Friday, May 29, 2009

Dude. Over the top (more Pat Beehler stuff)

I really wouldn't have pointed this out, but meh. Here goes. Here's more over the top Beehler (Jamie Bariekman's description of Beehler's kick-off event):

I have been to these events before but this seemed different. There was something in the air that gave me the sense of patriotism and pride. I saw it in others too.

Of course, what he actually said he'd do was vague enough:

Mr. Beehler’s message of self accountability, responsible spending, cutting taxes and service to the community was without question the message that we all wanted to hear.

But, you don't really care what he wants to do, as long as he cuts taxes (without cutting services?) and is a Republican.

He commands respect from his years of experience, and he has a deep respect for his mother.

Which is good, because most candidates don't like their moms.

It’s time to get rid of the good ol’ boy network that appointed Karen Valenzuela and elect Pat Beehler.

Sweet, because he'd have to get rid of all the elected Democratic Precinct Committee officers in Thurston County, including me. I actually voted for Karen Valenzuela as my top choice. Not that I'm a big fan of the PCO system (very much not so), but following the law is hardly an ol' boy network.

Actually, within the letter of the law, I'd defend the process we had. It was open, all of the applicant material was posted online and at least one online forum took place including two in person forums. Pulling something like that together in the dead of a really crappy winter and holiday season was hard.

I don't hear Republicans calling the PCO appointment process the "ol' boy network" when they're replacing a Republican.

Pat Beehler, your press releases are just a bit creepy

I thought it was just me, but I confirmed it with independent and knowledgeable sources, whoever is writing his press releases has a touch of the creepy in his pen:

Thurston County Commissioner Republican candidate Pat Beehler joined a crowd of community leaders to help support the 7th Annual Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County Foundation for the Future fundraiser this morning at the St. Martin’s Pavilion.“It is a shared privilege and honor to serve the community and focus on its future - the youth,” said Beehler who provided survey work for the Tumwater club’s building construction in 2001 and is hopeful of the proposed Olympia clubhouse.


The Tumwater High School Jazz Band serenaded the guests and speakers with upbeat tempos at the beginning of the annual event. Beehler who sat near the band was personally appreciative of their presence. The Republican candidate recounted volunteering backstage at a local Rotary Jazz Festival at the Washington Center which featured local high school bands.

Ok, and here's the funny thing. The piece itself isn't all that bad. A candidate saying how much he likes the Boys and Girls club is a really good thing, but not as a freaking press release. Do you honestly believe that the Olympian is going to run anything pointing out Beehler's love for a civic organization? Ever? Maybe if it was the KKK, but not the Boys and Girls Club.

But, if you take the press release, remove all the press-releasy language and added form (like contact info) and then put in the first person and you make it a blog post. A blog post or a campaign diary including reflections on mundane campaign activities is way more appropriate and less creepy than a press release on the same topic. And less self important.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ken Camp at metonymic trouble maker

I feel like the guy that Ken Camp motions to in a crowded room and says to his buddies, "Watch this, I'm going to get Emmett all riled up." Then he walks up to me, says something, and steps back and smiles as I start yelling at random people.

See, Ken is the one that keeps on emailing me stories like this one.

And, this one, which is really funny:

See! You get it? We're so vain down here that not only do we own machinery to kill trees, but we put a vanity plate on it!

Not that I mind entertaining Ken, he's a great guy for a Trojan. I'm just saying, that if you're wondering why I keep harping on this, its because Ken hands me ammo.

Ken would also like to have his own metonymy battle to wage, but people only use Tumwater rarely when they are referring to any collection of office buildings and bad roads.

And, back to that first column up top, it really isn't all that bad. Mostly the headline sucks, and I doubt the author had anything to do with writing that. The last paragraph actually dances around the metonymy of Olympia nicely, while using some very colorful language:

What's gone on in Olympia is the deliberate infliction of misery on small, helpless people, powerless to object -- Hank, Dave, Gretchen, Stephen and Mike don't vote, nor do they contribute to re-election campaigns. With no toadies in Olympia, they got the shaft.
"Toadies in Olympia." Now that is sweet.

humble Pat Beehler walks on water (and nets $4k)

Boy, the prose just paints the picture, doesn't it?
More than 100 local Republicans arrived early Tuesday morning to trump support for Thurston County Commissioner District 3 candidate Pat Beehler’s Campaign Kickoff breakfast at the Tumwater Tyee Center.

