Features

A Healthy Democracy Requires Transparency; Then Why Do Lawmakers Seek to Limit the Powers of the Public Disclosure Commission?

A Healthy Democracy Requires Transparency; Then Why Do Lawmakers Seek to Limit the Powers of the Public Disclosure Commission?

In 1972 the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) was created by the dogged determination of a small group of citizens with the radical notion that transparency and disclosure are essential for a healthy and vibrant democracy. With I-276, (you didn’t really think the legislature would create it did you?) the voters passed the measure, by a phenomenal 72% to 28% margin, voting to require financial disclosures about political campaigns, lobbying contributions, and expenditures, and for a prohibition against use of public facilities in electoral politics.  It is especially helpful, and informative, after the passage of time, and with the resulting experience, to…
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Microhomes On Their Way to Downtown Mitigation Site

Microhomes On Their Way to Downtown Mitigation Site

"Two down! Eight to go!" Those triumphant words rang out across a tent-filled asphalt parking lot in downtown Olympia on a recent sunny spring morning as the first of 10 new homes made its way there by forklift from the Port of Olympia warehouse where it was built. The brightly painted structures were settled in with precision, and safely and carefully leveled on the uneven pavement in an area near the Intercity Transit station. Known as “mitigation site,” it has been home to about 80 people living in tents since the city set it up in December 2018. When the…
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Movement To Flip Olympia City Council Picks Up Steam

Movement To Flip Olympia City Council Picks Up Steam

Is it a slate? A collaboration? Cooperation? Just what is it? Whatever it is, Olympia City Council candidate Candy Mercer says she’s leading the charge to “flip” the council. Mercer, a frequent, vocal, and acerbic critic of the city’s response to the community’s growing homelessness crisis (more on that here). Mercer is adamant that she has only one goal. “I will continue working on both my campaign and to get like minded candidates elected. My goal is to funnel volunteers and donors to the various campaigns I see as viable alternatives to the current council. In essence, I am running against…
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YWCA Olympia Statement for the Derek Chauvin Verdict

YWCA Olympia Statement for the Derek Chauvin Verdict

To Our Beloved Community: A few days ago we witnessed the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd. The world watched as Floyd’s life was stolen by Chauvin, caught on video by brave teen bystander Darnella Frazier. Throughout Chauvin’s trial we have watched again, in vigilance and anticipation, to see if our judicial system would recognize what we all saw in that video: that police are a constant, deadly threat to Black and Brown lives.  We celebrate with communities across the globe, overwhelmed by a victory that feels so tremendous and yet so small. We share…
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RELEASE: Local Issues, Local Answers

RELEASE: Local Issues, Local Answers

Thurston communities work with local government League of Women Voters and Thurston Community Media Host Dialogue 6:30pm on Wednesday, April 28 Olympia, WA April 23, 2021:  The Thurston County League of Women Voters and Thurston Community Media are sponsoring an evening for local activism.  Participants have the opportunity to ask their elected representatives about the issues that most affect local people. Attendees can receive direct answers to their questions, in real time, via Zoom, Wednesday evening, April 28th. Elected leaders from Thurston County, Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater will take questions from the audience and discuss how to be most effective in influencing…
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Got Police Chief?

Got Police Chief?

Not yet. And not for a while. The city of Olympia announced Monday afternoon it will not resume its search for a new police chief until late this year.  It gave no timeline for the actual hiring of a new chief for the city’s Police Department, which has been operating under an interim chief since late 2019 and has been beleaguered by allegations of racism, mismanagement of multiple protests in the city over the past year, and unequal treatment of those involved in them. Olympia City Manager Jay Burney, who will select the police chief, said the search will resume…
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Olympia City Manager “still considering the options” on Next Police Chief

Olympia City Manager “still considering the options” on Next Police Chief

Burney expects to make a decision in the next few weeks on how to proceed A week after “pausing” a botched search for a new city of Olympia police chief, the Olympia City Manager Jay Burney has not decided when the search will resume. He has determined that when it does, the firm that failed to find at least one finalist’s disciplinary record will not be involved. “The City Manager is still considering the options for continuing the search process. We do know that, when we proceed, we will be moving forward with another search firm,” Kellie Purce Braseth, a…
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“This feels like a warm hug”

“This feels like a warm hug”

Frame, glue, foam, staple, glue, frame, staple, squish, repeat. Inside a 10,000-plus square foot Port of Olympia warehouse, that’s the rhythm of assembly line-style work on 60 8-by-8 foot homes whose final destination is the downtown Olympia tent city known as the “mitigation site”.  Sometime in mid-April, these new dwellings will begin to replace troublesome tents at the site, which the city of Olympia opened in December 2018 as a temporary space for more than 100 people who were visibly camping in various downtown locations, just a mile from and within view of the State Capitol building. “I believe all people…
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The Unbearable Insecurity of our Leaders

The Unbearable Insecurity of our Leaders

 That many politicians are walking paradoxes of narcissism and arrogance mixed with emotional fragility and insecurity is certainly no epiphany. Our former President offers textbook writers the perfect model for the havoc that a man-child with power can wreak.  Like many traits/foibles/idiosyncrasies, however, there are far more similarities than we might like to admit about many in power – notwithstanding their political ideologies.  The Governor of Washington state has earned accolades for his management of a once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) crisis with his handling of the Pandemic. He is also considered a national leader on the existential crisis of our time, climate…
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Olympia Pauses Search for New Police Chief

Olympia Pauses Search for New Police Chief

Less than 24 hours after he announced the four finalists for Olympia Police Chief and praised them for their “vision for policing and their readiness to take on the unique challenges and opportunities facing the city of Olympia,” City Manager Jay Burney has “paused” the search for a new chief. Friday morning, Burney announced that one of the four candidates withdrew after The Olympia Tribune drew Burney’s attention to a past use of force incident involving the candidate.  After Burney announced the finalists late Thursday afternoon, a quick internet search by The Tribune found that finalist Derrick Turner, who manages…
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