Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jeannine Roe Sworn In - Says "No" in Vote on Bentridge Development

Above: Jeannine Roe being sworn in as a new Olympia City Council member Tuesday night by Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander.

by Janine Gates

Tonight's Olympia City Council meeting started off with the swearing in of newly elected Jeannine Roe to replace councilmember Joan Machlis. Machlis had been appointed to the council to fill a vacancy and lost to Roe by 96 votes.

Roe gave a statement thanking her daughters, Julia and Allison Dellwo, and her parents, Marilyn and Charlie Roe. She also thanked Machlis for her dedicated service to the city. "I take my seat on the council with humility and with confidence...I am humble to be assuming this leadership role and along with it the obligation to serve all Olympia residents - not just those who voted for me," said Roe.

Roe's first issue on the agenda, along with other councilmembers, was to decide whether or not to proceed with approving a proposed 72 acre neighborhood village project, called Bentridge, located off Boulevard Road near LBA Park and the Chambers Lake basin. This area is located where high groundwater, flooding, and stormwater runoff threatens existing homes. The proposal includes 501 residential units on 348 lots with a 12,500 square foot commercial building. The project proposal includes the building of 160 single-family homes, and other multi-family duplexes and townhomes.

According to a staff report dated July 13, 2009, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) map for the area identifies two flood zones on the Bentridge property.

The controversial project concerns neighboring residents and others who care about Olympia's future growth and development.

Gus Guethlein, a property owner on Wiggins Road, testified during the public participation portion of the meeting. "The site plan shows almost no stormwater capacity and the city is already facing dilemmas with several development projects that are stalled due to the current economic situation. And there is also the impact of added traffic from 500 new households on the Boulevard Road traffic system," said Guethlein.

Another member of the public expressed concern that the council was unwilling to consider the combined impacts of the multiple large developments that are already proposed for this area of the city.

The council discussed a report from the project's hearings examiner, Tom Bjorgen, who had reviewed the project proposal. Bjorgen recommended that the project be rejected on the grounds of "school concurrency" issues. He was concerned that the project was going to result in the arrival of more children than could be serviced by the existing schools. The staff and councilmembers debated whether the children moving into the proposed development should be served by schools in the neighborhood or in schools throughout the Olympia school district. In the latter case, students could be bussed across the city to attend a school.

In a protracted, technical discussion on this matter, Councilmember Rhenda Strub asked the clearest question of the evening that went unanswered by the city attorneys. She expressed concern about busing students and queried how this would fit into the Olympia comprehensive plan's emphasis on sustainablity, walkable neighborhoods and limiting unnecessary transportation.

Another issue of concern involved a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) migated determination of non-significance (MDNS), dated June 16, 2009. This called for specific measures in response to projected increased traffic. These included offsite traffic and pedestrian improvements within the city, and some traffic improvements in the county on the old Yelm Highway.

One concern was that the hearing examiner had not considered, or even been aware of, the MDNS for the project. Tom Morrill, the city attorney, said that it is not clear if the hearing examiner saw or even knew about the MDNS. "He didn't say if he had seen it or not."

"If he didn't see the MDNS, that's stunning," said Councilmember Jeff Kingsbury.

In the end, Kingsbury offered a motion, which was seconded, to approve the project master plan with a request for some clarification on whether the examiner had considered the MDNS. Councilmember Joe Hyer said that he wanted to more forward with the project but he would have to vote against the motion to support neighborhood schools.

Strub said, "I'm voting against the motion. There ought to be neighborhood concurrency (for schools). I am loathe to give the green light for development that will crowd schools or bus kids to the other side of town. I don't think 'horrified' is too strong a word...."

Although she did not participate in the discussion of the issue, Roe's first vote cast as a city councilmember was a "no" to the questionable development project. The motion passed with a final vote of four to three with Roe, Strub and Hyer voting against the motion.

