This is a dangerous world

September 28th, 2016 by Ken

As I watched televison news recently, I was astounded at the large number of murders, accidents, and deaths which led the newscasts.   I shouldn’t have been.  Blood and guts has always been the top news story of the day.  It’s the way news gets listeners and readers.

So, it got me to thinking.   How dangerous is our world?   I know that some 40,000 people are killed each year in automobile accidents.   I know that’s a concern.   But how dangerous is everything else?

After doing some research I came up with some observations.   Teddy Bears are more dangerous than Grizzly Bears.  During the last 90 years, some 82 people have been killed by Grizzly Bears.   That’s less than one a year.   But, last year alone, 22 people were killed by their Teddy Bears.They die from choking on the eyes or strangling by the belt – particularly young children.   Older people die by tripping on the Teddy Bears and falling.   Teddy Bears are more dangerous than Grizzly Bears.

Some two million people – mostly women – are admitted to the hospital each year from falling off their high heels.  Some trip over Teddy Bears and other objects, but 400,000 a year fall off their heels.

Each year, 7000 Americans are hurt by their dishwasher. Many of those injuries are burns from opening a hot washer.  Some are cuts from sharp knives.   A few from tripping over the dishwasher drawer.

Your not safte at work either.  The average desk top at work is dirtier than the toliet seat at home.   The average desk has 21,000 bacteria per square inch.   The average toliet seat has only 50.  It’s not much safer at church.  A recent study found that the holy water in churchs contains coliform, straphylococcis, yeast and mold.

I just point all this out to tell you the world is a dangerous place.  Just being alive and living is dangerous.

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Lacey history – this week 1974

September 27th, 2016 by Ken

A mobile home ordinance, which would make Lacey unique among local cities, needs an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  That’s the opinion of City of Lacey planner Jesus Moulient.  The ordinance would allow mobile homes in all areas of the city zoned for single family homes.   The EIS should be available for public review and comment in about a month.   (The city eventually turned the idea down, but did allow mobile homes in mobile home subdivisions.)

Lacey Police Chief Jim Land defended the use of hollow tip bullets by members of the  Lacey police department.   The furor over police use of hollow tip bullets started in Seattle.  These types of bullets were outlawed by the Geneva Code governing warfare between countries.  Land said no member of the Lacey department has used the bullets.   The chief  also said they were trying to get money to buy “bullet proof vests” for members of the deparment.

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Is it time to kick off the covers?

September 26th, 2016 by Ken

There’s a blanket decending over this country.   It’s a blanket of “progressive” ideas which warms and conforts some, and is hot and stiffling to others.

In the last decade, citizens of this country have been burdened or uplifted by these ideas.  These include – – legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, living wage, predictive scheduling, micro-aggression, hurtful speech, anti-police riots,  and dozens of other social and government actions which seem to have decended upon the public all within the last decade.

If you’ve ever slept in the same bed with another person then you’ll understand that not everyone has the same temperature.  Some, need an extra blanket to find the right level of comfort.   Others need fewer covers and even have to kick one off sometimes to feel right.

We all sleep in the same bed, but yet we’re all being covered by the same “progessive” blanket decending upon us.

I reached my level of discomfort with these new “progessive” ideas last week at the Tacoma Group Health facility.  I went to buy a Coke at the snack bar and couldn’t.   Since the beginning of the year, all they could serve were”Diet” sodas.   Even the vending machine was stocked with only “Diet” sodas.  Some “progressive” had determined that regular sugar soda was bad and that “Diet” soda was better.  I absolutely hate “Diet” soda.   The taste is bitter and lingers long on the tounge.   But someone had determined that sugar makes people fat and must be removed from the building – – depite the fact that artifical sweeteners have been getting a reputation as a possible source of cancer.

Isn’t it time to kick off the covers of “progressive”  ideas.   They’re starting to get idiotic.   Oh wait – I can’t use that word –  – it might offend someone.

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Chamber move has implications

September 23rd, 2016 by Ken

The Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce’s move to a new location in “downtown” Lacey has implications that can be of significant value for the future.

The Lacey chamber will soon occuply new quarters near South Puget Sound Community College which is part of the city’s designated Woodland Square area.   The new location is close to the Thurston County Economic Development Council and just a short distance from City Hall.

The move out of Hawks Prairie symbolizes that Hawks Prairie is now a major part of Lacey and no longer needs the reassurance of a physical chamber presence.

