Lacey may grow by another thousand residents

March 23rd, 2017 by Ken

Tonight, the Lacey City Council will decide if the City of Lacey will grow by nearly a thousand new residents, when it takes up the subject on an annexation.

Under consideration is Capitol Golf Club Estates and Chambers Estates, two parcels of land near the city’s southern boundaries, both of which are almost surrounded by the City of Lacey.   The 202 acres of property has 470 households, 965 residents and about 750 registered voters.    The average assessed valuation of homes is around $176,000.   Capitol Golf Club Estates is the home of the Capitol City golf course, while Chambers Estates has a grass airstrip.

Off and on for years, the city and the residents of the area have talked about annexation into the city.  There seems to be little reason for them to join Lacey.   The property has its own water system, all homes are on septic systems, they are served with fire and medical protection from the Lacey Fire District and have law enforcement service provided by the Thurston County Sheriff’s office which has a mutual aid pact with the Lacey Police Department.

But, being an island of county land in a sea of Lacey property has some disadvantages.  Residents have no say in what happens around them.   New housing developments can sprout up.  Streets can become crowded and commercial development can appear or disappear without residents having any say in the way it goes.

The cost to residents in the proposed annexation is almost a wash.  They may have to pay as much as $165 a year more in taxes for the advantage of having a say in the way the area around them is developed.

Tonight the Lacey City Council will have a workshop on what it wants to do.  The city has held a number of public meetings with residents of the area and have assured them that they won’t have to hook up to city sewers unless their septic systems fail.   They would have to do that anyway if they stayed in the county.   The city would not take over the private road system that connects the houses, although it would take control of a public street in the development.

The council could decide not to go any further or it could decide to proceed with the annexation.  If it decides to proceed, there are several steps to take before the annexation becomes law.   Residents opposed to an annexation can call for a referendum vote on the council action with signatures from 10 percent of the property owners.

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Your lazy brain and time

March 22nd, 2017 by Ken

Before I start talking about your lazy brain and how it contributes to the rapid passing of time, I have to say that I am no expert on the subject.  What I know is from observation and reading.

A friend of mine was complaining recently about how fast time seemed to be going as he got older.   I told him to blame it on his lazy brain.

The concept of time is stored in the brain.  The brain is lazy, it doesn’t want to work if it doesn’t have to and that applies to marking time.   When you were young, everything you saw, felt, ate or heard was new.   Your brain had to work hard to store that information and consequently time moved slower because your brain was working hard,

As you grew older, the number of new experiences lessened and your brain didn’t have to work so hard to create new neural pathways and went on auto-pilot.   The older you got, the less your brain had to work and the quicker time seemed to pass.  If you want to slow down the perception that time is moving faster, you have to get your lazy brain working again.  You have to create new neural pathways through new experiences.

I thought I’d try it with something common – – brushing your teeth.   For a whole year, I forced myself to brush my teeth with my left hand even though i was right-handed.  It was tough and difficult but eventually my brain created new pathways and now I can brush my teeth with either hand.  In the beginning that slowed down time, because it slowed down my perception of time.

You can do the same.   Take a different route to work each day.   See how many different ways you can get to your job.   Go to a different coffee shop on your way to work.  Do something different at lunch time.   When you exercise, start a different pattern each time.   When shopping, go to a different grocery store.  Meet new people.  Put your shoes and socks on differently.   Force your brain to work.   By forcing your brain to learn new things – – even common things – – the concept of time will slow down.

You can’t stop time from advancing, but you can slow down the perception of time.

Think I’ll start using an automatic toothbrush and see what that does to my neural pathways.

 

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Intercity Transit to replace its undergound fuel tanks

March 20th, 2017 by Ken

This week, Intercity Transit will open bids to replace its underground fuel tanks and install new ones.  Money available for the project is around $8 million dollars.

The project is part of a larger plan to rehabilitate and expand the Pattison Street Operations.   The project was originally suppose to start in 2011, but federal grants were cut back and replacement of the tanks was put on hold.

