Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: 'In Their Words' (32) Currently Viewing: 11 - 20 of 32

March 15, 2013 at 11:27pm

South Sound Sidekick: How to take care of your back and rectum

DR. SOREM: He practices the plank position whenever he can.

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Chiropractic physician Monti Sorem, DC, CSCS, EMT-IV, NSCA - who works at Elite Sports and Spine in Bellevue - has back care advice.

Monti Sorem writes,

Whether you are an office worker for the state, the local bartender at your favorite downtown watering hole, a weekend warrior, or over-the-hill class champion, you will experience back pain at some time. 

Depending on activities of daily living, fitness levels and anatomical structure put more at risk than others. Having back pain occasionally is normal, but when it becomes chronic and affects your everyday life, work or sport, than it is an issue. When there is transient pain after activity, it is a signal that your muscles and joints are giving in. If you are in pain, stop doing what you did or train your body to handle what you put it through. 

What you DO NOT want to do is try to cover up chronic pain, ignoring it, then go to lift the case of beer that just got delivered to the back door and prolapsing your rectum. OK, so that is an extreme case but it could happen. Some more common injuries are to the ligaments to the spine, muscles of the spine and the intervertebral discs - the cushion between the spine bones.  Believe you me; you don't want a disc injury. In my professional life these are difficult cases and everyone has a very individual experience with pain and disability. Once that disc is injured, you will have continued problems in the future and realistically your spine is a ticking bomb. 

So here it my short version of advice to take care of your back and rectum for that matter:

  • First thing upon waking, before getting up to relieve yourself, do the cat camel exercise shown in the video below.
  • Think about your movements. That is, be deliberate with them as opposed to mindless movement, especially with moving objects such as picking up the garbage bag or picking up kids.
  • Yes, the old saying "bend with your knees" is still kind of relevant, but really keep your back straight and hinge at the hips (helps to stick your butt backward).  I call this giving yourself a J-Lo booty.
  • Do a few movements to work on core strength when the commercials come on of your favorite TV show.
  • Watch my favorite low back expert Dr. Stuart McGill and this web video.  Yes he does have a mustache that reminds you of a 70s adult film star, but info is great.

LINK: How to be a scenester

LINK: How to be a bartender

LINK: How to manage a band from your office cubicle without getting fired

LINK: How to tell if you're clown material

LINK: Make film gore with household items

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: More South Sound Sidekick advice

March 8, 2013 at 2:52pm

South Sound Sidekick: How to become more scenesterish

JABI SKRIKI: He's an Olympia scenester. Press photo

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, Olympia musician and "scenester" Jabi Shriki asks the Olympia community to support local music.

Jabi Shriki writes,

There was tough competition this year in the category of "Best Scenester" in the Weekly Volcano's 2013 Best of Olympia issue. I can't tell you how much pride I feel in knowing that I'm scenesterer (more scenestery (?)) than any other scenesters out there.

To be honest, I'm still not sure what a "scenester" is. When I got the award of "Best Scenester," I wasn't even sure that it wasn't a pejorative term. But for some reason, after winning this award for two years in a row, I've come to embrace this recognition, despite my lack of certainty as to what the term "scenester" means. Maybe I'm embracing it because of the irony that it entails in the context of my life. To me, a "scenester" is someone who fits or at least tries to fit into a certain scene. For at least one, brief phase of my life (from the age of 0 to the foreseeable future), I've had the experience of being too socially awkward to even try to make any scene.

When I was a high school kid, I once made a graph of how likely other kids were to have their lunch money stolen, based on their proximity to me in the cafeteria. I was at the peak of the graph.

I didn't realize until later that the construction of graphical representations of my predicament were probably only exacerbating said predicament. I would think that this kind of biographical experience would disqualify me from being a scenester in any setting.

But my goal isn't to explain why I've embraced my scenesterosity. Instead my goal for this article is to aspire others around me to become more scenesterish. I'm a musician too, and I'm very proud of my music, but Olympia doesn't just need musicians, it also needs scenesters.

Since my move to Olympia, I've heard countless, original songs by my fellow, local musicians that I can only call manifestations of musical genius. I've had songs from my fellow Olympians stuck in my head for weeks on end. I've been consoled by the music on homemade tapes and CDs that folks have handed to me at their shows.

