Posted by Diane Gallegos on Oct 14, 2019
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Meeting of October 14, 2019
Today’s Program: Port Commissioner Race Candidates
Meeting Called to order: Colleen Gillespie @ 12:25 pm
  • Invocation by: Colleen Gillespie (filled in due to a cancellation) Found a great website for nondenominational Rotary invocations!
  • Pledge of Allegiance led by: Jeff Crooks
  • Song: God Bless America, led by Dana Pethia
  • Four Way Test led by: Bill McGregor
Visiting Rotarians
  • Bill McGregor, Lacey
  • Van Van Jepmond, Lacey
  • Zach Wurtz, Seattle Sunrise
Guests of Rotarians
  • Helen Wheatley – Tye Gundel, campaign manager
  • Joe Downing – Wife and campaign manager Myra Downing
  • Warren Carlson – Wife Pat Carlson, Connie Bucove (neighbor and wife of former member Greg Bucove), and Linda Villegas Bremer
  • Dennis Adams – Daughter Hannah Adams
  • Preston Troy – Lee Ruddy and Peter Overton
Happy Bucks – hosted by Judy Henderson
  • Colleen Gillespie – She and her husband celebrated their 24th anniversary
  • Fred Adair – Just returned from a two week Baltic Sea Cruise and visit to St. Petersburg as part of his 90th birthday celebration
  • Lori Tebo – Announced that the Phoenix Awards to celebrate those who have risen above the challenges of mental health and addiction will be held at the Hotel RL on Tuesday November 5th from 11:30am - 1:00pm.
  • Jim Leonard – Announced that his family welcomed his second grandson, Luke Richard Leonard.
Happy Bucks Hosts Needed
Jim Leonard is seeking hosts for Happy Bucks. There are currently 8 open slots.  A sign-up sheet was circulated.
Exchange Student Activities
Warren Carlson - Contact Warren Carlson for hearing about fun events being planned by the Youth Exchange Committee.
Mayor and City Council Forum Questions
Dick Cushing announced that candidates for City Council and Mayor will be here next week. Please think about questions or burning issues you would like to have addressed and write them on the 3x5 cards that will be on the tables.
Cool Jazz Clean Water Event on November 23rd
Bob Wubbena announced that the annual Cool Jazz Clean Water Celebrates its 18th Year on November 23 at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. Although there will not be a wine tasting associated with the event this year there will be a recognition reception from 5:30-7:00. Kim Densmore will be one of four volunteers honored. Beer and wine will be sold, and t-shirts will be available again this year. Don’t miss it!
Rotary Point Park Clean Up October 26th
Saturday, October 26 from 9-11 there will be a Rotary Park clean up. The City of Olympia is providing snacks. Please help if you can – contact Neil DeBoer for more information.
Program – Olympia Port Commission Candidates
Jill Severn, community activist and former journalist, introduced the two candidates, Joe Downing and Helen Wheatley. Jill served as moderator for the program and began with a few “jokes about ports”. Those of you who missed today’s meeting can google it and see what you missed!
Candidates Joe Downing and Helen Wheatley each had three minutes for an opening statement, followed by Q&A. Below is a summary of some of the statements made by the candidates. Each expressed concern of the homelessness problem in our area.
Incumbent Joe Downing began by stating that he is uniquely suited to be our port commissioner based on his education and experience, including six years as a volunteer on the port advisory committee. During his term the port has had several accomplishment s including: remediation of 6.5 acres of land to allow business development that includes 86 housing units; investments in Lacey to encourage more jobs and partnering with the HCP; improving Tumwater infrastructure for 8 buildings; and investments in Tenino that encourages buying more local foods; the fuel dock at Swan Town Marina that serves boaters and the environment.
One third of the existing projects are environmental and the balance sheet looks good. He believes in creating economic opportunities that follow the lead of the cities and he will lead with experience, reason and balance. The legislature approved funds to study the impact of different options related to the Capitol Lake dam. Joe wants to wait to see the recommendations from the study before deciding about whether to keep the dam in place.
Challenger Helen Wheatley stated how important it is to have a challenger in any race to encourage the discussion of issues. Helen has a PhD in world history from Johns Hopkins University, taught at Seattle University and was Democrat of the Year in 2018. She raised her family in Olympia and grew up in the Pacific NW. Helen worked for decades on the Hanford cleanup and has remained an active member of the community. She wants to see the Port of Olympia stop losing money each year requiring increased Port taxes.
One reason she is running to be Commissioner is to help oppose pressure to use the public port to support extraction and the export of fossil fuels to Asia and the Pacific. She believes we need to form a caucus of climate-conscious Commissioners who can push back against the influence of the fossil fuel industry in the public port system. Helen stated that we need to rethink our global transportation system in order to be more sustainable, work toward using smaller ships, and examine the costs and benefits of subsidized forestry and the role the Port plays by exporting raw logs. Helen supports removal of the Capitol Lake dam.
Mr. Snappy
Christy Peters (first time!) won a $25 gift certificate to Phoebe’s, donated by Judge Kalo Wilcox
Meeting Adjourned: 1:25 pm by Colleen Gillespie