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Feb 26, 2014 Songbird commented on Mayor Murray's Very Bad Week with the Cops.
We have lost 3 mayors as they've stumbled into interwoven thickets of arrogance, antagonism, and retribution and become unintelligible deer in the headlights, unable to criticize random and brutal cops. Accosted by offers of Federal assistance from US Department of Justice to help us figure out and fix whatever we've got so wrong in the way we administer justice around here, they stood like pillars of salt while the cops militated against offers of real reform.
The Justice Department is engaged here, though, and the day is at hand for us to give the whole system a thorough going-over, so let's do it. All y'all salted mayors got to think big - we need the help, we have the talent and we can be a model for justice.
Jul 10, 2013 Songbird commented on The Great Ballard Ice Cream Battle.
3 more ballard blocks and shift down by TJ's to Ballard Av Top Pot - for us better salted caramel than molly or tilt though we've not met the new shops.
Jan 9, 2013 Songbird commented on Mike McGinn Is Running for Reelection.
McGinn blew it big time with the US Justice Department. Maybe it's because he hasn't been here for 60 years watching what I've seen here, or maybe he doesn't have locally savvy advisers, but DUDE...I've watched the the cops in this city for most of my years and I've gotta tell ya' the sort of attitudinal dysfunction represented by the appalling Rich O'neill is par for the course around here, and has been forever. The US Department of Justice has offered its considerable expertise and resources for a wholesale reformation of our police. Murdering poor drunken whittlers and crippling a man for acting afraid when aggressive black-clad thugs chase him is not OK and we need help to make this work better.
Instead, McGinn proceeded to circle the wagons, make nice with the likes of rich oneill, and get all popinjay and miro-managey with Justice.
Dude, call a huge confab for everybody who has anything to say about the police, and say: "After decades of abuse, criminality, and fraud, Justice is finally coming to town. All of you will be heard as we do this hard work and we will all do everything we can to help the federal government fix our broken police. We are lucky to have their talent and expertise at our disposal. Then really get to work on the changes we need.
Dec 29, 2012 Songbird commented on The Museum That’s a Ship.
#6, I did not think I'd said she was sinking for 40 years, but that the standing water, rotting, and falling apart for the 20 I knew her constituted foundering. Thank you for improving my education.
Dec 26, 2012 Songbird commented on The Museum That’s a Ship.
Some fish may be said to flounder, I suppose, but a deteriorating ship is foundering.
Mar 13, 2012 Songbird commented on Clash of the Middlemen.
Yes, this initiative is bad on so many levels, as many of us understood it had to be, given the realities of our regressive and dysfunctional tax policies, and an irrational initiative system that lets any kook with an idea dress it up with help from people with money (who expect your idea to bring them more) and stick it on the ballot. It's like jigging for squid: every now and then, you catch one.

Voters (that's you, citizen squid) decided long ago that taxing liquor, retail sales, business, building, and a confusing tangle of other things was good policy, so our state has used the system you built to pay for all the services we have demanded of government.

We have usurped the judgment of the very judges we elected to judge, demanded by initiative that the courts mandate unthoughtful, unproductive, and needlessly expensive sentencing practices, despite evidence this will only make impacts on communities worse and more expensive; spend a lot of money on "security", which will only make matters worse and more expensive; Buy a bunch of snowplows, garages to house them and mechanics to maintain them, despite evidence this will only make impacts on communities worse and more expensive; and the demands for service go on, and on, and on.

Taxes, after all, in the words of justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, "the price we pay for a civilized society", and we, voters, have weighed-in through our elected representatives about what services we require. Our challenge has been to build a system of taxation that can fund our demands in perpetuity. As has been apparent in headlines and committee rooms for decades, the voters of Washington continue to do this very poorly, demanding the legislature fulfill under-analyzed knee-jerk mandates that poll well (throw away the key, clear my street, build me a bridge, provide emergency services, hospitals, libraries, sewers, power, water, public health and safety systems...), and then pitching a fit when work costs money. Dude, get real, there is no tooth fairy.

Recent electoral history is rife with examples o this failure of analysis. We insisted on putting the monorail concept into play before we had completed even a rudimentary analysis, so it could not succeed. We may well have done the same thing to the liquor system.

We watched Costco spend millions over years to convince us to give it control over our broken system, and now are complaining that it is going to do exactly what the people in Costco's PR department convinced the voters to ask it to do, which is make more money for Costco. Remember, it was YOU who said the rich can do a better job of managing your money than you can. So now, when you have to pay for what you bought, you complain it isn't what you wanted. A personal problem, if ever I heard one.

"Business sense" is exactly what Costco spent so much money to lead voters to believe it was introducing into the system, and it did so, exactly as advertised. So now we have added profit-making to a system originally designed as a way to pay for voter demands through taxation (the things we pay to get what we want from our society). Government exists to address the desires of citizens.
Business exists to address the desires of owners. Why the surprise? Way to go.

The truth is beginning to dawn that the changes the "government is a waste of money" people are causing may only make impacts on communities worse and more expensive. Way to go.

Yes, reservation jokesters, anybody can break the law and avoid personal responsibility for the functions of society, but law is the only way voters can enforce the rules we want. If you are really tired of society and want the wild west, move to Afghanistan, where no tax collectors will bother you. Good luck with war-lords and no laws.

I will not even attempt to address any positions beginning with "all you gotta do is", "it's government's fault", "it's the union's fault this won't work", or "why don't they just". These vacuous voices help us get into these errors of failed analysis to begin with.

We did, indeed, trade an arcane but cost-effective and well-regulated taxation system for an expensive unregulated one. Way to go.

Cheap liquor, by the way, has never been the priority of Washington voters. Arizona gets cheap vodka, we get schools, roads, bridges, trauma centers, police, curb-cuts, and other things we want.

If we keep privatizing government functions, we will keep wondering why the CEOs have yachts, but our children have no schools. Way to go.

We will keep on getting into these dilemmas until we figure out how to put analysis into the initiative system and make our taxation system rational. Rational, by the way, does not mean free. Carry your weight.

Dec 3, 2010 Songbird joined My Stranger Face
Dec 2, 2010 Songbird commented on Memo to Anyone Who's Thinking of Resting Their Weight on the Back of One of Those Sturdy-Looking Chairs at Town Hall and Leaning Forward.
I hope none of you who complain about the city buying cheap chairs also complain about paying the taxes that would enable the purchase of better chairs, but I expect to be disappointed, again.