Hang on, we’re going back to the 1980s! I’m talking Bhagwan, Aaron & Hattie, Waterbeds, Tanning Booths and more. What a collection!
You’ve probably heard about what our Seattle City Council is considering–a Head Tax on companies like Amazon.
It’s not surprising from this council that five of the members brought this idea to the table. This group of elected officials (so, see, the blame actually comes back at us) LOVES to raise taxes. I’d say they’d like to spend like a certain group of people, but the Drunken Sailors Local 1460 have threatened me with a lawsuit. I think that’s what they said. Or, it could have been warm soup.
This city council’s solution to everything is to slap a tax on it. Their claim is that, if they nick Amazon with a tax on every worker, that’ll give them $75-million to spend on the severe homeless problem in Seattle. I have so many thoughts exploding in my head that, for therapeutic reasons, I’m going to just rattle them off here:
More Money Spent By Government Does NOT Solve the Homeless Program–Do you think we forgot a mere two years ago, when you said that Seattle needed to double it’s $75-million commitment for battling homelessness to $150-million and we went along with it? I didn’t. Last year alone, Seattle spent $53-million on trying to solve the homeless issue. You’d think that should make a serious hit. In the past two years, our homeless count has gone up 40%, from an estimated 3,000 to 5,000. (and you can find bigger numbers if you want) Over the past decade, the city has spent over $200-million on the homeless issue as it gets progressively (ironic, huh?) worse.
Cutting off Their Nose–Spiting one’s face can come back to bite you. It’s an old cliché. So nailing Amazon for a Head Tax may give our city council another $75-million to flush down the drain, but at what cost? I remember a few years ago when people were complaining about how Boeing was getting too many tax credits. That they should be paying more of their “fair share.” I forget what year that was. I’ll have to go down to their company headquarters IN CHICAGO and ask. Oh, and speaking of the Windy City, there’s a town that tried a Head Tax. It turned out to be a job killer and that was a lesson learned seven years ago. So, City Council, if you’re going to nick Amazon for $75-million, that will affect their future decisions about placing employees here. Just this past week, they announced thousands of new jobs up in Vancouver and out in Boston. If they permanently scrap building that high-rise in Seattle and locating jobs here, estimates are that it could cost our economy something like $3.5-billion. Brilliant!
Misguided Politicians–There’s nothing more irritating when a politician uses the “us versus them” approach. Identify an entity as wealthy and say, “They can afford it” and all of a sudden, you’re doing “the people’s work” by trying to take their wealth away for your purposes. (While not mentioning the six figures you pull in or the thousands of dollars being aimed your way by political interests) When you vilify someone or something as responsible for your problems, things happen like the French Revolution. The people were rallied by blaming their problems on the rich. That was when the Head Tax first appeared, but in a much different form.
An Addiction Problem–I thought of this while I was formulating my thoughts for this blog but then, while listening to Ron & Don on KIRO yesterday, Ron used the “addiction” analogy. The city council is addicted to spending your money. They are out of control and say that if you give them even more money, they can solve the homeless issue. The problem is that the people we’re talking about don’t want to be helped and are perfectly happy staying in their situation. So are the homeless drug addicts.
The Shoplifting Analogy–Shoplifting exists. You and I know it. The store owner knows it. For the store owner to protect his business interests, he needs to keep an accurate inventory, figure out how much is being shoplifted and then increase his prices to cover that loss. In other words, when a few steal, the rest of us pay for it. The store owner doesn’t.
If the Seattle City Council wants to bully Amazon into paying a Head Tax because they need to “do their share”, they can shoplift that tax money, but most likely, Amazon will just adjust the cost somewhere else to cover it. The charity that would have benefitted from Amazon will now lose their money to the money addicts down at city hall.
Amazon is doing things to help but doing it and then moving on and getting back to business. Remember their gesture a year ago today regarding Mary’s Place? That was a commitment for perpetuity. Oh, and then there was their donation of space for five Farestart restaurants in the Troy Block development.
It would only make sense that if the city council is going to bully Amazon for their $75-million worth of lunch money that gestures like those will go away.
Look: There’s the Money!–KIRO’s mid-day mouth, Dori Monson, pointed out that during Ed Murray’s reign as Mayor of Seattle, he added 1300 jobs to the Seattle payroll, most of those (with benefits) clocking in at the $100K range. That’s $130-million of employees that could be eliminated and then use that money to help solve the problem. OK, half of ’em. That gets you $65-million to fiddle around with.
Selective Law Enforcement–As I’ve blogged about before, what’s very frustrating to me is that we have laws that prevent the camps and squalor that have spread all over the city. Growing up, my family loved camping. However, I never remember dad saying, “Hey gang, let’s pitch a tent over on that sidewalk or underneath that freeway overpass!” Besides having no place to fish, we knew that there were vagrancy laws as well as the old classics like trespassing, and loitering, as well as possession of a controlled substance, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. All laws still on the books, but these days, if you are “homeless”, you’ve become a protected species and if we let you get away with violating those laws, we’re showing compassion.
