We’re in the homestretch of our 2014 Spring Member Drive. It ends on April 24, which gives us three days to reach our goal of $35,000. We are sooo very close. Please help us get there. We promise to take down the pop-ups. (And seriously, if you’re a little OCD like me don’t you just need to see that thermometer over there on your right go ALL blue?)
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Our members are our fuel. A giant thank you to everyone out there who became a member or renewed their membership during the spring campaign. For those who haven’t, now’s the time. We really can’t survive without your support.
What’s in it for you – besides our undying gratitude? How about the story of this place, in this time. The story of us.
Your generous support sent John Stang to Olympia to throw open a window on all the drama, drudgery and hijinks of state politics. It sent Bill Lucia wading neck-deep into the swamp of emails, memos and reports documenting the Seattle Police Department’s clumsy slog toward reform. It bought Eric Scigliano the time to explore, from both sides of the issue, why Washington was, until this last legislative session, one of a handful of states that not only released, but actually sold juvenile records to the public. It brought you Knute Berger’s insights into Seattle’s past, present and future, Floyd McKay’s exhaustive reporting on coal ports and Drew Atkins’ dispatches from the tech world.
Taken together, these stories and others help to frame larger questions that we need to be asking and debating: What kind of a police department do we want and how do we get it? Is it possible to claim environmental cred and still countenance construction of massive coal export termnals — and all the boat- and train-loads of combustible cargo that come with them? Do we really care about kids if we’re willing to sell their juvenile records to employers and landlords who use those youthful misdeeds to deny them jobs and housing? How can we have an honest debate — no demagoguing allowed — about a tax structure that best supports the public services we deem essential?
A recent survey that measured civic engagement in major metropolitan areas around the country found that the level in Seattle and Denver had dropped “significantly” from 2008 to 2009. What happened in Seattle and Denver that year? Both cities lost major daily newspapers when Denver’s Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (moment of silence) went belly up. Since none of the other metro areas studied had either lost a paper or suffered a civic engagement slump during the time period studied, researchers concluded that the decline “may plausibly be attributed to the newspaper closures.”
Civic engagement is a buzz phrase these days, but its overuse (by people like me) shouldn’t inure us to its vital importance. When we citizens pay attention, things work better. I wouldn't presume to claim cause and effect, but Eric Scigliano’s stories about the efforts to seal certain, non-violent juvenile records preceded passage of a bill in Olympia whch did just that.
A feisty, diverse, competitive media enhances the health of any community. In a literate, civic-minded place like the Pacific Northwest it should be a birthright. Here's your chance to make it so.
Help us reach (or surpass?) our $35,000 goal. Become a Crosscut member.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!