Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The long history of hating and loving Boeing

When we jump on the bandwagon around here, we sure do jump on hard:
Senator Bone attacked Boeing in February and March of 1934. He referred repeatedly on February 20 to an unnamed "air- plane factory" that had "made 90 percent profit out of the Govt." and proclaimed that he did not want his country to be "helpless in the face of the inordinate and extortionate demands of privately owned airplane companies." On March, 6 the senator went further, he named names. As part of a broader attack on firms that did business with the federal government, he charged that Boeing had made profits of 68 percent on navy business and 90 percent in its dealings with the army, and he complained about the company's employment, at $25,000 per year, of a vice president to solicit business from the federal government. For the Tacoma Democrat, money and politics mixed in alarming ways.
Less than 10 years later, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce would join with labor leaders to rally for Boeing.

The quick turnaround in the political and cultural center of Washington state towards Boeing obviously had more to do with World War II and the company's ability to capitalize on the war. Boeing had gone from a small-to-medium size operator in the airplane industry to the center of the Puget Sound economy. Almost 20 percent of the entire workforce of King County was somehow connected to Boeing by the end of the war.

This turnaround, from whipping boy to savoir isn't untold, it may just not be well understood. Other people have written about it, but usually just in the terms of I outlined above, which can be pretty simple.

But, there are a few more wrinkles I think worth exploring.

First, Senator Bone. If you like my Business/Libertarian or New England/Appalachia duopoly of Cascadian politics, Bone falls into the Libertarian Appalachian wing. Firmly anti-corporate, Bone took a shot at Boeing in the same way that Washingtonians took shots at the rail-road companies. His political tradition fell from the same tree the spawned anti-corporate talk at both the Washington and Oregon constitutional conventions.

Also, it is hard to understate the double impact of the Great Depression and World War II had on reshaping our region. Nominally, we were friendly business Republicans region prior to the 1930s, but the political map was whipped clean in 1932.

But, with World War II, the inertia from the 1930s began to recenter towards business in the 40s. Youngins like Scoop Jackson and Warren Magnuson were much more friendly with the traditional New England political thought. And, by the end of the war, Washington's economy and culture had changed, and a cadre of young business friendly Democrats were ready to fight for Boeing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Nothing about LakeFair. You should all be proud (Olyblogosphere for July 20, 2014)

1. It isn't just LakeFair that makes us tick. There were some great things at Pride too.

2. Ken obviously let's people write without using their real names. This particular post seems to toe the line of acting like a kid in civil discourse. And, reminds us that the entire isthmus planning group is a poorly held public secret.

3. I usually like local blog talking about local things, but one other will do. This time a local blog talks about cultural appropriation.

Camille:
I should note here that the original poster found it useful to say something to the tune of “most Africans are doing it wrong”. If anyone is doing it “right”, I’d say it’s them. His whole rant was … startling. Now, I am not disparaging this young man at all. He was speaking most vehemently based on the information he had. There is a lot of misinformation out there on the internet and I can’t fault him for falling prey to some of it In fact, I remain strangely unemotional about the whole exchange. But it did set me to thinking…

Should I be angry that someone from a culture other than my own is telling me about my culture in authoritative ways? I am not. I am … simply pondering a world in which this happens so regularly that we can’t even recognise it.
 
4. Who can just take away a park from members of our community, who just happen to be homeless?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Do we have to wait until Dan Evans dies before someone writes a biography?

Scoop Jackson, Warren Magnuson, and Tom McCall all have biographies.

The Secretary of State's Legacy Project has released biographies of Slade Gorton, Booth Gardner and John Spellman.

Cecil Andrus has a really good biography. "Fire at Eden's Gate" about McCall is better. But, the Andrus one is really good.

Scoop and Maggy cast a longer shadow in Washington, sure. McCall is probably the most inspiring Cascadian politicians. But, at least in terms of 20th century executives in Washington State, none is more powerful and interesting that Dan Evans.

And, there is no biography. Hell, even Nancy Evans had a full oral history.

Dan Evans is a totem in our politics. A "Dan Evans" Republican or a "Dan Evans" anything is the symbol of a rational, friendly to the environment, good for business politician. Evans served three terms and has been the only governor to serve three consecutively.

Biographies are oftentimes the best history. People moving through history, changing the context around them. It can be pretty good reading. And, arguably, no single governor has guided Washington through more interesting times that Evans.

So, why no Evans book? 

UPDATE 7/17/14 12:43 p.m.: Apparently Evans has been working for decades on an autobiography (thanks Deb Ross). From the Nancy Evans oral history:
...the week before Scoop died Dan had called the chair of the Evergreen trustees, Thelma  Jackson, because he wanted to write this autobiography he’s been working on for so long.  He had actually started doing some research, and started organizing the governor’s years, and going back into his own childhood – those sort of things.  So he had gott en that far, but not really doing research like he is now.  So he asked for an appointment with her.  And he was going to tell her that he would work unti l the following June, but then he wanted to leave Evergreen. He wanted to write his book and then do something else. He didn’t know what – just something else.
 I'll be honest though. What I want isn't what I want. What makes a book like Fire at Edens Gate so good isn't just that it tells you the facts of a politicians life, but that it carries that life through the broader context of our communities and does it honestly. More honestly than could be done for an authorized biography (Shelby Scates on Magnuson or even John Hughes on Gardner) and much more honest than the subject can do on themselves.