Above: Mary Nolan, Executive Secretary to the Olympia City Council, left, and Terry Gregerson, middle, of the city's Information Technology Department, help Jeannine Roe get ready for her first city council meeting on Tuesday night.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's Your Olympia (So Go Downtown, Things'll Be Great!)

Above: Patrick Mapp thanks Tas Jones for coming into his shop, Danger Room Comics. The store is celebrating its 15 year anniversary with a party on December 4th, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. There will be food, beverages and video games, says Mapp.

By Janine Gates

They weren't exactly singing the 1965 Petula Clark song, "Downtown," but about 25 downtown business owners did get together on Wednesday night to socialize and commiserate on how they are managing to survive economically. They also heard details about a new downtown marketing campaign, “It’s Your Olympia,” at the Parking Improvement Business Area's (PBIA) fourth year anniversary annual meeting at the Phoenix Inn.

At one table, business owners Patrick Mapp of Danger Room Comics, Daisy Anderson of Pizzazz, Sarah Swartz of Fire & Earth, Ron Vansickel of Peppers, and Nancy Caifa of Nonna Rosa Cafe and Tea Room, met each other and chatted.

“For me, it’s been slowly getting better this year. We have to be optimistic…stubbornly optimistic,” said Mapp.

“We have to be nuts,” added Anderson, who has co-owned Pizzazz on Washington Street with her daughter Theresa Anderson, for 17 years.

Above: Theresa Anderson, owner of Pizzazz. Pizzazz’ business relies largely on the making of gift baskets using a wide variety of "Made in Washington" products, but would sure appreciate more foot traffic. Pizzazz has lots of affordable stocking stuffers! Pizzazz is located across from the Washington Center for the Performing Arts at 513 Washington St.

“It was a different city 15 years ago. It's gotten more busy - there are more people downtown. It has its ups and downs," says Mapp. Mapp has been in the same location in the Oddfellows Building on the corner of Columbia and Fourth Avenue at 210 West Fourth, for 15 years. “Our landlords are awesome. They are very invested in the community.”

Asked what the secret to his success is, Mapp said, “We work in a business with low overhead but I have to be careful about what I stock, and I have to sell a lot of it by knowing the product intimately and making good recommendations. Our business plan is really simple: we find good stuff and we try to sell it,” says Mapp.

The relationship between the city, the Olympia Downtown Association and the PBIA got off to a rocky start in 2006. The PBIA is a geographic area with an advisory board elected by the businesses in that area, and the city collects from each business an assessed yearly amount between $150 - $750. The PBIA advisory board makes a recommendation to the city on how to utilize the funds. The fee is based on number of employees and what downtown "zone" their business falls within. The PBIA's goals are: a clean and safe downtown, civic beautification, marketing, holiday focus and business retention.

Katherine Mahoney, outgoing president of the PBIA organization, gave an overview of the organization, its marketing efforts and budget situation in 2009 and 2010. The PBIA proposed budget to the city is $100,000 in 2010, as opposed to $143,500 this year. The budget is typically about $125,000; the extra amount this year reflects a rollover amount from 2008.

Next year, downtown will lose city employee Peter Spotts who operates the Green Machine sweeper, which helps keep downtown clean. "Peter has been an amazing ambassador for downtown...we will see a real difference in cleanliness next year and I encourage all of you to get out and clean up the area in front of your shops," said Mahoney.

The Green Machine will be off the streets and kept in storage to await possible budget improvements in the future. A total of $10,000 is still budgeted in 2010 for the Green Machine's maintenance. The cost savings for not having Spotts and the Green Machine will be $40,000.

Other 2010 budget priorities include downtown cleanliness projects to be identified ($10,000), a steam cleaner ($2,000), flower baskets ($8,500), art bench project ($4,500), downtown marketing ($30,000), Olympia Downtown Association administrative support ($10,000), downtown cleanup ($5,000), holiday displays and support ($10,000) and probabtion crews/cleanup ($15,000).

