Recent local blog posts

Why lying is legal in politics here (or isn't, but the courts will probably make it legal again)

Olympia Time - Sun, 10/23/2016 - 6:17pm
One quote from the robo-call dustup made me think:

You could read this (as did I) as a simple statement of "I'm telling the truth" or at least "I think I'm telling the truth," but in Washington State that isn't necessarily true.

In Washington State, Glen Morgan and Karen Rogers could well be lying, and know their lying, and still not run afowl of state law.

Twice now the state legislature has tried to outlaw lying in political speech, and twice the state Supreme Court has sent them back.

In the 1990s, there was a state law that barred candidates and campaigns from sponsoring "with actual malice" lies.

The first case that struck down these rules involved an assisted suicide initative, specifically one flier that the proponents of the intiative said were innaccurate about suicide safeguards.  The second had to do with one of Tim Sheldon's state senate races in which his opponent tried to make hay over his weak defense of Mission Creek.

Between the two cases the state legislature tried to clean up the law, making it possibly better able to survive court challenge.

The bottom line of these cases is that the Public Disclosure Commission, which usually regulates political and campaign speech in Washington, can't get into the lie vs. truth business.

The deeper reading of these cases shows a divided court weakly coming to this conclusion. Both cases show a small majority coming to a very thin legal conclusion that the state has no part in the lie vs. truth business.

Justice Talmadge in 1998, writing (sort of) with the majority:
I agree with the majority that RCW 42.17.530 is facially unconstitutional because it sweeps protected First Amendment activity within its provisions by penalizing political speech, even if knowingly false, regarding an initiative measure.   I write separately to emphasize that I am not convinced that the same is true where a statement contains deliberate falsehoods about a candidate for public office.   In my view, there is merit to the contention that the Legislature may constitutionally penalize sponsorship of political advertising of such a nature by enacting a narrower statute than RCW 42.17.530.And Alexander in 2007:
Chief Justice Gerry Alexander joined the majority as well, but in a separate concurrence. He wrote that "the majority goes too far in concluding that any government censorship of political speech would run afoul of the United States and Washington constitutions," but he agreed that the law was unconstitutional because it was overbroad.But, then, two years later, the legislature again tried to clean up the law to make it illegal to maliciously defame a politician running for office. From the final bill report of SHB 1286:

It is a violation of the campaign laws for a person to sponsor, with actual malice, a statement constituting libel or defamation per se under certain circumstances: the false statement is about a candidate and is in political advertising or electioneering communications; a person falsely represents that a candidate is an incumbent for the office sought in political advertising or an electioneering communication; or a person directly or indirectly implies the support or endorsement of any person or organization in political advertising or an electioneering communication when in fact the candidate does not have such support or endorsement.  A candidate is also prohibited from submitting a defamatory or libelous statement to the Secretary of State for inclusion in the voters' pamphlet about his or her opponent. For the purposes of this act, "libel or defamation per se" is defined as statements that tend: to expose a living person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or to deprive him or her of the benefit of public confidence or social intercourse; or to injure any person, corporation, or association in his, her, or its business or occupation.  If a person makes a false statement, with actual malice, about himself or herself or falsely represents himself or herself as an incumbent, it is not libel or defamation and is not a violation of the campaign laws. It is also not a violation of the campaign laws for a person or organization to falsely represent that the person or organization supports or endorses a candidate as persons and organizations cannot defame themselves. If a violation is proven, damages are presumed and need not be proven. So, there. Clear as mud. Each time the legislature tries to make it unlawful to lie, then the courts kick it back and the legislature tries again. If we were to take a broader view in our historical circle, we're at the point where we wait for a case attempting to enforce this law makes it back to the Supreme Court.

Halloween Bash with Coffins of Cash at Quinault Beach Resort and Casino

Thurston Talk - Sun, 10/23/2016 - 6:00am


Instead of mourning summer’s warm sunny days, taunt the change in seasons with your best maniacal laugh and coffin loads of cash, thanks to Quinault Beach Resort’s annual Halloween Weekend Bash on October 27-31. With more than $21,000 of cash and loads of specials, free game play, and the scream-tastic Nightmare Ball, it’ll jump start […]

