Letters to the editor — Oct. 10, 2018

Vote yes, twice

This morning, my 3-year-old daughter was getting ready to go to the pool with grandma, when she said to me with a beaming smile, “Mama, I like going to pools and libaries. Pools and libaries mama, they’re my favwit.”

Her sparkle and passion melted my heart, and I too, gave a quick thanks, for pools and libraries.

Then a fear crept to mind, about the November ballot: “What if people don’t vote ‘yes’ twice for libraries? What if Sequim can’t expand its small library to meet the growing needs of its booming population?”

For a moment, I was afraid for our community’s future. But then hope came sprinting up, and transformed fear into action!

I encourage everyone to vote yes twice for libraries!

Yes twice for community spaces, for interactive learning, for everyone places.

Yes twice for more computer seating, for music and fun, and rooms for meeting.

Yes twice, for toddlers and teens, our elders and tweens.

Vote yes twice!

You need only look around to see evidence that construction in Sequim is booming; big box stores, houses, paving over farmland, its all booming.

I know as a community we have what it takes to prioritize constructing our common wealth, too. We can rally our neighbors and get out the vote for our new library! Your participation is required, so act now!

Libraries unite us — they’re a shared resource of, and for, the people. We are the people. Vote yes twice for libraries this November!

Kia Armstrong

Sequim

Library measures worth our votes

Libraries transform lives and this November residents of the Sequim community have the opportunity to transform the Sequim library for future generations.

Libraries offer free books, movies, games and programs that let residents challenge themselves, explore new ideas and pursue their passions. A new facility will provide additional space for books, computers and seating.

Library resources and programming help patrons develop their leadership skills. The library provides a wealth of resources, from extensive databases to conduct your research to providing 3-D printers that can help your idea come to life. With the guidance of a trained librarian, you need only to select what you want to learn. The new facility will provide maker space for interactive learning.

Libraries ensure people have access to information and lifelong learning regardless of age, education, ethnicity, gender, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers. Libraries strengthen communities and help create a more literate and just society. The new building would include larger and enhanced meeting rooms for residents, businesses and entrepreneurs.

Research shows that the size of a child’s vocabulary and their ability to quickly connect meaning to those words depends on how adults talk with them. Libraries provide resources, space and examples during story times, of ways that caregivers can help children develop strong communications skills. The new library will feature more space dedicated to children and teens.

The digital divide is real. Libraries transform to play an essential role in bridging the divide and not just through access. According to Pew Research, 63 percent of newcomers feel they’d need some assistance in learning how to use the internet. The new library is sized to eliminate current over crowding and better access to computers.

Transform the Sequim Library, transform lives. Vote Yes on Proposition 1 and Proposition 2. Great libraries make great communities.

Robert Baer

Sequim

Yes on I-1639

As a law-abiding firearms owner I encourage others, like me, including members of the NRA to support I-1639. This initiative in no way takes away your Second Amendment rights regardless of what some are saying.

Think about it. In some states you can’t legally purchase tobacco until you are 21. Why not semi-auto rifles? Handguns are already have this restriction. Why not have comprehensive background checks? Do you really want mentally ill people, felons, minors and domestic abusers to get guns so easily using the gun show loophole?

Why not make sure you guns are stored safely? Do you really want your minor child to get access to your gun and shoot themselves, one of their friends, or you accidentally? It does happen more often than you think.

When I was a reserve deputy in Boulder, Colo., I had to pick bone fragments out of the wall in a house where a young teenager shot the leg of a friend with a shotgun that was not properly stored. What about firearms safety training? When I acquired my concealed weapons permit in Idaho I had to pass a firearms safety course. Is that so difficult?

I keep hearing from some gun owners worrying that this is the first step toward the government coming and taking their guns away. Really?. Do you really believe that our federal government is that capable? If it did ever come to that, by then our democracy would have ceased to exist. My previous employer had a motto for all employees to follow: It stated merely the word, “Think”!

Stan Riddle

Sequim

Library is important to all

Libraries today are not just about books. This is an important community place for people of all ages. The Port Angeles Library seems to be four times the size of our library. But the Sequim has almost as many people going through the door daily.

Our cramped library has books, newspaper, magazines, computers, art, music, one small meeting room and a very helpful, skilled staff. The Sequim Dungeness population has more than doubled since the library was built in 1983.

With a new updated facility, the library can serve everyone better, with separated areas for quiet reading and noisier activities. People can use computers to read email or prepare resumes and online job applications. Everyone can borrow movie DVD’s and music CD’s. Sit in a quiet space to read newspapers and magazines. There are community and club meetings, discussion groups, book clubs. The library even participates in First Friday Art Walk and has outdoor summer concerts.

An active, hard-working Friends of the Library group raises funds for programs and projects through monthly book sales. Or you can check out a book! Our small library is a bustling, but limited space for many great community activities.

In November, vote twice! The Proposition 1 establishes the service area. The Proposition 2 finances the bond (think of it as a mortgage) to build a larger, modern, flexible library that will be the pride of our community. Vote “Yes” twice!

Laura Dubois

Sequim

Library propositions should get our votes

When your ballot arrives next week, we hope that you join us in casting your “yes” vote for both Proposition 1 and 2 to support the Sequim Library.

