Having been watching the news for just over a month now, I have to admit that the WA state government is a real-time experiment in modern politics. And quite often it makes for a better comedy scene than sitcoms or reality does… by no means does this mean that the populous shouldn’t be involved in the government process, but it does mean that the elected officials might want to move a bit more slowly on certain topics. That’s all.
Locals have already heard me talk about some of this stuff because some of it is hysterical. I can cite three different issues:
1) The Grill Law. I first heard about this one before moving out here and it made me leave my Weber back in CT. I saw no reason to lug a grill with me if I didn’t know that I could definitely use it or not. Call me cautious, but it just made sense. Well, as it turns out, I not only have a concrete deck and a sprinkler, but the law was delayed and doesn’t go into effect until November.
The law is somewhat simple, if fascist: no gas or charcoal grills on wood decks, if you live in a condo/apartment, unless you have a sprinkler system. How does a law like this come into being? Take a group of activists that have noticed a number of grill related house fires and give them some quiet time with a local politician. Add to that some local press coverage for the politician in question, get some of the animated activists in some interviews, and presto! you’ll get a new law.
Shortly after the law gets announced “publicly”, there’s usually a push-back from the public. There’s also a law lurking about on the books about a live Christmas tree ban in certain areas or situations. Same thing happened with this one: it got passed, then publicized and will eventually be repealed. I figure the same thing will happen with the grill ban. The politicians just move a bit too quickly around here… and a bit too literally! The key thing is that no matter what they do, they eventually sort it all out.
Another situation is the monorail in Seattle proper. The monorail – which someone reminded me has been in operation for over 40 years now (which is some piece of engineering to still be running) – had a fire over Memorial Day weekend. Since then, it’s been shut down while city workers try to repair it. Well, first they’ll have to figure out what went wrong and then they might fix it. Of course, while this is going on, the existing monorail has been marked for demolition next year. Will Seattle be monorail-less? No. In a life-imitating-art swing [see “Singles”], there’s plan for a new and longer monorail to be built, which means the old one will have to go, to make room for the new one. Of course, the new monorail isn’t fully approved yet, so that is still a “maybe”… hope they figure that one out before they blow up anything.
Today, I heard today about an electronic voting snafu that suddenly popped up. One of the counties has bought/leased/whatever some electronic voting machines. They were approved and slated to be used for the election this November. People are protesting today, calling it “the machine ate my vote” day or some shit. They are demanding paper receipts or something, in the event that there’s a re-count or something… this one exasperates me because you know damned well that this is all Florida’s fault, from the mess they made of the 2000 election. I mean, yay for technology and all, but if the FL fuckers had learned how to read and punch a paper hole, this all would be moot. For feck’s sake, we’re over two centuries old. We’ve voted over 200 times, for countless officials, without any problem. One freakin’ state that does nothing but hug oranges, grow white hair, and offer sanctuary for people from the Northeast that want to talk about being down south goes ahead and causes this entire “we need help voting” cry for help bullshit.
Oh, how I hate Florida. *sigh*
Hard to say how the voting bit will turn out – it’s not happening in King county so it won’t effect me, for this election. And the grill thing… I probably won’t worry about until next year – it’ll take some time before I buy one anyway and I don’t think the drama there has played out yet. As for the monorail, that will be fun to watch, but it’s got little impact on me too. Really, all of it is just fun to watch… almost like a high school government, in that is so real-time and maliable. It’s like you’re right there, in the decision making process.
The irony is that for all of the “fire safety” that the Grill Law is supposed to offer, fireworks are legal and readily available for the 4th of July… go figure.