Reactions to NFZ ordinance

The Tri-City Herald doesn't think much of Olympia's NFZ ordinance:
It's an almost textbook case of textbook liberalism in the extreme.

[snip]

Of course, constituents might have been even happier if the council stuck to fixing roads, keeping up parks and enforcing meaningful ordinances that would actually do something to benefit the city.

Nor does the Olympian Editorial Page:
Olympia is now a nuclear-free zone. Big deal! When will the Olympia City Council stop wasting its time and the public's money on meaningless, unenforceable ordinances that have little direct impact on the lives of community residents?

And a bit of advice from a letter to the editor of the Tacoma News Tribune:
Re: “No nukes here – council votes to keep out all related materials

Olympia NFZ Ordinance Needs Citizen Enforcers

Part of the new Ordinance requires companies that contract with the city for a variety of jobs; from transportation, to communication, to heating and cooling, etc: to be free from involvement in the nuclear weapons industry.

It's clear already that many of the corporations (or business entities otherwise) which are doing business with the city are currently involved in the nuclear weapons industry. Some examples are Chrysler, Honeywell, IBM, Motorola (nextel). There are many others.

The ordinance which the City Council passed and adopted as legislation (to go into effect in 30 days) requires citizen oversight of the matter of "Eligibility For City Contracts." Citizens will need to provide conclusive proof of the corporations' activities in the nuclear weapons industry.

Here is the relevant text of the Ordinance:

Section 6. Eligibility for City Contracts

A. The City of Olympia shall grant no awards or contracts for any purpose to any person, firm, corporation or entity which is knowingly or intentionally engaged in the development, research, production, maintenance, storage, transportation and/or disposal of nuclear weapons or their components. It will be the responsibility of any recipient of a city contract or award to certify by a notarized statement to the City Clerk that it is not knowingly or intentionally engaged in the above defined activity. Notice of this certification shall be included in all "Requests for Proposals" issued by the City.

B. Exceptions may be granted if the City Manager makes a specific determination that no reasonable alternative exists, taking into consideration the following factors:

  1. 1. The availability of alternative services, goods and equipment, or other supplies substantially meeting required specifications of the proposed contract; and,
  2. 2. Quantifiable additional costs resulting from use of available alternatives.

C. If such certification is not provided, the City of Olympia shall make public the contractor’s

Ask the mayor -- tomorrow!

MarkThe mayor of Olympia, Mark Foutch, has kindly agreed to an interview with OlyBlog-- scheduled for 9/7. This gives us some time for collecting questions that are important to the readers of OlyBlog. What would you like to ask the mayor?


[update 9/6/05]

The interview is tomorrow, so if you have any burning questions for your mayor, now is the time.


[update 9/7/05]

Interview completed. Video to follow.

Further Update from an Olympian in Crawford

Chris posts another update from a local who is resident at Camp Casey.

Working while homeless

Today I spoke with Jeremy, who was camped out with a very friendly chocolate lab along 4th St. between Capitol and Washington. He described for me the process of trying to work while homeless.

Click on Picture to Play

Quicktime Required (free download)


Previous interviews here and here.

Freaky fest in Olympia

hemp fest The annual hempfest came to Olympia today, and everyone was looking very freaky. There were many booths selling barely legal paraphernalia. (Three kids actually asked me if I would buy a bong for them, which is kind of odd, 'cause I look pretty straight). There was also music, but I noticed that not many people were dancing. It looked a little sad and empty. Here's a bunch more pictures from a person (a bit paranoid, I might add) who attended the fest.

Publisher bio

The Olympian has a bio piece on John Winn Miller, the new publisher of the Olympian (now part of the Knight-Ridder organization). The piece mentions two specific values that Miller holds: accountability and technology:
When he toured The Olympian earlier this month, Knight Ridder chairman and chief executive Tony Ridder talked of his commitment to the watchdog role of journalism, of giving voice to the voiceless, uncovering corruption and holding public officials accountable for their actions.

It's a commitment Miller shares.

"I want journalism to focus on the watchdog role," he said in an interview last week. "We need a vigorous and free press that challenges authority."

At Knight Ridder's Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, Miller helped to expose the inequities of Kentucky's school financing system that penalized poor counties. The investigative series "Cheating Our Children" helped to spur reforms that addressed those inequities.

As a first-time publisher in the Internet age, Miller said, he has grown to believe that the electronic medium complements rather than threatens print journalism.

Newspaper Web sites expose more readers to the power of a newspaper's journalism, Miller said.

"It gives you a reach that nothing can match," he said. "If done correctly, they (Web sites and newspapers) can complement each other. There's room for both kinds of services."

Values ordinance takes shape

Here is a little more information from the Olympian about the "values ordinance" mentioned in a previous post:
If passed, the proposal could be the first in the nation, though other communities have regulated businesses in other ways, including capping the size of stores, limiting the number of chain stores that can come in at one time or requiring that businesses of a certain size contribute to employee health insurance.

Honor the ancestors

An interesting diary over at DKos. Relevant to the discussion of whether grassroots organizing really makes a difference. Also relevant to making the argument that hippie preserves like Olympia (Eugene, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Northampton...) are critical for generating alternative voices that add to the national debate.

Looking for a safe place

I blogged previously (here and here) about the portrayal of street people in news stories in the Daily Olympian. As I mentioned, there appeared to be a highly stereotyped view of "the homeless." I thought it might be informative to actually talk to folks on the street and hear what they had to say. Today, I had a conversation with Jonathan, a self-described "spanger" in Olympia. I asked him why there were so many folks out on the streets:

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