Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Its Not in the PI: Play offers more than history lesson

Its Not in the PI is a play almost equally about the current state of journalism than it is about the closure of the P-I, a Seattle journalistic institution with roots going back 146 years. This North Seattle Community College production in collaboration with NewsWrights United hints at what is lost when pesky reporters (experts in their beats) stop asking questions while providing a fascinating glimpse into the life of a reporter and a newspaper.

A quarter of the play seemed like an inside joke best suited for former P-I staffers, which made up almost have of the audience on opening night. Yet, there was plenty of material left for the rest of us to consume. In one scene, a reporter speaks of his frustration with his editor after attempting to tell the tale of a Paul Allen lobbyist who signaled to hold a vote on a local stadium until one of his votes returned from the bathroom.

The production's set was sparse and the quality of acting varied among the cast but this ensemble gave a cohesive presentation and, thus, delighted this audience member. It seems appropriate that students would tell the story about the sad state of print journalism when local universities are still turning out journalism majors who face bleak job prospects – unless they aim for jobs in PR and marketing where dodging reporters and handling the media has become an art form.

A panel presentation to explore the future of news reporting in the Pacific Northwest will be held following the play on Friday and Saturday, November 13th and 14th. Tom Paulson, former P-I Science Reporter and Co-Executive Producer of Its Not in the PI, will moderate the panel of local members of the media.

Fridays-Sundays through Nov. 22, Stage One Theater, North Seattle Community College; $10 suggested donation (206-526-0063 or www.brownpapertickets.com).

Microsoft to ban XBox Live users

Microsoft aims at cutting down on pirated games and XBox consule modifications by banning XBox Live users who may have engaged in the practice, according to MSNBC. An estimated 600,000 and 1 million players could be cut off. Let us know what you think by voting in our interactive poll (see right ==>).

Veterans Day: We shall never forget...

SEABlogger would like to honor all of the veterans who served our country. My heart also goes out to the the families of the fallen soldiers whose lives touched many of us here in the Northwest. Feel free to honor your loved one in the comment section.

Microsoft to ban XBox Live users

Microsoft aims at cutting down on pirated games and XBox consule modifications by banning XBox Live users who may have engaged in the practice, according to MSNBC. An estimated 600,000 and 1 million players could be cut off. Let us know what you think by voting in our interactive poll (see right ==>).

Friday, November 6, 2009

Seattle mourns slain officer

A procession of approximately 1,000 to 1,500 vehicles will travel from the University of Washington to Key Arena, the location of a memorial service for the slain Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton, on Friday, November 6. The public memorial service will begin at 1:00 p.m., with doors opening at 11:00 a.m.

On October 31st, shortly after 10:00 p.m., Brenton and his female student officer were parked in their patrol car in the 100 Block of 29th Avenue South when a vehicle pulled up next to the parked patrol car and opened fire. Brenton was struck multiple times, killing him.

Brenton was born in Seattle on February 9, 1970. He spent his early childhood in Poulsbo and Woodinville, Washington. He later lived in West Seattle, where he graduated from West Seattle High School in 1988. He served in the Hoquiam Police Department and La Conner Police Department before joining the Seattle Police Department in 2000. He leaves behind his wife Lisa, daughter Kayleigh and son Quinn.

A fund has been established for Brenton's family. Donations may be made at any Bank of America branch under the "Brenton Family Assistance Fund."

The memorial procession will use the following route: begins at the University of Washington’s E-1 parking lot; south on Montlake Blvd NE to 24th Ave E; south on 24th to 23rd Ave E; south on 23rd to E Madison St; west on Madison to E Pine St; west on Pine to Broadway; north on Broadway to E Denny Way; west on Denny to 1st Ave N; north on 1st to Key Arena. Staging will begin in the E-1 parking lot (north of Husky Stadium on Montlake Blvd NE) beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Google Voice account!

I'm in... I just replied to my invite and set-up my Google Voice account.

