Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With Election Day now behind us, and the final votes being tallied, I’ve been thinking a lot about the vital impact individual voices have on improving our community and state, in both big and little ways.
We live in a time where voters are feeling increasingly disenfranchised, and yet Kitsap residents continue to speak up and work together to solve problems.
Big and Small Changes at Washington State Ferries
Last month I met with the new Assistant Secretary for WSF, Lynne Griffith, to welcome her to Kitsap County and begin to discuss ways we could work together. I would like to thank outgoing interim Assistant Secretary, Captain George Cappacci, for his leadership, and for helping to resolve two problems raised by Kitsap residents during his tenure.
First: I hear frequently from Bremerton ferry customers that receipts at Colman Dock are improperly issued for the Bainbridge run, raising concerns that Bremerton ridership may be undercounted.
In early October, WSF began to act more assertively to correct this persistent error. Signs have now been posted at the fare booths to remind both WSF ticket sellers and customers to double check receipts to ensure they are issued for the correct destinations. Our job, as passengers, is to check our receipts and request that a new one be re-issued should the destination be incorrect. The ticket seller should correct the mistake.
Second: Thanks to the efforts of the local groups Squeaky Wheels and West Sound Cycling Club, improved access and safety for bicyclists will now be included in the planned Colman Dock renovations. These features had originally been missing from the project due to cost saving goals, but through constructive advocacy, cost-effective changes will now be included. To read more about the proposed improvements for bicyclists, please click here.
It’s the job of your elected representatives and government agency staff to listen to concerns and work to solve them, and these two successes illustrate how participation can range from a simple email complaint or Facebook post, to a full-fledged effort to help with engineering and design!
Don’t Miss the Boat on Oil Transportation
Over the past year, I have written a lot about the increasing amounts of oil being transported through our state. And as more and more oil-laden trains and ships pass through our communities, more questions are being raised about what this means for Washington in terms of public safety and environmental risks.
Earlier this year, Gov. Jay Inslee instructed the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) to conduct a study, called the 2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study, to evaluate the effect this increase has on our communities and waterways. The DOE is taking public comment until December 1st on the draft of the study, to be completed in March of 2015.
There were two packed public meetings held last week – one in Spokane and one in Olympia. Comments ranged from calling for a moratorium on oil transportation, to raising concerns about the effects the increase has on shipments by rail of agricultural goods, to increased accountability for oil companies in the event of a spill. Individuals from across Washington are saying loudly and clearly they feel passionately about this issue. If you have something to say and haven’t yet commented, you may still do so until Dec. 1 by clicking here.
Coffee and Comfort
To end on an uplifting note, a couple of weeks ago I met with Governor Inslee at the Coffee Oasis in Bremerton to catch up on issues over a quick cup of coffee. The Governor was accompanied by First Lady Trudi Inslee, who has a special interest in alleviating homelessness.
Established 17 years ago, The Coffee Oasis provides a safe place for homeless and street-oriented youth to meet with others in similar situations and access resources they may need to help improve their lives. It’s also a great place to eat lunch or sit down with a cup of coffee.
With locations in Bremerton, Poulsbo and Port Orchard, this non-profit has served coffee and comfort to young people across Kitsap County. It was my pleasure to introduce the Inslees to the founders, Dave Frederick and his son Daniel. In recognition of their great work in our communities, the governor declared Dave the Washington State Citizen of the Day!
It was wonderful to be a part of this joyful and well-deserved event, and I’d like to thank the Frederick family and their staff for helping make the world a better place.
Governor Jay Inslee with Dave and Daniel Frederick
As always, thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. I look forward to your calls and emails.