The current tanks are single-walled and don’t comply with industry standards.   The transit’s insurance company was concerned about leaking tanks and worried that the insurance plan wouldn’t be renewed.  Recently, Intercity Transit received $3 million in grant money and found $5 million in local dollars to replace the tanks.

The City of Olympia is reviewing the permit application.   If bids come in on target and if the weather cooperates, the project could be completed by the end of summer this year.

Currently there are six undergound single walled storage tanks, which hold 80,000 gallons of diesel and 12,000 gallons of unleaded.   The six new tanks will meet industry standards and will hold 100,000 gallons of diesel and 24,000 gallons of unleaded.  Intercity transit uses about 710,000 gallons of diesel each year and nearly 74,000 gallons of unleaded fuel.  (You figure out the annual cost.)

The old tanks will be drained and filled in place.  The new tanks will be constructed north of the existing facility.

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Lacey council vacancy draws attention

March 17th, 2017 by Ken

As many as five possible candidates for the Lacey City Council’s vacant position were on hand last night while the council wrestled with how to select someone to fill that vacancy.

Some argued for a longer period of time so as to gather the most applicants – while others argued that the position needed to be filled to help the council move forward with its work.   In the end, the council determined to begin seeking applicants on March 20 with the deadline for filing set for April 7.   The council will interview all applicants on April 17, then vote in public on who their selection will be.

The only qualifications require the applicant must have lived in Lacey for a year, and that he or she must be a registered voter.  The candidate must also agree to seek election to the seat in November.

I have been a declared candidate for several weeks.   My political views and personal bio can be accessed at kenbalsleyforlaceycitycouncil.com.

 

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Retail drives the economy

March 16th, 2017 by Ken

By Jan Teague

President and CEO Washington Retail Association

Retailers employ more people than any other industry.   It also supports one in four other jobs.  When you add up those who work in some aspect of retail, the industry is worth understanding and protecting.

Nationwide 1.3 million non-retail jobs such as finance, insurance, real estate and manufacturing depend on a healthy retail industry.   It all adds up to 22 percent of the total Washington State employment.

An example of the level of detail where retailers have an impact is this story about a small business owner with a boutique.  She has to travel to various place to buy items and shoot photos.   Besides the non-retail jobs that support the industry, this retail business owner is contributing to hotels, restaurants and photographers in pursuit of owning a small boutique.

Retail jobs are diverse and include security, advertising, marketing, sales, management, arts and design workers.   Many people start their careers as a part-time sales clerk and work their way up to a store manager while working on obtaining a college-level degree.  Retailers believe the sky is the limit for professional growth in their industry.   People make of it what they want.

Nationwide 40 percent of retail employees work for companies with fewer than 50 employees.   The majority, 95 percent, operate at a single location.  Retailers in small towns, make those towns work.   They invested in their communities and on a a daily basis are contributing to local charities.  They love being the backbone of their community and understand the impact they have on the lives of their neighbors.

Retailers not only provide jobs, they often support a community’s revitalization.  Seattle is a good example of that.

It wasn’t many years ago when downtown Seattle was not a destination shopping area.   Now it is because retailers stayed instead of moving to the suburbs.  That revitalization has contributed significantly to the overall health of the city and to its tax base.

It’s good to remind our elected officials of retail’s role in our society.  There are various government and non-government groups with regulatory ambitions.   The rules they create often consist of a series of small knife cuts,  which eventually lead to the death of a business.

Do policy makers and elected officials give stronger support to those advocates who take the attitude that when one business goes out of a business – another business will just take its place.   Or, do our elected leaders look at these businesses as individual  citizens who are vital to the stability of their communities and should be encouraged to succeed?

 

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Port of Olympia wants to know – what’s in a name?

March 16th, 2017 by Ken

The Port of Olympia is looking at changing its name.  Commissioner Bill McGregor said that port staff have been directed to look into the process and the ramifications of undertaking a name change.

McGregor made those comments at his recent fund-raising event Thursday.

The port commissioner said that the port had obligations county-wide and that it made sense to look into a name that reflected the entire county.

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Do you know what you’re drinking?

