Off the Wire

Great event for all who care about our community!



Creative Democracy: the Task Before Us

Reposted from Terry Link
Senior Fellow, U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
BLOG: http://possibilitator.blogspot.com

Remember Dewey has been considered one of America's greatest philosophers. His long-time emphasis on democracy and education are clearly in full view in this piece. He was not an armchair philosopher, although he could hold his own with any of his contemporaries. He was involved with the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union, American Association of University professors, and the National Association for the advancement of Colored People.

Born just before the Civil War in 1859, he was to live and be active until his death in 1952, almost a century. His long view provides a rare and deep look at what democracy was and could be. In the spirit of this blog that attempts to provide a window into "possibilities", Dewey believed in the possibility of a deeper democracy and the evolution of human society through education.

A few excerpts from this talk may perhaps whet your appetite to read the full piece. What is clear to this reader, is that his words from three-quarters of a century ago are at least as timely and as necessary to be considered and reflected on today as they were then.

"...the present time [1939] the frontier is moral not physical. The period of free lands that seemed boundless in extent has vanished. Unused resources are now human rather than material. They are found in the waste of grown men and women who are without the chance to work, and in the young men and young women who find doors closed where there was once opportunity. The crisis that one hundred and fifty years ago called out social and political inventiveness is with us in a form which puts a heavier demand on human creativeness.

"At all events this is what I mean when I say that we now have to re-create by deliberate and determined endeavor the kind of democracy which in its origin one hundred and fifty years ago was largely the product of a fortunate combination of men and circumstances. We have lived for a long time upon the heritage that came to us from the happy conjunction of men and events in an earlier day. The present state of the world is more than a reminder that we have now to put forth every energy of our own to prove worthy of our heritage. It is a challenge to do for the critical and complex conditions of today what the men of an earlier day did for simpler conditions.

"If I emphasize that the task can be accomplished only by inventive effort and creative activity, it is in part because the depth of the present crisis is due in considerable part to the fact that for a long period we acted as if our democracy were something that perpetuated itself automatically; as if our ancestors had succeeded in setting up a machine that solved the problem of perpetual motion in politics. We acted as if democracy were something that took place mainly at Washington and Albany - or some other state capital - under the impetus of what happened when men and women went to the polls once a year or so-which is a some-what extreme way of saying that we have had the habit of thinking of democracy as a king of political mechanism that will work as long as citizens were reasonably faithful in performing political duties...

"...Democracy as a personal, an individual, way of life involves nothing fundamentally new. But when applied it puts a new practical meaning in old ideas. Put into effect it signifies that powerful present enemies of democracy can be successfully met only by the creation of personal attitudes in individual human beings; that we must get over our tendency to think that its defense can be found in any external means whatever, whether military or civil, if they are separated from individual attitudes so deep-seated as to constitute personal character.

" ...I am inclined to believe that the heart and final guarantee of democracy is in free gatherings of neighbors on the street corner to discuss back and forth what is read in uncensored news of the day, and in gatherings of friends in the living rooms of houses and apartments to converse freely with one another. Intolerance, abuse, calling of names because of differences of opinion about religion or politics or business, as well as because of differences of race, color, wealth or degree of culture are treason to the democratic way of life.

First published in John Dewey and the Promise of America,
Progressive Education Booklet No. 14 (Columbus,
Ohio: American Education Press, 1939), from an address read by Horace M. Kallen at the dinner in honor of Dewey in New York City on 20 October 1939; reprinted in The Later Works,Vol. 14.


Two Cheers for this Experiment in Civic Discourse

From Ron Gross
Conversations New York

A barista at the Spring Street Starbucks in lower Manhattan yesterday afternoon slapped a sticker on my cup that read: RACE TOGETHER.

He was following the suggestion of Starbucks president Howard Shultz, who had announced the nation-wide campaign earlier in the week. Starbucks wants staff and customers at its 7,000 shops across to U.S. to invite in-store conversations about "issues of race, prejudice, and lack of economic opportunity."

As I settled into a corner sofa, I asked the woman next to me: "What do you think about talking about these issues in Starbucks?"

"Not my cup of tea, frankly," she replied with lower Manhattan coolness. "I come here to calm down, or to take out. Wrong time, wrong place."

But the couple who sat down on the other side of me was interested. "It's naive, sure -- but it's a start," said Larry, a software developer. And his co-worker, Russell, added: "We've talked about this at our shop, but it's actually easier with people with whom you don't have a lot of baggage. We've had some good talks with other customers, and with one of the baristas."

The three of us talked for 15 minutes. It was the longest conversation I'd had with African Americans in over a month.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening stopping into 7 more Starbucks stores in a variety of neighborhoods in Manhattan, getting as far uptown as the one on 168th Street and Broadway.

Total results: 6 illuminating conversations, 2 brush-offs.

This Starbucks campaign is taking its lumps in the blogosphere, where it's being accused of everything from grandiosity and condescension, to manipulation and hypocrisy; some of the points -- about Starbucks' sourcing, corporate staffing, and HR policies -- are telling.

