Difficult and inclusive – Lincoln speaks on road closure

This is the text of comments from Marianne Lincoln’s presentation on Ordinance 2013-36s to the Pierce County Council.

July 23, 2013

Pierce County Council:

My name is Marianne Lincoln. I am the editor of the Pierce Prairie Post.com and current President of the Spanaway Community Association. When I graduated from high school, my mother was President of the Frederickson Clover Creek Community Council. I believe for at least six years.

Connecting people with their communities and working to make communities liable is in my blood.
I decided to speak on this issue to say I am certain this proposal will go through.

James Hardie is a good Company with a great product that is very useful to the building and remodeling industries. Even the home I currently live in has Hardie siding.

I have one concern that I most certainly hope you address and that is pedestrian access. People on foot should be allowed a way to go East without first going west.

My other concerns are more general. This is a precedent setting measure. Closing an existing road is not an option I want to see any businesses using. This should be an incredibly rare occurrence. That is the reason so much attention was paid to this particular instance.

There is an insufficient inventory of roadways in the south Pierce county area. We have far too many places where we cannot get people from here to there without saying turn left, then turn right, the turn left, ad infinitum. There are far too many cul-de-sacs and far too few through streets. There are even fewer alternate routes and almost no alleys. A detour can send people 5 to 25 miles out of their way. That’s no simple expense when a highway is closed for half a year.

The six year road plan in Pierce County has roads on it for 30 years that have not happened.

So I wish to insert a strong note of caution in this agreement today that it never be a route quickly travelled or lightly awarded.

The people of south Pierce County have been patient, mostly because they are thrifty and don’t like paying property taxes. But they certainly appreciate when a road is widened. Although – it seems to take years after the county already let the houses be built.

Move forward, but stay cautious. Keep the process difficult and inclusive.

Thank you.
Marianne Lincoln

The editorial grump: Does anyone hire people over 50 anymore?

I know the law says employers cannot discriminate against people due to their age. However, in my personal experience over and over in the 6 years since I turned 50, what I have seen would virulently contradict this. I love the fact that I look at least 10 years younger than I actually am. I work hard to keep too much job history off my resume and try not to talk about anything I did, ‘back in the old days.‘

But… Sooner or later the employer signs you up for medical insurance or files IRS paperwork with your birth date, then they know. This has happened to me on more than 5 occasions. I have been laid off with no complaint of my performance, no excuse other than, “It wasn’t a good fit.” Nothing to take with me about how I could do better the next time. There wasn’t something I could improve because, in my opinion, the problem is I cannot change my age.

Once again, they never said that. They can’t without being sued, so they don’t. In one case, I started asking questions and went to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). I explained how my daughter visited me and had commented how young everyone was in the office. Everyone seemed to be under 30. EEOC started an investigation. They learned it was true and the hiring practices were allowing this. The company was in trouble and their lawyer realized it. They immediate put out a hiring opportunity for someone in a similar role to the one I had. They hired someone who was 2 years older than me to keep from being sued by the government. I only wish I could have kept tabs to see if that person lasted more than the 6 month statute of limitations for the investigation. Somehow I doubt it.

Wash, rinse, repeat says the shampoo bottle and so it is with jobs. This is an “at will” state, so employers do not have to give  you a reason you are being dismissed. They open the door and here comes the boot. You have learned only that no matter how hard you try, they don’t give a damn.

This is not the world of my parents. My father was kept on at the same company for 38 years. My past five years there have been 17 days, 13 days, 19 days and one was only 7 days. It is getting difficult to trust employers. Some don’t even get to the point they invite you for an interview. If you have a lot of experience, no dice. I have a group in intensive job search techniques at Worksource, no surprise we’re all over 50.

So what will all of you in the next generation do with your parents who have no money to retire on because we keep having to dip into our savings to live on in our 50’s? Are you going to let us live with you? Or will you just pass laws to euthanize us? With the direction Congress is going to make sure people who can’t make ends meet don’t have food stamps, unemployment or other social safety net money, I sure wouldn’t be surprised if they proposed laws to euthanize old folks. I am expecting next they’ll say let grandma eat dog food, it’s good for her. Well, this feisty not-that-old lady is tired of those rich people who make up all the fake reasons not to employ good, experienced people because they want to be cheap.

To all of them, and the others that laid me off, I’m sure the bird flying in my yard isn’t in the Audubon book. I hope your hump day camel leaves you with fleas. Remember, I’ll probably die first and I hope to have the chance to come back to haunt you.

Celebrate, have fun, be safe, stay educated and vigilant – Happy 4th!