March 14th, 2017 by Ken

Most of us who live in Thurston County get our drinking water from wells.   We pump groundwater into our water system and dispense it to our homes.   Yet most people, including our public officials, aren’t really certain just what chemicals are in our water supply.

To find out what is in our groundwater, LOTT has undertaken a five year, $5 million dollar study of our water supply.    LOTT is the perfect agency to do the study because it treats waste water, then pumps it back into our underground aquifers.  Officials wanted to know if pumping waste water into the ground would have an unknown impact on drinking water.

The first phase of a three part phase has been completed.   It tested for 127 different chemical compounds.   Using test sites, near its two reclaimed water facilities in Lacey and Olympia – – and the Tumwater aquifer as a controlled test site, which has no reclaimed water plant but only septic systems, LOTT has come up with some early results.

Some 85 percent of the tested chemicals are removed  before  the waste water gets into the undergound aquifers.  At first glance it doesn’t appear that the reclaimed water sites had more chemicals than the Tumwater site, which is comprised mainly of septic systems.

But, some chemical compounds have been found all over the tested areas. The most common is  1,4 Dioxane, a chemical used in X rays.  It’s the stuff that’s injected in the body so the X rays show better.   The second most common chemical is Acesulfame-K used in artificial sweetners.   A diabetic drug Atenolol is the third most common chemical in our groundwater.

There are several other drugs found all around the test site, both near the reclaimed water facilities and in the control group which consists mainly of septic systems.

Now that LOTT knows what chemicals are removed and which chemicals remain, it will begin the second phase of the study.  That will be to determine how the underground water moves and how the chemicals in the water move with it.   Other studies have been done around the country but almost always in a dry climate.   This series of tests will determine how our water movement, here in this wet climate, impacts where the chemicals are found.

The third study will determine just  how dangerous those chemicals remaining in the ground water are, and what can be done to eliminate all of them.

LOTT is about halfway through the study and has spent about 25 percent of its budgeted $5 million dollars.

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Most respected individuals in Thurston County

March 13th, 2017 by Ken

Recently I asked my several hundred Facebook friends for nominations of individuals in Thurston County, whom they thought were highly respected and regarded.   I had more than a 150 names of people submitted by my friends.

Before I list anyone, bear in mind that these are names submitted by my friends on Facebook.   It is not all encompassing at all and bears a Lacey tilt.   Many of the names on the list are familiar to everyone, and others are a little more obscure.   In some cases, I didn’t know who they were.   But, that didn’t mean that their nomination wasn’t warranted.   If just one person thinks they should have been nominated, that means something.

I’m going to release the names of those with the most nominations.  I won’t give a complete list.  Sometime in the future, when I have the time and some help, I may do more with those named.   Here are the names of those suggested most.

Topping the list was Karen Fraser, but not far behind was Virgil Clarkson.  On the most nominated list were Dick Pust, John Snaza, John Setterstrom, Kim Wyman, Sam Reed,  Dusty Pierpoint, Denny Heck, Ken Parsons, Gary Edwards, Greg Cuoio, Dave Spangler, Ralph Munro, Gerry Alexander, Chris Reykdal, Bill McGregor, Dick Nichols, Jan Teague, Priscilla Terry, Graeme Sackrison, Ron Rants, Judi Hoefling, Sandra Romero and Dave Schaffert.

From that list of top nominees, you can tell several things.   Many of my Facebook friends are politically oriented.  Timing also plays a role.  Who was in the news when the survey was taken. People with higher profiles are apt to be named more often.

There are nearly a hundred other names that were suggested and all of them deserve some recognition.   Unfortunately, it won’t be here on this posting.

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How to have good luck

March 13th, 2017 by Ken

Ever notice how some people just have good luck.  How, everything they do seems to turn out just right.  Do some people really live with good luck, or does something else play a role?

I’ve always believed that people make their own luck.   And, to help you better understand how they do it, I offer these words of advice.

Luck is nothing more than taking advantage of opportunities.   First, you have to be aware when an opportunity comes your way.  Not everyone can do that.   You need to have a broad range of knowledge.  You have to have a broad range of interests. And you have to have a broad range of friends.  Those things give you more opportunities.   The greater your involvement in the community the greater your range of opportunities.

