Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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February 18, 2011 at 9:49am

The Weekly Volcano's Dennis Kucinich interview

Dennis Kucinich


On President's Day, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) will roll into Olympia to give a lecture on "The True Cost of War."

During his presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008, Kucinich was widely seen as the far-left candidate, and he's taken quite a bit of ribbing from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for his blatant liberalism. But whatever you think of Dennis Kucinich, I can tell you from personal experience he talks faster and with a readier command of the English language than just about anyone you're likely to speak to this week.

"I'm going to be talking about not just Afghanistan, but war across the board," he explains, "and the impact financially, the impact on our troops, the impact on other nations and the impact on our morality."

Read the full interview here.

Filed under: Events, Olympia, Politics,

February 15, 2011 at 5:29pm

Comment of the Day: Still Being Mark Lindquist


Today's comment comes from Alison, in regard to Volcano editor Matt Driscoll's interview and feature on Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, originally published in November of 2009.

Alison writes,

Excellent writing in this article. I find the writing in The Volcano so exceptional compared to our corporate daily newspaper. I was a lead reporter for the defunct Tacoma Reporter. It seems likes eons ago. I just happened upon this article. I don't know how I missed reading it when it came out.

Filed under: Politics, Tacoma,

February 1, 2011 at 12:08pm

LAST NIGHT: Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland’s “State of the City” address


Last night Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland gave Tacoma's first ever "State of the City" address. The speech culminated what seemed to be an overwhelmingly successful Shift Happens event at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, organized by the good folks at Go Local (see this week's cover story for the full scoop on Shift Happens).

Mayor Strickland stressed the specific importance of Shift Happens and Go Local, but appropriately used most of the address to highlight the city's recent efforts and future plans to continue to improve the quality of life and economy in Tacoma.

Like a typical State of the Union, successes were magnified and shortcomings downplayed. Mayor Strickland sang the praises of Tacoma Metro Parks, calling it one of the best park systems in the nation, and even ventured to call the Tacoma Police Department's work with local neighborhoods "progressive."

The highlight of the address came when the Mayor did what she does best: share her hopes and goals for a more sustainable, progressive Tacoma. Strickland has pushed programs and created exploratory committees designed to heighten Tacoma's commitment to education, local business and the arts. Every time I hear Strickland speak on her vision for Tacoma - whether in a written speech given from podium or casually in conversation - I'm left inspired.

The pride Strickland takes in Tacoma's present and future was evident as she shared national awards and recognition the city and local businesses received in 2010. Likewise, her excitement was genuine when she spoke of plans to continue to develop downtown and make Tacoma an "attraction" to conventions and tourists.

The only pause-worthy portion of the address came when Strickland lauded accomplishments that are basic requirements of all city governments, such as maintaining city streets. It could very well be that 194 streets repaired is an impressive feat, but without the same statistics for previous years or percentage improvements, I wasn't prepared to applaud random numbers, making me a minority for this (albeit very brief) portion of the speech.

The large crowd (nearly every seat was taken) reacted enthusiastically to both policy changes and efforts to improve the aesthetic of local neighborhoods. The largest cheers were reserved for the mention of the recent business-friendly adjustments to the B&O tax, but were almost matched when Strickland shared her goal of having the most community gardens per capita of any city in America.

If only for one night, in the confines of the convention center, Tacoma truly did seem like a city on the cusp of transforming itself.

Before Mayor Strickland spoke I visited the many dozens of booths set up by local businesses. I imagined a Tacoma where instead of Best Buy, Stadium Video was everyone's first stop for the latest DVD release. I pictured a Tacoma where instead of Starbucks, more of us stopped at Satellite Coffee on our way to work. I even pictured a Tacoma where instead of Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch, more of us relied on local financial planners and banks (at one booth I was given intriguing 401(k) advice, even after telling the charismatic investor that student loans pay my bills).

I don't know if that Tacoma is actually the Tacoma of the future, but for two hours Go Local and Mayor Strickland had me convinced.

Here's hoping.

January 20, 2011 at 4:26pm

Saving our buses is hard


It doesn't feel like the season for political mail, street signs, and phone banks, yet it is. As we highlighted previously, Pierce Transit services as we know them are in jeopardy. The approval of Prop 1 allows a 0.3 percent increase in the sales tax Pierce Transit currently collects. This would create $30 million a year in new revenue and help prevent massive cuts in Pierce Transit routes and services.

When we originally covered Prop 1 there was no opposition campaign. Since then one has been formed, and there are already allegations of foul play. Does it feel like October yet?

The Save Our Buses campaign to approve Proposition 1 filed a complaint Thursday with the Public Disclosure Commission concerning what they call "the opposing campaign's blatant disregard for compliance with election regulations."

