The Arab Spring: Revisited

Olympia World Affairs Council Presents

Thursday, October 6, at noon in the Large Meeting Room of The Olympian, 111 Bethel St. NE, Olympia

SPEAKER: Dr. Steve Niva, Professor of Middle East Politics at The Evergreen State College

TOPIC: The Arab Spring: Revisited

Dr. Steve Niva of the Evergreen State College, who analyzed the Arab Spring for a fascinated Olympia World Affairs Council audience last March, returns to the podium to provide a follow-up and update on events in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Turkey and other countries experiencing an Arab democratic awakening. Dr. Niva recently led a group of students on a tour of the Middle East. He will bring to his presentation not only the insights he gained during this visit, but also the results of his own research on and contacts in the area.

Dr. Niva is Professor of International Politics and Middle East Studies, specializing in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, asymmetrical warfare and counter-insurgency. Widely published in academic and professional journals, he is currently writing a book on the history and strategy of Palestinian suicide bombs and is conducting research on the changing nature of warfare in the Middle East today. Dr. Niva is a Seattle native, a graduate of the University of Virginia and received his PhD from Columbia University. He has taught at American University and Georgetown and has been at the Evergreen State College since 1999.

Dr. Niva is an editorial associate of The Middle East Research and Information Project, and has had articles published in the Egyptian English language edition of Al-Ahram Weekly, Middle East Policy, The Jordan Times and Peace Review, Middle East International as well as in the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


Will Proposed Low Impact Development Standard Protect or Harm Washington State Watersheds?

Rainwater Management in Puget Sound

Salish sea map (409p)

In August 2008, the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board issued a ruling declaring effectively that the Department of Ecology’s (ECY) storm drainage requirements did not adhere to requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. In response, ECY formed a technical advisory committee to define ‘low impact development’ (LID) and to determine criteria for feasibility of LID. The committee finished its work in summer 2010.

Request for Intervention by Governor Gregoire

In a recent letter to Governor Christine Gregoire, the Carnegie Group of Olympia has expressed its concerns about the pending regulatory direction. “As a result of this Carole richmond (120p) - president, carnegie group of olympiaoverly long process, ECY now proposes to write a perplexing version of ‘low impact development’ into National Pollution Discharge Elimination (NPDES) permits for municipalities,” wrote Carole Richmond, President.

The letter asks the Governor to intervene to prevent the adoption of a proposed rule that the Carnegie Group believes “will most likely spell the demise of Puget Sound by failing to protect tributary watersheds”.

The letter states that the proposed standard offers no improvement over the existing standard. To provide context and a frame of reference, the letter then summarizes the science of watershed health.

“It is clear that ECY’s proposed standard for low impact development is far too weak and permissive to prevent fatal damage to Puget Sound watersheds . . . it is highly likely that we will lose the rest of the watersheds in the path of development by 2020,” concluded Carole Richmond.

The Carnegie Group makes four recommendations, summarized as follows: acknowledge the characteristics of a healthy watershed; redefine LID; place a moratorium on greenfield developments outside city limits; and require that re-development projects result in a net increase in forest cover.

To download a copy of the letter, click on Department of Ecology’s Proposed Low Impact Development Standard Will Not Protect Watersheds

VIDEO: “Why DOE drainage standards will not protect Puget Sound”, according to Tom Holz

Tom Holz is well-known in Washington State for his tireless efforts in leading change in the field of rainwater management and green infrastructure. Among Canadian Tom holz (140p)practitioners in this field, Tom Holz is a recognized name in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, as he has been invited to speak at a number of Canadian forums over the past two decades. Formerly with the City of Olympia, he is a Past-President of the Carnegie Group. He also served on the LID technical advisory committee.

In the late 1990s, Tom Holz coined the acronym ZID – that is, Zero Impact Designs – to describe an approach that sharply reduce the “effective impervious area” of new development with practices such as eco-roofs, roof gardens, rain barrels, alternative paving surfaces, soil amendments, bioretention, reforestation, and filter-swale systems.

To Learn More:

In March 2011, the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners requested a seminar by Tom Holz on “Why DOE drainage standards will not protect Puget Sound”. The seminar is posted on YouTube. To view Tom Holz, click on the two links below:

The first link is about 52 minutes (fast forward to the 4.13 minute mark to get past the set up). The second link is closing and discussion with decision makers and public. “It’s a bit dry so make a bowl of popcorn,” recommends Tom Holz.

