Your Online Shopping Can Help Support the Griffin Neighborhood Association

Did you know your purchases on Amazon.com can benefit the Griffin Neighborhood Association? It’s true. At no additional cost to you, any purchases you make on Amazon can return a modest commission to the GNA, but only if you visit Amazon using our special Internet address.

It’s easy. Just begin your browsing at SteamboatIsland.org/Amazon It’s that simple. Or, find our link, near the links to our Facebook Page, Twitter feed, and Nextdoor, located to the right of our website’s masthead.

Any purchase you make, when you start your shopping at SteamboatIsland.org/Amazon will return a little commission to the Association. The price you pay will not change. 

Thanks for your support! from the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

Thurston County Offices on November’s Ballot

For this election, “local candidates” include offices in the County government, District Court, and the Thurston Public Utility District.

As I have noted in the prior pieces of this series, a good starting place to familiarize yourself with the candidates is the online voter’s guide. This is an online version of the paper one you probably received a week or two ago. The online version, however, includes links to campaign web sites and campaign financing details.

Among the offices within County government there are only three positions where there is a contest between two candidates. The race for Commissioner of the Public Utility District also has two candidates. For the other five non-judicial positions, the incumbent is running unopposed for reelection. Let’s focus our attention first on the races that involve actual contests between two candidates. These are the Auditor, County Commissioner (District 3), Prosecutor, and Commissioner of the Public Utility District.

County Auditor

The incumbent is Mary Hall, a Democrat. Hall was first elected Auditor in 2013 and she is running for re-election.  

The challenger is Stuart Holmes, an Independent. 

It may be worthwhile to take a pause here and point out there are no candidates running for the County’s partisan positions who describe themselves as Republicans. The easiest way to determine the political leanings of any candidate is probably to look at who’s contributed directly to the candidate’s campaign. This won’t easily answer questions about non-campaign spending – that spending made by interest groups working for or against specific issues of candidates – but a visit to the state’s Political Disclosure Commission’s website can be enlightening. In the online voter’s guide, too, there are links to “Who donated to this candidate’s campaign?” that provide the same details.

County Commissioner

The Griffin area is within District 3 and this seat is our district’s commissioner. We choose, in the primary, what candidates are promoted to the General Election. But, in the General Election, all voters in the County will be eligible to vote for the Commissioner.

Bud Blake, Independent, was elected to the seat in November 2014 and he is running for re-election.

Tye Menser, Democrat, is running to unseat Blake.

Both candidates have extensive lists of endorsements and additional information on their campaign websites. By clicking on any candidate’s name here, you will be taken to that candidate’s website.

County Prosecutor

Jon Tunheim, a Democrat and Steamboat Peninsula resident, is looking to retain his seat for another 4-year term.

Victor M. Minjares, also a Democrat, is the challenger.

Read More

Legislative Candidates on the Mid-Term Ballot

Because the President isn’t on the ballot, some voters consider the midterms to be less important. If the list of initiatives described in an earlier part of this series doesn’t argue convincingly that’s not the case, the number of legislative representatives on this November’s ballot just might.

The Griffin area is contained within a portion of the 35th Legislative District. This district covers parts of Kitsap and Thurston counties and all of Mason County. For this election, all three of our representatives in the state Legislature are being decided. These are our State Senator and two State Representatives.

As we have noted in the prior pieces of this series, a good starting place to familiarize yourself with the candidates is the online voter’s guide. There you will find biographical information and statements from each candidate. Among the links below are those to each candidate’s campaign website. The key votes of incumbents can be reviewed online at VoteSmart.org and elsewhere.

State Senator

State Senators serve 4-year terms of office.

The incumbent is Tim Sheldon who was first elected to this office in 1998. From 1991 to 1997 he was one of the District’s representatives in the House. These are only two of the several elected offices in which he’s served, sometimes simultaneously. He runs as “prefers Democratic Party,” but his top two contributors are the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. Click here to see his key votes. In his voter’s guide statement, his campaign wrote, “He is known as a legislator who works with members of all political parties to find common sense solutions without new taxes.”

