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SPEECH President's Message

by Janine Unsoeld

Land use and abuse... we can think of many examples currently challenging the South Sound. Several Westside controversies, such as the proposed Boys and Girls Club near Garfield Elementary school, the much-used dog park near a residential complex, the proposed 7-11 on the long-vacant corner of Harrison and Division, and others such as the proposed Trillium development in southeast Olympia, and the proposed coal trains running through Thurston County. The list goes on.

As Olympia's Comprehensive Plan and Shoreline Master Plan nears completion after more public involvement sessions, one wonders what it will all look like in a few years.

I attended the "New Old Time Chautauqua" at the Capital Theatre last week, and wow, what an evening of live talent, entertainment, and pure fun. Citizens Band came out, and Grace Cox was wearing a black T-shirt that proclaimed in white print, "I'm not moving to Portland." Later, making a joke out of it, Grace told the audience that her T-shirt came from Quality Burrito. Let's all get one and not only support a local business, but more importantly, support our community for what it is, and what it isn't.

Sometimes we just want to just throw our hands up and leave our community because we've heard it all before, fought it all before, tired of the same old battles. For example, DR Horton is baaaack, trying to figure out how to recoup its investment with their proposed Trillium development, resubmitting another application to the city of Olympia. But neighbors are actively mobilizing. They are not giving up. For other issues, people show up en masse and speak to the Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater city councils, the Thurston County Commissioners, and other entities with elected representatives who are supposed to represent our interests.

Personally, I've publicly asked the LOTT Clean Water Alliance board, represented by four elected officials, to televise its meetings. I invite people to join me in this request. The LOTT Alliance has just started to audiotape its work sessions. Unfortunately, the organization did not audiotape or take minutes at its recent annual meeting. Ken Balsley and I were the only community members in attendance. I took 11 pages of detailed notes. Really folks, open government is not that hard.

Nothing is going to change and progress will not be made unless we stick with it, even during the coming sunny summer months. Can we take periodic breaks, garden, travel, create art and play music, spend quality time with our friends, children and grandchildren? Of course. But in the meantime, let's continue to attend those indoor meetings, speak up, write letters, ask questions, demand answers, occupy common ground, reach out to those with differing perspectives, and demand that our community grows in a way that is sustainable and responsible to our future generations.

Janine Unsoeld is president of SPEECH and can best be reached at (360) 791-7736 or through her local news blog www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com.

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Updated 2015/01/07 21:14:22