State Legislature should butt out
The question of whether or not the isthmus property should be used for building condominiums and retail offices or a park is not the issue. The question is whether a state legislator should be able to overturn the decision of an elected local government body if he or she disagrees with the decision.
No one has more reason to be unhappy with the decisions of the Olympia City Council than I do. Having sponsored the legislation to bring a conference/convention facility to our capital city and help finance it, the council overturned the initial recommendation of the Public Facilities District and reallocated the majority of the funds to build a regional athletic complex in Lacey.
While disappointed, I did not abuse my power to overturn the decision that I helped facilitate. The process was open and several public hearings and the final decision was voted on — as was the decision to allow for increased height limits on the isthmus property.
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The passage of Senate Bill 5800 would establish a terrible precedence for the state of Washington.
I have always believed that the best government is the government closest to the people, and that is the elected officials who represent our cities, counties, schools and special taxing districts.
The city of Olympia should be left alone to make its decision and the state Legislature should butt out.
REP. GARY C. ALEXANDER, R-Olympia
Letter on Obama’s birth should be torpedoed
We probably all have friends or family who from time to time send e-mails containing bizarre tales of outrage with a call to action. Generally they come with a request to pass on this knowledge to all one’s friends.
A quick search will usually demonstrate that their facts are false. We have an obligation in such circumstances to politely direct the senders to accurate information and request they do not further disseminate the hoax.
These unfortunate artifacts of the Internet age have surely accelerated Churchill’s dictum that “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its pants on.”
Thus, reputable news agencies have a special obligation to inspect what they disseminate and filter out the rumors and paranoiac noise.
I was therefore disappointed to see the infamous “Obama was not born in this country” canard printed as the lead letter in a recent Olympian.
Your editors certainly know or should know this bit of overheated fantasy generated during the presidential campaign has been debunked repeatedly. His birth announcement was duly carried by two Honolulu newspapers in 1961.
Giving greater currency to paranoid “conspiracy” material has consequences — including such horrors as the murder of an entire Seattle family just 23 years ago.
The fact that it was printed on an opinion page and not as news is irrelevant: There is a difference between opinion and scurrilous falsehoods.
Your obligation is not to print them but to politely direct the sender to accurate information.
BARNETT KALIKOW, Lacey
City Council erred in public arts decision
Olympia has a fine process for the selection of public art, but in the case of the project for the exterior of our new City Hall it was sabotaged by our own City Council.
Before the formal presentation to the City Council by the arts commission or the artist himself, the city manager recommended to scrap the winning project.
Five of seven council members, having evidently met behind closed doors, (a practice which is prohibited in our council/manager form of city government) accepted his recommendation.
A group of five prominent lay citizens comprised this project’s advisory committee. Then a highly qualified jury of art professionals took the directions of the advisory committee and held a complicated competition to determine the winner.
One year, approximately $20,000, and hours of citizen involvement resulted in the final choice.
Before the piece was formally presented to the City Council, it was posted on the city’s Web site and The Olympian prematurely published an incendiary article in which the city manager spoke independently from the council about killing the project. Based on f blog hearsay, he concluded that the art was too difficult to understand and didn’t reflect our region and sensibilities.
The city manager has no place in this process whatsoever.
Council members have veto power on all public art projects in the city, but only after engaging in a polite, fair and organized discussion which involves and educates them and the public. In this case their premature decision will be Olympia’s loss.
MARIANNE PARTLOW; Olympia