Above: Artist bench project of the PBIA. This is one of 10 benches the PBIA spent$7,500 "beautifying" in 2009. This one is outside Last Word Books on Fourth Avenue. The PBIA has budgeted $4,500 on the bench project for 2010. The money went towards artist supplies and fees.

The marketing campaign of "It's Your Olympia," was designed by an Evergreen State College graduate, Eben Greene, who used to work at Archibald Sisters and now lives and works in Seattle. The words and logo are copyright free, which means anyone can use it. Banners with the theme are now hanging in the Olympia City Council chambers, and were hanging downtown, but were quickly damaged in last week's windstorm, so they were taken down for repair.

Lighted snowflakes, which made their debut last year, will be put up downtown next week. The city no longer lights the trees downtown for the holidays. "Finding access to power and weatherproof power boxes downtown is incredibly difficult," said Mahoney. The city will be placing more snowflakes on State Avenue this year, as well as Capitol Way. Businesses will not be hoping for a white holiday season, which ground downtown sales to a near halt before Christmas last year.

Joan Machlis, who recently lost her election campaign for Olympia city council to Jeannine Roe, attended the PBIA meeting and said to the group, "I've been very inspired by the PBIA. The city is cutting every discretionary program - programs that this community loves. This program assesses yourselves and you control the programs...this is only the beginning...."

Machlis also said that the former Department of Transportation lot on State Avenue will be striped and available for free parking for the holiday season. Machlis, who is now working for the Hands On Children's Museum on grantwriting and their capital financing campaign said, "I'm impressed and hopeful that the PBIA can build on their work. I intend to stay involved...I know the thrills and struggles of entreprenership."

The "P" is for Parking

“I was initially opposed to the PBIA when it was first pitched - it was different than what it became...it’s been kind of bumpy,” says Patrick Mapp of Danger Room Comics. Many downtown business owners would call Mapp’s description an understatement. Parking, the "P" in the Parking Business Improvement Area organization, is a major sore spot for many downtown business owners.

Many businesses refused to pay the assessed fee and late notices were sent to an out-of-town collection agency. Now, the PBIA's collection agency, Grimm Collections, is locally owned, and provides an option of paying in installments or by credit card. Some still don’t want to pay it.

Daniel Furrer, former president of the Olympia Downtown Association and manager of Archibald Sisters, is adament that the PBIA's assessed fee is a cost of having a business downtown, and says, "This is a constantly evolving process. If businesses have suggestions on what the fee is going towards, come get involved with the PBIA and help determine priorities. It's a volunteer board of 13 - 15 people...come talk to us and get involved."

Ron Vansickel, owner of Peppers, at 114 Cherry Street, was one of those businesses that did not pay the PBIA fee. Vansickel says, “I’m dismayed in general by the city council. Parking is a problem - and my business was headed to the Westside because of the perception of downtown being unsafe. On Friday, for example, there were zero nearby parking places available. We’re wedged between the port construction on State Avenue, and the building of the new city hall on Fourth. To add insult to injury, parking enforcement doesn’t give us a break. I feel like the enforcement is just a revenue stream for the city….it’s bizarre that we can have a downtown without parking.”

Vansickel, who first opened Pizza Time downtown 20 years ago, says parking was rarely a problem before. “I’ve heard that we’ve lost a total of 52 parking spots with the loss of Safeway, and parking on State and Fourth due to the construction….I can't believe we don't have a parking garage.”

Above: The new Olympia City Hall under construction, November 20, 2009. No doubt, Peppers (Mexican restaurant) will enjoy great foot traffic business once the new city hall is scheduled to open January 31, 2011, if they can hang in there until then.

An estimated one third of downtown's 337 free parking spots are used by owners and employees. Theresa Anderson of Pizzazz says she and her mom have witnessed for years the activities of one man who works at the Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) in the old Capitol Building on Washington Street: he comes out every one and a half hours to move his car to a new free location. Anderson described the man and his car. "He must have a timer on his computer because he comes out like clockwork. Think of the amount of company time he wastes to move his car every 90 minutes!" Free parking is scheduled to end in March with the installation of new meters.

