Thursday, March 29, 2007

Renton is world class (or is that Seattle)

Being world class can be an argument for anything.

Tearing down the viaduct.

Building a new arena for the Sonics.

In that last one, the question is which city you're referring to. It could be Seattle (or the greater Seattle area), to which I assume Kevin Calabro was referring to in a radio commercial I heard on the way home today. I wish I had the audio, but the gist was: build the new arena, we're a world class city, this is what world class cities do.

Of course, I never assumed anyone could be referring to Renton, which is where the new arena would be built. But, the mayor of Renton sure was:

It was not too long ago when Renton was a running laugh line on “Almost Live.” Now our city is featured on the front pages of local and national media including the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Renton is serious about business.


A month ago we found out that Renton was selected as the preferred site by the Sonics and Storm ownership for a multi-purpose events center. What a great moment for Renton!

When I asked Clay Bennett, the owner of the Sonics and Storm, Why Renton?

He said that without doubt Renton was his first choice since he was excited at the expanding economy and the bright future that he foresees in Renton.


But irrespective of the outcome this has been a win for Renton. This has shown the world what we knew all along: We are a ‘can-do’, world-class city, willing to roll up our sleeves and look at possibilities.
Oh, Fred Moody, where are you when Renton so dearly needs you?

Civic republicanism and 2008

Hillary Clinton:
I'm going to hand everybody in America a shovel and we're going to start digging our way out.
John Edwards:
What I will do is ask millions of Americans, including you, to join me in taking action and taking responsibility, not waiting around for someone else to do it, but actually doing it ourselves, from the ground up.

Michael Tomasky himself on Barack Obama:
He is in many respects a civic republican—a believer in civic virtue, and in the possibility of good outcomes negotiated in good faith. These concepts are consonant with liberalism in many respects, but since the rise in the 1960s of a more aggressive rights-based liberalism, which sometimes places particular claims for social justice ahead of a larger universal good, the two versions have existed in some tension.
The rhetoric of civic republicanism seems to be there, but I'm wondering what kind of policies will be different. The words are the easiest things, but actually handing shovels out, actually getting people to take responsibility is the hard thing.

Edwards' and Obama's issue page doesn't have any special focus on bringing citizens into the process or empowering them to make a change, or even service. Clinton doesn't have any issue section that I could find.

So, what would be a civic republican issue for 2008?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jorge down to the minors and Mexican baseball

Jorge Campillo will start the season, hopefully, in Tacoma. Which is somewhat a good thing, its better than him being released, and it will mean that I might be able to go see him pitch. Easier getting to Tacoma than Seattle.

All this thinking about a Mexican junkballer got me thinking about Mexican baseball in general. Did you know that since the 1950s, the Mexican summer league (there in another, actually higher profile winter league) has been affiliated with MLB as a minor league? I think I knew this, but it puzzles me that a country that hosts a full third of our high level minor teams doesn't have a major league team. Canada at one point at two.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My recent Washblogging

Just to keep you up to date. This two minute post on John McKay and Dino Rossi caused some waves. Was I the only one thinking this?

And, I solved the Sonics problem. We only need to buy a piece of the team.

Campillo on All Mexico Team

Well, this Mets Blogger's All Mexico Team:

Starting Rotation
Oliver Pérez (N.Y. Mets)
Luis Ayala (Washington)
Esteban Loaiza (Oakland)
Rodrigo López (Colorado)
Jorge de la Rosa (Kansas City)

Dennys Reyes (Minnesota)
Ricardo Rincón (St. Louis)
Elmer Dessens (L.A. Dodgers)
Oscar Villareal (Atlanta)
Edgar González (Arizona)
Jorge Campillo (Seattle)
David Cortés (San Francisco)
Ismael Valdéz (last played w/ Florida in '05)

Miguel Ojeda, C (Texas)
Erubiel Durazo, 1B (Oakland)
Jorge Cantu, 2B (Tampa Bay)
Juan Castro, SS (Cincinnati)
Oscar Robles, 3B (San Diego spring training invitee)