Welcome to Google Voice! Google Voice gives you a single phone number that rings all your phones, saves your voicemail online, and transcribes your voicemail to text. Other cool features include the ability to listen in on messages while they are being left and the ability to make low cost international calls. To start enjoying Google Voice, just give out your Google Voice number. You can record custom greetings for your favorite callers or block annoying callers by marking them as SPAM. Just click on the settings link at the top of your inbox.

Once it's open to everyone, you can join me!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Got the road trip blues?

On a recent road trip, I realized a lot has changed from similar trips I had taken just a few years ago. I couldn't put my finger on it until I was gearing up for another -- though much shorter -- road trip.

As I was doing my packing, I was downloading some new tunes to my Ipod and, then, it struck me. Portable music devices and video players are ruining the bonding experience that occurs when you have nothing to do than sing songs, play word association games or do other stupid things to pass the time on a long road trip.

On my last road trip, a friend was in the back watching TV shows, music videos and a movie on his Ipod Touch. I was riding shot-gun and spent my time snoozing, checking for Wi-Fi hot-spots during refeuling pit-stops and listing to tunes on my Ipod Touch (which I openly admit that I bought in a bout of jealousy after a friend of mine showed me his). The driver spent most of his time checking for traffic reports, scanning the dial every half hour for the nearest news and trafic radio station.

I will be leaving for the Pacific Ocean tomorrow and decided to burn a CD of my dad's favorite musice (well, at least the music I could stand to listen to). That way, we'll at least be listening to the same thing and -- who knows -- we might even do some father/son bonding along the way.

Tell us about your road trip blues...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Names of gay city employees may be released

Seattle City Light employee Philip Irvin wants the names of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) city employees who are members of a city-sponsored club working on issues of concern to their community.

The City of Seattle concedes that they may have to release the names. Members of the LGBT club have sued to keep their names from being disclosed. They claim there is no legitimate public interest to granting Irvin's request and will infringe on people's privacy.

Irvin claims to have been discriminated against because of his conservative anti-LGBT views. He once attempted to form a city-sponsored group for "ex-Gays."

A city light veteran, who is heterosexual and spoke on the condition of anonymity, told this writer that it is not a matter of discrimination but honoring a city ordinance and internal employee policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation among other protected groups. Irvin's actions are contrary to this ordinance and policy which puts him at odds with his co-workers.

King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick could decide the case on Thursday.

My two cents... Irvin's request amounts to harassment. What legitimate purpose could releasing the names serve other than to invite discrimination upon these people or, potentially, "out" them to family, friends and, even, their churches. I don't think a closeted Mormon would be received well by his elders after being "outed".

I don't see the public benefit from knowing the sexual orientation of the person on the other end of the phone line at the City Light customer service call center. All I care about is that the person is knowledgeable enough to answer my questions, take my payment or update me on an outage in my area.

Maybe Irvin should stop meddling in the affairs of his co-workers and go start his "ex-Gay" group somewhere else.

The courts would be wise reject his request.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

CatchCon delivers for Deadliest Catch fans

The Discovery Channel's CatchCon, a one-day Deadliest Catch fan festival, at Pier 66 on Saturday was a spectacle. The free event was top-notch from beginning to end.

I began my visit with a free box lunch where I was inches away from Matt Bradley of the Northwestern. I hadn't worked up the courage yet to say anything to him. Instead, I talked about him to my table-mate. That must be weird for him to hear someone at the next table talking about him -- oh, well!

Then, we had a Q & A with the boat captains: Sig Hansen, Keith Colburn, Phil Harris, and Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand. Later, they signed autographs.

I got a fisherman's cap from Verizon's booth and had all the captains, some of the crew and the show's producers sign it. I am going to donate it to a local youth nonprofit for their upcoming auction.

