Dennis Bratland
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Apr 2, 2015 Dennis Bratland commented on Film in Washington Is NOT a Lost Cause.
Money is still fungible. Pretending the state subsidized one part of the production budget -- salt of the earth grips -- and not another part -- highly paid actors -- is a classic example of how tax boondoggles work. You try to fool the taxpayer with this kind of shell game. When we give producers our tax dollars to pay crew who reside in Washington, that frees up other money in their budget to pay Kiera Knightly, or to pocket as profits. Money is fungible.

By the same token, pretending this money only comes from the B&O taxes of the hospitality industry ignores that when you take that money and give it to film producers, you can't spend it on education and health care and housing. Fungible. There is no special trick you can pull to pretend your spending is painless. Somebody else gets less when you hand over state money to Hollywood.

And remember that Washington has the most regressive taxes in the nation. The poorest people in this state pay 17% of their income in taxes; the most taxed poor in any state. Washington's 1% get by with a consummately unjust sweetheart deal.

When you go pulling money out of Washington's state budget to enrich big entertainment corporations that can afford to film anywhere they choose, you're taking money from taxpayers who can least afford it, and who are in the greatest need to have state money spent on services for them.

This corporate welfare doesn't ensure healthy industry based in Washington for generations to come. When other cities offer larger bribes, productions can skip town overnight. It's not like they're investing in huge heavy industrial plants. They have a tiny infrastructure and can fly outta town on a whim. Look at how fast they flew out of Vancouver, BC, when they saw a slightly better bribe in the next city over. Notice this deal doesn't come with any promise to stick around once the production folds up their tents and leaves.

It's kind of funny how we're supposed to believe one location can't play another on film. If Idris Elba can be James Bond (and he most certainly can), any city can play any other city. Acting! Special effects! It's all a performance anyway. Film makers whose dream is only the most gritty realism, the most method of acting, should make the choice to work with producers who share that artistic vision. Otherwise, you get whatever looks close enough and sells.
Mar 26, 2015 Dennis Bratland commented on Lynn Shelton's New Project Is Set in Seattle. She Can't Shoot It Here..
If the hotel, restaurant, taxi and tourism industries really believed this is a cash cow for them, they'd take their money and hand it straight over to the film producers. If you knew for a fact that you'd make back $10 for every dollar you spent, you wouldn't let that huge payoff be risked in the tribulations of state politics. They'd do what it takes to make sure those films get financed, regardless of what weird shit goes down in Olympia.

Instead they're content to earmark some taxes they'd have to pay anyway. Why wouldn't they? They nave nothing to lose. If they opt out their tax bill doesn't change, so what's it to them?

But these earmarked B&O taxes are a shell game used to fool taxpayers, no different then pretending lottery profits are specially destined to improve education. Money is fungible. Earmark some revenue and you free up other dollars to go into the general fund. In the end, it's tax money being spent.

"That's how films get made!" So like it! If the way films get made is a con game and a tax boondoggle, then maybe we should not play that game. It's no different than the Seattle Times saying we *have to* host Shell's oil rigs, because if we don't somebody else will. But what if we say, no, we're going to stand up to extortion and the fallacy that "everybody" is doing it? If we say no to Shell and no to greedy film producers, maybe other communities will wise up and follow our example. If they don't, let them.

It's too bad film is an art form so corrupted by wealth and greed. Making a decent film takes vast resources and that means sucking up to creepy plutocrats and sociopathic corporations. I would think any artist knows what they're getting into before they even start down that road. So everybody's auter piece ends up looking eerily like bland old Vancouver. Sorry, but that's not the taxpayer's fault.

Keep in mind that the lion's share of Washington's tax burden falls on the poorest among us. They particularly shouldn't be asked to pony up their money for this kind of corporate welfare scam.
Mar 10, 2015 Dennis Bratland commented on SL Letter of the Day: Secrets and Lies.
After having been burned once, if this guy still hasn't figured out how to make sure his wife can't snoop, it's because he wants her to snoop. The letter writer doesn't even hint as to why it's so easy to check up on him. It's not unreasonable to theorize that turning him into Savage Love for a public shaming is part of their game too -- both of them. Meaning they're both dragging an unwilling public into their sex acts. (Okay, dragging in the 20% or so of Savage's readers who are unwilling to be used this way...)
Sep 24, 2014 Dennis Bratland commented on The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire Is Dead.
Huh. I was just writing a Wikipedia article about Caitlin Doughty, who was partly inspired by the 1963 book on the funeral industry by the other sister, Jessica Mitford. Doughty worked in the same crematory where Jessica pointedly had herself cremated on the cheap.
Sep 10, 2014 Dennis Bratland commented on RIP, Slogger Rhett Oracle.
Dang. I'll miss that guy. Rest in peace.
Sep 5, 2014 Dennis Bratland commented on Pronto Cycle Share and How the Market Reproduces and Reinforces Seattle's Racial Map.
Here are some maps I made that show the Pronto stations overlaid on the Census block data for population, race, and income.

It isn't strictly true that they put the stations wherever density is highest. They covered a lot of high density areas, but they also covered some areas of lower density, while missing some denser areas. For example, they could have had less coverage in the lower density parts of Capitol Hill in favor of the super high density parts of Belltown. But perhaps they wanted to bridge to the U District. Though they could have bridged downtown to Belltown to Ballard and gotten some very high density that way.

But if you consider age, it probably makes sense to target the younger population in the U District than the older population in other high-density areas.

Racially, there are stations in some more diverse census blocks. What you can see they didn't do was extend the bike share far to the south into Rainier Valley. I suppose the only way they could have done so was to leave the U District out entirely and only put stations downtown and down into the CD and Rainier. Considering how low-density that area is, it would be a decision based wholly on race which ignored density entirely.

I don't know, maybe they should have. I tend to think that by targeting the most enthusiastic populations, on Capitol Hill and the U District, they helped to ensure the bike share is a success, making further expansion possible. Stretching out into a low density, diverse neighborhood could be seen as putting the health of the bike share at risk, and if it fails, everybody loses.

Anyway, if you play around with the maps, I think you'll see it's not such an easy problem. Erica Barnett said they failed to align with major transit stations, but I think they hit most of them within a block or two. I'll add a tab to the maps this weekend showing where the bus and train stations are in relation to the Pronto stations.
Jul 18, 2014 Dennis Bratland commented on I'm Voting for Jess Spear, No Matter How Bad Her Signs Are.

Chopp has no Republican challenger, let alone a credible one, let alone a challenger in a neck-and-neck race. If you're going to make a Nader 2000 comparison, you should at least try to grasp why voting for Nader* was harmful.

* In Florida
Apr 27, 2014 Dennis Bratland commented on The Sunday Morning News.

I knew one of you guys would get angry and defensive if anyone pointed this out to you. There's some kind of personal identification with this Darwin Award misuse of Darwinism.

Darwin's cousin Francis Galton thought we should try to improve the gene pool. Darwin disagreed and said every single human life had value with no consideration of fitness.
Apr 27, 2014 Dennis Bratland commented on The Sunday Morning News.
I wonder if Charles Darwin would have liked people who don't understand his arguments and who pigheadedly attach other people's eugenics theories to his good name to be removed from the gene pool. Probably not.
Mar 11, 2014 Dennis Bratland commented on Gaydolph Hitler, World's Most Notorious Bi-Phobe, Helps Out a Young Bisexual.
Of course all schooled kids have accurate sex information. They only read Dan Savage for giggles. All the sexual misconceptions you read in those letters come from the 2% of kids who are homeschooled.