To download a copy of the letter of concurrence submitted by Tom Holz, click on Letter to Governor Gregoire about the Future of Puget Sound

The View from British Columbia

Washington State and British Columbia are geographically similar, with a wet coast and a relatively dry interior separated by mountain ranges. On the coast, Washington State’s Puget Sound and British Columbia’s Georgia Basin together comprise the Salish Sea. In terms of how rainwater management in a watershed context has evolved in this shared bio-region, there is a history of cross-border sharing and collaboration. The catalyst for collaboration was the salmon crisis of the 1990s.

What is the Goal?

“On both sides of the border, the salmon is an icon. It is also the early warning system that there is a problem. And so in the 1990s the goal of protecting stream health became a driver for action on both sides of the border. Published in 1996 by the Kim stephens (120p) - 2009University of Washington, the seminal research findings by Richard Horner and Chris May shook conventional stormwater management wisdom in the Pacific Northwest to its foundation,” recalls Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.

“Horner and May identified and ranked the four factors that limit stream health. Changes in hydrology is #1; deterioration in water quality is #4. The work of Horner and May is a foundation block for the science-based approach to ‘designing with nature’ that we have embraced in BC. Their work yielded guiding principles, and these are standing the test of time. Viewed from a BC perspective, the legacy of Horner and May is that they provided us with a springboard to reinvent urban hydrology. By staying true to the science, we believe we will achieve the goal of protecting stream health.”

To Learn More:

British Columbia and Washington State had the same understanding of the science in the late 1990s, but then moved along different pathways. To access supporting information on the approach that has been implemented in British Columbia, click on:

Also, for a philosophical perspective, click on Do you know where you really are in the shifting paradigms of stormwater management?

And finally, for a technical perspective on why it was necessary to “reinvent urban hydrology”, click on Voodoo Hydrology explained by Andy Reese.

Related Stories About Puget Sound on Water Bucket

Washington State Decision Makes Low Impact Development Mandatory — Communities examine the definition of “where feasible” (July 2009)

Washington State: Bold cleanup plan to save Puget Sound gets green light — Key element of Action Agenda is reduction of rainwater runoff by capturing rain where it falls (December 2008)

Stormwater regulation in Puget Sound (Washington State) fails to protect water quality and salmon when it rains — A citizen perspective on why regulation is not working (September 2008)

Setting Soil Standards in King County, Washington, with the Future in Mind — “Healthy Soil = Healthy Homes” — charting a new course for rainwater/stormwater management (September 2008)

Washington State scientists call for changes in land use practices in Puget Sound — End-of-Pipe treatment and detention of rainwater/stormwater runoff discredited (August 2008)

Rainwater Management on Diverging Paths in British Columbia and Washington State? — BC’s Water Sustainability Action Plan introduced to Washington State audience at 2007 cross-border conference (November 2007)

Bill Derry of Washington State issues call for action in Puget Sound — Stormwater specialist outlines 10 point plan for changing land development practices for the better (October 2007)

Reference levels for land use planning (475p)

UPDATES: What do you think about the regulations proposed by the Department of Ecology?

Send your opinion to:
Governor Christine Gregoire
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Or you can click here to send an email through the governor’s web page.

If you wish to send a message concurring with the Carnegie Group, here is some suggested text:

“Dear Governor Gregoire: 

Department of Ecology’s proposed regulations for low impact development will not protect watersheds and streams. They will likely spell the end of Puget Sound over the next decade. I concur with the Carnegie Group’s letter to you dated 8 August 2011.”


Madrona Grove Announces Their Winter Produce Subscription Program

Winter is around the corner and now is the time to subscribe to the Madrona Grove Winter Produce Program. Your order will be packed with staple winter vegetables, fresh winter storage apples and pears and tropical and citrus fruits (because we all need our vitamin C in the depths of winter), plus other goodies like bread cheese and chocolate truffles from Washington food producers. Staple winter vegetables include potatoes, garlic, onions, carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, and fresh greens.

Madrona Grove will continue to have fresh crisp storage apples and pears from Washington farmers throughout the winter, and you can order extra boxes of these now for pickup at the Apple Affair on October 30, or be satisfied with their inclusion in your subscription. They’ll continue to work with local producers to bring you eggs, greens, dried  and canned fruit, cheese, baked goods and anything else that’s well produced and sounds delicious. You’ll need just a bit of adventuresome nature because the folks from Madrona Grove will be choosing and packing the order for you with an aim to give you a balanced, diverse selection of food items.