The Term “Homeless”–Look, if we’re going to spend millions of dollars, a couple of things. A) Anything we do needs to have tangible results. B) Let’s start with the homeless who have found themselves in an unfortunate situation and want to get out. The guy who’s life went south and spiraled out of control, the single mom getting her kids out of a domestic situation and has no place to go. People who are just down and out and need a helping hand.
Now, the drug addicts and mentally ill who resist assistance and have chosen the streets as a “lifestyle”–that doesn’t work. As much as the U.S. Constitution protects their right to live on the streets, I also have the right to not have my car broken into or property from my carport stolen in the middle of the night to help fuel a drug habit. Some people cringe when you talk about forcing them to get help, but apparently that’s OK if your drug of choice is alcohol, but not meth or heroin. (see Selective Law Enforcement) If we’re truly concerned about healing these people and giving them a shot at a long and healthy lifestyle, they may need intervention. It’s the kind of thing families do for one of their own.
There was a time when people who chose to live on the streets were called hobo’s, vagabonds, or drifters. I don’t remember Red Skelton’s character “Freddy the Freeloader” having a heroin addiction and leaving a trail of needles behind him. As I see it, there are three camps: the truly homeless, the drug addicts and the mentally ill. Each should receive treatment and our help, but all in completely different ways.
Put Up or Shut Up!–Here’s a concept, o’ Wise Ones down at City Hall. Go ahead with the Head Tax, get that much needed $75-million and then, in two years time, if the number of homeless and drug addicts living on the streets increases, we’ll consider it a bust and you’ll have to refund every penny of it to Amazon. That’s called accountability. Look it up.
A Quick Reminder!--All that tax money we’re talking about is actually YOUR money. They take it from us and then are supposed to spend it wisely to run our city. That part of the equation has apparently been thrown away.
To Summarize My Approach–Cut loose all those new city employees we’ve hired over the past four years and add that money to the homeless pool. Now, with those millions of dollars standing by, start from scratch. Every program currently in place is given a thorough review. Every six months we ask, “Are there tangible results? Did we save or help at least one person and help them get out of being homeless?” What we desperately need are results. We’ve got the money already for what is needed. We live in a place with plenty of brain power. Those need to come together.
I took part in an annual passage today. Well, part one of that passage, anyway.
I purchased a fishing license.
The end of April includes a special Saturday when I find myself up at Lake McMurray, just east of Mount Vernon. We usually get there Friday night, eventually go to bed and then I get up at the legendary “butt crack of dawn” to launch a boat and go out on the “Opening Day of Fishing Season” along with all the other die-hards, including father-in-law, Ernie.
Some people don’t get fishing. Others can’t get enough. I guess I was raised in a fishing family.
One of my earliest fishing memories was when I was about five-years-old and I went away for the weekend with my Uncle Chuck, Aunt Colleen and cousin Charlie. It was my first-ever time out on a boat and while I don’t remember catching any fish, I had fun. My uncle and cousin got a big kick out of watching me eat salmon eggs. I can’t explain why I did it, I just know that it happened because he told that story for years.
A few years later, I was in South Dakota visiting relatives when my late uncle James and my dad took me out on a boat and we fished the Missouri River outside of Mobridge. They gave me one of those kiddie rods designed to keep a kid quiet and make him feel like he’s fishing. I ended up hooking and landing the biggest Northern Pike of the day. I remember asking for help and my uncle saying something like, “He’s gotta learn how to do it himself.” That’s pretty much when my personal addiction was confirmed.
Remember, I said I came from a fishing family. When we went back to South Dakotas for vacation, a Sunday afternoon thing to do was pack a picnic lunch and “head to a fishing hole.” While growing up, when we went camping (which we did most summers), family fishing was part of the adventure. I’d have to say that I had some luck passing along the curse, er, uh, tradition, to my kids. Both Christina and Tyson have fished over the years. Christina, her husband Ryan and the kids have been on fishing/camping trips. Tyson and yours truly actually slipped up to Alaska and Canada for some salmon-fishing trips and had a blast.
Yeah, I know that’s a halibut.
So, Saturday, April 28th, I will begin my day with father-in-law Ernie launching a boat on to Lake McMurray. Could be beautiful, could be a downpour. We’ll fish for a couple of hours, hoping to hook at least a couple of fish and then come back for the Fishermen’s Breakfast they put on at Norway Park. I think Ernie looks forward to the breakfast almost as much as the fishing.
Oh, and the fish we’ll catch? How big do you think they’ll be? Add on a couple of inches each time you tell the story and you could be a fisherman, too. Or fisherwoman. Or fisherperson. Whatever.
