About that downtown condo growth
I cannot work up any sympathy for those that wish to develop $750,000 condos in downtown Olympia. Where developers tread, unattractive concrete often follows. And, yes, this is “gentrification” and Olympia would lose its treasured quirkiness.
Nathaniel Jones’ proposal is bad for Olympia
Recently mayoral candidate Nathaniel Jones introduced a proposal to study a strong mayor system. This, of course, is introduced when our current city manager has announced his retirement and Jones is running for Mayor. Seems like a perfect opportunity to be able to run the entire city if elected.
The problem is this: The “strong mayor” system is not the fix for a lack of vision and leadership in the city council, of which Jones is a major contributing factor. It also offers the Olympia citizens no real benefit.
Anyone can run for mayor – however, city managers have to have the professional credentials, education, and job history to qualify them to operate the city administration as set by policies decided by citizen council members (including the mayor). Remember, too, the city manager serves at the will of the elected city council and can be removed by them.
The current council/manager model creates a protective layer from the layperson making major errors. This protects the city staff, and most importantly our citizens, from undue legal risk – as well as financial risk.
Additionally, it creates a separation from those who legislate policies (our council members) and those who execute them (city managers). In a “strong mayor” system, you have someone who has oversight over both avenues. It would be a similar situation as having a president also being the speaker of the house and the senate majority leader all at the same time.
This is not right for Olympia.
Efficiency standards save gas and money
Your story about President Trump’s attempt to lower auto efficiency standards devotes all five paragraphs on the front page to his claims about how this will make cars safer and cheaper.
Seven paragraphs into the story, back on page 6, you get around to some of the facts. Lowering efficiency standards will actually cost drivers over the lifetime of their cars, because they’ll have to pay more for gasoline every week while they’re owning them. In fact, according to a recent study by Consumer Reports, under Trump’s proposal Americans would end up paying $460 billion more to run just the new cars they would buy, about $3,300 extra per car. (Consumer Reports says this would be the equivalent of a $0.63-per-gallon gas tax on each 2026 model vehicle owner.) They also find that Trump’s proposal wouldn’t increase auto safety.
It’s pretty clear who it would help: oil companies, and countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, and Iraq whose governments benefit from more demand raising prices in the international oil market. We need more efficient cars, and we especially need more plug-in hybrids and electric cars, which often actually save drivers money over the life of their cars, and which can run on renewable electricity produced by American workers in America.