Benji Gil, LF (last played for Anaheim in '03; 1 career game in CF)
Alfredo Amézaga, CF (Florida) (75 career G at CF, 14 in LF, 2 in RF)
Karim Garcia, RF (Philadelphia spring training invitee)

Vinny Castilla, 3B (Colorado; just retired)
Gabe Alvarez, IF/OF (San Diego; last played in '00)
Humberto Cota, C (Pittsburgh)
Geronimo Gil, C (Baltimore; last played in '05) (PLAYER/MANAGER)

I for one did not realize Benji Gil was from Mexico, by the way. Here's a list of Mexican born players (sorted by debut) And, in case you're wondering, the first Mexican born player in the majors was Mel Almada, a left handed outfielder who played from 1933 to 1939 and finished with a .285 career average.

Also, for your reference, here is the roster of the 2006 Mexican team from last year's WBC.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Jorge's big day

Our Man from Tijuana, Jorge Campillo, will get the start against the As. Televised on KSTW, the entire Puget Sound will see what he's made of.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

How the Sonics can matter more: Sell us (Part of) the Team

Back in Part 1: eridani said:

The Packers are owned by citizens of the town, and they give way more to their community than most professional sports teams. They don't even have professional cheerleaders--high school squads from all over Wisconsin take turns at that function.
chadlupkes said:
Sports teams and franchises are for-profit organizations, whose mission is to earn money for their ownership teams, not to provide a good cultural experience to the public.

When the Sonics go non-profit, or allow anyone to own stock and be a stakeholder WITH FINANCIAL RETURNS, then the situation will have changed.

Back in the mid-90s sports owners across the country were heading to their local governments, hat in hand, looking for money to build new stadiums. Many citizens looked at the pocket books of their owners and thought "Wouldn't it be great if we were more like the Green Bay Packers?"

The Packers, even though they're a for profit corporation the same as any for profit corporation, are unique in professionals sports because they offer stock to anyone who wants to come along. The sort of person who is most interested in buying Packers stock, is of course, a fan of the Packers. This model has kept a highly successful sports franchise in a community, that frankly, doesn't deserve one from the truly economic way of looking at the sport.

Even Green Bay's Wisconsin Big Brother, Milwaukee, has had trouble holding onto sports teams: the the Hawks of the NBA and the Braves of MLB have all passed through and left Milwaukee in the time that the Packers have played. Turns out though that every other community interested in keeping an NBA, MLB, NFL or NHL team in town through some kind of corporate stock arrangement or non-profit ownership is pretty much out of luck. All four leagues outlaw non-profit ownership, with the NFL going as far as to ban any sort of corporate ownership, to prevent another Packers.

The New Rules Project points to several other non-traditional ownership models (in minor league baseball) and there are several non-profit examples in Canadian football (here, here and here).

New Rules also points to several legislative fixes that never actually came through during the high times of community ownership discussion in the late 90s. They go as far as condemning a sports franchise (in Minnsesota and New York) to simply building and running stadiums as a public agency, rather than handing them over to the teams (in Pennsylvania).

There are also examples of national legislation to rebalance the playing fields for locals: Sen. Paul Wellstone suggested removing baseball's anti-trust exemption in 2001 and Oregon's Rep. Earl Blumenauer sponsored the Give Fans a Chance Act, which would have opened the door for community's to bid on their teams. Rep. Adam Smith was one of the original co-sponsors of the bill.

Simply that the four major sports don't allow for ownership that would tie a team to their community is the most maddening part of this. Each league is exempt from anti-trust laws because their industry is not considered "commerce" by the courts, so they have the ability to ban non-profit ownership.

What I haven't pointed out yet is that the NBA does not ban corporate ownership, just non-profit ownership.

So, a Packers solution, a for profit company that sells stock on an individual basis, is technically possible here.

The problem is history. Green Bay has always been an individual stock company, from its origins. Its been when the team needed to raise money that they sold more stock.

Huh, that gives one of thought though, doesn't it? How would the Sonics feel if we told them that they could have all the money they wanted for a new arena if that money was raised by selling stock in a new ownership interest in the Sonics? We wouldn't buy the Sonics outright, just a portion. Just to get something back for our investment. The people would finance this particular improvement in the Sonics, but for every dollar we put into a new arena, we would also get a dollar in the ownership of the franchise.

