Letters to the Editor

From May 27, 2006

Commissioner’s race

Brown cuts

to the chase

In regards to your recent article “Brown aims to tackle permit process,” (May 20): How refreshing to have a candidate who isn’t promising what taxes I won’t have to pay or what services I will have if he or she is elected, instead Brown puts forward a plan to do the necessary jobs of county government well. That is what I want in a candidate; First find a way to do the tasks we all need, like getting a permit, are done well. After that, talk about cutting my taxes or offering me new services. I am certainly going to give Josh Brown a look come this next election.

Graham Skelly

Bremerton

Federal budget

Local programs

will take huge cuts

Our nation’s burgeoning budget deficit has created serious concerns among organizations across the county that serve the basic needs of vulnerable, impoverished families with children, the elderly, men, women, people with disabilities and underemployed and unemployed individuals in our communities. As a result of the budget deficit, there is fear that Congress may disregard the need to preserve vital programs that sustain, protect and strengthen our communities.

During the 1990s, bipartisan efforts demonstrated that the federal budget can be balanced without major cuts that affect our most vulnerable neighbors. Congress must show the political will to prioritize human need.

Proposed reductions in services that would disproportionately impact low-income and other disadvantaged populations include:

Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), which supports elderly services, foster care, adoptive services, education and training, employment, and health and housing services. In 2003, over half of the 14 million Americans benefiting from SSBG were children, yet over the past 10 years, annual funding for SSBG has been axed from $2.8 billion to $1.7 billion, and to $1.2 billion in the President’s proposed 2007 budget.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which supports housing programs such as rental and home ownership assistance, economic development programs, and supportive services that address a national objective and community need. The FY 2007 budget reduces important funding for this program.

Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which helps states and tribes to fund services from community-based organizations. The current proposed budget has eliminated this program entirely.

Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which helps millions of low-income families access child care for their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Due to underfunding of the program, 250,000 fewer children receive assistance than in FY 2000.

Affordable Housing, which provides for public housing programs, housing for the elderly and people with disabilities, the Public Housing Capital Fund, and the HOPE IV program will experience significant cuts in the FY 2007 proposed budget.

It is important to note that the availability of these funds helps our local agencies accomplish their missions by leveraging dollars from other sources such as United Way, private foundations and individual donors.

Imagine for a moment the many programs and services in our county alone that will be dramatically reduced if the afore-mentioned cuts are allowed to occur:

Employment and training programs at our community college that prepare the workforce for livable-wage employment;

Access to quality childcare and early learning opportunities;

Emergency and transitional housing and shelter for low-income families, homeless men and women, and victims of domestic abuse;

Food Bank services;

Meals for homebound seniors;

Home weatherization for low-income homeowners;

Outreach services to families with children at risk of abuse and neglect;

Chemical dependency treatment for the working poor;

Advocacy and intervention for sexually abused children

Affordable single family homes through Habitat for Humanity; and,

Many other types of assistance that make our county a unique and caring place to live.

I urge you to join the United Way of Kitsap County Board of Directors and others in the community in telling Congress not to place the burden of balancing the budget on programs that aid our poor and vulnerable neighbors – those who have a face but no voice. Please take a moment to call the Congressional hot line at 1-800-459-1887 and leave a message for Speaker of the House Hastert, Senate Majority Leader Frist, House Minority Leader Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Reid.

Beverly Kincaid

Port Orchard

BHS Track

Hill not the only league champ

The “Stepping Out of the Shadows” article (May 20) makes it sound like Bremerton has not had a Narrows League track champion in a long time. Jessica Lindberg was league champion just last year in the javelin.

Wayne Lindberg

Port Orchard

Pedestrian safety

Ferry terminal hazardous

Sunday, May 21, 2006, I witnessed a near tragedy as a young woman exited a vehicle on the street in front of our ferry terminal. No parking spaces were available so the driver of the vehicle was unable to park and let his passenger out. As the young woman closed the door on the passenger side of her vehicle and turned to cross the street to the terminal, another vehicle, speeding to the ticket booth, came within probably two inches of the young woman. It was a near tragedy.

The situation at the ferry terminal for everyone except public transit passengers is, at present, unacceptable. Allow no parking at all along the street in front of the terminal as is done at SeaTac Airport. Allow only for drop-off and pick-up of passengers in that block, and clearly mark and identify these points with broad stripes on the pavement as is done at the airport. Add flashing lights to the street itself as is done in some high pedestrian areas in Seattle. In the alternative, allow passengers to be dropped off and picked up in front of the terminal door, retaining for use by public transportation the other available traffic lane that exists there.

I’m sure that city engineers could provide many viable ideas to protect pedestrians. The fact now, however, is that the mix of motor vehicles and pedestrians is totally unsafe.

Please, I urge you, take immediate action to rectify this situation before a real tragedy occurs.

James Carender

Bremerton

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