Friday, July 17, 2009

Turning the corner of the isthmus (Joan's first try)

For the candidates that are carrying a sort of isthmus vote around with them this year (Amy Tousley on the planning commission, Jeff Kingsbury and Joan Machlis), its probably important to address the vote in a way that puts them past it. Machlis makes a good effort in her piece this morning on growth:

I want to acknowledge that feelings about land use are some of the strongest that emerge at the local government level. I am not satisfied that as a community we have found the best ways to discuss our differences concerning land use. As these differences will continue to occur throughout the community, I will work to improve the public process and the quality of these discussions.


This is the kicker for me:

The Thurston Regional Planning Council estimates that to accommodate 120 units of housing in Downtown with structured parking it takes 1.4 acres, while the same amount of housing would take 11 acres in the South Capitol Neighborhood, 39 acres in a suburban area, and 580 acres in the rural area zoned at 1 unit per five acres.


Its a good explanation of the facts and the dire situation we really are in that forces the kind of hard decisions that Joan and the rest of the council had to make. I'm certainly not proud of the decision, but I supported it, it was the best of a bad situation.

If there's anything wrong with the post, its the formatting. Its on the long side, so changing up the formatting (section headers, bullet points) probably would help the reader slog through the entire piece.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Comment to usopencup.com (citizen media and the USOC)

My thoughts to here:

I would like the new website to include opportunities for fans around the country to be able to submit their own stories, game coverage, pictures and movies.

This could include a "diary" system that is available through Drupal, Scoop, or a similar content management system. Also, services like Flickr and Youtube include features in which users can organically group pictures and videos together.

I think its vital that grassroots fans have a way to promote and cover the tournament.

By the way, you guys are already doing a great jobs, thanks!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pat Beehler makes the debate for the organization that already spent $1,347.50 on him

Pat Beehler couldn't show up for the debate hosted by the non-partisan organization. But, heck, the Olympia Master Builders are hosting a forum, hells yes Beehler's showing up!



Oddly, Karen Valenzuela didn't show up to the forum hosted by the organization with closeclose ties to the Building Industry of Washington. In the past few weeks, OMB's political action committee spent $1,347.50 on independent spending for Beehler. Maybe they decided on the spending before the debate, maybe they didn't. Either way, Beehler's their dude, surprised anyone else at all showed up to this one.

Also, funny that Will Stakelin, OMB's and BIAW's man running for the port commission got some pretty neat free exposure by "hosting" the "debate."

And, Beehler's answer on how he'll balance the budget? Literally (I'm not making this up): Magic!

Pat Beehler fails to show up for League televised debate

Candidate fail:

Olyblog hickup, not Fail

From Jay Stewart, who knows a thing or two about the back-end of Olyblog (since his business hosts the online community gratis):

All,

DNS server failure forced a reload of software. Backup DNS zone file was out of date with old address. I thought I changed it back, but have apparently used the wrong server address, as it seems to be pointed to Nat's development server.

I will fix this as soon as possible and apologize for problem, this is one of the "loose ends" to re-tie after a system recover as extensive as the one I did this weekend; my bad.

Jay
Thanks Jay!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Honorable mentions of what made me love the US Open Cup

Other things I ran into after David Beckham nudged me back into soccer fandom.

1. Franklin Foer. I accidently picked up his "How soccer explains the world" weeks after Beckham signed to spend some Christmas gift card money. It helped me think of soccer in a much broader sense that I would have otherwise.

2. Tommy Smyth. I watched Beckham's last game at Real Madrid online, and to my memory, Smyth was calling it. He was basically ranting towards the of the game, "They're warriors, they're warriors" about how Real was dragging out the win. Just that emotion turned me more back toward the game.

3. Josh Hakala. He, and a bunch of other guys, does usopencup.com. I can talk about how this site is amazing, but his dedication to the game by doing a site that no one else would do for a job, is priceless. You can put David Faulk's name up there and say the same thing about goalseattle.com too.

4. EPSN Soccernet Podcast (for European soccer) and Kartik Krishnaiyer (for American soccer). I can't say these are the best podcasts or podcasters, but they're damn good and they're the ones that I first discovered and still religiously listen to.

