Political parties being torn apart

April 23rd, 2014 by Ken

Lots of ink and air time has been devoted to the fact that the Tea Party has torn the Republican Party apart, but little notice has been given to the splits and rifts in the Democratic Party.

At least four factions are currently vying for control of the Democratic Party and the conflict will only continue to grow.

As far as I can tell there are four factions fighting for the heart of the “peoples” party.  They are, in no particular order – - the Beverly Hills and New York City liberals – - the blue collar unions – - the environmentalists – - and the government unions.

The split can better be defined as rural and urban.   The current conflict between the blue collar unions and the environmentalist, can best be seen in the fight over the Keystone Pipeline.   Right now the environmentalist have the ear of the national party and the president which can be seen by his failure to approve the Keystone Pipeline.

The Laborer’s International Union, which represents more than 500,000 construction workers calls the president’s move to delay the pipeline as “gutless” and a “low blow to the working men and women of this country.”

This fight between the blue collar unions and environmentalists can be seen in our own backyard and the efforts of Olympia Port Commission Sue Gunn to close down the marine terminal which employs dozens of unionized longshoremen.

It won’t be long before the blue collar unions will split from the Democratic Party and move closer to the Republican Party.

Those who labor long and hard for a few dollars – -and have been supporters of the Democratic Party – -  will also soon be moving away from that group when the government unions begin receiving more of their money.

The billions and billions of dollars the educational unions want, in this state alone,  will drive the working poor away from the party when they find out that most of that money will go to hire more government union workers and raise their pay.

Democrats have done a good job in the past holding this current coalition together, but it’s going to break apart shortly over jobs and taxes.

And, while the Beverly Hills and New York City liberals control the banks and media, that will soon break apart over the Democrats reluctance to support Israel.

Republicans have a good chance in the near future to pick up some disenchanted Democrats and could become the party of the hard working taxpayers.

The problems with the Democratic Party will only grow as the split continues to widen.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Spring is budget time

April 22nd, 2014 by Ken

While it may seem like Spring to most of us, it’s actually budget time for local governments.

Your city council, county commission, even Intercity Transit and the Port of Olympia are in the process of beginning the development of their annual budgets.   And, most of them, just like you and I, are coming up a little short of money.

The Great Recession may be over but it’s impacts continue to be felt.   I don’t have any more money in my pocket than I did five years ago, and the same is holding true for local government.

Local government depends on us for its revenue.   Our spending gives it sales tax revenue, and since we haven’t been spending much their sales tax revenue is down.

As the values of our property declined the amount we pay in property taxes also declined.  That was a major source of revenue for some local governments.

And, while government has made some cuts in programs and staff the cost of operation continues to increase every year.

The biggest driver right now is health care costs and the negotiated union contracts most local governments operate under.   It continues to grow and grow and future negotiations will require than government unions pay more of their own costs.

But, right now, the taxpayers pick up that cost.

Fortunately for government, it has a way to get more money – - tax increases.

In the next couple of years you’re going to see significant tax revenues on you election ballot.

In Lacey, both the fire district and the city are considering tax hikes and hope the voters respond favorably.

Intercity Transit is going out for a tax increase and even Medic One is considering asking the voters for more money.

Recently our school districts went to the polls and asked the voters for more than $250 million in new taxes and they came away happy with the results.

Top all of those requests off with other tax increases being considered at the state level and you have a major impact on the wallets and pocketbooks of local taxpayers.

When you consider these requests for more of your money, ask yourself this one question – - Is the money really needed or is it something that can wait – - at least until you get more money yourself?

Posted in Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Transportation tax increase on Lacey’s agenda

April 18th, 2014 by Ken

Creation of a Transportation Benefit District, (TBD) to raise money for transportation projects, was a subject of the Lacey City Council’s annual staff and council retreat, held Friday.

The Washington State Legislature has authorized cities to create such an entity for the purposes of raising money for city transportation projects.

Under a Transportation Benefit District, cities can raise money for transportation projects in a number of ways – - foremost is an increase in the cost of car license tabs of $20.   Currently Olympia has already taken that action and Tumwater is considering it later this summer.  This can be done by a simple vote of the city council.

