They don’t have answers, so they yell and scream to make us afraid of the problems and tell us who is to blame.

The second is serious leaders who grasp the critical problems, tackle and resolve them. Mayor Guernsey has the proven leadership, experience, intelligence and skills required to navigate our rough, uncharted waters.

It’s not too late for our community to sit down, listen and talk to each other. Only by working together, will our beautiful city be preserved.

Mike & Elaine Hansch, Gig Harbor

Offner believes in service above self

I recently had the opportunity to attend a discussion group with Rick Offner as our guest speaker. I found him to be a deliberative, thoughtful person who will be an excellent addition to the City Council. He has a personal and professional style that shows his ability to work effectively with others in order to build consensus and trust. He has worked with many people and organizations and has been able to create effective working relationships with diverse populations. He has a master’s degree in school psychology and a PhD in rehabilitation psychology.

During his 40 year career, he has worked with local, state, national and international government agencies and has a proven track record as a clinician, researcher, manager and consultant. He has extensive experience in organizational development, management and budgeting. Among many other assets, he has had experience establishing a Community and Government Studies Program, a public policies research center at the University of Montana. Rick has been an advisor on health and human services with many state and federal agencies.

Rick supports responsible growth that balances infrastructure, roads, traffic and schools. He realizes that growth is inevitable, but he also believes that growth needs to be careful and planned so that the unique character of our community is preserved. As a Gig Harbor North resident, he brings a fresh perspective to the City Council, so that all of us in the Gig Harbor North neighborhoods will feel like we have someone who understands the challenges we face. I urge you to consider voting for Rick Offner for City Council.

Nancy Moon, Gig Harbor

Krishnadasan, Olson for school board

The Gateway Editorial Board was correct saying that previous school board leaders were not transparent and poorly communicated with taxpayers. Maintenance funds, approved by voters, were swept away to fund salaries and pet projects and now our schools are in disgraceful condition. I disagree with the Gateway’s assessment of present school board leadership. Actions by the sitting president and vice president, being influenced by previous board members and local liberal partisan political groups, have jeopardized the passage of a future bond measure needed to repair our school buildings. If voters don’t trust the school board to spend the funds they will vote NO again. As a former member of the school board I will tell you that present leadership can’t be trusted with your tax dollars.

For those that care about our schools, have kids in school, embarrassed by the condition of our school buildings, there is hope. Deborah Krishnadasan and David Olson are the only candidates on the ballot that have reached out, listened and addressed the concerns of skeptical taxpayers that vote no. If you want the next bond measure to pass, vote for Deborah Krishnadasan and David Olson.

Jerry Gibbs, Gig Harbor

Babich brings wealth of experience to PenMet board

For the past ten years, it has been a pleasure serving my community on the PenMet Board of Commissioners. The past two years I have served alongside Amanda Babich, enthusiastically have endorsed her and believe the voters would be wise to send her back. Amanda brings a wealth of experience to the board, a passion for our parks and community and an independent voice as I have witnessed her standing up for seniors, the disadvantaged, families and fiscal responsibility. She is whip-smart, prepared and adds to the board a needed perspective as a parent of a young family that is incredibly valuable in balancing our board. She is the only member of the board who has previously worked in the field of parks and recreation and her insights are needed as PenMet looks to build new parks and expand our recreational opportunities the next few years.

Please join me in voting for Amanda Babich for PenMet Parks Commissioner.

Todd Iverson, Gig Harbor

Preserve our town’s character

I love Gig Harbor and have lived here for 21 years. I spend a lot of my time volunteering and supporting causes that preserve the waterfront’s history. Gig Harbor’s character is under threat by an administration that is encouraging and facilitating development agreements in the view basin that would allow 4- to 5-story buildings right along the waterfront. The view basin is not the place to increase density and it would set a bad precedent allowing our historic city to eventually look like Kirkland. In the long run, it’s our small town character that brings people to the city. I enjoy living in Gig Harbor for the same reason many others do — because it doesn’t look like Anytown, USA, and because it doesn’t have tall buildings in the view basin. Our mayor should understand this and be helping to support and preserve our uniqueness instead of destroying it. Of the two choices we have on voting for mayor of Gig Harbor this coming election, Kit Kuhn is by far the best candidate.

If you don’t want Gig Harbor’s character to be permanently changed, I urge you to vote for Kit Kuhn for mayor. He has been a downtown business owner for years, is a people person and understands the needs of our city. He will be very sensitive to growth in Gig Harbor, especially downtown and along the waterfront. We need a new mayor now more than ever.

