October 21, 2009

HOME PRICES EXPECTED TO FALL ANOTHER 11% NATIONALLY

“Home prices across the country are expected to shrink another 11 percent, but Kennewick, Washington is one of the few bright spots in a brand new forecast…

It’s a much different story in most other parts of the country. Home prices in Los Angeles have dropped by 43 percent since June of 2006, in New York, they’ve fallen by nearly 22 percent to a median of $375,000,” quoting KIRO radio news.

And this from CNN money:
“If you thought home prices were bottoming out, you may be wrong. They’re expected to head a lot lower.

Home values are predicted to drop in 342 out of 381 markets during the next year, according to a new forecast of real estate prices.

Overall, the national median home price is predicted to drop 11.3% by June 30, 2010, according to Fiserv, a financial information and analysis firm. For the following year, the firm anticipates some stabilization with prices rising 3.6%.

In the past, Fiserv anticipated the rapid decline in home-sale prices over the past few years — though it underestimated the scope.

Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Economy.com, agreed with Fiserv’s current assessments. ‘I think more price declines are coming because the foreclosure crisis is not over,’ he said.”

THE CITY OF YELM WOULD BE WISE TO AGAIN LOWER THEIR REVENUE PROJECTIONS FROM HOME SALES & PROPERTY TAXES!


October 20, 2009

THE OLYMPIAN & THIS BLOG SUPPORT KAREN VALENZUELA FOR COUNTY COMMISSIONER


Incumbent District 3 County Commissioner Candidate Karen Valenzuela at her October 2nd Yelm Public Forum

THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG ENDORSES KAREN VALENZUELA FOR THURSTON COUNTY COMMISSIONER & AGREES WITH THE OLYMPIAN’S EDITORIAL BOARD!

From The Olympian:
“Valenzuela deserves chance to finish term”
“Karen Valenzuela, who was appointed to a vacant seat on the Thurston County Commission in February, is running for the remaining year in the term. Valenzuela, 60, should be elected on Nov. 3 so she can demonstrate her leadership skills to county voters in advance of next year’s commission election…

Democrat Valenzuela has drawn Republican Pat Beehler as an opponent. Hes a capable candidate, but does not make a compelling case for removing Valenzuela from office…

The Olympians editorial board believes that Valenzuela has a superior grasp of the states Growth Management Act and understands the need to preserve agricultural and forest land in rural portions of the county. As a former Tumwater City Council member she knows the importance of funneling growth into the urban areas surrounding the counties three major cities.

Valenzuela has tackled some tough issues in her first few months in office. She walked in the door facing a huge budget crisis and managed her way through that mess in a responsible fashion. She also has worked to put the finishing touches on the countys critical areas ordinance, to resolve agricultural land issues, to set stormwater standards and to protect prairie lands. She and her colleagues have clearly concentrated their efforts in strengthening the countys environmental protections…

Valenzuela has demonstrated her leadership abilities through a tough period. Her idea to foster stronger relationships with other elected officials in the courthouse is long overdue. Voters should give her that opportunity by electing Valenzuela on Nov. 3.”

ALL COUNTY REGISTERED VOTERS MAY VOTE FOR DISTRICT 3 COUNTY COMMISSIONER!

BUILDERS / REALTOR DONATIONS TO 2009 RACES
THURSTON COUNTY COMMISSIONER VALENZUELA OPPONENT PAT BEEHLER RECEIVED: $23,658.34

“A lot of money gets spent on political campaigns and most of it is not from us individual citizens or even from groups or coalitions of groups of citizens. It’s from organized business, usually corporate business, always business that has an economic stake in the policy that the successful candidates will be creating.

The builders and realtors in our community are digging deep into their commercial coffers this season to buy their candidates’ way into office. There’s a lot at stake. The political tilt of our community in the form of County, Municipal and Port elected positions could shift dramatically either way. For the first time in nearly a decade at the federal level and nearly twice that long locally, we have seen the light pf progressive philosophies regenerate our hopes for the future.

Big business in general and the development business in particular don’t like the prospect of electing officials who will craft rules to protect the interests of the public and individual taxpayers at the expense of a few people who would expand the sprawl and encroachment of the built environment solely for their own profit.

Twenty-three of your fellow citizens who care about our community have pooled their resources to apprise you of how much builder/realtor spending is fueling local campaigns this year and which candidates have benefited the most. A thumbnail dossier on current Olympia Councilmember Craig Ottavelli adds a chilling profile of how public policy becomes private profit soon after a candidate is ushered into office on the developer PRE-PAID plan.

Visit www.23citizens.info for the ongoing, updated compendium of cash for consideration and Help Me “Out” the Development Industry’s Attempt to Buy Our Local Elections.