David Beckham made me love the U.S. Open Cup

If there two opposite poles of American soccer, they are the media circus in 2007 over David Beckham (and this year's) and an early round US Open Cup game between a PDL team and a USL team, neither of whom you actually follow.

But, if David Beckham had not come to the L.A. Galaxy two years ago, I doubt I would have gone up to Bremerton a month or so back to watch the Kitsap Pumas host the Portland Timbers in the first round of the Open Cup.

I'd played soccer and had tried to follow soccer though high school, but the MLS in its early years gave me really nothing to follow. I remember owning a Metrostars t-shirt, but I can't really remember rooting for any particular team. My favorite American player (Alexi Lalas( was on the Revolution, and I thought that team name in particular was pretty contrived. So, aside from the World Cup and whenever I ran across something, I ignored soccer.

And, that continued until Beckham was signed. And then with the help of some internet, and especially a deep online community following the then USL Sounders, I was neck deep in it, and I loved it. It also helped that I got a DVR and an iPod about the same time. I was able to record and watch whatever soccer actually came on my limited dish package and the iPod helped me quickly bone up on what I'd missed over ten years.

I especially gained an appreciation for the U.S. Open Cup. I liked that the Sounders made deep runs their last two years in USL and that is separates soccer from the other major sports in America, making it the most sporting and democratic. Its my hope to attend at least one Open Cup game (or MLS qualifier) a year.

I would have likely followed soccer anyway since the Sounders entered MLS this year. But, my depth of knowledge and appreciation for the entire sport wouldn't have been there without the head start of Beckham.

So, while I hope Beckham leaves MLS for good once the season is over, he did respark my insterest in the sport. And MLS made a lot of money, which is good too.

Does the chairman of the Thurston County Republicans think the President is foreign born?

Or lied when his campaign supplied a copy of his birth certificate to the media?

That looks like exactly what R. Scott thinks
. Surprisingly, for a county organization that once prided itself with not being completely insane, they're new leader wants to advance conspiracy theories rather than talk policy.

Or is that just mainstream Republican thought nowadays?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

US Open Cup and citizen journalism

Jason Davis at Matchfit had a great post letting out a lot of frustration about how the US Open Cup is treated by MLS, USSF and the media in general. I can't speak for MLS or USSF, but the frustration with the media (maybe not Jason's, but the frustration by soccer fans) is I think a bit misplace.

A tweet by Josh Hakala made me think of something this afternoon. For better or for worse, the best website for following the Open Cup is not managed by a large media outfit or USSF, but a bunch of guys that just love the tournament. This is pretty common throughout American soccer, that sites like Goal Seattle and Prost Amerika, while amateur operations, do a much better job than established media.

While in our soccer world, we're complaining about the lack of media attention to our great tournament, tradition media (at least print, but also radio and television) are contracting and limiting their attention.

This isn't really the time for us to expect organizations that are already losing ground to expand coverage to a sport they've never seriously considered in the first place. And, now, the expansion of soccer will most likely be the greatest sport expansion during the citizen journalism era. For a long time, we've known that soccer is the sport of the internet.

While we know this, we've complained that we haven't gotten the attention from traditional media, instead of rejecting that we need the shrinking traditional media and thrown our attention to building our own fan/citizen based media.

So, long story short. I hope the new US Open Cup website has plenty of opportunity for fan input, citizen coverage of games and great community stuff like that.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Local government blogging issues "unresolved"

This is way better than "resolved and you better the hell not blog." Ramsey over at the Open Local Gov't Blog:

Last month I had the pleasure of teaching two classes to city officials at the Association of Washington Cities Conference in Spokane. One hot issue raised by the city councilmembers was the use of blogs and Web 2.0 cites. I cautioned against their use because the Public Records Act issues are unresolved.

I might have missed this earlier, but the issues around city and county elected officials blogging (here and here) are far from settled. Which means, of course, that we can find our way out of this box set up by cautious city attorneys. Ramsey is writing the AG's office for their thoughts, but I think there needs to be a legislative fix down the road.

