Midday Scan: Tacoma's more cynical approach to the world's fair

Peter Callaghan takes a less rosy approach to World's Fair writing. In other news the spotlight is on the superintendent search, where more info is coming to light about the three candidates, and the Occupy movement has found a new target.  

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A Department of Energy warning sign at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Peter Callaghan takes a less rosy approach to World's Fair writing. In other news the spotlight is on the superintendent search, where more info is coming to light about the three candidates, and the Occupy movement has found a new target.  

Will one of the three superintendent finalists bring the composure and stability Seattle so desperately craves? Maybe. As Seattle Times education reporter Brian Rosenthal writes (with help from his colleagues), the finalists are low-key and haven't been in the media spotlight. Which might be a good thing. What they do bring, Rosenthal reports, is years of experience in the job they're applying for, with more than just a couple of years at a single job to boot — something Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield has often been criticized for.

Those who want a leader with Washington ties might be most pleased with Steven Enoch, who was superintendent at San Juan Island School District for seven years, Mead School District near Spokane for four, and most recently San Ramon Valley for four. However, Jose Banda and Sandra Husk shouldn't be discounted because they never lived in the ol' Evergreen State, and should be based on their own merit.

For now, optimism is subdued, as the finalists won't be interviewed until next week. In the meantime, read Alison Krupnick's enlightening article on Crosscut today about how to talk education with civility.

As Seattle celebrates the 1962 World's Fair's 50th anniversary tomorrow, one must ask: How did our neighbors in Snohomish and Pierce counties feel about the event? 

Everett to the north for the most part seems to hold dear memories of the World's Fair, according to a report by Herald writer Gale Fiege. She writes a fairly romantic portrait of the time, drawing on people's memories to recreate the experience and emotions. Fiege writes, "Many folks from Snohomish County now in their 50s and older who attended the fair hold dear their memories of that time, of the hope of what could be."

However, News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan writes that many in Tacoma were more cynical and skeptical of the event.

"I expected to find a sense of anticipation in the South Sound in the years leading up to the six-month run of the 'Century 21 Exposition.' Yes, Seattle was Tacoma’s big rival. Yes, it had 'stolen' Mount Tacoma by naming it after some British guy who never saw it. But when you’re inviting the world to a party shouldn’t you let bygones be bygones?" Turns out, as Callaghan's research points out, some Tacomans keep their grudges and don't care about bygones.

If you have the time, both articles are worth a gander as we celebrate the "Next 50."

Occupy the world! Occupy nuclear waste ... ? Apparently that's the case as a rag-tag group of Occupy Portland folks invaded Richland, WA to protest the Hanford nuclear plant, where a nuclear waste storage site is one of the most contaminated spots in the country. Portland Mercury writer Alex Zielinski has the story:

"Originally planned as an event to help speed along the cleanup process at Hanford, the rally ultimately took on more of an anti-nuke agenda, attracting fiery protesters, irritated locals, and one guy in a business suit."

Sometimes lean management works. At least when it comes to office supplies. According to Olympian writer Brad Shannon, the state Enterprise Services agency issued new contracts for purchasing which will save 21 percent, or $2.9 million a year on office supplies. Wowsers. Part of the measure is to reduce the variety of items:

"We reduced the number of items from 60,000 ... to around 3,600," Enterprise Services director Joyce Turner said in an interview with the Olympian. "It still allows over 100 different kinds of pens you can order. ... When you can’t find a pen you like out of 180 some options, something is wrong. You need to buy your own pen."

What's the new King County Sheriff candidate's specialty, you ask? Press releases. Probably more than anything, former King County Sheriff Department spokesman turned candidate John Urquhart is best known for his refreshingly quirky, entertaining press releases. Publicola writer Erica Barnett brings you some of the funniest.

Since elections are basically big battles of communication, Urquhart should have an upperhand with such classics as:

     Burien dead man burglarized

     Really re-affirms one’s faith in humanity!

More reading

Seattle Times, "3 finalists for Seattle school superintendent are low-key leaders"

Herald, "Snohomish County remembers the '62 World's Fair"

News Tribune, "South Sound cities preferred a closer World's Fair locale"

Portland Mercury, "Toxic Avengers"

Olympian, "State: New contract saves $3M on office supplies"

Publicola, "John Urquhart's greatest hits"


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