I don't know why this wouldn't work.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Campillo for long relief

The Mariners are trying to sort out their long reliever situation:
That's a competition among Sean Green, Sean White and Jon Huber and it may not be decided until the final few days before the opener. White has the advantage of being a Rule 5 draft pick who must be offered back to the Atlanta Braves if he doesn't make the 25-man roster.
If you compare the four of these guys, Campillo comes in second to White in two categories that matter in spring training, innings (10 for White, 8 for Campillo) and ERA (1.80 for White, 6.75 for Campillo). Though Campillo's ERA has dropped since two disastrous outings where it topped almost 20. So, I understand if they'd keep White on, especially given his Rule 5 status.

Campillo has at least made the argument, including this two innings today with only one hit and one walk in relief, that he deserves a roster spot. Since March 8, where he gave up five runs in an inning, he hasn't given up more than a single hit in an outing, let alone a run. I'm just surprised he's gone so long without getting any attention.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dennis Kucinich coming to Olympia (March 30th)

The first presidential candidate I ever saw live (the second was Bill Richardson) is coming to Olympia again. Via email:

America In Solidarity is proud to host Congressman Dennis Kucinich for two events as he tours the United States in support of his nomination to be President. The Ohio Democrat was one of our original pledge signers and spoke at our original kickoff in 2003. Dennis is a union member, a tireless advocate for workers' rights, and a visionary thinker with great ideas for how to improve the lives of ordinary Americans.

He was against the war in Iraq from the beginning and has consistently championed the interests of workers since his arrival in Washington, D.C. We are proud to have him on our side, representing the views of countless Americans whose voices have been entirely left out of the corporate media

There will be two opportunities for you to come and meet him. The first will be at Olympia's Traditions Cafe on Friday March 30th.

Come out and talk with one of America's great progressive leaders from 4:30pm-5:30pm in Olympia.

Traditions Cafe and World Folk Art
300 5th Ave SW
Olympia, WA
United States

We will also be hosting a rally for Dennis on Sunday, April 1st in Seattle from 6pm to 7:30 PM at the Labor Temple, located at 2800 1st Ave.
For any additional information, call our office at 253-471-1123.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

45 percent of Seattle Voters are not world class

45 percent of Seattle voters showed their lack of world classiness wanted to rebuild the viaduct, only 30 percent wanted to dig a tunnel. A majority of Seattle residents don't want anything, how world class of them (and here).

Campillo survives first round of cuts (that I noticed)

Well, this is an important round of cuts since Jim Parque, the lead "lets pull for the underdog in camp" guy, is included. Campillo as sixth starter, still a chance.

Follow the Geoducks on the Diamond

Now two of my favorite things, Evergreen State College and baseball are coming together in another of my favorite things: a blog.

The Geoducks Baseball Blog is here, complete with schedule, roster and video review of their 2006 season. Baseball is a club sport out at Evergreen, but they still get cool unies.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Campillo pitches well

After two terrible outings which followed a great outing, Campillo seems to have settled down again, pitching two effective innings against the Giants in a split squad.

This week in Oly: wifi and disc golf

Not in the same part of town though.

It may seem funny to you, but having TCTV run the wifi thing for the city of Olympia is actually a good thing. Their counterpart in Pierce County (Rainier Communication) is doing a bang up job with wifi up there, and by letting TCTV take the lead, who says we won't have county-wide wifi in a few years?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

England and open source, social media, etc...

I've always been impressed with the way that England seems to be way ahead of the curve in terms of applying the power of the web to the way government deliberates. Blogging of course has had a big impact on politics here, but more on the side of campaigning, not governing. There is a huge difference.

Look at the local e-democracy national project, how Britons can petition their prime minister, and now a speech by a conservative politician on Open Source Politics. I love his three pillars:
The first of these pillars is about equality - equality of information - or what Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive of Google, called "the democratisation of access to information" when he spoke to our Party Conference.


The second pillar of a new political settlement will be founded on new social networks.


The final pillar of this new political settlement is open source.