You also have to have to take advantage of an opportunity when it comes along.  A positive attitude helps.  Negativity won’t get you ahead.   You can’t wait for others to take the lead.  You have to do it.  In other words, when you recognize an opportunity, jump at it.  Take the chance.   Leave your fears behind.  It’s tough sometime to let loose of your past, but you need to move before someone jumps in front of you.

But you also have to have the flexibility to take advantage of the opportunity.  Too many people are tied down to their current situation or to their current job and aren’t in a position to take advantage of an opportunity when it comes around.  Don’t take on the purchase of a new house, a new car or credit card debt.   These all tie you down and make it more difficult to give up the security when an opportunity comes.   Marriage and children also have to wait.

So, if you want to be lucky, have many experiences and make friends with many people.   Recognize an opportunity when it comes, then take advantage of it.   Soon people will say “He’s a lucky guy (or gal).”

 

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Embrace Daylight Saving Time

March 12th, 2017 by Ken

Of all the activities associated with our calendar, one of those that I look forward to each year is the return of Daylight Saving Time.  it signals to me the beginning of Spring, but it also does some else as well.    It gives me a release of energy associated with daylight.

In the Northwest, we face weeks and weeks each year of darkness, brought on by the latitude in which we reside.   But, also by the clouds that filter what daylight we do have into a shadow-less gray haze.

Daylight Saving Time may not bring us more sunshine, but it does give us the opportunity to enjoy the daylight longer into the evening.   I particularly love the summer months, when daylight lingers until bedtime.

While some may want Daylight Saving Time to end – – I want it year round.   Embrace it and enjoy the extra light at the end of a long day.

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Quickies

March 7th, 2017 by Ken

The recent rally this past weekend in downtown Olympia for and against Donald Trump is a perfect example of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly.  It just seems odd however, that you would go to a peaceful rally wearing a mask and carrying a baseball bat.

Downtown Olympia is in a growth spurt. In the last three years nearly 300 units of housing have been built in the downtown core and 400 are in varying stages of permitting or construction this year.  Many of those are market rate units.   About 2500 people will be living in downtown Olympia at the end of this year.  At the current rate that’s expected to double to 5000 by 2035.

Talk of constructing a new Thurston County Courthouse in the downtown area continues, although no plan has been advanced to make it so.   Estimated cost is $150 million.   Justification for a new county courthouse has been spotty at best.  The building was built on Mottman Hill in the 1980’s and has served the county well.  It was a catalyst for Westside growth.  Supporters of moving a new courthouse to downtown Olympia have the same hopes – – that it will continue the revitalization of downtown Olympia.   It’s going to take a lot of facts, figures and detailed information to get me to support that amount of taxpayer money, and I suspect the current county commissioners feel the same way.

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Why I’m running for the Lacey City Council

March 3rd, 2017 by Ken

It’s true.   I’m running for a position on the Lacey City Council.

It’s been 30 years since I last sought a seat on the Lacey City Council.   At that time I didn’t make it past the primary election.  This time around I hope to make it a little further.

Current Councilmember Jeff Gadman has resigned his seat effective March 9.  He has been appointed to serve as Thurston County Treasurer, and while he wasn’t required to give up his council seat, he felt that he shouldn’t serve in two elective positions at the same time.

The Council has 90 days to appoint someone to fill his empty seat.   They will hold a work session next week to determine just how that will happen.   In the past, the Council has advertised the open seat and asked Lacey residents to apply.   Those who did  were interviewed and one was selected to serve the remainder of time left.   Whoever was selected had to run for election to the seat at the next election.

The Council is not bound by previous actions, but I suspect they’ll do something similar.

I intend to seek appointment to the open seat.   And, I plan to run for election to that seat whether or not I get the appointment.  I have filed the necessary paperwork and have begun seeking support and endorsement.   As of this posting, two others have also announced.  I suspect that many others will do so once the opening is posted by the city.

