Boo: Housing cuts Yay: Clean Team

The OlympianMay 19, 2014 

Olympia Downtown Ambassadors (from left) John Parrott, Josh Schwenker and Kyle Olson paint the exterior walls of the burned-out Griswold's Office Supply building in downtown Olympia on Friday, April 18, 2014.

TONY OVERMAN — Staff Photographer Buy Photo

BOO: FEWER HOUSING FUNDS

The Thurston County HOME Consortium handed out nearly $2 million in grants last year to providers of housing and social services for people who are homeless based on projected funds from document recording fees. But real estate activity declined and the county received $800,000 less than expected. That leaves the county over-invested in programs, especially those needing ongoing support, and now must make some large cuts. It’s a serious blow to an already underfunded need in our community.

 

YAY: RUNNING FOR OFFICE

It takes passion and courage to run for elected office, so regardless of who gets your vote, every candidate deserves respect for their willingness to serve in an oftentimes thankless position. Voters will make choices among multiple candidates for many positions up for election in Thurston County this year, but not all. That’s a shame. The democratic process works best when every candidate must win voters’ support.

 

BOO: PICK A PARTY!

Doesn’t it seem odd that Sen. Tim Sheldon is running for office as a Democrat, but he votes and caucuses with the Republicans, and is supported by prominent GOP members. Former state attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Rob. McKenna is urging support for Sheldon in his re-election bid for the 35th Legislative District.

 

YAY: CLEAN TEAM EXPANDS

Thanks to a Community Development Block Grant through the City of Olympia, the Downtown Ambassador Program is expanding its Clean Team activities to seven days a week. The program is run by the Capital Recovery Center and focuses on reducing graffiti and discarded needles in the city’s downtown core. More good news for downtown.

 

YAY: EXTENSION VOLUNTEERS

Thurston County residents volunteered more than 20,000 hours of service to university extension programs last year to make the link between research programs and their everyday applications. The Master Gardener program is a prime example: More than 200 gardeners and recycler composters donated about 14,000 hours of service to the regional community in 2013. During a period of declining government budgets, these volunteers are needed — and appreciated — more than ever.

 

YAY: SAVING TAX DOLLARS

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza has reported that his office has saved more than $23,000 so far this year by helping prisoners obtain medical coverage through the Affordable Care Act. It’s not widely known, but the county is responsible for half of all uninsured inmate’s health care costs. It’s a rare and small, but significant, financial benefit from the federal government to counties. Thanks to Obamacare.

 

BOO: RACISM IN SPORTS

Now that the NBA has imposed a lifetime ban on Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, will the NFL follow suit in ferreting out racism in professional sports? Daniel Synder, owner of the Washington Redskins, has ignored the growing sentiment among players, fans and even members of Congress that he should change the team’s name. Count us among those who support a name change.

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