Rob Richards's blog

The New American Revolution

We are living in important times. There is great upheaval across the land. The people are rising up against the status quo, more so each day. They are rising up against inequality, against bad environmental practices, against social woes.

The Occupy Movement that is growing across our nation is a manifestation of this discontent. It is a clarion call against the status quo. People have had enough of the system, both financial and governmental. Something must give.

The criticism surrounding its lack of cohesiveness is quickly addressed by a single phrase. The same that was espoused by the revolutionaries of the 1770s: taxation without representation.

No matter your issue, whether it be environmental, economic, or social, the dilemma is the same. We are taxed every day by the current system, economically, socially, and emotionally, yet we are not represented by those we elect.

The invisible thumb of the free market rests squarely upon the scales of justice and equality, and prevents us from seeking the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness we were promised. Indeed, that promise has been eroded to the point of oblivion.

If we are to be successful today, we must coalesce. We must stand for equality. We must stand for reciprocation. Taxation without representation is not and never has been tenable. We must push forth under the banner of our Founders, for were they here today they would be with us.

We must demand reform, and if we are not granted substantial and meaningful reform - if the current system cannot modify itself to our will - then revolution is the only recourse.

We must commit ourselves to this task. It will not be easy, and people will suffer. The powers that be will undoubtedly go to great lengths to maintain their stranglehold upon their power. We must not be deterred, for we are righteous in our endeavor.

Salvation Army Cutting Services

The Salvation Army has announced that it's closing all of it's family shelter units, and cutting back half of it's shelter beds for men, effective in about a month.

This is a huge blow to our already inadequate shelter capacity, and the city is working with the social service community to find a solution, possibly by allocating Human Services Review Council money to shelter programs. Let's hope they can work fast, it's cold out there.

Jeff Kingsbury

I have disagreed with Jeff on many things over the years. I have been angry and disappointed about decisions he has made, I was a part of a civil disobedience that spawned a tent city because of Jeff's vote on a sidewalk ordinance. But never, in all of my active years in this community have I or anyone I align myself with ever thought it would be OK to target Jeff's sexuality. This, like throwing a rock through a window, does nothing to further civil discourse. These kinds of actS only divide us.

There have been many issues over the last few years that have divided our community. Conference centers, sidewalk ordinances, RV parking bans, noise ordinances, nuclear subs, nuclear free zones, port protests, etc. All of this focus on division is destroying us. If we don't find some common ground, nothing we do will ever revitalize our city. We are entering into a period of great uncertainty and perhaps very tough economic times. The one thing that will get us through it is a strong community where the members stand by one another.

In interpretations of the Chinese language, the symbol for 'crisis' is comprised of two symbols, one meaning danger, the other meaning opportunity. I see this as two divergent paths before us.

The dangerous path is one where we let this heinous act go as if it were nothing, as if because Jeff is a public figure he should expect or deserves this kind of treatment. That response, I fear, would open the door to more hateful actions and even violence in our community. Violence like the kind that took place outside of Jake's a few weeks ago, when a group of gay men were attacked by a group of straight men amidst homophobic slurs.

The opportunity that we have is to pull together as a community, and not only to support Jeff, but to send a strong and clear message to the perpetrators of these acts that they are weak, that they have no power over Jeff or anyone else in our community, and that we do not, no matter who it's directed against or how we feel about them personally or politically, tolerate hate speech or crimes in our community. We do this not because we magically agree with Jeff all of a sudden, in fact we shouldn't do for Jeff at all, we do it for ourselves, our neighbors, our children, for the future of our community, and because hate has no place here.

Poster Wall

I'm writing this in regards to OlyBlog's newest feature, Poster Wall. The photos being used for this new feature were not taken by Rick or any other OlyBlog volunteer. Many of these photos are the same exact photos used on olympiastandard.com's Poster Calendar and were taken by Jason. The other photos were taken by Steve at olyforums.net.

It is inappropriate to use someone else's work without crediting them and allowing the public to assume you are putting in all of the work. If this were being done with content from The Olympian's website without credit being given, they would surely ask you to cease and desist.

Jason and Steve both put a lot of work into creating content for the sites, and don't deserve to have their work used without receiving credit. This is a form of plagiarism, and I would request that it stop.

Is Anonymity Holding Olyblog Back?

Over the last year at least I've been contacted by many members of the Olympia community about OlyBlog. Some of them were current members of the blog and expressed that they don't like the atmosphere, that it is stifling to real community building. Some of them were former members of OlyBlog who walked away from active roles for the same reason: they were afraid to post their opinions for fear of some of the responses they would receive. Most of them were lurkers who never post a thing. Most of those lurkers expressed that they wanted to post things and wanted share their opinions with and hear the opinions of their neighbors, but they won't until they can be sure they won't be attacked for it. This has been expressed to me by a variety of people on the spectrum from downtown business owners to state workers to local politicians.

I immediately wanted to solve this problem, so I asked of them (sometimes they offered without my asking): What is something we could do about that? What can we change that would make you feel safe contributing to OlyBlog? Hands down the number one answer has been: Anonymity.

Run For Local Office and Receive Money For It

There is a group in town that will be lobbying the city council to add Public Campaign Financing to the ballot.

If it gets on the ballot and passes with a majority vote of the people, then it would be available for use in the next City Council election.

What would that look like? If you or a friend (or both) wanted to run for the Olympia City Council and could meet a certain set of requirements (something like 300 signatures with a $10 donation from each), then you would qualify for public money for your campaign. This would take the burden of fundraising off of you and allow you to focus on the campaign, as well as give you a competitive chance against your opponent.

If this is something you would like to see happen, send an email to the city council asking them to put public campaign financing on the ballot in November. The city council can be reached at: citycouncil@ci.olympia.wa.us

If you have any questions about public campaign financing, please post them here and I will answer them as soon as I can.

Bread and Roses Needs Your Help This Summer

Summer is here and it's always a crazy time for us at B&R. If you've got some spare time, think about spending a few hours of it with us. We've got lots of volunteer opportunities, from outreach to fundraising to providing hospitality at our advocacy center. If you're interested, just give us a call at 360.359.3293.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Graduation Day Open Thread ft. Dr. James W. Loewen

To all of the graduates, congratulations.

Things kick off on campus at 1PM, I recommend taking the bus out there to avoid the traffic and parking mess that is graduation day.

The guest speaker is exciting this year, it's Dr. James W. Loewen who wrote the book, 'Lies My Teacher Told Me'.

Franklin Street Piano Garden

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