The worst impact of all

March 30th, 2020 by Ken

As I enter my 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th day of physical and social isolation, they run into each other and I’m not certain I even know what day of the week it is.  I do know that I have a hard time thinking of much else than how  Covid-19 is impacting me.  I have been hesitant to write about that because it seemed so petty when held against the mirror which holds my knowledge of the greater world.

Well-respected Wall Street Journal writer Peggy Noonan had a similar problem.  Her weekend column was primarily about how the virus was impacting her and her normal routine of life.  Knowing that she is facing the same problem as I – –  she went ahead and wrote anyway.  That left me free to do the same.

Then – I decided not to write about how I was coping.  Instead of writing about how the virus is impacting our daily lives, I decided to try and picture how it will change our lives.

The events of 9-11 changed the way we travel.  The technological revolution of a decade ago transformed the way we communicate.  I think Covid-19 will change forever how we socialize.

When this whole thing fades into the background.  When the television network stop running daily totals of how many have it  and how many died, we’ll be forced to re-enter the world.  But, our reintegration into this new and strange social world will have changed.  Small things, like shaking hands or hugging, will cause us to think for a second before we do it.  Larger things, like a cough from someone in a group, will cause us to make a determination if we want to continue with the group or isolate ourselves to a smaller crowd.

Will we have as many social contacts as in the past?  Will we worry that the virus will come back next year or the year after?  Even if scientists develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, will it be effective?  Even the current flu vaccine is only a certain percentage effective.

If and when the virus returns will we automatically return ourselves to self-isolation and depend on technology  for our communication?

But, more importantly, will those 75 million of us in the United States continue to think of ourselves as a “vulnerable population group?”   That would be the worst impact of all.

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City of Lacey to give monetary grants to local businesses

March 25th, 2020 by Ken

The City of Lacey has been known to be a supporter of business.  It has developed an Economic Development Fund to help business who want to locate in Lacey.  But recently the city determined that helping its own existing businesses is a good use of that fund.

To that end, the Lacey City Council will take up a measure Thursday evening to give grants of money to small businesses in the city to help them survive the current business shutdown.

“I can’t think of anything more important for economic development than to help keep our existing businesses,” said Mayor Andy Ryder.

The city’s development fund has approximately $2.2 million.  The proposal the council will undertake will tap $500,000 of that money and give it in $10,000 grants to Lacey businesses.  “It’s not much,” the mayor said, “but it will help in the short term.”  If it’s successful, it might be continued with another $500,000.

Ryder said that he has been contacted by several banks who want to help.  “Perhaps we can get them to help with the next round.”

All Lacey businesses can apply for the grants.  The city is working through the EDC which will administer the program.  Go the the Thurston EDC web page to apply.  The cities of Olympia and Tumwater are also currently considering such a program for businesses in their cities.

(Editors note:  It helps to have several business-oriented members on the Lacey City Council.)

 

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Politics has entered the Corona Virus fight

March 23rd, 2020 by Ken

I’m not as concerned about the Corona virus Pandemic as I probably should be.

I’ve lived through dozens if not scores of scares brought about by my leaders and our media.

In the last 20 years we’ve lived through Y2K. Sars, Ebola, Swine Flu. 9-11 and the election of Donald Trump.  In the previous century we had Nuclear War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, AIDs,  drug abuse, the assassination of President Kennedy the civil rights movement, Black Power and White Power.  We always have some major event that will cause the end of society as we know it.

It’s been pointed out that 20,000 to 30,000 people die every year in the United States through the various “ordinary” flu we have.

Covid-19 has become a major issue for one reason – – 24-hour media.  Every minute of every day the cable news networks have to have a major story.  This is it.  Listen to the news coverage for any period of time and the tone is one of doom for our civilization.  To top it off, this is an election year.  Not only is the president up for re-election, but our governor is up as well.  Being seen doing something is a great plus towards re-election.