The challenger is Irene Bowling, who unsuccessfully ran against Sheldon in 2014. Like Sheldon, she is also running as “prefers Democratic Party.” However, her top single contributor is the 35th Legislative District Democrats. In her official statement she writes, “I know how frustrating it is to see Washington State’s economy flourish while our own district has struggled.” “As a small business owner, I understand the struggles people face every day with red tape, paperwork, and government inefficiency.”

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Here are the Initiatives Coming to Your Ballot this November

This November we’ll see four initiatives on our ballot. And one of those “Advisory Votes” required by law, but which do not carry the force of law. The requirement to hold advisory votes came about through an initiative (I-960) approved by voters in November, 2007.

The online voter’s guide contains a good deal of useful information about each of the initiatives. There you will find a link to the full text of the initiative, an explanatory statement, fiscal impacts, and official arguments for and against each initiative.

Initiative Measure No. 940 “concerns law enforcement.”

According to the explanatory statement, “This measure addresses three aspects of law enforcement. First, it addresses when law enforcement officers may use deadly force. Second, it requires de-escalation and mental health training for officers. Third, it requires officers to provide first aid in certain circumstances.”

It’s important that voters realize the importance of this this initiative removes de facto immunity enjoyed by law enforcement in Washington, when deadly force is used. That immunity from prosecution is replaced with a so-called “good faith” standard. It also requires independent investigations of police who use deadly force.

The website at https://www.deescalatewa.org/ provides information in favor of the initiative.

I have been unable to locate a comprehensive website representing arguments opposing the initiative. However, voters should know the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police agreed to restrictions on the use of deadly force, and some of the ideas contained within I-940. But the FOP ultimately announced it opposes I-940. The history for this is confusing. It has to do with steps taken by the Legislature.

The State Legislature passed a bill, HB 303, which was signed in to law this last Spring. You can read that law here and the FOP has said it supports HB 303. The Legislature had expected the passage of HB 303 would ensure I-940 would never make it to voters. A court challenge, however, put the initiative on the ballot, even after a compromise law was passed. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled the passage of HB 303 didn’t follow the law. In its ruling, the Court said lawmakers only have three options when an initiative is qualified for the ballot: approve a competing ballot initiative; reject the voter’s initiative; or amend it, in which case voters have to make the final decision between the original initiative and the amended version. In passing HB 303, the Legislature didn’t choose any of these options. So the Court voided HB 303 and cleared the way for I-940 to appear on the ballot.

Leslie Cushman, co-chair of De-Escalate Washington, was reported to have written, “We appreciate and honor the work we did with law enforcement and will work with law enforcement to make sure the policies in 3003 become law. And to do that, we need the solid policies of 940 in place.”

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Labor Day Marks the Unofficial Start of Election Season; Here’s How Our Ballot is Shaping Up


“Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country and this world.”

This is the first of what may become a series of articles providing information in advance of the upcoming General Election. In this first article, we ask the question, “What candidates and measures will appear on November’s General Election ballot?” The easiest answer is provided by the Secretary of State’s website. This web page is the online voter’s guide for Thurston County.

Federal offices that are up for election this year include one Senate seat. Incumbent Maria Cantwell faces off against Susan Hutchinson. The online voter’s guide includes a statement by each campaign and links to the candidate’s website. There are also links to the Federal Election Commission website. But you have to find the candidate there, to see campaign finance data.

The Griffin area is in Congressional District 10. In our Congressional District, Incumbent Denny Heck is being challenged by Joseph Brumbles.

The Griffin area is in Legislative District 35. The candidates for the State Senate are Tim Sheldon, the incumbent, and Irene Bowling. There are two State Representative seats. In Position 1, incumbent Dan Griffey is challenged by James Thomas. In Position 2, the incumbent is Drew MacEwen, whose challenger is David Daggett. The online voter’s guide includes links to information describing the principal donors to each campaign.

