Give us a clearer image of police actions

YAY: Police body cameras

Given the wildly conflicting testimony presented to the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, only one thing is certain: had Officer Darren Wilson been wearing a body camera, the whole episode could have been recorded, and we would have a clearer picture of what occurred that fateful night.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson recently said that police officers do not need permission to use body cameras. The AG Office’s opinion said the public should assume all interactions with police are public, and that citizens have the same right to record uniformed officers in public.

In the modern era of camera phones and instant replay in sports, it seems almost backward that interactions with law enforcement are not routinely recorded. The stakes are so high for everyone involved.

Body cameras won’t resolve racial tensions in America or end the injustices too often perpetrated on minorities. But they can help us to better understand what happened in any specific, tragic encounter.

YAY: Removing blight

With the help of an engineering battalion from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the City of Olympia today began to demolish the abandoned Thurston County Housing Authority building on the isthmus. For far too long, this central part of our downtown and extension of the state Capitol Campus has suffered from visual blight. It’s a long-delayed first step.

YAY: A Lacey downtown?

The Lacey City Council is moving toward offering a tax exemption to encourage development of multifamily residences in the Woodland District. Property developers, like holiday shoppers, are attracted to good deals, so council is on the right track. The next step should be to offer incentives for people to purchase or rent the newly constructed condos and apartments.

The City of Puyallup used a similar strategy a decade ago to build vibrance into its downtown core. One wonders why the City of Olympia hasn’t done this downtown.

YAY: Loving the arts

A world without art would be a gloomy place. People want to be creative, but often don’t know how, unless someone – like Woodland Elementary teacher Anndria Cook – helps unlock that part of themselves. Cook was recently named Washington Elementary Art Educator of the Year for inspiring generations of children to express themselves through music, drawing and other art forms.

BOO: Port slowdown

The failure of labor and management to agree on a new contract has reduced movement of goods through the Port of Tacoma to a disastrous crawl that will have long-term effects on Washington’s economy. Apples are rotting. Lewis County Christmas trees may not get to overseas markets in time for this year’s holiday. Everyone stands to lose if this dispute isn’t settled quickly.

Yay: Christmas season

OK, now we’re ready for Christmas decorations. We were not ready at Halloween, when they started going up, or at any time before Thanksgiving, or on Thanksgiving day. But now it’s time: bring on the candy canes, get out the strings of colored lights, and let the season of joy begin.