But as often as I've been impressed by the musicians I've met, I've just as often been shocked to be among audiences of only a couple of other fans. I've watched many passionate, moving performances, from nearly empty rooms. This leads me to a conclusion that makes me a little sad: the Olympia music scene is languishing.

Music is important in any community, but in Olympia in particular, the pride that local folks feel is deeply rooted in the music that gets created here. Even people who have no involvement in the Olympia music scene boast about how wonderful it is, although many of them haven't been to a show in years.

As a result of this passive form of pride, the music scene is growing increasingly asthenic from under-nourishment. Some of the best venues are closing, and other venues are becoming more interested in selling cheap beer than supporting great music.

Last year, I met Jeff Campbell, a gifted singer-songwriter from Northern California. He's toured the Pacific Northwest dozens of times to play shows in Portland and Seattle. When I met Jeff, he told me how he had driven through Olympia dozens of times without ever doing a show here. A few months ago, I booked Jeff at his first Olympia show, with Elbow Coulee and AKA and the Heart Hurt Goods. Last week, Jeff won the national Guitar Center Singer-Songwriter competition, out of thousands of musicians who submitted their music.

This Friday, March 8, the Family Crest, from San Francisco, will be playing their first show in Olympia at the Metcalf Manor. They're one of the best, live, acoustic bands that I've ever seen anywhere, ever. But they've also driven through Olympia dozens of times without ever booking a show here. The fact that other, regionally well-known musicians are increasingly skipping over Olympia to do shows in Portland and Seattle is further evidence of the growing anemia of our music scene.

And what is the cure for this anemia? The cure is scenesters.

The musicians in Olympia need folks at shows. Instead of posting on Facebook that there's no good music being made anymore, take a few hours out of every couple of weeks and take in a show. Pick up a CD. I promise, there's enough good music in Olympia that your investment of time and a few bucks will be repaid with music that will become a part of your heart and soul.

So shake off your passive pride. And stop complaining about the sterile pop churned out by the corporatized national music industry. Most of the bands on the radio couldn't find Olympia on a map. But Olympia is your town. It's where you live, and your emotions are echoed in the music that's being created all around you by your neighbors and friends. Go see a show. There's plenty of room for more scenesters in Olympia.

As much as I would love to three-peat winning the prestigious Best Scenester title, I would be more than willing to cede my title to the legion of would-be scenesters that could pump new blood into the heart of the Oly music scene. Thanks to the Weekly Volcano for this recognition, and for asking me to write this article!

LINK: How to be a bartender

LINK: How to manage a band from your office cubicle without getting fired

LINK: How to tell if you're clown material

LINK: Make film gore with household items

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: More South Sound Sidekick advice

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GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

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:

March 3, 2013 at 11:41am

Letters To The Editor: Hand-written note from the Haggarty brothers about their pal, Pres. Obama

TEDDY HAGGARTY: This drawing prompted Pres. Obama to give props. Image courtesy of Leonard and Teddy Haggarty

STAYING IN TOUCH >>

Some day a book will be written about the adventures of Tacoma brothers Leonard Haggarty and Teddy Haggarty. From their days in Hollywood - both in front of the camera and behind, Leonard's time as John Ritter's personal assistant, Teddy's artwork, their relationship with Alec Baldwin, their relationship with the Hatfields, the 30 or so businesses they've created, their run-in with Hurricane Katrina, Leonard's stint with Pres. Obama's campaign, producers of numerous local films - these two have done and seen it all. And believe us, they have no intention of slowing down. You can't turn off their brains or their enthusiasm for life.

The Haggarty brothers sent the Weekly Volcano a hand-written note from Teddy explaining their latest run-in with the famous — Pres. Obama. Four years ago the brothers and filmmaker/The Eleven Eleven co-owner Justin Peterson were guests of Rep. Adam Smith at Pres. Obama's inauguration in Washington, D.C. Of course, many strange and wonderful experiences happened to the trio during their stay, including sleeping in hotel lobbies. Anyway, Teddy painted up the cover of The New York Times' report on the inauguration and sent it to Pres. Obama. Of course, the Haggarty's received word back from Pres. Obama, and not some White House flunkk. 

Enjoy.