Last (last) word from me on Veldheer, gay rights and OPC

Ok, now I see what you mean. For OPCers, there is a strong line between church and state:

Thus, it is not only important to distinguish between the institutions of church and state, but the source of each institution's guidance, and the definition of the purposes of each must be identified. It is not even enough to say that the goals of the state are temporal, and of the church eternal. It must be added that the sources of guidance and purposes are dramatically different. The essential interests of one are not the same as those of the other. As our confession defines the purpose of the state: "It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people" (WCF 23.3). Rulers are not tasked with promoting or enforcing the "true religion." They are called to maintain civil order for all of its citizens, including Muslims, Jews, and atheists; and special revelation commands Christians to support them in this distinct endeavor.
And, more specifically:

Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in the matter so faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the Church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger. And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his Church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretence of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.

That said, the points of these passages seems to be the protection of the church against state interference. Back in the day, with the Anglican and Catholic churches, there were strong ties between church hierarchy and civil government. A religions like the minority Presbyterians would seem to be interested in either severing these ties or at least ensuring the civil authorities didn't cross the church/state line into the church's authority.

What these don't address is how Presbyterians should behave in the realm of civil government, when they are in fact in charge. I've found at least one area (capital punishment) where the church gives specific instruction of an area of civil government.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Last word on Veldheer, EBO and those Catholic bishops too

JLW over at Olyblog has the last good word on Veldheer:

When the Citizens for a Responsive Local Government were considering Karen's candidacy (by the way, she did eventually receive the CRLG's endorsement), we were aware of Karen's religious affiliation, and speculated about whether it would impact policy decisions at the city. So I called her up and asked her about it. She told me that it wouldn't be an issue, that she had no objection to same sex partner benefits. She and I had quite an interesting discussion about faith, and tolerance. Karen strikes me as an honest and genuine person. I trust her. I'm surprised that this is even an issue. Are we afraid that every Catholic politician is going to do his or her best to ban birth control? Are we afraid that Jewish politicians will insist that everyone have a bris? I just don't see any red flags here.


Janet (?) does a much better job explaining than Karen did, but her explanation does open up more questions for me about CRLG's endorsement process. Since it was so early in the season, it would have been great for them to provide the metadata surrounding their suggestions, including this story. They considered a lot of factors, and since their for responsive (and I assume open) city government, more details about what information they gathered would have been great.

Also, just a note to show that even us Catholics have crappy representation in our church hierarchy, just like Karen's church:

The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC), which "represents the Catholic Bishops of the State of Washington on issues of public policy", has posted a link to this notice on the main page of their website (hyperlinks are mine).

...

Opposing "unjust discrimination" implies that some discrimination is justified, that it can be just to discriminate. According to the bishops of Washington, it is just to destabilize and undermine LGBT families. The bishops believe it just to disadvantage children by preventing their LGBT parents from protecting them to the fullest extent of the law via domestic partnerships or marriage.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

I came here for an argument

This one goes out to "p-man" on the original Veldheer thread:

M: I came here for a good argument.
A: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.
M: An argument isn't just contradiction.
A: It can be.
M: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
A: No it isn't.
M: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
M: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
A: Yes it is!
M: No it isn't!

A: Yes it is!
M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.
(short pause)
A: No it isn't.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

More on Veldheer and the Equal Benefits Ordinance

I didn't go far enough and actually email Karen Veldheer about her views of the EBO, just Rob Richards did just that and got this response:

I believe in the separation of Church and State, and that city ordinances must be supported by elected leaders. I support the City of Olympia’s equal benefits policy. Regarding civil rights for minorities, including GLBT, the State of Washington has over 200 specific rights including many of the rights most important to GLBT which I support as well.


Rob's thought's on her response:
In her answer above, the second sentence, as written, says that she supports the EBO. The first sentence makes me wonder what she means by that. My take on this response is that Veldheer believes that elected officials should uphold the law, the EBO is the law, and so she supports it. The problem I have with that answer is that it doesn’t speak to her personal values around the issue, for instance, would she support repealing it if a campaign were launched to do so? What are her personal experiences around this? I’m left wondering many things.


Rob writes more, so its worth reading his entire post.

I tend to agree with Rob, the answer sounds like one from a person who is trying to balance deeply held religious beliefs with running for office in an extremely liberal town.

And, its not very clear where she actually lands on the issue, just that she supports this particular ordinance because she supports all city ordinances. But, how can that be true? Does she support the city ordinance that allows growth beyond what she feels acceptable, or the ordinance that allowed what happened to her house?