Ken’s commencement speech (next year maybe)

May 20th, 2019 by Ken

Every year about this time, I sit by my phone and wait for the call that never comes. We have three colleges in this community and it seem to me about five decades in the information business, I would get called to be a graduation speaker – – but the call never comes.

So, I’ve decided that you, my dedicated reader, will have the benefit of receiving the advice I would have given to graduating senior students this year.

I have two words of advice – – avoid commitments.

Avoid commitments in all phases of your life.

If you’re going to be truly happy, you can’t be happy working in a job you don’t like. Many of you will have to take a job doing anything, because you have to take care of the financial commitments you already have.

But keep that “nut” low. Don’t buy a car, borrow one from your parents or get a small motor bike. Don’t buy a house – rent one – – better yet move in with friends, or just rent a room. Even better, move back in with your folks and you won’t have to pay a penny.

Don’t buy any expensive equipment. That means, nothing you can’t pay for now. Don’t use your ATM or Debit card. If you can’t afford it, you don”t need it.

Don’t get married. And whatever you do – – don’t have children.

Now mind you, I’m telling you all this to show you the path towards happiness. You can’t be happy if you have commitments, because commitments tie you down, force you to work, force you to do things that make you unhappy just to meet your commitments.

People labor for years, decades even, to pay off their commitments. They’re stuck, they have no flexibility. You have to have flexibility if you’re going to be happy. You can’t be tied down because you have commitments. Flexibility allows you to change jobs in order to find what it is that makes you happy.

And, here’s the payoff. Once you’ve found what you like to do, and once you start making money from it, – that is the time to start making commitments.

It’s only after you’ve become happy in life, that you can begin taking on the commitments. Your future spouse will be happy and your children will be happy and it continues.

Avoid commitments, stay flexible, find something you like to do and make money at it, and you’ll have a happy life.

That’s the commencement speech I’ll make. I’ll wait by my phone for an invitation for next year.

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Which historical figures should disappear

May 14th, 2019 by Ken

Which of our  historical figures should face the disgrace for past actions particularly as it relates to the issue of slavery,

That’s a question I’ve wrestled with as new societal norms have brought uncertainty to that issue.  While it’s generally assumed that Confederate political and military leaders should answer for their actions, it’s not all that certain that other historical figures, like our Founding Fathers, should also be tarred with that same brush.

In my own mind, I’ve drawn a line over which leaders should be removed from our public conscience and which ones should continue to be honored.

The line starts with the Civil War.  Prior to that time, our leaders were living according to the rules, laws and codes of their time.  People like Washington and Jefferson were slave owners – but that was legal.

But, those who participated in the South’s efforts to form its own country, participated in Treason.  They took-up arms against their country.  That, in my mind, is the line separating  those who should disappear from public view from other leaders.

Statues to Confederate leaders should not be displayed in public squares or honored as heroic figures.  Their statues, displays and other information should be relegated to historic museums and private collections. They were traitors.

But those, who held slaves, participated in the slave trade or benefited from the slave trade should be left alone.  The slave trade was legal – – and while not moral – was accepted in the common square.

We have to draw the line somewhere – and that’s where I think that line should be drawn.

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The appeal of dogs to seniors

May 7th, 2019 by Ken

Moxie sensed danger around the corner.  He tugged hard at his leash.  He planted his four feet squarely on the concrete and stiffened his neck.  The growl started from a rumble deep in his throat then burst out with ferocity.  The bark followed, loud and full of deeply held anger.

One, two, three barks escaped before I tugged on the leash.  He stopped for a few brief seconds, then started up again.  I pulled on his leash stronger and even lifted him off the ground a few inches.

The wind blew the large piece of paper along the street, making  a scraping noise as it went.  Moxie didn’t quite know what to think of it, but wanted to smell it anyway.  We made our way to the paper and I let him sniff.  It was fine he decided and turned his head to look at me to see what we were doing next.

Moxie is a Yorkie, but he’s very small.  He was the runt of the liter and weighs just about five pounds. But, he’s full of courage and will attack anything that he thinks is a threat to me, the pack, or himself.