Theresa Anderson said that 200 residents live in the Washington block of downtown Olympia. The old Hotel Olympian above Pizzazz has 50 apartments, and about 20 of those residents have cars. About ten of those residents are disabled so their cars are allowed to stay parked in one spot for several days in front of her store. Daisy Anderson added, "If the new city council doesn't see eye to eye on downtown issues, nothing will change."

Above: Signmaker Ira Coyne uses his talent on Saturday night to help Quality Burrito look spiffy.

Above: The PBIA and the Olympia Downtown Association is sponsoring a wide variety of activities downtown throughout the holiday season, November 29 - December 19. Come on down! Click to image to enlarge.

For more information on the Olympia Downtown Association and the PBIA, go to www.itsyourolympia.com.

For bus schedules, contact Intercity Transit at www.intercitytransit.com or 786-1881.

For more information on City of Olympia parking, go to www.olympiawa.gov/parking.

For a schedule of downtown activities, go to the Olympia Downtown Association at www.downtownolympia.com.

Janine Gates often walks downtown. Feeling uncharacteristically lazy, Janine drove downtown on what turned out to be a busy late afternoon on Saturday. She circled around and around for a free parking spot because she did not want to pay money to park at a Diamond parking lot, although there were many, many, many spots available. In fact, Janine has never in her 26 years in Olympia paid money to a Diamond parking lot. Parking is free downtown on Saturdays and Sundays and weekday evenings. Finally, she found a spot right in front of Old School Pizza and, being able-bodied, walked around for a couple hours to do some of these interviews. Afterwards, she got two great slices of pizza from Old School and headed home to write this article.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Imagine Olympia: Community, the Comprehensive Plan and Cake

Above: Mayor Doug Mah revs up the crowd to get excited about Olympia's upcoming Comprehensive Plan process.

By Janine Gates

"We're going to do it right, we're going to do it well, and we're going to invite all of you, and because this is Olympia, we have cake!" exclaimed City of Olympia Mayor Doug Mah at the Olympia Center downtown today.

The City of Olympia kicked off its “Imagine Olympia” campaign this afternoon to get the community engaged in the city’s update of its comprehensive plan. Mah's comments about 'doing it right' referred to the public participation process, perhaps acknowledging skepticism expressed by some on the city's ability to handle a major campaign using in-house resources and staff to effectively listen to and incorporate citizen input into a document that needs to be completed by 2011.

The Washington State Growth Management Act requires that cities develop plans to manage population and urban growth. The Olympia comprehensive plan is the city's blueprint for how it grows and accommodates citizen desires for the city to be a beautiful place to live, work and play. The city’s current plan was adopted by the City Council in 1994 after a two-year community involvement effort. As required by law, it is now time for the city to review and update the plan.

Above: Yea, the current Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map is kind of complicated, but it tells you exactly what's zoned where in Olympia.

About 200 people attended the event to learn more about city programs and priorities, meet city staff, and contribute their vision for Olympia's future. The city had staff at numerous tables around the room to discuss topics such as climate change and sea level rise, housing affordability, shoreline planning, and transportation. The Comprehensive Plan has thirteen chapters, but not all chapters will need to be extensively updated. Chapters on land use and the environment, for example, will take significant effort and time to update.

As City Councilmember Karen Messmer wandered around, she revealed an auspicious fortune inside her Dove chocolate wrapper: "Shape the future by dealing with the present."

City associate planner Jennifer Kenny handed out cloth bags that contained Imagine Olympia "home kit" host instructions for gathering comments from friends, family and neighbors on what they value about life in Olympia and what they would like the community to be like in the future. The kit contains information on projected growth statistics and visioning questions to use as talking points. The self-guided home meeting discussion should take about an hour or two. There is no firm deadline for hosting a discussion, but "the sooner the better," would be good, said Kenny.