Now, before you bring the torches and blast me for thinking this pandemic is all political – – it is.  Look at the battle currently being waged in Congress over where 2 Trillion dollars should go.  Do we bail out the big international corporations, do we absolve student with college debt, do we help small business or implement the “Green New Deal.”   Do we give the money to government to dole out through unemployment offices, or do we send checks to everyone.

This pandemic isn’t the end of civilization even if we never find a cure.  But, the economic impact on the actions of our leaders, will and has created vast hurt to millions of low income workers.  It will lead to a recession and greater problems for those trying to make a living.

Talk about politics – – a recession would severely hurt President Trump’s re-election (unless he can blame it on the Democrats.)

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Playboy gave us a glimpse into life

March 19th, 2020 by Ken

After 70 years Playboy is packing up its centerfold and heading to the antique and collectible shops.  The magazine will not be published again, although you can still get some of its content on-line.

For those of us who grew up with Playboy and learned about life from its pages, losing this icon of the American Century is like losing an old uncle who taught us the facts of life.

Its pages were filled with news and information.  Award-winning authors like Arthur Clarke, Ian Fleming and Saul Bellows were regular contributors.  I liked its racy cartoons, particularly those drawn by Shel Silverstein.

OK – I like the pictures too.  A teenage boy growing up the 50’s and early 60’s, we had little access to sexual information.  If we were able to get a copy of Playboy it was passed around from kid to kid until there was little of left.  It was through the pictures that we learned about girls.  Granted, it was exploitative, erroneous, lecherous and oh so much fun.

We marveled at the beauty of the woman.  Ogled their bare breasts and yearned for a little more of their private parts, which Playboy eventually unveiled although long after our teenage years.  And, while it may have sent us off with a wrong understanding of women, it did get us through those rough teen years.  I doubt that teenage girls had anything to help them on the way to womanhood.

Now, porn is rampant through the internet, on television and in what few magazines still exist.  Teenagers have so many outlets that something like Playboy is dying along with those of us who first learned about life from its pages.

Do I miss it?  No.  I just miss the idea of it.

 

 

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Commissioners came, they saw and they blinked

March 17th, 2020 by Ken

Something good came out of the Coronavirus scare.  It gave the Thurston County Commissioners an excuse to cancel an election they knew they were going to lose.

Commissioners determined not to go ahead with a major tax increase measure for voter approval using the Corona scare as an excuse.  Vote by mail wouldn’t have been significantly impacted by the quarantine, but it made a good scape goat.

Commissioners read the “writing on the wall” or rather, the scorn of the internet, and determined the ballot measure wouldn’t pass and if it were to be defeated, voters wouldn’t approve on a second try either.  It was just too much and they punted.  Besides, they may very well have lost a court case that would have forced the measure off the ballot anyway.

It’s unlikely the commissioners will place the same measure back on the August ballot.  That’s the first time they can do so.  In all likelihood, they’ll wait until next year and come back with a smaller tax increase, and hopefully spelling out a better deal for the taxpayers.

Don’t get me wrong.  The commissioners have not given up on the idea of building a new courthouse.  They’ve been wanting to do so since 2008.  They still haven’t learned that taxpayers don’t want a $250,000,000 new building and definitely not in downtown Olympia.  They might be willing to approve $50 million for remodeling the existing courthouse.  Even that might be too much.  They would be better off to spend money for maintenance, something they have been negligent in doing for the past decade assuming they would be building a new courthouse.  And maybe building a parking garage on property they currently own next to the courthouse.

I’m not an expert.  They have their own experts.  I just know that organized opposition to the measure, significant increases in our current property tax rates, problems with the ballot title and the Internet were all deciding factors.  The Coronavirus just gave them an opportunity to save face.  And, two of them are up for election this year.

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An open letter to the governor

March 16th, 2020 by Ken

When you closed the restaurants and bars, I know it was for the betterment of our entire state.

But, when you did that, did you ever think of Melissa at Sharis, Jan at Dennys, Margaret at O’Blarneys, Kristen at The Dancing Goats or Kathy at the Martin Way Diner.  These are all waitresses who make their living off tips.  Some are single moms with kids, some are the prime wage-earner in their family, some are taking care of disabled husbands or ailing mothers.   And they all depend on tips.

