Gateway: Opinion

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 16

Lots to be thankful for this year in Gig Harbor

With Thanksgiving fast approaching and an election in our rearview mirror, I am feeling grateful for the leadership that has shaped our town over the course of many decades and the wonderful things those leaders have done to bless us with spaces that foster our sense of community, and bring us to our waterfront to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

I am thankful for the park at Donkey Creek, where I remember George Borgen and his lumber shop.

I am thankful for Skansie Netshed, and the park surrounding it, where we gather to listen to music and shop at the farmer’s market.

I am thankful for the park at the Old Ferry Landing, where we can picnic in the shadow of Mount Rainier while watching boats enter our Harbor.

I am thankful for The Eddon Boat Shop and the beautiful natural park beside it because I can look over the water at the fishing boats and imagine the fishermen and their intrepid journeys north to catch salmon, like those of their fathers and grandfathers.

I am thankful for the Austin Estuary and the shorebirds that hang there, and the sweet path that winds behind the history museum—a time gone by.

I am thankful for the Maritime Pier where I can watch the fishermen offloading their nets at the end of the season.

We are so fortunate that the guardians of our town—our council members and mayors—have sought to preserve these spaces for us. I am forever grateful. I must say a special thanks to Councilman Ekberg, who has served on our council for more than 30 years and has shepherded most of these park projects over his tenure. One could not have chosen a better legacy.

Karen Bujacich McDonell, Gig Harbor

Deplorable actions in local election

As a person who has passionate and hopefully educated views on civic matters, even though to others they may seem biased, I am aghast at the deplorable state of the current Gig Harbor election. Rather than debating what are important issues which have honest and substantive differences in views, far too many have sunk to a level of name calling and personal attacks which unfortunately mirror a growing trend at the national level.

Is this Gig Harbor? Is this what we are teaching our youth and demonstrating to others what we value and accept. Is this us or are these people simply a small minority? We must ask ourselves.

I for one reject these tactics which besmirch all of us because we seem to accept such mudslinging. I urge those who engaged in these tactics to renounce their actions and pledge to raise future campaigns to a level where issues are discussed, but where motives and people are not trashed.

Gig Harbor is a beautiful community with great people, all of whom want a better community, albeit with differing views. It is a community that does not need deplorable people making deplorable attacks on honorable people.

Jeff Harris, Lakebay

Technology isn’t the root cause of rise in youth anxiety

Some Peninsula schools are trying to spread the word. On Nov.7 at Kopachuck Middle School, there was another showing of the documentary “Screenagers.” This film explores the relationship of our technology such as cell phones, gaming and social media and the mental health and well-being of our youth. A recent article in The New York Times and Time Magazine also have documented the startling rise in youth anxiety and depression and convincingly linked it with excessive electronic media use.

Although I totally believe parents need to set appropriate limits on their own as well as their children’s cell phone and media use, technology is not the root cause. It is just magnifying our society’s belief system that one’s value is based on our success, our appearance, the vacations we take and how many “likes” our posts get.

So besides modeling appropriate digital citizenship for our families, adults need to continually live and teach our children and communities that one’s self worth is not how many followers we have on Twitter, but because all people are created in God’s image. By our words and actions we need to continually demonstrate reverence, love and civility for this great gift of life.

Tom Herron, Gig Harbor

Aftermath of Gig Harbor election will be telling

I read your post-election opinion and analysis of Gig Harbor’s future.

I agree, 100%, with your views on the big issues; development, growth, traffic, etc., and how this election may not make any difference in the long run. We get it: The whole world wants to live in Gig Harbor and we can’t stop it.

Unfortunately, those are the things that people fear. They directly impact our quality of life. Avoiding them is the reason, however naively, some moved here in the first place. I think a problem with the out-going mayor is how little she appeared to do, to assuage that fear, even if it is ultimately “inevitable.”

I think the whole transparency issue, coupled with extremely poor communications, contributed to her defeat. How often did the mayor hold an open town hall-type of meeting, outside the hostile environment at city hall, and discuss whatever folks wanted to talk about? More importantly, when/how did she ever communicate what she thinking, doing, planning, or just concerned about — before things got so contentious?

Even a weekly/monthly space in your paper just to say, “Hello from City Hall,” might have garnered her much more support — even if the news wasn’t always pleasant. The only things I read from her were defensive responses to comments from others. How about just sitting in a coffee shop for an impromptu “What do you have for me” session? Other local politicians have used that effectively. The answer can’t be “I don’t have the time” or “It is on the city’s website.”

Let’s hope the new mayor makes open and frequent dialog a priority, even if it is bad news.

Tom Curran, Gig Harbor