With only 10 days of planning, the high attendance exceeded the anticipated 50 – 80 people turnout.
20 more people showed up.

Surrounded by his family, Beehler humbly rose from his table to ask local Republicans for their support to reform local government currently secured by Democrats.

This was after they ran out of coffee, so Beehler made more from water. And, coffee grounds.

Citing the current commissioners’ focus on micro-management, Beehler said, "My profession has forced me to see the big picture and that’s exactly what local government leaders have to do."

Micromanagement = writing budgets.
“Government should be of laws rather than of men,” that is, laws based on society rather than partisan agendas.
People don't write laws, society writes law. Or is it that laws write laws. Whatever it is, neither men nor parties write laws, said the humble Republican.
The second drew inspiration from Beehler’s mother Rita saying, “Service to humanity is the best work of life.” This has since been a benchmark for the Republican candidate.
See? He said it, "Republican." That doesn't mean he's a partisan or that humanity includes people, because government doesn't include any people. Or men.

And, after all that humility and stuff, people still write him $4,000 (via the PDC, not Pat himself) in checks towards his campaign. What a guy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rep. Brendan Williams as a metonymic traitor

Rep. Brendan Williams (who I like in a lot of cases, but not in some) is blogging at the Seattle PI nowadays, and his new column starts out well in the metonymic sense. "What's the Matter with Washington" (not Olympia) this and "Democrats in Olympia" that.

But, then it all falls apart in the last paragraphs:

With our economy reeling, our education system declining, and our Earth imperiled, my 6-year-old's future cannot afford more incremental, play-it-safe politics. Democrats in Washington, D.C. – from President Obama on down – are effectively projecting an urgency Olympia utterly lacks.

Indeed, Olympia's past session made all the more laughable Republican assertions that Democrats are business "job-killers." With the public denied a choice on progressive tax reform, the only jobs killed were those of thousands of health care workers, state employees, and teachers dependent upon adequate state funding.

I lack urgency and I hosted the legislative session. Neat!

This sucks because Williams is actually from Olympia.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Save Jane's Chickens (Home-owners' association vs. neighborhood association)

Jane Johnson has the horror stories to beat all of local neighborhood organizations gone bad. I'm glad she shared it (treat yourself, read the entire thing):

His latest complaint was that my 2 hens -- Lucy and Ethel, kept in a coop in my backyard, out of sight of everyone, was in violation of the covenants that says homeowners in the subdivision can only have "dogs, cats, and 2 caged birds in the dwelling". Well he's got me there. I don't keep the chickens in my home. The Association inspected and informed me that I was in violation and said I have to get rid of my pets. So last night I went to the annual homeowners association meeting to try to appeal or change the covenant to allow for caged birds to be in the yard. I was ridiculed and marginalized. He and the Board had enough proxies to block my attempt to change the covenant. I brought up that other homeowners had fish tanks (visible from the street), hamsters, a snake, and other unallowed pets. They informed me that since there were no complaints about the other homeowners, they had no intention of taking any action on them but since there was a complaint about me they "had" to take action. I have to get rid of my chickens immediately.

The harasser wins. He has succeeded in using the power of the homeowners association to exert control and mess with me.
In Olympia, there are also a dozen or so neighborhood associations. Instead of enforcing seemingly variable rules regarding how one keeps their house (to preserve values, I assume) they help build community by building the neighborhood. Its a very different dynamic than one neighborhood using a civic organization to harass a neighbor.

Here's the site of the Olympia Coalition of Neighborhood Associations. Not only to our city neighborhood groups work with the city, they work with each other to build a stronger voice for citizens and build better neighborhoods.

Monday, May 18, 2009

From my own Mariners memories, to inappropriate SI reference, to building heights in Olympia

How many steps does it take to get from the 1995 Mariners run still etched deep inside my mind to the political battle being waged right now in Olympia over building heights? Not far enough. It is actually scary close.

Step 1. One of my favorite afterglow memories of the 1995 run was this article from Sports Illustrated (my earlier reference here). The scene is basically a bunch of guys waiting to go into a wedding until the Mariners game (part of the heroic stretch run) is over. This inappropriate line (you'll see in a bit) is included: "Gayle's wedding? It's her second."