EDITORIAL
Today as Americans we celebrate our freedom and our separation from a former form of government by monarchy.
We have a government, designed by those who came to Philadelphia in the late 1700’s and tried to give individuals the right to make decision for themselves and in their best interest locally.
From this form of government sprang a Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But we cannot ever deny or forget the foundation of a good democracy is our educational system. Without citizens who know how their government works, watching how their elected officials are conducting the business of the day, we cannot have an effective system. We must be vigilant in order to enjoy the fruits of our labors or they will slowly slip away. Within the system are those who would devise methods to exert their will without proper oversight.
Our government was further honed by thousands of elected individuals and millions of people who spoke out for various rights and privileges for those who were not best served by the original instrument of our democracy. The took risks, sometimes being threatened, jailed and injured to make their point to those making decisions.
So here’s to those who are educated, those who are vigilant, those who are activists and those who take the ultimate risks to assure there is visibility in the system so the people who are voting can make the best choices.
Happy Independence Day and be careful with those exploding devices. Have fun and be safe.

Fairness for some, it’s a start

I remember sitting in a school board study session. The superintendent received a phone call during the meeting. It was security. A Graham Kapowsin student had committed suicide. Bullying was immediately suspected. Later as more details came out, it was alleged the student also was gay.
I had run for legislative office several times and had always hedged on the issues related to civil rights for LGBT people. My district was conservative, the issue wouldn’t pass a litmus test here. I changed that day. At the next board meeting, I spoke out in support of LGBT students and faculty and proposed the district get educational packets from an organization called GLSEN, Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. Their materials help educators create an environment where student of all sexual identities can feel comfortable and respected. And to make a point, I said point blank, I don’t want to have any more dead teenagers.
At that time, I started really listening to the things my LGBT friends were telling me about the discriminations built into the law. The right of visitation with a critically ill partner, the right to adopt, the right to inherit without taxation, the right to apply for citizenship when married to a US citizen, but most of all, the right to be in a loving monogamous relationship without bitter repercussions.
I had been working in King County for over 5 years. Several of my co-workers were gay. They were incredibly amazing and talented people. One was Canadian and had married his partner in Canada. They adopted two disabled children to raise. Another was almost as flamboyant as he could be, but he was sure fun to be around. He always put everyone in a better mood.
Thinking back to my youth, I remember kids that didn’t quite fit in. Michael recently had the opportunity to marry in a church. He was always very committed to his Christian Faith; he was bullied about it as a kid. I believe he was heartbroken or at least very conflicted when he grew up and realized he was gay. He had always wanted to be a pastor and his realization dashed his dream. He had a long term committed relationship with his partner. The passage of Referendum 74 brought his dreams back. It was a delightful wedding to witness.
Then there was Richard and Tom. We were in school plays together. I don’t think either lived to be 30. They contracted HIV and died of AIDS. Our drama group reassembled and held a party to say goodbye to Richard. Some were afraid to give him a hug. I’m glad I hugged him; he was always so sweet.
So of course, I am happy today that the Supreme Court has given Federal recognition to the LGBT couples who have married in states that recognize their union. Banking, social security benefits, military survivor benefits, there are so many special recognitions for married couples they will now enjoy. For the other states, it is highly understandable that for many it will take a bit more time. It is painfully sad that you can search the Internet and see so many stories on “gay boy tied up and beaten.” I cannot fathom what it is inside people to make them think this is okay. Then again, it wasn’t okay because of skin color or religion either. Can we grow out of our barbarism? I think we can, at least through generations raised with better awareness and understanding.
I think the Supreme Court for recognizing the states that are stepping up. I urge the folks who are delighted about this, not to reverse discriminate against those on the court who were raised under unprogressive ideals. They exist all around America and the world. We have to show them we have a better way, even toward them. In the end, what we are really talking about is kindness to others, even those with whom we disagree. It isn’t always easy, but it is always best.
This weekend there will be especially happy Pride parades, …make us proud.

The Post Office hole on SR7 needs to go away

This photo is of a drainage ditch on Pacific Avenue in Spanaway between Les Schwab and the Spanaway Post Office. This is the single biggest mistake in the sidewalk project for SR7.WP_009798

This little ditch

1) Almost never fully drains

2) Hides a very deep hole between the two locations

3) Creates a very, very difficult, tight turn into the post office – people have broken the curbing due to their vehicles inability to negotiate the turn when needing to take it a the speed necessary with too many drivers following too close. Some have landed in this hole and surely damaged their cars. It’s handy having a  repair place next door and across the street, but I would hope they consider this a problem also.

Because of it, many more people now enter the Post Office lot from the wrong way on 168th. This creates an additional traffic problem as the Post Office exit is only designed with one lane. The Post Office parking overall is another issue.

Spanaway would surely welcome the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to reconsider how this spot is configured. It has been a problem for too long without resolution.

Please WSDOT, fix this wet hole in the ground for our safety.

Bethel grad the first gay matrimony at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Seattle

By Marianne Lincoln

This is a story about resilience, Christianity, exuberance, joy and love. This is about my friend, Michael Zubitis (zoo-bye-tus). In high school in the 70’s we called him “zoo-bits.” I remember him talking about being Latvian. He was also a proud Christian and often spoke with friends about his love of the Lord. He was one year younger than me in school.DSC_0324

Many of the kids at school found him annoying. Many others teased him. He was often the brunt of jokes. He hung around with the band, choir, drama and nerdy kids like me and my friends. We were the kids who spent an over abundance of time focusing on school work and grades. We were not in the social cliques.

