Whistler Politics

January 5, 2012

Our second home is Whistler.  I pay attention, reading both local newspapers most weeks.

In an unprecedented election in November, every incumbent on the council was swept from office.  Given the dysfunction over the past year and level of anger (some of it very Tea Party-like), I was surprised for there seemed to be two sides and I thought one would prevail and one not.  Not the case: total change.

The outgoing Mayor Ken Melamed is a friend and a great person.  He navigated the Olympics in 2010 and I think history will treat him well.  I’ve now gotten to know the new Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden a little and while a conservative for my taste, she is committed, smart, and anxious to diffuse the evident anger in the community.

But gnawing at me are the many letters and claims leading to the election that our taxes go up and up.  So here is a reality check.  My property tax  bill in 2003 was CAD3355.  My property tax bill in 2011 was CAD3420.  It has been up and down a bit:  range CAD3321-CAD3596.  Spin is everything?


Redistricting in Washington

January 5, 2012

The Washington State Redistricting Commission completed its work at 9:55 p.m. on December 31, a full 125 minutes before the process would be taken on by the Washington Supreme Court.

I have been worried.  All of the early proposals (save one, a very rare shoutout from me to Slade Gorton!) would have created a very bizarre, conservative district connecting my rural Snohomish home with all the like-minded people of Wenatchee and Yakima and the long imagined Freedom County.  In the end rural King County was awarded this cross-mountain, cross-divide district.  Instead I will move from the 2nd Congressional District (incumbent Rick Larsen, who keeps “urban” Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom county) into the 1st Congressional District (incumbent Jay Inslee running for Governor instead).  Basically upper east side and everything up to the Canadian border this side of the Cascade crest.  Will be interesting to see the mix of candidates that emerge.  Both the Republicans and Democrats on the commission call this arguably the most “balanced” district in the U.S.  Good for them…

All of this saved me with respect to my state legislative district.  I remain in the somewhat rational 44th instead of being popped out to the 39th with loonies like Val Stevens.

Be forewarned if you visit the commission’s web: the pdf maps are horrible.  You will only figure out where you are by downloading the Google Earth layers and zooming in…


Computing Update V

January 5, 2012

This is an addendum to Computing Update IV, part of which detailed Tobae’s adventures with presentation software, aka PowerPoint.  But I forgot to mention an important piece of the puzzle.  She very much wanted to imbed a video from YouTube produced by the Utah Avalanche Center.

To be clear, doing so is a violation of the Terms of Service of You Tube.  You may only use their “embedded player” for showing their content.  In other words, you must show the video in a web browser and to do so be connected to the Internet.

I am quite certain that is not the intent of the Utah Avalanche Center.  They are trying to help people stay out of avalanches and create awareness.  But they have made the poor choice of minimizing their outlay for providing video by using YouTube.  Lesson to all that want their material widely propagated.  Of course YouTube is owned by Google, the “do no evil” company.  Enough said.

Ironically Google will gladly do searches with terms like “capture YouTube video OS X”!  A tremendous number of the tools don’t work; a cat and mouse game?  I leave it to the reader to ponder whether I found one or not.

I know Tobae will do good and do well in the  sans Internet mountain cabin meeting venue.