We’ve had him for a couple of years but haven’t really had time to train him to walk and heel.  When Jan retired, we had more time.  We also got ourselves another Yorkie a year later.  This one is named Minnie, and she’s a full size  Yorkshire Terrier.  She’s also Moxie’s half-sister.  Same mother, different father.

Having a half sister in the house with an older  male is just another word for sibling rivalry and male dominance.  Moxie is just a year older, so Minnie is learning behavior from Moxie.

Minnie is twice as large as Moxie.  In the early days, Minnie gave Moxie great respect and began to learn dog behavior from him.  As the weeks went by, Minnie tried to imitate Moxie, even when he was humping his favorite toy.  (Bear in mind that both dogs have been fixed.)  It was interesting to watch Minnie try to mimic Moxie’s moves, and often stood behind him and moved in unison with the gyrations he made.

But, Minnie is now a year old and is beginning to challenge Moxie for top dog status.

Minnie is faster and stronger than Moxie, and she lets him know it whenever she has a chance.  When they are let outside, Minnie out runs Moxie to the back fence.  Moxie can’t out run her, but has decided to cut across the yard and beat her to the finish.

Moxie tries to keep her under control by growling and barking.  Minnie used to be afraid and would back off.  But, recently she has discovered that she is stronger than Moxie.  Sometimes, when they’re playing, Minnie will get Moxie down and sit on him.  At other times, she will grab Moxie’s collar and drag him around the floor.  

That of course enrages Moxie and he will go into his most fierce alpha male role by growling, hissing, barking and nipping at Minnie’s ear.  Occasionally he will nip hard enough and will back off when Minnie yelps.  But, it isn’t all one sided.  Minnie will also nip back when she thinks she’s in trouble.

It’s been decades since we’ve had any children at home.  Watching these two dogs stake out roles and learn to live together reminds us of our children.

I now understand the fascination that older people have with dogs. 

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Observations May 2019

May 3rd, 2019 by Ken

Democratic Socialist Pramila Jayapal made the Wall Street Journal’s”  editorial page recently with her Medicare For All Act which has drawn the support of more than 100 house Democrats.  Representing the 7th Congressional District, which encompasses Seattle and most of King County, the Bernie Sanders supported socialist has put forth her plan to socialize our medical system. 

Years ago I put forth a plan to provide medical care to all Americans.   it called for drafting all doctors right of medical school to serve in a National Medical Force for five years.  They would work in low income and non-served areas of  our country for five years, after which time, the government would pay their student debt and release them for service.  The plan never got beyond my small circle of friends.  I still think it makes more sense and is cheaper than Jayapal’s plan.

There’s an old legal statement that goes something like this:  “When you’ve got the facts on your side, argue the facts.  When you’ve got the law on your side, argue the law.  When you don’t have either on your side, scream, yell and pound on the table.”   That seems to be the track the House Democrats are taking in regard to the Mueller Report.  Re-direct attention away from the facts and the law and hope someone listens.

The flap in Lacey over the cost of the Train Depot Replica is running without facts.  I think it was Mark Twain who said something like: “A lie can make it around the world before the truth can get its boots on.”    Opponents of the historic train depot are saying the cost is a million dollars for a bathroom.  There’s no truth in that statement. 

The actual cost of the Historic Train Depot is around $660,000.  It is a two-story structure of about 4000 square feet.  The bathrooms are only part one of the entire project.  The building has space for meeting rooms, areas for musical and artistic performance, and will tie into the new Lacey History Museum when it is completed sometime in the future.   The city is building now and looking down the road to creating an anchor for the city’s historic district.

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Government rules add significantly to cost of housing

April 10th, 2019 by Ken

By Dave Nicandri

I support the remediative steps The Olympian outlined in its recent editorial (“Homelessness is a bigger problem than Olympia can solve,” April 7, 2019), especially “addiction treatment on demand” and “criminal justice reforms that focus on rehabilitation.” These and other proposed actions were put forth to address the “inter-generational poverty” that, the editorial argues, have led to the local homelessness crisis. To the extent “inter-generational poverty” contributes to this problem I would argue that there is a major and far more immediate factor. 

