How do we come to some social understandings about behaviors in public places. From panhandling to busking. From hanging with friends to being drunk and/or loaded. From passing through to passing out. How do we, as a community of all of us, come up with some social rules (if you will) like the rule about driving on the right side of the street. Notice how that one rule helps keep everyone safe, except from the drunken drivers who don't know their limits.
If we can't come up with some social understandings that we can all abide by, we are likely to get more intimidation by cop. City council members don't seem to think they have any other tools other than enforcement by cop. And as citizens we don't seem to be offering much in an alternative way, either.
If humans are able to put a man on the moon, we ought to be able to come up with some solution to this situation. I say we need to put more brain power to work here. How about a community forum? How about a box at city hall where suggestions can be collected? How about those being hassled come up with some ideas? How about we get creative?
What will it take? Somewhere else for street people to hang out? Something for them to do with all their free time? How about some changes in thinking on the part of the people who lump everyone together as though every poor person is a threat to their saftey? How about free movie passes to the Capital Theater so the street people have something to do once in a while? It won't cost anything and there are always empty seats.
I have been a proponent of community conversations for years. Many times I have asked mayors and city councils to start or facilitate community conversations. Except for a few times, we have nothing on a regular basis.
My thanks to those who have created and maintain this site. I think face-to-face is still the best way to voice opinions and listen to others, but this does help us to understand at least some of the points of view that exist in Olympia.
Currently I am working with Stephen Buxbaum (city counci), Ronnie Roberts (chief of police), and Jeff Trinnin (business owner) on at least three idfferent proposals for community dialogue. If you are interested in participating please call city hall and let someone know. Get your contact info on a list somewhere.
Community. Communication. Common unity. The commons. A clear understanding of some common expectations of values & behaviors, especially in public spaces, with everyone willing to help hold others to them can go a long way towards civility. Which seems to be in short supply recently.
My pet peeve? Trash on the sidewalks and in the street along 4th Ave. from Columbia to Jefferson.
PS - I walked by the Brotherhood Tavern one morning at about 9am. The sidewalk and street were spotless. Someone working there (owner?) said he sweeps up every morning. I thanked him for how nice it looked. In a short conversation we both thought how nice downtown would look if every business were responsible for cleaning in front of their doors at the very least once a week.
I want to point Ya'll to this excellent article about the Internet. It's from the Real Change Newspaper. a link and short excerpt:
Gaining the Web but Losing Our Souls, an interview with Jaron Lanier by Robert Alford
Tech pioneer Jaron Lanier says the seemingly liberating new technologies of the computer age are trapping users in a cyber world “that just cheapens everybody.”
A Drum Circle workshop based on communication and cooperation using drums and percussion instruments.
Open to the Public
Open to all skill levels and instruction will be provided
Bring your own drums and percussion instruments or use some of ours.
Hosted by Evergreen Percussion Club and Drumatic Innovation
Come out to play or dance or just enjoy the live music
Not only are drum circles a wonderful way to have fun and meet new friends. Other recognized benefits include it as exercise for the mind, body, spirit and a great stress reducer.
Since the beginning of human history, drums have been used to call people together, to communicate across great distances, to rise in celebration, and to march together in common cause.
As well improving co-operation, communication, concentration and confidence, drumming is exercise, it is team building, it is therapeutic, it is healing, it is accessible, and most of all – it is FUN!
Hand drum classes are now available in Olympia! I have been teaching hand drum classes for well over 15 years now.
I am curious about this sign and the language used. Why does it read "cannot" be responsible? Why not say, more plainly, "is not" responsible?
In context, it might read, "We are not reponsible for car or contents."
Cannot be? Really?
Language is important. Call me persnickety if you want. But it is important. Language is very influential on, informative of, and integral to, culture. It is vital to be conscious of our words, and their effects.
When communicating, there is the intended message, the message that gets sent, and then the message that is received. Unfortunately, it is difficult to make all three match up. Patience is a virtue, and so is compassion. Listening and sharing honestly and openly is certainly helpful.
In the above example, "Is not" (or "are not") seems better, to me, than "cannot."
Peace, Berd[2/16/09: edited for clarity, style and accuracy]
TOWN HALL: How do we communicate as a community? What's missing? Explore what exists now and what is wanted. Plus is there enough energy to make what we want happen, or are they just more 'good ideas'?
Traditions Fair Trade & Cafe'
5th & Water St.
Thursday, Feb. 5th, 7-10pm
Do you think Internet communication (especially insofar as it provides relative degrees of anonymity) brings out the worst in people?
If so, can you think of some possible remedies (besides shutting it down)?
I found this interesting bit of wisdom to share. It could be usefully applied to many conversations and interactions on OlyBlog. Here's the transcription:
(Every religion, system of philosophy or code of ethics includes advice on curbing the rash activities of the tongue–which is referred to in the Christian Bible as "an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." Here are some of the rules which the Jain Shastras give for guidance in governing this obstreperous trouble-maker.)
1. Avoid lying; speak only words which are truthful and sincere.
2. Avoid exaggeration; speak in simplicity and truth.
3. Avoid deception; do not deceive either by work, look, or gesture.
4. Avoid evil-speaking; practice good will.
You have something you believe in,
something you treasure, like this flower
(which could = hamburger / vitamins / gun / hot cocoa / gummi bears / libertarianism / peace / war / etc.).
You can have your flower. You can enjoy it. You can find like minded flower loving folks to hang out with. You can find groups of people that in general like your flower.
Life isn't fair and everyone won't like your flower all the time. There are no guarantees.
You can survive this.
Yes, your flower is beautiful and it is yours.
And you can respect the preferences, choices, and boundaries of others.
Respecting the choices of others does not threaten you or your flower.
You can have your flower.