Who’s going to beat Inslee?

July 29th, 2015 by Ken

Governor Jay Inslee can’t be re-elected as governor, if a poll by Stuart Elway is correct.

Only 30 percent of those who responded to the poll said they would be willing to re-elect the governor.   Yet – 25 percent of them also said they wouldn’t vote for a Republican.

Capturing a 50 percent majority from 75 percent of the electorate isn’t an easy task, and so far only one Republican has made any moves to challenge the governor when he’s up for re-election next year.  That’s Bill Bryant, Port of Seattle commissioner.

But, helping the Republicans is the fact that 26 percent of the Democrats said they would be willing to vote for “a different Democrat” next year  So far, no Democrat has decided to challenge Inslee.

The poll was taken before the governor acted like an Obama-clone and opted to use executive powers to get what he couldn’t get from the legislature.    This action might encourage a Republican or two, or even a Democrat to consider replacing him.

 

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What does conservative mean?

July 20th, 2015 by Ken

As most of my regular readers know, I have been hard on the liberal left – - the so-called progressives.  Their answer to everything is more government.

But, recently I’ve also begun to question the “conservatives” – the one’s on the far right.  What do they stand for?

I suspect they want to go back to a better time – - a time when they knew who they were and where they were going.   A time like maybe – - the 1950′s.

I was alive then.   I graduated from high school in 1960, so I have some understanding of what’s so appealing about the 1950′s.

The United States was the dominate power in the world.   Many of the other countries were still trying to recover from the devastation caused by World War II.   The United States was the only real world power – - and there were few to question that dominance.

We seldom saw anyone from another race.   We were isolated in our own safe world.   Television was just beginning to make itself felt and the news we received over our radio and in our newspaper was dominated by media giants like NBC and CBS.

We knew our place in our town by our gender.   Men were expected to work while women were expected to stay home, have babies and raise good children.   Most men could find a job that allowed them to support their families – - and while many of them had some higher education – - many others did not.

Women didn’t work outside the home unless they had too – -  and then only in secretarial positions or pink collar jobs.  And, they were expected to stop working when they got married.

We went to school as children in classrooms where we knew everyone else.   No one moved around much in the 1950′s – - so those children you knew were the children you went to school with.

Teachers worked for little pay – - some of them single women looking to eventually get married.   And, if they did, they often lost their jobs when they became pregnant.

We didn’t see many children in our classrooms who had emotional or physical problems.   There was no “mainstreaming.”  Those types of children were taught at home, in special schools, or not at all.

We didn’t worry about the plight of the migrant farm worker – - the segregated south – - the starving children of the Bible Belt or the ghettos  of the big Eastern cities.   We often didn’t know about them – - and  if we did – - it wasn’t our problem.

We were happy in the 1950′s – particularly if we were white and male.   We knew our place in the world – - and we liked it.

If – - that’s the definition of the far right’s “conservative views” – - I can see the attraction.   I am a white male after all.

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No Primary Election in Lacey

July 20th, 2015 by Ken

If you haven’t received your Primary Election ballot in Lacey yet – - don’t worry.  You never will.

There’s no Primary Election in Lacey.

Olympia has a primary election and the Port of Olympia has a primary election.   Of course Lacey residents don’t vote in Olympia and the port race is done by commissioner districts.  The port districts are not in Lacey.

But, rest assured, you will be able to vote in the General Election for a city council seat in Lacey and for all of the remaining Port of Olympia candidates.

So, the question must be asked, why did the Thurston County Auditor’s Office mail out Primary Election Voter’s Pamphlets to voters in Lacey?

 

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Lacey council rejects private money for plastic bag ban vote

July 16th, 2015 by Ken

At it’s Thursday night work seesion the Lacey City Council rejected an effort by a private group to put the issue of a plastic bag ban before the voters in November.

The issue rose its head, when Councilmember Michael Steadman said he would put the issue up to a vote of the people if someone else would fund it.    Lacey City Attorney David Schneider said it would be legal for the city to accept the money.

At Thursday Lacey council work session, Steadman voted not to accept the money along with Jeff Gadman, Cynthia Pratt and Andy Ryder.

The city accepts money from private individuals all of the time.  Private donations help to defray costs of the city’s summer hot lunch program and private donations help fund some animal control services.

In my opinion, accepting money for a political purpose – - rejecting the city’s plastic bag ban – - sets a bad precedence.  What’s to stop some other group from  raising money to set a $15 minimum wage in Lacey or another group to want a ban on the sale of firearms.

The council was right to reject the money for political purposes.  But, it needs to set a policy regarding what money it will accept and what it will not.

