Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

Democracy, are you still there?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Last October, when Occupy Seattle was only an encampment in Westlake Park, I ventured downtown with a friend to see what it was all about.  We were impressed with the variety and sincerity of the protesters, and their messages resonated for me: we are the 99%, the rich are getting too rich on the backs of the poor, restore American values and the middle class, bring back democracy.

I began participating in meetings, especially the working group called Get Money out of Politics (“GMOP”).  I  joined nationwide conference calls for the national working group focusing on this same issue.  These people are inspiring.  All ages, all backgrounds and income/educational levels – bright, creative, cooperative – motivated by what I call our national values of freedom, compassion and fairness.

Here’s a photo from a recent GMOP meeting – they’re held at our beautiful  Washington Convention Center in downtown Seattle.

Some people may think Occupy Wherever has packed up their tents and gone home, bowing to police or winter or just petering out.  They will see.  The “occupation” of so many public places has served its purpose: to get our attention.  And now the movement begins.

January 20 and 21 will mark the 2nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that narrowly (5-4) gave corporations the same “free speech” rights as real people, allowing them to donate unlimited money to political campaigns, anonymously.  Just wait for next summer.  Big Money will drown TV programming with short, shallow ads which will buy the results of many races.

In Seattle on those dates, a coalition of many groups including Occupy Seattle, Move to Amend, and WA Public Campaigns, is currently planning a march, a couple of rallies, some brilliant street theater, concerts, and other events to promote the need to amend the Constitution to clarify that only people are entitled to free speech.  Similar events will happen that weekend across the country.

A Constitutional amendment is the only way to overturn a Supreme Court decision.  Many city councils across the U.S. have recently passed a resolution, which is then passed on to the voters, advocating such an amendment.  So far, the cities include Los Angeles, New York City, Boulder, Missoula, and Duluth.  Voters agree, by around 75%.  We are working on Seattle and King County to get with it!

I know some of you disagree with my liberal views and activism.  That’s fine, this is a democracy.  But I can’t be honest with myself and hide my political views.  It’s time to take a stand.  This is our moment to start cleaning up our government and restoring our democracy.  The Occupy movement is providing the energy and visibility to make it happen.  Count me in!



B&B or Conventional Hotel?

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

A new blog-post on a hospitality trade website talks about why more vacationers are choosing to stay at a B&B, as opposed to a hotel.   According to this article, people enjoy the unique, personal nature of B&Bs.  And Soundview is unique among B&Bs.

The cottage is a separate guesthouse, totally private.  Guests have complete freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and that includes breakfasts.  I don’t cook.  I do provide almost all the breakfast foods you can think of, but you choose and you cook, not me.  I think I would burn out very quickly if I had to get up and make an elaborate breakfast every morning.

This may put off some potential guests who enjoy a lavish breakfast served to several guests at once in a central dining room. But my guests enjoy this self-catered idea.  In the complete, new kitchen in the cottage, they can also prepare other meals and save money and control what they eat.  More and more people these days have special dietary needs, such as avoiding wheat, sugar, or lactose…and managing your own diet in your own kitchen gives you total control, just like at home.

It works for me!

Our President Inspired Me Last Night.

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

“We must communicate in a way that heals, not wounds….
our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.
I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.”

At first, I was quick to blame this unspeakable tragedy on the wave of hate rhetoric that has almost drowned our country. But last night in his memorial address at the University of Arizona, our President rose above this kind of divisive finger-pointing. He brought us together in a moment of hope and inspiration, even as we mourned the senseless loss of such fine people. Please let us heed his call and move forward together, for the future of our children.

The peace flag that flies at Soundview Cottage has taken on an additional meaning.

This is OUR watch!

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

How do you feel when people criticize the government, politicians, and “the system” – but don’t do anything – not even vote? Would you like to have a positive influence on the world we’re leaving to our children?  I would!

Photo by Brett Fish

So I went to a community “town hall” meeting the other night, where my Congressman Adam Smith was answering questions and opinions from his voters.  I like him.  A thoughtful Democrat.  Co-sponsor of both the Fair Elections Now Act and the new Disclose Act.

Here I am gathering signatures on a petition for clean elections.  My friend Jean and I have been on the Board of Washington Public Campaigns for several years.  I’m really lucky to have the time, now that I’m semi-retired,  to get involved in these activities.

In 2004,  when my younger daughter was 20, we went to Washington, DC, to join the Women’s March.  What a thrill!  1.2 million people in support of a woman’s right to make up her mind. Here’s an aerial photo of all of us jamming the mall.

I burn biodiesel in my oil furnace in my home because I’m an environmentalist.  The cottage has efficient, quiet Convect-Air wall heaters.

Several times a week, I tutor refugee kids as a volunteer, helping them learn a new language, a new alphabet.  To read from left to right.  It’s so hard for some of them.  They’re fresh from Latin America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia.  One’s from Iraq, via Jordan.  How brave they are!  They’re so grateful for help.

I’ve been a member of South End Neighbors for Peace & Justice since I moved to Burien five years ago.  We raise money for Afghan schools, we vigil for peace on “our” street corner (1st & 148th), we register voters, and we get together twice a month for a potluck supper and good friendship. Here’s a booth we hosted at the Burien Strawberry Festival last year.  My peace buddy June turned 90 today – what a role model!

If I didn’t “read” the news every morning (online), and learn about events and issues, if I didn’t try to promote my beliefs while respecting the opinions of others, if I just decided to “sit it out,” I would feel rather useless.  I’m glad I live in a country where I can try to make a difference.

This is the only watch we’ll have on Spaceship Earth, Folks.  It’s up to us.  For the sake of our children, stand up.  Get involved.