March 3, 2013 at 10:25am

Letters To The Editor: Hand-written notes from Robert "The Traveller" Hill

STAYING IN TOUCH >>>

Tacoma gadfly Robert "The Traveller" Hill hasn't dropped by the Weekly Volcano World Headquarters in a while. That's because he's in jail for causing a commotion at a local bar and intimidating a judge. In his spare time behind bars, The Traveller has written a few letters to us.

March 2, 2013 at 8:32am

South Sound Sidekick: How to be a bartender

NIKKI MCCOY

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday (sometimes Saturday!). Today, we turn to the Weekly Volcano's own. Nikki McCoy has tended bar for more than a decade. She's seen it all. If you're thinking about becoming a bartender, you better read this column.

Nikki McCoy writes,

I've been tending bar for more than 10 years. I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I will probably serve your kids their first drink. I promise I will be easy on them.

If you want to know how to bartend, don't go to some academy - go to the bar.

You must know how to drink in order to make drinks for others. It's called quality control, and if a customer wants to know what a drink tastes like, you have to be able to tell them. Try it all, from Scooby Snacks (coconut rum, melon liqueur, cream and pineapple juice, shaken and strained) to straight shots of fine, aged scotch. Based on these criteria, and his recent column, "Dear Drink," Pappi Swarner would make a fine bartender.

You must also be able to be quick on your feet, sharp with your tongue and know the phone numbers of at least three different cab companies.

Also, try and be nice. I know there are a lot of a-holes out there, but just keep calm and carry on. We actually have a fortune cookie fortune taped to the bar's cash register that says, "Keep smiling. See how far it takes you."

Please don't do drugs. Sometimes there can be a plethora of drugs available at a bar. That doesn't mean you have to do them. You have enough to keep up with trying all those drinks, plus your day-to-day life. So, if someone offers, do yourself a favor and pass. Again, it helps to remember to keep calm and carry on.

Do dance behind the bar. Flirt with your co-worker, tell jokes, and dance when your favorite song comes on the jukebox, it helps lighten the load and often, your mood helps dictate the mood of the bar.

Speaking of co-workers, cover for them. While I mean that in all senses of the word, I'm specifically referring to their shifts. You never know when you'll have an emergency hangover day or wedding to attend that you'll want to cash in on, plus it shows the boss you care about business.

Don't ask people out when on shift. I know a bartender who rules his life by this motto. If they stay until your shift ends, then you have the green light.

Keep up to date on your licenses: liquor, food-handler's and driver's. You could be asked for any one of these by a person of authority at any time.

Finally, learn how to make a decent handcrafted cocktail. Any Joe can pour rum and coke in a glass. Do you and your customers a favor (remember, they pay the bills) by having a specialty drink on hand that involves, muddling, layering, building and/or chilling a glass.

Cheers!

LINK: How to manage a band from your office cubicle without getting fired

LINK: How to tell if you're clown material

LINK: Make film gore with household items

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

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:

February 22, 2013 at 8:09pm

South Sound Sidekick: How to run your band at the office without getting fired

THE OFFICE: Should you check your reverbnation.com page at work?

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, BandBoi87 has advice on how to manage your band from your office cubicle and not get caught.

BandBoi87 writes,

Disclaimer: The methods described in this column are based on the personal experience of BandBoi87.  All information contained herein is not guaranteed to work for anyone else.  If you don't have access to a computer or smartphone at work you are fucked.  If you don't have autonomy at your job you are fucked. But if you are smart and don't act like a greedy pig ... it just might work.

I work a stupid job because my awesome band makes shitty money. I want the band to succeed but I also want to pay my bills and eat food regularly. This is some advice for how to run your band out of your 9-5 job without getting fired.  I'll be spewing more of this on Twitter @bandboi87 so go there.  More important than any one of these tips ... USE COMMON SENSE.  If it feels like a bad idea to work on your band's bio when you're racing to meet a deadline at work ... it probably is.

1. Use timed posting devices on social media sites.

Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress and many other social networking sites allow you to time the release of your posts.  So instead of waiting until the coast is clear at your job then Net-bombing the entire planet, you can plan your posts the day before or even weeks beforehand.  This is especially helpful for Twitter, where you can post all day long, say nothing, and yet feel as though something was accomplished.