Kenny says "Imagine Olympia" teacher curriculum packets are also available for teachers to use in the classroom and that she and Erin Scheel, Intercity Transit youth education coordinator are also available to come into classrooms to guide the process. "The goal of the curriculum is to get kids to think about the built environment and the big picture," said Kenny.

Above: "I'd like to see Oly retain its small town independent, quirky charm - I'd like buildings to be kept on the short size on isthmus or better yet a park - don't lose the artsy edge too!" (click on image to enlarge)

The only portion of the day's event that actually allowed community members to publicly express their vision for Olympia's future was on a wall of butcher paper. City staff member Kraig Chalem encouraged people to write their responses, on multi-colored sticky notes, to three city-offered questions that asked for their vision of Olympia with an assumed significant future county population growth.

The Thurston Regional Planning Council projects that Olympia and the Olympia urban growth area will grow by 20,000 people between 2010 and 2030. Some question this figure. A question posed by the city asked: How can we accommodate 20,000 more people and achieve the atmosphere you hope for? Some offered suggestions such as, "If we don't build it, they won't come," or "Send them to Lacey."

As Chalem struggled to keep the sticky notes affixed to the paper throughout the afternoon, he explained that the comments will be tabulated into general themes. "This is just a shotgun approach...we're going to have more events - we don't want to be leading people, we want people to give us their reactions."

Above: Butcher paper and sticky notes are pretty cheap - The City of Olympia has allocated $30,000 to develop and implement the two year Comprehensive Plan process. This note says, in response to what a city means to you, "This means where I know people wherever I go, where I feel kindness/friendliness (a hello and smile), where people care about their environment by keeping it clean and beautiful (more parks)."

Above: Kraig Chalem and Carlos Gemora at Saturday's "Imagine Olympia" event.

Carlos Gemora, 21, has lived in Olympia for five years and works in residential construction. Gemora says he came to the event because he has opinions on how the city should be run and likes the idea of neighborhood village zones that allow small retail areas within a neighborhood.

Gemora's mother, Teresa Staal, said, "I'm here because I feel like there is so much potential in Olympia that we are not fulfilling. We have intelligent, creative people here that we need to tap. We have the advantage that we are the state capital and have the potential to be the shining example of the state of Washington."

Above: Keith Stahley helps newly elected city council candidate Jeannine Roe get on board with the "Imagine Olympia" campaign by giving her an Imagine Olympia Home Kit.

Above: Kathy McCormick of the Thurston County Regional Planning Council speaks with former City of Olympia Mayor Mark Foutch.

Looking at various mixed land use models, former Olympia Mayor Mark Foutch ran down the list of options. "Look at this current land use menu - we can see what hasn't worked, and what has...Downtown housing hasn't panned out yet (but) when the market improves, and lending improves, we might see some action on those lots," he said, pointing to areas throughout downtown.

"These haven't worked not because the comprehensive plan is faulty, but because the market hasn't caught up with the vision of the last comprehensive plan. There are so many variables - what is the price of motor fuel going to be in ten years? Can we concentrate more jobs in Olympia so that we're able to provide a market for high density corridors without spilling over into neighborhoods?"

Asked what his vision of Olympia is, Foutch said, "I'd like Olympia to remain a place where everyone feels welcome, valued, safe, secure and heard. These things are not expressed just in the built environment - and this may sound corny - but by the hearts of the people who live and work and go to school here. Over the decades, I think we've done a good job in striving for that goal."

Longtime city Planning Commissioner Roger Horn attended the event and later said, "Clearly, there's a lot of interest in the process and we can maintain this (if) people feel like they are being heard. They are contributing to something that will have a big impact - it's a 20 year plan, but its impact will be felt for a long time - 50 years or longer."

The city will hold neighborhood meetings from January through March, 2010, and public hearings will be held at by the Planning Commission and the city council in 2011.

For more information, go to www.imagineolympia.com or call city Community Planning and Development staff at (360) 753-8314.

