Inslee plays the Trump card

August 31st, 2016 by Ken

I get the feeling that Governor Jay Inslee is concerned about the upcoming plebiscite on his four years in office.  Voters don’t seem too happy with what he’s done during his first term of office and showed it at the polls during the Primary Election.   The incumbent governor didn’t crack the 50 percent ceiling, although he did come close.   Inslee received just 49.3 percent of the vote.   Not a mandate for continuing to serve.

But, the incumbent governor showed even greater concern in his recent fund-raising letter.

He attributed his Republican opponent Bill Bryant’s good showing to Super PAC’s who were trying to buy the election.   Bryant pulled in 38 percent of the vote – a good showing for a Republican in Washington.

In his fund-raising letter to partisan Democrats, Inslee said he wasn’t concerned with how much money Bryant raised, but where he got his money from.  The governor said his opponent got his money from the same millionaires and billionaires who are backing Donald Trump.

The governor is obviously concerned about his record because he played the Trump card.

The governor’s race should be decided on how well Inslee performed in the last four years – – not who’s at the top of the Republican ticket.  If voters are satisfied with Inslee’s four years as governor, then by all means, return him to office.  If not, then give someone else the chance.

 

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Lacey history – this week 1974

August 30th, 2016 by Ken

Some 12,000 people attended the Lacey International Music, Arts and Dance Festival, which ended its three-day run.  To fund the event, some 10,700 tickets were sold.  Given away as first prize was a new Ford Mustang, while second prize was a trip to Las Vegas.

The Lacey City Council voted to give all city employees a 5 percent cost of living wage increase starting on Sept. 1.  This was on top of a 5 percent increase given to all city employees on January 1.  In other council action, the city decided not to proceed with a ULID to bring sewers to the Shady Lane and 25th Loop area after significant protest by residents.

And, with the opening of school just a few days away, the North Thurston School District has not yet reached a contract with the Public School  Employees union.

(Editor’s note:   Inflation in 1974 was running about 10 percent for the year.)

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Is the “Bountiful Byway” a tourist attraction?

August 30th, 2016 by Ken

During my recent travels around Thurston County, I’ve seen the signs, and I’ve been asked about it.  But  I have little information or knowledge about the  “Bountiful Byway”.

If you aren’t familiar with the term “Bountiful Byway” then you’ll fit right in with the majority of residents of Thurston County.

The way I understand it, the bountiful byway was an effort on behalf of the Thurston County Commissioners to use the county’s many rural farms and protected areas to draw tourists and visitors.  The byway is a 60-mile drive around the county, which visits natural areas such as McLane Creek Nature Trail and the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, as well as farms, wineries and distilleries.

The effort has been going on for at least four years, and to date I haven’t heard any results as to the effectiveness of getting greater participation from visitors to the county.

While some staff time and taxpayer money has been going into this project, I think anything that draws attention to the rural areas of our county are worthwhile.

I just think expecting a “Bountiful Byway” to become a tourist attraction is just – – silly.

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I feel sorry for Colin Kaepernick

August 29th, 2016 by Ken

San Francisco 49’er’s quaterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to stay seated while the National Anthem is played is the protest of a young man attempting to draw attention to problem.  I hope he gave a great deal of thought before he made his statement of protest, because it may backfire on him.

Kaepernick is a mixed race man who said he was protesting the oppression of black people and people of color in the United States.  He was refering particularly to recent police actions when confronting unarmed black men.

By refusing to stand during the playing of the National Anthem he drew attention to himself and to his protest in a big way.  Football and the National Anthem go together.   It’s a great platform to draw attention to a problem.   Karpernick did that.

He has said he will continue to sit during the National Anthem.   I have to ask – – for what purpose?   How long will he continue to sit?   The problem he wants addressed will not go away anytime soon.   Will he sit for the rest of his football career?   A bigger question is whether or not other players will join him and refuse to stand during the playing of the National Anthem?

I admire him for drawing attention to the problem.

But if he continues his protest, his time in the NFL will be shorter than it should.  He will also lose endorsement money.

Karpernick has said he doesn’t care.   “I stood up for what is right.”