I witnessed, as a member of the Tumwater City Council in the 1980’s, the elected leadership of the Olympia City Council (with the full support of The Olympian) take the lead in moving land use planning in all of Thurston County towards a “growth should pay for growth” modality. Sold under the pretenses of environmental sustainability and the desire to curb urban sprawl, we can now see that the vast array of “impact” fees, connection charges, etc. has been all too successful in limiting growth.  The growth of what? Housing. 

Ironically, we once had in place an unstated policy that was a direct “inter-generational” transfer of wealth mechanism, but making “growth pay for growth” eliminated it. The contractor who built the small house my wife and I bought as a young couple in 1975 paid for a building permit for inspections, but he did not pass on to us as purchasers any additional charges for roads, water, sewer, open space, or schools.  All of that infrastructure that we gained access to had already been paid for by previous generations of Tumwater taxpayers who financed it through taxes, utility charges, and bond issues. One must believe they felt satisfaction in the gradual building-up of the larger community for the benefit of their children and other newcomers who could contribute to the life of the city. Each older generation, with its collective means, literally paved the way for those younger ones that succeeded them. It was a form of paying forward.

Currently, new housing in Thurston County is burdened not only by the cost of construction but a measure of municipal infrastructure which adds an average of $40,000 to each new housing unit’s cost. This cost is ratcheted upwards dramatically when it comes to multi-family housing and planned unit developments, and has a particularly deleterious effect on low-income housing which typically operates within the multi-family construction mode.

Having “growth pay for growth” artificially limits the supply of housing and increases demand as reflected in the rising costs for rents or homes. As a result, new construction is not sufficient to keep up with Thurston County’s population growth.  This policy-induced shortage assures that housing costs will continue to rise and many who need housing will struggle to afford it.

None of the foregoing is intended as a brief against “smart growth,” environmental sustainability, or greater urban densities. Neither is it an endorsement of the idea that the current wave of homelessness is principally a function of “inter-generational poverty.” Thurston County went three generations between “Hoovervilles” and “mitigation sites.”  Nevertheless, if the current generation of developers and home-owners is not allowed to transfer its investment in municipal infrastructure to future generations who must otherwise pay for it anew, then the shortage of homes in this area is only going to become more acute.

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Ryder may have manipulated council selection process

April 6th, 2019 by Ken

The resignation of Rachel Young from the Lacey City Council was unexpected but not really.  Young had indicated she was not going to seek re-election to her seat when it expired next year.

But her resignation on April 4, caught many by surprise.  But, not Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder.  Ryder apparently knew about it and sources tell me, he even encouraged her to resign her seat early so the council could appoint someone to the seat – – some one the mayor wanted.

Two people have already announced their intention of seeking the seat when Young’s term expired – – Ed Kunkel and Lynda Zeman. Both would have been running this fall and  hoping to win the public’s support. Ryder’s preferred person is Zeman and it is expected that the mayor will appoint Zeman to the vacant seat, thus giving her a step up in the election when she will be able to run as the incumbent.

Ryder has four council member’s vote already secured and in his pocket, so whomever he wants is going to be the one selected to fill the seat.  That’s a mistake.  If it appears that the mayor has manipulated the process he and the council will begin to lose any credibility they have.

By law, the city has to open up the appointment process to any Lacey resident  qualified to serve.  If it is true that the mayor has manipulated the selection process then it would be futile for anyone to apply.

What Ryder seems to have done is not illegal.  It’s done all the time by astute politicians to further their political career and gain power.   I had hoped that Lacey’s elected officials were different.   The fact that they may just be another group of politicians more concerned about their careers than about the city, makes me sad.   I thought we were above all that.  I guess I’m just naive.   

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Child vaccination rates vary

April 3rd, 2019 by Ken

You’re a good parent.  You vaccinate your child with the MMR vaccine when he or she starts.  And you continue to vaccinate your child as the doctor recommends.

But, some parents don’t vaccinate their child.  What are the chances your child will get one of the diseases eradicated by the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps & rubella)?

Very slim.  Such activities depend upon what is considered “herd immunity”.  The more children vaccinated the less likely your child is to get one of the diseases.   The greater the number of children, the less likely it is that  your child will become sick.

There is some yardstick as to when herd immunity kicks in.  it varies by doctor and other professional’s opinion.  But, it is usually around 80 percent.   The higher the better.

