Top local stories of 2016

December 26th, 2016 by Ken

There’s no doubt that the top local story of the year is the election of two more independent conservatives to the Thurston County Commission.  When John Hutchings and Gary Edwards join with Bud Blake next month, everyone can expect a significant change in the commission.   It’s anticipated that county government will become more responsive to those seeking permits.   It’s also expected that law enforcement will gain additional funding in the coming years.   Whether or not these three commissioners can deal with the problem of gophers – or can roll back septic system taxes – is still up-in-the-air.   But there’s no doubt that their election is the top local story of 2016.

Continual efforts to shut down shipping at the Port of Olympia and the resulting sit-in’s and protests is one of the top local stories of the year.   While some of the protests have been over shipping of “anti-environmental” products, it’s all part of a larger picture to shut down the Marine Terminal.   EJ Zita was elected partly on her promise to make the Marine Terminal pay for itself or be shut down.   Cries are coming from many sectors of the community to make that happen.   It could be a larger story in 2017.

The silly but significant actions of the City of Olympia during the past year make one of the top local stories.   The City of Olympia put an income tax on the ballot with funding and support from Seattle backers.  Under the guise of raising money to support education, the real effort was to get an income tax approved and take the case all the way to the Washington State Supreme Court where Seattle backers felt the court would finally approve an income tax.   Olympia voters didn’t buy it at the polls.   Then the city’s police chief tried to tell the Port of Olympia how to operate.   And, as the year 2016 ended The City of Olympia declared itself a Sanctuary City.

The City of Lacey’s celebration of its 50th Birthday ranks in the top tier of local stories.   From a community of 6000 in 1966 Lacey has now grown to a city of  more than 47,000 residents.   With a top school district, fire district, police force and a responsive city government the community put on a year long celebration to explore its short history and point itself towards the future.

Posted in The Real News

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