But, an increase in the state sales tax of  of .002 percent is also possible with a vote of the people.

Lacey would use the money for it’s on-going street maintenance program which finds itself short of money to fund needed street projects.

Raising the car license fee by $20 would bring in about $600,000 a year, far short of the money needed to keep city streets in good shape.  Instituting a .002 increase in the state sales tax, by a vote of the people, would bring in about $1.9 million annually, enough to do the job.

Discussion at the retreat centered around raising the car tab by a simple vote of the council, or going to the voters for approval of a sales tax increase.

The council asked staff to provide more information on the issue and schedule a council work session in the near future.

To get a measure on the November General Election ballot, the tax measure would have to be to the auditor’s office by July.

Posted in Business, Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Minimum wage hike a certainty

April 14th, 2014 by Ken

A minimum wage hike of $15 an hour is coming to Seattle.

We don’t know just how – - whether through a citizen’s initiative or by the action of the Seattle City Council, but the minimum wage in Seattle will soon go to $15 an hour.

Business owners in Seattle have seen the hand-writing on the wall and are not fighting the effort.   Instead, a business coalition, led by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, is negotiating with supporters of the wage increase in an attempt to mitigate some of the damage the move will do.

The coalition wants the $15 minimum wage hike phased in over a period of years.  Supporters of the hike want the entire amount now.   Business owners want a lower wage for new hires.  Supporters of $15 an hour want the full amount for everyone.

Businesses, whose employees depend on tips, want a reduced minimum wage to account for income from tips.  Supporters of $15 want the full amount.

The minimum wage increase is coming to Seattle.  We just don’t know what form it will take yet.

Businesses around the state are keeping a close eye on those negotiations knowing full well that what happens in Seattle will eventually find its way across the state.

 

Posted in Business, Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Don’t let money buy your vote – you ignorant voter – you

April 10th, 2014 by Ken

Recently the United States Supreme Court has made two rulings which elevate freedom of speech.

First the court ruled that corporations had the rights to raise and spend money, just like an individual.   Then, most recently, it took the limits off of how much money individuals can spend on political affairs.

These court decisions have some on the left end of scale irritated and incensed claiming that rich billionaires will be able to buy elections and thus get special favors from government.

Billions of dollars are already spent each presidential election year to buy your vote and hundreds of millions are spent in other races in other years.

It’s spent by both parties and rich billionaires give money to both parties.   It’s also raised and spent by political parties, political action committees, individual expenditures, union dues money and by individuals.

The fact that money is the mother’s milk of politics has always been true and is no more true today than yesterday.

But, money doesn’t win elections – - votes do.   Rich billionaires get the same number of votes as you do – - one.

The problem arises because you – - as an average voter – - are ignorant.   Many of you only know what you see and hear on your television.   If you believe anything you hear in the media about a candidate – - then your vote is being bought.

Don’t let your vote be bought.

Educate yourself.   Talk with the candidate if possible.  Discuss the issues with your friends and people whose opinion you trust.

Education – - your education – - is the key to elections.   Don’t be ignorant and don’t sell your vote.

And, if you don’t know who to vote for – - Don’t Vote.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Chubby Checker hits the spot

April 9th, 2014 by Ken

I had the opportunity this past weekend to see Chubby Checker perform at the Lucky Eagle Casino.

The man is 72 years old but his performance didn’t seem to show the impact of age.  He sang songs of the early 1960′s – pre-Beatles  and had the audience of nearly 800 up on their feet and dancing in the aisles.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the “In the Mood” concert at the Washington Center.  The room was filled with those who enjoyed the Big Band era of the 1940′s, but they were confined to their walkers and wheelchairs.

What the two experiences show to me is that the definition of  “Old”, as it relates to music has changed.

Sirus Radio, the satellite radio station  which broadcasts music of the 1940′s, 1950′s, 1960′s and so on has now removed the 1940′s from its play list.   Those who were of age to know the music first hand are now in their late 80′s.

In the meantime, the Baby Boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day.  As they enter the senior ranks their music isn’t the Big Band sound, but – - Rock and Roll – - personified by Chubby Checker.