Minimum wage is fine, but tips are the primary way these women and thousands of others like them make a living and take care of their families.  Filling To-Go orders doesn’t provide these women with tips.  It’s the regular customers who do that.

Many of the restaurants had already made changes in the way they operate in response to the virus.  Some have done away with dishes and use disposable paper products.  All clean more often, usually after a customer leaves.  Stopping these women from making a living is a shame.

Offers of government assistance is welcome, but it will be delayed.  By the time state and federal officials get the money in the chain and establish criteria and eligibility it will be too late for many.  Service providers such as waitresses will be the largest group of sacrificial workers.  Will anyone but their regulars care?

(Editors note:  Some names have been changed above.  I wrote the following story years ago.  I thought it might bring some clarity to how important waitresses are in this society.)

Carol

The first time I saw Carol she was pouring coffee.  The last time I saw Carol she was pouring coffee.  It never occurred to her that someone would come into her small diner and not want coffee.

It was early morning and I had a job interview.  I thought I should have something to eat before going so I stopped in at the Trails End. a diner in Tumwater.

I was surprised at how small it was.  Two small tables and six seats at the counter.  I could see two men occupying two of the seats.  Carol came over carrying an empty white cup and a pot of coffee.  She put the cup down filled it, looked at me and said “What’ll you have?”   That was the last time I would hear that phrase.  “A short stack and sausage,” I replied.  She turned her head slightly and said “A short stack and sausage, Sam.”  I hadn’t noticed the short order cook behind the grill.

Other customers began coming in.  All men and all regulars.  Carol greeted each one by name, asked about their sick wife, their grandkids and their schedule for the day.  All the time pouring coffee and giving their order to Sam without once asking them “What’ll you have?”

I watched her go about her job, engaging in conversation with the men, bantering back and forth, telling jokes and making them smile.  As the men were leaving, not once did I see her place a bill on the counter, but each man pulled out his money and left it on the table.

I began to understand.  Carol was the mother, the wife, the friendly next door neighbor.  She was more than a waitress to these men, she was a friend who they could count on to know them and care about them.

I didn’t ask for a bill either.  I put $10 on the counter, got up and left.  When I looked back, Carol had picked up the money and was pouring coffee for her next regular.

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Coronavirus hits my personality

March 15th, 2020 by Ken

I’m an extrovert.  I have to be around people.  I prefer people I like, but in a pinch, any person will do.  I’m also in a vulnerable group as designated by health care professionals.

For me, nothing is worse than being quarantined.  Without the constant stimulation of people, I’m bored stiff and unable to function properly.  I can read, watch television, play on my computer and keep in contact with people through this blog and my Facebook page.  But, it’s not the same.

I belong to five social groups which meet every week.  I belong to other business and professional organizations that meet at least once a month.  I cultivate friendships on a regular basis through coffee, or lunch or breakfast, fairly often.

What am I to do know?

My family thinks I’m too vulnerable for my age to venture out for these social contacts.  (The ones that haven’t been cancelled.)    I think my mental health is also important.  What to do?  What to do?

Is six weeks of little contact with fellow humans important enough for my health and that of others, to stay in my house and contemplate what nature has thrown at me.   Or, should I venture out, knowing that my chances of contacting the coronavirus is slim – but if I do, it may be very harmful to my health.

Thee’s got to be some middle ground.  I just have to find it.

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Hey Greeners. Have I got a new school for your kids

March 6th, 2020 by Ken

Hey Greeners.

Yeah, you, some of the 30,000 Evergreen graduates who call Thurston County home.   Have I got a school for you – actually for your kids and grandkids.

North Thurston Public Schools has started a new high school that echoes the Evergreen learning style.  Except, instead of teaching left-wing politics, it teaches science and technology using some of the teaching principles that once made the Mud Bay college the envy of teachers and professors everywhere.

