more brainstorm

Just wanted to add to this notion that: “When the commons is given away, it’s almost impossible to get it back. Just take a look at the failed Seattle Commons as an example of how hard it can be.”

There was an article in the Sea Times about lessons to be learned from Van BC:, er, no, it was in the PI:

Via Cascadia Scorecard, “More Urban Development Lessons from the North“:

the Seattle P-I had another interesting article on the lessons Vancouver has to offer on urban development–making the city both an exciting and a family-friendly place to live. Tips include requiring developers to:

  • create multi-bedroom apartments designed for families
  • provide community centers, playgrounds, neighborhood schools, landscaping, and other public amenities
  • design buildings that create a pedestrian-friendly and visually appealing streetscape–not just a barren street canyon. (Buildings on some streets are kept short to make them feel more homey.)

Seattle’s mayor is in the midst of unveiling plans to create vibrant, dense urban centers by raising building heights, charging developers one fee of $1-2 per square foot to pay for parks and open space and another fee of $10 primarily to build low-income housing.

brainstorm

ISSUE: Parking in Downtown

PARKING GARAGES DON’T VITALIZE

Neither in spokane nor in Tacoma have centrally located parking garages worked to vitalize the downtown area. In fact, recent suggestions for the Tacoma garage have been to just tear it down.

IS PARKING THE BIG ISSUE?

My opponent thought the parking issue was a myth is 2002. In a recent poll, only 19% of the respondent cited parking problems as the thing they disliked most about downtown. 49% cited homeless, panhandlers and antisocial behaviour. Let’s build a drop-in center with our precious money and address the real downtown issues, instead.

BIDS GO BAD

The parking garage is directly connected to the development of the BID.

– is it a good idea for Olympia to abdicate public space to what will become in essence an private mall in downtown?

– the creation of a BID is being tied to the parking garage, this is a way of distracting the public. the BID will remove a section of downtown from direct control by the citizens and the city council, and could turn part of Downtown into a privately controlled mall. If downtown is such a wonderful public resource, and I agree that it is, then why give it away?

– the BID is in an area of downtown that will see the greatest traffic increases. doesn’t it make sense to improve an area that actually needs help more in order to grow?

– the BID will raise the cost of doing business in Downtown. can Olympia afford to make it HARDER for small businesses to survive?

THE GARAGE WILL RAISE PARKING FEES AND PARKING TICKET FINES

Does this make sense? In order to make Downtown more friendly, we are going to have to increase the cost of parking and make parking tickets even more expensive.

– the parking garage will only make shopping downtown MORE annoying, by increasing the nuisance fees

– increased parking fees to generate revenue is a vicious cycle; the higher the fee, the more careful people will be, and that means less revenue. In order to keep that revenue coming in, parking enforcement will have to become increasingly vicious. Further, the garage itself would likely reduce the opportunity for revenue from on the street parking

– the garage is a publicly funded source of profit for private business. isn’t that why the convention center was a bad idea? In fact, the proposal is to use money from the failed convention center, and that money may not even be available. We could be stuck with a BID, and no garage.

– increased parking fees and ticket fines will only make the parking conflicts in areas like South Capitol Hill more vicious and would encourage the lobbyist that own property there to sue the city. We could lose all parking revenue if we increase fines and fees.

MY OPPONENT CANNOT EVEN ETHICALLY TAKE PART IN THE DISCUSSION

I am the only candidate for position 7 that can even take part in discussions about the parking garage or the BID. My opponent is materially connected to the issue, and will have to ethically recuse himself from the discussions. My opponent stands to gain directly and indirectly from the parking garage because it is connected directly with the Olympia Downtown Association, in which my opponent was president. Further, my opponent has two businesses located within the proposed Business Improvement District.

Even more troubling is that, on my opponent’s watch, the Olympia City Council has already made ethically questionable decisions when the ODA is involved. Can Olympia afford to elect my opponent? Not if a rational discussion, that ethically weighs the issue, is the goal. My opponent was a proponent of the parking garage when he was president of the ODA, and cannot now ethically vote on the issue if elected. Why elect someone that can’t take part in the discussion and decision?

John Griogair Bell is the only candidate for position 7 that can take part in the decision making process on these issues.

a handful of parking garage references

The parking garage is tied to the BID, apparently

link

In jun 04, ODA proposes using money from the shelved conference center.

link

The port needs parking too, and can’t make the decision by itself.

link

The garage funding is now tied to the BID proposal. Multiple spots suggested, and submitted. Looks cheaper now that it did before. Part of the money to be from increased parking meter price and increased parking ticket fees. (Make downtown better be making it more annoying? It’s more of a pain to forget the meter, and funding would be tied to catching people that want to spend money in shops?) An aside, here’s another reference to the population of Olympia doubling in 30 years.