There’s nothing wrong with being a martyr.  But, sacrificing yourself for a problem that has no immediate solution smacks of a naive sense of right and wrong.   The problem of police violence in the minority community is well-documented and at the forefront of law enforcement thinking.

Kaepernick’s actions won’t bring an end to the problem.    The solution rests far outside of a NFL quarterback’s ability to address.  All future failures to stand during the National Anthem will do for him is cause him trouble.   I admire him, but feel sorry for him.  Unless other players join him, he has nowhere left to go.

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Chris Reykdal interview

August 26th, 2016 by Ken

My interview with Chris Reykdal is up.  Simply click on the Coffee With Ken button above to hear what he has to say about the state of our schools and what he hopes to accomplish.   He also spells out how he will fund additional monies to meet the State Supreme Court requirements.

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Driving costs too much for teens

August 23rd, 2016 by Ken

I took my 16-year old granddaughter driving the other day.  She had her learners permit and needed a few more hours behind the wheel.   For the most part, she’s a good driver.   She just needs more experience.

However, she may be unusual.   Recent studies have shown that fewer and fewer teenagers are getting driver’s licenses – – and that’s good news.

It’s good news because teenagers are involved in more accidents than any other age group.   It’s not until we get over the age of 70 that we begin to equal teenagers in the accident statistic group.

According to the AAA, only half of all teenagers are licensed to drive by the age of 18 today compared to two-thirds just 20 years ago.   Social scientists and statisticians point to several different reasons for the decline.

Some say there’s a trend for people to move back to the big cities where public transporation means they have less need of a car to get around.  Some say the state imposed restrictions on teen drivers, such as the graduated license, takes away some of the freedom associated with driving.

But most people agree that driving has just become too expensive.  It’s money, more than anything else, that has reduced the number of teen drivers.

That’s the opinion of an insurance-based research group.   The cost of driving has reached a point where teenagers find it better to rely on others for transportation than bear the costs themselves.

Lets review some of the costs associated with driving. First – anyone under 18 has to take drivers training if they want a license.   That costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $400.   Then there’s the cost of automobile insurance.   For a teenager, with good grades, the cost is around $2000 a year.   There’s also the cost of gas.   Right now its around $2.30 per gallon, but it has been as high as $5 a gallon and could get that high again.

Those costs assume that the teen has access to a family car.   If not, there’s the cost of buying a car – – usually a used car.   The used car market is still hot and prices are high.

Whatever the reason for fewer teen drivers on the road – – I’m all for it.   They have to make room for me because now I’m in a high accident rate group myself.

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County commissioners can raise taxes

August 22nd, 2016 by Ken

Can Thurston County Commissioners, who don’t live in rural areas, raise taxes on those who do?

The correct answer is YES.

A group of rural residents say that since none of the county’s commissioners lived in the rural areas when they created a Transportation Benefit District a few years ago, that they can’t raise the price of buying car tabs to residents in the rural areas.

That’s just nonsense.   Commissioners have the legal authority to do that, just like the city councils of Olympia and Tumwater have done and that Lacey is considering.

But, those rural residents do have a point.  Why should three commissioners, who all lived in Olympia at that time, have the right to tax rural residents – – or even draft land use regulations for rural residents?   Those commissioners would not be impacted by any rules or taxes they drafted.   It is taxation and regulation without representation.

The fault lies with our current political system.   The three commissioner districts in the county run north to south.  All three take in a portion of the City of Olympia, where all three county commissioners lived.   Since Olympia and the urban areas of Lacey and Tumwater, are the big dogs of the county, they often provide the voter support the county commissioners need to be elected or re-elected.

One answer is to redraw the county commissioner boundaries to assure that rural residents would have a voice on the commission.   The best way to do that is to call for a new county charter which could redraw the boundaries.  Another way is to elect residents of the rural areas to the county commission.

Both are possible if voters care about the problem.

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Lacey council talks streets and money

August 19th, 2016 by Ken

The Lacey City Council went on the road last night to explain the need to keep its roads and streets in good repair.