That’s why oldies Rock and Roll has gained in population and 800 people will go to a casino in Oakville to hear Chubby Checker.

And that’s why those 800 souls enjoyed the music, loved the performance and danced in the aisle.

I think its time that entertainment outlets – - like the Washington Center  – - begin to understand that the new music of  seniors is – - rock and roll.

And, Chubby Checker hits the spot.

Posted in Business, History, Informational, The Real News having Comments Off

Olympia already has a downtown

April 8th, 2014 by Ken

I’m excited that the City of Olympia is experiencing a building boom.  Renovation of the old Sears building is just one indication that things are changing and that people see the potential of downtown.

Proposals to construct new apartments and new retail space are also exciting.  A recent visit by an arts group to look at the need for working artist space shows that interest in the downtown area continues.

Then – - to top it off – - the State of Washington wants to build a new office building to house the Washington State Patrol – - right on Capitol Way.

It was pointed out to me recently that for all the growth we have in the greater community we only really have one downtown.   And while Lacey is looking at the Woodland district for its new downtown and Tumwater is looking at the Brewery site as its future downtown, Olympia already has a downtown.

The need for a downtown as a public gathering space seems to be the over whelming desire of a number of our local elected officials.

But, for the downtown area to thrive it must have two things.   It has to have people living downtown and it has to attract people from the suburbs to visit and shop downtown.  Right now Olympia has neither of those two requirements.

Proposals  to build market rate housing are on the books at Olympia City Hall.

Let’s just hope that city staff don’t pull the same shenanigans the usually pull – - of having the developer jump through hoop after hoop after hoop until he runs out of patience and runs out of money.   Then, he just throws up his hands,  broke and disgusted with the city.

And, lets clean up the streets, get rid of the addicts, find places for the homeless and then maybe we’ll be able to attract people back downtown.

Oh – - and lets bring back some free parking.

Posted in Business, History, Informational, Local Politics having Comments Off

Gunn’s on the right track

March 31st, 2014 by Ken

I’m not a radical environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I voted for someone who is – - Sue Gunn.  In case you don’t remember, Sue Gunn is the newest member of the Port Commission.

She made news recently for voting against the construction of a new warehouse on port property.   The warehouse would have been used for the storage of fracking sand  – - little ceramic pellets – - which are used primarily to force out trapped oil from oil sands in the Dakotas and Canada.

The port currently has one warehouse which stores the sand for reshipping, but the demand is so great that a second warehouse was needed.

Gunn voted against it’s construction but was out-voted by the other two port commissioners Bill McGregor and George Barner, who went on to approve the use of taxpayer money to build the warehouse.

I knew that Gunn would oppose just such a move.   She has concerns about the impact of fracking on the environment and on global warming.

While I care about the environment I’m convinced that global warming is controlled by the sun and nothing humans do can change it.

So – - why did I vote for Sue Gunn?

Her incumbent opponent was a longshoreman who had a personal and financial stake in port operations.  It was a conflict of interest that shouldn’t have been allowed to exist in the first place.

And, Gunn had promised to wean the port off of taxpayer subsidies.   She said she would close down the marine terminal if it couldn’t pay its own way.

As someone who’s concerned that Thurston County taxpayers shouldn’t be spending millions of our dollars to subsidize  Weyerhaeuser’s logging operations, I support efforts to make the port pay for itself.

That’s what Gunn promised.

Her efforts to stop the shipping of fracking sand may be environmental on its face, but constructing a new warehouse would require taxpayer money.

Gunn has made the first down payment on her promise to make the port pay for itself.   She’s doing what I hired her to do.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

What’s the purpose of a college degree?

March 26th, 2014 by Ken

There was a time in this country when going to college meant getting a good education.

No matter what your career path was, colleges had required classes – in math, science, the humanities, in history, in philosophy, in many different subjects.   By requiring students to take these classes they graduated with a well-rounded understanding of life.

Now, the whole idea of going to college is to get a good job.

When did the concept of college – as a means to a job – become paramount over education and the making of a good citizen?