Black Hills High School Girls Soccer Team Continues to Build Legacy

Thurston Talk - Sun, 10/23/2016 - 6:00am


It was a breakthrough year for the Black Hills High School girls soccer team last season. Powered by the program’s all-time leading scorer, Joslin Lindsay, the Wolves claimed another 2A Evergreen Conference championship, but, more importantly, notched their first ever state playoff victory in the school’s 18-year existence. The team had been 0-7 in state […]

Syrian War: Analysis & Discussion of the Conflict

OlyBlog Home Page - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 9:22pm
Event:  Tue, 10/25/2016 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Author and teacher Shon Meckfessel will lead a discussion about the situation in Syria and what can be done, and will present the film The White Helmets.  The event is Tuesday, October 25th, 7 PM, at Traditions Fair Trade Cafe, 300 5th Avenue SW, in downtown Olympia. Meckfessel is curator of and has lived in Syria. He recently returned from a trip to the region where he interviewed Syrians in Jordan and Lebanon. This event will feature a Skype call-in with a member of the White Helmets, a Syrian civil defense organization.
Sponsored by: 
Economics for Everyone,
Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice,
Students for Justice in Palestine - TESC,
and GI Voice logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

30 Americans at Tacoma Art Museum Part II

South Sound Arts - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 8:18am
African American Art Since the 1970sRobert Colescott, “Pygmalion, 1987, acrylic and oil on canvas, 90 x 114 inches, courtesy of the Rubell Family CollectionPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 20, 2012I reviewed 30 Americans in this space two weeks ago. With 45 works from 30 of the best African American artists since the 1970s, this exhibition needs more than one column. So here’s part two:One of the more impressive paintings I did not touch on in my first review is Robert Colescott’s “Pygmalion,” a large painting at nine-and-a-half feet in length and seven-and-a-half feet in height. Colescott’s interpretation of the Greek myth (upon which the play by George Bernard Shaw was based) has an interesting twist. The sculptor, Pygmalion, is a black man with gray hair and a heavy gray beard, identified as a self-portrait of the artist (or it could also be a caricature of Frederick Douglass; Colescott’s cartoon style leave a lot to the imagination). The sculpture of the beautiful woman which the mythological sculptor created and then fell in love with is usually depicted in white marble. Here she is presented as a Black woman — not the alluring nude with no arms, that’s the Venus de Milo, also depicted as a Black woman — but the woman in the flower-patterned house dress Pygmalion is dancing with. His expression is angry or intense, not loving. The other figures in this crowded scene all appear as everyday people in everyday situations. Some might even be viewed as stereotypical. It is difficult if not impossible to read the artist’s meaning. Nevertheless, I love this painting. I like its exuberance and energy and bold use of color, and I am fascinated by its ambiguity. Speaking of Frederick Douglass look-a-likes, Rashid Johnson’s black-and-white photograph “The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood)” pictures a handsome Black man in suit and tie surrounded by swirls of smoke. The title refers to Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice. I’m not sure that I get the meaning, but it is a dramatic photograph.A striking photo with a similar appearance is Hank Willis Thomas’s “Who Can Say No to a Gorgeous Brunette?” — a part of his “B®randed” series, which critiques the advertising industry by presenting twists on the types of images often seen in ads. Of this series Thomas said, “I believe that … advertising’s success rests on its ability to reinforce generalizations about race, gender, and ethnicity, which can be sometimes true, and sometimes horrifying, but which at a core level reflect the way culture views itself or its aspirations.” Pictured in this photo is a beautiful, strong, Black woman with a sad expression and a huge Afro that blends into the background with a strong use of chiaroscuro. The viewer is asked to contemplate her image in light of the title and with advertising imagery in mind.Kara Walker asks viewers to think about the history of slavery with her mural-size (eight-by-55 feet) frieze of silhouetted, cut-out cartoon figures dancing. They are designed to illustrate the old Stephan Foster minstrel song, “Camptown Ladies.” The frieze presents the style of demeaning images of Negroes that were popular during the time of minstrel shows. The contrast of black figures against the white wall and the rhythmical movement draws the viewer into a deceptively lighthearted visualization of a history of horror.Many of the paintings, photos and sculptures in this show employ irony and insightful references to history and the art of the past in order to comment of the realities of racial relations then and now. It is a powerful show that should be perused slowly, in depth, and often.Tacoma Art Museum, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Jan. 15, 2017, $15, third Thursday free 10 a.m.-8 p.m., 1701 Pacific Ave. Tacoma,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Ground Inn – Unique Lodging Option in Downtown Olympia

