YAY: OLYMPIA PORT
The Olympia Harbor Patrol, which was on the verge of disbanding because of funding woes, got a savior last week. We’d hoped the Port of Olympia or other government agency could pool resources with the city to keep this 23-member volunteer patrol afloat; it provides information and occasionally rescue help to boaters. That’s exactly what has happened. The city is providing about $8,000 of the $18,000 yearly cost for a boat and fuel as part of a three-year agreement. The port commission is to be commended.
BOO: EX-TENINO CHIEF
The city of Tenino must repay the state Department of Retirement Systems about $86,462 worth of pension benefits that had been paid out to former police chief John Hutchings, according to DRS, which audited city books. The chief had exceeded the hours of his contract at the city, which limited his hours as a condition of his getting pension payments. The excess hours is one reason cited by Mayor Bret Broderson for firing the police chief. The firing recently drew protesters to city hall and led to a town council vote of no-confidence in the mayor, but there’s obviously more to this story.
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YAY: TUMWATER VOTE
Tumwater voters did a smart thing Tuesday by endorsing a small tax increase for street repairs, with 68 percent voting in favor. The 10-year measure raises the sales tax by 0.2 percentage points to 8.9 percent, highest in Thurston County. Proposition 1 initially raises $812,000 a year for sidewalk and paving repairs, which the city is falling behind on. The vote shows people will pay more when they see the need and trust how their dollars are spent.
BOO: SUSAN FAGAN
State Rep. Susan Fagan, R-Pullman, resigned her House seat Friday after it came to light that some of her expense reports were fabricated. House authorities said she submitted “several thousand” dollars of questionable travel charges for reimbursement over a 10-month period in 2014. The Legislative Ethics Board is investigating and could order repayment and penalties. So far, it looks like the House system of checking voucher claims is working as intended by requiring lawmakers to cite the reasons they made trips.
YAY: KIWANIS GARDEN
President Barack Obama’s team is finally learning what a lot of us have known for years: The Olympia Kiwanis Club operates a Good Bank Garden that is a tremendous community asset. The project has grown over the years, operating on multiple sites and producing 25,000 to 35,000 pounds of fresh vegetables a year for charity. Kiwanis president Dave Peeler and Thurston County Food Bank director Robert Coit were invited for a community leader briefing at the White House where they were asked to show how they are making a difference locally. This recognition was earned.
YAY: DISASTER DONORS
Last week’s earthquake that killed more than 7,040 people in Nepal, Tibet and India is prompting many donors to open their wallets to help. We applaud that effort, but Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Attorney General Bob Ferguson say there are often scammers at work after disasters. They recommend going with reputable charities that are equipped to help with disaster relief, noting that the give.org website run by the Better Business Bureau is a good place to see which charities meet the BBB’s 20 standards of accountability. More charities information is available at Wyman’s agency, via 1-800-332-4483.