PDF link

Meeting between ODA and CC. Good information, and ideas. Note that Hyer mentioned a shuttle for ’06 session. Another mention of the doubling of population. People are freaked? But, more people, more revenue, at least.

PDF link

an open space for a parking area in the next 6-12 years as 6th ave redone. Mentions “East Downtown Development Plan” so there are long term plans already in place. “Olympia Downtown Streetscape Stratgegy” was to have already come before the CC.

There’s lots of additional bits of info in all these.

The fightin’ Quins!

I think my brain is about to explode.

How, in the wide world, did harlequin, effeminate doppelgänger that he is in comparison to the virile and adolescent Arlecchino, become associated with Rugby, of all things?

Check out this search through Google: “harlequin + rugby”.

I’m boggled.

UPDATE: In an e-mail conversation with the UK Harlequins, the story becomes clear. All the other teams named Harlequin followed after this original. In 1870, the Hampstead Football Club was renamed. The decision to use Harlequin was made to keep the initial H and a dictionary was used to select the new name. Check out the club history page at the NEC Harlequins Offical Site.

The trials of the Hundred Mile Diet.

Via Cascadia Scorecard Weblog, “Survive Locally“:

Of a vegetarian diet comprised of foods only found within 100 miles:

“It turns out it’s both difficult and expensive. Local grains don’t exist, except for a few heritage grains. Yes, there are local free-range cows and chickens, but the animals are raised on non-local feed. In summer, BC’s abundant farmer’s markets serve them well, but many of the supermarkets still sell much shipped produce, except for, say, local organic salad mix at $17.99 a pound. Summer, of course, only lasts so long.

And here’s the kicker: Vegetarianism doesn’t work well because soy isn’t grown locally. So they’re forced to ask this question: ‘Does vegetarianism fit into a local, sustainable diet?’ And the answer isn’t clear at all.”

Soy isn’t really a show-stopper, but it’s a big part of the protein intake of most vegetarians these days. Other alternatives are plentiful, but are they plentiful within 100 miles of one’s residence?

“… with a little help from my friends.”

Via Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, “Team of Rivals“:

“Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has changed the title of her forthcoming book to Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. The premise is that the 16th president governed very effectively by putting many of his political rivals in his Cabinet.

This caught my eye because of the way in which Mary Parker Follett writes about Lincoln in her “The Teacher-Student Relation”

Every capitalist is a critic …

Via LISNews.com, “Florida Wal-Mart Pulls Newspaper, Wants Journalist Fired“:

“kathleen writes: ‘Florida’s Pensacola News Journal will no longer be sold at the local Wal-Mart. Editor Randy Hammer noted: ‘Some managers at Wal-Mart didn’t appreciate a column Mark O’Brien wrote in June 2005 for the Pensacola News Journal about the downside of the cheap prices that Sam Walton’s empire has brought to America… The Wal-Mart manager said he and his stores couldn’t tolerate a newspaper that would print the opinions of someone who was as mean and negative as Mark O’Brien… and he wanted the newspaper to get its racks off Wal-Mart lots. But he also said that if I fired Mark, we could talk about continuing to sell the newspaper at his stores.

The article itself, available here, points out that communities are forced to pay for Wal-Mart health care via taxes because employees are unable to pay. This is an externality that Wal-Mart has managed to transfer to the public. Because that cost is delayed and distant from the price tag on the goods in the store, the public generally fails to recognize that these are connected.

Intended unintended consequences …

Via Slate, “Tragedy of the Airport – Why you get stuck for hours at O’Hare. By Austan Goolsbee“:

“Each time an airline schedules a flight, it doesn’t take into account the backups it causes by crowding the airspace. The dynamic generates a tragedy of the commons, in which each of the companies vying for runway slots has an incentive to overschedule.”

Here’s a perfect example of how recognition of the system dynamic is important. There’s also a clear incentive, a competitive advantage to struggle at maximizing use of the resource instead of fixing the system via 2nd order changes. By staying within the known system, there’s a known set of rules by which competition can take place. It’s a case of plausible deniability, or at least willful.

So, the entities in the system, keep the system going. Perhaps they don’t realize they are in it, but I suspect they know full well. They have agreed that this shall be the field of conflict, and so keep the system running.

Exit stage right …

Via Crooks and Liars, “South Carolina and the Chrisitian Exodus…“:

“That is because South Carolina has been chosen as the place for hundreds, even thousands of Christians to move to, in hopes of impacting the government. But people who live here have mixed opinions about the Christian Exodus…”

So this move is to South Carolina. What ever happened to the call for libertarians to move to some state? I recall that they identified a state in which they would locate.

