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.

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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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"It scares me"

I also spoke with Karen, who is living on the street. She said, "I'm not adjusting well. I don't like it."

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Law on the side of citizen-journalists

bOING bOING has the scoop on citizens shooting video of the police at work.
The activities of the police, like those of other public officials, are subject to public scrutiny...Videotaping is a legitimate means of gathering information for public dissemination and can often provide cogent evidence, as it did in this case. In sum, there can be no doubt that the free speech clause of the Constitution protected Robinson as he videotaped the defendants on October 23, 2002....Moreover, to the extent that the troopers were restraining Robinson from making any future videotapes and from publicizing or publishing what he had filmed, the defendants' conduct clearly amounted to an unlawful prior restraint upon his protected speech....We find that defendants are liable under § 1983 for violating Robinson's Fourth Amendment right to be protected from an unlawful seizure...

Remember: bring the camera with.
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