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 6:00am


While visitors to Olympia have a variety of lodging options, none are quite as unique as Ground Inn. Find this gem tucked in a mixed-use neighborhood, just a few blocks from downtown. The unassuming vintage home is a bunk and breakfast, which opened on January 1, 2014, and is still going strong more than two […]

Andrew Huang, Henry Nordhorn Lead Soloists at Upcoming SOGO Concert

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 6:00am


Standing on stage at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts can be enthralling but also intimidating, even when you have a full orchestra with you. Now, imagine being a high school student, performing a solo in front of a packed house. “As a musician, I am learning to be more dramatic through my body […]

Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau Welcomes Jeff Bowe

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 2:49pm


Submitted by The Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau (OLTVCB) The Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau (OLTVCB) is excited to announce Jeff Bowe as the new director of sales.  Bowe will focus on driving conferences, meetings, tour and travel groups to the region with an emphasis on conferences related to beer, wine, spirits, agriculture, art and culture. […]

The Story of Cassandra Terwilleger: Abuse of the Homeless in Olympia

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:57am

On 09/10/2016, I was walking home from work when I saw what looked like a domestic violence situation. I stopped and interrogated both the seriously injured woman and the man shouting at each other. The man, known as "Blue," walked off, pissed as all hell, and I began talking to the woman.

This picture was taken at the Interfaith shelter at First Christian Church, this is what she looked like when I found her.


She told me she fell of her bike trying to swerve away from a car. She had been to Capital Medical Center twice and St. Peter's once in the 5 days before. She told me that after she admitted to being an addict, doctors treated her like a criminal, not a patient. At Capital Medical Center, they manhandled her, leaving her with arm damage which has left damning consequences.

Having once been homeless, I am familiar with how medical facilities treat the homeless, whether addicts or not. Even in hospitals, the homeless are
treated like criminals for simply trying to live another day.

Cassandra's plan was to go to Harborview, and I didn't have means to get her there. So, I took her directly to the First Christian Church shelter. The shelter staff and Cassandra worked out a solution, while I stayed until I knew what the outcome would be. A staffer by the name of Bryan took Cassandra to St. Peter's Hospital, hoping that if she had a non-homeless advocate, that she would receive better treatment.

Here are the pictures I took of Cassandra at First Christian, she told me that she wanted her story heard. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Morningside Asks: Could it be You?

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 8:56am


Submitted by Morningside We haven’t found the right Job Developer yet! So, now may be the perfect time for you to join the best. Morningside has been a premier provider of employment services to adults with disabilities in Western Washington for more than 50 years. As a Job Developer you are responsible for developing assessment […]

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 7:52am


I still have a nice stash of candles, batteries and fresh water left from last weekend’s “storm”. The end result of the less than dramatic weather system is I’m prepared for the stormy season ahead. For now, though, I’ll focus on preparing for the weekend ahead full of fall fun with my family and community events throughout […]

Julianna Salanoa Dominates the Middle for Timberline High School Volleyball

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 6:57am


Coach Krista Manke desperately needed someone to fill one of the outside hitter positions. Timberline High School’s volleyball team was a machine in 2013, posting an impressive 21-1 record with the Blazers’ lone setback occurring in the first round of the 3A state tournament to eventual runner-up Holy Names. After suffering their first defeat, the […]

Save a Buck at Thurston County Thrift Shops

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 6:00am


Who doesn’t like a bargain? Whether you have never ventured into a thrift store or are a veteran “thrifter” like me, thrift-shopping is an ideal way to look for some treasures while finding great deals. Thrifting has gained popularity in recent years (cue the Macklemore song) as a way to not only save money, but […]

Producing with a Purpose: An Idea, a Fellowship, a Livelihood at VETS_CAFE

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 6:00am


“A Nation is made of paper ideas, a country is made of soil and its produce,” Deston Denniston the Director of VETS_CAFE states. VETS_CAFE, short for “Veteran’s Entrepreneurial Training and Studies in Conservation, Agriculture, Forestry and Ecology,” is due to earn their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status this November after four blooming years of creating more outlets […]

Krystal Barkus Hired as Events Coordinator for Thurston County Chamber

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 2:27pm


Submitted by the Thurston County Chamber The Thurston County Chamber hired a new events coordinator, Krystal Barkus. Born and raised in Thurston County, Barkus is a 2005 graduate of North Thurston High School, and a graduate of Central Washington University where she majored in Tourism Management and was actively involved in the Recreation and Tourism […]