The question was asked of me the other day “Why now?”   After 30 years, why have I decided I wanted to serve on the Lacey City Council.   Others have said that I have more influence with this blog than anyone else.  Why do I want to give up that power?

I’ve given the answer a lot of thought.   I love this city.   I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to give this city a sense of self worth and help it create an identity.   I’ve criticized city government when I thought it was wrong.   I’ve made suggestions and comments on how it should be operated.    I’ve expressed my opinion about the city’s future in many different ways.

But, expressing your opinion and making suggestions isn’t the same as being able to get things accomplished.  You’ve got to be inside the tent if you want to make changes.   I want to be inside the tent.   I want to be in a position where I can make this city I love, a better place.

Over the last decade, I’ve had a lot of contact with the people who run Lacey’s city government.  Not just those in elective positions, but also the staff and administrators  that make the city run.  They’re dedicated people who do a good job.  I’ve come to know them better.  I’ve served on the Historical Commission and am currently the chair of the Lacey Parks Board.   In addition I just spent the past year involved with helping celebrate Lacey’s 50th birthday including giving more than a dozen talks on Lacey’s history.

So the answer to “Why now” is simple.   It’s time for me to take my love of this city and my desire to see it become the jewel of Southwest Washington to the next level.   That can only be done by helping make policy that moves us forward and makes Lacey a great place to live, work and thrive.

In the near future I will have a web page up that spells out in more detail what I hope to accomplish as a member of the Lacey City Council.   And, like all politicians running for office, I would appreciate your vote when the time comes.

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The Freed Press

February 27th, 2017 by Ken

by Dale Cooper

As much as they try to deny it, the publishers and practitioners of the old way of journalism know that their methods of gathering and distributing the news are fast being swept into the dustbin of history. But they’ve not given up … not just yet. These fossils of the old way are fighting a life-and-death battle with their counterparts of the new way of reporting … hot-shot cyber reporters who couldn’t give a fig about the pedigrees, prerogatives and privileges of the past.

And what strategies, what defenses have these geniuses of the old way come up with? They’re busy casting accusations and defamations at their opponents, questioning their legitimacy  … calling them a threat to the first amendment and freedom itself!

This is nothing but buffoonery at its circus best … a bunch of self-righteous, self-serving and self-anointing clowns who seem to think that when its authors wrote the Bill of Rights they specifically had the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC/CBS/NBC/PBS in mind. Balderdash!

Here’s what the amendment says:  Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. That’s it. And they say the freedom press is threatened? That’s absurd on its face. We have more news now than any one person can stand! We’re bombarded by fake news, real news and everything in between 24/7! It’s enough to make you want to SCREAM!

And yet these clowns of the old way keep running around in circles like Paul Revere wannabes screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!” Give me a break! Judging by the endless avalanche of news stories, I don’t see free speech or the free press in trouble. Truth is, I see it the other way around … the press is healthier and freer than it’s ever been!

Free from the monopolies and duopolies that have dictated what’s news, and what’s not, in our cities and country for over a century. Free from the legions of university certified journalists who see the world exactly how their professors taught them to see it. Free from the tenured academics who dispense untried and untested theories of governance without the slightest worry of personal ramifications. Free from the coiffured presenters of TV news and their endless, politically correct drivel. And free from Democratic/Republican duopoly that has manipulated our nation’s politicians like wooden-headed marionettes for a couple of centuries now.

The First Amendment in danger? Freedom of the press threatened? Hardly! The press is freer … and livelier … than at any time I can remember. In fact, I’d say it’s been too long in coming, but at long last we finally have  it … not only a free press, but a thriving, energetic and dynamic freed press!

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Lacey council faces possible changes

February 22nd, 2017 by Ken

With the resignation of Jeff Gadman from his Lacey City Council seat, more than two-thirds of the Lacey City Council seats will be up for grabs this year.   Gadman’s appointment as Thurston County Treasurer and the resultant resignation from his city council seat means that five of the seven council seats will be on the November General Election ballot.

The Lacey council will appoint someone to fill Gadman’s seat, but that person will have to run for election this year.   Longtime incumbent councilmember Virgil Clarkson has announced he will not seek re-election to his seat.   Whoever fills those two seats will be new to the Lacey council.