Outside, a helicopter could be heard and many of us went outside to see it. A Coast Guard helicopter was just off the pier giving us a demonstration of a rescue operation. From there, I toured the Wizard and Northwestern, which were docked alongside the pier.

Once back inside, I listened to a Q & A with the show's producers, including Jeff Conroy, co-executive producer. We heard their first-hand accounts of close calls, awnry crew members and the limb numbing challenges of filming at sea.

Finally, we saw exclusive video of the new season of the Deadliest Catch, which includes the the story of Seattle-based Katmai crew and interviews with its surviving crew members.

SPECIAL OFFER: The CatchCon fans also got an exclusive offer to purchase The Deadliest Catch 1-4 season set for a special price. If you don't tell them I told you (LOL)... and enter this promotional code at check-out: CATCHCON

Friday, April 24, 2009

Google to revolutionize the phone

Google is not only interesting in revolutionizing the web, but even old technology, such as the telephone. 

Google Voice is a service that gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail that is easy as email, and many enhanced calling features like call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, call conferencing, international calls, and more.

It is only available to users of GrandCentral at the moment, but Google says it will launch a public beta version soon!

Chris, a Seattlite and one of the fine podcasters from Jupiter Broadcasting, provides an excellent video review of Google Voice.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Your T-mobile suggestions

I lost my T-Mobile Wing. Contacts, appointments, twitter fix... all gone. Now, I need your help choosing the right T-mobile phone. Need the basics: QWERTY keyboard, Internet, and appointment book (Windows synch ideal). Post your recommendations in the comments section or e-mail: SEABlogger@SeattleBlogger.com

Friday, March 27, 2009

Seattle Councilmembers move to name P-I globe a landmark

After the launch of my petition to save the P-I Globe and the considerable news attention it recieved, I think you all know how I feel about the following news item.
Seattle City Councilmembers want to save P-I Globe 
The three former news reporters on the Seattle City Council -- Jean Godden, Tim Burgess and Sally Clark -- want the Seattle P-I Globe to be designated a historical landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Board.

Green Lab may bring 'green jobs'

Let me extend a warm welcome to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's new Green Lab to be based here in Seattle at 1429 12th Ave. on Capitol Hill.

The Green Lab will focus on ways to give new life to existing buildings nationwide and retooling them to be more energy efficient. Despite the $50K price tag to Seattle taxpayers, it's another opportunity for Seattle to be seen as a real leader in the effort to fight global climate change.

Green technology still has a long way to go before its full adoption by developers but has the potential to really take off as an industry. Seattle could potentially benefit from the new "green jobs."

This is one area I have to give Mayor Greg Nickels a lot of credit. His leadership regarding climate change has put Seattle on the world map and kept it there.

Seattle police sergent not so accountable

It would be ironic if it was not so sad...

A Seattle Police sergeant assigned to the department's Office of Professional Accountability would be charged Wednesday with second-degree assault for a domestic violence incident at his Sammamish home.

Seattle P-I reports:
Officer Scott Moss, 39, was arrested early Saturday after his wife ran to a neighbor's home and called 911. According to court documents, she told King County Sheriff's deputies that Moss had pushed her as she tried to leave during an argument and thrust a kitchen knife toward her hand, cutting her right thumb. 
The woman's thumb was bleeding when deputies arrived, court documents say. 
The argument started after his wife received a cell phone call from a woman who said Moss was having an affair with the caller's friend. Moss' wife confronted him when he got home, according to court documents.
Perhaps he was not "accountable" to the law or his wife!

P-I staffers look to offer online ventures

You've heard of Seattlepi.com but now two groups of laid-off P-I staffers are also looking to the internet for online news ventures.

The Seattle Times reports that one group of former P-I editors and writers met with University of Washington communications professor David Domke and other university faculty to establish a news organization, incorporated as a nonprofit, that would produce investigative, enterprise and narrative journalism.

