Andy Haub presented information about the future prospects for downtown Olympia in regard to climate change caused sea level rise. And Keith Stahley presented information about the comprehensive planning process, and about how citizens who care about climate change and sea level rise in relation to the future of Olympia can make sure that considerations about sea level rise are made part of the updated Comprehensive Plan.
Andy explained how the City is paying attention to information from the UW Climate Impacts Group, which indicates, first and foremost, that sea level rise is not a phenomenon of the future, but instead that sea level rise is actually a present day reality. During high tide events, water can already be seen rising up through some storm drains in low lying areas.
A statewide assessment put out by the UW group says that "Adaption is necessary because impacts will be large." So there is a real urgency to figure out what to do about it now. The other aspect of this is that no one knows, even the most qualified expert climatologists/oceanologists, when the waters will rise high enough to cause serious problems, nor how high the waters will rise.
I am just now listening to the adjournment of the City Council Meeting. I went to the meeting earlier tonight hoping to speak to the Council and City Staff about my bad experience being harassed by a member of the OPD a couple weeks ago. I didn't get to speak because there were 19 people signed up to speak, and I left the meeting early because I needed to run a couple errands. First off, let me say that I am a little bit ticked off, because it took me some finagling convincing to even be able to get signed up to speak. I arrived at about 7:15 or 7:30, and the public comment registration sheet had already been pulled. The City Clerk, who is a very nice person, told me that the sheet was pulled at 7:05. I don't know why registration wouldn't be kept open until the end of the meeting. I hope the new City Council changes this policy. Because closing it so early seems to demonstrate an attitude of disregard for the public comment process.
But anyway, at the end of the meeting, Mayor Mah mentioned that there were still 5 people who wished to speak, all of whom were signed up to speak on behalf of Shelly Bell, regarding the City lay-off decision. But I should also have been mentioned, and I was not there to speak about Shelly Bell. Maybe there was some confusion. I was there to speak about Public Safety. And I wish the Mayor would have recognized me.
The City of Olympia formally kicked off its multi-year comprehensive plan update process with an Imagine Olympia event held at the Olympia Center. It was well attended, estimated at 150 in a story from The Olympian, though I think there were probably more people in total, since people came and went (The Olympian story). I even saw some OlyBloggers. There was a lot of information about the Comp Plan process, music, food, a presentation about the planning process, as well as remarks by Mayor Mah. Janine Gates has a report with more details: Imagine Olympia: Community, the Comprehensive Plan and Cake. Following are a few photos from me:
I spent a large part of the last couple days at the United States Courthouse in Tacoma. I was there to observe a trial over allegations of the use of excessive force brought by two protesters (Wes Hamilton and Larry Mosqueda) against certain members of the Olympia Police Department, as well as the City of Olympia.
It was an interesting experience, I am going to share a few observations and opinions. Closing arguments were made today. And I was struck by a few aspects of the trial. (Disclaimer: I am a biased observer. I am strongly opposed to the imperialism of the United States, and I also strongly believe that the imperialism of our nation is one of the most grievous and heinous harmful features of life in the world today. I could go on and on waxing eloquently, and perhaps ineloquently, about the multitudinous nefarious and sundry aspects of our modern day socio-political-economic system. This issue means a lot to me. I care a lot. I have a lot of passion, and I bear a lot of resistance to the harmful nature of this dirty rotten system in which we live. So that's my bias. I just want to be clear and upfront with you, dear reader.)
The City of Olympia wants your opinions on budget priorities for the 2010. Go here to complete the Constrained Prioritization questionnaire.You have until Nov 8th to participate in the on-line fun. What are you waiting for?
We share a mutual vision and a passion in Olympia. We want a strong and active economy, a vibrant sense of community, and a healthy environment. Each of these conditions is attainable, but each requires investment of time, dedication, planning, and of course dollars.
We live in an age of what might be permanent fiscal crises in local government. When I was appointed to the council in 2004, we were facing a several million-dollar shortfall by 2008. This situation arose simply because property tax collections were limited to 1% in growth, and expenses were increasing at the rate of inflation, several times higher.
I worked with my colleagues to streamline our operations, to create efficiencies wherever possible, and in some cases, to make hard decisions to cut programs and services. We took a comprehensive approach and looked beyond just one year, and planned for cuts over several years.
The effort worked. During 2005-2007 we experienced stability in city finances, and we were able to invest in capital, maintain operations, and our reserves remained secure. In short, we ran a tight ship.
Then came 2008...
Here's a link to the video from the ArtSpace Community Meeting. The video includes the pre-meeting performances by The Crow Drummers, RADCO, The Randy Baugh Band, and The Olympia Free Choir.
Here's the link: ArtSpace Community Forum - Prefeasability | Video
I was reading an article in last week's Olympian about the Eastbay Redevelopment. It included some interesting details about the new Hands-On Children's Museum. According to the August 15, 2009 article by Matt Batcheldor, the total cost of the Museum will be around $18M. Of that, currently $13M has been raised. A full $7.9M of the currently accounted for $13M is from a City fund. $7.9M is nearly half of the total cost of the new Museum, a generous investment.
The article is not clear about whether the $7.9M is directed solely to the Museum project, or whether it will be spent on the overall plan, which is to include a public plaza. According the HOCM History and Mission website page, it is a full $9M that the museum has procured from Public Facility District funds.
The Museum, however, is not public. In fact, I was at City Council Meetings this past January, when a preliminary design concept for the building was presented (Jan 6, 2009 meeting minutes [pdf]). In the design, there were barriers separating the private space of the Museum courtyard from the public space around it. (Personally - I like the idea of more public space, more accessibility, more inclusiveness.)
Here are about 30 or 40 recent photos from the past week or so. They're roughly chronological, starting with the most recent ones. The exception is the first one, which is featured because I find it very interesting and informative (explanation below.) The rest of the photos include some from Boston Harbor, the Olympia Rafah Solidarity Mural (which looks awesome,) some of water pollution, with some thoughts about water pollution, one about "holding the torturers accountable," and some other miscellaneous but somewhat interesting perspectives on the local scene here in little old Olympia, Washington. There are more photos from the same time frame posted on my flickr account. Have a good day. Cheers -- to happiness and freedom for all, consensus based government, sustainability, and everything else that is right and good (for all people!)
The sign on this motor vessel interests me. It associates the word "estuary" with the word "swamp". It juxtaposes the image of a mosquito with the the word "estuary". It juxtaposes the image of a kayaker with the word "Lake".
Two observations. Mosquitos (to the best of my understanding and knowledge) do not breed in salt water*. So the estuary, being brackish, would likely support far fewer mosquitoes than the lake scenario. (*see correction in comments section below)
Two, people would likely still be able to kayak in the estuary. Actually, the kayaking might be more sporty. Think of the ability to ride the river, and the tide, out to the sound. yippee!
If you took all the studies that the city of Olympia has written for downtown and put them in a study stew, this is is the building that would come out the other end (scroll down for more versions):