It is great Evans is working on his autobiography. I want someone else to take a crack at it too.

Monday, July 14, 2014

We can't move Evergreen closer to Olympia, but we can bring Olympia (or a walkable community) to Evergreen

This is working out to be a part two to the post I put up last week about how we could've had a different history, college and town if Evergreen had been built closer to town.

Barring Dr. Emmett Brown, how can we try to solve the separation issue that impacts both Evergreen (as a mostly car based campus) and Olympia (a college town without a college in town).

I think the solution would be to cut down some trees! How very non-Evergreen, but they had to cut down trees in the first place, so why not just cut some more.

On the east side of campus, there is a large Douglas Fir woods. This property is totally owned by the college, is bound on the north by a fairly new residential development, on the south by Evergreen Parkway and on the west, by the non-teaching portion of campus (residential and recreation areas).

Another feature is the lack of wetlands in this portion of the campus:


I can easily imagine a dense residential and commercial development along Driftwood and Olverhulse, hugging the corner between the residential developments and campus. This would encourage more living close to campus and, of course, build a college-town sort of community nearby.

And, since I'm just spit-balling here, I am imagining the same sort of mixed density, apartment above commercial development that was sketched out early on in my own neighborhood.

Evergreen's own Master Plan admits that too many students commute to campus, and the vast majority of those drive. The same plan mentions vaguely a small "local retail" development as part of a minor addition to campus (Project K). That wouldn't be a bad start, but the idea in the plan is really tiny compared to what sort of real estate is actually available out there.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where would've been a better place to put Evergreen?

@jeff_james is always on my back about Olympia. It isn't a college town, he says. It doesn't have the normal trappings of the Midwest college towns that he was used to. Somehow it always comes down to college bars, but I think that's just what I remember.

Ken also points this out, that the relationship between Evergreen and Olympia is different:

Nicandri said there’s a lack of things for students to do on the college campus, and its physical isolation causes even more problems.   “There’s no place for a student to buy an aspirin or visit a laundromat or buy other needed items without leaving the campus,” he said.

While touting the great academic component of the college, Nicandri said its time to re-look at the campus and perhaps allow some commercial activities.   This has to be coupled with renovating the existing dorms and constructing additional housing facilities.

“Perhaps its time to talk about requiring students to live on campus,” he said.
Evergreen and Olympia are inseparable, but the reality of their actual physical distance (and irony that people need to be able to drive to campus) has some real impacts. If you are a student with a job or even a family life, its easier to live off campus than on. The cultural mix between the campus community and town is stilted.

Sure, people can point to things we have here (OFS, general art community) that we can credit to the college and its alumni. But, you'd have to admit that these institutions would be stronger and more diverse if the campus was closer (or actually in) town.

Which begs the question, how would the founders of the school, in 1968, found a place closer to Olympia? It isn't like Evergreen is the University of Washington. The UW was founded in the 1800s, and the city and the school literally grew together over time. Now, the school is firmly integrated into the city's geography, but it took decades for that to happen.

What choices did the school founders have in the 1960s to get closer. Turns out, they had at least one great choice, not far from the current campus.

The site where the Olympia Auto Mall, the South Puget Sound Community College and Mottman Industrial Park was nearly empty in the late 1960s (image from Earth Explorer):

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7wlAMpnXS5s/U77KBXiAUGI/AAAAAAAAB5E/eY0PTN-uAqs/s1600/Olympia+west+side.png

Not only was the site empty (seemingly available) it was also connected to a portion of Olympia that was already developed, granted it was a sleepy residential neighborhood at the time. But, in the decade soon after the founding of Evergreen, the westside of Olympia exploded with commercial and residential growth. Other parts of town I looked at included the general Southeast (less open space, more houses) and Northeast (same). But, I'm curious about other parts of town. Would it have been possible to do Evergreen NYU style? Build a handful of reasonable office buildings downtown? Maybe the emptying of downtown happened 10 years too late for that to work out, but it would've been interesting. Anyway, food for thought.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Pretty, cheaper and better for fans. Great new indoor soccer league, I wish it was a futsal leauge

I'm glad the new Western Indoor Soccer League is coming online. The old national minor league indoor teams around here had been associated with just seemed so disconnected. And, there was a bit of drama in there that I didn't like.

And, most importantly, I think local leagues should be local. Sure, organized with some sort of national system (like US Club Soccer), but local teams controlling local leagues. Just makes sense.