Here’s an example of the kind of mobility I was thinking about before, perhaps. People move to be near a community in which they wish to participate. In Michael Albert’s Parecon he proposes local councils and communities which determine their own rules for work and life. My primary objection to Parecon was in this fact: communities could decide to be racist. The claim that self-organized communities would be enlightened in some way, seems to be false. Self-organizing isn’t sufficient, apparently.

The potential for developing xenophobic community is a reason to be skeptical about social organization along bio-regions, or any other form of regionalism. One might think that means I suppose Globalization, but I’d rather there be social instead of economic globalization. The term “Globalization” has too much baggage from a specific political-economic agenda.

For example, the Free Trade movement is one in which global connections are made, but it is not “Globalization” as it would be. It seems to me that what proponents mean by “Globalization” is that corporations are to be larger than the entities which might regulate them. The railroad lawyers managed to allow corporations to organize across state boundaries, which they had not before. Then, when national government was able to enforce behaviour, the corporations moved multi-national … that’s the progression. Now the WTO and various treaties subjugate national governments to an economic cartel.

I’ve gone off topic.

This move toward regionalism is something that is also reflected in Garreau’s Nine Nations of North America from ’81. However the regionalism occurs, the more insular, the more xenophobic, I suspect. At some point, it may be a chicken-or-egg on whether the regionalism or the xenophobia came first.

“Open the pod bay doors, Hal.” – “I’m sorry. I can’t do that, Dave.”

Via Daring Fireball, “Is That a Podcast in Your Pocket?“:

“Devising and using a new term for ‘podcasting’ that doesn’t use ‘pod’. Good luck with that, considering that everyone — everyone — who is publishing podcasts is already calling them ‘podcasts’.

[Update: According to this story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Microsoft employees are pushing ‘blogcasting’ as a ‘pod’-free alternative.]”

What about “enclosures” for that name? That’s the actual tag in RSS, I think. And, the enclosures are part of blogs themselves, or at least within feeds.

Then again, there’s the Firefly “wave” thing … that could be used to mean anything that is sent. Why have specific names for each type? I want it to be agnostic so that no one gets stuck thinking the only thing that can be send is an audio file, or just audio and pdf, or whatever. It’s an all around mechanism.

Also, I’d rather see that everyone adopt bittorrent links instead of actual files enclosed. Also, I’d like to see enclosures treated like mime parts under IMAP, where each can be downloaded independently, not required as in attachments under POP.

Update: yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking. files aren’t included in the feed, links are enclosed which can be used to get to files.

Harry Profit

Via The Economist, “Harry Potter and the all-too-rare windfall

“Scholastic, the book’s American publisher, has set a print run of 10.8m, almost equivalent to the total sales in the country so far for volume five.”

Just like last time, the numbers for this book are going to be insane in comparison to the previous book, and make other books cower in fear and shame. The article goes on to point out something that I’ve forgotten. There’s only one more book after this one.

Then it’s on to re-prints and who knows what. No doubt, although Rowling is not going to keep on with Harry Potter books, that something else will come from her pen. Can she do it again? How far will she wander to find another book idea, which I would think she might already have. After all, with a clear timeline, one would likely not help but speculate on the next thing.

Than again, planning for the future is often the thing that gets missed.

Dystopian mobililty

Via Synergic Earth NewsFuture Cities

“Dystopic pockets of inequality and dirt inhabit the not so shiny bits. Ask a gathering of leading thinkers in the worlds of architecture and design, and you get a rather different picture. Some 70 million people a year migrate from the country to cities. That is about 130 a minute, says Robert Neuwirth, author of Shadow Cities. Many of these set up home in squats, put together from scarce materials, if put together at all. There are a billion squatters in 2005. By 2050, that figure will reach three billion. At this rate, our future cities may turn out to be quasi-temporary, low-tech shacks, missing the basics of human life, such as water and electricity, still belching out the waste of fuels that warm the globe.”

That’s a mighty number of squatters. The article continues with a typical McDonough story about ecologically sound future development. That’s not to say that the notion of a living city should be ignored. I mostly agree, but there’s something persistent about the presence of squatters.

The area that used to be SoDo in Seattle, which I suppose now is SoStad or something, was the home for a very large Hooverville, so large they, apparently, formed a union in order to represent themselves to the government.

I just re-watched Blade Runner. In the graphic novel Fray, by Joss Whedon, there’s the division of upper and lower cities which I clearly remember from The Fifth Element, also.

What is it here? In Barbara Erhenriech’s Nickel and Dimed, I started to see the way in which property ownership was being heavily eroded in the class of economically challenged. Some even taken to live in motels because they were unable to make the kind of financial leap to renting a space for real. So, there’s contingency workers living in contingency spaces.

Corporations, mostly hiring temp or contingency workers, have contingency buildings. Instead of owning or building, they lease space. They could dissolve, in a flash, into just a holding company, perhaps.

