Last week (yeah, I missed a week), there was a curious note at the end of a staff report laying out options for the council to develop an opinion on whether Capitol Lake should be restored to an estuary.
The last option was "blogging."
it doesn’t require a meeting, it creates a record of participation, and it only costs staff time to moderate.
it’s somewhat risky.
Which of course, begs the question, can you break your ankle by blogging?
Obviously, what they're actually talking about is the risk of people getting bent out of shape in a comment thread, something anyone around here should have some experience with. But, the benefits of having an open, public discussion about a pretty hot topic locally, I think outweighs the risks people getting their feelings hurt.
Simply stating before hand two simple rules (use your real name and don't be abusive) and by moderating comments before they're posted, the city can actually encourage a nice, civil online discourse.
The minutes from the study session that took up the Deschutes Estuary restoration public process said nothing about their reaction to blogging, so one could assume they dismissed it immediately.
Interesting graph citing "reliable... but not guaranteed" sources over at Sandy Nelson's real estate blog:
More from Sandy:
The real estate sales data for the last month of 2008 has recently been released, completing yet another year for the market statistics. While the median home prices for the entire NW MLS average an 11% drop, Thurston County only shows a small drop from the year before.
Is this dip just a healthy correction, or is it the beginning of a new downward trend?
I don't think anyone can tell for sure.
Will 2009 see an improvement in our local housing market? I don't think anyone can make predictions. Remember the big predictions of 2008 that prophesied Hillary as President and swore that we would never again see gas prices below $4.00?
Surprising things can happen. I, for one, am surprised to see interest rates below 5%. I didn't think that was possible, but here we are.
Janet Partlow at the new blog in town, Bees, Birds & Butterflies, writes about those sorts of things. Today, the first blossom of spring:
I don’t know about you all, but for me, right around this time, I become REALLY eager to find signs of spring. Maybe even a bit obsessed: I make a point of checking out all the Hazel shrubs in the neighborhood, looking for those first tiny blossoms.
Now if you blink, you might miss those flowers. Less than a quarter of an inch, tiny magenta petals burst bravely forth from the bud tips of the hazel branches. I have seen them as early as December in some years. Not this year; it was January 10th when I found the first flowers.
Go over there and read the entire post and leave your comments (they're off here).
The Democratic Prescinct Committee Officers voted tonight to put together a list of who should fill the vacant seat left by Bob Macleeod. The ranked list we're sending to the county commissioners for them to choose from is:
1. Karen Valenzuela (Tumwater city council member) 164 points
2. Susan Bogni (current commissioner's assistant, who endorsed her) 109 points
3. Walt Jorgenson (former Tumwater city council member) 87 points.
The PCOs were allowed to rank three of the applicants, with six points to divide among their first second or third choices.
Just a few observations from the night:
New county commissioner Sandra Romero telegraphed as much as she could the next step. She said she wanted to "respect the process" and vote for the top choice of the PCOs. I noted that she said "wanted" not "would."
Out of the possible 110 PCOs, 81 showed up and voted. That is out of a total possible of 297 PCOs. Less than a third of the people in Thurston County had someone voting for them tonight. Not that I'm upset with the results, my top person was on the top of the list. I'm just saying its a sad statement.
I just got back from the candidate forum, where I shot some video (which I’ll be posting/linking to later) and took some photos. For now, here are the top three candidates as voted on by Democratic PCOs who live in the 3rd District, in order.
I’ll get the full results of the voting from Thurston County Democrats and update this post later with the complete results.
And Monday night, the full body of PCOs will select the top 3 that will be forwarded to Commissioners Wolfe and Romero.
Jim Cooper, county Dem chair, (via email) writes about the rest of the process, including an online forum tomorrow:
I just wanted to check in with everyone after today’s Commissioner Applicant Forum. The forum went well and the results are posted on the TCD website here.
This Tuesday the City Council will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to a property tax exemption for parts of the city (including downtown) where more growth is intended. In addition to some housekeeping changes, the new tax exemption could include cutting out the blocks that would house the proposed Larida Passage development.
Here's what I wrote a few months ago on the same topic.
The logic is that the recent zoning changes by the city council to allow for taller buildings on those blocks make up for the tax exemption.
Jeanette Hawkins, a Triway (the Larida Passage developer) representative, countered in a late November email:
...the existing public investing adjacent to the isthmus makes the exemption unnecessary. The city has no data upon which to base that assertion. Presently, some of the near-by amenities are either unfinished or in disrepair. All the public investments downtown ... struggles (sic) to find money to meeting necessary capital, maintenance and expansion needs. Projects such as Larida Passage would help the city meet those needs by revitalizing downtown business and attracting additional investment...
Its interesting to plug into the debate so far. Back in October, one of the city council's committees kicked the issue around, getting some differing opinions on the topic.
If you voted for a Democratic precinct committee officer on your ballot back in August, the person you elected or (in the unlikely event of a contested PCO election) the person you voted against, will make the only real decision allowed to them by state law in the next week.
I apologize for the long, dense post that follows. But, I'm an elected PCO, and I'm disappointed in the lack of public discussion on this appointment process. I need to make a decision who to support for this open position, and I am more than willing to listen to what you all think, since I'm essentially making a decision for you.
County commissioner Bob Macleod will step down later this week and early next week, elected precinct committee officers from across the county will choose a list of three applicants for the other two county commissioners from which to pick a replacement.
So far, there have been over a dozen applicants to the PCOs. A couple have dropped out so far, and a forum is being held next Saturday afternoon to vet the rest.
Here's the Readers Digest version of who's who in the applicant pool:
1. Susan Bogni is the heir apparent. She's Macleod's assistant, and from what I can tell, the message of her campaign (and it really has been a campaign) is that she's already doing the job pretty much, why not let her do it full time? I'm kind of uncomfortable with the implication that can be made with that kind of statement, since Macleod is resigning because of Alzheimers.
While its sort of a softball choice for a review, its good to see this particular blog back in action:
Hands down, Darby's is the best breakfast place in Oly. Now and then, restaurants pop up that give it a run for it's money, but soon enough their novelty wears off and Darby's welcomes me back as only they can. Friendly, efficient waitstaff. Orange juice that blows your mind. Portion sizes that give you that "whoa" factor even though you've ordered that same dish a few dozen times already.Leave your comments over there.
Here's the proposed ordinance that outlines the conditions. Skip ahead to page 38 to read the good stuff.
Here's the unelaborate staff report. Before I go on, just a small editorial comment. I was surprised by how opaque these conditions where made in the material. If I hadn't been reading these kinds of materials for years, I never would have dug this up. Sometimes it is a good idea to spell this stuff out.