Click here to download an order form to complete. Send it by mail to Madrona Grove, with your check for $312.50. That’s half of the subscription price of $625.00.

For $125.00 per month you’ll receive yummy healthful food with the knowledge that 90% of those dollars are staying active in the local economies of our county and state.

Thanks again for continuing to support small, sustainable agriculture and business, and the efforts of Madrona Grove to bring farm fresh food to our neighborhood.

Jeannine and Michael

Madrona Grove
Summer Fruit Stand


Madrona Grove’s “Apple Affair” Returns October 30

Come taste and buy over 25 varieties of apples from small Washington farms. In what has become a Fall season tradition, Madrona Grove, the fruit truck people, invite you to come and try tasty apple dishes. If you have a favorite apple dish, bring it and the recipe to share. They’ll provide the Olympic Mountain ice cream, coffee, tea and hot apple cider.

Sunday, October 30
12 noon to 4 PM
Prosperity Grange

Apple supplies will be limited on the day of the event, but you can order apples by the box for pickup on the day of the event by calling Madrona Grove at 866-2810, by sending them an email at, or by placing an order with them, in person. They are at the Building Earth Farm, 9140 Steamboat Island Road NW, Tuesdays and Fridays, 12 noon to 7 PM. They are also at the Shelton Farmer’s Market from 9 AM to 3 PM until September 30.


Hips Aweigh

“Hear Ye!  Hear Ye!  Hear Ye!” — Read a 1968 proclamation announcing the formal organization of the Sisters of Hips Aweigh (H.A.W.). H.A.W. was more informally known as the Fat Ladies Group.

This sisterhood of some of the Griffin area’s finest was organized to address a weighty problem. Boldly declaring that misery loves company and problems shared are lighter in weight, these women attacked their problem with mirth and weekly meetings. A sister could call on any other sister for any help she may need.

H.A.W. assembled for weekly meetings every Friday morning at 10 A.M. The weekly meeting site moved from home to home. Each member parked her feelings at home when the group assembled. Snide remarks and irreverent humor were in order. Humorous readings were given. No kids or men were allowed.

It was said that the husbands liked the Sisterhood because the women were better natured when they came home after the weekly meetings.

The original charter limited the sisterhood to twenty, but this restriction was lowered to sixteen in 1988. Charter members included Toddy Schmidt, Clara Keyes, Ada LeMay, Claire Peterson, and Kathy Keyes (Cowan). Rose Eason was the first new initiate. By 1969, Mary Juhl, Dorothy Reed, Ella Reigel, Eula Biggerly, and Velma Anderson had joined. Other sisters included, Ruth Baker, Lois Camus, Rheba Christopher, Pat Dunkelberger, Thora Flock, Irene Froboes, Yvonne Heffner, Imogen Leonard, Edith Leo, Alice Mack, Eleanor Perrire, Leona Peterson, and Eva Tobin.

Minutes were kept for each meeting. Officers were elected, including the President, Secretary, Under Secretary, and Flip Flap Officer, who was also known as she who guards the treasury. Other officers included the Record Keeper, Crowner of the Queen, Security Officer, Entertainment Committee Officer, Horn Blower, and Slip Writer. Each officer served until such time as the group felt like holding another election – “like in England.”

The sisters weighed and had their weights recorded at each meeting. Then they ate and enjoyed a program. Summaries of any weight changes were calculated at the annual Pounders’ Day meeting. Each member received one of three awards at this meeting, based upon these calculations. The Hippo award was presented to each member with a net weight gain for the year. The Turtle award was presented to each member with no weight gain. The Queen for a Day crown was awarded to each member who lost weight.

A big party was held whenever a member turned 75. Each sister turning 75 received a special telephone call from Ella Reigel who read a Western Union telegram announcing her Birthday and tickled her piano’s ivory keys with a classical rendition. Other special events included Christmas parties and Halloween parties.

Formal meetings ended after 25 years of frivolity, but Hips Aweigh still lives in many memories.

Copyright 2011 by Steve Lundin

Steve Lundin is a long-time resident of the Griffin community located in northwest Thurston County. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Washington and a J.D. degree from the University of Washington Law School and retired as a senior counsel for the Washington State House of Representatives after nearly 30 years.