Michael was in several school plays. Drama was a good vocation for him. He was exuberant, sometimes needing to tone down his performance. He was the reverend in The Crucible, an apt casting. I was the character Goody Nurse, an old woman respected in the community. In the play he had me burned at the stake as a witch. We were also in Our Town where the final outcome was not so dramatic.DSC_0307

After high school, Michael went on to college and as I remember, with a plan to become an ordained minister. Not a surprise to anyone who knew him well. The moment was poignant when we, his friends heard that he ran up against the harsh reality that he would never be able to become a minister. He had to change his lifelong dream because he had realized something he hadn’t fathomed in high school. He was gay.

DSC_0313Twenty five years ago, Michael found the love of his life, Craig Markind. They endured the whirlwind of public opinion that swirled around them over the years. Enter Facebook, Michael began to speak out with his close friends. A civil union was not sufficient. He loved the Lord and he wanted to be able to be married to Craig n the church.  In November of 2012, the voters in the State of Washington passed Referendum 74, making same sex marriage legal. In January of 2013, the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia made the decision to allow their clergy to follow the state law and modify the marriage ceremony for the union of same sex couples in the church.

Saturday, May 25, Michael Zubitis and Craig Markind were united in Holy Matrimony at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Seattle. Their marriage was in the middle of the Trinity Sunday service; the bulletin had an insert with their wedding program. I couldn’t miss it. I was thrilled that the time had finally arrived for my friend to achieve his heart’s desire.DSC_0315

During the sermon, the Mother Melissa Skelton spoke of the various civil rights efforts that Saint Paul’s had participated in over the years. They supported civil rights law in the 1960’s, they supported women’s equal rights in the 1970’s, the list went on. In the 1980’s, when a mystery illness was taking the lives of gay men, they helped fight for research and then toward a cure for AIDS.

Saturday was her first and the first at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Seattle. A service of holy matrimony for Michael and Craig. Michael had finally gotten his wish. As they took their vows, the congregation stood. A couple a row ahead of me held hands. Michael said, “I do!” with all the exuberance I remember he had in high school, quite a lot louder than was really necessary. I am certain it echoed off the mountain tops. When they were presented as a wedded couple, a roaring cheer went up in the congregation while they clapped their hands with glee.

Next there was communion and then time for the reception, cutting the cake, toasting the couple and a chance to speak at the microphone. That’s “mike,” it was named after him I’m sure. I reminisced as he spoke on and on. (Love you Mike!) He does love to talk.

I thought back to when I was on the Bethel School Board. One day, there was a student suicide at one of our high schools. This student was said to have been bullied. It was also said that it was because he was gay. He had conservative religious parents who would not have been accepting of a gay son. He was conflicted without a safe place to turn. I thought of Mike at the time; how I would have felt if that had been him. At the next board meeting, I tossed my fear of political retribution behind. I stood up for all the staff and students in the school district who were of alternative orientation. I directed the district to GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) to order materials for the school buildings.

GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students, a place in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.  Soon after, the District presented new policies on bullying and held several public hearings on the new rules prior to adoption.DSC_0336

I am joyful for my friend Michael. He survived those very awkward years, found who he is. He is happy in his life, has a loving spouse and many great, understanding friends. He and Craig are living breathing examples of the power of love over fear. With this great change there are many who are still skeptical. There are those who have left their life-long churches when the church chose the path of acceptance. They are still unable to be comfortable with this newest civil right. Having known Michael for so many years, how kind he is and how much he has always loved the Lord, I just simply cannot see how this could be wrong.

Best wishes to my friend Michael and his new spouse Craig. May you live a full life together in peace, love and joy. May many others of all orientations find the love, peace and joy you have found together.

 

Needs and apology for hindering in an emergency

Whoever you were, you are the premium example of a jackass. When some one is driving up in the fast lane, honking their horn and flashing their lights, you think this is a reason to change lanes, pull in front of them and slow down? Did  you EVER consider the accident you almost caused? That is may have been YOUR life lost by doing something that stupid?!

There was a woman in a car driving fast because of an emergency. Why the HELL did you think that was the right time to pull that crap? You’re an idiot and the exact reason I started an editorial blog.

Hum, a real emergency. I suppose I needed to be in a fire truck, eh? Or do you do that to them too?

Just between you, me and The Fence Post

DSC_0466The Fence Post, okay, the Pierce Prairie Fence Post is an alter ego to the Pierce Prairie Post. The Fence post will be editorial opinion and additional analysis of the local news. In order to keep The Pierce Prairie Post as the good news, news that it is, this was the best solution to providing the deeper content of the subjects in  the community for the spotlight.

The Fence Post hopes that you appreciate the greater community and your right to think through the happenings of the day.