In addition, Andy Ryder, Cynthia Pratt and Michael Steadman will all be up for re-election.  Only Lenny Greenstein and Jason Hearn are safe.

With five seats out of seven on the ballot this fall, significant changes could be in the works including who will serve as mayor and deputy mayor, positions currently held by Ryder and Pratt.

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Ranking our state’s business climate

February 21st, 2017 by Ken

I love statistics and nothing has more statistics than the Red Book of 2017 Competitiveness.  Funded by the Association of Washington Business and undertaken by the Washington Research Council, the publication sheds light on just where Washington stands among states.

For example – -Washington is the 13th largest state in the country based on population  With 7,170,000 people Washington is  larger than number 14 – Arizona with 6.8 million.  Helping out the state’s growth in population is in-migration of 67,000 people last year, including 28,000 from out of the country.

Accounting for the population growth is jobs.  Last year, more than 100,000 jobs were added to the economy, putting the state fifth in the country for job growth; and fourth for job growth over the past 10 years.   More jobs equal more income and Washington was 12th in personal income with an average of $51,000.   In addition, the state added 11 percent more new businesses while losing 9.5 percent   That equates in my book to a 2.5 percent growth in new businesses.

The state ranks 22nd in state and local taxes but ranks 11th in business taxes.   Washington has the second highest gas tax in the country at 49.4 cents per gallon, eclipsed only by Pennsylvania with 51.4 cents.

An additional fact – – Washington ranks 46 in the number of state and local government employees per 1000 residents, but ranks 14th in average government salary at $62,000.

Copies of the Red Book, which contains dozens of other interesting facts, can be obtained at the Association of Washington Business office in Olympia.

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Tribal agreement good for Lacey Fire District taxpayers

February 20th, 2017 by Ken

The agreement currently being negotiated between the Lacey Fire District and the Nisqually tribe is a good deal for the taxpayers of Lacey and of the fire district.

The Lacey Fire District had been providing fire and medical services to the reservation for decades, but there was no contract.   The tribe paid what it wanted to pay, and often the amount was far below what was needed to pay for the services.   The taxpayers of the district had to pick up the additional cost.

The Red Wing Casino is the largest user of fire district services in the entire fire district – primarily medical.  In 2015 about 200 calls came from the casino.   During the first nine months of 2016 the casino generated 216 calls.   That’s more than any single location in the entire city and district.

In addition, the fire district responded to 87 calls at the Nisqually jail and 104 to the rest of the reservation in the first nine months of 2016.

Under the current contract the Nisqually Tribe will pay $1025 for each call.   The tribe’s administration will take up approval of the contract this week.   While the contract under consideration covers the jail and the reservation land, it does not cover  the casino which has a separate oversight group.   Fire district officials expect the casino operators to approve a similar contract in the near future.

Fire district officials estimate the cost will be about $500,000 a year.  The contract will be good for two years.

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The real answer to homelessness

February 17th, 2017 by Ken

Homelessness has been with us since the first Neanderthal was kicked out of the cave.  For centuries and even longer, a warm, safe place to sleep was not the norm.  For most of mankind’s history, people slept wherever they could, under a tree, in a haystack or in a hole in the ground.

With the coming of the industrial age people flocked to the cities.   Immigrants coming to this country often slept 10, 12 sometimes 20 people to a room.   During the Great Depression people lived in shacks made of cardboard and held together with rope.   Even, right here, on the shores of Budd Inlet we had hundreds of people living in wooden shacks along the shoreline of what would become Capitol Lake,  It was called Little Hollywood.

So, lets get it into our minds that homelessness is not a new problem.  Its just that now we have different point of view about those who live on the outskirts of our humanity.   Today they live in their cars or campers.   They live in tents in our greenbelts and in sleeping bags in our alleys.  They  carry their belongings on their backs or in shopping carts.