He is recognized as the local historian of the Griffin area and has written a number of articles on local history and a book entitled Griffin Area Schools, available from the Griffin Neighborhood Association at a cost of $10.

Click here to read more of Steve’s articles on the local history of the Griffin area.

November’s General Election is Just Around the Corner – Here Come the Initiatives!

It’s that time again, when the minds of engaged citizens turn to the upcoming General Election. “But,” you say, “it’s an off-year election! What could there possibly be on the ballot that I could find engaging?” The answer is, “Just enough.” As has been the case in nearly every election in recent years, the measures – three initiatives and two amendments to the state constitution – give us reason to spend time doing a little extra study.

Click here for the Statewide Online Voters Guide. There you will find the official titles, descriptions, financial impact statements, and official statements for and against the Statewide Measures.

Initiative Measure No. 1125 concerns state expenditures on transportation. This initiative is another by Tim Eyman. Love him or hate him (and there seems to be practically no middle ground), his is a force for change in Washington state. It is notable that, right at the top of the financial impact statement, we encounter this foreboding statement:

The State Treasurer states that bonds secured solely by toll revenue will become prohibitively expensive if the Legislature sets tolls, thus eliminating this financing tool for transportation projects.

Among the intents of this initiative is to remove the setting of tolls from local commissions and place it in the hands of the state legislature. The Treasurer is of the opinion that this will reduce the reliability of toll-setting – tolls set by the legislature may be changed by the legislature – and that instability in income will cause bond issuers to charge prohibitively high interest rates. “Because investors in toll revenue bonds see the independence of toll-setting bodies as a critical credit characteristic, no other toll revenue bond issuer in the nation sets tolls subject to legislative approval,” according to an analysis by the Public Resource Advisory Group.

“OFM: Tim Eyman’s I-1125 would imperil key transportation projects, raise borrowing costs”

However, supporters argue there’s no difference between a toll and a tax. Initiative 1053, passed last year with a 64% vote, requires a super-majority of the legislature in order to enact increases in taxes and many kinds of fees. Supporters see this new initiative I-1125 as just a way of closing a loophole.

“Initiative 1125 assures accountability and transparency”

Find out more about I-1125. Start your research with these two web sites:
No on I-1125
Yes on I-1125

Initiative Measure No. 1163 concerns long-term care workers and services for elderly and disabled people.

Didn’t we already vote on this? Pretty much, yes. In 2008, voters passed Initiative 1029, which required federal criminal background checks and increased training for the long-term workers who assist seniors and people with disabilities. However, in response to budget pressures, the legislature reduced training requirements and delayed criminal background checks. I-1163 seeks to restore the background checks and training.

“NORTHWEST VIEW: Proponent says I-1163 will restore protections for seniors, disabled”

From the financial impact statement:

Current law requires increased mandatory training, background checks and certification for long-term care workers, depending on worker classification, beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Initiative 1163 would require the training, background checks and certification for long-term care workers to begin Jan. 7, 2012, but delay these requirements for community residential providers until Jan 1, 2016. For the long-term in-home care program, administrative costs are capped and performance audits with additional fraud investigators are required. Over six fiscal years, costs are estimated to increase $31.3 million and revenue from the federal government and fees is estimated to increase $18.4 million.

Opponents argue that the cost of these background checks and training will require the state to either raise revenues or, more likely, to cut services to the very people I-1163 intends to benefit.

Initiative 1163: Why no funding source, SEIU?

No on I-1163
Yes on I-1163

Initiative Measure No. 1183 concerns liquor:  beer, wine, and spirits (hard liquor).

This is Costco’s effort to take a do-over after I-1100 failed to win voter support last year. Readers will recall that was one of two related initiatives – the other was I-1105 – which failed to pass.

If approved by voters in November, the measure would require the state to close its 300-plus stores and sell off its liquor distribution center, while making Washington grocery stores with over 10,000 square feet (or approximately 1,500 stores) eligible to sell hard liquor.

Proponents argue that I-1183 gets our state government out of the business of distributing and selling liquor. They also say the campaign against 1183 “is funded by big national liquor distributors that profit from Washington’s outdated liquor monopoly.”

Opponents say I-1183 will benefit big-box stores over smaller outlets, will increase liquor consumption and will drive up the cost of liquor, through increased taxes.