The vaccination rate also varies from location to location.  Washington State is in the middle of the pack with a statewide vaccination rate of about 85 percent.  It also varies by county.

Many counties in Eastern Washington have vaccination rates exceeding 95 percent.  Some in Western Washington are around 80 percent.  Thurston County’s anti-vaccination rate is 5.4 percent.   The lowest vaccination rate is in Jefferson County with 10 percent (based on 2018 figures).

Most of the Lacey schools in the North Thurston district are right around the county’s average of 5 percent.  The elementary schools with the most un-vaccinated children are Meadows and Mt. View, both of whom are just slightly over the county average.  The highest school in compliance is Woodland with nearly 95 percent of its students vaccinated.

So, why, if your child has all of his or her vaccinations, should you care?

Because the failure rate of the MMR is 3 percent.  That means the vaccine doesn’t take in three out of every 100 children.

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Disparity of wealth, biggest problem facing the 21st Century

April 2nd, 2019 by Ken

Disparity of wealth is turning out to be the greatest problem facing the 21st Century.   While some point to global climate change and others to religious zealotry  – the real culprit is the disparity of wealth between the rich countries and the poor countries.

The poor have always been with us, and according to the Christian Bible, they always will be with us.

The poor have always known that they are poor, just as poor countries have always realized that they were poor.   The difference in the 21st Century is that the poor are now truly aware of just how poor they are.   That realization has come about through technological change.

People everywhere now have access to the internet.  Even in really poor countries, cell phones and computers are readily available.  Now, the poor sit at their computers and see how rich some countries have become  They compare it to their own life and see how poor they are.

All across the globe, migrants are moving from the poorer countries to the richer countries.  They risk their life, their futures and their family ties to search for a better life.

Europe has become the first to feel the impact of economic refugees.  Over the past decade several hundred thousands  migrants from Africa and the poor countries of the Middle East have made their way to Europe.  Handling these refugees from economic despair has strained the financial and emotional resources of the countries of Europe.

A similar event is taking place on the Southern border of the United States.   Over the past decade hundreds of thousands of migrants from Central America have been making their way to the United States and asking for asylum.   While many of them claim refugee status from violence – – most are coming for economic reasons. Fortunately, the United States has a record and history of handling economic refugees, but there is a limit and an end to how many the country can assimilate.

We need a workable and supportable immigration policy, which recognizes economics as a reason for migration.  We also need the jobs to accommodate the influx.  In the meantime, we need to find a means to control the number of those whom we admit and realize that it is only going to become a greater problem as the years go by. It shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

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22nd Avenue Roundabout is an impediment to College Street traffic flow

March 27th, 2019 by Ken

It’s too late to do anything about it.  The City of Lacey has gone out for bids on the construction of a new Roundabout on College and 22nd Avenue.

For a decade or more, the city has wanted to redo College Street for the purpose of improving traffic flow, adding better sidewalks, creating bike lanes, and eliminating left turns.   That effort will be underway shortly and will take 340 construction days to finish this first phase. 

That particular Roundabout is unnecessary and will be nothing but an impediment to traffic flow once constructed.

Lets talk first about what it will do to traffic flow when it’s under construction.  Access to Mt. View Elementary School will be severely impacted.  Parents will no longer be able to access the school from College Street.   More significantly is that school buses will have a more difficult time exiting onto College.  Students using the College Street signal will be impacted and students walking down the street will be impacted.   I’ve brought this issue to the attention of the city and the school district.  They assure me they have things under control.

Traffic will also back up on College while the Roundabout is under construction.  College is already the busiest street in the city and traffic often backs up for a dozen blocks at certain times of the day.  During construction, that will be a continuous process.   In addition, traffic will be routed down Golf Club Road, Judd Street and Ruddell Road.  Golf Club and Judd are in residential areas and not used to thousands of cars.   City official tell me “that’s the price we have to pay for improving traffic flow.”

I’ve argued for years that a Roundabout on 22nd isn’t needed.  That 22nd is NOT a major street.  It only runs for four blocks from Sleater-Kinney to Ruddell Road.  I’ve lost that argument.

