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Then this happened — January 2021

The City of Olympia gave developers millions in property tax exemptions for their downtown apartment buildings (WIP-June & November 2019). In response to a citizen’s inquiry, the State Auditor has found that Olympia’s Community Planning and Development Dept. (CP&D) has no effective program to monitor and enforce compliance by those developers with city ordinances and state law governing the exemptions. Hello CP&D—anyone home?

Remember when Trump said he could shoot someone in downtown New York and nothing would happen?  Well you can shoot someone in downtown Olympia and go free. State Patrol  arrested a Trump supporter for shooting a man in the abdomen during a demonstration, and his attorney already said he would plead self-defense. In the meantime, the prosecuting attorney declined to charge the shooter because there is not “evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.” Maybe later?

Speaking of investigationsThe Thurston County Sheriff will take another two months to investigate the violent September confrontation where suspect Michael Reinoehl was killed by a “fugitive task force.” The sheriff sued a journalist and the DOC to stop the release of records related to the killing because it would “ irreparably damage vital governmental functions.” Which would stifle any independent public assessment of the circumstances of the killing.

…and a Police Department at risk! Mayor Cheryl Selby, photographed in the Seattle Times looking like a municipal statue, wondered why “we’’ tolerate demonstrators and protestors downtown:  “They aren’t coming to patronize our stores, so why are we putting residents and the Olympia Police Department at risk?” she fretted.  Gosh, that would be terrible—police asked to “protect and serve” people who aren’t shopping?

…another arrest. The aged Washington ferry “Evergreen State’’ had been sitting at the Port of Olympia since a Florida man bought the vessel for $300,000 in 2017. This fall, the Port seized it for nonpayment of fees and US Marshals arrested it and sold it at auction Dec.8. Bart Lematta, with the winning bid of $290,000, said “My wife thinks I’m nuts.” Lematta plans to see if the ferry can run on solar power: “If this can be converted to run on renewable energy, I’ll be a happy person on the day I die.”

Port Executive Director Sam Gibboney said the port’s marine terminal staff and maritime attorney have come up with a service agreement that will keep the vessel at the port through Jan. 4. The port was waiting for Lematta to sign.  Pray the sun was shining on Jan. 4. And after that?

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