Sunday, March 22, 2009

Natasha Richardson

I was saddened to learn about the way in which she died.
It underscores the need for the unappealing but very life-saving headwear.
Vashon Ski School won't let you ski or snowboard without one. Ever.

Monday, March 09, 2009

More bond-age

Ladies and Gentlemen-

It appears my blog is circulating among those both in favor and against the bond. They are finding me on email and telling me their feelings. Wow. What has surprised me most are the large numbers of "strong silent types" who are against this iniative passing. Someone wrote "notice the lack of NO signs" (cuz nobody in their right mind would run such a counter campaign--why when they can just cast a no vote).

Another comment was about the district having every right to put out a pre-voter brochure. I totally agreed! But (and this is a big but) if the TAXPAYER, assuming this was ultimately taxpayer money that funded this communication, had a say, would he opt to bankroll a full-color glossy, custom-scored, fold-out folio-style brochure complete with design schematics, OR would he opt for something ala "straight dope" and informative that actually demonstrated fiscal responsibility in its modesty? Could the message have been equally communicated using a baseline b/w with one-color, 8.5 x 11, two-sided tri-fold document that would cost a fraction of this slick doc? Could the color detail not have just lived online for the voter to learn more and download a pdf of the rest, and saved thousands in production costs? This is what I'm talking about. I'm just saying: There is a psychology to those marketing nuances, and what I've witnessed is a major sell. My provocation was, might it have turned some people off?

I salute all the volunteers who made their voices heard loudly. I trust that everyone on Vashon who is registered to vote, no matter what the stance, will mail that bad boy in so we get a nice full count. Cheers. I'm over this topic.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

"Raising Chickens" class from VIGA

I cannot believe this class was free! In gratitude I'm doing a big chicken dance for VIGA, which funded this 2.5-hr class "Raising Chickens" that I attended today. It was truly awesome. Cathy Fulton and Dana Ness DVM conducted the class and it was really insightful. I could not NOT pay for this class, so I (as well as several class goers) donated to the new non profit Seed Money sustainability program from the local Lutheran church.

Ness said favored egg layers that are hardy around here include Brahmas, Red or Black Stars, Wyandottes and Turkens. Pearl White Leghorns were another that class attendees raved about. After checking out Dana's turken up close, I found it to be quite a sweet, runway model of a chicken---what with that long neck and all! It made the cover of Backyard Poultry mag so I supposed she is a superdiva chicken!

David is in the process of using 90% reclaimed materials to construct a very tricked out chicken coop. We've talked to a neighbor who has thrown in the towel (we bemuse the hand-scrawled epitaph on one defunct coop: "Raccoons 3, Chickens 0") and know we've got to really get this thing protected to make it predator proof. AT LEAST two other neighbors on the North End raise chickens, one commercially.

We're getting six layers once the coop is ready to rock. I have the Murray McMurray catalog ready! Next I ponder--will it be pullets or chicks???:)

Monday, March 02, 2009

My pensive school bond manifesto

Dear Vashonistas:

The "Vote Yes!" campaign for the school bond has proven itself a relentless, "hit-you-over-the-head" style marketing blitz. Even though "Committee" funded, I contend the budget allocated toward this months-long promotional initiative--comprised of printing, design, advertising placements and consulting---could have easily checked a project or two off the laundry list of those noted in the bond package.

As a public relations practitioner I know the amount of money that backs the production and postage of a full-color direct mail folio (sent to every Vashon household!), signage, full-page newspaper ads, three-color direct mail postcards, an ongoing newspaper advertising buy, plus numerous related communication pieces, all of which this effort has deployed. I also consider the extensive resources and hard costs that go into bringing this bond to the voters. By the time this note goes to print, many of you will have already cast your vote.

I have wanted to get behind this bond since the beginning, and there is no question after seeing it firsthand our high school needs improvements. So why do I still get a queasy, gut-wrenching feeling that this is an over-packaged bond with the hardest sell of any initiative I've seen yet on this Island? When an initiative (such as a bond) is marketed exhaustively to the public, it makes me question whether or not it can stand on its own merits, as if reading the straight literature of the bond measure itself was not enough to compel citizens to vote "yes."

As my vote is cast, I will not only consider our future students--my own children, I will also think about the wallets of every Island homeowner, and whether or not there is a leaner, meaner bond proposal yet to be penciled.

I thank the Beachcomber for its insightful pro- and con-bond editorials; I'm sure those opposing the bond appreciate having a voice, since they lack the thunder of a well-funded marketing campaign.

Pensively, Me

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Back from the wilderness

Vacation was awesome. The 8-hr snowshoe was the most intense workout I can recall in recent history, truly putting a physical strain on this bod. We ate wonderful meals at Dick's place, all done on the wood cookstove, from homemade scones to filet mignon w/bearnaise to breaded razor clams we backpacked in.

Trinity County, Calif, we'll be back...oh yes...we will (when I recover!).