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Then this happened — September 2022

Maybe they’ll drive electric cars? Kicking off Pride Month, the City of Olympia on June 2 met with representatives of the notorious anti–LGBTQ corporation. They okayed a plan by Chick–Fil–A to demolish the Japanese Steak House at Cooper Point Road and Capital Mall Way and cut down half of the 143 trees now growing there. That will make room for two drive–thrus so people can get to the chicken strips, nuggets and sandwiches without leaving their cars.

Maybe we didn’t need new taxes. The City of Olympia ended the year with a $10.2 million surplus mainly due to collecting more in sales tax than projected. Council members agreed to spend $7.5 million of the money on items listed by City Manager Jay Burney at a May council meeting. There wasn’t a lot of discussion… “extra” money tends to seem easier to spend. One modest item: $190,000 for the climate program and the legal department because they have a lot of work so they need additional staffing support…

Maybe it’s worth fighting. After losing to Olympians for Smart Density (OSD) at the Growth Hearings Board, the City of Olympia chose not to revise their Missing Middle rules to comply with the Board’s directives. Instead, they appealed to Superior Court. That Court just ruled for the city on the grounds that OSD did not have standing. OSD has appealed that decision to the Court of Appeals, out of serious concern that the denial of standing could be used by the City attorney and their Hearing Examiner against other residents attempting to challenge city actions. A decision by the Appeals Court could come early in 2023.

Maybe Washington could address the wage end of the “affordable housing” crisis. California legislators are working on the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery (FAST) Act. Among other things, the Act would establish a state council to create minimum working standards for fast food restaurants. Food and accommodation businesses in Thurston County account for 5.7% of all jobs and pay the lowest wages, averaging $22,700 a year (psst—they don’t offer full–time work).

Maybe ensuring everyone has access to basic needs is scary. Community organizer India Walton beat the four–term incumbent by large margins in the Buffalo NY mayoral primary last summer. She campaigned on “good living–wage jobs, affordable housing, a quality education and access to basic needs” for the whole community. Frightened by that prospect, establishment Dems and Republicans rallied together, funding a successful write–in campaign for the incumbent. The new (old) mayor’s first act after the Tops Grocery shooting was to add new money to the police budget.

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