Water Study Public Meeting 2

Where’s the Water: Water for People, Water for Fish – March 5, 2019

Another standing room crowd listened and learned about a range of aspect of Thurston County's water supply.


Speakers George Walter, Environmental Program Supervisor, Nisqually Indian Tribe; Marc Daily, Executive Director, Thurston Regional Planning Council; and Maia Bellon, Director, Department of Ecology talked about history, current circumstances, and prospects for the future.  

A video of the evening program is presented here in three parts:

Part 1 is 42 minutes long. 

Part 2 is 24 minutes long.

Part 3 is 36 minutes long 


And click here for a video: mitigating for permit-exempt wells in the Nisqually watershed 

Where's the Water II

A series of Forums are being held in connection with the League's Water Study.  Forums held in 2019 are reported on below.  If you want to get caught up on the Where's the Water forums that were held in 2019, click here for a listing of videos of those programs. 

The first of the two 2020 Forums was held on March 5, 2020.  The second had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.  Detail about this forum will be posted once it is rescheduled.


March 5, 2020 --  Where's the Water II:  What Are the Impacts of Sea Level Rising in Thurston County?

Unique circumstances resulted in the presenters scheduled for the first portion of this public meeting being unable to attend. Candice Penn, Climate Specialist, Squaxin Island Tribe, and Brian McTeague, G.I.S. Manager, Squaxin Island Tribe were able to join by electronic means.  They provided commentary on The Squaxin Island Tribe Sea Level Rise Story Map  video presentation.  They also answered questions from the audience.  




The second portion of the evening's program shifted from the sea to a river.  That was the Chehalis River and the ongoing concerns about the devastating floods that occur in this river's flood plane.




Andrea McNamara Doyle, Director of the Department of Ecology newly established Office of Chehalis Basin spoke about the the  innovative and ambitious approach to water management being considered.  She talked about the efforts involved in developing information about Flood Control on the Chehalis River.  An aspect of this work is the consideration of building a dam that would be used only at critical times.




The second speaker on this topic was Lee First, Representative for Twin Harbors Waterkeeper. Her organization is clearly opposed to using a dam as a method to control Chehalis River flood events.  She spoke of the competition between development and natural habitat, with the idea that greater weight should be given to nature.



Strategies for Contentious Conversations


Sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the  Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County, in response to widespread concerns that public and interpersonal communication is hampered during these hyper-political times, this forum was presented to League members and other interested persons. It aimed to educate and encourage people to communicate well and effectively when dealing with contentious issues. Addressing public policy issues and honing skills for constructive interpersonal dialogue will be covered as well as a practice session.  

This virtual event was held on November 4, 2021.  A video recording of this event can be viewed here. 

Panelists included:

    • Moderator: Senator Karen Fraser (Retired) – Democrat from the State Capitol area. Represented the 22nd Legislative District and served as Democratic Caucus Chair.
    • Representative Lynn Kessler (Retired) – Democrat from coastal Washington. Represented the 24th Legislative District. Served as House Democratic Caucus Leader. 
    • Senator Linda Parlette (Retired) – Republican from central Washington. Represented the 12th Legislative District. Served as Republican Caucus Leader and Republican Caucus Chair.

Facilitator: Jody M. Suhrbier - Executive Director, Dispute Resolution Center. Past President and Member of Resolution Washington. Executive Member of the Board of Directors: National Association for Community Mediation.  For more information about the DRC, go to Dispute Resolution Center (mediatethurston.org)

Auditor Mary Hall Talks at Membership Meeting

"Be careful about what you say, what you read on social media."

Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall presented to the public at a Thurston County League of Women Voters event on Oct. 13, 2021.  County auditor explains how her office combats false information


The following article was written by The Daily JOLT newsletter staff who covered this meeting. It was posted Thursday, October 14, 2021 6:41 pm

By Julia Ornedo

Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall urged the public to exercise caution when sharing information online and educate themselves about the election process to stem the spread of false information.

In an online forum hosted yesterday by the League of Women Voters of Thurston County, Hall said that her office, which oversees the county’s elections, has taken several steps to combat false information, whether unintentionally circulated or deliberately created.

 Hall said that the Thurston County Auditor’s Office works with local news organizations and social media platforms like Facebook to prevent the spread of wrong information.

Hall’s office has also created an email address, [email protected], where the public can report disinformation about elections by sending links or screenshots.

The auditor’s office has also been inviting observers to witness the election process in person.

“If you have not been in our ballot processing center to really watch how elections are processed, what are our procedures, the checks and balances, please do so because it’s an amazing process,” Hall urged.

