The Voice for Industry
March 26, 2009
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Seattle First - Helping Seattle Industry


Manifestly Dumb


Two news stories are worth pondering as we move ever further into the New Age of Big Government.

The first concerns phony professional wrestlers in Seattle. That might sound redundant, but it's not. A group called Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling is comprised of fake professional wrestlers who make fun of real fake professional wrestling during phony matches at a couple of bars in Seattle. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington State Department of Licensing has now determined that the group must comply with the same rules and regulations as real fake wrestling. That means a ring that meets professional standards, medical personnel on standby and a $10,000 bond for each show.

The Semi-Pro group can't afford those expenses. The fake phony wrestlers call their sport an "art joke" and they receive no pay. It's mostly a costume thing and the wrestlers include one guy who dresses up like Ronald McDonald of Golden Arches fame, but he calls himself Ronald McFondle. According to the WSJ, the Seattle semi wrestlers also "don't appear to spend much time in the gym."

Well, McDonald's isn't laughing. A company spokesman told the WSJ that McDonald's had not known about Ronald McFondle and the spokesman was quoted as saying "There's only one Ronald McDonald." Hooo boy. Who are you betting on in the looming showdown between McFondle and trademark crew from the Golden Arches?

Naturally, the fake phony wrestlers have retained a lawyer to appeal the license ruling on First Amendment, free speech grounds, which means the issue will no doubt wind up in court, consuming even more public resources in addition to those already expended by the gang down at the department of licensing. You can find the Wall Street Journal article here.

Then there was this week's story in the Seattle Times about Jesus Barajas, a janitor for King County who is building a dream retirement home for himself and his wife on the east side of 32nd Avenue South in the Rainier Valley.

The city is requiring Barajas to spend $15,000 for a 60-foot strip of asphalt to provide a sidewalk on his lot. The area does not have sidewalks and might not for decades to come, so for the next thirty years or so, the sidewalk will stand alone, kind of like a runway. Maybe Barajas can get a permit to build the Jesus Barajas Neighborhood Airport.

Now, if Barajas and his wife were building their dream home on the west side of 32nd, a sidewalk would not be required. But the east side of the street is located inside an "urban village" zone, which requires sidewalks. Rules are rules. Barajas and his wife must pay $15K for just about as close as you can get to nothing. For the Seattle Times article click here.

The two stories bring to mind a brilliant, rarely imposed concept from English common law that is part of the U.S. justice system. It goes like this. Sometimes, the law would combine with human events to produce a real life outcome so fundamentally wrong, it would amount to "manifest injustice." In such cases, a judge can intervene to preclude the outcome, in spite of the letter of the law.

So, how about it? Let's invoke a new rule to stop government officials from creating problems where no real problem exists. Call it the Rule of Manifest Dumbness.

Happy Footnote: The Times reported Thursday that the Mayor interceded in the sidewalk case and it is now under city review.

'Being Green' is Smart Business Thinking
Kevin Wilhelm is the author of Return on Sustainability: How Business Can Increase Profitability & Address Climate Change in an Uncertain Economy. This book is a market-based call to action for companies to address climate change, and highlights the many cost-saving opportunities that work toward cleaning up the environment. In fact, "being green" is smart business thinking that focuses on efficiencies in energy, waste and processes.

Hear Wilhelm at the Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Lunch: Return on Sustainability
Date: Friday, March 27th, 2009
Time: Noon - 1:30 p.m.
Place: Washington Athletic Club Noble Room (1325 Sixth Avenue, Seattle 98101)
Members: $70 pre-paid ($75 after 3/25)
Members: $80 pre-paid ($85 after 3/25)
Tables: $650 for a table with 8 premium seats
Prices include lunch and a copy of Return on Sustainability
Register online, or contact Larry Pike at larryp@seattlechamber.com or 206.389.7215.

SODO Business Association Luncheon Meeting
The new recycling program goes into effect next week here in Seattle. Want to know how if will affect your business. Since businesses are always the last to know from the city when it comes to changes like this, come to our next meeting to get the details even though it will be after the fact.

Also, the utilities will talk to us about the upcoming rate increases that clearly will affect our bottom lines.

THURSDAY, APRIL 9
Noon Complimentary Luncheon, 12-1:30
Mezza Cafe Meeting Room
Starbucks Center

Application for Marine Environmental Business of the Year
The Port of Seattle and Seattle Propeller Club are seeking candidates for the 2nd Annual Marine Environmental Business of the Year Award which will be presented at the Maritime Festival Luncheon on May 14. This award recognizes companies with operations in Seattle that exemplify innovative and effective environmental initiatives supporting our maritime industry efforts towards a sustainable, green port. To download the application; the deadline for entries is Friday, April 17. Please consider applying or forward this application on to others.




How Do You Keep Track of the Players Without a Program?

We try to keep you informed about events that we think may have an impact on your businesses with this eBulletin. Lately the amount of transportation related construction activity within the SODO/Georgetown area has been growing. It's a challenge to provide information without going to extremes. (You can go to www.Duwamishtma.org and click on Traffic Alert to see a map with links to all the different projects that we're talking about here.)

The City of Seattle has just made our job easier, with a new service they initiated recently; the SODO Consolidated Construction UPDATE. It's an electronic bulletin managed by Seattle DOT's liaison to the area, Katherine Bush. The bulletin does not limit the information to only Seattle DOT projects, but takes an area-wide approach. We'll continue to choose information from the bulletin that we think has wide audience interest to report in these pages, but if you want to get the latest on EVERY project you should consider subscribing for yourself. To be added to the UPDATE, email katherine.bush@seattle.gov.

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