And the tradition continues….
Some rare nuggets in this one. You’ll hear a bit we did on the air for my son’s 18th birthday, back in the MH&A days, a Gardening with Frisco bit with Bill Swartz and Dan Murphy, and a couple of jingle collections. One from KING radio back in the 1970s….and the other, as MIX 92-5 got ready to fade away into history. Some really weird stuff that I thought I would share. Thanks for listening!
I’ve got this quirky little April Fool’s tradition going. Each year, on April 1st, I release a video that honors the holiday, “National Gullible Day.” It’s my probably-too-subtle attempt at an April Fool’s joke that I had planned to do just one year. But I had so much fun, I did it again last year and then, I couldn’t resist doing another for 2018.
It’s not just a quick hit. In fact, the 2018 edition of National Gullible Day clocks in at 13-minutes. If I were to ballpark the hours it took to put together, with video taping, gathering resources, editing, having things go wrong, etc. I easily put 40 hours into the project. And while there were some frustrating moments, its an awesome exercise and lets me prove to myself that I can do it.
I thought I would share a little of the behind-the-scenes of what went into this year’s video.
MY SEGMENTS–All of my contributions were shot downstairs in my office, using a green screen and being a one-man production company. What you saw were actually shot in the THIRD retake. The first time, I recorded all the lines, but then some things changed. People who were supposed to be in it bailed out. Extra guests and ideas were thought up after the first shooting. So, I did a second round of takes. (yes, that means setting everything back up that I had put away because I thought I was done) But this time, the clip-on lavalier microphone had some technical issues, popping, clicks and such. So, I had to shoot some of my scenes a THIRD time. To add more challenges, as I was putting things together, changes took place where I needed to re-do the audio, but I figured a way around that, where I recorded new audio while being off-camera.
THE GUY IN THE WEATHER SCREEN–That’s my former supervisor, Chris Settle. Chris is that go-to guy you can always count on. When you ask, “Can you scratch your butt and pick your nose on camera for me?” and without missing a beat, he asks, “What time?”, that’s a go-to guy. That was actually shot on the roof of the building where I used to work at Destination Marketing.
THE HOROSCOPES–I hope you took the time to read them. I had a blast writing them. That was the result of last year’s weather guy being unable to play again this year. Apparently, some of the other news people at his station demonstrated bad judgement in some of their outside projects, so Brian was unable to join us this year. As I watch our own local TV news deteriorating, I thought I’d take a gentle poke at the industry.
DORI MONSON–I admit, I’m a fan. I actually got Dori to join me in announcing the 17th of May Parade in Ballard a couple of years back. One of my proudest appearances on his radio show was when he put me on the air with seconds to go one day and I blurted out the line, “You know, if God didn’t want us to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat.” Dori actually was going to help out in last year’s Gullible video, but his schedule just got too busy. So, I approached him earlier this year and he was all for it. But, as you would expect, he’s got so much going on in his day that this didn’t happen the first week. Finally, 5 days before show time, I reminded him and he stepped up to the plate, knocking it out of the park.
THE WALL GUY–Joe Doyle was the crazy guy on camera. That was quintessential Joe. He’s actually a Bothell kid who went to school with my daughter, went down to Hollywood for a while but missed the Northwest. He does stand-up comedy around the area and even had a guest spot on the TV series, Z-Nation. Now, for the background story on the wall between Bothell and Kenmore. That was an idea I proposed to the Bothell Chamber, to help promote the fact that Kenmore is being brought in and it will soon be known as the Bothell Kenmore Chamber of Commerce. My suggested plan was that, on April Fools Day, we’d put out a press release with a video, as if there was really a wall going up between Bothell and Kenmore with a website name. Then, when you visited the website, you found out it was an April Fools gag and the announcement that the two cities were now co-Chamber members. However, there were some people in higher places that felt saying that a wall was being built between the two cities might be taken seriously and it could scare people. As you witnessed, it is the most terrifying piece in the entire production.
THE SEATTLE GULLIBILITY CONFERENCE–That was shot at the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard during their recent Heritage Day celebration. I had several folks reluctantly try some lines for me, but they ended up on the cutting room floor. May I also add, the Thank You bouquet they sent over is beautiful. Great job Howie on putting your presidential demeanor to good use.
GARDENING WITH GRETA–Brian, our banned weatherman, was kind enough to coerce his talented and lovely wife to do the gardening bit and the two of them shot that in their kitchen. What a team!
THE DEAD END BIT–Kudos to father/daughter team, Mike Rue and Brittany Wells, for nailing the idea I had of a clown behind a reporter. That took two attempts as it was pouring the first time we planned to shoot. Again, another go-guy, Dale Amundsen, was asked if wouldn’t mind filing his fingernails for me on camera and his response: “How short do you want them?”
