Letters to the Editor – March 25, 2020

For our safety’s sake, limit visits to peninsula

I live on the Olympic Peninsula. There seemed to be a big increase this weekend of tourists to this area. We do not have the supplies or medical facilities to support what will likely come from this increased human traffic.

It’s time the quarantined measures increase. Not enough people are getting how this works. Our small communities are currently being inundated with large amounts of people coming to vacation in our area of the Olympic Peninsula and we can’t take it. We are but a small number of communities with limited resources and the people who live here need them first.

This is urgent and demands the action of those who hold positions of influence and power. Please hear our call for action and protect our vulnerable communities now.

We do not want to exacerbate an “us vs. them” mentality, but people need to understand that our region cannot be a destination for them during this time.

Laura Johns


Councilors exhibit ‘lack of professionalism’

What is happening to our Sequim City Council? Why on earth would it be acceptable for two adult city councilors to exhibit such a lack of professionalism as was recently demonstrated by each of them leaving the council dais/chambers during recent meetings, due to their disagreement with how things were going?

As a Sequim city resident, I am mystified as to why this behavior would take place and why it would be tolerated by fellow councilors and by Sequim citizens. It does nothing to build trust in our elected officials, nor reinforce the assumption that they are all elected to serve us, the residents of Sequim.

There are appropriate and responsible actions to take when one does not agree with the topic, process, methodology, or decisions of the elected body with whom one serves. There are also procedures for running an open public meeting.

Please, mayor and city councilors, now, more than ever before, we need your leadership, your well-formed knowledge base, your integrity, your confidence, and your faith in our community.

With hope for a better tomorrow,

Ann Marie Henninger


CCD steps up

Ann Soule’s March 18 water column (“Public health and water quality,” Sequim Gazette, March 18, page A-8) really resonated with me. As manager of 400 acres of Dungeness Bay tidelands and a long-time Clallam Conservation District board member, water quality has been what some describe as an obsession of mine.

As Ann pointed out, we’re finally realizing the rewards of our collective efforts with hundreds of acres of re-opened shellfish beds, and renewal of commercial shellfish production by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

There were a few things in Ann’s column that warrant comment. Water quality impacts from irrigation ditches were mentioned, but nothing was said about the work Clallam Conservation District did about it. Many miles of ditches have been piped, but the first piping projects targeted ditches that delivered contaminated water to Dungeness Bay. I’m convinced those projects had the single greatest impact on Dungeness Bay cleanup.

The conservation district’s “stepped up” efforts to provide technical assistance to farmers was mentioned. Those efforts have been the heart and soul of conservation districts. It’s true a higher priority was placed on the Dungeness watershed, partly because of grant funding, but this work goes back decades.

The conservation district’s efforts to help repair failing septic systems was described as a loan program, but in fact, the district provides grants up to 75 percent to homeowners with a financial need. I’ve been advocating for this unique yet very successful program, despite opposition from traditionalists fearful of change.

It takes the work of many to improve water quality and keep it that way. It is often said that it is amazing how much good can get done when nobody cares who gets the credit. I agree, but every time the conservation district goes before our County commissioners in search of stable funding, they hesitate because they don’t know what we’ve been doing.

Clallam Conservation District rarely receives the credit it deserves, which has lead to insufficient funding, but we will, as always continue to be a team player and do what we can with our available funds.

Matt Heins


Note: Heins is manager of Dungeness Farms, Inc.

Term for virus inspires racism

A letter to the editor last week (“Time to ‘buck up’,” Sequim Gazette, page A-8) prompted me to respond by pointing out if you refer to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) or COVID-19 (the disease) by country of origin, over and over, is an open display of racism. It is done on purpose. It is a dog whistle for racists.

Call it “the coronavirus.” Call it the “novel coronavirus.” Even use the term “COVID-19” in a slightly imprecise way, to refer to the virus rather than the disease. We will get it. But if you try to attach the country of origin, to make that the name of it, we get that, too.

Roger Briggs


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