Didja miss me? Ha!
I was just burned out after election week. The most tumultuous election week in U.P. since… Well, ever! It’s behind us and I, for one, am glad for that.  We talk about how sick and tired we are of mudslinging, name calling and otherwise “low road” politicians at the national level but when they come home to roost right here in University Place…how terribly disappointing.

I should take a Thanksgiving minute and send my thanks to all of you who have gone out of your way to stop me when I’m at the store, in community meetings or elsewhere, to tell me how much you enjoy reading this blog. Sincerely, thank you. It does take a fair amount of time and effort and I am more than open to your input but again, I just want to stop and thank you for taking the time to express your appreciation.

Didja know that our Pierce County Library System “celebrated” Amnesty week last month and welcomed people back to the Library without affecting the Library’s bottom line budget, which includes projected revenues from fines and fees of $520,000.

Wait a minute, did they say over half a million dollars primarily in late fines?  A half million dollars?!?!   Holy Crap!

You may recall, that when the Amnesty week was announced I went on record as clearly leaning toward arresting the flagrant offenders, not offering them Amnesty.  That is to say, those jamokes who just take ’em after taxpayers dollars pay for ’em.  It’s called T-H-E-F-T!! 

But a half million dollars!?  I’m in shock.  I’ll keep my nose out of second guessing the librarians.  They seem to know what the heck they are doing.  Maybe the whole amnesty idea has more than just a sparkle of brilliance to it.  Wow!  I’m knocked out.

OK, sometimes it doesn’t take that much.  Actually, I really ought to be learning for them.  I’ve got it…”Hey Mike, remember my roto-tiller you borrowed last summer, I need to collect $250.00 in late fees!”  “Jim, is my wood chipper still in your garage?  Ah, that’ll be $335.00.”  “Oh, Bob, that toilet plunger you borrowed…on second thought, uh, never mind.  You can keep that.”

Librarians.  What a group of enterprising people! (And world class whisperers.)

Well I would be remiss if I did not offer you all a Happy Thanksgiving.  Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, 1620, Indians, Corn, Mayflower…parts of it are  even true.   Any excuse to take a moment and say thank you sincerely to those who support us…that makes it worthwhile and sausage and apple stuffing and some giblet gravy doesn’t hurt any, either!  There actually was a time, after my heart surgery that I blamed my health crisis singlehandedly on Giblet Gravy! But, oh baby what a way to go.

Saturday Dec 5th from 3-6pm in Windmill Village it’s a free event as we light our CHRISTMAS Tree.  No, it’s not a holiday bush.  It’s a Christmas Tree.  The next time someone says to you that they think it’s wrong for a public entity like a city to display a Christmas Tree because it’s a Christian tradition, fill ’em in.  The Christmas tree actually goes back to Roman pagan festivals, then the Druids latched onto it in old Britain as they marked winter solstice. Hey if you want pagan traditions, go for the yule log and the hanging of mistletoe.  But the tree really is an old German tradition as is, of course Santa Claus.  Now, speaking of old holiday traditions, somebody has to explain to me the significance of the Yule Goat!  No. I’m not kidding.  Anyway, Saturday afternoon there will be Santa pictures, kids can ride the train, there will be local musical performers, food and drink and, of course, the lighting of the CHRISTMAS Tree!  Come enjoy!  (When last I checked they were still seeking volunteers to help out.)  Call 223-0039 to get involved or shoot Julie an email at jkerrigan@upvolunteers.org

First Aid and CPR class is coming up again, Saturday, Dec 19th from 9am to 5pm.  This course meets the L&I requirements as well as the Health Services Standards.  The good folks at the University Place Fire Department are the instructors. Your CPR certification is good for two years.  Payment must be made in advance, along with registration. For more information, call 564-1623 but don’t put it off.  At least four pre-registrations are required or the class will be cancelled.

Lions Pancake Breakfast with Santa, Dec 12, 9 to 11 at Univ Place Primary School.  $5 for adults, $3 for the kids and $5 for photos with the jolly old Lion himself.