Three positions on the State Supreme Court appear on the ballot. Positions 2 and 9 are uncontested; there’s only one candidate for each. In Position 8, however, incumbent Steve Gonzalez is being challenged by Nathan Choi. As with the Legislative District candidates, in addition to campaign statements, there is a link to information describing the donors for each campaign. But in the case of Nathan Choi’s campaign, there is no campaign finance data reported, at all.

For the Court of Appeals, Division 2, District 2, Rebecca Glasgow is the single candidate in this uncontested race.

In Thurston County government there are three positions where there is a contest between two candidates. The other eight positions are uncontested. For the sake of brevity, what follows only describes the three races where there are two candidates.

For Thurston County Auditor, incumbent Mary Hall is being challenged by Stuart Holmes. The voter’s guide includes links to campaign finance data.

The race for Thurston County Commissioner for District 3, where the Griffin area is located, has incumbent Bud Blake facing off against Tye Menser.

For Thurston County Prosecutor, incumbent Jon Tunheim is challenged by Victor M. Minjares.

One seat on the Thurston Public Utility District is up for election. Incumbent Linda L. Oosterman is running against Andrew Saturn.

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Thanks To You, Our Community Picnic Was A Success

Taylor Shellfish Farms provided delicious food, featuring recipes by local resident Xinh Dwelley.
GNA hosts greeted event attendees.

A huge “thank you!” to all who attended this year’s community picnic, hosted by the Griffin Neighborhood Association. A special appreciation is extended to the sponsors who donated supplies, the volunteers who donated their time, and the many local businesses and organizations who participated.

This year’s picnic featured seafood prepared by Taylor Shellfish Farms and hamburgers and hotdogs prepared by volunteers and members of our Board. Drinks and chips were donated by the Steamboat Trading Post. The Island Market and Steamboat Trading Post provided the ice. Over at the driving range, the Salish Cliffs Golf Club hosted a game with prizes and there were kids’ games and face painting provided by the Steamboat Island Church. More than a dozen local businesses and organizations attended.

The Tin Cup Golf Driving Range and Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club donated their facilities for the event. Thurston County Explorer Search & Rescue directed traffic, particularly into and out of the parking area. Wash facilities were provided by Island Johnny. Click here for a complete list of this year’s sponsors, with links to their websites.

The booths of local businesses and organizations arranged under sunny skies.

Musical guests were Humor & Heart and dulcimer musician Ellen Rice.

Each year we strive to provide a picnic event our community wants. In order to do that, we need your feedback! If you attended the picnic, let us know what you enjoyed or didn’t, and what you would like to see added or changed for next year.

If you weren’t able to attend, what would it take to get you there, next year?

Please email us with your comments and suggestions.

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40th Annual Blueberry Bash is Sunday, August 19

St. Christopher’s Community Church will once again offer up some great summertime family fun, in the form of their ever-popular Blueberry Bash. This year’s Bash benefits the Thurston County Food Bank and you are invited to bring a canned food donation.

The Oly Mountain Boys will provide live entertainment, playing their Pacific Northwest Bluegrass from 12:30 to 3:30 PM.

Oly Mountain Boys – Pacific Northwest Bluegrass

The Bingo Garden makes its return with great prizes and there will be a raffle for a beautiful handmade quilt. A bounce house, giant bubble station, face painting, and many more kids activities will be offered.Read More

Our Annual Community Picnic is July 21st

Click for a larger image.

Perhaps the biggest event in the Griffin Neighborhood Association’s yearly calendar is the Community Picnic. On Saturday, July 21st we will again take over the lawn in front of the Tin Cup Golf Driving Range and overflow into Prosperity Grange with food and fun for the whole family. Come join your neighbors!

