Councilmember Clark left office on April 14, 2015.
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Saturday – cleaning up, Rosies, and Karl Rove as gay hero

I haven’t blogged for a little while. I’m spending most of my time in my car going from one event to the next. You get tired and start to see a lot of gray rather than all the great colors of fall. This past Saturday went technicolor for me for some reason.

Hillman City Cleans Up
It started with a great neighborhood cleanup in Hillman City. Approximately a dozen of us walked the area with yellow bags and “grabbers.” Hillman has a couple of great new businesses about to open up — a new bakery by one of the former Tall Grass Bakery people, and a new barbecue place. Rumor has it a new coffee shop is coming in the next couple of months, as well. People out for the cleanup, mostly residents from around the business core at Rainier and Orcas, were excited about the neighborhood’s fortunes and really excited that it wasn’t raining. This was a pretty inspiring way to start the day.

Rosies tell their stories
I had two events Saturday night starting with the first annual Women in Trades “Dream Big” awards dinner. This would have been a terrific event even without the keynote speaker. I really appreciate the work Women in Trades does to promote opportunities for women in trade work like welding, carpentry, painting…. This evening was particularly special because they used it to recognize all the trailblazing Rosie the Riveters, the women who built the planes and ships needed in World War II.

There were a couple of dozen Rosies on hand Saturday night and they had moving stories to tell. Josie Ella Dunn (she goes by “E”) came west from Oklahoma in 1943, an young African American woman looking for more opportunities than available to her at home. Boeing taught her to weld and rivet. She stuck around and built her life here. In 1942 Dorothy Klinger became one of the first two women ever hired by General Electric. She said there was one womens rest room in the whole four-story building where she worked. Some men had foul mouths while others resented women taking slots that could have gained other men deferments from service. The men pushed and tested her, but she and the other woman stuck it out and, when it was evident they could cut it, GE hired more women. Dorothy had majored in chemistry and tested metal ingots to determine purity. All the metal had to be tested before it could be used to build the ships and planes needed.

As if these stories weren’t enough to make it a great evening, the keynote speaker was Ragnhild Montcreif! I’m a huge fan of the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” about the king crab fishery off Alaska. Ragnhild’s husband is the skipper of the Far West Leader and Ragnhild went out last season. She was at the dinner to talk about the challenges of being a woman working the fisheries. She was awesome!

Human Rights Campaign Dinner
This encounter sent me off pretty happy to my last stop Saturday evening – the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner. HRC is a national- level lobbying group that works to secure equal rights for LGBT people. At the Westin I got to sit with friends I don’t see enough and I heard great comments from the evening’s honoree, actress Jane Lynch. She has worked in some of the smartest movies of the past 10 years (leaving aside “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) and seems to appreciate her opportunity to serve as an advocate and role model.

From her comments:

“Karl Rove is a gay hero for putting equal access to marriage on the national agenda.”

“There’s a difference between an activist and a complainer.”

I like the last point in particular. Maybe that’s when the technicolor kicked in.