There is an excellent write up in The Olympian today about the recent activity of the Nazis in the Nortwest. Go read the whole thing.
One important point that Latson makes is that the Olympia police expect that there will be direct confrontation and possibly violence:
Olympia police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad has met with some of the local groups working on a response to the neo-Nazis. He counsels community members to ignore the group entirely but says he knows it is unlikely that everyone will heed his advice.
"It's just terribly wishful thinking on my part," Bjornstad said.
"I know 100 percent that there's going to be a confrontation of some kind there," he added.
I think Bjornstad underestimates Olympia. It is the expressed goal of the Nazis to draw us into some kind of nasty behavior (I've got the emails to prove it). But we don't have to play that game. We can make our own rules. Humor is the best approach in this situation, and I'm very glad to hear that we're moving forward on that front.
One other very important point: it is crucial at this time for all of the groups planning a response to band together and establish a coordinated plan to include everyone. If, through acting independently, the various response groups don't get everyone involved, we run the risk of there being a group of people at the protest who are not associated in either a coordinated direct action (e.g., ridicule and mockery) or a separate demonstration (e.g., singing, dancing, education, speeches). If the Nazis can draw these unassociated folks in to a confrontation, they will.
I call on the leaders of the response groups to meet , decide together how best to coordinate the different response plans so that they include the maximum number of people, and work hard to publicize the ways that people can join in and participate.
British poets Alan Halsey and Geraldine Monk visit Evergreen....
Alan Halsey, author of Marginalien (Five Seasons Press)
Geraldine Monk, author of Escafeld Hangings and Noctivagations
All are welcome.
Here’s how Olympia's legislators in the House and Senate voted last week on five bills:
Medical malpractice (House Bill 2292)
By a vote of 82-15 on Tuesday, the House approved a bill that takes a number of approaches to the medical malpractice issue. Among other things, a medical provider’s apology or statement of fault would not be admissible as evidence, there would be time limits for lawsuits to be filed over injuries, and attorneys would be penalized for filing frivolous claims. The Senate passed it 48-0 on Feb. 22, so it awaits the governor’s signature or veto.
Brendan Williams, D-Olympia -- yes
Sam Hunt, D-Olympia -- yes
Prohibiting free tobacco samples (Senate Bill 5048)
By a vote of 73-25 on Friday, the House approved a bill that prohibits the distribution of free samples of tobacco products. The definition of “tobacco product” is revised to specify that it includes cigarettes, cigars, snuff and other smoking tobacco and chewing tobacco products regulated by the Department of Revenue.
Hunt -- no
Changing the primary election date (Senate Bill 6236)
By a vote of 94-3 on Wednesday, the House approved a bill that would move the primary date from mid-September to the third Tuesday in August. The bill also would move the candidate filing deadline to an earlier date, require overseas and absentee ballots to be mailed sooner and give counties more time to certify primary and special elections. The Senate passed the bill 37-11 on Feb. 1, so it awaits action by the governor.
Williams -- yes
Hunt -- yes
Eliminating the $5 state parks fee (House Bill 2416)
By a vote of 40-5 on Tuesday, the Senate approved a bill that would eliminate the $5 fee charged for accessing state parks. The bill goes back to the House, which passed a different version 94-2 on Feb. 13.
Karen Fraser, D-Olympia -- yes
Subsidizing health insurance for employees of small businesses House Bill 2572
By a vote of 42-5 on Wednesday, the Senate approved a bill that would provide premium subsidies to eligible employees who are employed by a small business as well as tax incentives to small businesses that offer health insurance to their employees.
The bill also would provide subsidies to employees who have Health Savings Account plans, remove Health Savings Account plans from the community rating pool, and loosen state regulations to allow health insurers to offer more affordable health plans. The bill goes back to the House, which passed a different version 57-41 on Feb. 8.
Fraser -- yes
There's an iteresting comment thread on Tribe that relates to our discussion about the merits of Olympia:
Olympia never was mine. But sometimes you get caught up in some of the magic that happens there and you end up with lifelong friends, great memories and eventually a sense that even though you cant go back, it was worth it. Something magic happens. its not about incrowds, or the right coffee, and you probably know that. alot of people in oly dont. Thats why i left. I was there so long that I became old and crusty, and i didnt feel young and exited anymore. I am in portland now, where I was born, and I do excited. Oly is bittersweet to me now. I am glad you are excited- it is wonderful in so many ways.
Even though the plan includes creating a paved area the size of a parking lot for a strip mall, the judge says: "no environmental review for you!" From the Olympian:
OLYMPIA — A Thurston County Superior Court judge Friday upheld a Port of Olympia commission decision that a thorough environmental review is not required to relocate a log export business from Tacoma to Olympia.