Moving away from a major freeway exit may have some impact on the number of visitors and tourists who get information about Lacey, but the city can make that impact insignificant by placing a “Tourist Information” sign on College and Sixth Avenue to direct visitors to the services offered by the chamber.

The closeness of the chamber to the city hall gives the two entities an opportunty to more fully cooperate in promoting Lacey and particularly the Regional Athletic Complex and adjacent sports facilities.

Overall, the move seems to be in the best interests of all parties.

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From a taxi cab driver

September 22nd, 2016 by Ken

I had to go to Charleston, South Carolina last week for a national conference (as a spouse).   I was surprised to see that Alaska ran a non-stop flight out of SeaTac to Charleston every day, and a flight back.   I was pleased to be able to book it since I am a regular Alaska flier.

It wasn’t until I was in Charleston for a few days that I realized why Alaska has such flights.   Boeing has built a new plant in Charleston.  That plant is open and employs about 7000 people, making it the largest employer in the Charleston area, and maybe in the entire state.

In additon to spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new manufacturing facility, Boeing apparently has helped local government expand and enlarge its airport.   Boeing needs to get its new planes to its customers, and needs to have regular flights from SeaTac to bring in needed advice and support.  It has a good working relationship with Alaska.

Our United States Senator Maria Cantwell has supported tax breaks for Boeing to keep much of its manufacturing in Washington.   I suspect that South Carolina’s senators are also looking at what is necessary to keep Boeing functioning in their state.

You can learn a lot by tslking with taxi cab drivers.

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Who are “The Deplorables”

September 15th, 2016 by Ken

Half of Donald Trump’s supporters are racists, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.   Half.  That’s what Hillary Clinton said the other day.   Which half are you in?   While the Democratic Nominee for president went on to correct herself and said she regreted saying “half” – implying that Trump supporters are all those phobics – she just doesn’t know in what numbers.

She called them “The Deplorables.”

What she really meant was that Trump supporters were not part of the Eastern establishment elite – an employee of local, school, state or federal government – or a student activist in college.   What she really wanted to say, is that the hard-working Americans in the rural areas of our country are ready for their chance to seek the Brass Ring – and the establishment won’t let them.   If you want to stop your opponent from winning – call his supporters racists or sexist.

It’s time for a change in this country.   It’s time to reboot our government.   To do so would take an “outsider”, someone not of those elitist groups I mentioned.

I would have prefered someone from the Middle West, a successful business person.  Someone with credentials as caring and concered about our country.

I’m stuck with Donald Trump.

Trump is an insider’s outsider.   A billionaire from New York City.   His concern for the working poor of this country stops at the gate of his many businesses.   He’s not my idea of a person who will shake up the establishment and create a new climate of hope and aspiration.

But he’s all that we have.

The question on every voter’s mind is this – – should we continue with the same government policies of the past by voting for Hillary Clinton.   Or should we take a chance on an insider outsider who is already making changes  in the way elections are run and who threatens to make even more changes when he’s elected?

I know where I stand.  If you want to know, read the section above called About.

 

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Lacey history – this week 1977

September 14th, 2016 by Ken

Lacey’s 10-year search for a new city hall site came to an end this week when it was announced that the city has purchased five acres of  property from St. Martin’s College.  The city and the college signed an agreement this week to pay $60,000 for the property located on College Street.   Two modular units will be moved to the property in the first phase.   The second phase calls for the construction of a 2600 sq ft building.   Estimated cost for the new building is $390,000.   The project will be paid through councilmatic bonds.

The city has put off a proposal to construct a sign on I-5 to point the way to Panorama City.   That request was made by Panorama president Jack Lewis.   After St. Martin’s and South Sound Center also expressed an interest, the city decided to postpone any action concerned that promoting three businesses would leave other Lacey businesses out in the cold.

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State income tax has local angle

September 13th, 2016 by Ken

An Income Tax on the ballot in the City of Olympia has supporters in Seattle rubbing their hands with glee.   They’ve found a Judas Goat and it’s right here in Thurston County.

It doesn’t matter to them whether or not the income tax is approved by Olympia voters.   In some ways, they want it to fail, so they can appeal it all the way to the Washington State Supreme Court, where their lackeys on the state’s highest bench will give it their seal of approval.   Then a statewide income tax will be the third leg of the state taxing stool.