John McMillan, Gig Harbor

Gregory for parks commissioner

I write to support Kirsten Gregory for the position of PenMet Parks Commissioner.

I have had the opportunity to talk with Kirsten on several occasions about PenMet Parks and the role the commissioners play in setting policy and responding to the needs and desires of the community.

I have been impressed with her grasp of the issues, her desire to partner with other community agencies and her emphasis on the importance of parks meeting the needs of people of all ages and abilities.

I have been involved with PenMet Parks directly and indirectly since its founding and have seen what a difference a metro park district has made to the greater Gig Harbor community.

I believe Kirsten has the requisite skills, understanding and energy to do an excellent job as a park commissioner.

Joel Wingard, Gig Harbor

Gregory a community-focused leader

Kirsten Gregory is a community-focused leader who has donated hundreds of unpaid hours to serving our youth, our community programs, and to making Gig Harbor the best small town in America. She cares about our city and she does not quit until she gets the job done. As Gig Harbor makes serious decisions about the next phases for our community and our parks space, we need an advocate with real experience who can serve our needs.

Kirsten Gregory has our vote for PenMet Parks Commissioner.

Susan and James Wilborn, Gig Harbor

School board race

We are retired educators, longtime supporters of students, parents and staff of Peninsula School District. We’ve seen many school board elections and letters to The Peninsula Gateway. We were appalled to read the letter from Steve Whittier (10/19) – an inflammatory attack on school board candidate Noelle Balliett. He states that school board elections are non-partisan. With that, we sincerely agree, but he goes on to attack citizens and groups who have chosen to endorse and support the candidacy of Balliett, primarily based on his perception of their party affiliation.

The contributions made to both candidates are public record and available on the Public Disclosure Commission website. Mr. Whittier’s angry attack using “cesspool of lies and political gutter” when referring to those of us who disagree with him does take the campaign “down a dark path.” We support and endorse Noelle Balliett not because of party (which we didn’t know), but she believes as we do that the education of our children, our future citizens, is a priority in this community. We support her vision that to recruit and retain the best and brightest teachers and support staff is imperative to maintaining the highest level of education in our community. School board elections are about choosing candidates with strong leadership skills and commitment to support the educational professionals in our schools to provide the best educational opportunities to all our students.

Jim and Dee Adams, Gig Harbor

Guernsey supports oversized projects

Four years ago, Jill Guernsey ran unopposed. No one knew her vision for Gig Harbor. Today, we know.

Jill supports oversized projects that destroy our downtown character and scale, over development that outstrips the capacity of our roads and schools and the majority of her election campaign funds come from developers and realtors.

If you want more traffic, more overcrowded schools and more changes that degrade the livability of our neighborhoods, vote for Jill.

If you want to restore trust in city government and share Kit Kuhn’s desire to preserve our character, scale, quality of life and the order of law, vote for Kit Kuhn.

Nick and Nancy Jerkovich, Gig Harbor

Kuhn offers sensible plan for the future

Thank you, Kit Kuhn, for running for mayor of Gig Harbor, and offering the people of this community a choice in leadership. The value of a small community like Gig Harbor should like more in its intangibles, such as its beauty, history, sense of community, livability, and retaining a bit of nature amongst the rampant development rather than the obvious tangible of how many dollars can be squeezed from every square foot of soil.

Development is not going to stop and is not inherently evil, but in the long view, a well-planned and asthetically-pleasing town will help maintain the surrounding property values and quality of life of those who choose to live here.

Your support for Kit Kuhn as mayor is the path to sensible planning for the future of Gig Harbor, before it becomes just another memory of a unique maritime community on the shores of the Puget Sound shadowed by the standard multistory condominiums, big box stores and traffic.

Amy Neal, Gig Harbor

Town has prospered on Gurernsey’s watch

Jill Guernsey is the most qualified person to fulfill the role of mayor of Gig Harbor. She has shown she is professional and competent on the many issues that have confronted the city. The town has prospered in spite of the changes that it has faced during her tenure.

And it is because of her grace and leadership.

Scott Duncan, Gig Harbor

No room for hateful mailer in this town

I was absolutely appalled by the “hit” mailer that arrived over the weekend for The Kuhn Mayoral Campaign. Perhaps I am naïve but somehow I thought our beautiful little city was immune from the tasteless, divisive and falsehood filled politics that have permeated our political structure from the top down over the recent past.