Last week I went to hear my friend Professor Jeff Sachs deliver the first Reith Lecture. He talked about open source politics.

Open source politics means rejecting the old monolithic top-down approach to decision-making.

It means throwing open the doors and listening to new ideas and new contributors.

It means harnessing the power of mass collaboration.

I'm featured at Hotline blog

As Ken and Joaquin Guerra nicely pointed out, I was featured at Hotline earlier this week for I'm interested in reading more of these features, I want to know who else like me got into this whole world from the Dean campaign.

Friday, March 09, 2007

We can start calling him Jorge "Gas Arm" Campillo

Boy, after one good outing, he's getting crushed:

The chief offender was Jorge Campillo, who had a nightmarish inning in which he faced nine batters and gave up five runs, all of them in the space of two pitches -- a three-run double by Gordon followed by a two-run Jason LaRue homer on the next pitch.

Only four runs were earned, but even the unearned run was his doing. With a man on first, he fielded a comebacker and threw it into the outfield for an error.

"He didn't help his cause today," Hargrove said.

Or as this guy put it, 5 runs in 50 seconds, which is a pretty big accomplishment in baseball.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The real Geoduck Baseball schedule

Thanks Kip:
3/17 Western Washington 4:30 PM
3/18 Western Washington 10:00 AM
3/18 Western Washington 30 Minutes after first game ends

3/31 Seattle University 10:00 AM
3/31 Seattle University 30 Minutes after first game ends
4/1 Seattle University 10:00 AM

4/28 Central Oregon CC 10:00 AM
4/28 Central Oregon CC 30 Minutes after first game ends
4/29 Central Oregon CC 10:00 AM
All Geoduck home games are at Olympia High School.

Tacoma is not a world class city (elevate this)

Still the silliest argument in all of the the viaduct arguments (which to me is the ultimate in Seattle centric navel gazing) is the world class city theme (whether it be here or here). We should do something because Seattle is "world class." Well, whether Seattle is world class is open to argument, but to put that argument out, seems to point to other cities and say "not world class."

Not in the world class: Tacoma and the I-705.

And, I'd like to point out again that when I first complained about this "word class" theme I was wrong to point to Portland, which of course made the right decision when they took down their own waterfront highway and rededicated the money to transit.

Would anyone make the silly argument that Tacoma is a world class city? Of course not, but that it isn't has absolutely no bearing on whether I-705 was the right thing to do for Tacoma. 705 provides easy access from I-5 into downtown Tacoma, and up into the waterfront in the Stadium district, but at the same time it also cuts downtown Tacoma off from the waterfront. Its also noisy and not that pretty looking.

Whether a particular highway is built should not be based on what a city thinks of itself. On the other hand, one could argue that because Seattle has easy freight access from their waterfront is one reason why Seattle is "world class."

Monday, March 05, 2007

Geoduck baseball schedule, the best I can figure

UPDATE: Here's the real 2007 home schedule.

After straight up asking the coach of the Evergreen State College club baseball team what the schedule was for this year and getting no real response, I've put together their home schedule on my own.

Coach Kip didn't even point me to the vague league schedule here (broken down by week, what is up with that?). I found that schedule myself through a google search. After then going to all of the other team's websites that have away games against Evergreen (here, here and here), I sussed out this schedule:

3/17 WWU Olympia High School Olympia, WA 4:00
3/18 WWU Olympia High School Olympia, WA 12:00
3/18 WWU Olympia High School Olympia, WA 3:00
3/31 Seattle University Olympia High School Olympia, WA 12:00
3/31 Seattle University Olympia High School Olympia, WA 3:00
4/01 Seattle University Olympia High School Olympia, WA 12:00
4/28 Central Oregon CC Olympia High School Olympia, WA 12:00
4/28 Central Oregon CC Olympia High School Olympia, WA 3:00
4/29 Central Oregon CC Olympia High School Olympia, WA 12:00 (?)

I'm not totally sure about some of the times, but this should be somewhat accurate.

The good news is that all of the Geoduck home games will be played at Olympia High School, which is literally around the block from where I live. I should be able to make most of these games.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Campillo's line not great, but better than Weavers'

Both Jorge Campillo and Jeff Weaver went two innings today against the Giants. Both gave up some runs, Weaver got the loss, and Campillo was marginally better.