Lacey Engineer Wins State Excellence Award

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 1:53pm


Submitted by SCJ Alliance Quoting Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” And that habit of excellence, cultivated over his decades-long career as an engineer, has earned Scott Sawyer a prestigious award from the state’s American Public Works Association (APWA). Scott, a principal at SCJ Alliance, […]

Small Numbers Equal Big Results for Rainier Football

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 6:00am


Plenty goes into one of Terry Shaw’s practices, but no aspect for the Rainier High School football coach is quicker or easier than roll call. The Mountaineers only feature 19 players on their roster this season – not even enough to do a full scrimmage at practice. When Shaw does a walkthrough to showcase the […]

Thrifty Thurston Finds Family Fall Activities around Olympia

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 6:00am


The sun of summer has set and the leaves have changed from green to a deep, autumn orange. Pumpkin spice lattes are warming the hands of fall enthusiasts and the rain boots have replaced many beloved pairs of flip flops. We are knee deep in the season and with the weather changing, many people develop […]

New Plans for Olympia’s “Mistake on the Lake:” Residential, Restaurant, Gym, Pool

Janine's Little Hollywood - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 10:55pm

Above: Looking north from the switchback trail on the State Capitol Campus toward downtown Olympia, Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains, a vacant, nine story building stands in the middle of the view. Local developer Ken Brogan says he is under contract to purchase the former office building and proposes to redevelop it into a mixed use residential apartment complex.
By Janine
Ken Brogan soon hopes to be the new owner of the nine story building in downtown Olympia, best known by critics as The Mistake on the Lake, and has a full set of plans for it. 

Others have been working for years toward its possible demolition to restore the original, open scenic view north to Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains.
Brogan met with city staff on Wednesday morning to discuss redevelopment of the two parcel site, which includes the nine story building and another vacant, one story building. 

The nine story building is also known as the Capitol Center Building, and The Views on 5th.

The proposed development would convert the nine story building to a mixed use project containing 136 apartment units, and a 6,364 square foot restaurant and café. 

The one story building nearby would be rebuilt into a new three story structure with an underground parking structure for residents, administrative offices, a rooftop swimming pool, and a fitness gym along the frontage of 4th Avenue, which would be open to the public.  It is uncertain if the pool would be open to the public.

The parcels are bounded by 4th Avenue West, 5th Avenue SW, Simmons Street SW, just south of Bayview Market, and Sylvester St. SW, which is next to the Heritage Park Fountain.
Built in 1965 and vacant for over ten years, the blighted nine story building has had a long and tortuous history, and at this rate, despite its location, is old enough to be of interest to historic preservationists for its mid-century architecture.
Homeless individuals currently sleep in and around the buildings and windows are often broken. Brogan, who has not yet taken ownership of the property, said that he and his team spend “everyday” trying to figure out what to do about the situation.
Above: Local developer Ken Brogan speaks with City of Olympia building official Todd Cunningham on Wednesday morning.
Nicole Floyd, city senior planner and manager for the project, led the discussion among key staff who took turns asking high level, clarifying questions, discussing codes, requirements, and concerns involving building, engineering, fire, urban forestry, and public works standards. 

Brogan submitted his plans to the city on September 28 and has not yet filed a land use application.
Among other comments, staff said a traffic impact analysis would be required, and the project would need to conform to the new Low Impact Development standards that will take effect December 1. Brogan said he anticipates submitting an application after that date and would comply with all current standards.
Staff expressed subtle and not so subtle enthusiasm about the project.
“It’s an exciting project, and an opportunity to clean up the area down there,” started city building official Todd Cunningham, who also admitted that the project was a complicated one. 
The building's height is non-conforming and is grandfathered into an area that has a current height limit of 35 feet, however, the structure cannot be enlarged or expanded in size.
There will be opportunities for public involvement throughout the land use process, which will start with a neighborhood meeting after Brogan submits a land use application. The project will be subject to State Environmental Policy Act review, which will be led by city senior planner Cari Hornbein.
Causing confusion for some is the fact that previously submitted plans for the building to be converted into a hotel are vested.