Step 2. Who is Gayle Fink-Shulz, is she still in Washington State? I wonder how she feels to be immortalized in a classic article about the Mariners. Well, she's already pretty famous, and not because of a game or a set of games.

From the PI:

At the funeral for her husband, a state trooper killed in the line of duty, Gayle Frink-Schulz realized that many of the more than 3,000 officers in attendance saw in her their wives and mothers.

They knew it could be them lying in the flag-draped coffin. They wondered if the people they held dearest could endure their sudden, violent death.


At graveside, a woman approached and embraced her. She whispered that her husband, also a motorcycle officer, had been killed two years earlier.

"At that point we just held each other and cried," Frink-Schulz said.

As she struggled through her own grief, she decided that other families -- and law enforcement officers -- would benefit from an organized support system. In early 1994, she helped form the Washington chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, or COPS, a group that helps the family, colleagues and community deal with the deaths of officers in the line of duty.
Yeah, dude. Its her second wedding because her police officer husband died in the line of duty two years earlier. I have a hard time weighing the gravity of the 1995 Mariners and Mrs. Frink-Schulz's wedding, but I keep on coming back to Gayle on this one.

Step 3. The view from the Washington State Law Enforcement memorial has become a part of whether to allow tall buildings to be built in certain parts of downtown Olympia. From the Little Hollywood Blog:
Gayle Frink-Schultz of the Behind the Badge Foundation, gave perhaps the most compelling testimony of the day. As the widow of Washington State Patrol Trooper Steven Frink, Ms. Frink-Schultz explained how she came to be involved with the planning of the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial on the Capitol Campus which overlooks the debated isthmus region.

Frink-Schultz also explained the state’s heavy involvement in the project since 1999: site selection with the Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee, stabilization of the hillside, landscaping and construction of a retaining wall as part of the Heritage Park hill and walking path - “all to create a place of serenity, honor and respect.”

“....I found a new mission in life after my husband’s death. Steve’s death taught me there are things in life that are irrevocable, things we cannot control. But, I also learned that there are things in life that are important and that we do have choice over….This is one of those times.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Meet Pat Beehler, your Republican candidate for county commissioner

So, what do we know about this guy? Not a bunch.

The Thurston County Republicans announced his kick-off in a few weeks, implying his has the "right hands" to run the county. Of course, winning one-third of the commission won't exactly mean Pat's in charge, but that is just simple math.

Here's the description from his meetup page for his kick-off:

Pat Beehler is a long-time resident of Thurston County, and is an established community leader. He will bring balance to the County Commission with his quiet and respectful style of leadership. If you don't know Pat, come to the breakfast and learn about his plan to win!

For work, Pat's the "director of survey" locally for WHPacific, an architecture firm.

His campaign treasurer is a lobbyist at the legislature, Linda Matson.

Here's his facebook profile, oddly linked to from his campaign site. Nothing campaign related there, but he seemed to have signed up for it just as soon as he decided to run. It may surprise you, but after checking I have no friends in common with Pat. One of his friends seems to be wearing a cape though.

And, he's a Rotarian.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why does Olympia = Capitol Dome?

If these candidates are any indication, Olympians are ok with being associated with the government for the entire state:

Or maybe its just the prettiest building in town and so is the most notable. Either way, it was another candidate that reflected recently that he didn't like using the capitol dome as a symbol of Olympia because it was lazy. Or maybe I said that and he agreed with me.

Either way, I wish people wouldn't. There is much more to this city than a dome that we can't take much credit for.

What I wish would change with Sounders FC (and soccer in general) media coverage around here

I was a bit too harsh in the comment threads of the TNT just now, but generally, I think I'm spot on. Something needs to improve in soccer coverage around here. The problem generally lies with reporters that are coming to the game now that MLS has entered the fray locally.

There are some exceptions. Don Ruiz at the TNT (I wasn't picking on him) and Jose Romero at the Seattle Times have been at this longer than a few months, and now their stuff shows that. Other than that, I depend on bloggers and twitter updates for my Sounders commentary.

But, here are a few things that could help things out.

1. Post game talk.
I felt lost a few weeks ago driving home from my first Sounders game with no review on the radio. Even just one hour would be something.