The key for them is to get it on the ballot.  If it doesn’t get before the people for a vote, then the Seattle backers will lose their effort and won’t be able to run the table to the marble halls of the state court.    As of this writing, that battle continues.

There’s a sideline, a local angle to the tax issue.   If it gets on the ballot, the people who live in Thurston County will actually get an opportunity to find out in which city they live.   Many people east of Lacey have Olympia mailing addresses.    That’s because, at one time, all the mail in Thurston County came out of the Olympia post office.  Those residents actually get their mail out of the Lacey postal facility but continue to think they live in Olympia.    If they don’t get a chance to vote on an income tax, they may realize they don’t live in Olympia.   That’s only a small benefit.

The key is to stop the measure from reaching the ballot and that doesn’t appear likely at this time.  The appeal process will take sometime and we won’t have a state ncome tax for several years yet, but under the current political conditions – –  it will eventually happen.

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State Capitol Campus is a disgrace

September 12th, 2016 by Ken

When is the last time you visited the state capitol campus?  When is the last time you took visitors to the campus and pointed with pride the beauty and grandeur?   Some of us have noted the deterioration of the campus over the last few years.

Lets point out some of the problems.    The Tivoli Foundation hasn’t worked in years.   The Department of Enterprise Services (GA) says it will cost more than a million dollars to fix it, and so they let it sit just like an old car which appears too costly to repair.   The old state greenhouse is empty, closed and derelict.  At one time tourists by the thousands flocked to the greenhouse to view the native  and exotic plants.   Now it’s like an abandoned mansion in a street of expensive houses.

The grass isn’t mowed as often and weeds are growing in the Rose Garden.   And, to top it off, the Capitol Dome is black, dirty and needs cleaning badly.   We also have to question what happens with the GA building once it’s vacated.

How can the state spend millions of dollars to build new buildings, but is unable to come up with money to make the Capitol Campus attractive and inviting to visitors and locals alike?    We need a new set of priorities when it comes to capital projects.  Among those priorities is rennovating our formerly beautiful campus.

 

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9-11 is just history to millions of Americans.

September 9th, 2016 by Ken

Americans divide their lives into two phases – – Before 9-11 and After 9-11.   For most Americans, our country changed significantly and in many different ways.

But for about 75 million Americans – there was no Before 9-11.   In the 15 years  since the event millions of children have been born and those under the age of five when 9-11 happened, have no concept of life before 9-11.  While we reflect on what we’ve lost and how our country has changed, to those under the age of 20 – – 9-11 is just something they read about or see on the History Channel.   To them, the way life is today, is the way life has always been.

The long security lines to get into public buildings, into football games and on airplanes, is normal to them.   That’s the way its always been.   To us, those lines are indicitive of the freedom and the innocence we’ve lost.

Why does the fact that 75 million young Americans have no concept of life before 9-11 – is of concern to us.   Because, they have no stake in the war on terror.  During their lifetimes, they’ve had no terrorist attack that equates to 9-11.   Terror is of foreign origin and what terror we have in the United States is minor and insignificant to them.   Deaths on the streets of Chicago have more importance than a terrorist attack at a Mosque in Texas.

A historian told me once that we have two kinds of history – –  live history and dead history.   To those of us of age during 2001, we have our live history.   To those born since or too young to remember, 9-11 it’s dead history and has no meaning.

It is our job, to educate those young people as to the significance of the event and how it impacts them today.   But, I suspect that all of our teaching is nothing more than preaching and as more and more young people enter the world, 9-11 will have even less significance.

If you want examples, look at Pearl Harbor or the assassination of President Kennedy.

That’s just the way that time heals all wounds.

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New Medic One director hired

September 8th, 2016 by Ken

Kurt Hardin, has been hired as the new Thurston County Emergency Services Director to replace Steve Romines who retired in May of this year.  His job is to oversee emergency operations in the county including the Medic One program.

Hardin will begin work on September 26.

He previously worked for the Washington Emergency Management Division at Camp Murray, a job he held since 2005.   He managed small to large disaster response and recovery operations in the state.

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Commission candidates in agreement

September 7th, 2016 by Ken

The four candidates for Thurston County Commissioner appeared before some 150 local business leaders at the Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce forum today.   And while they didn’t agree on everything, they were unanimous in seeking a change in county government.