“The previous land use approval was for a hotel, which is still vested. That means an applicant can move forward with building permits to convert the existing building to a hotel. The new proposal is not vested. The applicant must file a new land use review application which must be approved by the city before building permits can be issued and the project constructed,” explained Tim Smith, principal planner for the City of Olympia, after the meeting.
The area is zoned Waterfront Urban – Housing. Smith says that no portion of the property is within shoreline jurisdiction.
Above: Waterfront indeed. A relatively tame storm surge from Budd Inlet spilled over onto Sylvester Street in downtown Olympia in March 2016, reaching 4th Avenue and the Oyster House restaurant. The nine story Capitol Center Building and another vacant building proposed to be redeveloped are in the flood zone. City officials told developer Ken Brogan on Wednesday that he will have to plan to accommodate a 16 foot sea level rise.
Jerry Reilly, chair of the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation, attended Wednesday’s meeting.
In an interview with Little Hollywood, Reilly praised the city’s purchase and demolition of two nearby, blighted buildings, in its effort toward the creation of a great civic space on the isthmus.
He is also pleased with the passage of last year’s ballot measure to create the city’s Metropolitan Park District that enabled the city’s purchase of Kaiser Heights, a wooded parcel near Ken Lake, and the LBA Woods. However, Reilly said he would like to remind councilmembers that a leading argument for the MPD’s passage was to also make more feasible the removal of the nine story building.
“Eleven months have gone by since over 60 percent of Olympia voters approved the creation of the Metropolitan Park District. One of the key selling points of the MPD was its potential to make more likely the removal of the Capitol Center Building.

“We may be on the verge of an historic missed opportunity to purchase and remove this building. The building is now at the bottom of its market value. The question now, most often heard from people regarding this building is, ‘Why was it allowed to be built in the first place?’  The question in the future may be, “Why didn't we remove it when we had the chance?
“The people of Olympia intensely dislike this building. They have told us this on many occasions, through an initiative signed by nearly 5,000 registered voters, a Trust for Public Lands poll, the Elway poll, and the positive vote for the MPD. If redevelopment proceeds, we will endure this Mistake on the Lake for another fifty years. Time is running out,” said Reilly.
As for Brogan’s designs, Reilly called them “interesting,” but questioned why he would want to remodel a building built on fill in a floodplain susceptible to liquefaction.
Little Hollywood’s attempts to speak with Brogan were somewhat unsuccessful.
After asking Brogan a few questions, he discontinued speaking with Little Hollywood after twice asking, “Do you support the project or are you opposed to the project?” Further conversation was apparently conditional on my response.
Little Hollywood responded, “If you read my writing, I try to be fair and offer new perspectives. I have fans on both sides of the issue. I tend to stick to the facts and let other people’s comments provide balance,” and suggested he read my articles.
Brogan did say that he thinks the nearby 123 4thAvenue building is a big compliment to downtown Olympia, and if given the opportunity to pursue his project, he would use local contractors.
Above: The interior of the Capitol Center Building is fully gutted. The windows on the first floor are often broken and a source of easy entry into the building.

For more interior photos and information about the Capitol Center Building, aka The Mistake on the Lake or The Views on 5th, hotel plans, the isthmus, scenic views, Jerry Reilly, the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation, the city’s Downtown Strategy, king tides and sea level rise, go to Little Hollywood and type key words into the search button. 
Story Clarifications, October 20: The original article made it sound like the underground garage would be under the nine story building. It would be beside it, as part of the three story building. Also, in preparation for sea level rise to 16 feet, the elevation is in relation to mean sea level, and the sidewalk at that location is about 12 feet.

What can people do to help?

Works in Progress - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 9:48pm

The Chaplin-Thompson trial is scheduled to begin on October 11, 2016, at the Thurston County Courthouse. The Chaplin-Thompson family has requested that the community support them by showing up at court. Seating is limited, but overflow crowds will be accommodated in another room with a live feed. Check the Courthouse schedule for more information.

The Chaplin-Thompson family is also in need of wheelchair-accessible housing. At a recent community meeting, Crystal Chaplin expressed that the family is having difficulties finding a landlord that is willing to rent to the family due to the pending trial.

You can find more information about community meetings, court dates and how to contact the family through Facebook:

Call or email Jon Tunheim at the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office ASAP and request that all charges be dropped against Chaplin and Thompson: 360-786-5540

Sign a petition to get the charges dropped:

The post What can people do to help? appeared first on Works in Progress.

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