It’s called the Envision Career Academy and its replacing South Sound High School.

As currently designed, students at the Academy will major in math and the social sciences while also completing the other high school requirements of the state.  While concentrating on the sciences is new, its the teaching styles the school embraces.

Playbooks, right out of the Evergreen experiment.

For example:  Students will be taught by team-teaching teachers every school day, all school day, for six weeks, focusing on a particular course.  At the end of that period, students will move on to another course which will also run for six weeks.

Here are some more particulars that make this a copy of Evergreen’s learning style.  As spelled out in the informational brochure “Instead of traditional classrooms, each learning space is designed for a purpose:  design lab, discussion den, quiet learning nooks, computer lab, greenhouse, school garden and CTE-focused spaces for manufacturing, biomedical science, business and marketing.”

Want still more.  Direct from the informational brochure -” There are limited bells.  Teachers and staff will go by their first names.  Students are not 9th graders or freshman.  They are 101s.  Students in their second year of high school are 201s.”

As a Greener myself, I enjoyed and appreciated Evergreen’s unique (at that time) learning style.   If this Lacey school can pull it off it may also set itself as an example of how to teach in the 21st Century.

 

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Do you need empathy to be a leader?

February 29th, 2020 by Ken

I recently attended a retreat by the Lacey City Council and senior city staff.  As a relationship building exercise, the attendees were asked to list the traits they saw, or desired in their fellow members of the council.  They were to rank those qualities on a board where several types of qualities were listed.

Traits on the board included: integrity, innovative, professional, leadership, collaboration, diversity, productivity, accountability, stewardship and empathy.

When the final accounting was done, integrity, collaboration and accountability were ranked the highest.   The lowest – – empathy.

The dictionary defines empathy as the ability to project oneself into another persons personality in order to share in another’s emotions or feelings.   In other words, the ability to understand the feelings of another person. (My reading of the word.)

I want those in leadership positions to understand my feelings, but more importantly I want them to FEEL what I feel.  By so doing, they can better grasp how the actions they take impact me.

So my question – – Is empathy necessary to be a good leader?

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Electric vehicles dangerous to pedestrians

February 27th, 2020 by Ken

Pedestrian deaths in the United States reached a 30-year high in 2019. As many as 6500 pedestrians have died after being hit by a vehicle. Many factors have contributed to the increase.  The biggest culprit seems to be smartphone use by both pedestrians and drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration see other reasons such as poorly designed walkways at intersections.  Large SUV’s which have a difficult time seeing out of.  And alcohol use.

I’d like to suggest another culprit – – Electric Cars.  These vehicles run quietly and can’t be heard, even in a quiet situation.  Hearing them on a city street is even more difficult.  I had a run-in with a Tesla in a supermarket parking lot recently and was almost hit.

I suggest that some type of noise should be generated by electric cars to warn pedestrians, bicyclists and others.  I don’t want to become a statistic.

(I know – What was a Tesla doing in a supermarket parking lot?)

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Buyer Beware

February 23rd, 2020 by Ken

By John Drebick

When we vote for additional taxes we are buying something of value as determined by our elected officials.  The current issue is for a “New Courthouse”.  We voters need to be aware of the very expensive plan to relocate the Courthouse to the outskirts of downtown Olympia in an area that has soggy soil conditions which need to be mitigated by expensive procedures and the site having the potential of flooding with sea level rising.  Or such other place the commissioners decide.

The needs of Thurston County residents have been met in the existing buildings over the years since it was built in approximately 1978.  Some space challenges have occurred with lack of courtrooms.  This needs to be fixed but not a brand new courthouse.

The argument being used is that the existing buildings are in bad shape, therefor replace them.

It is better to proceed with a plan to repair and upgrade.

It is suspected we will be asked to pay for a new facility for 25 years with a construction cost of approximately $250 million.  Payable at $0.47 per thousand of assessed valuation ($141) per year.  This includes debt service on the bonds to be issued so the $250 million courthouse is really $428 million.