2. Round table discussion on Sounders FC Weekly. There are enough reporters and bloggers that get it (see above) where you could replace the puffery that dominates the central news broadcast that covers the Sounders with actual discussion of the game.

Couple more subpoints about the Sounders FC Weekly. Why do they refer to Toronto FC as the "Reds?" Do they just need to have a nickname for every team? TFC is just as official a nickname for Toronto FC as they Reds is. And to that end, FC Dallas is nicknamed the Hoops, but I guess the producers haven't caught up with that one yet.

Also, the quality of the rest of the league game highlights is horrible.

3. I don't know how the rest of the reporters could carry this off, but please stop treating this like the first time you've ever covered soccer. It shows and its bad. John McGrath's reference to "soccer purists" rather than people who just understand the game implies that if you actually know something soccer, then you're outside the mainstream.

Would McGrath ever refer to someone who understands and accepts the infield fly rule as a baseball "purist?" Do only gridiron football purists understand rules regarding the forward pass, or are they just better informed?

And, if McGrath puts himself with "the rest of us" (you know, the normal folk) who don't understand why a rule exists, then should he be covering soccer?

Adendum: My explanation about why ties work:

1. The game is two 45 minute halvess, so the result is whatever happens at the end of that.

2. The season is a collection of points, not a winning percentage. The Sounders have 14 points, behind Chivas USA with 22. How they accumulated those points doesn't matter to the standings.

3. Also, the"season" is not a single competition like every other North American sport. In addition to the MLS leauge play, the Sounders may also qualify for the US Open Cup this year. Next year they could be in both Superliga or the Champions League. With so many competitions to possible consider, not playing overtime beyond 90 minutes is a good thing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here's to some hot Olympia on Olympia action

As Olympia (in one sense) seeks to lead Olympia (in the sense I prefer).

A kind, knowledgeable correspondent this afternoon reminded me that with Jeannine Roe in the mix, two people off the list of staff at the state senate Democratic caucus.

I wonder why this year there are more folks from the metonymic Olympia coming down the hill to run for the real Olympia's city council. The only thing I can figure is that running for local office is something that runs in the blood of the senate Dem caucus. Or not.

Chief of staff Rich Nafziger resigned from the Olympia school board when he took his job at the caucus, citing conflict-of-interest. Nafziger said at the time (via 5/17 blog):

Nafziger, who was elected to the board in 2003 and re-elected in an uncontested race in November, said Thursday that his position on the board conflicts with his job as chief of staff of the Washington Senate Democratic Caucus.


Nafziger said he hoped to find a way to avoid the potential conflicts and stay on the board, but "I wouldn't be able to do either (job) well," he said.


Education will be a hot topic in the upcoming legislative session, and attorneys with the caucus and the Senate Ethics Committee said there would have been a perceived conflict of interest between Nafziger's new job and his elected position, he said.

"My job is to give senators information on education policy," he said.
Sermonti seems to have sidestepped this issue as a communications staffer. Because, you know, what the Olympia city council does, seemed to be a hot topic during session:

And while Sermonti is ready to wade into the heady world of Olympia city politics, he said he checked first with Senate counsel to make sure it was not breaching any regulations.

It’s not, in part because he does not draft any legislation as communications staff, he said. “Those are two very distinct aspects of my life and I do not mix them.”

Roe is listed as an executive assistant (to Nafziger or just the entire caucus staff?) with a focus on "Pages, Gubernatorial Appointments." So, not really sure if she has more impact on legislation than Sermonti, but she seems to have waited until after session to launch her campaign.

Jeannine Roe in against Joan Machlis

Via email, from Bonnie (Jacobs?) (important parts in bold):

Citizens for Responsive Local Government, CRLG, formed after the Council's isthmus rezone vote, and after various public records requests revealed what Councilmember Kingsbury and some others were doing on their laptops during Council meetings.
CRLG’s endorsement committee included a variety of politically engaged and concerned people from around town, including four people who have been active with Friends of the Waterfront (Bob Jacobs, Emily Ray, Thad Curtz and Walt Jorgensen). Also included was Janet Blanding, a reporter who has been covering the Isthmus issues for Works in Progress, the local progressive monthly that's distributed from sidewalk boxes downtown.