Just want to point out that Weaver is the guy being penciled in as the fourth starter while Campillo was released last December and is in camp as a non-roster invitee.

Weaver (L, 0-1)2.053311113.50
Campillo 2.03221109.00

Friday, March 02, 2007

Strangest link in to my blog, ever

Last night I was doing the vain act of seeing who had linked to my blog. I found this, which I first assumed was link spam, but no, it was an actual blog.

Its a blog by Dustin Luther who trains real estate agents how to write their own blogs and develop communities. I found the incoming link funny because it was a response to a real estate agent that was setting up his site, and he was frustrated because no one was blogging in Olympia. Dustin sets him straight, but it got me thinking about blogging and why real estate agents might want to use this medium.

Here's a run down of his seminars that some what explains:

The first half of the presentation is understanding the competition.

In today’s online environment the traditional way of doing business for real estate agents is being attacked on many levels. Everyone from Google to Zillow to Redfin to ActiveRain wants a piece of the existing real estate pie… However, rather than say whether these changes are good or bad, I focus much more on understanding the motivations behind these types of companies through the prism of “Web2.0″.

The second part of the presentation is how to build up your personal brand.

The idea here is that once you understand how the competition is thinking, there are many ways you can use these same concepts to empower yourself to build up your own brand online. Of course, I spend a lot of time in this section about blogging, why it works and what are some advanced tools that you can use to blog smarter, but I also give tips on how to use other social networking tools to empower yourself!

At the end of the day, there are really two different presentations, but I hope you’ll find that they are very complementary.

Online (zillow, etc) is competition. Instead of running away from it, embrace it and create your own online brand. That is what I'm getting from his pitch.

Which is ok, but I wonder how relevant real estate blogs can be. Here are two blogs that Dustin points to, one in Seattle (only one post so far, but its new) and another in San Francisco.

To get an idea of what I usually think of this kind of stuff, read this blog at Olyblog.

You know, I was going to make fun of real estate agents trying to cop onto the next cool thing, but now that I think about it, I think Dustin has a point. The above two blogs (even the one with only one post) do seem to be honest attempts at blogging honestly, not trying to fake it.

I'm a big fan of politicians blogging, so on the surface, I shouldn't be that hard on real estate agents. And there is something to be said for real estate being an inherently local business, so their contribution to local blogging communities could be a good one. Maybe that's a point I should make to Dustin, make sure these folks reach out to other local bloggers, but in a human way, not in a used car salesman way.

Sandra Romero's official announcement for Thurston County Commission

I didn't say this in my previous post, but it is weird that people are already announcing for a local election almost two years from now. Not that I blame Sandra.

Here is her official announcement (hat tip to Sarah in the comments):
Sandra Romero announces her candidacy for Thurston County Commissioner, Position 2 in the 2008 election.

Sandra Romero served in the Washington State House of Representatives for 12 years and on the Olympia City Council for three years. While a State Representative, she chaired the House Local Government Committee and the House State Government Committee. She was also an active member of the House Transportation Committee.

She has a passion for good government and believes that government works best when citizens are engaged and informed. As a legislator, she distinguished herself on major local government priority issues such as: growth management, improved contracting procedures, building code improvements and transportation projects.

She has demonstrated her frugal style with taxpayer’s money. Consistently, she was the House Member with the lowest office expenses charged to the state budget. “I always treat taxpayers’ money as carefully as I treat my own,” she says.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Open membership discussion at Washblog

Particle Man (particle man, doing the things a particle can) posted about the open membership tabling at Washblog. Good discussion, though I'd disagree that the TCD is elitist.

Small victory of the day, flash embed of TVW content

This is the first example I've seen of a mainstream outlet (media in the regular business of being media) using TVW content in a shareable format. Anyone can go up to the page and pick up the sound clip and put it on their own page, blog, website or what-have-you.

The SR blogger could make it easier by providing source code to do it, but anyone with any know how can just figure it out. See, I did it here:

If you want to find out how, give this a read.