But from my totally unscientific sampling of 0.l percent of Starbucks stores nationwide, I'm giving two cheers for this experiment in civic discourse. Time was when coffee houses were hotbeds of citizen-to-citizen conversations about issues that mattered -- such as in 18th century Britain and America, where they made governments quake. It's heartening to get even this slight whiff of that amidst the white foam.


Rural Industrial Land Bank: Planning for Clark County

What's Next
An open house will be held on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 to inform the public of progress to date and to ask for comments. The open house will be at the CASEE Center, 11104 NE 149th Street in Brush Prairie from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

A number of draft documents have been prepared by BERK Consulting and their team. The first is an analysis of critical areas on the site. The second includes a list of criteria that make a good industrial site and an alternative sites analysis. The third is a de-designation analysis. Work has also started on the master planning process for the site.

Project Summary
An open house was held on January 28, 2015 to introduce the rural industrial land bank concept and to discuss the proposed rural industrial land bank application.

One of the requirements for establishing a land bank is the preparation of a master plan for the area. The Board of County Commissioners adopted changes to the county's master planning requirements at a public hearing on December 16, 2014.
Adopted code language:

Section 40.520.070 Master Planned Development
Section 40.520.075 Rural Industrial Development Master Plan (new section)
Section 40.560.010 Plan Amendment Procedures

In 1996, the Growth Management Act (GMA), RCW 36.70A, was amended with provisions to allow major industrial developments to be sited outside of urban growth areas. RCW 36.70A.365 allows counties to site major industrial developments where there is a specific development application involved. RCW 36.70A.367 allows counties to establish up to two rural industrial land banks with the intent that they develop as industrial properties.

In February 2014, Clark County received an application for the establishment of an industrial land bank on two different sites. The locations are north of the intersection of SR-503 (NE 117th Avenue) and 119th Street on 223 acres and 378 acres currently zoned for agriculture (AG-20). The 223-acre site to the west of SR-503 is referred to as the Ackerland property. The 378-acre site to the east of SR-503 is referred to as the Lagler property. There is no specific developer, so the county is proceeding under RCW 36.70A.367.

Requirements to establish a rural industrial land bank:

- there has to be an inventory of potential sites within urban growth areas made;
- consultation with affected cities is required;
- the site has to be master-planned;
- the site has to have a programmatic level of environmental review; and
- regulations for review and approval of industrial developments must be put in place.

In addition, because the parcels in the application are zoned for agriculture, a de-designation process is required, because by county code any land in a rural industrial land bank will be zoned for light industrial (IL) uses. A list of allowable uses in light industrial (IL) districts can be found in CCC Section 40.230.035-Employment Districts.

CCC Section 40.230.035 Employment Districts
Project contact
Gordy Euler, Clark County Community Planning
(360) 397-2280 ext. 4968


County sets open houses to expand scope of growth plan study

Vancouver, WA – The Board of County Councilors has added a fourth alternative for consideration in the environmental review needed to update the local Comprehensive Growth Management Plan.

Three alternatives were approved for environmental review in the fall of 2014:

· No change.
· Changes to long-range planning for some rural and urban areas.
· Urban growth boundary changes for smaller cities.

The new alternative, approved for study on March 11, considers changes to land use plans in rural areas. Information about all the alternatives will be presented at two open houses, both 5:30-7 p.m.:

· March 25: Ridgefield High School, 2724 South Hillhurst Road
· April 1: Hockinson High School, 16819 NE 159th St.

The Board will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. April 14 at the Public Service Center, 1300 Franklin St.

Find more information at www.clark.wa.gov/planning/2016update/alternatives.html



March 19th Deadline: Money to Increase Voter Participation

It is my hope that the League of Women Voters, NAACP-Clark County, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation (NWCAVE), Vancouver City Council, Greg Kimsey, Betty Sue Morris, Chuck Green, Democratic and Republican Precinct Chairs will take advantage of this great funding opportunity! 

Apply now to the Knight News Challenge on Elections, which closes for applications Thursday March 19 at 5 p.m. ET. The challenge seeks ideas that address the question:

A collaboration between Knight, the Democracy Fund, the Hewlett Foundation and the Rita Allen Foundation, the challenge is offering more than $3 million for innovative ideas.

If you have specific questions, we will be holding office hours tomorrow March 17 from 1 - 2 p.m. ET. You can join online or by telephone (1-888-240-2560, Meeting ID: 645 136 625).

To enter the News Challenge on Elections and for more information, go to newschallenge.org and answer a few questions by March 19. Follow #newschallenge on Twitter for updates and please spread the word through your networks.

John Bracken
Knight Foundation
Vice President for Media Innovation




Three Nonpartisan Opportunities for Engagement in SW Washington

Here are great nonpartisan opportunities for engagement in our community. Include this information in your Neighborhood newsletters or post on your website and encourage residents to get involved!

Washington State University-Vancouver
Institute for Public Deliberation, a program of the Washington State University Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, will be holding open forums about affordable housing. WSU students have been studying meeting facilitation and deliberation, and they're ready to lead the community forums that have been scheduled. Two meetings will be held in Vancouver.

