This space apparently has heavier ink than that which appears on every other page in the North Kitsap Herald and because of that, people tend to take more notice when their names are mentioned here.
That lesson was learned by an aspiring editor because of statements made in the March 17 editorial about Poulsbo’s Critical Areas Ordinance. Linda Berry-Maraist, John Johnson and Brad Watts took offense to the views attributed to them, so it’s time to set the record straight. Berry-Maraist, Johnson and Watts all have solid reputations of being conscientious residents who care deeply for the North End and aren’t anywhere near being irresponsible, money-grabbing developers or property owners, if they were portrayed as such, we apologize. They are justifiably concerned about the impacts of the city’s proposed environmental regulations.
As part of the city’s CAO Working Group, the three voted for the 100-150 foot setback on Johnson Creek with the majority of the group. They did not take a hard line on the 75-foot setback proposal for the creek as recommended by the city’s consultant.
It is their opinion, and we agree with the trio, that the city should provide incentives for property owners to improve the quality of buffers and setbacks along streams instead of just restricting the proximity of development along waterways. Quality is as important as quantity and several recognized experts have published studies advocating this principle.
The intent of the March 17 editorial was never to cast anyone in a bad light and if that was anyone’s perception, I personally offer a sincere apology.
The CAO is a complicated issue with strong feelings on many sides and science to support those views, so the city council’s job won’t be easy as it prepares to finally adopt the new regulations.
As it has in the past, the Herald will continue striving to provide the most comprehensive and fair coverage of this issue as it nears its resolution.
Unfortunately, even reporters are human and success and failure are part of the equation. Hopefully, we succeed far more than we fail, but like I learned as an infantryman in the Army, 10 “attaboys” can be erased by one “oh poop.”
Berry-Maraist, Johnson and Watts are to be commended for their involvement in the CAO discussion and the ongoing crafting of the city’s new Planned Residential Development regulations. There are no villains in this healthy community debate. There are only good people with contrasting points of view and all need to be respected.
From this apparent misunderstanding or mistake, I have learned some invaluable lessons that will serve not only me personally, but those who take the time to read the Herald well in the future. It’s not easy to learn from success, so these incidents provide unique learning experiences.
The next time I have the opportunity to fill this space with personal views, I will do so with a little more careful consideration and a wider view of its potential impacts on all those involved. Reputations are hard-earned but easily damaged, so any personal criticism must be totally justified and fair to those on the receiving end.
My heartfelt appreciation and praise goes to all those who care enough to get involved in their community’s affairs instead of sitting on the sidelines. Thanks to everyone for doing what they do, regardless of their point of view.