The Olympian rejects values ordinance

The editorial page of the Olympian came out against the values ordinance today:
Council members should allow the proponents of the community values ordinance an opportunity to speak their mind and air their proposal. But council members should not waste staff time or city resources pursuing this feel-good measure that is unlawful, unworkable and just plain silly.

Here is the text of the proposed ordinance.

Some things to note about the piece:
  • The main source is David Schaffert, president and chief executive officer of the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. He calls the ordinance "subjective."
  • The piece contains the claim that only "a core group of about 15 people" are behind the proposal.
  • The piece claims that "Under the proposal, those businesses that don't measure up would have two months to leave town." What the proposal actually says is that those businesses with a score below 50 must stop local operations in two months, rather than "leave town." One presumes that if they reapply and score better, the business can reopen.
  • The piece raises the question of equity, claiming that because the ordinance only applies to large business, it is discriminating against stores like Wal-Mart. It doesn't mention the inequity in resources that these corporations have brought to bear against small towns like Olympia. In perhaps the most interesting quote, Schaffert states:
    "Our community wants to embrace diversity, yet when it comes to businesses, some people in this community want to put all businesses into 'good' or 'bad' categories based on subjective measures.
OlyBlog's view: It is convenient for Shaffert to call the proposal "subjective". In fact, it seems quite objective. By the numbers: do these businesses contribute a specified percentage back to the community? Do they contribute a specified percentage to health care? Etc. Finally, rather than call names (silly?), perhaps the Olympian should engage in a discussion about the ordiance. Rather than use a single source, Schaffert, the Olympian should solicit input from the wider community. Perhaps the Olympian should examine the underlying value that the ordinance expresses, that big businesses should be good citizens in this community, and contribute something back.

Local band: Kidcrash

Punknews reviews a 2004 release called New Ruins by an Olympia band called Kidcrash.

Boats and dogs at Harbor Days

Joe Here is a flickr library of photos taken today down at Harbor Days. If anyone has any others, tag them as "Olympia Harbor Days". We'll be able to access everyone's pictures.

This is Joe. Stay off of Joe's boat.

[update 9/4/05 by Rick]
Another set of pictures on flickr.

An Olympian just back from NOLA

[via email]

I was just in New Orleans for 48 hours, and left on Saturday before Hurricane Katrina came ashore. I took a few photos of the Metairie Cemetery, which is located between New Orleans and Lake Ponchetrain. Here are a few of the photos.

Maitri

[update from Khaos] Another way to help here.

Can anyone say "keystone kops"?

I've avoided commenting on this story as news, but I can't resist commenting on it as farce:
Keystone Kops Willie Shannon, 26, of Lacey, and Sean Dack, 25, of McCleary, were terminated this week from their positions at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. They were arrested last weekend after a dispute with former prison inmate Randy Hinchliffe, 38, of Olympia, got out of hand in front of a downtown bar. All three had been drinking and were cited for disorderly conduct, police reports say.

While in a holding cell in the city jail, Shannon urinated on a jail computer outside of his cell, which caused about $1,500 damage. He has since been referred to the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for felony malicious mischief charges.

But the night didn't end there.

A mistake by jail officers allowed Hinchcliffe, who has prior felony convictions, to leave with Dack's belongings when the two men were released from jail. Hinchcliffe left with Dack's cell phone, wallet, T-shirt and baseball cap, police reports say.

Hinchcliffe allegedly dressed up in Dack's clothes and used his cell phone to call a 25-year-old woman who had been with Dack earlier at a bar, police reports say.

He allegedly told her the jail had released him and that he needed her to pick him up. They arranged to meet. When she drove up, he tried to get into her car, wearing Dack's cap and T-shirt, police reports say. She called 9-1-1.

Police, already aware of the mix-up at the jail, asked her to arrange another meeting so they could get the corrections' officers' belongings, reports say.

Hinchcliffe was arrested again and remains in custody in the Olympia City Jail. He was charged with misdemeanor theft in Olympia Municipal Court for allegedly accepting the property and not returning it. He has pleaded not guilty, city prosecutor Kaylo Wilcox said.

Police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad said the jail had a busy night, which may have led to the mishap.

"Fortunately, that kind of thing happens very infrequently," he said.

My question: How frequent is "very infrequently"?

Hurricane response the topic of letters

The letters to the editor of the Olympian take the administration to the woodshed over the response to Katrina. Not one letter is in support of the federal government's performance.

Intern needed for video project

In coordination with Bread and Roses, OlyBlog is seeking a student who is interested in working on a project that will include the collection of video from people who are homeless and living in the downtown area of Olympia. If you are interested, please contact Rick or Rob.

Bellingham to build Olympia-style Farmers Market

Capital Press reports that Bellingham will make a $2.75 million investment to build a covered farmer's market called Depot Market Square:
Griffin believes that the investment will prove to be a good one for the farmers, the community and the city. He said that across the country, it has been shown that farmers’ markets grow rapidly after a permanent structure is built for them.

“We’ve seen that here in Washington state with the Olympia Farmers’ Market,

Do Something About Dirty Water

This is mostly a comment I just posted at Rob's blog, but I think it deserves repeating. Last week the Thurston County planning commission had a public hearing that was pretty depressing if you come from a "let's preserve natural resources" point of view.

If you're interested in preventing detritous covered water from taking over Budd Inlet, now would be a good time to comment on the county's Critical Areas Ordinance.

In Washington, local governments (cities, towns and counties) are the governments empowered to do the most in terms of protecting water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. But, it makes little difference if people don't comment.

Thurston County Critical Area Ordinance webpage -- go here to comment

More vacancies downtown

The Olympian reports that Capitol City Press is moving out of downtown:
Connie Lorenz, executive director of the Olympia Downtown Association, said she met with the company earlier in the year as part of the association's efforts to create a business improvement district for the city, but she said by then it was too late to convince the company to stay downtown.

"We hate to see any long-term business leave," Lorenz said.

As many as a couple dozen vacant downtown storefronts have become an issue in recent months for neighboring businesses and tourists.

I know of at least two recent examples of significant rent increases (30%) for downtown businesses. This seems like it might have something to do with the problem. Does anyone have any more data on rents for storefronts?
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