It’s true, that those with a college degree will make hundreds of thousands of dollars more in their working lifetime than will someone with just a high school diploma.   But, that shouldn’t be the only reason one goes to college.

The idea that college is the only pathway to a good job happened when blue collar jobs began to disappear.

Prior to that time someone with a high school diploma could make a good living working in manufacturing or in the service industries.   But, when those jobs disappeared, college beckoned.

This is the pathway to nirvana became the watchword as thousands and thousands of students flocked to college for the purpose of getting a good job.

The idea of getting a good college education and becoming a well rounded citizen was far from the minds of most.

And, colleges, eager to latch on to these newly converted college students began to lower admission standards, eliminate unnecessary courses and allow an easier path towards a degree.

While some colleges lowered standards more than others, all colleges were impacted.   Even our prestigious universities tout how much money their students can make upon graduation.

But, our society suffered and continues to suffer by a lack of educated citizens – - many of whom have such a narrow focus that they no longer understand the commonalities which make us a unique country.

Getting a job is a good reason to go to college, but it isn’t the only reason.   Our colleges need to stop bowing to the current crisis and put their feet back on the path to providing a good education and the creation of good citizens.

Posted in Business, History, Informational, The Real News having Comments Off

Two funerals too many

March 25th, 2014 by Ken

I attended two funerals and memorial services this past weekend.  Two friends of mine passed away.

Johnny Lewis and Gordy Schultz, each in his own way, have made a major contribution to this community.

Johnny Lewis was a musician.  He had a great career that stretched from New York to his many local performances.    He loved music and he loved bringing his appreciation of his art to everyone in the community.

Johnny played at just about every charity event that needed music – - even if they didn’t always know they needed music.   He played for political events – - he didn’t care for which party.   And, he played at five Governor Balls.

Johnny saw music and music performance as a way to give back to the community he loved, while at the same time educating people as to the importance of music in their lives.

He loved young people and took every opportunity to teach them music – - but more importantly he taught them what music could do – - bring people together.    Just a few days before he died he was teaching his students.

Gordy Schultz took a different track in the community – -but he played a significant role.

He was a journalist of the first order.  He covered state government and the Washington State Legislature for more than two decades, earning a reputation as a hard hitting – - but fair – - reporter.

When he retired as a reporter he was so respected that he worked for Governor Booth Gardner as his official spokesman.

But, Gordy Schultz had another impact on this community.  He was an early supporter of Lacey.

Gordy was the co-founder and publishers of the “The Lacey Leader” – -  Lacey’s first community newspaper, founded in 1969 .  He recognized the significance of the county’s newest city and wanted to be a part of it.   His interest and reporting on Lacey helped to create a sense of community for a city looking for a purpose.

Gordy put his money where his mouth was and became a major property owner in his new city.

He was also the organizer and first president of the Lacey Rotary Club.   A club in which Johnny Lewis was also a member.

Both Johnny Lewis and Gordy Schultz are gone now.  Both in their own ways contributed to the economic, social and political growth of our community.

We’re better off because they were here.  This is an appropriate time to honor their contributions.

But, boy, am I tired of going to the funerals of my friends.

Posted in Business, Government, History, The Real News having Comments Off

Watch for bikes on Pacific Avenue

March 20th, 2014 by Ken

Those traveling Pacific Avenue have run into the one-lane restrictions as Thurston County constructs a bicycle bridge over the roadway.   When finished the new bridge will extend the Chehalis Western Train unbroken from Yelm to Woodard Bay on Puget Sound.

This is the last of the missing links to be constructed.   Within the last few years a bicycle bridge over Interstate Five and another over Martin Way have been finished.

The bridge over Pacific Avenue was held up over concerns of local property owners.

Foremost among those concerns is the actual design of the Pacific Avenue bridge.

Plans call for the bridge to have off-ramps, which not only take up considerable room, but funnel bike traffic onto Pacific Avenue which has no bike lanes at all.

Such a concern meant nothing to county designers.   A bicycle off-ramp exists just a few hundred yards north up the trail at Martin Way, but the county wanted off-ramps onto Pacific Avenue.