And Steadman needs to be more cautious in what he says.   He’s not a private citizen anymore – - he’s an elected official.

 

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School district awaits response on newspaper building purchase

July 15th, 2015 by Ken

In May, the Olympia School District made an offer to purchase The Olympian building from its owners – - McClatchy Corporation out of Florida, and is still waiting for a response to its offer.

The school district wants to use the newspaper building for its new district office.

The purchase offer has not been made public, but school officials say the offer is less than the assessed valuation of the building.   The current assessed valuation is $5.1 million.

School officials say the building is a perfect fit for the district’s needs.  It has significant room for all of the current district staff and a great deal of storage space.

While McClatchy has not responded to the offer, the district has no fall-back position.

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Seattle – not part of Washington state

July 10th, 2015 by Ken

Independent City States were the norm a few centuries ago in such countries as Greece and Italy.  These city states operated independently of any larger government and existed in their own little world.

Right now, the question of independent city states is centered around “Sanctuary Cities”, cities which have determined on their own that they will not work with the federal government on issues of immigration.

There are only a handful of city states in the United States.  Currently making the most news is San Francisco, where the city’s unwillingness to work with the federal government on immigration has made news.

But – the City of Seattle isn’t far behind when it comes to operating as a separate city state within a loose framework of state and federal government.

Seattle is a sanctuary city.   But, more than that, Seattle continues to go its own way and reluctantly drags the rest of the state with it.

It’s $15 minimum wage – while it may make sense in the City State of Seattle, hurts the rest of the state.   It’s fight with the Port of Seattle over environmental issues shows it sees itself as the “savior” of our environment.

Now, the City State of Seattle is seriously considering a bill to tax gun sales and ammunition sales – - something probably in violation of federal law.

And just to show how silly a City State can become – - Seattle has outlawed all gender specific restrooms and now require all of them to be gender neutral.

Seattle is the big elephant which creates state revenue and demands obedience from the state legislature in response.

I think from now on, we should refer to Seattle as the City State of Seattle.   It operates in its own little world.

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Progressive dogma

July 7th, 2015 by Ken

The hottest summer on record and the Department of Natural Resources has seen its fire-fighting budget cut by one-third.  Services for veterans, mental health and other programs have seen budget cuts despite the fact that Washington state has nearly $3 billion in new revenue this year.

So – where did the money go?

You know as well as I do.   The money went to the progressive wing’s  favorite cause – -  education.

That’s the dogma faced by Democrats today.    Put more money into education or face being cut off from the Washington Education Association’s tit.

But, if education is the key to everything positive – - how much money is enough?

Even State school superintendent Randy Dorn (a former leader of the WEA) estimates it could be as much as $5 billion a year more – - forever – - and even then he’s not sure.

Would somebody, somewhere, with no axe to grind or union boss to kiss, tell me what the real number is.

Kowtowing to dogma  does no one any good.

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Regional parks meeting cancelled – -lack of interest cited

June 30th, 2015 by Ken

A regional parks meeting, called by the Thurston County Commissioners, has been cancelled due to lack of attendance by local elected officials.

County Commissioners had called a meeting, Tuesday evening,  of all city council members in Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater as well as Yelm and Tenino, for the purpose of assessing interest in creating a Metropolitan Parks District.

The parks district as suggested by the commissioners would encompass all of Thurston County.   The law establishing parks districts allows the collection of additional property taxes to fund aquisition, development and maintenance and operations of parks.

Commissioners said the money could be used for regional parks such as the Isthmus and LBA Woods Park as examples of the money’s use.

When commissioners were informed that many of the city council members would be unable to attend, they cancelled the meeting.

While lack of interest may have been the reason stated – - I suspect that those elected officials outside of Olympia, weren’t full of trust that the commissioners would allocate the funds in the best way.

The City of Olympia is currently looking at creating its own Metropolitan Parks District and is having trouble convincing the public that it will spend the money wisely.  I suspect that same feeling holds true on the larger scale.

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Lacey History Month – Festivals

June 30th, 2015 by Ken

In February 1999, the Lacey Thurston County Chamber of Commerce voted to cut all ties with the Lacey Spring Fun Fair, which had been supported by the chamber for 12 years.   The chamber board said staff time and effort could be put to better use.   Later, the City of Lacey took up the festival banner and continues to be the prime sponsor of the event.

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Ryder was right to wait

June 30th, 2015 by Ken

Lacey mayor Andy Ryder has been an effective mayor.  He’s usually scripted and ready for just about anything.   But recently the mayor was caught off guard.

Case in point is the recent flap over a plastic bag ban in Lacey.   Last month, the Lacey City Council voted to uphold the plastic bag ban by a 4-3 vote, with the mayor voting in favor.   The swing vote on the council was Michael Steadman.