Another group of former P-I journalists, calling itself Seattle Post Globe, is seeking to launch a community owned online local-news outlet. KCTS-TV is providing the venture with office space while former Seattle Weekly managing editor Chuck Taylor is an advisor.

Is it just me or does "Seattle Post Globe" sound like a ready-made trademark infringement lawsuit? Let's see: Seattle Post-Intelligencer vs Seattle Post; landmark P-I globe vs globe in their name. Maybe its just a working title?

My view: There is a lot of great talent that was lost when the P-I closed. I look forward to reading their work once again. I think there is always room in cyberspace for well-written journalism. However, the Seattlepi.com website is a beta test for the newspaper industry and its failure could have ramifications throughout the industry. So, while I believe in a competitive spirit -- the same spirit that fueled a healthy rivalry between the Times and P-I -- we also now know that there wasn't enough ad revenue for both of the newspapers. Proceed with caution!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nightline's Face Off debate

'm here at the taping of Nightline's Face Off debate on the existence of the devil. The venue is half full with another half hour to go before lights up. Mars Hill followers are out in force. They are mingling about talking up their pastor and their church. Follow my updates on Twitter.

The winners are...

I had 26 submissions and only three copies (if you don’t include my own) of the final edition of the Seattle Post Intelligencer to give-away. Most of you made VERY compelling arguments about why you should win this contest and a few, well, didn’t really try that hard at all.

Here’s some of the lack-luster efforts:
I never read the paper, but would like to. 
I just want to make some money. What do you have against that? 
Hmm… my dog ate my last copy. I swear. No, really!
This guy is just down-right mean:
I would line my birdcage with this rag. Should have died a long time ago. Good riddance.
Now, here’s the moment you all have been waiting for (play drum roll in your mind)…

The winners are:
  1. I would donate my copy to the annual fund-raising auction for Old Mill Center for Children and Families, a school for developmentally challenged children. The Center is in Corvallis, Oregon, and I know has many ex-Seattleites who would be interested in bidding on the P.I. Thanks for the opportunity.
  2. My son Alex is doing a report for school. They are studying the various different news sources as part of a communications class. He decided to write his report about newspapers. They just assigned the project and he's just starting to gather information. He and I were just talking about how people are starting to move away from printed materials. The future lies in devices like Kindle. If I win this I will give it to my son for his report.
  3. Wow. I live in Florida, and I just heard today about the demise of the Post-Intelligencer. I never read a print copy, but when I was a broadcast news producer, I learned that I couldn't always trust the truncated AP broadcast wires, and for breaking news out of Seattle, I visited the PI website to read the full accounts of what was going on. Sure, I get a lot of my news online (I rarely even see TV news since leaving the biz), but I still feel great sadness at seeing a publishing institution fall by the wayside. Yes, times change, but saving a printout from the computer (or saving the file) is not the same as pulling a yellowed piece of newsprint out of a scrapbook to recall a world-changing event, a personal accomplishment, or the life and death of a loved one. I'm sorry for Seattle's loss, and I mourn the decline of the print media in America.
Sorry to all of you who didn’t win. It wasn’t easy picking from among your stories. One lady even twisted her ankle as she prepared to do battle for the last copy in a newspaper box. I almost gave it to her so that she would have something to read while icing that ankle.

The good news is that I decided to give away my own personal copy in a couple weeks to a random Twitter follower (my user name is SEABlogger). I really just wanted to hold the final edition in my hands and have the opportunity to read it cover-to-cover.

One final word of thanks to this contests benefactor who himself is unemployed and could have joined others on E-bay who are seeking to profit personally. He’s been a great friend to this blog and, hopefully, we can become personal ones too.

Former P-I writers turn to cyberspace

Curt Milton, a former P-I staffer and owner of Infinite Zoom, reports that many former P-I writers are opening up shop on the information super-highway.

Several of my friends from the P-I are starting their own blogs now that the paper has closed. I'm starting a list on this blog so others can find them... They are the best at what they do and worth a look.