In addition, the county will be constructing a bicycle roundabout a few hundred yards south where the Woodland Trail meets up with the Chehalis Western Trail.   The cost to all of this construction is $3 million dollars.

Bicycle riders should be estatic.  They can ride their bicycles for miles and miles through the heart of Olympia and Lacey’s urban areas without having to worry about cars and traffic.

Until they come to Pacific Avenue.

Why planners and designers wanted an off-ramp onto Pacific Avenue seems to make no sense at all.   Unless, the City of Olympia plans to narrow Pacific to one lane each way and build bike lanes in the other traffic lane.

They’ve done that on other streets.

 

 

 

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Stat of the Week

March 18th, 2014 by Ken

According to the Washington Restaurant Association there are 488 restaurants in Thurston County.

Posted in Business, The Real News having Comments Off

Local government spends money without public input

March 10th, 2014 by Ken

There’s something that’s not in the public interest and its going on all over Thurston County.   It’s the expenditure of public money without any public participation.

It’s union negotiations.

All over this county, in city after city, in regional boards and public agencies, money is being spent and contracts agreed upon without any public involvement.

Local governments negotiate contracts concerning salaries and benefits which spend taxpayer money.   The taxpayers have no say.

Government unions, those working for government agencies think they’re like ever other private union – - but they’re not.

Their employer is not the city or the county or the school district, but the taxpayers, the people who have to pay the bills.

City negotiators go into private negotiations without any input from the public.  They spend public money without any type of hearing.  They agree behind closed doors.  The public be damned.

Government unions should not have the same bargaining rights as private industry unions.  Taxpayer money is sacred.  It shouldn’t be spent without public input.

There are many ways to handle this situation.   First, the right to bargain for salary and benefits could be removed from government unions.

Second – - a private citizen (or two) could be included in the bargaining session.

Third – a public meeting could be called before any union contracts are ratified.

Fourth – All bargaining should be done in public.  (This is the one I favor.)

Spending public money without public input is illegal.  Someday, someone, is going to take these phoney bargaining sessions to court.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Who will history tap?

March 7th, 2014 by Ken

I’m not a historian, but lately I’ve been reading about why civilizations fail.

The history of our world is littered with civilizations that at one time were the dominate power in the world and which eventually fell into decline.  These include the Roman empire, the Byzantine, Greek, Aztec, Mayan and the Chinese Sui and Tang dynasties.

All of these major powers eventually ended up on the ash heap of history.

My readings say the failure can be  laid to three major causes.

Some crumbled from within through corruption, poor leadership and internal strife.  Some fell from their inability to react to major climate changes.   And, some fell from external challenges such as invasion.

I thought of this recently when it became obvious that all three elements are currently threatening the United States.

Internally, we are facing a non-functioning government, a corrupt political system dominated by special interests and poor leadership from the top.

Climate change is forcing this country to make difficult choices from doing nothing at all, to mobilizing every force available – and everything in between.

Our war weary president representing a war weary country is cutting back on military forces and withdrawing from world affairs just as China is expanding its military and Russia is once again reasserting itself.

All three causes of civilization decline are facing the United States.  Anyone of them could force our way of life onto the ash heap.

Fortunately we have one advantage that former civilizations didn’t have.

We have a form of government that allows the people to determine who they want in leadership.

This check on government power gives us hope that soon we will have a leader who understands history and is  capable of addressing the problems we now face.

Hopefully the people will soon pick a leader with ability and a desire to address all of these challenges.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, The Real News having Comments Off

Question of the day

February 26th, 2014 by Ken

When do religious beliefs become religious bigotry?

Posted in The Real News having Comments Off

Military can unmake Lacey

February 26th, 2014 by Ken

I stopped by a local doughnut shop in Lacey recently and encountered two soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord buying doughnuts – - lots of doughnuts.

They were buying them as a treat for their unit which was just returning from field maneuvers.  I started talking with them – - both senior NCO’s – - and found out that they lived in Lacey.

“Why Lacey,” I asked?  “It’s a great community with good schools, friendly people and its close to the base,” one of them replied.

