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January 11, 2013 at 1:57pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Sidewalks, politeness and the law in downtown Olympia

THE COUNSELOR: Jim Foley suggests you be polite and respectful on the streets of downtown Olympia.


South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, the South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, The Counselor is back with his take on the Olympia City Council's decision to restrict lying on some sidewalks in downtown Olympia.

Dear Counselor,

I am so torn about the people I see sitting and lying on the streets in downtown Olympia. Some seem so young, others old - all invoke sympathy from me. Yet, at the same time, I feel for the downtown business people and the folks who live and shop downtown. What's your take on the whole thing?

Well, this whole issue has been in the news quite a bit lately. I did some research for your question. I spoke with downtown business owners, advocates for those who live on the streets and representatives of the law enforcement community. I also spoke with social service advocates for those described below with the H-word. Then I did some legal research to get the law.

First and foremost, you will not see the H-word used in this article. You know the word that begins with H and ends with "less". No, I will not use that word. Why?  Because after speaking with the aforementioned groups it became clear to me that the people you see on the street make up less then 10 percent of the H population. In other words, only one out of 10 people you see on the street should be labeled with the H-word. Everyone wants to use the H-word because it evokes sympathy and an emotional response. It is extremely paternalistic. Better call them kittens - "Oh how cute, oh how vulnerable, let's take them home." Not.

Not only is grouping the vast majority of street people as "H" heartbreaking ignorant. It is also just plain wrong.  It also diminishes those that properly are called "H' and does nothing to improve their lot.  There are some very good organizations that are working very hard to address the H-word. The organizations are making steady progress.  Next time you are about to give a dollar to someone on the street think instead about sending a couple of dollars to:

Anyone of these organizations will make way better use of your dollar then the guy on the street. OK, enough about the H-word.

What's up with sidewalks?

OK, this can only be tackled with a mini-law class on Real Property law. The sidewalk and the ground under it belong to the property owner - not the city, not the county and not the state. The sidewalk and the ground under it belong to the property owner.

Said property owner is liable for bad things that happen on the sidewalk most of the time - although there are always exceptions when it comes to the law. Got it? I am not making this shit up.

A city, county or government can and routinely does obtain and easement over the private property of the landowner. But this only gives the public the right to travel across this piece of land. It does not grant any other use.  Cities routinely require landowners to build, pay for and maintain sidewalks.  But the ultimate ownership and liability is with the property owner.

In Washington state, the property owner owes the following to people walking on the sidewalk. ...

A possessor of land owes a common law duty to prevent artificial conditions on his land from being unreasonably dangerous to highway travelers. The duty is founded on the principle that [t]he public right of passage carries with it ... an obligation upon the occupiers of abutting land to use reasonable care to see that the passage is safe. This duty applies to those passing by on a public walk. Munger v. Union Sav. & Loan Ass'n, (1933).

Criminal acts of third parties are general not the liability of the property owner.  But still if you sit all day every day on my sidewalk and your dog bites one of my customers.  We all know who is going to get sued and it ain't no street person.

The business owners I have spoken with only want to have a clean, safe environment for their customers to shop in. Part of this is making the street view and entrance to their shop as inviting as possible. Come on you do the math. Dirty sleeping bag? Pit bull?

What about the cops? 

They want the same thing we all do: a safe, friendly tolerant world where we can all be respectful, courteous and polite. Guess what? I am not joking. If law enforcement cannot have this, then they want clear enforceable laws that allow them to do their job with the least amount of ambiguity. They would really rather educate then enforce. They would rather resolve a problem then make an arrest. But, it all comes back to politeness and respect.

So in answer to you question, let's all try and be polite, respectful and tolerant of each other. You folks on the street: That is someone else's property you are sitting on; it is someone else's livelihood you are affecting. Those of you wishing to give money to the problem: Give it to one of the groups I have listed.

Repeat this mantra: polite, respectful, polite, respectful.

Sidewalks are private property.

The Counselor

>>> Questions for The Counselor may be sent to feedback@weeklyvolcano.com.

LINK: Roommate problems

LINK: Marijuana legalization advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: Speeding ticket advice

LINK: DUI advice

December 29, 2012 at 10:49am

Tweets of the Week: Dec. 24-29


Whether you've been on Twitter since its beginnings in 2006 or you're a Twitter neophyte, you know keeping up on important tweets can be overwhelming. If you follow everything and everyone that you find interesting, you can end up with hundreds and hundreds of Tweets showing up in your feed on a daily basis.