The potential of a Transportation Benefit Dkistrict (TBD) to do just that was the subject, when the council met with residents of Panorama to explain the benefits of  a tax increase to mantain the city’s streets and roads.  The Lacey council plans to put a measure on the ballot early next year to increase the sales tax from 8.7 percent to 8,9 percent.  That will raise about $1.3 million each year for the purpose of maintaining city streets and sidewalks.

While city streets are generally in good condition, the new tax will help keep them in that condition.

Both the cities of Olympia and Tumwater currently have funding mechanisms in place  for their respective TBDs.   Thurston County is also looking at funding its transportation district.

Some concern was voiced about the Woodland Trail where it crosses Sleater Kinney near the Pacific Avenue intersection.  Drivers have a difficult time seeing bikers or walkers along the trail as they cross the street.  Some sort of signaling device was suggested.   City staff said they’re working on the problem and  hope to have a solution by next year.

 

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The era of the self-made woman has come.

August 18th, 2016 by Ken

By Dale Cooper

It’s time for a woman to lead our nation.

After all, men have made a proper mess of things.  Look around you – – global businesses that make “country of origin” a meaningless phrase; jobs sailing overseas; nationalism ascending; barbarians descending upon vast swathes of our land; sadistic killers slaying tens of thousands of those who will not kneel before them and their god; millions of refugees seeking land where they are not welcome; warlike tyrants fingering the triggers of long-range missiles tipped with nuclear weapons; and ancient Asian empires reclaiming past glory and power.

Yes, without a doubt, considering the rotten state of affairs the boys have gotten us into, we need a strong, plain-talking, courageous woman at the helm of our ship – – one with the heart of Mother Teresa and the steel backbone of Patton.

That person, I submit, is Hillary Clinton.  She has literally personified the “new woman” for over half a century.  Although aged now, her vision was forged in the flame of 1970’s feminism and propelled her to successively become a lawyer, an influential public figure, a philanthropist of global reach, a federal senator, a Secretary of State, and the Democratic Party nominee for president.

What more could you want?

But, if you want more – here it is.   She’s been tried, tested and she perseveres.  She’s run the gauntlet of vast right wing conspiracies, thwarted health care initiatives, a philandering husband, accusations of malfeasance and felonious behavior, slandered by right wing radio messiahs and a tangle of mistruths caused by a  mysterious “short circuit” that sometimes confuses her.

Hillary is tough as spent uranium.   Surely that’s the stuff of a Commander in Chief.

Of course, as with all of us, she has her critics.   There are those who do nothing but complain about her – – like those who point out an advantageous marriage that propelled her upward; that without her spouse Bill, then governor, she’d still be a small time lawyer in Arkansas, that she wouldn’t have made her legendary financial killling without that connection; or if she handn’t “stood by her man” despite public embarrassment she’d be nothing more than a footnote in history,

Those complainers grouse about her refusal to release transcripts of speeches she gave to the Wall Street crowd – – but why should she?   After all, they paid her, we didn’t.   In fact, their munificence was astounding, but she is you see, a financial genius, someone who went from “flat broke”  into the top one-tenth of one percent of the nation’s wealthy within a few short years of leaving the White House “flat broke.”

It’s just sour grapes.  It’s just the last roar of some misanthropic geriatric lions who have but few roars left in them.   They’re the same rotten bunch of misogynists who’ve continually tried to bring her down for more than half a century.

The plain fact is – – they hate women.   All of their blather about character and patriotism and incompetence – – is just a con.  Don’t believe it.  They’ve tried to silence her and her feminst friends for over 50 years – – but those days are over – starting now.

A new day is dawning.   The era of the self-made woman has come.   And that woman is Hillary.

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School superintendent has ambitious goals

August 17th, 2016 by Ken

New Lacey schools chief Debra Clemens has set an ambitious goal of the things she wants to accomplish in her first year as superintendent.   She shared that plan last night with members of the North Thurston school board.

In her message Clemens said  the “Entry Plan” was designed to support the current strategic plan and help her get a deeper underfstanding and knowledge about the district and about the community.