The causes of homelessness in many ways is the same as its always been – mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse and the inability to find work or hold down a job.   Modern homelessness is also accompanied by a different problem – government rules and regulations that make the cost of housing unaffordable to many who do have jobs and a society that will not allow substandard housing to exist.   Housing that used to be the norm for many people.

A community-wide property tax to fund construction of 500 units of low cost housing will not alleviate the homeless population and will do nothing to solve the problem.   The answer is a second tier of housing that is not subject to all of the rules and regulations of government.   That’s what non-profits tap to build low cost housing.   Why can’t for-profit companies also be allowed to build second tier housing to help meet the need?

All we have to do is change society’s view of homelessness.

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Troubled, sad and scared

February 15th, 2017 by Ken

Our new State Representative from the 22nd District Beth Doglio has sent a letter to her constituents  spelling out her main priority for this legislative session.   Fighting Donald Trump.

She said, “The recent actions of our current president are deeply troubling.   Almost daily news accounts of his discriminatory policies have left me scared and saddened.  But, when we are troubled and scared, and sad, we join together and fight for our rights.

“I’m proud of Governor Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson challenging the issuance of Trumps’ most egregious executive order yet, the one that restricts refugees and immigrants from certain Muslim countries.  As you are well aware, Washington has successfully battled this issue in court and WON on two occasions.

“My colleagues and I are standing together against the moral and legal injustices brought by this administration.   As a first step all 74 Democrats of the House and Senate signed on to a letter to President Trump opposing his executive order.  You can follow what’s happening with the executive lawsuit.  In the coming weeks we will continue to take action to make sure Washington remains the state that welcomes people.   I welcome your thoughts.”

Here are my thoughts.  With so many important issues facing our state and the state legislature, I’m very happy that my freshman representative in Olympia is looking out for my interests in Washington DC – even if she is troubled, scared and sad.

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It’s not too late to talk with your parents

February 14th, 2017 by Ken

Family histories are interesting.   We all have them and they’re all different.

There’s often one person in each family who remembers all of the stories – all of the characters – all of the events which comprise the life of a family.  In our family, that person is my sister.

Even though she’s a few years younger than me, her memories of the events seem sharper than mine.  And, when we get together, alone or with other family members, we usually end up butting heads over which story is more accurate.

She remembers events differently than I do.  She remembers people who have long since gone,  with a child’s wonderment.   I remember the same people but with a more practical eye.   I recall events she has no knowledge of.  She fills in the gaps of my memory with activities and characters that I didn’t even know existed.   That’s the way it is.   That’s the history of our family.

We didn’t have the smarts to interview the older generation before they all passed away.   We didn’t sit at their knees and listened to the story of our family.   A long distant relative once tracked down the Balsley Family Tree and sent me a copy.   It’s interesting but it doesn’t have much relevance to me or the kids.

I wanted to know how my parents met.  What kind of attraction was it?  When did they know they were in love?  Or, were they really in love at all?

I want to know why I live in Washington.  What was it that caused my family to move from Iowa to the Northwest?  Not just my parents, but all of my relatives moved to this state.

My sister and I swap stories and tales all of the time.  Some of it is true and some is embellished. We should have talked with the previous generation when we had the chance.  Perhaps we would have more true stories.   Or, perhaps, our embellished stories are family history enough.

 

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Leave the crap alone

February 13th, 2017 by Ken

How are we ever going to know when something really important emanates from President Trump’s White House?

For the last three weeks, the media has spent 24-hours a day documenting every mistake, misstep and misstatement coming from the staff, flunkies, hangerons and spokesman for the president of the United States.   Every event, no matter how small, has caused the news media to break into newscasts with an “Extra” broadcast or “Important Event” occurrence.

Like most Americans, we’ve grown so used to Trump non-news that we no longer hear, understand or care about the latest news bulletin.  It’s now just white noise that echos in the background.

So, I have to ask – – when are we going to know when something really important and significant happens?   When will the national media concentrate on the stories that impact us?   This constant harping on day-to-day activities at the White House seems like a significant waste of time and the attention of the public.

Lets leave the crap stuff for the crap media and lets hope the national media knows the difference.

Posted in Government, The Real News having Comments Off on Leave the crap alone