No on I-1183
Yes on I-1183

Senate Joint Resolution 8205 would remove an inoperative provision from the state constitution regarding the length of time a voter must reside in Washington to vote for president and vice-president.

One portion of the Washington Constitution allows a citizen to vote in all elections after they have resided in the state for 30 days. But, another section in the Constitution requires 60 days residency before they can vote for President. SJR 8205 fixes this conflict to allow the shorter 30 day voter residency requirement is the constitutional standard for all elections in the state, including the presidential election.

There is no official statement against this measure, on the Online Voters’ Guide.

Senate Joint Resolution 8206 is a constitutional amendment which “would require the legislature to transfer additional moneys to the budget stabilization account in each fiscal biennium in which the state has received ‘extraordinary revenue growth,’ as defined, with certain limitations.”

From the statement in favor of SJR 8206, we read:

In 2007, voters approved the creation of a constitutionally-protected rainy day fund that requires state government to set aside 1% of revenues annually for hard times. SJR 8206, a bipartisan measure, strengthens this fund by requiring a portion of “extraordinary” revenue – that which exceeds 133% of historical average growth – be saved, rather than spent.

However, the statement against this constitutional amendment points out that:

8206 requires more than the 1% that voters approved – it would also require that “extraordinary revenues” go into savings. While it sounds like a good idea to save more – the result is people paying taxes and getting nothing for it, except a bigger savings account.

“ELECTION 2011: Constitutional amendments”

So, there they are. Your 2011 statewide measures. What arguments are you finding particularly compelling? What resources are you finding to help you to come to an educated opinion regarding how you will vote? Leave your comments here, join us on our Facebook Page or on the GriffinNeighbors online discussion group.


“Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World”

“Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World,” a presentation by the Olympia World Affairs Council

Thursday, September 15
7:30 PM
Olympia Center, Room 101

Our speakers will focus on women’s changing roles in the Arab world, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. They will discuss the political, economic and cultural issues facing women in these regions and explore the efforts by the United States and the United Nations to improve women’s status.

Our speakers are Dr. Therese Saliba, professor of international feminist studies at The Evergreen State College, and Dr. Savvina Chowdhury, professor of feminist economics at The Evergreen State College

In background, education and experience both of our speakers are eminently qualified to discuss the role of women in the developing world. Dr. Saliba, a former Fulbright scholar in Palestine, has co-edited two collections: Gender, Politics and Islam and Intersections: Gender, Nation and Community in Arab Women’s novels. She has also contributed essays to numerous journals on Arab and Palestinian feminism, postcolonial literature, media representations and Arab-American experiences. Her current research examines the gendered impacts of post-9/11 policies on Arab and Muslim American communities, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. She is also researching the role of women in the recent Arab uprisings.

Born in Bangladesh, Dr. Chowdhury grew up in Bahrain and Egypt. After coming to the United States in 1991 she has often returned to the Middle East. Her published doctoral dissertation, Everyday Economic Practices: The Hidden Transcripts of Egyptian Voices, was based on her work with the United Nations Development Programme in Egypt. Her past research in the Middle East has included working with informal financial networks where women emerge as community leaders, making small loans, mobilizing savings and investments. Her current research has focused on the role played by women labor leaders in bringing about the demise of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.


Local Resident Mark Genich Collects Insects for the Slater Museum of Natural History

Detail from the cover of Insects of the Pacific Northwest

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the annual picnic sponsored by the Griffin Neighborhood Association is the opportunity to meet neighbors from this area for the first time. Among those local residents who visited Frye Cove at this year’s picnic was Mark Genich and Lynne Ferguson. Recently retired as a physician, Dr. Genich has undertaken an interesting project with which any of us could lend a hand.

Dr. Genich is collecting samples of insects in our area for the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound with the help of the emeritus professor, Dr. Dennis Paulson. The collection will be used as a teaching tool for the students at the university. Although he retired as a family practice physician and worked in the urgent care department of Group Health Cooperative, “I got my start toward a career in medicine because I got interested in insects as vectors of disease to people and animals,” Dr. Genich explains.

As our late summer turns into fall, you may yet have an opportunity to add an important insect or two to the collection. If you capture an unusual looking insect, Dr. Genich is happy to personally pick up anything anyone finds. “The best way to hold any specimens is to catch them in a jar if possible and then put them into a freezer so they won’t dry out and become brittle.”

If you capture and freeze an insect for the collection, please contact Dr. Mark Genich by phone at 866-0844.