Check out his blog roll, here!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A victory for ethics in Seattle? We'll soon see

The Seattle Fire Department's Lt. Milton Footer is on administrative leave after KOMO TV uncovered his failure to bill $195,679 to Qwest Field and other local venues for city services. He is also accused of abusing his power to get two backstage passes to a 2007 Hannah Montana concert for him and his fiance.

Equally troubling is the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission's finding that "potential for misconduct is extremely high" under the leadership of Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean. An earlier review by Dean suggested that Footer's actions were an "honest mistake."

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels promised to assign an outside investigator to look into the matter. "I'm going to take the actions I think are necessary to ensure that the fire department is doing its job appropriately, honestly and in a timely manner," he said. "Will the chief's job be on the line? We'll see what the ethics commission has to say."

Now, the whistle-blower behind the ethic commission's investigation, Battalion Chief James Woodbury, is claiming he was demoted from deputy chief and assistant fire marshal after he filed his complaint against Footer in January.

Clearly there are bad apples in every bunch. First responders of course are no different. However, we should do our best to strengthen our procedures and policies to discourage a culture of corruption or incompetency -- whatever the case may be. A whistle-blower, no matter how embarrassing his or her complaint can become, should be honored for bucking the social conventions that restrain truth telling and encourage abuse.

I hope the mayor is sincere in his desire to uncover the truth, both the good and the ugly. As the saying goes, those who don't learn from their mistakes are likely to repeat them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Win your copy of the final P-I

I am offering an original copy of the final edition of theSeattle Post-Intelligencerprinted on Tuesday to three readers who either 
  1. have the best story about looking to find the last edition 
  2. have the most altruistic intentions
  3. have the best plan to personally promote this blog. 
E-mail your entry to SEABlogger@SeattleBlogger.com or post below and include your e-mail address in your entry. Winners will be announced Friday at 5 PM.

Soccer madness coming to Seattle?

Anyone who has had the honor of seeing a professional soccer match in Europe knows that the fans take the event VERY seriously.

I had the luck of attending a game in Hamburg, Germany and found the security to be akin to a NYC airport after 9-11-01. Everyone goes through metal detectors, fans are funneled into a series of fenced off areas to observe the game. A line of police, some with vicious looking police dogs, line the field.

USA Today reports that the soccer madness may be coming to Seattle when the MLS expansion team Seattle Sounders FC makes its debut on Thursday. The newspaper quotes Drew Carey, comedian and part owner of the Sounders, who plans to have a marching band, Sound Wave, lead fans from a local park four blocks to Qwest Field for a game.

The idea came from fan representatives. The soccer club avidly solicits input from its fans like no other MLS team. Carey said that this will be the philosophy behind the club.

"Not only are we letting them burn down the castle, we're giving them pitchforks and torches to do it," Carey said.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Greed and final P-I

There is a special place in hell for people who raided P-I boxes this morning. Furthermore, I suggest you say 10 hail Marys if you bought a paper for .75 cents and are now selling your copy for $50 or more. God, goddess or gods -- you fill in the blank -- is frowning upon you! As much as I want a copy of the final edition of the P-I and feel my life is incomplete without one, I will NEVER pay more than $5 for it. A profit is one thing, but greed is another.

UPDATE (3/18/09, 7:51 AM): A former P-I staffer and fan of this blog offered to meet me for coffee and give me a copy of the final P-I. Sorry for sounding like a bitter blogger!

Death of a newspaper

The final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is out on the streets -- if you can find one that is.

I spent the morning visiting one empty PI box after another and every store along my route from home to work was sold-out as well.

The good news... I hear there will be a second distribution this afternoon. In the worst case scenerio, I have a few contacts on the black market who may be able to help.

Josh Trujillio, a P-I photographer, noted that the final edition includes some humor from the obituary section. Among the obits you will find the P-I itself.