The cost of upgrading the existing courthouse along with the cost of a new high rise structure at the current site would be substantially less than what is being proposed.  Courtrooms would be built as a part of a parking structure along with support staff and facilities. Perhaps it could have additional floors for leasing out until the county would need them.

The regulatory and administrative staff would remain in the existing building.

The county already owns adjoining real estate appropriately zoned that it can be built on.  They should stop planning and start building,

We do not need a fancy courthouse, just one that provides a safe and healthy environment for county workers to provide the services that the county residents need and are entitled to.

(Editors note:  The above letter has some merit.  I posted it to begin discussion on a new tax prior to the election)

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A modest proposal on housing

February 14th, 2020 by Ken

The City of Lacey’s efforts to build more affordable housing by streamlining Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in the city is a good start.  The problem, has been spelled out on my Facebook Page – – the affordable housing is too expensive to build.

City staff estimate that a 400 sq ft unit can run from $70,000 to $100,000 to construct.  Larger units of 600 sq ft are even more expensive.

I think I have a solution that may have some merit.

The City of Lacey should give a grant of $30,000 to every property owner willing to build a city-approved ADU.  In exchange, the property owner would be limited in the amount of rent they could charge for a period of time.  Affordable housing is too expensive.  Only by subsidizing housing can we build more affordable units.

Many cities already subsidize new housing apartments through various grants.  Why can’t the City of Lacey do the same?  A private-public endeavor.  Start out small – – maybe 10 units at a cost of $300,000.  See how it works out.  There will be other costs such as administration, and they will be unexpected setbacks.  But it’s worth an effort to explore.

The city already subsidizes some property owners.  They just gave residents of Capitol City Golf Club Estates new sewer hookups for free under the justification as in the public interest.  Subsidizing more affordable housing is also in the public interest.

This is just an idea.  City staff could come up with more concrete proposals.  We just have to continue the start the city has already begun.

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Lacey advances a plan for affordable housing

February 9th, 2020 by Ken

An overflow crowd of more than 200 Lacey property owners filled the city hall chambers Saturday morning to hear the city’s newest proposal for building affordable housing – – Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).  These small houses can be built in backyards around the city if they meet city standards.

What made this meeting unique is a concept the City of Lacey is proposing.  It has developed plans and blueprints for housing units of 400 and 600 square feet.  If a property owner adopts one of these plans, it will automatically be approved for construction if it meets other requirements.  The cost of a building permit is about half of a normal building permit.

While the city currently allows ADUs it only gets a handful of permit applications each year.  The city hopes to increase the amount of affordable housing in the city under this proposal.  The idea is getting a look from the cities of Olympia and Tumwater, but Lacey is the first in the county to advance the idea to the project stage.

To further advance the plan, the city held the Saturday morning meeting and had builders and financial institutions on hand to help property owners determine in the concept was something they could do.

Interest from the group waned when a representative of Homes First spent 15 minutes telling property owners they should rent their ADU to low-income individuals.

If you’re interested in pursuing the idea of building an ADU in your backyard contact the City of Lacey’s building department.

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Observations

February 8th, 2020 by Ken

I’ve watched the sun set many time probably none more spectacular than while sitting on a beach in Maui, waiting for the sizzle as it spread its orange colors across the Western ocean.  Sunsets are beautiful but are fairly common.

Many of us have also seen the rising of the full moon.  My most memorable was an early evening in October while driving my car east down Martin Way.  The moon was coming up beside Mt. Rainier and lined up directly with the road, filling it fully from both sides.

But, less common and just as spectacular is the setting of the full moon in the early morning.  The size of a nickel in  the western sky its beam bounced off the lake and increased its intensity.  It played hide and seek behind the Doug Firs and shared its beauty with the bare limbs of the Maple and Alders.  It sat gently on the morning clouds as it slipped behind the Black Hills, still casting its glow in the early light.

 

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You too can help select a president – – lucky you

February 4th, 2020 by Ken

Concerned that you don’t have a say in picking the next president?   Disappointed that a little pip squeak state like Iowa is doing it for you?   Worried that the selection process will pass you by?  Confused about the caucus system used by the Democrats?