Lacey has experienced significant growth in the last decade.   It’s population is nearly equal to Olympia.    In another few years it could become the largest city in the county.

And, that growth is driven by the military, both active and retired.  Currently more than 13 percent of Lacey’s population is active duty military and that doesn’t count the retirees or the civilian contractors who work at the base.

The military are good community citizens.  They get involved in their community, volunteer at Lacey schools, work in various businesses and spend their money in Lacey.

They are a major asset to the city.

But, there are drawbacks to having a significant military population.   They come and go.  Some stay in the community longer than others but some stay only a short time before they are reassigned.

And, funding for the military and civilian employment is dependent on congress and national affairs.

There’s a move in this administration to cut the military.  Some want to reduce the size of our entire military national program back to pre-World War Two days.

While that probably won’t happen,  more military cutbacks are inevitable.   JBLM will eventually feel those cuts.

And, so will the City of Lacey and the businesses in Lacey.

Military families make Lacey a good place to open a business.  But cutbacks in military spending will significantly impact both the city and businesses within the city.

I hope city leaders are paying attention.  And, that goes for the Lacey school district as well.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Heart overrules head in Olympia

February 24th, 2014 by Ken

One of the oldest struggles in human nature is the battle between our head and our heart.   We often know we need to do something when our heart tells us we’d rather not.

I see that struggle constantly when I think of the City of Olympia and its battle between needing growth and new business, and wanting to keep everything in the city pristine and natural.

Olympia has long supported increased density in urban areas as a means to increase mass transit use and  stop urban sprawl.  Yet its neighborhoods always fight any effort to bring new development into their communities while others fight any effort to allow greater height limits on downtown properties.

The city uses its head when it sees the need for increased density, yet looks to its heart when it comes time to allow those types of actions to proceed.

The idea that the  heart overrules the head comes when the City of Olympia adopts amendments to its city code on high density corridors.   According to proposed new rules, the city will be allowed to lower building heights in the urban high density core when it conflicts with different adjacent densities.

In other words, it has listened to its heart and will be allowed to lower densities in an area in which it really wanted increased densities – in the urban high density core area.

But, the City of Olympia isn’t through letting its heart overrule its head.

In it’s comprehensive plan the city is looking at reducing multi-family densities as well.   Even though the city wants more people living in closer proximity to each other and to urban services, it’s heart is saying no – no – no.

While the City of Olympia needs more business to generate more tax revenue, it is looking at a “Dark Skies” policy that a will restrict the amount of light a business can generate.  This will impact night businesses, particularly hotels and motels.   Because of neighborhood objections to night lighting , several hotels have been forced to  re-locate to Lacey.   If this policy is adopted, others will follow.

The city’s head may say it wants new businesses, but it’s heart says no.

You can’t blame the heart for what it feels, but sometimes a city has to use its head.

Posted in Business, Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News having Comments Off

Bureaucracy holds up legal marijuana sales

February 21st, 2014 by Ken

(Editors note:   The following article appeared in the February 2014 edition of my printed newsletter.)

In November 2012, voters in both Washington and Colorado approved the legalization of marijuana for personal use.

Two months ago, Colorado began selling the product to residents of that state.

Washington is still arguing over rules and regulations regarding its use and distribution.

Why the difference?  Why are Colorado residents now legally buying and using pot while residents of Washington are still trying to work out the rules?

The difference is striking and revolves around two points.

Colorado already had rules in place regulating the use of medical marijuana, although it was estimated that nearly 96 percent of all medical marijuana sold in Colorado was not a medical necessity.

Washington never created a significant licensing and distribution system for medical marijuana and opted to let medical shops operate in a twilight zone.

Washington put the development and regulation of the new marijuana laws under the State Liquor Control Board, an agency headed by political appointees with a reputation of bureaucracy and inaction.

In addition, Colorado opted to create a vertical system whereby those selling pot were allowed to grow and process it, similar to the one they had in place for medical marijuana.

Washington opted for a horizontal system whereby those who grow it and those who produce it are not connected to those who sell it.

The result is a more bureaucratic system which creates more rules and regulations with each step of the process.