But – the real problem comes when the Roundabout is finished.  Roundabouts make for a continuous flow of traffic. Red Lights stop traffic. A continuous flow makes it extremely difficult to pull out on College. Red lights leave pulses when those of us living on College can pull out into traffic.

Mt. View school children cross College at a pedestrian Red Light, which will be less than 200 feet from the Roundabout.  Everyone knows that a red light within two blocks of a Roundabout, causes significant trouble.  Traffic often backs up into the Roundabout when the light is red. 

Mt. View has taught its students to cross College only at the Red Light.  It is ingrained in every student.  When activated, that light will back up traffic on College  through the Roundabout, and for a dozen blocks both ways.  It will back up traffic on 22nd and into the back school parking lot.

There’s nothing those of us who send our kids to Mt. View or who use College on a regular basis can do about it now. It’s too late. I just hope that the city and the school district really do have things under control.

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The Affordable Housing Crisis

March 15th, 2019 by Ken

By Dale Cooper

I’ve always found it ironic when mobs of protestors pack counsel chambers to demand that counsels fix the affordable housing crisis, considering that the counsels themselves have been a major cause of the crisis.

These counsels adopt restrictive zoning codes, limit vertical development, assess a bewildering spectrum of impact fees, collect exorbitant excise taxes and organize LIDs that easily add seventy to $100,000 to the cost of each and every housing unit … which pushes occupancy costs so high that living in a tent starts to make sense.

One consequence of this mind-boggling naiveté is the geometrically increasing cost of ministering to and dealing with those who are priced out of housing and make the live-in-a-tent choice. This then leads to higher and higher property taxes, which in turn create more and more homeless who in turn storm the counsel chambers to demand that the counselors fix the problem.

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Personal observations

March 14th, 2019 by Ken

It was nice to see John Dodge in the pages of “The Olympian” again. John wrote about the fire at the Johnson Smoke House, his neighbors in East Olympia. The story first appeared on his blog. You can probably access his blog by googling John Dodge. Incidentally the Johnsons are related to me. Ron’s wife Susan is my second cousin. Unfortunately we don’t have much contact.

Olympia’s own Dick Pust is celebrating 60 years of radio broadcasting. Dick first went to work for KGY Radio in 1959. He is currently on the air on KXXO (Mixx96).

I had Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby on my “Coffee With Ken” show recently. The mayor is excited to have the Thurston County Courthouse in downtown Olympia and its 500 employees enjoying the downtown area. She also talked about a new civic center in conjunction with the courthouse. The entire interview can be accessed by clicking on the “Coffee With Ken” button at the top of this page.

The Lacey Rotary Club recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of doing good in the world and in the Lacey community. The Lacey Club was chartered on March 13, 1969. It was sponsored by the Olympia Rotary Club. Olympia wanted to sponsor a Lacey club for several years, but needed to wait “until the political situation stabilized”. After the City of Lacey fought off an annexation effort by the City of Olympia in 1968, things quieted down enough so the Olympia club felt confident in chartering the Lacey club

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Dialogue 18 – Daylight Savings Time

March 11th, 2019 by Ken

Dialogue 18 – Daylight Savings Time

“That’s dangerous,” she said.  “Somebody might get killed.”

“What’s dangerous,” he asked.

“Daylight Savings Time,” she said.  “I get up at 6 am, except this time it was 5 am.  I’m so tired.  My body just hasn’t adjusted to the time difference.  I almost hit someone coming in this morning and then I tripped on the escalator. They ought to do something about it.”

“What do you want them to do,” he asked.

“Stop messing with the time,” she said.  “It’s just not natural to keep changing it all of the time.   Who’s to blame for this mess?”

“Blame the Monks.” he said.

“What have the monks got to do with it?” she asked.

“They’re the ones that starting marking off time.  They needed to know what time it was so they could get up for morning prayer, so they invented time and a way to measure it.” he said.  “Before that, no one cared about time.  They got up when it got light and went to bed when it got dark.”

“That’s it?” she asked.

“Not quite.  The industrial revolution meant that everybody had to be at work at the same time so they could work with the machines.  So, everybody had a clock.  In some places, the company just had a whistle.  When it blew, everyone knew the time.”

“And, that’s it?” she asked.