This year we’ll have live musical guests Humor & Heart. Local resident, Ellen Rice, will also perform with her mountain dulcimer.

Our popular bouncy house will be back, along with other kid’s activities: face painting, bag games, bubble stations, hula hoops and more. Try your skill on the golf driving range, with pro tips and prizes provided by the Salish Cliffs Golf Club.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, and beverages will be provided and, thanks to generous donations from Taylor Shellfish Farms, seafood dishes featuring the recipes of local favorite Xinh Dwelley will also be served.

A number of local organizations and businesses will provide information about their work and some great items for sale. Here are some of the local businesses and organizations who are expected to attend:

Bay Mercantile
Companion Cove
DiversiTree Arbor Care
Dogwoods Canine Play and Stay
Feline Friends
Griffin School Foundation
Lighthouse Alpaca Ranch
Melody Byrd Aprons
Nicholson Insurance
OCCU (Our Community Credit Union)
Rainbow Girls
St. Christopher’s Community Church
Stacy Lynn Wellness
Steamboat Animal Hospital
Steamboat Island 4H
Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
Steamboat Island United Methodist Church
Thurston County Master Gardeners FoundationRead More

Steamboat Conservation Partnership Reports to Its Members

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership has released its 2018 report to supporters on the completion of their ninth successful year of operation. Here is that report.

Donations:

During our 2017-2018 fiscal year (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018), we raised $14,818.86 for Capitol Land Trust (CLT), earmarked to finance part of their operational activities within the Steamboat Peninsula Region where most of us live and/or own property. This was slightly below our annual goal of $15,000 in collections.
Over the nine years of the existence of the SCP, we have raised $148,447.96 for CLT, which is $13,447.96 above our goal of $135,000 for that nine-year period. We should all be very proud of generating these funds to ensure that many of our natural areas will be available to our children, grandchildren and beyond.

The SCP is a five-year agreement between the Griffin Neighborhood Association and Capitol Land Trust during which we attempt to raise at least $15,000 per year to help finance the operational activities of CLT within the Steamboat Peninsula Region (the watersheds of Eld Inlet and Totten Inlet). After completion of the first five-year agreement in 2014, a second agreement was made. We have just completed the fourth year of this five-year agreement. The SCP is unique. We are told that no other agreement for raising earmarked funds exists between a neighborhood association and a land trust in the nation.

Activities:

Since the SCP was formed in 2009, with our help, CLT has been able to add several areas to its bank of conserved properties within the Steamboat Peninsula Region, including:

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Here are the Candidates on August’s Primary Ballot

The Primary Election is Tuesday, August 7. If you are not yet registered to vote, or if you have had a change of address and haven’t informed elections officials, there is still time. The last day for new registrations is July 30, but you must register in-person at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office in order to be eligible to vote in the Primary.

Voter’s Pamphlets will be mailed on July 11 and the ballots will be mailed a week later, on July 18. As usual, ballots must either be dropped in a ballot box before 8 PM on election day or they must be postmarked by that day. There’s a ballot box conveniently located in front of the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters. Have questions about voting? The County’s elections officials have an online FAQ here. Contact the Thurston County Auditor’s Office directly, if you have other questions.

Under our state’s primary system, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party.

Here’s a rundown of the candidates you will see on your ballot. Where the candidate’s web site could be found, the candidate’s name is linked to the web site.

U.S. Senator

There are 30 candidates for this position (according to the Spokesman-Review, “The modern record for a U.S. Senate race in Washington is 33, set in 1983”). The entire list appears in the Voter’s Pamphlet.

Maria Cantwell is the Democratic incumbent. Her chief challenger is Susan Hutchison (Republican Party)

U.S. Representative – Congressional District No. 10

Denny Heck is the Democratic incumbent. His challengers are:

Nancy Dailey Slotnick (Indep. Centrist Party)

Tamborine Borrelli ( Ind. Progressive Party)

Joseph Brumbles (Republican Party)Read More