But, where I wish these team owners had changed their approach would be to abandon the historic tangent that is indoor soccer. In no where else in the world does anyone play our version of indoor soccer. Its odd in that way. Our version seems to be based on a need to use underutilized indoor hockey rinks. They are laid out almost exactly the same, with team boxes and tall walls that keep the ball in play.

Futsal is just a better sport. The rest of the world plays futsal, which more closely resembles actual soccer.



I'd even say that futsal is more exciting. And, after watching more than 10 indoor games right on the walls, indoor is plenty exciting on its own. What I've read makes me believe that futal would also be cheaper to implement. Mostly what worries me is the need to essentially replicate hockey arenas to play what should be a simple sport. Futsal can be played anywhere basketball or volleyball is played. It is just another series of lines on the same gym surface. Even if you're buying a futsal floor, they can be purchased in the neighborhood of $10,000, which is near what an indoor field (with turf and walls) can be set up for.  

The biggest argument for me is fan experience. The indoor arenas I've seen around here have pretty bad fan experiences. Small metal bleachers awkwardly arranged around an indoor arena, I mostly ended up standing, and I felt I was in the way of people trying to walk by. The facilities are obviously built for recreational players with a fan experience jammed in. Even if you took an average high school gym and laid a portable futsal court, you would increase the fan experience by 100 percent.

And, according to FIFA indoor isn't real soccer. And, they're right.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Freedom and Walla Walla

On Independence Day in 1861, the Steilacoom paper mentioned that the soon to be ex-acting governor of the territory would make his own person independence in Walla Walla.

Just a couple of months after shots were fired to open the Civil War on the opposite coast, in his capacity as acting governor, Henry McGill had called out the troops. McGill issued a proclamation bringing the Washington territorial militia back into existence.

McGill was just waiting out the time until he (the territorial secretary) and his Democratic Buchanan appointed territorial governor were replaced by Lincoln Republicans. Before coming west, Ireland born McGill has been Buchanan's personal secretary. Buchanan president under whose presidency the nation began to fracture.

McGill visited the office of the Puget Sound Herald (reported on July 4, 1861) and gave an impression about his own search for freedom. Clearly looking past the time when Lincoln would appoint his replacement, McGill said that maybe Walla Walla (in the growing eastern portion of the territory) might be the place for him.

McGill was put in charge of the territory on an acting basis because his governor, Richard Gholson, made his way back to Kentucky, in an effort to get that state to join the Confederacy.

But, McGill mentioning Walla Walla in the summer of 1861 was an interesting dream. Secession had tossed McGill's career. Walla Walla was the center of its own local secession movement that Olympia and the rest of Puget Sound played to their benefit in the era of national fracture.

McGill's stay in Washington was only a few months old when the territorial assembly shot down the idea of letting eastern Washington and much of what is now Idaho seceded from the territory. In a 18-12 vote, the assembly voted down a memorial to Congress to create the massive inland and economically powerful territory.

Between the rising agricultural territory around Walla Walla and the mines upriver, Walla Walla was a community on the rise and it wanted to the center of its own territory. Puget Sound and Olympia obviously didn't want this at all. They were able to hold off the 1861 memorial, but people were streaming into the east. Eventually, the population and the votes over the mountains would end up drawing a line unfriendly to Puget Sound.

The question remained, how do the Puget Sounders keep at least a portion the economically vital region in the fold? As miners flooded into the east in the fall of 1861 and into 1862, the solution became dividing the farms from the mines.

Thus, Idaho:

Thousands of gold-seekers rushed to the Salmon River mines as soon as travel became practical in the spring of 1862. At the height of the excitement, a new boundary suggestion came from Olympia. There, on April 5, 1862, the Washington Standard indicated that Washington territory should be divided, but not on the Cascades. In order to keep Washington as big as possible and yet get rid of the mining area with its controlling majority of Washington's population, a new territory was advocated foe the miners only. After all, there was no need to cut off anything more: if just the mines were detached, the danger that political control of Washington would shift east across the Cascades would end suddenly. Walla Walla and the potential farming section of the Palouse, therefore, might stay in Washington without endangering Olympia's future. A boundary much farther east than the Cascades would leave Olympia with a Washington territory of respectable size to preside over. To accomplish this, Washington's eastern boundary might properly be made a northern extension of Oregon's eastern boundary. Dr. A. G. Henry - surveyor general of Washington, and an exceedingly able and influential agent for Olympia - selected the exact line that would meet these new Olympia requirements. His choice was a meridian running due north from the new town of Lewiston, which had been established the season before at the mouth of the Clearwater. From that time on, that was the line that Olympia partisans worked for.

War and death raged in the east, but Olympia civic leaders and bureaucrats quickly and coolly dispatched with the secessionists on the Snake River.

I'm not sure if McGill ever made a stop in Walla Walla. He did some lawyer work around Puget Sound in the 1870s, by 1870 he was lawyering and getting elected to local office in San Francisco.

Fifty years after the last battle of the Civil War (the battle of Columbus, Georgia) McGill died in San Francisco.