Steadman had said on more than one occasion that he wanted to find out the feelings of the public on the issue, but didn’t want to put a measure on the November ballot because it cost too much money – some $2500.

At its last council meeting, a group of individuals offered to give the city $2500 to pay the cost of the election.

Mayor Ryder said such an action was highly unusual and opted to wait until the full council could have another discussion on the matter.

The city attorney said that he didn’t think accepting the money was wrong – but perhaps there needed to be a policy put in place before the city took the money.

Ryder isn’t often caught unaware.   Lacey City Manager Scott Spence usually does a good job of keeping him informed.

But a citizen group providing money for an election is highly unusual.

Ryder was right to wait.   The city needs to know all of the ramifications of its action.  But accepting the money for the cost of the election seems to be a way to satisfy the council’s desire to know what the public thinks about the plastic bag ban.

The council shouldn’t wait too long to take action on the offer.  The deadline for getting the measure on the fall ballot is approaching.

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Gay marriage revolution

June 29th, 2015 by Ken

Two decades ago, less than 20 percent of all Americans believed that gays and lesbians should be able to marry.

Today, more than two-thirds of all Americans believe that marriage for gays and lesbians is a right, and this past week the Supreme Court of the United States agreed and made gay marriage legal in all  50 states.

Why the change?   Why did Americans change their collective opinions in less than 20 years?

The answer really isn’t complicated.

Media.

Over the past decade, in television show after television show, gay and lesbian characters have been present in dozens of comedy and drama series.   Writers of these shows have been able to depict gay and lesbian characters as real, as human and as full of love and folly as the rest of us.

Minds are molded by common culture.   As gay and lesbian characters are presented in a matter-of-fact way, it becomes acceptable to those who get their entertainment and education from the entertainment media.

Support for gay rights followed.   Support for full rights will also follow.

Never underestimate the impact that the media and common culture holds.

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Lacey History Month – Gangs

June 26th, 2015 by Ken

November 11, 1993 – More than a thousand people jammed the St. Martin’s Pavilion to protest the killing of a 13-year old Lacey boy in an apparent gang killing.   Police, school, city and social leaders were on hand to listen and respond.   From that meeting came the creation of  TOGETHER as an anti-gang, anti-violence organization.   As the gang threat declined over the years, Together morphed into other forms of community action and is still active today.

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Lacey History Month – business mistake

June 26th, 2015 by Ken

1996 – In its hurry to approve changes in the Growth Management Act, the Lacey City Council zoned 29 businesses along Martin Way – out of business.  As approved by the council, all automotive oriented businesses were declared non-conforming.   Realizing its mistake, the council saw the errors of its way and reversed its action.

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Metro parks district subject of county meeting

June 26th, 2015 by Ken

While the City of Olympia debates the merit of creating a city-wide Metropolitan Parks District, Thurston County Commissioners have called for a county-wide parks district.

To that end, they have invited elected officials from around the county to a meeting on Tuesday, June 30 to discuss the idea.

Changes in state law have made it easier to form metro parks districts and several dozen cities and counties have done so in the last few years.   A parks district allows it to collect additional property taxes for the purpose of supporting parks, buying new park land, improving parks and maintenance and operations of parks.

Thurston County Commissioners are considering action to place a Metropolitan Parks District on the fall ballot.   The money to be used for regional parks such as purchase and restoration of the old Olympia Brewhouse, development of the isthmus park in downtown Olympia or buying the LBA Woods for a park  – - among other regional park ideas.

Local elected officials are invited to a conversation on the issue beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Bldg 1 Rm 280 of the Thurston County Courthouse on Tuesday.

I suspect that private citizens can also attend.

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Lacey History Month – Hawks Prairie name

June 24th, 2015 by Ken

July 1997 – The Lacey City Council, concerned about how to connect the newly annexed property of Hawks Prairie into Lacey – - determined that the name  Hawks Prairie would be eliminated from all maps and all conversation.   Instead of Hawks Prairie,  the name would become – - North East Lacey. – -   Tell that to all the businesses now located in Hawks Prairie.

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Frare starts campaign for Lacey council seat

June 24th, 2015 by Ken

Before a small group of family and friends, Wednesday at the Lacey Conference Center, Bill Frare started his campaign for the city council seat currently held by Jeff Gadman.

This civil engineer and president of the Schilter Farm Homeowners Association said his priorities on the council would be – -accountable government – economic development -  improved transportation – and environmental stewardship.