Speaking of that fine group of volunteers, the Lions, we recently lost one of the very best.  Without fanfare, quietly, respectfully, just the way he lived, Ralph Harrison of University Place passed away just a couple of weeks back.  Now, there was a fair chance that the average UP resident didn’t know Ralph but if you have any past association with Boys Scouting around here, you couldn’t have missed him.  Ralph was the Scoutmaster of the St Charles Parish Boy Scout troop for decades putting an endless supply of young men up into the mountains, deep into the Olympics, cresting the Cascades and what they eventually all realized was that in any one of Ralph’s boy-led units, you just couldn’t help but learn while you were enjoying those adventures.  Ralph believed in the program. He believed in allowing young men to rise to challenges and he believed in letting them fail.  In turn, Ralph knew how to get them to learn.  He liked to say, “Oh, he won’t do that again.”  And from my experience with Mr Harrison, he was right.  Some scout units flounder year in and year out while everything at the leadership end of things is done by the adults.  The boys might make rank, IF they chose to stick with it and they might even learn a little bit but if you want to see wonderful young men who know, understand and live by things like the Scout Law and the Oath, watch any of the young men, now Dads and patrons of our communities, who spent time scouting with Ralph Harrison. Ralph was honored by the Boy Scouts with darned near every honor they have all the way up to and including the Silver Beaver.  But as far as Ralph was concerned, the highest honor he wore was one he earned as a young scout. His highest honor was his Eagle Scout award.  And some of the most memorable moments in Ralph’s career centered around his scouts working toward and achieving their own Eagle.   Without fanfare, quietly, respectfully…that’s the way Ralph Harrison lived his life but the impact he left behind on so very, very many young men and their families will be felt for many, many years to come.  What was Ralph Harrison?  He was a wonderful Dad, a devoted husband to lovely Teresa and to those of us who walked trails with him Ralph Harrison was Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent!. 

Have you ever thought that your spare time might be valuable to someone else?  Well the good folks at the UP Volunteer Center absolutely believe that and they’ve got many choices for you as to how you might opt to best apply your time, energies, experience… call Julie Kerrigan (253-223-0039).

If you haven’t been keeping track, budget cuts in the city are going to require quite a lot more volunteer help and leadership to keep our youth sports programs alive and well.  And why not?  I remember that’s how we used to do it when I was a little guy back in the ’50’s and ’60’s playing ball down at old Colgate Park.  If it wasn’t for parents, we would not have had any sports programs.  Coaches, officials, administrators, organizers, grounds help…you name it.  Everyone’s talents and experience will be put to work.  So, keep your ears open for a call from the city for assistance.  Why?  Because our kids want to play ball.  Our kids deserve to play ball. We want to keep our kids off the street.  The kids…  Oh, I could give you 50 reasons but I think you got it. 

Oh by the way…where did the money go from the city’s general fund which is there, in part, to pay the salaries of city employees to run these programs and others?  Town center  Nope?  Reconfiguration of Bridgeport?  Nope.  The next time you think Tim Eyeman has another one of his “good ideas” remember the impact of his other measures dating back into the ’90s.  That’s the fund his authored initiatives have been raiding, time and time again, the general funds of municipalities across the state.  If you think government should be smaller.  That’s ok but then you better be willing to get off your duff and go volunteer to do what the former government employees were doing for us…Which ones, the 20-plus who are about to lose their jobs right here in U.P.   Real Estate Excise Taxes are down simply because darned few homes are selling.  (Just ask me)  But it’s the initiatives which have gutted the city’s general fund that puts us into such a squeeze at a tight economic time like this.  And the effect?  Two-fold.  We put more people into the jobless category and we either shut down youth athletics and other parks & rec programs or volunteers step up to run them.  So, you do have a choice.  You want smaller government?  Then do it yourself!  It really blew me away the other day, a guy was telling me how we shouldn’t have this crisis because we have more employees than any city needs and we’re just a little place.  He thought it was good that we were “thinning”.  In fact at one point I remember him using the phrase, “Survival of the fittest.”  He also went on to insist that this city should have the best sports, parks and rec programs in the state because our taxes pay for them and we pay a lot, here.  (Oh, if he only knew how good we do have it, in terms of taxes here.)  Furthermore, he insisted that there never has been any reason why parents need to coach or volunteer to support kids activities here.  If the city didn’t squander all of the tons of  money he pays them, there would be paying jobs for a lot of people here.  He went on.  I did not.  After awhile I remembered that you shouldn’t try to teach a pig to sing.  It’s just a waste of your time and it annoys the pig! I did however suggest in parting that he NOT volunteer to work with the kids.  Gee, I wonder why.

Be well…

PAT MADDOCK   Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS              3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466                (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

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Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

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