Proposition 1 will create the required tax district, which closely matches the Sequim School District. Proposition 2 finances the library project by approving the needed bonds and tax levies.

Both proposals need your “yes” vote for this critical local asset to move forward.

With our growing community, the present facility is bursting at the seams with residents of all ages. If you think that the Sequim library is just a place to check out books, stop by and see everything that the library offers our community. For starters, there are community meetings, children’s events, the latest in e-books for your free use, DVD loan library, free internet and more! The presence of a quality library is a crucial aspect of a thriving community.

Please join us in casting your “yes” vote for both Proposition 1 and 2 to build a stronger community and move us forward to better meet the needs of everyone.

Don and Susan Sorensen

Sequim

Clallam County, let’s stop poor-shaming!

“Sure, I’ll help the good poor, but not the bad ones or the druggies. I won’t help the ones who forgot to have savings or won’t get a job.” I hear this a lot.

This is “poor-shaming” and we in Clallam County need to nip this nonsense in the bud whenever we hear it. Think about it. You can’t go for a job interview if you have nowhere to take a shower. If you don’t have detergent, a sink and a hanger you can’t have a clean uniform the next day. You can’t get a bus pass if you haven’t been paid yet. What we take for granted a poor person cannot access.

Serenity House is one of many Clallam organizations I know of who have trained counselors helping people get out of poverty. It’s working too. Previously homeless adults and families are in homes, kids are back in school, adults have jobs, they pay rent, and they pay taxes.

Yet when poor-shaming seeps into communities we change from not just blaming the poor for being the wrong kind of poor, but to thinking we are the true victims. “Heck, bread is $5 a loaf and gas is $3.50 a gallon. It’s not my fault they’re broke.” Yeah, but it’s not their fault either.

And poor-shaming is becoming violent. I’ve even heard reports that local citizens have been pointing guns, slashing tents and taking potshots at homeless people. Clallam, this is not who we are.

Mind you, we don’t demonize the poor in our own family. Uncle Reggie has fallen on hard times. Cousin Jack had a terminal illness, my brother lost his job, has school loans, taxes, credit card debt, or his business went bankrupt, and we allow family to move in with us. We rationalize why our beloved Aunt Nia can’t make ends meet and now lives in the RV outback.

But what about those people wandering our alleys and ravines, the ones we don’t know — but wait. Maybe we do know them.

Fact: According to local homeless support groups, 85 percent of our Clallam homeless grew up right here; the poor are our neighbors and classmates.

Fact: The No. 1 reason for homelessness is a lack of affordable housing for low-wage earners.

Fact: No one is busing in the homeless; we have far less resources than big cities.

Fact: Clallam’s fastest growing population of homeless people living in their cars is elderly women.

Fact: The closing of two paper mills continues to impact our total economy.

Fact: Many homeless had savings but loss of income, illness or accidents wiped them out.

Fact: Rent has doubled yet wages, Social Security is relatively flat or worse with inflation it buys less.

Fact: Homeless kids drop out of school because they don’t have clothes or lunch money not low grades.

Fact: Nationally 70 percent of the people on Food Stamps now work; the “unemployed” are often care givers.

Fact: The largest users of welfare (44 percent) and food stamps (36.2 percent) are white rural working poor families (Census Data a report from the Center on Budget Policy Priorities)

Fact: From street-to-permanent housing takes one to two years — but we need more affordable units.

Fact: Serenity House also helps the near homeless stay housed with short-term rent relief.

Fact: It is doable to end homelessness in Clallam.

Let’s support “the common good” and common decency with common sense. It starts with neighbors nixing poor-shaming and then lending a hand up.

Clallam, let’s lead the way in compassion.

Give at www.Serenity HouseClallam.org, or to your favorite local charity helping the vulnerable.

Sally Franz

Sequim

Doing my part

I wish to thank you for publishing the article on my protest downtown (“A plea to vote,” Sequim Gazette, Sept. 19, A-10). That took courage.

As for the person who wrote in after your publication came out (“Photo smacks of agenda, Letters to the Editor, Sept. 26, A-6), you are right in the saying I have an agenda. I am dying from two types of cancer and I just got tired of yelling at my TV. I wanted to do something to get back to normal. I can only do it once or twice a month but it makes me feel like I am doing something by sitting down there in my chair and talking to people.

I thank you for your correct observation and God bless you.

Larry F. Smith

Sequim

Vote for Bill Benedict

Clallam County residents are extremely fortunate Bill Benedict has been our sheriff for 12 years!

Bill brings to the department vast experience … a graduate of University of Michigan, 22 years in the US Navy serving our country, a commercial pilot and educator before joining the sheriff’s department.

His intellect and leadership has earned the department several coveted commendations – including having our jail become the first to earn state accreditation. Only 30 patrol officers in our long, large county have given us the distinction of having one of the lowest crime rates in our state.

Bill’s department has accomplished all this without ever exceeding the annual budget. In fact, any unspent funds are returned to the county every year.

Please join me in voting for sheriff Benedict so that his excellent record will continue to make our beautiful county safe!

Helga McGhee-Greer

Sequim

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