“I never want Thurston County voters to have distrust in our system, not just while I’m here but after I’m gone, because our processes are above reproach and we don’t want what’s being contagious in many states across the country to be contagious here, because we do things right,” she added.

Last month, Hall had also stressed that local elections are “totally above reproach” amid concerns about possible voter fraud and the integrity of the polls.



County auditor:  “Our elections are totally above reproach.”


Working with Local Government

On April 28, 2021, the Thurston County League of Women Voters and Thurston Community Media co-sponsored a virtual forum on “Working with Local Government”.  The forum began with a presentation by local journalist, Janine Gates, on the successful decades-long effort to stop the industrialization of the Nisqually River Delta.     This effort was fueled by local residents working with their representatives to achieve a broad range of benefits.   






The second segment of the event included a panel discussion with four locally elected officials representing Thurston County, and the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater.  Questions for the panelists were generated from local League members and others in attendance.  The common thread of the discussion was how residents can be most effective in influencing outcomes at the local level.

A video-tape recording of the forum can be viewed if you click here.  

Redistricting 101

How is Washington’s Redistricting Commission structured?  What does it do? What policies and legal requirements guide its processes? Why should every citizen care about redistricting, and how can we best impact a fair outcome?

At a March 4, 2021 general  meeting, 20 League members explored the history of redistricting and its affect on political power dynamics, particularly involving efforts to protect incumbents and suppress competition in elections, practiced by both parties.  Our basic education was guided by a fun and interactive program presented by Alison McCaffree, the executive director of the non-partisan Politics of the Possible in Action, and Redistricting Chair of LWVWA. Alison’s expertise and enthusiasm for the subject, and her use of Zoom chat, breakout rooms and polls, helped clarify many of the complexities of redistricting.

Exploring the history of Washington and other states, we learned about the often ludicrous effects of gerrymandering to minimize the voting power of particular communities. We also discussed how other laws, such as the Voting Rights Act, impact how boundaries are redrawn to reflect the change in population.  Another consideration is how the “pencil and paper” data gathering of the 1960s that informed the Commission’s mission has been replaced by massive data collection and computational models from myriad sources, including social media.  We all agreed that more information is a positive goal, but carries unintended consequences as well.

At the close of the presentation, Alison offered some suggestions about how we can participate in, and possibly testify before, the Redistricting Commission.  The Redistricting 101 program is the first episode of the Speak Up School, out of a total of 7 modules.  Information on the schools and Commission meetings can be found by clicking here.


If you would like to see some of the specific information from the forum. take a look at the Redistricting Forum Toolkit that is posted on the LWVWA website.

Immigration What’s Next Forum

On February 25, 2021, the Thurston League held a forum on immigration issues, entitled “Immigration 2021:  What Happens Next?”  The forum was co-sponsored by Strengthening Sanctuary Alliance (SSA), Mason County League of Women Voters, and Asian Pacific Islanders Coalition, South Puget Sound Chapter (APIC-SPS).  Over 70 people participated in the forum, which was held virtually.  Our speakers addressed topics on the federal, state, and local levels. 

Karen Tvedt, LWVTC President, and Kathy Baros-Friedman, from the Spanish Roundtable, moderated the forum.  Steffani Powell, an immigration attorney and member of SSA and Jorge Barón, Executive Director of the Northwest Immigration Rights Project, spoke to the myriad of issues at the federal level: what changes might come with the new administration; and what litigation is currently underway. 

The state level perspective was presented by Cariño Barragàn Talancón, with the Washington Immigration Solidarity Network.  She spoke about her organization and pending state legislation. 

From the local level, we heard from speakers representing three organizations.  Anne Fischel and Bob Zeigler informed us on SSA and its activities.  Ellen Shortt Sanchez of Elevate Mason County gave a presentation on immigration issues in Mason County.  Lin Crowley, Co-Chair of the APIC Chapter provided an enlightening educational history of Asian immigration in the United States.  She also spoke about APIC’s activities.

After the presentations, the speakers and attendants moved into breakrooms for more dialog on their respective subjects.  Breakroom facilitators, who handled questions and reported back to the group, included Joel LeBel from SSA, Ellen Saunders of SSA, Lola Flores from the Washington State Commission of Hispanic Affairs, and Shari Silverman of the Thurston County League.  The forum was a great success, and we received a lot of positive feedback.  It will be available for review soon on the LWV of Thurston County’s YouTube channel.




CLICK HERE to see a video of this forum.