Don't despair. Every Saturday the Weekly Volcano shares important and pointless Tweets from South Sound Twitter accounts, and sometimes beyond, so you may catch up on shopping and pants party incidents - and the latest action on the streets.

December 15, 2012 at 12:19pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Domestic violence and the holidays

THE COUNSELOR: Jim Foley suggests you think before getting angry over burnt pot roast


South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, the South Sound. It posts every Friday (sometimes on Saturday if tragic events happen in our nation). Today, The Counselor is back with the lowdown on what will happen if the police respond to a domestic violence report at your home.


QUESTION: Last night my roommate came home drunk, we argued and the police where called. What is going to happen now?  

ANSWER: This is the season when people drink way too much, and often argue about Christmas, relatives and money. Domestic violence is as serious as it gets. The Yakima YWCA reports an increase in domestic violence calls of 50 percent over the holidays.  Nationwide, calls spike by 30 to 60 percent on New Year's Day.  These are big numbers. 

I am not going to point fingers in my response, and this article should not in anyway be considered an essay on the root causes of domestic violence, or solutions to this horrific problem. I am just going to tell what is going to happen if the police come to your house over the holidays in response to a domestic violence call. 

First and foremost, they will arrest somebody if they believe any type of criminal behavior has occurred - this would include pushing, shoving, hitting or breaking things. In fact, they are required to arrest somebody. (RCW 10.99.030). 

The person who goes to jail will be seen the next judicial court day, i.e. if you are arrested Friday night you will be in jail until Monday. The court will put in place a no-contact order - even if the parties do not want one - the court will order it.  The arrested person will have to move to a new home. They will not be allowed to live where they used to. The court will order that the arrested person have absolutely no contact with the other person involved. This no-contact order will likely be in place for at least eight weeks. The court will want proof that both parties have, and are, receiving some type of counseling for domestic violence from a state certified service provider.

So, no-contact with your boyfriend/girlfriend, roommate, husband /wife till after the holidays. The cost includes supporting two households instead of one.  Repeated court appearances and months of counseling over what? Drinking too much? Being angry?

Please, if drinking or domestic violence in your household is a problem, access many of the resources the state offers:

Wishing you happy holidays and a safe season,

The Counselor

>>> Questions for The Counselor may be sent to feedback@weeklyvolcano.com.

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: Speeding ticket advice

LINK: DUI advice



The Weekly Volcano’s Afternoon Delight newsletter features breaking news, stories, calendar picks and more sent directly to your inbox Monday-Friday. It’s completely free to subscribers, but costs $10,000 if you don't like it. You will like it. It's sweet and sour and makes you pucker and swoon. Sign up here:

Filed under: South Sound Sidekick, Crime,

December 6, 2012 at 5:30am



Yesterday's comments of the day come from Kirsten and Kamala in response to our posting of a benefit concert for Casey Heath whose life was tragically taken Monday night in downtown Olympia.

Kirsten writes,

I will be there to celebrate you Casey. Miss you.

Kamala writes,

Such a tragic sad loss for Olympia, friends & family. We <3 you Case!!

Filed under: Olympia, Crime,

November 30, 2012 at 12:45pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: The amount of pot you can smoke in Washington state

THE COUNSELOR: Jim Foley suggests you think before firing up.


South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, the South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, The Counselor is back with a breakdown of what you can and can't put in your pipe now that Initiative 502 passed.

"The people intend to stop treating adult marijuana use as a crime and try a new approach. ..." (Intent section of I-502)

Well the good news is that marijuana is now legal in Washington. Bad news?  Many of the old rules still apply and there is and will be for sometime a whole bunch of unanswered questions.

Can I smoke dope in public?  Nope. (Law provides that it is an infraction just like drinking in public to display marijuana in public.)

Can I buy grass?  Nope.  (How are we supposed to get it?  Good question.)

Can I smoke my very fine bud in my own home?  Yes you may.

How much can I possess?  A person over 21 years of age may possess up to one ounce of bud, 16 ounces of solid-form marijuana in food products and 72 ounces of cannabis in liquid form.

Can I grow my own? No you cannot.

The law provides that the state will license and closely regulate the production and distribution of marijuana.  But the law this does not provide for anyone to grow their own.

Can I smoke a big honking doobie while driving?  Bad Idea, first, grass is treated just the same as alcohol; it is an infraction to drink while driving and would be to smoke as well. You are in the motoring public.Got it? Also you will be inviting trouble from the police. You cannot drive under the influence of marijuana. (5 nano-grams per milliliter of blood.) You cannot drive under the influence or be affected by any drug to a degree in which you are impaired. Marijuana remains a drug; it just is legal in some scenarios.