THE CLOSING SONG FOR THE CREDITS–This is the miracle piece. I had reached out to a local singer and asked if she would do a silly National Gullible Day song for me. She agreed and was so excited, but said she was working a lot of hours at her regular job and asked if could we do it on Friday. Yes, two days before broadcast. Friday rolled around, I hadn’t heard from her, so I shot her a note on Facebook and she let me know that the day she was supposed to be off, she had to work and she was sorry. Couldn’t do it. So, there I was, with no song and everything else in place. I remember singing along in the car with a Neil Young song and while I’m no Neil Young, I could sound NY-esque. So, I created an album cover for a NEAL Young, found a music bed that I could sing Happy National Gullible Day over and, in the second take, I hit the golden “well, that’s good enough!” But a Neil Young sound-alike should have a harmonica bridge somewhere in the song. I had a gap that was perfect for that, but didn’t have a harmonica. Honest to God, I went to YouTube, searched for ‘playing a harmonica’ and there was a guy playing a harmonica, just basically demonstrating how it worked. I took that, laid it over the top of the music bed and it sounded like it was meant to be that way. That was a goose bump moment.
AND A FINAL MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT–I thought of this as I was wrapping things up. Rather than just the song ending, how about one more little goof before wrapping it up. I asked Fred Bugg from my radio-days-gone-by if he’d lend me a Trump voice and it was back several hours later.
THE FINAL STEP–That happened Saturday night, when I uploaded it to my YouTube Channel, send the link to all the participants to provide to their attorneys, updated the website (www.nationalgullibleday.org), posted it on social media and then, it’s stand back and see what happens. Two days later, its at 134 views, so I am pleased. No more than half of those are me.
If you get inspired and would like to join the party, let me know. Glad to drag you into next year’s edition of National Gullible Day.
Thanks for the read and for watching!
PS–In case you haven’t seen it:
Got quite a collection going in this one. You’ll hear some voices from the past, including Wendy Mann, the track announcer from Longacres, and Bill Swarts bringing us his Ron Fairly to help kick off the baseball season, as well as more Murdock & Hunter shouts than one person should ever have to hear. Enjoy!
Life is going really well right now for me. It’s actually been doing that for a while.
I’m not gloating, just stating the fact. I’m grateful to be doing what I love to do, all while enjoying decent health. Now, don’t confuse “going well” with perfect. Oh, please. There are lots of things going on around me that could be used to spiral down and feel like the world is against me. It’s easy to wake up every morning, dreading what could possibly go wrong next. There’s a White House joke in there somewhere.
I’ve got some very good friends and family members that lately, have been dealing with some pretty ugly blows. Health, marriage, their lives. Things that can happen in life, real stuff, but also things you have to deal with and move on the best you can. And that’s never, ever easy.
A phrase I’ve learned to love is, “But, by the grace of God, go I.” We’re all human and share this experience called life. If you’ve ever seen a slasher pic or watched “Survivor”, all you have to do is think that bad things could never happen to you and the next thing you know, it’s your turn.
I appreciate you making it this far through these ramblings, but hang for just a bit longer. Think of all the good in your life. What’s gone right, those things you possess that are beyond what you ever expected. If it helps to write it down, make a list. It will amaze you. And when you think of all that you have, the “what I don’t have” list pales in comparison. And how did you come to put those on your ‘what I don’t have’ list? Most of our wants, aren’t really needs. Through marketing, society and friends, you’ve been trained to want those things and do whatever it takes to get them.
The trick about wanting things and getting things–it’s an endless journey. As soon as you get something, you want something else.
Some day, yeah, I’d like to own my own boat again. If it works out, great, if not, I’ll be just fine. I’ve just got to remember the many life lessons I’ve had along the way. The reminders, like being in a job I couldn’t stand, being let go from one I loved, losing a father, saying goodbye to longtime friends. Those things, as sad and potentially traumatic as they could be are continuing reminders to remember what’s important. To appreciate today, this day. To wake up in your own home with the person you love, the smell of coffee, all the potential of a brand-new day, and facing a list of projects that are exactly the kinds of things I love to do.
Maybe life is going well because I no longer need those reminders to appreciate what I’ve got. Oh, see, there you go, this is where the tribe meets behind your back and votes you out at the next council.
But before they vote, they have to ask themselves–does Tim have a hidden immunity idol? It could be another thing I’m being thankful for. Just sayin’…
Are you living an appreciative life? If not, how many reminders will you need?
Doing the St. Patrick’s Day episode, with everything Irish I could come up with from the archives. Scott Burns, Eric McKaig, Dan McGuire, Robert Geller–wait for it–from Emerald Downs and, of course, actual sound of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland with a little help from radio brother Matt Riedy. Enjoy!