How Another State Capital Resists

As Neo-Nazis rally across the nation on their way to us in July, I think it is helpful to see what other communities are doing. This call to action just came out from Lansing Coalition Against Nazis.

Call to Action Against National Neo-Nazi Rally In Lansing, Michigan!

The National Socialist Movement (NSM) is planning a public demonstration on April 22nd on the steps of the State Capital in Lansing, Michigan. The NSM,  who refer to themselves as "America's Nazi Party" have chosen to come to Lansing following their visits to Toledo, Ohio in October and December of this past year.

We, the Lansing Coalition Against Nazis (LCAN), feel that their message should not go unopposed. We are planning a visible and vocal counter-demonstration to combat their message of hate. We are inviting all those who believe in freedom and equality to join us in sending the NSM a strong message that fascists and racists are not welcome in Lansing!

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McClatchy pledges "No more sales"

From The Olympian:

In a short address to many of The Olympian’s 220 employees, Pruitt likened McClatchy’s commitment to “public service journalism and high performance” to that of Knight Ridder’s. But unlike Knight Ridder’s structure, with one class of stock that leaves it vulnerable to a shareholder revolt, McClatchy has two classes of stock that make a sale of the company far less likely because voting stock is controlled by the McClatchy family.

“We have two classes of stock,” Pruitt said. “I’m here to tell you it’s over, it’s done. No more sales.”

Olympia makes top 100

From Relocate-America.com:

HOWELL, Mich., March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Relocate-America.com, a website that assists consumers in finding communities that best fit their needs, has just released "America's Top 100 Places to Live in 2006." The full list can be found at http://www.Relocate-America.com , which offers consumers an abundance of community information and links to knowledgeable real estate agents.

"It's a challenge every year to create this list because residents are so passionate about their communities," said Steve Nickerson, president and CEO. "In addition to schools, people are looking to their communities for more amenities, and these top places provide those benefits."

"America's Top 100 Places to Live" are chosen based upon a variety of criteria. A community must first be nominated by a current or past resident, or other individuals familiar with the community's benefits. Relocate- America's editorial team reviews the nominations for compelling reasons regarding what makes the community a special place to live. Such descriptions often include references to a community's:

  • People and neighbors
  • Beauty of area
  • Great schools
  • Low crime rates
  • Activities, such as museums, theaters and sports
  • Economic health, with employment opportunities and affordable housing

For verification and ranking, the nominated towns are also reviewed for education, crime, employment and housing data for the past year by Relocate- America.

From the Top 100, the Top 10 communities are ranked and the remaining 90 are compiled alphabetically to equally recognize those top communities on the list. Each year, thousands of communities across the U.S. are nominated and considered for the list.

Downtown Oly gone (mostly) at 7m sea-level rise

A very simple and interesting website uses google maps to measure damage done by different levels of sea-level rise. Check out Olympia at 7 meters, pretty destructive.

In addition to pretty much wiping out downtown, both lower Budd Inlet and the historic Swantown Slough are restored. If you zoom out, a new saltwater inlet appears at the mouth of the Nisqually all the way down to McAllister Springs.

At 14 meters, most of Olympia from the Capital Campus north is gone, with Swantown Slough extending all the way to Watershed Park and even Eastside St. underwater.


The corporate connection

The lawyer, activist, and Nader advisor Carl Mayer spoke this evening at Traditions Cafe on the topic of "Capitalism and Democracy." The talk was co-sponsored by the Alliance for Democracy and The Social Justice Committee of the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Olympia. The audience was very receptive to his message, and there were many comments and questions after the talk. The core of the presentation that Mayer delivered was about the ways in which corporate power have perverted and impaired government's ability to function as it was originally designed.

Mayer prefaced his discussion by showing a short video segment from 60 minutes that documented his experience with corporate lobbying as a member of the city council of Princeton, New Jersey. The relationship was simple, Mayer said. "The deal is always the same. Corporations buy projects from elected officials of municipalities through bribes, kickbacks, perquisites and campaign donations." Mayer cast himself as the Ghost of Christmas Future to predict that we will experience a similar nexus of corporate money and government in Washington State.

Then followed a brief history of the corporation, and the gradual process by which the concept became imbued with ever more power, until the present time, when corporations actually have rights (as people do) under current US law. He noted that those who complain about judicial activism usually omit the fact that corporatations were not granted rights under the constitution (even though the framers were aware of them). Corporate rights are a legal construction that is nowhere present in the constitution, yet they give corporations vast power in our present system of government.