Well, worry no more.  In less than a month, the presidential primary ballot will be in your mailbox – – and you too will have a say over who you want to run for president on your party’s ticket.

The ballots will be mailed out on February 29.  The election is March 11.  Every registered voter in Washington state will receive a ballot.  The ballot will contain two columns.  In one will be all of the candidates qualified for the ballot in Washington on the Democratic side.  On the other column, the Republican column, will be the name of Donald J. Trump.

You mark your choice (only one) and put the ballot back in its security envelope.  Slip it into the mailing envelope.  Then, on the front, you will be asked to sign a statement saying you are a Democrat – – or you are a Republican.  That has to be done or your ballot won’t be counted.

Still confused because we don’t register by parties in this state?  You should be.  But remember, this isn’t an election.  This is a primary selection process.   The first time in the state’s history that both political parties have agree to a vote by mail process.

If you don’t want to declare your party preference, or if you feel it is an infringement on your right to privacy – – too bad.  You don’t have to select anyone.  Just throw your ballot in the trash.

Welcome to exciting world of partisan politics.

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Voters are reluctant to pass school levies

January 27th, 2020 by Ken

For the first time in several years, I’m starting to feel a backlash on funding our local schools.  I don’t have a “spidey sense” but in talking with many people, I’m beginning to get the feeling that passing local school levies this time around won’t be a slam dunk.

The schools and their organized supporters will pull out a victory at the polls this time around, they almost always do, but it won’t be over-whelming, just enough to get the funding measures passed.

Some of those questioning the school levies thought that the state had “fully-funded basic education.”  Yet, they ask me, where is the levy money going?  If it isn’t going for basic education, then why are we being asked to pay extra for it?

Some thought the state had done away with, or lowered the amount of money school districts can ask for.  Yet the amount of money property owners are be asked to spend for schools continues to increase.

There are many questions floating around in the school-sphere, but very little answers.

School districts are lucky that it only requires a bare 50 percent plus one to pass levies.  The same doesn’t hold true for bonds.  A 60 percent threshold will be hard to overcome.

Our community supports good education.  But they continue to ask me “When is it enough?”

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Help – My Daughter’s a slave

January 21st, 2020 by Ken

By Dale Cooper
A couple of centuries ago when Britain’s American colonies needed workers … and when there were plenty of people who needed to get out of Britain … someone came up with a great idea. Immigrants would agree to repay those who paid for their passage by working in a menial capacity for their benefactors, day and night, for a period of years. It was called ‘Indentured Servitude’ and there was no relief from this indenture by means of bankruptcy or other appeals to a court of law. You simply had to pay your debt … period.

Indentured servitude had many odious, calamitous consequences, which led to its universal condemnation as a form of slavery. But like an undying virus that emerges from a primordial soup after centuries of hibernation, indentured servitude has made a comeback with a vengeance.

These days it’s called Student Loan Debt, a subtle mutation of Indentured Servitude. It’s a debt that takes years of hard work to repay without any hope of relief though a court of law. However, in a tragic way, it outdoes its  predecessor.

In the colonial days when an individual’s tenure of indenture concluded, that individual was free to start a new life in a ‘New World.’ But when far too many of today’s students complete their years of repaying their debts, they’ll be free to start paying the other obligations they incurred to cover living expenses while paying for their student debts.

What a merry-go-round! What a profound wrong! And who profits? None other than sanctimonious politically correct educators, greedy lenders and complacent fat-cat legislators, that’s who!

Like someone once said, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme

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How to celebrate Martin Luther King Day

January 20th, 2020 by Ken

Today is Martin Luther King Day. We’ve been celebrating Dr. King for more than 30 years and we’re still struggling to find the perfect way to do so.

Most holidays have traditions and rituals associated with them.  That’s not the case with this holiday.  We’re still trying to figure out the purpose of the holiday and to find a way to celebrate the life of this civil rights leader.  Some use the day to remember Dr. King and the purpose for which he laid down his life   Others use it as a time to celebrate black culture and the contributions made to this country by African-Americans.

