Jim Franich will preserve unique character of city
This past year I have attended dozens of meetings at City Hall on issues related to the preservation of Gig Harbor’s character and the vision for its future, and what I heard at those meetings makes me very surprised that the Gateway has endorsed pro-growth candidate Peter Norman for Position 3 on the Gig Harbor City Council.
What I witnessed at these meetings, is that Gig Harbor constituents are fed up with growth — the horrendous traffic, the loss of green space, the unbridled development, and the erosion of Gig Harbor’s unique character resulting from the unchecked acceleration of building (commercial and residential) development. So, I’m surprised that the Gateway isn’t endorsing a candidate who “gets it.” Instead, the Gateway is endorsing a candidate with a long career in real estate development and expertise in working with “opposition factions.” I guess we Gig Harbor voters and residents are now“opposition factions” that Peter Norman knows how to deal with. Hmmm.
The endorsement gives Peter Norman credit for his acknowledgment of the “unreasonable curtailment of growth” and says that it means that he knows what he’s getting into in city politics. Really, Mr. Norman? Do you see unreasonable curtailment of growth? If you do, I think you are out of touch.
Fact is, the reason we are losing four of our long-time and devoted City Councilmen in the first place, is because it was felt that they did not do enough to manage overgrowth.
Jim Franich was at many of the meetings I attended at City Hall and he knows our city well. His primary objection to the proposed kayak recreation center at Ancich Park was that it was cited on a blind curve with heavy traffic which poses a danger to people crossing the road and the parking is nearly non-existent. It’s a good idea in a bad location. Jim heard the concerns that the GH citizens voiced about using tax dollars to build a facility for a private club, and raised an eyebrow at the notion that the city would dig-out under the road to make more room for kayak storage. I think Jim’s instincts are right on.
If you want a candidate that will pave the way for Kirkland/Bellevue-like condos going up everywhere in our view basin, then Peter Norman is your man. If you prefer preserving the unique character of Gig Harbor, then you should choose Jim. A person who represents developers, or a person who represents the people who call Gig Harbor home. You decide.
Karen Bujacich McDonell
Olson has become beholden to his donors
School boards nationwide are set up to be non-pay, non-partisan positions to provide the best education for our public school children. If re-elected, however, David Olson, an incumbent board member, will renege on that practice.
By accepting almost $15,000 in campaign contributions, Mr. Olson has become beholden to his donors. His loyalty is now to party affiliates, marijuana dealers, and anti-taxers. If he’s elected, they will dictate his marching orders for the next four years.
In addition, at each candidate forum, Mr. Olson has promised to provide the district with a new school if re-elected. After four years on the school board, he knows full well that our facility needs are much greater than one school. We certainly do need a new school, as well as building replacements and upgrades throughout the district. To say he will provide one new school is extremely short-sighted.
As a retired principal of Harbor Heights and Discovery Elementary Schools, I encourage parents, grandparents, students over 18, and others who believe in public education to get out and vote Nov. 7, but NOT for Mr. Olson.
Gary Williamson, Gig Harbor
Woock for city council position
I am quite puzzled by the Gateway’s decision to endorse Rick Offner. Gig Harbor City Council’s Position #1 is between him, a recent resident whose chief qualification appears to be that he lives in North Gig Harbor, and Jeni Woock, an 18-year resident of Gig Harbor who has shown her commitment to our city by consistently fighting for increased transparency and accountability of the Gig Harbor City Council and working on behalf of numerous community events. Jeni has been active in blocking 20 zoning changes that would result in even worse traffic problems than we’re already facing. She has also worked on behalf of updating school impact fees, advocating for safer pedestrian crossings, and preserving the Skansie Home. Jeni doesn’t just talk a good line, she has proven in her many years of social and community activism that she cares deeply about Gig Harbor’s heritage and its quality of life.
Actions always speak louder than words. That is why I urge support of Jeni Woock for Gig Harbor City Council’s Position #1.
Mark B. Whitehill
Kuhn is committed to the success of our town
As I have watched paradise being paved all around me, I always thought that the Gig Harbor City Council would fulfill its responsibility to protect the character of the Gig Harbor historic core. When Mayor Jill Guernsey cast the deciding vote for the One Harbor Point Development (apartments behind the Tides) to continue to the next stage, despite the overwhelming opposition of those attending the hearing and in the face of numerous deviations from the zoning code (including a total clear cut), I realized that the future of the city’s historic core was truly at risk.
With a Council willing to ignore the zoning code, we could see high rises in the historic core in the future. Kit Kuhn owned a small business downtown for 28 years. Kit is not anti-development. Kit is committed to the success of our town while complying with the current zoning code and development plan, and preserving Gig Harbor’s character that has landed it on so many published lists of special towns.