I wonder, sometimes, if the future of the city isn’t to embrace, even more, this notion of contingency living in some fashion. I wonder what that future would look like that embodied a mobility so uncertain. Is this the future of Snowcrash where Hero lives in a storage shed? Or, is it a cyclical return to the migrations of hunter gatherers in a future where income and work and life are once again variable to seasons and luck?

Reminds me, also, about a Zine I used to have, and may still have, that outlined how to squat. It actually included information about squat toilets too.

Brubaker and Follett

In a continuing attempt to figure out how I became who I am, I am sometimes given a break.

My TIVO recorded the movie Brubaker. I remember watching this movie as a child, in the cinema. (I almost wrote “theatre” there.) Re-watching this movie, I have a strong feeling that it was part of why I am who I am. The relationship to authority, and principle are things with which I tend to agree.

I wrote down a section of dialog from the movie that struck me in relation to concepts of conflict resolution.

A: No way to compromise?

B: On strategy, maybe. Not on principle.

A: Damn it, I agree with you!

B: No. No, you don’t.

That struck me because of the mention of compromise. Currently, I am reading works by Mary Parker Follett. (She’s someone you should know about, but probably don’t. Even Wikipedia only has a stub for her.) One notion that she maintained is that compromise was not something that should be accepted. There is what she called a “plusvalent” solution to conflict, which was the best word she had for the idea. Patrick Hill uses the term “tertium quid” for this notion. The notion is that there is a solution to most conflict that meets the needs of all parties, another way which is neither the demand of one nor the other.

Smash the state … er, mug.

Via FoxNews, “Mug-Smashing Mayor

The first Starbucks he got to had heard he was coming and had already safely evacuated its Portland mugs back across the river.

“It was because of you,” manager Melanie Goodman admitted. Pollard gave her a hug.

The next Starbucks wasn’t so lucky. It had two Portland mugs on display. Pollard bought them both, walked over to a garbage can by the front door and smashed them to bits.

“What’s he doing?” one employee, or “barista” as Starbucks calls them, asked another.

“That’s the mayor of Vancouver and he’s breaking up the Portland coffee mugs,” the other replied.

“Sweet,” said the first.

So he bought them, and then smashed them? And here I was going to go on a rant about the way that this story was being treated differently than it would have been if it had been an activist instead of a mayor. Although the buzz on this fails to mention he bought them, and is playing it as if he went crazy and started to vandalize the place.

The reaction of the employees is very amusing.

There’s something in this that reminds me of conversations I had about the nature of local identity in the Pacific Northwest. The last bit in the article questions whether there is a problem with Portland, Maine. When I was helping to develop strategy for a Seattle ISP, I made a point to talk about the nature of competition. A Seattle ISP was at a distinct disadvantage in another town, like Tacoma or Everett. There seemed to me to be a significant culture that wanted local services, instead of regional services. At some level, there’s an acceptance of national services, so that means the middle range of a service, between start-up and national, is disabled in this region.

The competition between the Portland Winterhawks and the Seattle Thunderbirds is an example. There’s been, as long as I’ve paid attention, a pretty much sure bet that there would be fights on the ice between those two teams, and very vocal responses from the stands. Obviously, this isn’t too much of a surprise for Hockey, but the level of engagement and competition between the teams was more than any other teams in the league.

This kind of collective individualism, a reflection of the way the individuals themselves act but on the organizational level, seems to be strongly reflected in the culture of the western states, distinct from what I experienced in other states. This organizational culture of individualism seems to be pervasive.

Via The Olympian, “Second university considers Olympia

“Officials from Antioch University visited twice in the spring and again on Thursday. The Ohio-based liberal arts school has a campus in Seattle and has launched a market study in Olympia to find out whether there’s enough demand for a branch here, how large that branch might be and what programs it might offer.”

That’s the first I’ve heard of that, but very interesting. The article talks about the potential for two new branch campuses in Olympia. I’ve also noticed the UW advertising the Tacoma campus on a billboard on Harrison.

Evergreen is supposed to increase enrollment by 1000, which adds to the 4500ish already. That’s a significant increase, especially when connected to any competition in town. However, Antioch would likely be primarily a graduate school. I think that would be a great addition to the city. Evergreen has been struggling over the addition of a business program and I seem to recall that they have had alumni promise money for an MFA program. Both the MFA and the business program, from what I understand, have significant resistance from some of the faculty.

Via The Oregonian, “Free speech, Yelm-style

This is about Yelm’s gag rule on “walmart” … I’m sure McClellan would love to have an official gag on the topic of Rove, but he seems to be shutting people down pretty effectively …

There’s a book I just picked up at Orca titled “Gag Rule” about the suppression of dissent. I wrote a paper on the necessary place of dissent in a democracy: “Analysis of dissent, injustice and the making of the United States: an induction from vitriol to victory; a deduction from justice to jurisprudence.