Gateway: Opinion

Letters to the Editor, June 17

Gig Harbor’s utility rates inexpensive compared to other cities in region

Mr. Don Bremmer’s recent letters to the editor (March 11 and June 10, Gateway) regarding City utility rates paint a skewed and sometimes erroneous picture of utility rate history in Gig Harbor. First, the City’s three utilities are separate entities. Second, rates have not been raised consistently since 2005. In fact, four of the last ten years did not see a rate increase. The writer also uses percentages to illustrate increase, but the actual impact in dollars and cents has been quite modest. For example, the average monthly water bill, base rate has only increased 56 cents each year over the last 10 years. That’s an average of a 4.8-percent increase a year.

Most importantly, the City’s previous utility rates have been relatively inexpensive compared to other cities and utilities in the region. Although it has saved the citizens money, it has prevented the City from doing needed maintenance. The City is proposing these new modest regular rate increases to avoid major problems which come from inadequate maintenance. These new rates allow the City to perform regular needed maintenance, to keep the utilities reliable which will keep future costs down.

This is smart government. We can only “kick the can” down the road so far before the utilities become unreliable, causing breakdowns and problems which would be very expensive and devastating to the public.

Jill Guernsey

Gig Harbor

(Guernsey is the mayor of Gig Harbor.)

Leslie Harbaugh passionate about education, can offer fresh approach

As longtime residents of the Gig Harbor area (now on the Key Peninsula), with grandkids attending school in the Peninsula School District, we’re writing to express our support for Leslie Harbaugh for the Peninsula School Board’s District 4 position.

Above all, we think our school district needs real leadership, transparency and accountability. For instance, we’re happy to support school funding measures, but only if the money is spent wisely and the district does what it says it’s going to do.

As she’s shown in her years of volunteer work on behalf of our schools, Leslie has a true capacity to work with people on all sides in a collaborative way to find common ground and get important things done, all while holding people’s feet to the fire.

Although Leslie is passionate about education and has strong beliefs, she is also great at putting people at ease and listening carefully to what others have to say. The voice of the community must be heard. We believe Leslie can offer a fresh approach that’s sorely needed.

Tom and Charlene Graybill


Needs of youth should be considered for large-scale projects

I think it is great that a group of people in Gig Harbor want to build a regional arts center and the Harbor Soccer Club wants to build soccer fields. Both of these projects look to be built in Gig Harbor proper and both of these projects will cost millions and will be paid for by government and private funds. Usable land is expensive in Gig Harbor. We have the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club and the Harbor History Museum, all great entities.

But why not think bigger and coordinate better with the community when it comes to building these big projects? Can we have a community meeting to discuss what the community wants and needs in regards to big-ticket items to be built in our community? We have nothing to do for the pre-teen and teen population in our city wandering around.

What about a spray park or an indoor/outdoor sports complex with a bowling alley and batting cages? We need more community input on what should be built in our community and less small group efforts tying up land and funding.

Stan Layton

Gig Harbor

Funding to treat Alzheimer’s needs Kilmer’s support

Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, M.D., recently penned an opinion letter on in which he stated, “Alzheimer’s disease has been notoriously challenging, but researchers are committed to tackling the problem with the right funding.”

Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death among the top 10 in the U.S. without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression – yet.

In addition to the human toll of the disease on the more than 100,000 Washingtonians living with Alzheimer’s and their over 300,000 caregivers, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in the nation, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Nearly one in five Medicare dollars is spent on a person with Alzheimer’s and, according to a new study, the cost of Alzheimer’s to the nation will increase fivefold by mid-century. We must head off this human and fiscal disaster by finding a treatment and cure.

I urge Congressman Derek Kilmer to support an additional $300 million for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health in fiscal year 2016 tohelp save millions of lives and trillions of dollars.

Gail Bosch