2. Use your phone as much as possible.

If you have a smartphone, use it.  If you don't, get one.  If you need to send an email to a booker or check in on the status of your press kit, DO NOT send it through your work email.  There are so many reasons why this should be obvious but I'll explain.  Your band looks stupid if you're sending emails from your work email. Period. Nothing says "clueless weekend warrior" faster than this.  Unfortunately I've seen it happen! Your company can monitor your Internet and email usage any time.  Don't log in to company Wi-Fi with your phone or laptop either. Use your data plan and stay discreet.

3. Be nice at work.

This should be obvious. When you are operating like this, you can't be a prick. I mean, you CAN be a prick but you will be weeded out quickly. Treat your colleagues like gold, make them laugh, bring in food and make them truly like you. People who like you will cover your ass, overlook your wandering focus and possibly love your band if you treat them right.

4. Don't be a greedy pig.

Yes, your job sucks. Yes, they put a lot of pressure on you and it takes up a lot of the time you could be creative. But they are paying you to be there. Presumably, they'd like you to give a shit. Don't spend all your work time doing stuff for your band. Your colleagues, even the ones who support you, will lose patience when you make them wait to complete a task or don't follow through. Make sure you cover your bare minimums at all times. You want to be invisible. The fewer questions asked the better!!!

5.  Don't EVER call in sick after a gig.

So your band played a great set, sold a bunch of T-shirts and stayed till the end of the show, getting home at 3 a.m. ... and you have to get up at 6 a.m. for work! Do it. Nothing will ostracize you from your job quicker than unplanned absences that are clearly related to your band. With Facebook, Twitter, and so many other ways for people to check on you, make sure you're not giving them a reason to doubt you. 

Managing a band is a lot of work.  It can be done effectively at your 9-5 job but it's important to respect the people you work for. It's also important to realize that this is just the beginning.  If you achieve one-tenth of the success you're expecting, you will end up working much harder along the way! Treat people right, don't slack and it may just work out.       

LINK: How to tell if you're clown material

LINK: Make film gore with household items

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

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:

February 2, 2013 at 11:09am

Tweets of the Week: Jan. 27-Feb. 2

HOW TWEET IT IS >>>

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 stay on top of groundhog and bridge news - as well as the latest action on the streets.

Follow the Weekly Volcano on Twitter. Because otherwise we're coming to your house, and while we will bring wine, we will not, under any circumstances, take off our shoes.

February 1, 2013 at 5:58pm

SOUTH SOUND SIDEKICK: Creating movie gore using common household items

FILMMAKER MATT JAISSLE: Nothing goes to waste in his refrigerator.

South Sound Sidekick series offers advice from experts living in the, well, South Sound. It posts every Friday. Today, local filmmaker Matt Jaissle has advice on how to make awesome film special effects on a low budget. Jaissle knows. He is the director of Back from Hell, The Necro Files, Legion of the Night (aka Dead City), 300 Killers and the upcoming Revolution 666.

Matt Jaissle writes,

Here are a few tips aimed at aspiring film/video makers. You know who you are. Just about anyone who's bought a video camera at Best Buy in the last five years has probably tossed around the idea of shooting a zombie movie with their buddies. Why not? Everyone is doing it. Horror seems like the obvious choice, too. It can be done cheap.  Well, I've done it cheaper than most. Even though I had to shoot my first couple of pictures on 16mm; they were still dirt-cheap.

One of the production areas I've had the privilege to explore with great detail is special makeup effects.  Part of the youthful appeal of low-budget horror is all that splashy blood and gore. Makeup is one of the few departments where quantity is just as good as quality. If you can't afford Tom Savini, you can still channel his essence.

Rule No. 1: Blood, blood and more blood! Fake blood is la filmmaker's whiteout. You can cover up your mistakes with it. Does that rubber arm look like crap?  Pour a pint of fake blood over it. Is that facial prosthetic the wrong flesh tone? Pour a gallon of fake blood over it. You get the picture.

Plus, fake blood looks cool, and easy to make. My recipe is one ounce of red food color to one-quart karo syrup. If you want to get fancy, you can add a few drops of blue and a couple teaspoons of instant coffee grinds to make it darker (dissolve the coffee grinds in a small amount of hot water first).

Underneath the river of blood you can use all kinds of things in your refrigerator to simulate guts and brains. For my film 300 Killers, I had a scene where a guy gets shot point blank in the face. I originally had no effect for the scene. Then, one night I was cutting open a frozen burrito that I'd microwaved way too long. I looked disgusting. See an opportunity, I quickly drew a pupil and retina on a ping-pong ball, stuck it in the middle, covered the whole thing with barbecue sauce (fake blood wasn't even in the budget that night), filmed a close-up of the whole mess and the shot's in the movie.