“Not quite.  When the railroads stretched their iron rails across the country, they needed common time across the whole United States. 

“Getting a little poetic, aren’t you?” she said.  “So I can blame the railroads?”

“Not quite,” he said.  “During World War One the government started Daylight Savings Time, so the factories producing war gear could operate longer in the day without burning so much energy.   They did it again in World War Two.  And, they just kept continuing it.”

“So, I can blame the government?” she asked.

“Can if you want to,” he said.  “I’ve got the number for our
Congresswoman on my phone.”

“Well, if I hit someone in my car tomorrow, I’m going to blame the government,” she said.

“It’s alright with me,” he said.

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Blue wave crested at the foot of the Cascades

February 24th, 2019 by Ken

Blue Wave crested at the foot of the Cascades

King County’s ultra liberal Democratic bent has sent a Blue Wave down the coast of Washington and even took in parts of Clark County and Vancouver – the Portland suburbs.  But, it crested at the foot of the Cascades.

There’s no doubt that King County controls politics in Washington.  This is best shown by the vote on Initiative 1639, the gun-control measure.  While it passed in the urban areas of King County by nearly 70 percent, it failed to carry even one county east of the Cascades.

Those living on the dry side of the state have chaffed at their inability to have any say in how the state governs them and their property and in their frustration have introduced a bill to separate the two sides and form their own state of “Liberty”. 

This isn’t the first time such a move has been started.  About once a decade the idea gains support when the liberals of the west try to force their views on the more conservative residents of the east.

Opponents of this idea point out that new states shouldn’t  be created for political purposes.   I of course point out that many new states were created for political reasons.  The most blatant being Nevada and West Virginia.  President Abraham Lincoln was concerned that his effort to gain a second term might fail, and created the two new states to bring him additional electoral votes.

Instead of forming a new state, supporters of the idea would be better off annexing to Idaho.  At one time, Idaho was part of the Washington Territory and might very well welcome the new residents and new tax base.

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The trouble with socialism

February 22nd, 2019 by Ken

By Dale Cooper

Proclaiming victory over the rapacious capitalists of Amazon who had tried to set up shop in Long Island City, a decaying neighborhood of New York City. Amazon had planned to hire 25,000 workers earning an average of $150,000 per year, spend billions of dollars building office towers, all of which would create some 67,000 new service sector jobs. You’d think the city would welcome all that with open arms.

Think again! Social justice warriors and community activists, including self-declared socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) went up in arms! In a matter of weeks they “defeated” the nasty capitalists, who decided to take their jobs elsewhere. Afterwards AOC tweeted “a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation and the power of the richest man in the world.” Notwithstanding the fact that most workers would love to be exploited with $150,000 salaries, and most communities would be happy to give Amazon what amounted to a small break on municipal and state taxes, AOC and her social justice warriors went absolutely apoplectic.

When facing push-back for her triumph over capitalism, AOC replied “If we’re willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers, we can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that money if we wanted to.” Of course any rational person would understand that New York wasn’t “paying” Amazon $3 billion to locate in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. It was simply 10% reduction of the $30 billion the company would pay in taxes over its first 10 years in NYC.

But AOC apparently didn’t understand this. This Democratic Representative from Queens (NY14), an economics graduate of Boston University, thought she could spend $3 billion that doesn’t exist and will never exist. The whole sorry episode reeks of sloppy thinking, educational failure and sound-bite politics. In other words it’s the perfect metaphor for Socialism.

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AG’s opinion purely political

February 14th, 2019 by Ken

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s letter to county sheriffs informing them they must obey state law when it comes to gun control measures, is purely political on his part.

Ferguson is running for governor of Washington State, if and when the current governor decides to run for president or to retire.

In order to win any such race, he must appeal to King County, where the bulk of all votes lie.  He can’t win without the support of the liberals who control politics in the state’s largest county.

And, he realizes that I-1639 passed in King County by nearly 70 percent of the vote, while if failed in most of the other counties in the state, including in all of the rural counties.   And, it’s the sheriffs in the rural counties who are opposed to enforcing the gun control requirements.

Ferguson told the sheriffs that they can’t decide what laws to enforce even if some counties and cities have failed to enforce immigration laws.  Ferguson pointed out that the gun control will become a state law in July – – while the immigration laws are federal rules. 