POST-INTELLIGENCER: Seattle, 146, of Seattle, March 17.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Globe stays put says PI

The Associated Press reports that the landmark Seattle Post-Intelligencer globe atop the newspaper's headquarters on Elliot Ave will go nowhere -- at least for a couple more years.

P-I managing editor David McCumber said that the web-only version will be housed in the same building that once was buzzing with as many as 170 employees. Although the web staff will number no more than 50, the P-I has a couple years left on its lease.

Therefore, the globe will continue spinning overhead as the P-I seeks to redefine itself online. If successful, the globe could come to represent not only Seattle but a new model for the struggling newspaper industry.

Should I continue my petition to save the globe? Sound off in the comments of this post or cast your vote on the sidebar of this blog.

PI goes digital, print edition to close, Times takes subscribers

The Hearst Corporation announced today that tomorrow's print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer will be the 146-year-old newspaper's last. The paper will lay off the bulk of the newspaper's 170 staffers and employ only about 20 editorial staff and 20 advertising representatives to operate a web-only version of the paper.

The final print edition will include a 20-page special commemorative section, detailing the P-I's 146 year history. A photo of the newspaper's 170-person staff and a cartoon from Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist David Horsey of the paper's landmark globe are also expected. The cartoon is said to include an image of the the eagle atop the globe flying away into the sunset.

Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers, promises the P-I website will be more than just an online newspaper. "It's an effort to craft a new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information Web site at its core," he said.

According to Nielsen Online, the P-I website had 1.8 million unique visitors and 50 million page views in February. Nielsen has included the P-I's website among the top 30 in the country. The P-I is the largest paper to go all digital.

Although the website will likely only be a shell of its former self it will continue to feature local favorites, such as columnists Art Thiel (sports) and Joel Connelly (political); bloggers Monica Guzman (The Big Blog) and Casey McNerthney (Seattle 911); and cartoonist Horsey.

Hearst said new columnists will include former Seattle mayor Norm Rice, Congressman Jim McDermott, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and others, including two former governors.

In addition, the website will feature: 150 reader blogs, community data bases, photo galleries, and a digital yellow pages directory.

Michelle Nicolosi, executive producer of the P-I's website since 2005, will continue to lead the operation. Nicolosi was previously an investigative reporter at the P-I. She was also previously the editor of Online Journalism Review (www.ojr.org) and taught journalism at the University of Southern California. Prior to that, Nicolosi was a reporter at the Orange County Register, where she was a lead reporter on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fertility Fraud series.

Subscribers of the P-I's print edition will have their subscription switched automatically to The Seattle Times, the P-I's former cross-town rival. The days of delivery service and expiration date will remain unchanged and your billing cycle will continue as before. If you have any questions or concerns about your subscription, call 206-652-6325 or toll free at 1-800-542-0820.

The Seattle Times has set up a frequently asked questions link on their website.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

PI website down Sunday

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer website went down Sunday. The redirect url (http://disaster.seattlepi.nwsource.com/) included the term "disaster." Let's hope this is not a sign of what comes when the staff show up to their offices tomorrow morning.

UPDATE: The P-I website broke from its traditional web host, seattlepi.nwsource.com at midnight PST on Monday morning. The 146-year-old newspaper's URL is now simply, seattlepi.com. The move may signal Heart's intention to keep an online presence as they move to end the paper's print edition and Joint Operation Agreement with The Seattle Times.

