Sandy M's blog

Honoring the heroes of Occupy Olympia

A couple days ago I posted a piece about Occupy Olympia on my blog at FireDogLake.  I joined FDL when I learned about a FDL project called Occupy Supply.  They are giving away cold weather supplies to Occupy encampments around the country. 

There is a rumor that the state is going to serve an eviction notice to (or actually evict) the Occupy Olympia encampment tomorrow at 9:00 am.  This seems as good a time as any to share the Occupy Supply post I put together in honor of our Occupy Olympia heroes.  Here's what I posted:

Occupy Olympia:  Our tents make a statement for all the world to see

One may alternately view the profound sight of this encampment in downtown Olympia, the Capitol of Washington state, as either a source of inspiration or as a visible gaping wound exposing our society’s massive shortcomings.

I am not accustomed to writing about social/political/economic justice campaigns from the outside looking in, but that is mostly the perspective from which I am now positioned in relation to my community’s Occupy encampment: Occupy Olympia.  So it is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude that I currently serve as the FireDogLake Occupy Supply liaison for Occupy Olympia.

Occupy Olympia’s first package from Occupy Supply arrived at my house on December 1, 2011.  The hats, socks and scarves were enthusiastically received by grateful recipients.

My main contact at the encampment is a young woman named Audrey.  She and her husband Alex, both students, have two small children and have been core participants from the outset, setting up and maintaining the medic tent which distributes supplies and dispenses first aid.

Use port property for housing, not hotel – Thad Curtz

Excellent letter by Thad Curtz in today's Olympian:

Use port property for housing, not hotel

Tarragon, the developer that the Port of Olympia is working with on East Bay scheduled and then postponed a conference with the city about putting a hotel on 2.5 acres at the corner of State Avenue and Jefferson Street. This used to be a lumberyard; then boats were stored there.

I don’t think there’s a better downtown housing site for people with kids than this. It’s public land, cleaned up by the port with public funds to make it buildable. The port is spending $3.9 million in taxes to develop new streets, sewers, sidewalks and lights for development there. It’s directly across the street from a big public plaza, to be paid for and maintained with taxes. On the other side of the plaza is the Hands On Children’s Museum, to which $9 million in public funds has been committed by the city.

Excellent letter in today's Olympian by Doug Riddels

We need a single-payer system

It is unconscionable that the health care option that polls have shown to be the most preferred in America — the most popular option in the industrialized world — the option statistically proven to provide the greatest benefits for the lowest costs, is not even permitted on the agenda for debate in Congress.

Of course, I’m talking about single-payer.

It works in Canada, and people up there are very happy with it.

It is most easily characterized as Medicare for everyone. You still pick your doctor, but the government (i.e., one BIG pool) pays the bill.

What’s not to like?

Well, for starters, no more obscene profits for the insurance industry. And that’s enough to kill it before it’s even brought to the table.

It’s time for Congress and the administration to put people ahead of corporate profits. If they won’t, it’s time for we the people to get serious about replacing the corporate folks (and we know who you are, fellas) with genuine public servants.

This last run at health care reform was an embarrassing debacle. But it surely proves that the system is completely corrupt at the top. Big business owns it, and the right-wing propaganda machine it bankrolls can bring out legions of screaming individuals whenever a politician dares to question the corporate bipartisan consensus.

We have one party to serve the rich, and one to confuse the poor. Whichever one we the people have to steal back from the corporations, let’s get it done, now!


Local trivia question

My son just sent me the following email:

can you tell me if you remember the name of the restaurant you and dad used to take me to on 4th between franklin and adams? i used to like to sit at the counter so i could watch the pans catch on fire. it's across from what is now angels thai and a mini mart... i want to say it was a man's name like "peters" or something...

This would have been late 80s - early 90's.  I told him it was called Crackers, but I think there was another incarnation which I cannot recall.  And I'm not sure if "Crackers" had the counter where you could watch food cook.

Can any of you help me fill in the blanks here?


Progressive Dem, Larry Kalb, to challenge Rep. Larsen

Health Care For All- Washington President, Larry Kalb, will challenge Rep. Rick Larsen.

Kalb for Congress

2nd Congressional District of WA


BELLINGHAM, WA (January 15, 2010)

Larry Kalb, a longtime resident of Bellingham, announced his candidacy for Congress today to become the representative of the 2nd Congressional District of Washington State. His decision represents a direct challenge to the incumbent Congressman.