If we want to preserve the historic core, and stay on those lists, we need to elect Kit Kuhn for mayor.
Angela Dahl Sisney, Gig Harbor
Kuhn understands city’s maritime identity
I have known Kit Kuhn for over 20 years. I owned and operated a small gallery directly above his jewelry store in downtown Gig Harbor.
Even back then, I can recount his commitment to city issues when he invested countless hours working with local organizations and city staff to represent our community’s needs and maritime identity.
In 2006, I became the city’s historic preservation officer and spent nearly eight years working to elevate what’s best about our town. I learned that our community’s intuitive sense of what makes us so unique, is why we’ve managed to maintain an authentic working waterfront with mixed uses that helps drive tourism to our downtown business districts.
When Jill Guernsey took office in 2014, my position at the city was abolished. I learned then that current leadership does not share the same vision as a majority of the people that call Gig Harbor home. Rather than maintain the quality of life that people love and moved here for, a small group of individuals who see an opportunity for profit are leaving a destructive wake of overcrowded schools, paralyzing traffic congestion and a spoiled landscape.
Guernsey’s record speaks loudly of her objectives. Over the past four years she has attempted to fill our open waters at Skansie Park with exclusive fee-based recreational moorage. She wanted new floats at the Maritime Pier that would restrict access for our commercial fishing fleet. She also wanted the Planning Commission to up-zone an unprecedented area of downtown for more density. Her agenda was narrowly thwarted thanks to standing-room only crowds.
Based on her actions, I am convinced that Gig Harbor (as we know it) will not survive another Guernsey term.
Guernsey would have you think that this kind of growth is inevitable. It is not. Thankfully it is a decision now in your hands. When your ballot arrives, please vote for Kit Kuhn as mayor.
Lita Dawn Stanton, Gig Harbor
A vote for candidates who oppose One Harbor Point
One of our favorite places is Sun Mountain Lodge near Winthrop. This is a beautiful resort which has been carefully constructed with good taste and appropriate scale.
In 1987, the Haub brothers of Germany purchased the lodge. The lodge provided the following comments:
“When (the Haub brothers) decided that Sun Mountain needed renovation and expansion to meet the needs of today’s traveler, they did not want to alter the original view or style. They hired the Seattle-based design firm NBBJ to design the ‘new’ Sun Mountain Lodge, using natural materials and huge dimensions throughout, in keeping with the original structure.”
We wish that the Haub family had decided to develop their property at the base of Soundview and Harborview drives.
We believe that in keeping with their desire to maintain vision, style and character, they would oppose the proposed One Harbor Point development, which has aroused such a vocal opposition among nearly all the immediate neighbors.
Unlike Sun Mountain Lodge, the proposed Cheney development does not fit into its surroundings and violates nearly every rule and regulation that exists in Gig Harbor. This development is only designed to maximize profitability.
Unfortunately, our current mayor cast the deciding vote at a June 26 public hearing to send this proposed development forward for environmental and design review, thus continuing to spend scarce city resources to assist the developer.
Please protect the Haub family vision/legacy and vote in November to support those candidates that oppose the Cheney One Harbor Point development.
George and Marcia Pollitt, Gig Harbor
Guernsey, City Council have made city a better place
Recent press and social media characterized Gig Harbor as deteriorating.
My wife and I moved here 14 years ago because we loved the area and community. Today, I enjoy Gig Harbor even more. I’ve seen improving harbor water quality, daylighting Donkey Creek, Skansie Park refurbishment, new trails and parks, and wider sidewalks along portions of the waterfront. Our economy has also improved with significant expansion and investment in existing business such as with Gig Harbor Marina and boatyard. New businesses (7 Seas, Heritage Distillery) and nice restaurants are opening — all while respecting our harbor heritage.
With these changes, I’ve seen a healthy demographic shift including younger families with baby carriages. We are moving forward quite positively building a healthy, more vibrant, prideful, community. Concerts and movies in the parks, the summer trolley, and the flower basket program run by local volunteers make us even better. Yes, traffic and parking challenges are growing but efforts are underway to address these issues. I am not alone in being impressed with the changes in Gig Harbor. Our community has received quite an array of awards and recognitions. Recent accolades include being named the top place to retire in Washington state, number 4 in the nation, and being one of the ten most beautiful towns on the West Coast. This September we were also presented the Great Neighborhood Award. In this regard, I must thank the city of Gig Harbor, Mayor Guernsey, and the City Council for respectfully moving us forward.
Chuck Meacham, Gig Harbor