Those growing marijuana in Washington (if they can get a license) are taxed at 25 percent.  Those processing the plants are taxed at 25 percent.   Those selling the finished product are taxed at 25 percent.   In addition, sales tax of nearly 10 percent is collected at each step.

The concern is that the high cost of the legal product will continue to drive users to the black market.

Washington placed creation of new rules and regulations in the lap of the Washington State Liquor Control Board which had just seen most of its money and staffing fall by the wayside when voters took them out of the liquor distribution business.

The agency saw a chance to rebuild itself by creating extensive rules and regulations for this new legal product.   It also opted to bring medical marijuana under its control thus expanding its reach and power.

By doing so, the agency could, once again, become a major player in the society of our state.

Meanwhile, residents are still waiting for the first legal products to arrive at the outlets nearly a year and a half after voters gave their approval, and months after the State of Colorado began collecting tax on its new legal product.

Posted in Business, Government, Informational, Local Politics having Comments Off

Lacey’s future is bright

February 20th, 2014 by Ken

Recently, John Dodge, a columnist for “The Olympian” wrote a story which seemed to imply that Lacey was an urban planner’s nightmare and prone to sprawl.  His article implied that Lacey could only be saved by the creation of an urban village.

He also questioned why anyone would live in Lacey.

John made his observation on the fact that he lived in Lacey until 1967 and appeared before a meeting of the Lacey City Council that same year.   He currently lives in East Olympia on his gentleman’s farm.

The city tore down his elementary school and his favorite burger place and he can’t seem to get over that traumatic experience.

More than 40,000 people now call Lacey their home.   In another five years Lacey will be the largest city in the county.   These people move to Lacey for a number of reasons.  The city has new and modern parks.   City streets are resurfaced on a regular basis and most streets are new.   The Lacey school system is the largest in the county with top quality teachers and up-to-date modern facilities.

Lacey is also close to Joint Base Lewis McChord and nearly 13 percent of the residents of the city are active duty military.   They settle in Lacey because the community respects and honors their commitment to our nation’s security.

Lacey is the leader in the South Sound Community in protecting its history.  The city has a museum dedicated to Lacey’s history and is in the process of planning a new history museum to celebrate 50 years of city hood.

It would be to John’s advantage to take a tour of Lacey with me.   I would be happy to show him the changes in the city since 1967.

Posted in Government, History, Informational, Local Politics having Comments Off

Blame the sun for global warming

February 19th, 2014 by Ken

Let me state – - from the outset that I believe that this Earth of ours is currently in a period of  global warming.  Scientists call in Global Climate Change to explain various weather conditions around the globe.

Recently, our vice president, said that 97 percent of all scientists believe that global climate change is caused by human activity and those that don’t believe are burying their heads in the sand.

Well — my eyes and ears must be full of sand, because I don’t believe that humans are the cause of global warming.

Of course – - I’m not a scientist and Joe Biden wasn’t speaking about me.   But I am well-read and knowledgeable enough to make some observations on the subject.

The Earth has been around for billions of years.   Over that time period it has undergone significant and momentous climate changes.

For a good part of its life, the Earth was hot and uninhabitable.  For another part of time it was covered in ice and snow.

Human history only goes back about 10,000 years, back to the beginning of the ice age.  Glaciers covered a significant part of the world but for periods of time in the last ten millenniums the Earth warmed up enough to support human life.

Periods of warmth and cold alternated during those 10,000 years.   The Little Ice Age started in the 1400′s and ended as recently as the 1800′s.

Our planet has been warming every since.

The Earth revolves around the sun which acts as a big furnace providing us with light and heat.  Sometimes that furnace roars up and puts out more heat.  Sometimes that furnace cools down and puts out less heat.

And, our planet doesn’t revolve on its axis in a steady rotation.  It wobbles and tips.  That’s part of the reason we have seasons, but also part of the reason we have climate change.

Human activity has almost nothing to do with Global Climate Change.

A few hundred years from now, when scientists look back on the 21st Century – -they’ll laugh at how silly we were trying to find a human answer for a natural event.

 

 

Posted in History, Informational, The Real News having Comments Off