Certainly we can and should do better than this, Gig Harbor.

Karen Richard, Gig Harbor

Don’t be fooled by the mudslinging

The residents of Gig Harbor will be making a big decision on Election Day. Do they want to remain with a steady hand on the wheel of government or take a gamble on a naïve opponent who feels perfectly comfortable throwing mud to see if any of it sticks?

Kit Kuhn lists his “experience” as running a very small jewelry store for 28 years. After retiring from a 30-year career in state government, I worked for a small jewelry store for 3 years. Do I think those job skills were identical? Heck No! It takes more than delivering on a promise to design a necklace for a single customer – it means forging alliances on the city, county and state level to get things done. Ms. Guernsey has done that over the course her many years in government and deserves to be re-elected.

Mr. Kuhn overestimates the power and duties of the mayor in every debate I have witnessed. Guernsey responds with fact, figures and history of the issues. Mr. Kuhn never acknowledges that many of his complaints relate to actions taken many years before Guernsey even became mayor.

I used to view Mr. Kuhn as simply naïve, but after the mailing that came out over the weekend, I realize he is getting desperate and will resort to anything to win this seat.

Gig Harbor residents — don’t be fooled by the mudslinging and unsubstantiated rumor mill. Each of the charges listed are wildly exaggerated deviations from truth.

Cindy Reed, Gig Harbor

Let’s keep Gig Harbor elections positive

Last week I received a negative mailing focusing on Mayor Guernsey. It was sent from a Kent address and was the type of mailing that has become all too common a couple of weeks before our elections. The top 5 contributors were listed as “Working Families of King County PAC.” Makes you wonder why folks from King County would care about our election. Actually, a report filed with the WA Public Disclosure Commission lists recent donors from Gig Harbor. I am disappointed that such tactics are being used in our elections. However, I don’t think her challenger is personally involved. I believe, that while lacking experience in managing an organization of the size of our city, he has been involved with many positive actions in the community.

I have known Jill Guernsey for a number of years thru her work on the Planning Commission, on the City Council and now as mayor. She led a very public effort to develop a Vision Statement for Gig Harbor and a Comprehensive Plan amendment that describes the historic nature and character of our town and created goals and policies to preserve and strengthen it. I think she has been faithful to that vision and her training and experience makes her best prepared to achieve it.

Harris Atkins, Gig Harbor

Guernsey is the ethical leader the city needs

How refreshing to see our present mayor, Jill Guernsey, run such an ethical and positive campaign! It is so rare these days to watch a politician discuss her strengths, vast experience, facts regarding the city council decisions, and specific plans to solve current issues without ever saying a negative word about her opponent.

It must be difficult to hear and read the slanderous comments and untruths by the opposing campaign. Yet, she shows integrity by remaining positive and courteous.

Guernsey has shown, through her actions, what a dynamic leader she truly is for this city. She shows high communication skills by being a good listener, learns from what she hears, does her homework, talks with all party holders, and then acts on those decisions that are collaboratively made.

Having watched the debates and attended city council meetings, there is no doubt that Jill Guernsey is the ethical leader I want in Gig Harbor as mayor.

Jeanie Simmons, Gig Harbor

PAC letter indication of poor judgment

Politics in Gig Harbor reached a new low today. A particularly nasty mailing sponsored by a PAC in support of Mr. Kuhn landed in our box, with unsubstantiated and inaccurate accusations against our current mayor, Jill Guernsey. Voters need to look at not only the candidate, but those with whom he associates, as those are the people who will surround him, if elected. Personally, I’m going to vote for the person who has a proven track record of honesty and integrity. Jill Guernsey has no agenda except the best interests of Gig Harbor. She is intelligent, experienced, and has the skills to negotiate the difficulties facing our community.

Linda Glein, Gig Harbor

Park development will make a stronger community

The Ancich Park project is moving forward. I want to celebrate, but I still feel dismayed by the actions of those who have opposed the project for the last four years. This group has driven the cost of the project up by demanding additions to the project (rebuilding two net shed docks, rebuilding two private driveways, and demanding that their view not be impeded), and by attempting to stall the project (this could create the loss of a $1.5 million grant). This group states that they are for Gig Harbor, but they are actually against anything that builds up the community for public usage. The Human-Powered Watercraft Center will be entirely open for public usage (despite the falsehoods spread by this group) and the focus is on all human-powered watercraft: sail, SUP, rowing, kayaking, and canoeing. The groups who hope to use the facility are nonprofits who only wish to use part of the space. Please get to know the facts of this project and understand that it has been publicly fought over for over four years. It is not a whim. It is a dream and a hope for a safer, stronger, watercraft community.