CRLG spent four months asking people about possible good candidates, talking to a large number of people about20whether they'd be willing to run, interviewing a much smaller group of people who were willing to consider running, and eventually deciding to endorse three candidates –

Karen Veldheer (who is running for the open seat)
Stephen Buxbaum (who is running against Jeff Kingsbury)
Jeannine Roe (who is running against Joan Machlis)

CRLG will make a public announcement about its three endorsements soon. Our next email will include more information on their endorsement process, the candidates they’ve endorsed, and what you can do to help elect some new members of the council this fall.

An email that gets forwarded around is a public announcement, FYI.

Thurston County is Obama County (and what it means)

John McCain only won 31 of the nearly 300 precincts in Thurston County.

Just a few thoughts:

1. The Republican ticket won just two precincts in urban northern Thurston County, one in Lacey and one in Tumwater. Those should be written off because between the two, McCain/Palin netted just over 50 votes, they were tiny precincts. Democrats rock urban Thurston County.

2. While Republicans dominated in the south eastern portion of Thurston County, their rural dominance isn't repeated everywhere. The most lacking area is the northeast section, or the Thurston County portion of the 35th LD. Which is a major part of the newly interesting 3rd Thurston County Commissioner district.

3. That said, given all the red around Rochester, if a Republican can unseat a Democrat in that commissioner district, it will be from the south up.

4. In the east of Thurston County, I was surprised by how well the top of the Republican ticket did in an around Yelm. That might help explain how Randi Becker upset the lone elected Dem in the 2nd LD out there. Might also be a warning to newly elected Democratic county commissioner Sandra Romero. If the Republicans take that race seriously and put up one of their own that actually has a chance (instead of getting behind the least bad Democrat), they might have a chance out there.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Lacey is chickensh*t if it doesn't annex

The looming invisible city, which Ken addresses well here.

Here's the money graph:

Lacey City Manager Greg Cuoio told the group that the City of Lacey comprises 38,000 people in 16 square miles. The urban areas around Lacey hold 30,000 people in their 16 square miles. Cuoio said the general fund budget for Lacey is $38 million. If it were to annex the urban areas surrounding the city, it would receive only $10 million in tax revenue.

“That’s a deficit of about $28 million dollars a year,” Cuoio said. In addition he added, “it would take between a half billion and a billion dollars, to bring those areas up to city standards.”

Makes you wonder why Thurston County is having such money problems and Lacey isn't, huh? Well, it likely isn't better management, but just better annexing. Lacey has tons of shopping and very few actual residents. If it were to bring in the residential areas to the southeast, it would bankrupt the city.

But, as Ken points out, Lacey is already using the non-city residential areas to place city owned parks, senior centers and community spaces. Maybe they should just suck it up and start annexing their shadow city.

Hold a special legislative session in Ellensburg

The Other Side blog got me thinking just now.

With the news that no special session will be forthcoming, this is a bit of a non-starter anyway, but what would prevent the governor from calling a special session somewhere other than Olympia?

Logistics, for one. All the legislative stuff is here. So, for a month long special session, it would be unworkable.

But, for only a few days, or even just one day, why not hold a special session in Ellensburg?

As far as I can tell, there's nothing in the state constitution or RCWs that would prevent it. There is some language related to the "seat of government," but I think that is more open to interpretation.

You would always assume that the state supreme court is a equal level of government as the state legislature. But, while they usually meet in Olympia, they never shy from taking their show on the road. Is Puyallup the seat of government in Washington State? Nope, but the state supreme court met there recently. And, no one really minds that.

Also, and most important to me. If the legislature passes a bill in Ellensburg (let's just say for keeping certain pork products out of the state), Richard Roesler can write: Ellensburg says not to pigs.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Karen Valenzuela wins Democratic nomination for county commissioner

The most interesting part of the nominating convention for the county commissioner position up for election next fall was that it was boring.

Barring Erik Landaas running into the room saying he changed his mind, no one expected anyone to challenge Karen for the nomination. This doesn't mean a Democrat won't end up filing against Karen (I guess one already has), but they would do so without the expressed support of the party organization.

Not that I'm saying that would matter, I think the conventions on their own are crap.

But, that nomination sure seems to matter. Jon Halvorson learned that in a much more conservative district just recently.