Consolidation of three cities just an Olympia pipe dream

December 30th, 2018 by Ken

Our favorite local newspaper – “The Olympian” – in case you didn’t know what it was, has once again come out for consolidation of the three cities. Its reason this time – – homelessness.

The newspaper contends that Olympia’s homeless problem is a regional problem, and needs to be addressed by the three cities and the county. The paper decries the lack of support for the issue from the cities of Lacey and Tumwater. It contends that if those cities become part of Olympia’s city government, there will be more money and more support for a regional approach to the homeless problem.

The paper also points to unusual and strange city borders and boundaries as a reason to join the three cities together. It has no historical context for the jagged and non-ordinary lines which separate the three cities. It fails to understand the growth of the three cities and how each has established its own identity.

The paper also points out that we pay for three city managers, three police chiefs and even several fire chiefs. It thinks that consolidation would be a cost savings. Of course, such is not the case. We would still keep the same police chiefs and the same fire chiefs and the same staff – only – we would have to hire someone to supervise those positions. It would cost more money from that end.

I’ve worked more than 45 years to help give Lacey a sense of community identification. It is now the largest urban area in Thurston County. Some 27 percent of its population have some connection to the military. It has become a place for people to live and work. Despite itself, the North Thurston Public Schools is a major factor in Lacey’s sense of community. Lacey’s identification is now set.

Tumwater has a long historical reason for its independence from the City of Olympia. There’s nothing joining Olympia will do to bring anything positive to the residents of Americans First Community north of the Columbia River.

The homeless situation in Olympia, is not the fault of the city. External forces have created the problem. But, the city’s inability to make the hard choices necessary to alleviate the worse of the situation, has made homelessness a major problem instead of just a nuisance. Am I calling homeless a nuisance? No – but it could be, if Olympia officials made the tough choices.

There is no reason for consolidation. “The Olympian” sees that the City of Olympia is unable to handle the situation on its own and is grasping at straws (hopefully paper) in its effort to make the downtown Olympia problem, a regional problem.

Posted in The Real News

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