 "The Reject Prop 1 campaign has clearly failed to be open and honest with the voters of Pierce County," says Andrew Austin, a Tacoma resident and Prop 1 steering committee volunteer. "With just more than three weeks until the Feb. 8 special election, Reject Prop 1 has failed to release basic information about its operation and has yet to report any contributions or expenditures."

All expenditures and contributions must be reported within 14 days time, but the PDC confirmed it has not yet received any such materials from the Reject Prop 1 campaign - despite evidence that financial investments were made more than 14 days ago.

The Save Our Buses campaign has complied with all PDC regulations regarding disclosures.

 "The opposing campaign is cynically covering up their identities and donors, while spreading deliberate misinformation about Prop 1," says Austin.  "Voters deserve to know what people or special interest groups are behind these deceitful efforts."

We'll let you know what becomes of this complaint. In the meantime, your voter pamphlet should have arrived in the mail last week, and your ballot will be arriving soon.

January 16, 2011 at 9:53am

5 Things to Do Today: Beale Street Kick-Off, Rock the Dock service industry night, go Hawks!, the Struggle in Greece and Redeeming the Prophetic Vision

Chester Dennis Jones

SUNDAY, JAN. 16, 2011 >>>

1. Check into the Beale Street Kick-Off Party today at Jazzbones, with the Randy Oxford Band, the Wired Band, James King & The Southsiders, Back Porch Stomp and Chester Dennis Jones. The blues start at 5 p.m.

2. If you're in the service industry, head on down to Rock the Dock Pub & Grill tonight for Service Industry Night. Cheap drinks, fun, karaoke - it almost makes working in the service industry totally worth it.

3. Go Hawks! There are plenty of great places to watch the game today.

4. Today at the M11 Social Space (1212 S. 11th St. #24, Tacoma) get an anarchist report on the struggle in Greece after economic meltdown. Here's how it's being described, "Presentation from a Seattle anarchist recently returned from Athens on the current anarchist struggle in Greece, two years after the insurrection and in the context of social and economic crisis. Topics will include state strategies of repression and resistance to it, the threat of fascism, the role of armed struggle, the significance of space and representation, and more. Discussion will follow. www.tan.anarchyplanet.org"

5. Today at Urban Grace Church in Tacoma, stop in for the 5th Annual Redeeming the Prophetic Vision event - perfect for the coming MLK Day. Read about the super-worthy cause here.

January 14, 2011 at 3:07pm

Muslim Capitol Day meets SOTA

Imam Siraj Wahhaj


Racism and prejudice toward the Muslim population is a hot-button issue that the Council on American-Islam Relations has devoted its time and energy to tackling. CAIR will be hosting their annual Muslim Capitol Day 2011 fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17 on the State Capitol campus in Olympia. Based in Washington D.C., this non-profit organization deals with legislature around Islamic relations, educates the wider community about the Muslim faith, and gives a voice to the American-Islamic population. Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of CAIR-Seattle says, "The main focus of CAIR is to get involved and advocate on issues that effect everyone."

Muslim Capitol Day is not only a fundraiser, but also an opportunity for Muslim residents of this state to come together to address issues relevant to their districts. Those attending will get to speak directly to their lawmakers, have meaningful discussions, and learn how legislation is enacted. Each registered person is automatically given an appointment to speak with two of their representatives and one senator to lobby for issues such as preventing foreclosure, balanced budget, and preserving basic services.

Participants will also have an opportunity to hear from guest Imam Siraj Wahhaj, distinguished public speaker, previous member of the national board of CAIR, and the first Muslim to offer an opening prayer to the U.S. House of Representatives. Wahhaj promotes issues such as abstinence and drug awareness.

Last year, this event was attended by an impressive 500 Muslim people across the state, and was extremely well received.            

Jacob Glickman, a junior in Tacoma School of the Arts' internship program, will also be spending the next three weeks as an intern for CAIR. Glickman is responsible for the online registration for the Muslim Day at the Capitol.

"I believe that Muslims have faced a lot of prejudice in our country since 9/11 and even before, and I want to do all I can to help support them and fight this mistreatment," states Glickman.

To register for Muslim Capitol Day 2011, call the CAIR office at 206.367.4081. Meals and childcare will be provided; transportation available.

If you would like to make a donation to CAIR, visit their website here. 

Muslim Capitol Day 2011

Monday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
State Capitol Campus, 416 Sid Snyder Ave. SW, Olympia

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The report above was filed by our Tacoma School of the Arts intern Anne Anderle, who wrote it in a cubicle embedded in our Advertising Department inside Annex C at our World Headquarters. Surrounded by chatter concerning the Best of Olympia issue, corporate sales charts, hairdos and OMG Married to Rock, she discovered a connection between our state's Muslims Day and Tacoma School of the Arts. The Volcano participates in SOTA's internship program on a yearly basis. It's the smartest move we've ever made, besides Company Pizza Day every Wednesday.