Through a newly-formed Independent Expenditure Committee I’m calling Twenty-Three Citizens Who Care About Our Community, I have mailed an alert to selected Olympia voters about the disturbing trend of builders and realtors pouring very large sums of money into our local political campaigns…

over $200,000 since 2006!…

Candidates funded by this commercial pool of money can look deceptively like the people’s choice, as voters mistakenly assume the people have spoken with their pocketbooks. The people have spoken, but the special interests have spoken in a much louder monetary voice.

Please help me to apprise the largely uninformed public of the extremely distorted impression they may get from the large quantity and misleading content of the avalanche of messages distributed by these groups.”

Thank you,

Walt Jorgensen
Olympia, WA
If you have any questions, please contact me at waltjorgensen@comcast.net


October 20, 2009

SEBASTIAN’S BEST LATEST CATERING


Yelm’s European Baker Extraordinaire Sebastian Schefer

The latest goodies from Sebastian’s:

Fall has arrived and the beauty of change is in the air.

DESSERTS

Always available within a week worth of notice:
our Lemon Cheesecake and other fine desserts. Feel free to put in your requests.

HOLIDAYS

Place your orders now for our delicious Walnut Caramel Torte or our Fruitcake.
(Shipping available)

MEALS FOR YOUR FREEZER – $8/MEAL
Now, heres the frozen meal menu for Saturday the 24th pick up.
Please order your Meals by Wednesday evening for Saturdays pick up.

Theres a small refrigerator on our back porch where youll find your meals,
if we should not be home. You can place your payment in the envelope with your name on it inside the fridge and leave it there.

Refer 1 friend who buys 1 week worth of meals and youll get 2 meals for free.

Thank you and enjoy this beautiful autumn.

Sincerely,

Sebastian Schefer
sebastiansbest@yahoo.com
360/292-5497

Menu for the week of 17th 23rd of October
* Chili con carne

* Fresh garden squash medley with roasted chicken and herbs and potatoes

* smoldered Pork chop on quinoa with seasonal veggies

* spinach feta Quiche

* Ground Turkey/ Jam-Potato casserole

Menu for the week of 24th-30th of October
* Meatloaf w/ oven potatoes and Swiss chard

* Chicken/Pasta salad w/ celery, carrots and herbs

* Stir fried rice w/ mixed greens and Beef

* Pork chop w/ rice and cauliflower

* Steak w/ oven potatoes and green beans


October 19, 2009

PROMINENT CITIZEN ASKS BLOGGER WHY I DIG TO FIND SO MUCH DIRT HERE

Dear Readers,

A sweet and caring official sat down to break bread with my wife and me at last April’s Nisqually Valley Home, Garden & Trade Show and said,
“You don’t always have to sleuth looking for the bad things here.”

I replied I do no sleuthing, rather I read and educate myself on key issues and share what I have learned on this Blog, and participate in the political debate by attending as many public Council meetings as possible, speaking up when I feel important to do so. That less than a handful of citizens are at any given public meeting does not in any way diminish my actions.

I had to ask this person,
“Why are there so many things that are so glaring and just look bad here; appearance of conflict of interests, the perpetration of incorrect facts about water, Thurston Highlands debt, $400,000 for flush toilets at the park, bank failure & another bank’s conflict of interest here, the outright deceptions from the Mayor, City Administrator & Community Development Director on a whole host of issues keeping the true facts of City Hall news from the public, and on, and on and on?”
One does not have to sleuth very far, as all of this is right before our eyes here for those that want to see!

If no one speaks up for change, then all of Yelm’s dirty little secrets will stay buried under a bulging carpet.
Is that what this community wants?
Perhaps, yes; the silence from the public is indicative of that.

Henry A. Giroux said in Truthout:
“In the current American political landscape, truth is not merely misrepresented or falsified; it is overtly mocked. As is well known, the Bush administration repeatedly lied to the American public, furthering a legacy of government mistrust while carrying the practice of distortion to new and almost unimaginable heights. Even now, almost a year after Bush left office, it is difficult to forget the lies and government-sponsored deceits in which it was claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Iraq was making deals with al-Qaeda and, perhaps the most infamous of all, the United States did not engage in torture.”

This permeates right on down to our local politics, as well!

Rosemary and Walter Brasch said in Truthout:
“Joseph Pulitzer, one of America’s most respected and powerful publishers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, once said there are three rules of journalism – ‘Accuracy! Accuracy!! Accuracy!!!’ The media’s failure to verify the truth violates not only Pulitzer’s three rules for journalists, but also a basic lesson of Newswriting 101, now forgotten in the 24/7 ratings-obsessed news media – it’s more important to get it right than to be the first.”

That certainly applies to our local newspaper’s “journalists”, who so ardently rush to get stories out on a deadline without gathering all of the facts before they go to print, as I can attest first-hand. Their misreporting facts and never correcting the errors does not well-serve their readers and the community, no matter their desire to not be “made wrong”, as demonstrated by the defensive posturing in some of the Editor/Publisher’s Op-Eds.

