Bert's blog

Call me Berd

Changed the "T" to the "D" - I'm going by Berd now. I like it more than Bert. It's easier and I like the way it feels. Going by Berd. Please, if you would, call me Berd. Or don't. It's up to you.

Coffee Strong is Open

Coffee Strong - Open

IVAW (Iraq Veterans against the War) Fort Lewis chapter has opened a coffee house. The Coffeehouse will help with outreach to active duty military personnel. It will serve to provide useful information and help to G.I.s who have questions about deployment.

Coffee Strong Coffeehouse Now Open

I had a mean cup of coffee when I was there. It was strong and good.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 Walk Around Olympia Photo Essay

Pillars and Sky with Cloud

Yesterday I went for a nice long walk from the Westside through downtown and the Farmers Market, by the Police Station (which is closed on Saturday's) to check on my bicycle (which was stolen 9 days ago) and then on up the Eastside hill. Here are some photos from the trek.

Blogging and Lobbying

From the Olympian: State regulators ask: Can blogging be lobbying?

By CURT WOODWARD | Associated Press Writer • Published November 22, 2008

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Blogger beware? State regulators are wondering whether online political activism amounts to lobbying, which could force Web-based activists to file public reports detailing their finances.

This is a good article that delves into some of the specific concerns of various stake-holders in the lobbyist disclosure issue.

I have difficulty imagining how this would possibly apply, considering, as mentioned in the article, that newspaper editors who write opinion editorials are not subject to PDC (Public Disclosure Commission) regulation.

Also, I have an even harder time imagining how any PDC regulation would apply to unpaid bloggers who work on a volunteer basis.

As mentioned in the article, lobbyists or lobbying organizations must meet a certain financial threshold before being required to disclose. And bloggers who fulfill some journalistic function would also be exempted (like newspaper writers) from disclosure requirements.

Hey. I would like it if newspaper writers were required to disclose.

Maybe full disclosure, for Internet based advocacy groups, for newspaper editorial writers, and maybe even for unpaid hobbyist bloggers, is not such a bad idea.

Comprehensive Plan Rezone Amendements in Re: Environmental Impact

One of the things that has been bothersome and frustrating to me recently is that in all the fuss and furor over the proposed zoning changes to the allowable building heights on the isthmus, I have been missing what has been going on with several over proposals to change areas of the comprehensive plan. Yes, I have learned a lot over these past few months in regard to the function of city government and zoning rules.

With that in mind, I just sent off an email to the City Council to express my feelings about all of the zoning changes as they relate to impact on the environment, and in specific regard to environmental degradation. Here it is:

Internet / Electronic Communication

Do you think Internet communication (especially insofar as it provides relative degrees of anonymity) brings out the worst in people?

If so, can you think of some possible remedies (besides shutting it down)?

Parks and Sustainability

I believe that Parks, Arts and Recreation Department can be one place where the rubber meets the road in terms of sustainability.

So, I am glad that I hauled myself down to yesterday's public input workshop on the City (of Olympia) Parks Plan. It was a great turn-out. There were somewhere between 150 and 200 people there.

Message from Ralph Munro to Air for Several Weeks

[Correction: Ralph Munro's name is spelled without an e.]

According to Friends of the Waterfront, a message from former Washington State Secretary of State Ralph Munro will air for several weeks on at least one local radio station (MIXX 96). During his time in office, former Secretary of State Munro served on both the Capitol Committee, and the Capitol Campus Design Committee.

In the radio message, Munro commends the Olympia City Council for responding to the Citizens' Initiative for an Isthmus Park Feasibility Study. He urges the City Council to delay voting on the proposal to increase isthmus building height limits until all the facts from the study are in. He then urges Olympia Residents who want the facts (and want the Council to consider the facts) from a completed study before a Concil decision about the rezone (which would have such drastic impacts on park feasibility), to then contact the members of the City Council and let them know.

Here's the radio message: Ralph Munro on the Isthmus [mp3 audio]

Again, the message is to contact members of the City Council to thank them for pursuing the Park Feasibility Analysis and urge them to wait to vote on the proposal to rezone the isthmus building height limits until all of the facts from the park study are in: until the Park Feasibility Analysis has been thoroughly and faithfully completed.

Olympia City Council

Also try these email addresses:

Hey, What's Going On Here?

Hey, let's be careful so that private interests aren't allowed to dominate public policy!

Speculating on the Identity of Anonymous Users

What do you think? Is it generally copacetic to speculate on the identity of anonymous users? Or is anonymity to be held in sacrosanctity? Are anonymous users responsible for not leaving clues that might allow others to identify them?

What should the rest of us do when anonymous users give clues to their identity? Should we just ignore it and give the desired anonymity its presumed respectful space?

Should anonymity be challenged? On what basis?

I understand that anonymity gives people who might not be able to contribute the opportunity to do so, that is, to more safely share their thoughts, opinions and ideas.

But, on another slant, anonymity can also allow for abuse - for example, harassment and attacks, for hurtful, harmful or destructive behavior - without normal consequences.

This is a major issue on the Internet. Should anonymous users be held to a different standard? For example, does the opinion of an anonymous user count for less?

What do you think? Is it okay to speculate on the identity of anonymous users? What's your opinion? And, why?

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