Friday, March 13, 2009

PI globe speaks

I am glad I am not the only one telling corny stories... The Seattle Post-Intelligencer globe is now speaking for itself. Check out this new opinion piece written by the globe itself (seriously, I'm not making this up):
When I first started getting so much attention I thought I was going to be repaired. I thought, "Finally -- new neon. No more rust." When more and more people were coming up onto the roof I figured something was up. Maybe the president is on his way to see me, or U2 was going to do a rooftop concert in my shadow. Then I saw all the cameras, the posing and a few tears between hugs of condolence. I overheard snippets of conversation and questions wondering what was going to happen to the globe. 
I felt bad. I knew I wasn't the gleaming beauty I used to be. I assumed I was going to be dismantled and replaced by a brand-new modern symbol. Then I learned it wasn't about me, it was about the business. I went from feeling bad to worse. I wished I could break away somehow and roll through the streets with a rallying cry for help.
Now the globe has found a voice, I am glad to have its full support in my effort to keep the globe here in Seattle:
The company I've been a mascot for all these years is evolving, although nobody seems to know to what extent. In addition to the worry of job loss, there is also concern for my welfare. I truly do appreciate the attention, especially from the folks who have actually gone to the trouble to petition for my residency to remain in Seattle. 
I do so want to stay here. Seattle is my home. I was born here from an idea and created by people whose workmanship is in itself a lost art form.
The globe also supports my idea of moving itself to the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park or the Museum of History and Industry:
I wouldn't mind living on in a museum, and don't you think for one second that I haven't noticed that Olympic Sculpture Park -- I think I could serve some sort of visceral purpose there for sure. 
Please keep me here. I want to continue to be looked at and admired for the piece of artistic history that I am. Put me on display. What else am I going to do? I can't dance. I can't sing. I can't blog.
Read the globe's full impassioned plea. Click here!

Influence: Let's use it

Influence… That’s the name of the game in Washington, D.C. – who’s got it, who knows how to use it. Fortunately for us, we got three local politicians now in the Obama Administration who now has it:
  • Ron Sims, deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Gov. Gary Locke, secretary of Commerce
  • Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
I am not saying that it means they are going to consciously play favorites when it comes to the allocation of federal resources or the interests of Washingtonians. However, any honest observer knows that their appointments represent a great advantage to our state.

They know of projects here at home which are in need of federal funding. They are more likely to pick up a call if it’s from someone back home. They may pick other locals whom they know to work for them on their staff.

It happens all the time. It’s nothing malicious but it something that we should fully utilize for our benefit. I can assure you politicians in other states do it everyday. Let’s not allow Seattle’s nice and laid-back manner get in the way.

So, if you know them, call them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Petition to save PI globe

According to to an article on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (PI) website, the end of the newspaper's published edition seems to be approaching.

Oddly enough, I have to come to accept this. It is with a heavy heart that I have come to realize that this may be what is necessary to save Seattle's other daily newspaper, The Seattle Times.

Once a staunch supporter of a two newspaper town, the thought of a "no newspaper town" is far scarier to me than losing the PI. However, the real reason for this post is my concern over an important Seattle landmark.

The 30-foot steel globe atop the PI headquarters has come to symbolize more than a Seattle institution. I have heard reporters of the PI speak of the globe as a reminder to them about their journalistic ethics. The strong eagle figure being symbol of honesty, integrity, etc.

Personally, I view it as a important piece of local history, made even more significant by the potential closure of the 146-year-old paper. It's glorious glow can be seen far out into Eliot Bay and down the South slope of Queen Anne.

Until 1986, when the PI relocated, it was also perched atop the newspaper's building at Sixth Avenue and Wall Street near the Seattle Center. In a town where many historical landmarks have fallen to make way for condos and skyscrapers, this is one landmark I believe is worth saving.

A history of the globe can be found on the PI website. It includes example of how the globe reflects the life and times of Seattlites:
The globe, which uses about 38 kilowatts per hour when fully lit, has been turned off several times during power shortages.
The globe now rests on a pyramidal base conceived by Seattle artist Clair Colquitt, who felt the base should serve as an aesthetic transition between the modern office building and the whimsical neon symbol.
So, here's my plan. Admittedly, I should probably call the PI, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) or the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) first before putting this out there in cyberspace. However, I will have to pass that baton onto one of my dear readers. The best I can do is an online petition to the Hearst Corp.