We have election ballots arriving in our mailboxes this week and unfortunately only 2 people showed up for open Mayor and Yelm City Council positions and both decided to run for the open Council seat against each other, rather than against an incumbent.
Bless them for wanting to serve the public.
One can only hope that the winner will be able to hold their own against the onslaught of a Mayor and several Council members who had no opposition, nor forum in which the public could hear their views for the next term. That apathy here is very sad, although I can certainly see why people would not want their good name dragged through the mud here of the “local, established political cabal”, as one longtime city property owner called it.

Say what you will about this Blog and me personally, and that’s fine, even if speaking falsely about me in hopes that such dirt will stick, just like Council member Isom and the Nisqually Valley News have done, ad nauseum.
However, some people must read this blog, for the hundreds of unique visitors spending more than 30 seconds each day at this site is quite astounding.

The silence in this town from the public on issues of importance to them and their future is really quite amazing. And, the efforts by City officials and the local newspaper to stymie the facts from being properly given to the public is well – quite, shameful. 500 people voting for an unopposed Mayor and Council members out of 5,500 residents is NOT a mandate!
However, the City of Yelm citizens get exactly what they want, don’t they?!

In closing, to respond to that sweet man’s questions to me last Spring:
“Why do you write so much dirt about the city?
You don’t always have to sleuth looking for the bad things here.”

this quote from Copernicus sums up my answer:
“Cowardice is seeing what is right, and failing to do it.”


October 18, 2009

GLEANING SURPLUS HARVEST FEEDS THURSTON COUNTY HUNGRY

“The time-honored tradition of returning to the fields and orchards to harvest surplus crops is alive and well in South Sound.

Called gleaning, this final harvest of whats left behind after commercial harvest is helping to feed the ever-growing number of hungry people served by food banks in the region.

The Thurston County Food Bank hired its first gleaning coordinator in May, the result of a Harvest Against Hunger federal project supported by AmeriCorps VISTA and funded by federal stimulus dollars.

Food Bank gleaning coordinator Heather Davis has teamed up with several South Sound organic farms and homeowners to make sure a wide range of food, including green beans, corn, Asian pears, and apples, doesnt go to waste.

Since July, Davis has rounded up volunteers to glean at participating farms, typically after the commercial growers have completed their harvest.

Davis estimated that 10 percent to 15 percent of the fresh produce available through the food bank is gleaned.

Its a welcome addition, coming at a time when the demand for food bank services is on the rise. For instance, the Thurston County Food Bank saw a 39 percent increase in clients in 2008 compared with 2007, a growth trend thats continuing this year….

Davis said other commercial farms participating in the Thurston County Food Bank gleaning program include Kirsop Farms, Circle Hawk Farm, Lattins Country Cider Mill Farm and the Wobbly Cart Farm and Cooperative,” from The Olympian.


October 17, 2009

YELM WOMAN ELECTED AS NEW 2nd DISTRICT DEMOCRATS CHAIR


Lackamas PCO Victoria Harper-Parsonson, Governor Gregoire, 2nd District Democrats Chair Jackie Reid & Weir Prairie/Rainier PCO JeanMarie Christenson.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Democrats

The Second District Democrats elected a new Chair and a new Vice Chair of Administration at their regular meeting October 5.

Former chair Jeff Stephan of Eatonville recently resigned due to job relocation. The new Chair is Jackie Jo Reid from Yelm. After electing their new chair, the organization had to fill her former position of Vice
Chair of Administration. Ken Stevenson of Spanaway was selected for this post.

The Second District Democrats represent an area which spans both South Pierce and South Thurston Counties. They meet the first Monday of each month at a location near Graham. You can find more information about them and their meeting locations. CLICK HERE
From the Press Release.

CONGRATULATIONS TO MS. REID!


October 16, 2009

MAYOR TOUTS SPENDING $400,000 ON PARK TOILETS – ISN’T RETHINKING REQUIRED IN THESE TIMES?

EDITORIAL NOTE:

I am still baffled by the audacity of Mayor Harding to tout spending $400,000 on toilets and a concession stand for Longmire Park. In his NVN column this week, the Mayor says,
“Regardless of the challenges presented to us by the economy and state and federal cut-backs, we are working step by step to continue to improve the quality of life in our community and surrounding areas.”
Mind you, I have no issue improving the quality of life here, however is spending $400,000 on a few flush toilets and a concession stand to be used only about 3 months a year really something we can afford right now, what with a State budget deficit and cutbacks in social services?
Are flush toilets instead of porta-potties REALLY going to improve the quality of life here that much – and with such high cost?