And smoking while driving is an open invitation to the police to at least check you out for the infraction. Then they pull you over and the cop says:

Hey man that smells like good shit.

And you say:  Yeah man it is the best.

You will most likely be having your blood drawn to see if you are under the influence, (probable cause being your own admission that you are high as a kite, likely combined with several visual cues, bloodshot eyes, food spilled all over your shirt, stereo playing full blast). While a Judge in most cases has to authorize a blood draw, the whole thing is and would be a pain in the ass.

So just do yourself a favor and don't smoke and drive. Go home and smoke in your living room.

The new law does not have any affect on the older Medical Marijuana law. None. Not one bit.  Whatever you could or could not do under the medical marijuana law remains unchanged; they are two completely different laws.

Do not go anywhere near a Federal building or Federal Courthouse with your Washington legal dope.  To the Feds it is still illegal and subject at the very least to seizure.  What else the Feds will do remains a question.

There are tons of unanswered questions about what the future of marijuana will be here in Washington. I-502 gives the State until December 2013 to come up with some answers.

"The people intend to stop treating adult marijuana use as a crime and try a new approach".
The voters of Washington have spoken and we should all be proud.

Be intelligent and respectful in your use of marijuana.  Treat it as you would a good scotch. Don't be stupid. And don't go straight. Just go forward.

The Counselor

LINK: Speeding ticket advice

LINK: DUI advice



The Weekly Volcano’s Afternoon Delight newsletter features breaking news, stories, calendar picks and more sent directly to your inbox Monday-Friday. It’s completely free to subscribers, but costs $10,000 if you don't like it. You will like it. It's sweet and sour and makes you pucker and swoon. Sign up here:

September 30, 2012 at 3:57pm

Northern in Olympia Burglarized - Silent Auction Opens Friday

Northern is an all ages venue and art space in Olympia

Northern, Olympia’s premier all ages venue and art space, was burglarized Friday night.

All of their equipment, including two main Mackie speakers, two Mackie monitors, a mixing board, the snake, eleven microphones, direct inputs, and power strips were taken from Northern’s storage space.

“We had a show Friday night that wrapped up around midnight and when someone came back to open up for Saturday’s show, they noticed that one of the windows had been smashed and all the equipment had been stolen,” said Mariella Luz, executive director of Northern.

Luz estimates that it will cost $3,000 to replace the stolen equipment.

Luz’s theory was that the criminals couldn’t have been on foot because there was too much equipment, and it had to be at night, because they took the time to get the main speakers that were hanging from the ceiling, and took time to unscrew everything from the racks.

“We did call the cops and they dusted for fingerprints, so hopefully that will lead to something,” said an optimistic Luz, “Thankfully the artwork wasn’t taken and the building wasn’t vandalized.”

Northern’s facebook page asks for help, “Please help spread the word, particularly to people who work in music stores or buy musical equipment. Thanks so much for the support, everyone!”

Another way to support Northern is to attend their first-ever silent auction.

The opening reception will be held during the annual fall Artswalk, Friday, October 5, 5-10 p.m., and Saturday, October 6, 12-5 p.m. With over 50 artists participating, there are original artworks available for every budget. Donated work includes paintings, mixed media works, drawings, prints, watercolors, photographs, wearable crafts, sculptures, ceramics and even a professionally engineered remix for an original song. All proceeds of the silent auction will directly contribute to Northern’s operational expenses and support their continued commitment to Olympia’s musical and artistic community.

Interested parties may bid on items during the opening and throughout the month. The gallery will be hosting weekend hours throughout October to facilitate bidding.

Some of the participating artists include: Chelsea Baker, Joe Batt, Judith Baumann, Aimee Biggerstaff, Sara Calland, Nikki McClure and Christopher Ross.


Filed under: Olympia, All ages, Crime, Music, Arts,

April 25, 2012 at 7:36am

MORNING SPEW: Tacoma computer thief on camera, America's best cities for hipsters, Carlton Flash Mob ...

PIZZA HUT'S CROWN CRUST PIZZA: The Mayans were right.