Filed under: Olympia, Community, Politics,

January 4, 2011 at 3:37pm

Know your Thurston County judges


For many, watching a District Court judge hammer down the gavel is not a desired experience. But on Wednesday, Jan. 5, the sight of the gavel doesn't mean that the little baggie stashed deep in your sock drawer was finally discovered, it means you're in Olympia participating in the Justice at Work open house.

From 1-4:30 p.m. Thurston County Superior and District courts will be hosting an open house in an effort to show the community how the courts work. The open house will feature a brief opening ceremony, followed by the opportunity for visitors to watch initial hearings of those recently jailed (always a crowd pleaser) and pay visits to Family and Juvenile Courts. Community members will also be allowed to tour juvenile detention.

The courts are funded through state, county and city tax dollars. Like many other taxpayer-funded institutions, the courts face constraints and possible budget cuts in a tough financial year ahead. Although the courts are open to the public everyday, the Justice at Work open house event will give community members the chance to ask questions of court volunteers and  learn more about the programs and resources the courts offer. 

Visit the Washington Courts website for more information on the event. And remember this Weekly Volcano recommendation: Never look the judges directly in the eye. They can see the guilt in your soul.  

Filed under: Crime, Politics, Olympia,

December 22, 2010 at 2:12pm

Jeannie Darneille and Laurie Jinkins making news


This past weekend members of the state House Democratic Caucus approved the 2011 committee structure. Of special note to Tacoma: Rep. Jeannie Darneille was assigned vice chair (focusing on Appropriations) of the Ways and Means Committee. Newly elected Rep. Laurie Jinkins, who campaigned on her experience in health care, budgeting and administration was appropriately named vice chair of the Health Care and Wellness Committee and also appointed to the Capital Budget Committee. Rep. Steve Kirby will continue to chair the Business & Financial Services Committee, which is vice chaired by Rep. Troy Kelley. It's nice to see Tacoma's delegation working on a wide variety of issues in Olympia.

The full list of 2011 Committees is available here, courtesy the House Democratic Caucus' Blog (yes, even they have a blog). 

Filed under: Community, Olympia, Tacoma, Politics,

December 18, 2010 at 9:48am

More from Ryan Mello


Earlier this week the Volcano published and interview with Tacoma City Councilmember Ryan Mellow conducted by our own Zach Powers. From the Spaceworks Tacoma to the need to get away from auto-centric city planning, Mello covered a lot of ground.

Here's a little bit more from Mello that we saved for a special occasion, as well as a link below to the full interview.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: What will you personally be focused on in 2011? 

RYAN MELLO:One thing I'll be working hard on in 2011 is recruiting some clean energy and clean water technology businesses to be leveraged off of Urban Waters. [The Center for Urban Waters is a brand new 51,000 square-foot office and laboratory building, completed in spring 2010, that houses Tacoma's Environmental Services analytical labs and engineering offices, University of Washington Tacoma research labs, and offices for the Puget Sound Partnership.] I'll be working to recruit businesses to make sure we have the right people and systems in place so that when a business wants to locate and be leveraged off of this investment they know where to go and they can quickly come to market. I think it's important to work on creating jobs with a focus on clean energy and clean technology.

I'll also be working on the discount rates for Tacoma Public Utilities. For the poorest of the poor in our community, as well as the people on the edge, we can't keep having these huge escalations in utility rates. We have folks who absolutely cannot afford it. We have to figure out a discount strategy that allows those folks, who literally have been choosing between heating their home or buying their prescription medication for their blood pressure, or heating their home or paying their mortgage bill, to not have to choose. It's unconscionable to not.

I'll also be working on full implementation of the climate plan, which means full implementation of the Urban Forest Program and more implementation of the Mobility Master Plan. I'll also be continuing to look at our infrastructure. I talk to folks all the time about how horrible our roads are, so I think we need to talk to the community about a possible package on the ballot. Find out if people will invest if they see something in return, to fix the residential roads and the quality of the infrastructure in our neighborhoods and in our business districts.  

LINK: Read the full interview here.

December 16, 2010 at 2:37pm

Brewery visions


Olympia will soon be accepting proposals on how to move forward on a revamp of the former Olympia Brewery property. But don't bust out that yellow notepad and drawing pencil just yet.

The Thurston Regional Planning Council has released a Request for Qualifications document on their website. What's a Request for Qualifications document, you ask? An RFQ alerts experienced architecture, city planning and engineering firms to the presence of a potential project. Firms interested in the project submit their qualifications (e.g. similar projects completed, past experience, proposed teams).

In the case of the Olympia Brewery property, the firm chosen would complete a community vision project: a plausible, comprehensive, desired idea for what should be done with the property.  Should Olympia turn the old brewery into a sports center? An ice rink? A functioning brewery? Who knows, but the firm chosen from this RFQ might play an instrumental part in the decision process.        

Qualifications must be submitted by Dec. 30 consideration. Or, if you're a just some dude with a pencil and paper, you may want to wait for subsequent council meetings.

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