Community activists Jerry Parker and Jan Witt, who had appealed the port decision, argued through their attorney that spending $1.7 million on paving a portion of the port’s cargo yard for Weyerhaeuser was significant enough to warrant the need for an environmental impact study.
But Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor said as part of his ruling that the scale of the project “did not change the character or use of the (port) property
The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation invites everyone to watch “NONVIOLENCE IS POWERFUL AND PRACTICAL,
Here's one theory about why the Nazis have chosen Olympia as a location to spew their hate. From Ignorant Hussy:
One of the places where I used to live, Lacey, Washington has seen attempts to recruit Neo-Nazis. What is disturbing, the Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater WA area is home to soldiers and airmen from Ft. Lewis and McChord AFB. At Ft. Lewis are two Stryker Brigades, a Special Forces Group and a Ranger Battalion. My questions are, have the Neo-Nazis studied the demographics of the area? And do they hope to find the next Tim McVeigh there? The majority of soldiers find Neo-Nazis abhorrent. Tim McVeigh was one out of a thousand. Yes, there is a very small minority of military personnel who would actually do something like actually join the Neo-Nazi movement.
I simply didn't know where to launch myself in the dialogue with the many paths, so I'm starting a new thread.
I don't believe that 'ignoring' any situation is a real answer to any problem, especially if one really cares about those who are affected by the problem. In this case we have the concern for the safety of our community, and the safety and well-being of those who comprise our community. Specifically, the vulnerable and impressionable youth whom this group purportedly targets. We must use this awareness to target our focus, and use this information in ways that build our community.
To ignore a problem gives the impression that nobody cares. And, Olympia is clearly not a community that doesn't care. In fact, quite the contrary--Olympia community members are very active and engaged in creating and sustaining the type of community we are interested in living. A safe, caring, and peaceful community. A caring community does not neccesarily mean that the solution is to tackle the group head-on, but rather to be creative and intentional in the response to the message (as opposed to the messenger).
As one who is is challenged in the realm of direct confrontation (especially those methods which create violence or negative energy or undesired results), but who also desires, and often pushes for change, it seems that the use of directed humor is a creative solution. It also seems that this is an opportunity to challenge what the community perceives as ok, safe, or liberal. It is a time to bring awareness and education about what hate groups set out to achieve, and how they are destructive to our communities.
It is an opportunity for me to acknowledge my fears and investigate my values, as they relate to how I experience my community. It is an opportunity for dialogue to happen. It's an opportunity to proact rather than react. The question here is not about what this group is bringing into Olympia, but rather what us who live in Olympia bring to Olympia. What we want from Olympia. It is a call for action. It is a call for us to challenge what is acceptable for and in our community, what the community experiences as normal, and an opportunity to shape how we want 'normal' to be in the future. It is an opportunity for each of us to reach out a little more to those whom this group might recruit...those youth who are trying to find a place to fit. It's an opportunity for us to create and work towards meaningful existence for our youth.
We can fight against them, or use them, their ideology, to bring shape and form to our community as we wish it to be.
Every week, I try to write a bit about what I found cruising the city council packet. This week I found it to be late. Despite a notice on the city's website stating that it would be posted no later than 3p each Friday, its 4:30p and I'm only now getting a chance to download it. I know its a bit cranky to complain about such trivial matters, but it would be nice if they were early once in a while. If you don't find something here of interest to you, maybe I missed it. Download the packet yourself.
1. There are a couple of items on the agenda regarding the months old Parkign and Business Improvement Area. One item is to expand the scope of the PBIA and to give them $16k to cover forming a board, $5k for graffiti removal and just under $3k to cover the downtown cleanup. There has already been some talk about what the PBIA has already done with the $15k the city gave them so far, and I'm sure there will be some talk about this next move.
One thing I found interesting that the ballots for the election of the PBIA board were opened (and counted I guess) down at Mixx 96. I'm going to attach the full staff report below so folks can get a good idea of what actually is going on.
2. The city is also considering an agreement with Lacey and Tumwater to pursue the water rights associated with the old brewery together. Seems pretty straight forward from the staff report, but for all I know it could be completly different:
The draft agreement provides that water will be allocated to Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey on an equal basis with each city receiving one third of the total amount of water under the water rights that is determined to have been put to beneficial use and not relinquished and is available for transfer from commercial/industrial purposes to municipal purposes. The three cities will share proportionately in the costs of the acquisition, including sharing the costs of attorneys’ fees, appraisers, water right and other experts, and the cost of the water rights themselves.