Hasn’t the time come for our city’s officials to pause and re-think how they do business?
Just because the city received state funding for these toilets, doesn’t mean the city can’t say, “NO!” and ask for the money to be appropriated elsewhere. I mean, after all, the State revenue forecast shows a $238 million drop and getting worse, as reported here. The City of Yelm laid-off 6 employees and did not fill a vacant police officer opening last month and I told the City Council last year they did not do enough to reduce spending in their budget. How are a few flush-toilets and a concession stand going to replace the loss of 7 jobs here?

Now, the figures show the state’s economy is only getting worst, and affecting Yelm’s revenue, too
“Year-over-year statewide taxable retail sales fell by a record amount in the second quarter of 2009, and Thurston County’s dropped for the sixth consecutive quarter, according to state Department of Revenue data released Friday [Oct. 9].

Statewide taxable retail sales fell 14 percent from the April to June period of 2008 to the same period this year, while the countys taxable retail sales dipped more than 9 percent in the same period, the data show.
Washington State taxable sales decline 14% during second quarter.

Yelm: Fell 12.27 percent to $35.71 million from $40.7 million,” quoting The Olympian.

“Wash. retail sales decline is largest ever…
Pierce County was even worse than the state average with a drop in taxable retail sales of 14.1 percent,” quoting KOMO-TV 4 News.
Yelm officials have stated that much of the city’s sales are form Pierce County residents who come here to shop, so that affects Yelm’s taxable retail sales, as well.

City Council candidate Jen Littlefield said in the NVN today,
” A recreation center that serves the whole community would be a better use of taxpayer money and would most likely receive widespread support.”
Re-appropriating $400,000 flush toilets to a recreation center would have been a wise investment you could have supported, don’t you think, Mrs. Littlefield?

HOW CAN THE MAYOR TELL US THAT $400,000 FOR FLUSHING PARK TOILETS IS A GOOD INVESTMENT IN THESE TIMES?
HASN’T THE TIME ARRIVED WHERE MAYOR HARDING AND THE CITY COUNCIL RETHINK SOME OF THEIR WAYS?
IS THIS WISE TO SPEND ALL OF THIS MONEY ON FLUSH TOILETS WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE ARE HURTING?

And, don’t you think a taxable sales drop in Yelm near the State’s record drop is news?
Afterall, the city touts the strength in the Yelm’s economy with a Super Wal-Mart.
Don’t you think this should have been front-page news in our local newspaper?
Where was the Nisqually Valley News on this huge story?
Asleep at the wheel?
Hello?
Seriously, the NVN dropped the ball on this one!

The NVN should have had this headline in today’s edition:
Yelm’s taxable retail sales drop 2nd highest in County, even exceeding County’s average drop by over 3% & near State’s record drop of 14%


October 15, 2009

MICHAEL JACKSON DOCUMENTARY COMING TO YELM – MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Click here for Yelm Cinemas showtime information.

Yelm Cinemas at Prairie Park
Photo courtesy of Yelm Cinemas’ website

Michael Jackson’s THIS IS IT
will be shown at the Yelm Cinemas for a limited engagement.

Beginning Wednesday, October 28th
Yelm Cinemas.


October 14, 2009

SMOKING RATE IN THURSTON COUNTY HIGHER THAN STATE’S AVERAGE

“The adult smoking rate in Thurston County at 19.2 percent is higher than the state average, according to the State Department of Health’s recent survey.

Statewide, the adult cigarette smoking rate has decreased to 15.3 percent, the sixth lowest in the nation.

Thurston County Public Health & Social Services, in collaboration with TOGETHER!, plans to attack this high smoking rate through enhanced promotion of the Washington State QuitLine, tobacco compliance checks, and partnering with multi-unit housing managers to develop smoke-free policies for their housing complexes,” quoting the Pierce County Business Examiner.


October 13, 2009

YELM’S OWN COMIC RETURNS TO THE AREA THIS WEEK FOR 2 PERFOMANCES


Vanda Mikoloski
Photo credit: Vanda’s website, taken by Guustaaf Damave

VANDA RETURNS TO SOUTH PUGET SOUND THIS WEEK!

“Vanda Mikoloski is a renowned stand-up comic and speaker whose passion is personal growth and development. Vanda’s work is a delightful, irreverent romp down her twisted spiritual path. The concept “enlightenment” is fascinating to her. Vanda’s stand-up comedy deals with the human predicament, inquiring into the nature of being a human being, the trap of it all and the absurdity of it all. She offers powerful spiritual distinctions in a ridiculously funny way that leave the audience empowered, inspired and transformed. She begins by questioning our point of view about our point of view and then challenges many of our spiritual beliefs and beliefs about reality. Many people have reported profound shifts after experiencing Vanda’s stand-up work.”

Vanda will be at Ricardos Ristorante in Lacey this Thursday & Friday from 8:30pm – 10pm.
BUY TICKETS – CLICK HERE

TELL VANDA YOU READ ABOUT HER LOCAL PERFORMANCES ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!


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