Gary Edwards, Kelsey Hules, Jim Cooper and John Hutchings answered questions on a number of subjects and for the most part were in agreement, although how to reach a solution on the various problems separated them.   But on one question they were all in agreement.

The Thurston County Commission should expand to five members, but that such a change must be approved by the voters.  Over the years, several efforts to change the county government form fell by the wayside.   And, while the candidates were all in agreement that the number of commissioners should be increased, they differed on when, how and the cost.   They did agree that any changes had to be approved by a vote of the people.

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“The Olympian” got confused

September 7th, 2016 by Ken

The Olympian’s  editorial in today’s (September 7) paper got it wrong.    Writing about a Transportation Benefit District (TBD)  for the county, the writer of the editorial became confused.

The Washington State Legislature allowed the creaton of  TBD’s so local government could generate more money for transporation funding.   Creation of a TBD requires that the entity specify exactly how the money would be used.   It can’t be used for any other purpose other than what is spelled out.

It gave the local government two options for funding.   The first is to levy a $20 fee on renewal of car tabs.   The City of Olympia has done that.   The second option is to levy a .02 percent increase in the local option sales tax.   Such a move requires a vote of the people.   Tumwater has done that.

Lacey is looking at the .02 percent sales tax increase for inclusion on the ballot next year.

Thurston County is looking at both options.

Recently the legislature authorized cities which had adopted the $20 car tab fee to raise the amount to $40.  Olympia is looking at doing that.

A Transportation Benefit District expire at the end of 20 years unless renewed by the local government.

Hope this clears up any confusion.

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Port should change its name

September 6th, 2016 by Ken

The Port of Olympia is tied so closely to the City of Olympia in the minds of most county residents, that they don’t understand that the port is a countywide organization that represents ALL of the people of Thurston County – – not just a handful of downtown Olympia residents.

Complaints about possible military shipments into the South Sound port are coming from a small minority of residents representing two sets of residents – – liberal Olympia Democrats and – students and faculty at The Evergreen State College.

You will find almost overwhelming support for military shipments at the port from residents of Lacey, where about 40 percent of residents have some connection to the military – – and from those who live in the south part of Thurston County, where support for the military is also strong.

Part of the problem with the port does center around its name.   As long as Olympia residents think the port belongs to them, and as long as residents elsewhere also think the same – – then the port will be hard pressed to gain support of just about any thing it wants to do – – except build a children’s museum.

The time has come for the Port of Olympia to begin seriously considering a name change.   I suggest the the Port of South Puget Sound.   I’m sure you can get other suggestions.

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Labor and politics – an American solution

September 2nd, 2016 by Ken

This is Labor Day weekend.   This is the time when we honor the American labor movement for its efforts to improve the working conditions of all those who work hard for a living.

There was a time in this country, when working people were considered just another piece of equipment for the monopolies which ran American business.   They were as replaceable as another part on the machine.  Business was supported in this philosophy by government and by the courts.   Labor was just a cog in the machinery of business.

It took a century of vicious, brutal struggle in which thousands of workers died before organized labor became a significant and important part of the American capitalistic system.   And, that was only because World War Two needed the labor and government was forced to recognize organized labor unions.

Over the decades since, organized labor has suffered blow after blow – – not from the government or the courts – – but from American workers, who decided they no longer needed a union.   Then, as the blue collar jobs started leaving this country for cheaper labor overseas – – the organized labor unions saw significant decline in membership and a decline in their power.

They searched around, and found new power in white collar workers.   Most of them government employees.   Teachers, state workers, government employees now make up nearly 60 percent of organized labor members.   And because of the union’s access to government – – it has taken over one of our major political parties – – the Democrats.

The Democratic party should be called the Labor party.

And, now that it has control of the political landscape – – organized labor is doing something else.  It is using the Democrats to push its agenda – to once again – – organize those employees of business.

The push for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle and elsewhere has one caveat.   If the company joins the union, then the minimum wage law will not apply.  That’s right.   You heard me.   The union is using government power to force businesses to unionize.    The fight currently going on in Seattle over “Predictive Scheduling” is the same fight.   If a company allows its employees to unionize, then the law that may soon be passed by the Seattle City Council wouldn’t apply to them.

Unions have found that power no longer grows from the barrel of a gun or from strikes and sit-in’s – – but from controlling a political party.

That’s what we celebrate this weekend.

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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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