Work-a-Day for Bread & Roses

Bread & Roses has provided services to poor and homeless individuals and families in Olympia for 25 years. B&R currently offers 2 shelters, an Advocacy Center, street library and monthly newspaper. While the organization has been a magnet for youthful activism in Olympia, it has struggled with financial hardship throughout its history. With a mission to serve poor, homeless and marginalized people of Thurston County, it is not surprising that B&R suffers from few resources. This Labor Day season, Thurston county residents can support Bread & Roses during “Work-a-Day for Bread & Roses

Business editor reports on labor

in the Olympian today:
Labor leaders downcast on movement's holiday


On this Labor Day, amid the barbecues, beer and merriment of a holiday, state labor leaders are searching their souls about the state and future of the union movement.

Boeing Machinists are striking against a backdrop of an overall state work force that is 80 percent nonunion. Gasoline prices are at record highs, eating into family budgets, and health care premiums continue to rise as state labor leaders gird for a slow, long-haul campaign to win back the relevancy of workers uniting to improve their lots in life rather than succeeding or failing on their own.

"Anyone who's out there eating hot dogs or carrying balloons on Labor Day ought to be thinking differently," said David Rolf, president of the 28,000-member Service Employees International Union, Local 775, in Seattle.

"Labor unions today," he said, "are totally irrelevant to entire sectors of our economy."

A few facts that were not included in this article:
  • Government is unionized at a much higher rate (36%) than private labor (8%).
  • Two occupational groups -- educational, training, and library occupations and protective service occupations -- had the highest unionized rates in 2004, at about 37% each. (Protective service occupations include fire fighters and police officers.)
  • Washington State is above average for total unionized labor (19%).
Now, given that Olympia is in Washington State (hence above average in unionization), the state capital (hence populated with government workers), and a college town (hence populated with educators), isn't it likely that labor in this town IS relevant to most sectors of the local economy?

September 4th

Happy Labor Day!

More analysis of newspaper swap

The Idaho Statesman carries this piece giving an economic analysis of the Knight-Ridder takeover of the Olympian. The gameplan for K-R:
"The value these local newspapers bring to the table is their ability to generate local content," Vallecillo said. "If you're good at developing that content, packaging it and distributing it effectively, you can still make some good money in this business."

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.


[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.
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