Frare talked about two of those priorities.    He said the council disregarded the public’s viewpoint when it re-approved a plastic bag ban, despite a survey which showed a majority of Lacey residents opposed to the ban.   The failure of the city to put the issue on the ballot because of the cost, drew his ire.  “$2500 is a small price to pay for democracy,” he said.

On the transportation front, Frare was disappointed that the city hasn’t begun construction of the College Street project and talked about the danger that children have walking along College Street on the small sidewalks.

He also took the council to task for delaying the city’s street overlay project.  “It’s inexcusable that they couldn’t find the money for that project,” Frare said.  “In the long run it saves the city money.”

This is Frare’s first run at any elective office.

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Lacey History Month – Belltowers

June 23rd, 2015 by Ken

In 1998 the Lacey 2000 Committee was looking at creating a sense of community by tying the various parts of the city together.   Belltowers were determined to be the best idea for that concept.   Belltowers would sprout up at various locations around Lacey.   The city would build the first one at Sleater-Kinney and Sixth Avenue.   It was never constructed because the city couldn’t get the property it needed to construct the tower – but Belltown Plaza on Sixth Avenue is named for it.   The only tower that was constructed is at College Street and Lacey Boulevard.

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Lacey History Month – Chlorine

June 22nd, 2015 by Ken

In June 2004, the City of Lacey added chlorine to its water supply for the first time.  Four months earlier routine tests had detected coliform bacteria in the water supply.    While Olympia had added chlorine to its water for years, Lacey residents prided themselves on their sweet tasting city water.   The addition of chlorine resulted in safe drinking water but an up-surge in the  purchase of  bottled water by Lacey residents.

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Lacey History Month – Richard’s Roundhouse

June 19th, 2015 by Ken

Opened in 1974, one of the most unique buildings in Lacey went up  in Market Square – - Richard’s Roundhouse.   Built of bricks and in the round, the building echoed the roundhouses used by trains.   Included in the building was the dining car from President Harry Truman’s 1948 Whistlestop tour around the country – which resulted in his upset presidential election.  In its early years it was the “in” place for party goers.  Financial setbacks led to the eventual closing.   Several different owners tried to make a go of the nightclub – - including Vi Childs, Jim Manning and Johnny Lewis.  In 1992, new owner Bob Blume had the building torn down and replaced with a modular bank building – which still sits in the Fred Meyer complex.    Part of the dinning car currently rests  in Oakville.

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Water mitigation efforts nears end

June 19th, 2015 by Ken

In 2005 the City of Lacey was running out of water.   New construction was impossible without water.   The city issued an order – - no water to developments outside the city limits.   Even though Lacey had always supplied water to housing in its Urban Growth Area (UGA) – - it now said – no more.

By 2008, the water issue had become so critical, that even developments within the city limits were having trouble getting water.

For a decade, Lacey had asked the Department of Ecology (DOE)  for permission to pump more water from the ground and allow it to build new wells.  Ecology didn’t really answer, but it delayed granting any permits saying it didn’t have the staff to handle the request.   Lacey was so desperate to get the permits that it even offered to pay Ecology for staff to process the permits.

Then an opportunity presented itself.   The City of Olympia received its water from an open source at McAllister Springs.   Ecology ordered Olympia to find another source of water saying the open springs was too close to railroad tracks and was susceptable to possible oil spills.

Then, an opportunity presented itself.   LOTT was looking for sources to use its reclaimed water.    An agreement was reached with the Nisqually and Squaxin tribes  and with the cities of Lacey, Olympia and Yelm for a mitigation agreement.

Nearly $5 million dollars would be spent to mitigate the impact on the DesChutes River and Woodland Creek watershed from the drilling of new wells.   It was a complicated agreement.

Money would be spent for habitat mitigation in the area.   Lacey would purchase land on the DesChutes and on Woodland Creek, that would remain free of development.

Lacey would take the reclaimed water generated from the LOTT plant on Martin Way and pump it to a site in the Woodland Creek Park.   The city spent nearly a million dollars laying purple pipe along Carpenter Road to a reclaimed water discharge facility at the park.

After spending nearly $3.4 million dollars, the four-acre   water reclaimed site south of Woodland Creek Park and just north of the Woodland Trail, opened to fanfare and dignitaries.   The Department of Ecology was pleased and touted the entire effort as an example of teamwork between multiple partners to a complex water resource challenge.

With the  initial signing of the agreement, the City of Lacey drilled new wells and began issuing building permits.  Olympia drilled new wells and severed its relationship with surface water sources.   Yelm got the opportunity to get new water right permits.

With the opening of the reclaimed water discharge area this week, the mitigation of impact on Woodland Creek and the DesChutes river watershed  is almost finished.

 

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