Contrary to what many believe, Mayer claims that modern corporations are so dependent on government subsidies and projects that they actually limit the market from operating freely. Ralph Nader uses the term "corporate socialism." The implication seemed to be that if corporations had to exist without subsidies and bailouts, they would have to adopt much different practices.

Mayer's summarized his view as follows: "The 21st century will not be about a class of civilizations -- Islam vs. the West -- rather, it will be a clash between corporate power and the people's need for effective government."

What are the solutions that Mayer suggests?

  • Public funding of elections. Based on Mayer's description of the connection between corporate money and governemnt projects, public funded elections would be the best investment that taxpayers could ever make. Mayer described situations where municipalities payed twice the cost of a project to a particular bidder (because of bribes).
  • Change the charters of corporations such that they are no longer able to accept money from the government. Make it illegal for corporations to participate in politics, period.
  • Revoke personhood from corporations. Deprive corporations from having the same rights as people. This would allow them to be controlled more easily by government.
  • Citizen initiatives could be used to achieve these goals.

Mayer's final message was twofold: he said, "Don't fall into the following two traps. First, don't get stuck on 'anti-Bushism'. He's not the real problem. Second, don't get pessimistic. Maintian a civil debate, especially with other progressives." Mayer noted the perennial tension between Democrats and thrid-parties in American politics. He encouraged everyone to work together, because progressives (green or blue) share many of the same goals.

There was one book that Mayer especially recommended:

Watch in April for the broadcast of Mayer's talk on TCTV (ch.22) during the Alliance for Democracy timeslot (Fridays @ 6 pm).

3 Olys

In the comment thread of an Olympian story about a landmark house in the South Capitol neighborhood, an anonymous someone states:
Olympia was at one point in time "balkanized" by three geographic areas. The Westside -- state managers, the Eastside -- mill workers, and "The Southend" where the money was.

Can anybody tell us more about the history of these divisions?

Baby Invasion

Babies in strollers. Babies on chairs. Babies held by admiring friends of the family. Everywhere I looked yesterday in downtown Oly, there were babies.

One man stumbled out of Batdorf and Bronson, exclaiming "It's a day care in there!". Now B&B hasn't actually gone into the business, but it is understandable why some would think as much.

As I held the door open for yet another baby in stroller, I realized something even more intriguing. All those babies were calm. Sleeping babies. Or awake babies taking in the view without complaint. All over town, inside and out, babies were invading, quietly.

Talk Time


Do you want to practice your Spanish with a native Spanish speaker? The Olympia Timberland Library is helping to connect Spanish and English speakers who are interested in exchanging their language skills. Meetings occur the first Wednesday of every month.

Charlas
¿Quiere Ud. practicar su inglés con personas de habla inglesa? La Biblioteca de Olympia está ayudando a conectar personas de habla inglesa ó español interesados en intercambiar sus habilidades linguísticas. Las reuniones se llevarán a cabo el primer miércoles de cada mes.

Other Olympia Library events here.

Dixon visits Olympia

From the Spokesman-Review.com:

OLYMPIA – Inside the Olympia Free School – beside the anti-free-trade-agreement poster, a couple of old computers and a Tupperware tub of Chicken Fiesta – Aaron Dixon sketches out his plan.

"I think it's time that Maria is challenged," he said. "I think it's time that the Democratic Party is challenged."

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell's re-election bid has drawn an opponent from her left flank: a former Black Panther sharply critical of the Democrat's support for the war in Iraq.

Here's what Goldy thinks about Dixon's candidacy.

I didn't see Dixon's appearance posted anywhere. Did word get out about it and I just didn't notice?

Seattle Rep to produce Corrie play

From the Seattle Times:

Seattle Repertory Theatre is now the first major U.S. regional theater to announce that it will produce "My Name Is Rachel Corrie."

The controversial play, a hit in London, will appear at the Rep (March 15-April 22, 2007) as part of the theater's boldly contemporary 2006-07 season, the second under its new artistic head David Esbjornson.

[snip]

Local ties a factor

But the most provocative choice is "My Name Is Rachel Corrie." Drawn from writings by an American political activist who died in Gaza while protesting Israel's treatment of Palestinians, the Alan Rickman-Katharine Viner script sparked a censorship debate when New York Theatre Workshop delayed a spring staging of it, due to political concerns.

Esbjornson says he read the play months ago, found "it very moving and well-done," and the New York flap did not affect his decision to produce it here.

"The fact that Rachel Corrie was from Olympia, and went to college at Evergreen, is a big part of why we want to do this," he noted. "This is about someone local, who could have been any of us. And it's about what happens when your passion and activism reaches the level that hers did."

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