Some use the opportunity to participate in a Day of Service, finding a need in the local community and helping make this a better country in which to live.

But for most of us, Martin Luther King Day is just a day off.  Dr. King’s name may flash through our minds for a second but then we go about our normal routine.

Thankfully, so far, after three decades, the holiday has not deteriorated into a commercial farce like Presidents Day and the Presidents Day Sale.  Maybe that alone is a testament to the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the day we celebrate his contribution to our country.

 

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Intercity Transit makes national news

January 16th, 2020 by Ken

Intercity Transit has made the pages of The Wall Street Journal because of its decision to eliminate fares for all transit riders.  But, its in good company.  It joins the like of Boston and Kansas City which have also decided that all transit riders should ride free.

In an effort to boost ridership, transit systems across the country are looking seriously at eliminating fares.  All transit systems in the United States (with the exception of Seattle) saw a significant drop in ridership.  Last statistics available for 2018 show that transit systems in the United States lost 34,000,000 riders that year.  Our own Intercity Transit also lost riders.

Intercity Transit General Manager told The Wall Street Journal that a recent ballot measure approved by the voters allow the system to start offering free service.  Manzanares said that fares from paying passengers amounted to $2.7 million dollars in annual revenue.  Much of that was offset by the costs to manage fare collections.

The decline in recent ridership is due to competition in the marketplace ranging from electric scooters to ride-hailing services like Uber, The Journal said.

Generational changes from Millennials who use digital forms of communications instead of physical movement, also contributed to the decline.  Intercity Transit depended on ridership from The Evergreen State College which showed a significant drop from previous years.

Editors note:  Voters were kind to Intercity Transit system and gave it a big tax boost.  Instead of embracing new technology and new methods of transportation, it threw a hail Mary pass in hopes of stopping its ridership decline.  Throwing money at the problem, won’t solve the problem.  Intercity Transit needs board members who can see the future.  And the future is not more buses on fixed routes going round and round all day.  And it surely isn’t offering free rides.  It just takes some leadership and some future thinking.

 

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Lacey Moose Lodge has “dark” past

January 6th, 2020 by Ken

They’ve torn down the old Lacey Moose Lodge from its location on Pacific Avenue in Lacey.  For decades the lodge served as a private club for local residents and involved itself in community affairs when it deemed it appropriate.

You would think that some kind of historical plaque should be attached to the location to mark the historical significance of the facility.  But, the removal of the Moose Lodge brings to the fore front the controversy concerning historical events, property and people.

What is appropriate to be publicly remembered?

Currently the Thurston County Historical Commission is working on a plaque recognizing the significance of the Evergreen Ballroom, primarily in its attraction of black performing groups to “white” Thurston County.

The Lacey Moose Lodge has just the opposite role.  The Lodge was involved in a controversy over race that made negative news around the nation.

In the mid 1960’s, a black family had moved into Lacey.  John Finley had been hired by Governor Dan Evans to be the state director of the Office of Economic Opportunity.  His wife Sylvia was a librarian.  When Sylvia found out there was no library in Lacey, she started a effort to create a volunteer library.  She was so successful, that the Lacey Moose Lodge wanted to honor her for her work.

When she arrived at the Moose Lodge to receive her award, she was turned away because the Lodge didn’t allow blacks in the building.   Mike Layton, a reporter, worked for the Seattle PI.  He wrote a story about the incident that was picked up by other papers.

Governor Evans was furious at the incident and ordered that all executive staff refrain from membership in private clubs.  It must be noted that at that time many private clubs had discrimination rules.

The action of the Moose Lodge brought forth to the public that such discrimination existed and eventually led to laws which made such actions illegal.

So, the question.  Should the Lacey Moose Lodge’s location be recognized for the role in played in furthering the cause of Civil Rights despite its intention.  Or, should the whole incident be forgotten?

 

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