The attorney general obviously sees a difference between state laws and federal regulations.   He also sees a large block of voters in King County and other urban counties.  He apparently has already written off the rural counties of the state.

Ferguson’s letter to the county sheriffs is just another step in his political effort to become the new governor of our state.

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County sheriffs oppose enforcement of gun control initiatives

February 5th, 2019 by Ken

To date, the sheriffs in 15 counties in Washington State have said they will not enforce the new rules on gun ownership under Initiative 1639, until there is a court ruling on the legality of the measure.

While Initiative 1639 was passed by the voters in 2018 with 59 percent of the vote, it failed in all 15 counties where the sheriffs are refusing to enforce the law. Some of the initiative took affect on January 1 of this year, but most of it will become law in July 2019.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution says in effect “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The United States Supreme Court has upheld that ruling, but has also allowed some restrictions.

Passage of I-1639 was paid for with $5 million dollars from four Microsoft and other Seattle area billionaires. It passed in the urban counties of the state, including Thurston County; but failed in most of the other counties.

It was opposed by most law enforcement organizations including those in whom most county sheriffs are members.

The question most asked by those opposed to the actions of local law enforcement is how can our government officials fail to enforce the laws. The response of course follows this course. Government officials often fail to enforce laws they don’t agree with. Most recently, it’s our immigration laws and the creation of “Sanctuary Cities.”

While our local county sheriffs want the courts to rule on the legality of the law, they will be sorely disappointed when the case gets to the Washington State Supreme Court. Most, if not all of the judges are from the urban areas of the state and will undoubtedly uphold this voter approved measure.

If it gets to the United States Supreme Court it will probably be overturned or sent back to the state for further legal review, but in the meantime, the law will go into full effect on July 1, 2019. Will the county sheriffs enforce the law while it slowly makes it way through the legal process? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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Valentine’s Day – Another Sexist Holiday

January 28th, 2019 by Ken

Who can be  against love?  What person in his or her right mind can object to an innocuous holiday like Valentine’s Day?

Well, count me in as one who thinks Valentine’s Day has outlived its purpose.

Historically, Valentine’s Day has been the time when man, through buying presents for woman (usually flowers, candy and jewelry) proclaims his life long love and promises of a romantic future.

Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

Men buys gifts for women on Valentine’s Day for one reason – and one reason only – – he’s expected to.   A man can forget his lover’s birthday, or can forget his anniversary, but woe be to the man who forgets a present on Valentine’s Day. 

Media and merchandising messages has created an expectation in women, that the man in her life will show his affection on this one day of the year devoted solely to love.  And he will show that expectation through the purchase of a romantic gift.

And on February 15, women across the country, will gather at the water cooler at work, or wherever working women gather, and compare notes on their valentine gift.  No woman wants to be left out of the conversation or made the butt of jokes.  Men buy gifts on Valentine’s Day because it is expected.

Valentine’s Day has outlived its usefulness, if it ever had any.  Women have gained major strides in our modern society.  The need of men to woe women no longer exists.  I am absolutely amazed, that the feminists of our society are not out on the streets with pickets signs, proclaiming the inherent sexism of the holiday.

Could it be, that feminists want gifts on Valentine’s Day just as much as any other woman?

That has to be on the only explanation for why we still have this silly, sexist holiday of Valentine’s Day.

Now, what time do the stores close, I have to buy a card?

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Dialogue 17 – Politics

January 22nd, 2019 by Ken

“I can’t believe some of the people running for president,” she said.   “They just don’t seem to understand what this country stands for.”

“What makes you say that,” he said.  “The ones who have announced seem to know what they want.  They want change.”

“But, what kind of change?” she asked.  “They seem to want to dump everything we worked for and replace it with  – I don’t know what.  But, it isn’t good for us.  What makes them think they can get elected in the first place?”

“Well, they think that if Donald Trump could be elected president, then anyone could be president – even them,” he said. “And, what makes you think that change would be bad for us?”

“They want to give everybody everything.  They want free health care, free college tuition, free food for everyone and a free car for everyone.   Well, OK, maybe not a free car for everyone, but they want to give everything to people who can’t afford it.”