Tyrean Martinson, Gig Harbor

Reject levy lid lifts

Pierce County’s General Election Ballot has two propositions affecting the Gig Harbor peninsula’s property taxes, one for parks and one for the fire district. They’re both requesting an increase in the district’s regular property tax levy in the form of “lid lifts” allowing them to exceed their annual cap on property tax assessments. The present “lids” are in place to protect property owners (especially ones on fixed incomes ) from excessive tax rate increases. Local population increases (more people paying property tax), assessed land values increases (higher property tax rates) and the increase of vacant land being developed resulting in increasing it’s tax base should prevent these lid lifts.

Property taxes are escalating at rates that are financially ruining many fixed income property owners. When I retired in 1995, my property tax was $1,828. My projected taxes for 2018 are $4,847, two and a half times that of 1995. Approval of the these propositions will push my taxes over $5,000, while my retirement annuity has risen less than 40 percent in 23 years. I’ve learned to live within my budget, why can’t they? Is being taxed out of your life long home the way the American dream ends?

James Langhelm, Gig Harbor

Civility is more than just being polite

Citizens and political candidates representing downtown are setting a poor example for all of us, especially our youth. Passion for one’s views is being used as justification for actions, from lack of respect shown by “citizens” at council meetings to the poor choices made by some in seeking to win political campaigns. This has resulted in a loss of civility.

Civility is more than just being polite, its about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground for dialogue and listening past one’s preconceptions. Its hard work and a prerequisite for effective civic action. Passion without Civility does not work and is counterproductive to all. Lets bring civility back and set a good example for our youth.

Its also critical Gig Harbor has a mayor who has a proven record exemplifying civility with passion. These are the leadership qualities this city needs to effectively govern. That person is Jill Guernsey she has been more than tested in these areas and along with her strong land use planning skills is the best qualified candidate.

Those of us who feel a strong connection to the community but live a short distance outside the city limits do not have a voice so please vote for Jill to lead us into the future with Civility and passion.

Tom Borgen, Rosedale

Guernsey has earned a second term

I have known Jill Guernsey for 30 years and worked with her for 26-plus of those years. Through all of those years I found integrity, honesty, truthfulness, positivity, efficiency and care for any project, task or idea that she became involved in. She brought all of those attributes with her when she was elected to the position of mayor for the city of Gig Harbor. Due to the length of time that Jill has been dealing with the processes that governments require, she does not make promises, except to do her best for the people.

The citizens of Gig Harbor did select the right person for the position of mayor four years ago. It would behoove you all to re-elect her for a second term. It is sad that individuals can not run on their own merits, but would rather tear down their opponents through the eyes of assumptions and falsehoods. Please do not buy into the fabrications of those who do not display integrity, honesty, truthfulness, positivity, efficiency and caring. Trust me, your frustration meter will go well beyond high blood pressure.

Vicki Diamond, Gig Harbor

Nativity display should have remained

I am dismayed at the outcome of the Oct 23 Gig Harbor City Council meeting. Despite a year of public outcry, over 1,100 signatures gathered, two state legislators and a previous mayor speaking out for the issue, an attorney settling the constitutionality and legal precedent, and an overwhelming supply of merchant support, the majority of the Gig Harbor City Council remains opposed to a Christmas display downtown. Apparently, it is not politically correct to have a manger scene, presents, reindeer, or candy canes around a lighted Christmas tree on public property. The mayor and city council remain firm about removing this beloved holiday tradition, despite overwhelming arguments in favor of continuing to do so.

I want to thank Councilmen Tim Payne and Mike Perrow for voting with the citizens. Rep. Jesse Young is in touch with the public and spoke out for our keeping our small town traditions, quality of life, Judeo/Christian values and he encouraged us not to be bullied by outside groups. It's time to vote in new city leadership, a new council that will listen to the citizens of Gig Harbor, such as candidate Kit Kuhn and Jim Franich.

If you don't care for your voice being silenced by the current mayor and most of the city council, vote.

Robin Melin, Gig Harbor