“Our congressman has let us down!” says Kalb. “He has handed over his political authority to legislate to lobbyists for big business and then showered them with taxpayer money to boot. He’s too expensive to keep in office. The pending health ‘insurance’ legislation, which lobbyists authored, represents the largest shifting of citizens’ money to corporate interests in the history of this nation.”

Kalb, 55, works in the Finance Department for Whatcom Transportation Authority and has lived in Bellingham for 16 years. He has been active in numerous community and civic issues, most recently as the President of Health Care for All – Washington, a statewide organization advocating single-payer health care.

“Larsen continues to defer to corporate and monied interests and we, the constituents of the 2nd Congressional District, are paying for this transfer of power,” asserts Kalb. “He’s done this with the credit card companies, the first economic stimulus package, the emergency war funding and, most recently, with health care reform legislation.”

Tell Pelosi & Reid: NO on Mandate, YES on States' Rights

This just in from Progressive Democrats of America.

The Congressional Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Or toll-free at (866)-338-1015.


Promises, Promises

Take Action--Tell Pelosi & Reid:



In John Nichols' column, "Dem Leaders Scheme to Scrap Health-Reform Conference Committee," Nichols reports there will be no conference committee working to reconcile the two healthcare bills. Progressives had hoped to impact the final legislation in a profound way through this committee.

We have been lied to over and again in our attempts to get a debate and a vote on Medicare for All. Our last hope to negotiate a state waiver to ERISA, which would allow states to pass single-payer healthcare without a court challenge from healthcare corporations, has vanished before our eyes.

This is the final straw.

Call Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid. Tell them you will not support any Democrat in the midterms who votes for a bill which: does not include the ERISA waiver for states--effective immediately, and includes a mandate forcing us to buy defective corporate insurance policies.

Time is short, and they need to hear from us--TODAY and TOMORROW. The Democratic Caucus meets on Thursday.

This is the straw that breaks the camel's back. Please make these two calls and use the ‘forward-to-a-friend’ button above to send this action to like-minded people you know.

In solidarity,

Wed, Dec 16: Historic single-payer vote in the US Senate

On Wed, Dec. 16, the Senate is scheduled to debate, for the first time in US history, a proposal to create a single-payer, Medicare-for-All health care system.

At the very moment that the Senate health care legislation has been degraded to the point that even Howard Dean says it's time to "kill the bill," members of the Senate will have an opportunity to support an equitable, cost-effective system of providing quality health care to all people in the US.

Please phone and/or fax Senators Cantwell and Murray NOW and urge them to vote "yes" on Sen. Sanders' Amendment 2837.  (Contact information is provided below.  Physicians for a National Heath Program has provided talking points here.)

In addition to the demise of the public option and the Medicare buy-in, the Senate today rejected prescription drug reimportation: "In a big win for the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate on Tuesday killed legislation that would have made it easier for Americans to buy their prescription drugs from abroad, where prices are generally much cheaper."  Last week, language was inserted allowing insurance companies to place annual limits on payments for some catastrophic illnesses, such as cancer.

But even before these latest insults to the "reform" process, many prominent health care activists decided that the bill was not worth supporting.

Single Payer meeting Sunday, Nov 29

First, this is to announce that the next Olympia Single Payer Action meeting is THIS Sunday,

Olympia Single Payer Action (OSPA) meeting:

Sunday, Nov 29, at 11:30 AM
Mixx 96 Meeting room at 119 Washington Street NE
(SW corner of State and Washington Street)

Sunday: statewide single-payer meeting in Seattle

This is to announce that several Olympia Single Payer Action (OSPA) members will attend an annual statewide meeting of single-payer activists in Seattle tomorrow. 

Health Care for All – Washington:  Annual Membership Meeting
Sunday, November 15, 1-4 PM
Horizon House, 900 University St Seattle

There will be a carpool leaving from the Artesian Well in downtown Olympia at 11:45 AM.  (More details provided at the end of this message.)

This is an incredibly important moment in the single-payer movement both locally and nationally.  Locally and regionally, as stated previously by Peter Bohmer, our primary task is to “build a powerful movement for health care as a human right for all,” which will be the focus of tomorrow's meeting in Seattle.  Nationally, Healthcare-NOW is holding a national strategy conference in St. Louis this weekend with that same goal in mind.  Read their statement below in response to the health care bill just passed in the House.

Watch for announcements about upcoming OSPA meetings.  No doubt there will be plenty to talk about after tomorrow’s gathering in Seattle.

Toward affordable quality health care for all!



Healthcare-NOW Statement on HR 3962

Posted on November 13, 2009
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