The plan spells out meetings with various school and district committees as well as meetings with city and community leaders.  She has already met with many business leaders and local elected officials.

Dr. Clemens is scheduled to be a guest on my show “Coffee With Ken” on September 14.

Personal opinion:  I met with Dr. Clemens for about 30 seconds last night. But, from the 10 page plan she presented to the school board, I get the opinion that she is anxious to meld herself into the culture of the district as quickly as possible.

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Lacey history – this week 2007

August 16th, 2016 by Ken

The City of Lacey began the process of installing a “Red Light” camera at the intersection of Sleater Kinney and Pacific Avenue.  According to Lacey Police Chief Dusty Pierpoint the purpose of the camera is to stop red light runners and cut down on the number of major accidents.

A new Park and Ride lot in Lacey has been closed down.  Many people had been parking their cars at the Lacey City Hall’s parking lot.   Now the city has installed signs that read “Parking for city hall, police and library patrons only.”   But, the city is also spending $250,000 to construct 102 new additonal parking spaces.

Our local daily newspaper has changed the way it delivers our newspaper.   It no longer has delivery staff working for the paper, but now has contracted out delivery to a private firm.

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What’s in a name?

August 16th, 2016 by Ken

Some times you can learn more about this country if you ignore the big stories and focus on the little stories.   That’s what I did recently when I read my local newspaper.   I looked over the list of births.   That led me to look at the obituaries.  I found that this country is changing.

Changing in the aspect that our citizens will have different names in the future.   Here’s what I mean.

These are the names of babies born in local facilities last week :  Jaylah – Harrison – Weylyn – Alaric – Vivian – Baris – Crixus – Matthias – Ace – Ellie – Tidus.

These are the first names of local residents who died last week:  Charles – Dawn – Florence – Mary – Robert – Charles – Elizabeth.

What does this mean?   I have no idea.   Social scientists can probably make something of it.   I just thought it was interesting.

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“Experience” Olympia??

August 14th, 2016 by Ken

The Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB) is about to embark on a major promotion campaign to promote Thurston County as a destination for visitors and tourists.   It’s entitled “Experience Olympia.”

A majority of the Lacey City Council – – as well as myself – – think this is the wrong way to promote the entire region, and that concetrating on “Olympia” demeans and denigrates the other two cities which kick in money for the VCB.

Supporters of the “Experience Olympia” campaign say that most people recognize Olympia, because of the state capitol, and that it is the name most looked for when people go on line.   They reason that once people get to Olympia, they will journey to other parts of the tri-cities.  It’s a kind of a “trickle down” effect.

What the VCB doesn’t say is that the second most visited location in Thurston County is the Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) in Lacey and run by the City of Lacey.   This sports complex draws thousands of sports fans to its fields every year.   Every weekend of the year – – except Christmas – – is booked by some sporting event. And, the RAC has 26 additional acres on which to expand. Lacey is rapidly becoming the Sports Capitol of the South Sound.

And, when those sports fans and participants come to the RAC they stay in local hotels and eat at local restaurants.   And while they are here, some of those family members shop at Shipwreck Beads, the largest collection of beads in the state – – if not in the country.   Some of them journey to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge to experience nature and view the wildlife.  The more adventuresome head to the Red Wing Casino.   Lacey generates its own tourists and its own visitors.

When I travel in the state I tell people I’m from Lacey.   If I travel out-of-state I tell people I’m from Olympia.  In California they often say – – “that’s where the beer was made.”   And, if I travel out of country, I tell people I’m from Seattle.   To them, Washington means Washington DC.  What we tell people about our home depends on where we are and who we’re with.

If Olympia is such a good name why didn’t South Puget Sound Community College call itself Olympia College?   Why didn’t Black Hills hospital call itself Olympia hospital?   If Olympia is such a great name and a great draw – – why did the Olympia Chamber of Commerce change its name to Thurston County Chamber of Commerce?

 

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Don’t shoplift in Lacey

August 12th, 2016 by Ken

Uniformed Lacey police officers are patroling at least one local store, at the request of the store.

