Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Sehmel is best candidate for PenMet board

Posted on October 24th, 2023 By: Heidi Alessi

The next PenMet Commissioner will not decide whether the levy lift is approved. We, the people, will make that decision. Whether a candidate is for or against this particular levy is a moot point. Once the levy is decided by us, the commissioners will have to determine what to do with our tax dollars, however much we approve.

In letters by others, the founders of Parks for Fox Island, these issues are confused and suggest that if you want to see change, the choice is to not vote for Billy Sehmel, the lifelong candidate who has a long track record of service to the community, extensive knowledge of PenMet Parks and the credibility and influence to actually bring about positive change. Mr. Sehmel has acknowledged the need for improved management and processes and brings a pragmatic, knowledge-based approach with the honest goal of bettering our community. Influence and having the endorsement of all other commissioners is important as no one commissioner acts alone. The next commissioner needs to be able to work with and persuade the rest.

Let’s be honest. Those seeking to confuse the issues and incorrectly portray Mr. Sehmel as a candidate who would not bring about positive change don’t actually want positive change in PenMet Parks. The website for Parks for Fox Island states: “Our goal is to get Fox Island removed from the PenMet Park District”. They don’t want PenMet to improve, they want it abolished. And not to end our taxes, but to create a new, separate tax district.

As a resident of Fox Island, I do not agree with this goal. The arguments are legally implausible and there’s no telling how much a new tax district would cost us while doing nothing for the areas of Gig Harbor that our families spend our time in. We may live on an island, but we are part of the greater Gig Harbor area. Gig Harbor effects our property values and the desirability of living here. A maritime city should have a community aquatics center. A desirable community should have a full compliment of services for families and seniors. Without high quality parks and community centers throughout the PenMet district, we would be at risk of becoming a sprawling suburbia with “no there there.” You can, as I do, want a successful parks district that includes our broader community and be either for or against the levy lift. They are separate issues.

The only question you should ask when voting for commissioner is — who is best qualified to manage our parks and dollars? In answering that question, I have reviewed the candidate’s history, experience, knowledge and actual statements. Billy Sehmel is clearly the highest qualified candidate for the position.

Heidi Alessi

Fox Island

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