Above: For some, the day's events really was just about the cake - a little boy eagerly watches Keith Stahley, city Director of Community Planning and Development, serve up cake at the Olympia Center this afternoon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jolene Unsoeld and Citizen Activism: "What Are You Going To Do About It?"

Above: Former U.S. Congresswoman and citizen activist Jolene Unsoeld.

by Janine Gates

Former Washington State Third District U.S. Congresswoman Jolene Unsoeld still won't be told what to do as she fought valiant attempts by Shanna Stevenson, Director of the Women's History Consortium, to attach a corded microphone onto her blouse. Unsoeld, telling Stevenson that she needed freedom to move around when she speaks, of course, got her way.

Not only does Unsoeld move around when she speaks, she gestures with animated excitement and passion. Her trademark smile and energetic spunk was warmly welcomed by a roomful of community members and local activists seeking her insight, guidance and advice in a freewheeling one hour conversation of current topics.

Unsoeld, 77, who lives in Olympia, was an unpaid, independent citizen lobbyist from 1971 to 1984, served in the Washington State Legislature from 1985 to 1989 and in the U.S. Congress from 1989 to 1995.

Unsoeld was the guest speaker today at the Washington State Capital Museum in a program coordinated by the Women’s History Consortium. The Consortium, an initiative of the Washington State Historical Society, recently funded the processing of Unsoeld's papers at The Evergreen State College. In 2008, Unsoeld received the Washington Coalition for Open Government's James Madison Award for her lifetime work protecting open government.

Unsoeld explained the beginnings of her activism, which, for many mothers, often begins with their children's interest in political affairs. "I got married young and had four children while my husband was in graduate school...then we went to Nepal with the Peace Corps....When we came back, we were really thrown off center. Our family was exposed to television for the first time - starving children in Biafra and the Vietnam War."

Unsoeld described the pivotal moment that led to her future political activism: "My eldest son, then 16, was so (emotionally) decimated by world's affairs, and had many discussions with his parents about what he could do. His queries were usually answered, 'No, I don't think that will work; no, going to jail won't stop the war...' "Finally, out of absolute disgust, he asked at the dinner table one night, "Well, Mom and Dad, what are you going to do about it?"

When they moved to Olympia in 1970, Unsoeld says she literally wandered into the state Capitol Building out of curiosity and it wasn't long before she got involved in the political process.

From her first hand experiences, Unsoeld says the lesson she learned, one that will remain constant despite the era or issue, is for activists to learn to follow the money in political campaigns.

Unsoeld's early work included helping successfully spearhead I-276, the Public Disclosure Act, which later resulted in the establishment of the Public Disclosure Commission, which monitors candidate fundraising activities.

Describing her research work in pre-computer days during the election cycles of 1974 and 1976, Unsoeld monitored and tabulated about 400 candidates on a daily basis as reports came in, using card files and large notebooks.

"I was learning a lot as I looked at these reports coming in," as Unsoeld noticed significant conflict of interest connections in an Eastern Washington race. The local newspaper ignored her information, but Unsoeld says she appreciated the fact that KING-TV and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer took notice of her work.

Almost singlehandedly, Unsoeld then created a grassroots booklet on her Underwood typewriter called, "Who Gave, Who Got, How Much?" which summarized her findings. Many names and addresses of contributors were, at first glance, seemingly unconnected, but were discovered, through Unsoeld's research, to be directly connected. "What I learned is that the grassroots efforts that is represented by lots of small individual contributions could overcome the mass of high contributions by vested interest groups."

Audience member Alan Mountjoy-Venning asked Unsoeld about the impact of Glenn Beck forcing certain candidates forward when more reasonable candidates are available who are actually interested in true dialogue. Unsoeld responded, "I think the liberal wing of the media and the public is not fully recognizing the danger here. There is just enough of the extreme element to stomp on the majority...."

Unsoeld said that the Democrats need catchy slogans like those created by Republican wordsmith and strategist Frank Luntz, whom she described as "a genius the Democrats have never had." Luntz creates small focus groups and finds out what phrases people will respond to, "although they have nothing to do with reality," like "death tax," "public option," and "government takeover."

