In choosing among candidates for the legislature and county commissioner, on what issues should residents of South Kitsap focus their attention?
Several candidates have mentioned some issues they believe are important and have indicated that they want to hear from people in the community.
The candidates can communicate with us in several ways – the newspapers, public meetings, online blogs, etc. – but a conversation can only happen if the voters participate.
So, if you had your druthers, what would you want them to put high on their lists of priorities?
Perhaps it is just as important to say what you do not want them to do, then see whether they seem inclined to heed your wishes. Voting for someone who will be working at cross-purposes with you or ignoring things that you believe ought to be done would be a waste.
Also important is the solution a candidate favors when trying to improve the situation. Finding out after you vote that your high-priority issue will be approached in a way you oppose would be more than a little disappointing.
There should be no difficulty in coming up with things you want done. You aren’t all satisfied with everything, are you?
Remember, if candidates are left to their own devices in choosing what to do, they will certainly come up with something.
Even if you really would just like to be left alone, the chances of that happening are nil. At the very least, you will pay the bill for what they come up with.
Consider, too, the fact that our legislators and county commissioners act for people living outside South Kitsap. If residents in our community don’t take part in the conversation, whose priorities do you think will get the most attention?
From my vantage point, taxes and traffic deserve to be at the top of the list of priorities.
Regarding taxes, our legislature needs to fix the levy lid lift procedure so a ballot measure can simply propose a higher annual increase for a number of years.
The requirement to state specific purposes for the higher revenue and to promise that it will not supplant existing revenue ought to be eliminated. Let these requirements become options that a taxing district can put in the ballot measure when they are appropriate.
Criticizing the one-percent limit factor first enacted by Initiative 747 without making it simple to replace the limit with a higher one for a few years makes no sense.
When our county commissioners consider the topic of taxes, they ought to compare the revenue growth they desire to the changes in total personal income. Total tax revenue cannot forever increase faster than total personal income.
Both the legislators and commissioners ought to be advocating the enactment of laws authorizing choices in the uses for existing tax revenue.
It’s nice that they often consider voter approval of tax increases to be appropriate, but when will we ever get to revisit past decisions and shift part of the revenue to purposes we now believe are more pressing?
Traffic congestion cannot be allowed to increase. Our community’s economic growth and our individual prosperity depend upon mobility.
Mobility requires road capacity. The time needed to get from one place to another has to be predictable and as short as practicable.
The private automobile replaced the horse and buggy long ago, and no doubt the petroleum-fueled vehicle will eventually be replaced — but it will be replaced with a means of transportation that allows individuals to go where they need and want to go.
Mass transit can be useful to a small percentage of our population during the rush hours or in densely developed urban areas; but it is not the solution for 90 percent of us.
The farther a person can go to find employment, the better it is for the individual and the community. Both businesses and their employees benefit when they can look farther from home for talent and opportunity.
Our quality of life would be improved by having the ability to go where we wish for shopping or entertainment, rather than avoiding the frustrating and unpredictable delays on congested highways.
The same roads and highways that individuals need for commuting can make it practical for businesses to develop here.
When the county conducted a public opinion survey sometime ago, quite a few people wanted something done to relieve traffic congestion. Aside from pointing out that the most congested roads were not county roads, what did the commissioners do?
It seems there is an opportunity for our legislators and commissioners to work together to remove chokepoints that hinder our mobility and limit our opportunities.
There surely are other such opportunities that people in our community see, so it would be nice to hear them — now, while we are trying to decide who deserves our votes.
Robert Meadows is a Port Orchard resident.