For my first film, Back from Hell, I had an effects guy who created somewhat elaborate latex wounds for our zombie actors. We even real pig guts, which can be purchase from any local slaughterhouse. They sell them in five gallon buckets.  The drawbacks are the guts are expensive, they stink to high heaven and the stomach acids will burn the hell out of your hands. I shit you not.

For my new picture, Revolution 666, I have no budget at all.  Instead of using latex appliances, I decided to make a zombie mask out of paper maché. I simply applied the dipped newspaper strips to a head-sized balloon, popped the balloon after the mask dried, then spray-painted the whole thing. For guts, I went to my local grocery store and asked the butcher if I could buy trim from his bone barrel. I eventually got what I needed for free, took it home and mixed it up with fake blood (natch). I also threw in some leftovers my mom gave me and BAM! Tom Savini would be proud.

There you go. You're ready to make picture. Head to Best Buy for equipment and get to it. Good lighting, camerawork and editing don't cost anything if you learn how to do it yourself. Your picture can even look like an effects showcase! Only you, me, and your grocer will know.

LINK: Parenting advice for punk rockers

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

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:

January 26, 2013 at 9:27am

South Sound Sidekick: Parenting advice for punk rockers

CAMERON CLEARWATER AND KIDS: Having fun the right way. Photo credit: Opal Anderson

Parenting saves lives. Punk rock saves lives also. Combining these two forces can make for a uniquely fun and enriching experience for kids and parents alike. As part of our South Sound Sidekick series Cameron Clearwater of the band Electric Falcons, and father to two daughters and a stepson, has parenting advice for punk rockers. 

Cameron Clearwater writes,

Punk rock parents already have a leg up in the "cool" department because they are typically younger than most other parents in any given child's age group. Why this is should be somewhat obvious. This narrower gap in age often means said parents are more likely to be in tune with what's going on with the youth of today. At least we would like to think so. Here are some tips on keeping the family stoked and allowing the kids to keep THEIR cred.

Don't try and force your child to love the Melvins. By all means make underground music available to them via your normal listening routine at home or cruising around town and whatnot. Just remember that your parents' Jethro Tull or Lawrence Welk albums or whatever is partially responsible for your first mohawk. The younger ones are more impressionable and eager to please but I guarantee if you try and strongly impose Black Flag on any tween or teen you will hear nothing but Skrillex blasting from their room for months. And NEVER bombard them with your own band. Give them a nudge in the right direction and access to your music collection and they will come around. Or not. This also goes with attire and style. After all, the essence of punk rock is individual personal expression.

Prepare well-rounded nutritional meals daily and try to include at least one green vegetable per meal. Just because you can thrive living in a van for weeks, as well as getting by on a strict diet of dollar menu Taco Bell and PBR, doesn't mean your kids can. They shouldn't anyway. The kiddos need brain food for homework and strong bodies for future mosh pit stamina.

If you are musically inclined, don't try and be the fucking Punk Rock Partridge Family. Most likely your gear has already been trashed by you way harder than what any kid could do to it. Let 'em have at it. If they wanna rock, you will know. I got my oldest daughter a small acoustic guitar that was mostly a fun prop that bounced around for years. She got into cello in school and became good at teaching herself basic piano stuff. Now, at 14, she has an electric guitar and is killing it! Show them a bar chord and hope that they don't ask for more or your cover is blown.

Do your best to make it FUN for everyone and raise those kids right. They will be changing your diapers before you know it. Most likely they are also your retirement plan because we all know Punk Rock pays no bills. Now if you will excuse me, my favorite Rihanna, err, I mean Nirvana song is coming on and I have dishes and laundry to attend to.

Over and out.

GO DEEPER: Electric Falcons charged up over new projects

LINK: How to improve your photography skills

LINK: Get fit the Dungeons and Dragons way

LINK: Roommate advice

LINK: Marijuana smoking advice

LINK: How to harvest geoducks

LINK: Music business advice

LINK: First tattoo advice

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GET THE AFTERNOON DELIGHT NEWSLETTER

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:

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.

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION >>>

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.

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