"Words are words, and they can be positive ones, but Democrats have not found their words to make their message on healthcare, or Wall Street or any of those issues, to find a solution."

Speaking of Tim Eyman and the initiative process, Unsoeld said, "The initiative process used to be a process of the people rising up and speaking out on an issue. Do you think it is anymore? No....We are all interest groups, but I'm talking about monied, vested interest groups that have the wherewithall to take over the process...Eyman is making a permanent living off of it - I think it's a real fluke, fortunately, that he didn't succeed this time, but there is a real danger there, and there is a lesser ability for people to make more of a difference...."

Unsoeld asked the audience to ask themselves, "What is it that's coming up this next session? The money is already flowing...there are those forces at work....We must follow the money ahead of time, before the issue arises...(but) with the lack of investigative reporting, the news media can't do it right now...the people need to lead. There isn't any shortcut...."

An audience member asked what are the sources of truth. Unsoeld, who had read passages from the New York Times, the Washington Spectator and quoted "her hero" public affairs commentator Bill Moyers, said, "The problem is that there are a lot of good public interest groups that do good, but when an issue gets too hot and costs them membership and contributions from good government types, they back off...."

"There is no substitute for an informed, participatory public. It just takes dogged, dogged work, and we're all tired, our age group particularly, so we've got to get those youngsters going. They were out in the last campaign but they've got to stay there....it's a long haul. Those are the battles that have to be fought for social justice and they are so important. If you try to stay on the sidelines, you're just deceiving yourself...so you have to find that that inner strength to keep going."

"We have to be willing to get muddy to understand how it all works...as long as you have people on all sides who have (gotten muddy), then things will be fairly balanced and honest...There is no absolute right or wrong on any issue. You have to struggle with every step to keep your values and goals in your mind...."

And as people left the room and went out into the blustery weather that left some areas without power this afternoon, Unsoeld, whose talk was punctuated by applause several times, had clearly succeeded in delivering the challenge to her audience to get muddy and make a difference.

To learn about the Women's History Consortium, contact the Washington State Historical Society at www.wshs.org or www.WashingtonWomensHistory.org for more information.

To "follow the money" and see who contributes to candidates and how much, go to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission at www.pdc.wa.gov.

Above: Former U.S. Congresswoman Jolene Unsoeld speaks with audience members at the Washington State Capital Museum today.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Night's Not Over....

Above: Karen Rogers, Candidate for Olympia City Council Position #4, and John Whalen, video producer for Thurston Community Television (TCTV). Whalen called TCTV to let the station know that Rogers was available for an interview.

by Janine Gates

Olympia City Council candidates held election night parties at local venues such as the Urban Onion, Oyster House, Procession of the Species and Rambling Jack's, but city council candidate Karen Rogers held her party at a private home in the Eastside neighborhood.

At 9:30 p.m., Thurston Community Television (TCTV) completed its coverage, and Karen Rogers, candidate for Olympia City Council Position #4, held a slim lead tonight with 4,662 votes to Karen Veldheer's 4,421. Although the race is too close to call, Rogers was asked how she was going to celebrate. Rogers, with her typical dead-pan humor, said, "I'm going to get a cat after Thanksgiving. I'm going to go visit my family in Florida. Then I'm going to go down to Animal Services."

Turning serious, she said, "I'm honored that the Olympia voters have put their trust in me - what I can promise is that I will continue to work as hard on the council as I have on the campaign and continue to listen."

The final city council race numbers for the evening in other races are:

Position #5:

Stephen Buxbaum 5,595
Jeff Kingsbury 4,049

Position #6:

Jeannine Dellwo Roe 4,649
Joan Machlis 4,566

Position #7:

Joe Hyer: 5,514
Tony Sermonti: 3,564

Above: Janine Gates takes a picture of Karen Rogers while she is talking with Thurston Community Television (TCTV).