Lacey Police Chief Dusty Pierpoint said the patrols started  inside Fred Meyers about three weeks ago, after store ownership requested the presence of uniformed officers.  “It’s a fairly common practice in Pierce County and Fred Meyer uses uniformed officers there. Shoplifting has become a major problem and Fred Meyers requested a police presence at its Lacey store,” Pierpoint said.  “We average about one shoplifting complaint a day amoung all of our Lacey merchants.”   In 2015, there were 351 reported cases of shoplifting in Lacey.

Lacey police are often employed in private businesses.   Pierpoint said that overtime work is common for police officers.

Those working overtime are paid through the normal city process of overtime.   The city is then reimbursed by the store owner or the person requesting private police help.

Pierpoint said that property crimes, such as shoplifting, are often over-looked in the normal process of keeping the public safe. “Some people think that those who commit property crimes shouldn’t go to jail.   “In Lacey, we book every shoplifter we encounter,” Pierpoint said.

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A new county courthouse just a downtown Olympia redevelopment project

August 11th, 2016 by Ken

It’s been a year since Thurston County Commissioners received a report suggesting that taxpayers build a new courthouse in downtown Olympia for a cost exceeding $100,000,000.   To date nothing public has been done with the report, although courthouse constituents have been highly enthused about the project.

A 200 page report from consultants suggested several possible alternatives for courthouse expansion, renewal or construction  elsewhere.   The prefered option, according to the consultants, is what is termed – – Urban Infill.  In otherwords, building a new courthouse facility in downtown Olympia.

In this concept there would be a new Justice Facility Building, three new Administation Buildings and two new parking garages.   All of the structures would be designed to last 100 years.   The downside is the location of the project and the costs would depend on the location, the soil type and the ground water table.

Costs for building in downtown Olympia, according to the consultants, break out as this:  Site preparation work $2.9 million – Courthouse construction $44.7 million – New Parking Garage $11.2 million – Administration Building $15.9 million – Supporting Buildings $15.9 million (these include sheriff’s office, prosecuting attorney, human resources and others) – $12.9 million for second parking garage.   Total cost – – $103.4 million.   This does not include the cost of construction which will add about 25 percent to the total cost.

Consultants have suggested several funding methods including a General Obligation Bond.   Those would have to go to the voters and be approved by 60 percent of them.  The consultants pointed out that the last GO Bond – to build a “Thurston County Regional Justice Center” – failed miserably with only 38.5 percent of the taxpayers voting for it.

The method favored by the consultants is a public/private partnership where private enterprise will build the facilities and the county would enter into a long term lease of the buildings.

Personal opinion:  I think county staff are seeing a problem that doesn’t exist.  With the new off-site jail open and operating, it frees up space at the current courthouse.   The population growth in the county to more than 250,000 does cause some pressure on court facilities.   The county could lease buildings to handle the increased caseload. Those buildings are available and adjacent to the current courthouse.   As a taxpayer in Lacey, I’m not going to pay one single penny to use a new courthouse as a downtown Olympia redevelopment fund.

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County Commission race a barn burner

August 10th, 2016 by Ken

With around 500 votes yet to be counted, former Thurston County deputy and Tenino Police Chief John Hutchings has a 46 vote lead for the second slot on the Thurston County Commission One seat for the  General Election.   He is beating his challenger Allen Miller by the narrowest of margins.

However, current Olympia Councilmember Jim Cooper has the top spot with more than a 3000 vote lead over Hutchings.

The Thurston County Canvasing Board will meet today to review the election results and will meet again on August 16 to certify the election as final.   If the results hold up, Cooper will face Hutchings in the General Election.

In the race for the Second District county commission seat, former Thurston County Sheriff Gary Edwards has a 3000 vote lead over his challenger Kelsey Hulse.  Both will advance to the General Election.

Running countwide could help both Hutchings and Hulse gain ground on their opponents.   Hutching won the econd spot in a very liberal district.   Running countywide could give him the opportunity to pick up the more conservative votes in the Eastern section of the county.   Hulse ran in that more conservative side of the county.   Running countywide could give her the ability to pick up the more liberal votes from the Western section of the county.