• 2 to 4 p.m. March 26 in Vancouver: WSUV, 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave.

• 5 to 7 p.m. April 2 in Vancouver: Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way.

To register, contact Carolyn Long at ipd@wsu.edu.

Community Forums of Vancouver USA
This is a developing program that will be convening regular community forums in coordination with Neighborhood Associations and Vancouver Public Schools within the City of Vancouver. The forums will be facilitated and promote #GenuineDialogue. Community Forums of Vancouver USA is a program of Right2BHeard collaborating with the National Institute for Civil Discourse and the National Dialogue Network.

The next public informational meeting of those interested will be held on Thursday, April 7th at 4001 Main Street #221, Vancouver WA from approximately 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Where Have All the Voters Gone?
Plan to come and participate in a community forum called “Where Have All the Voters Gone?”. This forum will be a non-partisan community dialogue on why voter turnout was the lowest in decades (50% in Clark County) and how we can not only get those voters back to the ballot box in 2015, but also bring back those who did vote in 2014. Co-hosted by the League of Women Voters, NAACP-Clark County, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the National Women’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation (NWCAVE).

The Forum will be Sunday, April 26, 4-5:30 PM at the Vancouver Community Library.


Vancouver USA is America's 7th most romantic city

Time.com is running a national story about Vancouver, Washington - something we all knew but were afraid to say out loud: Vancouver is one of the Most Romantic Cities in America

It may not be a scientific result- but we'll take it. Here's the scoop:

“We measured sales of romantic comedies, albums and romance books and pulled it together to create a complete list of the biggest purchasers by unit. We applied that data per capita for each city to determine which cities were the biggest purchasers of romantic titles,” said a spokeswoman for Amazon.

Here’s the list of the Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in the United States, based upon purchases from Amazon.com Read full story.




An Open Letter to Parents

JANUARY 13, 2011

Dear parents,

Like so many Americans all across the country, Barack and I were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of violence committed in Arizona this past weekend. Yesterday, we had the chance to attend a memorial service and meet with some of the families of those who lost their lives, and both of us were deeply moved by their strength and resilience in the face of such unspeakable tragedy.

As parents, an event like this hits home especially hard. It makes our hearts ache for those who lost loved ones. It makes us want to hug our own families a little tighter. And it makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up.

In the days and weeks ahead, as we struggle with these issues ourselves, many of us will find that our children are struggling with them as well. The questions my daughters have asked are the same ones that many of your children will have – and they don’t lend themselves to easy answers. But they will provide an opportunity for us as parents to teach some valuable lessons – about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away.

We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis. And we can help them do that in their own small way – whether it’s by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.

We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.

We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.

Christina Green felt that call. She was just nine years old when she lost her life. But she was at that store that day because she was passionate about serving others. She had just been elected to her school’s student council, and she wanted to meet her Congresswoman and learn more about politics and public life.

And that’s something else we can do for our children – we can tell them about Christina and about how much she wanted to give back. We can tell them about John Roll, a judge with a reputation for fairness; about Dorothy Morris, a devoted wife to her husband, her high school sweetheart, to whom she’d been married for 55 years; about Phyllis Schneck, a great-grandmother who sewed aprons for church fundraisers; about Dorwan Stoddard, a retired construction worker who helped neighbors down on their luck; and about Gabe Zimmerman, who did community outreach for Congresswoman Giffords, working tirelessly to help folks who were struggling, and was engaged to be married next year. We can tell them about the brave men and women who risked their lives that day to save others. And we can work together to honor their legacy by following their example – by embracing our fellow citizens; by standing up for what we believe is right; and by doing our part, however we can, to serve our communities and our country.


Michelle Obama


Families to get boost from State of the County food drive March 12  

Vancouver, WA – Supplies are running low for the Clark County Food Bank and many partner agencies that help 10,000 families meet basic needs in Clark County each month.

Citizens have an opportunity to provide some welcome support during the annual State of the County gathering on Thursday, March 12 at Skyview High School, 1300 NW 139th St., in the Salmon Creek area.

Food Bank Operations Manager James Fitzgerald said donations of non-perishable food, such as cereal and pasta, have been declining in recent years and most donations received during the holiday season have been distributed.

Despite improvements in the economy, many families still struggle to provide regular meals that include protein, he said. “The need remains high.”

State of the County donations in 2014 made it possible for about 300 local residents to eat for up to five days.

The event begins with light refreshments and music by the Skyview Jazz Band at 3:30 p.m.Presentations start at 4 p.m. Plans call for remarks by County Councilors David Madore, Jeanne E. Stewart and Tom Mielke. Sheriff Chuck E. Atkins and Acting County Manager Mark McCauley will speak briefly, as will Todd Coleman, chief executive officer for Port of Vancouver USA.

The councilors also will present Spirit of Clark County awards for extraordinary efforts by volunteers in 2014.

For those unable to attend, the program may be viewed later on CVTV (Clark-Vancouver Television) Channels 21 and 23. For viewing times or to watch online visit www.cvtv.org.