“And, you find that bad?” he asked.

“Yes, who’s going to pay for it?  You and I and all of our friends who have worked so hard for so long just to have the little bit we have.  They’re going to take away our savings by taxing it and raising taxes on everything else.  Do you think that’s right?”

“Of course not,” he said.  “They’re just appealing to their base of political support.  Once they get elected, they’ll mellow and move to the middle.”

“That’s what they said about Trump, and he’s still pushing his conservative business agenda.  He didn’t move to the middle.”

“You’ve got a point,” he said

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Commissioner should postpone making a decision on new county courthouse

January 21st, 2019 by Ken

I agree with Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby. Thurston County Commissioners should postpone making a decision on the location of a new courthouse. But not for the reasons Selby wants them to wait.

The Olympia mayor said it may cost the City of Olympia up to $32 million dollars to locate a new county courthouse in downtown Olympia on its stated location on Plum Street, the former location of the old Olympia City Hall. The city doesn’t have that kind of money in its budget, the mayor said.

I don’t think the courthouse should go into downtown Olympia. Not because it will cost the city money, but because I don’t think the taxpayers of Thurston County should fund this downtown Olympia re-development project. Pumping millions of dollars into the downtown area will be counter-productive to residents of Lacey, Tumwater and the unincorporated areas of Thurston County.

As much as people seem to think this is one big community, the exact opposite is true. Lacey and Tumwater compete with Olympia on business and commercial development. Helping fund a downtown Olympia courthouse is to the detriment of those two cities – – and all of the other small towns in Thurston County.

Instead, county commissioners should pick the third option – – redevelop the current property of the existing courthouse complex on the Westside of Olympia.The cost will be a little more and it will take a little more time, but it is the best option the commissioners are considering.

There is nothing wrong with that site. Many legal firms doing business with the county are located in the vicinity and people know where the courthouse is located. The buildings just need to be renovated. It is the best option and commissioners should take Mayor Selby’s advice – – and postpone making a decision until the public has had an opportunity to comment.

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After delay, Train Depot is on the way

January 15th, 2019 by Ken

After more that a year of delay, the Lacey City Council has finally approved going out for bid for a new  Train Depot replica on Pacific Avenue.  The depot will echo the original train depot which served the city beginning in the 1890’s.  The depot was demolished sometime in mid-20th Century and the railroad tracks vacated in the 1970’s.

In a recent Council work session the vote was 5-1 in favor of moving ahead with the project.  Only Councilmember Lenny Greenstein voted in opposition questioning its nearly $900,000 price tag.  Councilmember Jason Hearn was absent.

Several years  before the City of Lacey’s 50th Birthday Celebration in 2016, the city was looking for a project that would reflect the city’s history.

A new museum for Lacey was the main subject of conversation and the decision was made to begin the process.  A planning team was gathered and the final determination was to build a replica of the Lacey Train Depot which would house the museum..   The depot connected Lacey to the world and helped give Lacey a sense of community.

The city manager and the mayor were on board and planning began for the building and its interior.   Funding would be a major issue, but plans were proposed to start a fund-raising campaign.   The kickoff for the fund raiser could be a “Mayor’s Gala”.  The event would be part of the city’s 50th birthday celebration.  Money raised at the event would begin the drive to get the money and get the project started.

Then the city spent nearly a million dollars to buy the old carpet warehouse on Lacey Blvd as the site of a new city museum and community center.  Finally, money raised at the Mayor’s Gala was decided to fund operation of the new Lacey Veteran Service Hub, a major priority for the city.

A museum within the Train Deport was determined to be non-workable and was placed down the list of priorities.  When the estimated cost of the project came out significantly higher than thought, the city took a look at how to lower the cost..

One suggestion was to build only the exterior of the building.

Since its location is on the Woodland Trail, the building is now considered a “trail amenity”.  It will contain only two bathrooms for walkers on the trail. The remainder of the scaled-down building will be left empty.

The city is going out to bid in a few weeks.   If the bids come back at a price the city can afford, then construction will hopefully start this summer.  Maybe the Lacey Train Depot replica can be dedicated on December 5, the 53rd birthday of the city.

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