 

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Why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton – She’s a Financial Genius

August 9th, 2016 by Ken

By Dale Cooper

There are lots of reasons to cast your vote for Hillary Clinton this November.  She’s a remarkable individual.   In fact, according to none other than Barrack Obama, she’s more qualified for the presidency than Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt or Obama himself.

There’s no doubt about it.  Hillary has an incomparable arsenal of talents honed to perfection over decades of meaningful public service.  It all but makes Obama’s hyperbole sound  – stingy.

Consequently, here are the reasons I’ll be with Hill this November, and so should you.

Her financial acumen.

It’s absolutely mind-boggling.  It’s epic.  Why, when leaving the White House, she was, by her own admission – – flat broke.   Now, just 15 short years later Hillary is worth more than $31,000,000.   That’s 30 big ones.   And she made it all in her spare time.

Her real job during that period was representing New York State in the US Senate (six years), campaigning for the presidency (two years) Secretary of State (four years) and campaigning to be top dog again (two plus years).

No matter what side of the partisan divide you may lay claim to, you’ve got to admit that her’s is a most extraordinary feat, one that should vault her to the pinnacle of “The Wall Street Journal’s”  Hall of Fame.  Not only because she cleared $2,000,000 a year effortlessly – – that’s chicken feed to these Street people – – nope, because she did it while doing her day job of selflessly serving the public to make New York, the United States and the entire world, a better place for all of us.

Now, that’s a remarkable accomplishment.  It’s not too often someone can do so much good for others while simultaneously doing so much good for herself.   It’s close to miraculous.  It’s as if Mother Teresa and Andrew Carnegie had a child called Hillary.   It’s Homeric, truly the stuff of legend.

P.S.  While Hill was busy making her $31,000,000, husband Bill accumulated $80,000,000 while also doing buckets of good through the Clinton Foundation – – run by and operated by family and friends of Bill and Hill.

 

 

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Lacey history this week – 1977

August 9th, 2016 by Ken

Filing for positions on the Lacey City Council closed this week and 12 candidates filed for various seats.   Only Karen Fraser escaped without any opposition.

The North Thurston School Board reversed its decision from a week previous, and decided to place an $8 million dollar bond issue on the Primary ballot.   Board members had determined not to use the Primary election for its bond issue, but this week changed its mind citing the need.

City officials held a grand-opening ceremony on the corner of Sleater Kinney and Pacific Avenue celebrating the renovation of Pacific Avenue.   And, the Fifth Annual Lacey Music Arts and Dance Festival got underway at St. Martin’s College.

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A stupid mistake

August 7th, 2016 by Ken

Word has it that the Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau wants to change its moniker and drop Lacey and Tumwater from its name.

That’s the worse decision made by a local entity since the Olympia chamber of commerce dropped Olympia from its name.

For all of the cooperation among the three cities, this is NOT one large homogenized community.  These are three separate cities, with different lifestyles and different points of view.

Newcomers to this area will do well to understand the historical and political differences of the three cities.  They ignore them at their peril.   It appears to me that newcomers are in charge at the Lacey, Tumwater, Olympia Visitor and Convention Bureau and are heading down the wrong road.  There’s a lot at stake to make a stupid mistake.

 

 

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Olympia School District headquarters makes slow progress to move

August 4th, 2016 by Ken

When the Olympia School District opted to purchase the Daily Olympian building three years ago for $4.8 million dollars for its new district headquarters – it had hoped to be in the building before now.

After three feasibility studies and continue negotiations with the owners the McClatchy Company, the district is making some progress.  This week it went out for bids to  reconfigure the 50,000 square feet in the building.   Total amount of money available is  $2 million dollars.

School officials point out that the HVAC and fire suppression systems have to be replaced and there is some concern about pollution under the parking lot.

There is also a clause in the agreement that allows the newspaper to rent back space for one year after the purchase is finalized.

Those in the know say the paper is looking at leasing space in downtown Olympia when the time comes for it to move.   Any space must fit the needs of a newspaper and have a conference room so the paper can continue its weekly meetings with community leaders.

 

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