Archive for the ‘government’ Category

How do you spell Dan Grausz?

Those of us who know City Councilman Dan Grausz like his hands-on, practical approach to city politics, and his friendly responsiveness to anyone with a question or concern about the City, in spite of his busy full-time job outside the Council.  But as he himself would admit, he’s old-school when it comes to all this new-fangled web technology.  Although he’s been using a Blackberry religiously for years, Web 2.0 has definitely passed him by.

But as he gears up for his Fall Re-election campaign, this has all changed.  He’s now got a web site, a Facebook group, and even a Twitter account, set up by friends who want him re-elected for another four year term.


Unfortunately, a lot of us can’t remember how to spell his name, so how are we going to find those web sites?  Is it Dan Grausz?  Or Dan Grauzs?  or Dan Grouse? 

I guess it’s good for Dan that he’s running against somebody who has a similar hard-to-remember spelling.  Is it Ira Appleman or Ira Appelman?



Island Crest and Merrimount Video

Mercer Island continues its race into the 21st Century, with some new videos posted on Youtube.  The first one is a 5-minute overview of the situation at Island Crest Way and Merrimount.  It’s a well-done video, not just a boring head shot, with video from the intersection as well as scenes of the citizen’s panel doing their deliberations.


I have just a couple of comments:

  1. Shorten the intro to no more than 10 seconds (right now it’s a long, 30 sec). and same with the conclusion.
  2. Use wide screen and HD, instead of the SD format as posted.  They probably take the video in HD, so this is probably a consequence of posting to Youtube more than anything else.  Still, nothing beats HD quality.
  3. Where are the maps?  video of traffic accidents?  etc.  [I’m kidding!  obviously more production work would make this a very expensive video, and harder to publish]

“The best is the enemy of the good”, and I’m glad that these videos are out there in any format and any quality.  We need much more of this!

Paul Guppy at Mercer Island Library

Washington State tax revenues for the current state budget ($30B) increased this year, just as revenues have increased for each budget in past thirty years or more. That’s right – in this economy, an increase in total funding for state government, about $1.4B more to spend than in the last budget.  When you read about “budget cuts”, it nearly always means a slow-down in growth, not an absolute cut.

That’s one of the takeaways from a talk last night by Paul Guppy, VP of Research at the Washington Policy Center, a 501(c)(3) non-partisan education organization based in Seattle. 


So why do well-read people not hear more about facts like these?  and why isn’t there a more popular discussion of how to better allocate existing state revenue?  Paul thinks this is because of the narrow perspective shared by journalists in the traditional mainstream media, who in spite of their good intentions, tend to think alike, viewing and interpreting events from the limited point of view you’d expect from people who attend the same schools and live and work with the same community of journalists throughout their careers.

Paul thinks the failure of the Seattle P-I, for example, is simply the result of content competition, and the natural way people turn away from irrelevant information sources when given a choice. In a pre-internet world where news reporting was concentrated in a few hands, you had to read the newspaper – however bad it was at covering issues relevant to you.  But now, with so many rich alternatives available on line, why bother?

About 20 people showed up for the presentation last night, but I’m sure many more interested people would have come if they had known about it. To me, that’s the biggest problem in the post-newspaper world, particularly as the number of news sources multiplies and becomes more fragmented: how do you get the word out to potentially interested people who are not already on your list?  Although each individual news source may be spot-on to the information you want, it can be very hard to spread news and announcements that might be very relevant to you – but that you just didn’t know was there.

Shovel Ready Projects on Mercer Island?

The proposed economic stimulus package supposedly places special emphasis on projects that are “shovel  ready”, and the Stimulus Watch web site lets see in real time which ones are being proposed.

Unfortunately there are no “shovel ready” projects for Mercer Island, though there are several million dollars proposed by Bellevue:

Why doesn’t our City get some of the stimulus?

Fred Jarrett talks about the Senate

A short video recently posted by the WA Democrats, with Mercer Island Senator Fred Jarrett talking about his new responsibilities at the State Senate.

Mercer Island Emergency Video

Joy Johnston, City Communications Coordinator, just created a new Youtube channel and uploaded the first video:

I thought it was cute that the “owner” of the Youtube channel is listed as “age 48”.  The City, of course, was incorporated on July 5th, 1960..