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Help People. Do It Fast. Let Everyone Know.

Help People. Do It Fast. Let Everyone Know.

The stress cracks, sagging walls and cleavages in the foundation of our Democracy can continue to be ignored only at our own peril.  The conspiracy theories used to justify sedition. The refusal to acknowledge free and fair elections.  While a number of factors fuel the discontent, there is something the government can do to stem the tide and strengthen the foundation: Help people. Do it fast. Let everyone know.  The public has always been, to varying degrees, sympathetic and supportive of an activist government. People want good schools, clean and healthy food, and plentiful salmon and orcas and are willing to pay (something) for them. Even…
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Eulogy for Americans by Lennée Reid

Eulogy for Americans by Lennée Reid

Rest in peace Grandma, Great Gramma, Gi Gi, Nana, Mama, Memaw, Abuelita, Nona, Oma, Mothers. The ones who told stories and baked bread. The ones who couldn't read or cook. The ones whose hugs were the best and the grumpy old ladies. To the ones who took the recipe and every family secret to the grave. To the nurses and teachers we never got to say goodbye to. Go well into the good night.  Rise in power Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Papa, Pops, daddy, Abuelo, Opa, Old Man, fathers. The ones who led their families with honor and the ones who…
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To all my housed friends enjoying the snow

To all my housed friends enjoying the snow

This is NOT meant to shame you. You shouldn't feel bad for having a warm place to be, with hot food & beverages, heat & blankets. Nor should you feel ashamed that snow is fun and you love playing in it. I don't want you to feel bad - I desperately want you to want what you have for every person. I want you to keep in your mind and in your heart those for whom snow is deadly.  Our local response, once again, is entirely inadequate.  Earlier this week, before the first flakes fell, there was - once again…
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WA House Passes Two Police Accountability Bills

WA House Passes Two Police Accountability Bills

From a media release issued by Washington State House Democrats: OLYMPIA—The Washington House of Representatives yesterday passed two police accountability bills that are part of the package proposed by the House Democrats’ Policing Policy Leadership Team. HB 1088, by Rep. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek), toughens state law on police officer impeachment disclosures, creates best practices and online training on that subject, and requires that law enforcement agencies must inquire about past impeachment disclosures before hiring an officer. An impeachment disclosure is an official determination that an officer engaged in misconduct affecting his or her credibility as a witness. Prosecutors are required to…
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City of Olympia Begins Search for Next Chief of Police

City of Olympia Begins Search for Next Chief of Police

The next Olympia Police Chief will earn nearly $183,000 a year to be “community-focused, compassionate, accountable, and inspiring,” says a recruiting announcement for the position posted on the city’s website. The announcement contains only a vague reference to the challenges the new chief will face. Regarding the past year’s protests, counter-protests, shootings of at least two people by people participating in pro-Trump rallies and widespread criticism of police actions/inactions, including the use of flash-bangs and tear gas, it says only this: “Like most cities, Olympia experienced the passions and turbulence rising from the racial justice demonstrations that swept the nation…
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2021 Olympia City Council Races Begin to Take Shape

2021 Olympia City Council Races Begin to Take Shape

Although the Aug. 3 primary election is nearly six months away, the race is on for endorsements and cash by Olympia City Council candidates seeking to move on to the November general election. Five seats are open this year, rather than the usual four because recently-appointed Councilmember Yen Huynh will have to run for election if she wishes to retain the seat. She has filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission indicating her plans to run. Incumbents Lisa Parshley and Jim Cooper also have filed, and Clark Gilman is expected to do so as well. One-term council member Renata…
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Pollution is Coming… From Inside the House

Pollution is Coming… From Inside the House

By Deepa Sivarajan Would you be surprised to learn that our homes and buildings dirty our air, outdoors and indoors? How is this possible? Even as we’ve worked to reduce our climate and air pollution by cutting down on vehicle use and using clean, fossil-free sources for our electricity, we continue to use fossil fuels like fossil gas (still called “natural gas” by the gas industry) to heat and power our homes—raising our greenhouse gas emissions and dirtying our air.   Using gas not only damages our health, but puts our communities in harm’s way. We’re at risk of gas leaks and explosions—like the one in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood in 2016, which leveled two buildings, harmed 36 businesses, and created $3 million dollars of damage. While it’s fortunate that no…
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Olympia Port Commissioner EJ Zita Will Not Seek Reelection

Olympia Port Commissioner EJ Zita Will Not Seek Reelection

With a social media post that began a bit cryptically and continued in a way that nearly obscured its intent, Port of Olympia Commissioner E.J. Zita announced she’s not running for re-election. It said: “1. Presidential coup and 2. silencing of public voices “An incumbent president executed a coup and secured a second term, abetted by a loyal second.  “Joe Downing nominated himself for an unprecedented second term as president of the Port of Olympia Commission, despite the longstanding practice of annual officer rotations. (Port Commissioner Bill) McGregor voted with Downing to pass the motion. Vice President Zita was scheduled…
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February 1st Marks 14 Year Anniversary of Camp Quixote

February 1st Marks 14 Year Anniversary of Camp Quixote

On February 1st, 2007 a group of members of the street community, along with advocates, formed a tent city in Downtown Olympia. We not only changed the course of dozens of lives, but we changed the conversation around homelessness and our community's response to it. In the fall of 2006, I had been on staff at Bread & Roses (B&R) in Olympia for about three years. Founded in the early 80s, B&R was a Catholic Worker house, inspired by Dorothy Day's work with the poor and marginalized in our society.  In Olympia, the organization had grown to encompass the original…
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“There cannot be daily Democracy without daily citizenship.” -Ralph Nader

“There cannot be daily Democracy without daily citizenship.” -Ralph Nader

It is a truism that a real measure of a country is how it treats its least fortunate. It also reveals a Democracy's real commitment to staying one by its measures to protect and nurture its foundation. Notwithstanding two recent crisis-induced changes, real democratic reforms have generally only happened when the public either initiates them or forces its elected leaders to increase transparency, disclosure, and access - despite their inherent reluctance.  As a result of the recent insurrection in our nation's capital, a number of large corporate funders have said they won't donate to those in Congress (for now) who…
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