Should the PI shutter its operations and close for good, I would like to see the globe donated to a local nonprofit capable of caring for it, such as MOHAI or the SAM.

SAM's Sculpture Park for example is just down the street from the globe's current location and if it was properly placed on a pillar or platform it would be a nice attraction.

Likewise, MOHAI would be a perfect custodian of this Seattle landmark. The goal of the organization is to preserve such artifacts. Their lack-luster nondescript building in the Montlake area could use a show-stopping stunner like the PI globe. At least people like myself could drive by from time to time to soak our wounds regarding the closure of the PI.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Humor me: MN blogger on Seattle

I've read a lot of food blogs because... well... I REALLY like food. No, REALLY like the stuff. My size reflects my passion. However, I think Minnesota blogger Melinda Feucht stands out in her posts about her recent visit to the city. Funny, descriptive and unpretentious.
The most unimaginable, abominable, atrocious thing happened to me my first day in Seattle - I lost my sense of taste. I lost my sense of taste. Something makes me think that the holiday goodies have gotten the best of me by weakening my immune system, another part of me blames the blasted -6 degree Minnesota winter I left with great anxiousness. And you'd think a foodie would know how to treat something like this. Ginger? Tried it. Pickled onions? Yup. Wasaabi? You betcha, alot of it. All with no avail.

If Seattle were a coffee shop, it would be the one that rarely advertises, has minimal store signage on its fa├žade, yet somehow manages to find a line of customers that extends its doors, where people wait ever-so-patiently for a simple croissant and drip, whose customers pride themselves in the quiet knowledge that they’ve found the best spot and wish to keep it a secret. Sorry Seattle, the secret’s out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Barack Obama

Today, we celebrate the first day in a new chapter of American history, a nation still burdened by the memory of slavery and segregation.

President Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States, a position once held by slave owners.

The Obama family spent their first night in the White House, a home built by slaves.

It is a testament to the strength of our Constitution, Bill of Rights and the wisdom of our founding fathers that this day has finally come.

Now, as our world faces financial, environmental and political challenges we must put aside race and the ism's that separate one from another and strive to become one people in the United States and be good citizens of the global community.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

PI for sale, might close

For the past 146 years, the reporters, editors and production staff of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer have served the people of Seattle. Their contribution has been immense and immeasurable. Whatever happens 60 days from now, all who worked there should be proud of their role in this fine Seattle institution.

As a avid reader of the Seattle PI, I pledge to continue my financial support (.75 a day) until your last edition. If your last edition is just two months from now, I will cherish that final newspaper as an important keepsake and family heirloom. I will remember the Seattle PI and feel honored to have been the subject of several stories or having contributed to a couple more.

You have reflected the diversity of this city, writing more than most about the diverse minority communities and the issues and concerns that they faced. They were articles that were artfully crafted and showed a deep understanding of their subjects.

As a life-long local resident, I have found that the Seattle PI seems to be the more forward thinking newspaper in this town. This from a former Seattle Times newspaper boy and teen representative on the advisory board of the Seattle Times owned Mirror paper.

The staff of the Seattle PI have used technology to great affect. They host blogs from local Seattle voices and encourage feedback in the form of comment to their articles. The have broken the mold on numerous occasions with their design and outstanding editorial cartoons.

The Seattle Times, while full of top-notch journalists and excellent reporting, looks and feels like a dinosaur. Slowly, things are changing as they adapt to an Internet centric world. However, they are still playing catch-up.

Of course, as I opine about the Seattle PI, it is the Seattle Times who may be the last local newspaper giant standing. Clearly, it helps to be in control of the circulation, advertising and publishing aspects of the Joint Operating Agreement. Without the Seattle Times, the PI could not stand on its own.

So, while I would prefer a two newspaper town, the sad reality may be that this city cannot support it, especially with the current economic climate. What I am hoping for, should the Seattle PI close for good, is that the Seattle Times will look a little more like the PI and the alternative local weeklies will pick up the slack.