Time. . .
. . .for a Change!
. . .for an Independent Commissioner!
. . .for a More Affordable Jefferson County!
The following was also delivered
into the record at the Jeff Co Board of County Commissioners' May 12 meeting.
May 11, 2008
Don't whitewash it: Housing emergency exists
Sandy Hershelman is running for the District 2 Jefferson
County Board of County Commissioners' seat. Her comments below are made
as an individual, and not representing the Housing Action Plan Network
(HAPN) on which she sits.
In the May 7, 2008 Port Townsend
& Jefferson County Leader, Allison Arthur wrote of the deliberations
surrounding the declaration of a housing emergency in Jefferson County,
"County Commissioner David Sullivan said he approaches
the issue from the perspective of a nurse, and he questioned whether
the lack of affordable housing was an emergency or a 'chronic
condition.' 'I really look at the housing situation as a chronic
problem. It's been going on for years,' Sullivan said. Sullivan said
it seems to him that the city and county should lobby the state for
more tools to solve the problem. He questioned whether declaring an
emergency would be sufficient.
There is a housing emergency in Jefferson County. To think otherwise is
irresponsible. I was appalled by my opponent's comments. We sat side-by-side
through months and months of affordable housing meetings. The BoCC adopted
the Housing Action Plan, with its mountain of data, in October 2006. He
should be well aware of the need, even if he never talked to a single
young family struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
Not long after my opponent pulled me aside and attempted to "educate
me" on how it would be inadvisable to counter his comments during
public meetings where he was on the job, he throws this bomb at the efforts
of HAPN to help myriad nonprofits seek funding for affordable housing.
I was asked, on behalf of the group, to sign HAPN's letter to senators
Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell urging them to support desperately needed
federal funding of affordable housing by co-sponsoring the National Affordable
Housing Trust Fund Act of 2007 (S2523) —and I eagerly did so.
As executive officer of the Jefferson County Home Builders Association,
it is my goal to promote affordable housing, not just for those hard-working
folks barely making the rent, but also for the working class and seniors
struggling to get into, or keep, a home. How many of you, or your neighbors,
have the $80,000 a year income to buy a median priced home in this county?
"As a nurse," my opponent should know that people die every
day from chronic conditions. As a commissioner, he should know well the
conditions in which many of his constituents live.
It's frustrating to work with data from the last census, but we have what
we have. In 2000, there were about 3,000 people living below poverty level
in Jefferson County; 23 percent of all households were deemed "low
Here's the statistic that hit me hard: Nearly 40 percent of Jefferson
County's single moms with kids are living in poverty. (Port Ludlow and
Marrowstone skew the statistics with zero percent.) Port Townsend and
Port Hadlock are both just above 42 percent. That number goes to 80 percent
in Quilcene. 80 percent...
The topic of affordable housing is dear to my heart. Ten years ago I was
one of those women. I was a newly divorced single mom with two kids. I
had worked from home to be with the kids; put my career on idle. Unlike
most of the faceless women in these statistics, I was blessed with a $300
house payment. I watched other single moms around me spiral downward—or
hook up with guys they shouldn't just to feed their kids.
Of course, just declaring a housing emergency is not sufficient. By all
means, "the city and county should lobby the state for more tools
to solve the problem." Haven't they been doing that all along? If
not, shame on them!
Share the news!
Download a print quality .pdf of the above.
Contact Sandy at 360.385.1087
Elect Sandy Hershelman
Lizanne Coker, Campaign Manager
Jana Daubenberger-Filli, Treasurer
P.O. Box 521
Port Hadlock, WA 98339
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P.O. Box 521
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