Tacoma City Council Laptop Thief: Tacoma Police have photos! (News Tribune)

One Flew Over The Garfield Elementary School: The padded walls at the Olympia school have been removed after complaints. (News Tribune)

Good News: The 96-acre site at the northeast end of the Port of Tacoma's Blair Waterway could become the destination for long unit trains carrying bulk commodities destined for export. (News Tribune)

Mad Cow: South Korea curbs beef sales. (CNN)

Mitt Romney: He's effectively took the Republican Party helm. (The New York Times)

America's Best Cities For Hipsters: We're surrounded. (Huffington Post)

Crown Crust Pizza: The horror. (YouTube)

It's About Time: A synchronized collage of every zoom in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 horror masterpiece, The Shining. (Strangewood)

Coming Soon?: The cardboard disposable digital camera by Ikea. (Design You Trust)

April 23, 2012 at 7:50am

MORNING SPEW: Fircrest fisticuffs, Baywatch Tacoma, cats vs. dogs answer ...

CATS VS. DOGS: The age-old question finally has an answer.


How Many Tacoma Fire Department Personnel Does It Take To Rescue Two Dumbass Beachcombers?: Two engines, three ladder companies, tech-rescue rig and five staff members, as well as two medic brigs. (New Tribune)

What Happens If You Pull A Gun On a Fircrest Police Officer?: You'll get shot. (News Tribune)

Fircrest Vs. University Place: It's all fun and games until you want to improve the roads until you try to charge traffic impact fees for developments. (News Tribune)

Find The Stolen Guns Game: Although the game involves crimes. (News Tribune)

George Zimmerman: He's been released on bond. (CNN)

Obama Power Play: With Republicans blocking his agenda, the president has been using executive powers to enact measures on the environment, education, drug shortages and recess appointments. (The New York Times)

Cats Vs. Dogs: Finally, an answer on which is better. (Buzz Feed)

Old Spice: It's trying to make "smellf" happen. (Time)

Handy Guide: 12 things being sold on eBay because they kind of look like Jesus. (The Awl)

Finally, The Answer: Why do we say "Ye Olde" something-or-other when we want to sound Old English? (Neatorama)

It's Official! The gays prefer Adele to Lady Gaga according to a very scientific Gaydar poll. (The Sun)

China Knuckles: It's for the girl who wants to be chic and eco-friendly while still being conscious of self defense. (Who Killed Bambi)

April 19, 2012 at 8:01am

MORNING SPEW: Washam fined, craft beer app, children-only airline flights ...

CRAFT BEER: There's an app for that.


Tacoma Takes The High Road: Cheney Stadium Sustainable Stormwater Project is actually cool. (Weekly Volcano)

Checking In With Wily Washam: Pierce County Ethics Commission says Pierce County assessor-treasurer Dale Washam used public resources for campaign purposes in an effort to unseat county Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. (News Tribune)

Oh Lovely: Anders Behring Breivik, who admits killing 77 people in Norway last summer, used the video game Modern Warfare 2 as training. (CNN)

Oh Lovely II: India successfully launched a missile with nuclear capability and a 3,100-mile range, giving it the ability to strike Beijing and Shanghai. (The New York Times)

Pulitzer or Peabody?: Colbert and Huffington debate. (Poynter)

Families And Flying: Should airlines offer children-only seating areas and flights? (Huffington Post)

Which Cities Are Setting Music Trends?: Not the ones you'd think. (Time)

Because 50 Isn't Enough: 53 reasons why we need a new Star Trek TV series. (Huffington Post)

Record Stores: Popular musicians come clean with their favorite records stores. (Pop Matters)

Got 99 Cents And Love Craft Beer?: There's an app for that. (Craft Beer App)

April 18, 2012 at 8:16am

MORNING SPEW: Cutting jobs, spending city money, painful cake video ...


Today In Oh This Is Quite Lovely: Team Dickwad hold South Tacoma woman at gunpoint, then ransack her home. (News Tribune)

Washington State Budget Cuts: And by cuts, we mean 1,266 more full-time jobs in state government. (News Tribune)

Tacoma City Council: It will grab money raised by 2009 and 2010 bond sales and spend it on theater, pool and bridge repairs, Hilltop public-housing renovations and walkways. (News Tribune)

Syrian Cease Fire: Not really a good thing as President Bashar al-Assad is tightening his grip on the country during the decrease in violence brought on by U.N. demands. (CNN)

The "Leap List": Ryan Leaf's list of things to do before possibly heading to prison. (Daily Weekly)

Creepy Finance Guy: He has spreadsheet of Match.com 'prospects.' (Jezebel)

Muppets Sequel: It will be a caper with new characters. (MTV)

Mission To Lars: New Metallica film to be released in June. (NME)

Fascinating: What it costs eight women writers to live in New York City. (The Awl)

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