Oly Artesian & Queer Carwash Sw@p Spit, (A)ttitude


Olympia, WA @ Artesian Well (6-9-14) — It was a balmy Saturday, but the hectic competition for parking at Oly’s Farmers Market made alternatives more inviting despite a stage with talented buskers and fresh produce vendors. Sylvester Park had comfortable benches, trees, shade, a manicured lawn, and a more casual pace. It also turned out to have a lot of trash on the grass, an assortment of sleeping homeless secure in the knowledge the park, belonging to the State, had none of the anti-poverty laws targeting the homeless during daylight hours, the only time the park is open. It’s gazebo continues to be fenced off from public access, and while there’s a water fountain, there are still no public restrooms. The State would love to give it to the City of Olympia, but the council is having none of it, the cost of maintenance being prohibitive.


A lot of money and arrogant social engineering had piqued interest in the gentrification of the Artesian. It’s hard to pinpoint who the most obnoxious culprits in Oly’s downtown corridor are: Steve Hall (city manager) & Co., the city council, the drug addicts leaving hypodermic needles in the park and on the Artesian’s asphalt, the black marketeers in the town’s tenderloin district surrounding the Artesian, or the queer brigade now bent on becoming the dominant lords of the streets.


For all the hoopla and promises of a nicer more gentrified Artesian, it looked more like the dark side of the moon than ever. Fences (now augmented by steel posts/barricades) still made it feel like a forward base in a war zone. Rather than ANY grass, the City has laid down fresh layers of asphalt and painted over the tasteful graffiti art on the surrounding walls with black. The masonry dog watering trough for thirsty animals in a concrete desert has been replaced with a styrofoam box. A handicapped capable Sanican toilet has, however, been installed replete with accompanying steel posts designed for errant drivers. The fact it accommodates wheelchairs provides hope it’s going to be permanent rather than a temporary convenience for tradesmen during the construction phase.

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There continued to be homeless sleeping on the pavement leaning against the unshaded black walls despite the threatening signs warning of video surveillance. Lots of symbols of authority/exclusion had been erected, but not a single blade of grass. Despite the best voluntary efforts of some local artists, it had all the charm of a bomb shelter.


SS Largess

Yet, the well has more friends than ever. It continues to receive a constant stream of visitors, 24/day, in their quest for water. Like the wide array of species sharing some African waterhole in the Serengeti, denizens from every social, economic, marginalized and ethnic class recognized/respected their mutual dependency on this wet stuff of life. In that sense, it served as a rare point of mutual accommodation as it had for many centuries before the arrival of white settlers.



Only 50 feet from the Artesian at 4th & Jefferson were the Queers Rock Camp Carwash offering a quick vehicle bath in exchange for $5 – $20. It was a ready made photo-op, or so it seemed…at first.

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The first couple of snaps went off without a hitch–good light, colorful subjects, smiles, advertising signs, tattoos. Then the encounter with the first gender bender who more often than not rely on intimidation rather than reasoned dialog or even the most rudimentary understanding of what they’re demanding…or they simply (as one admitted) don’t care.


Tow Away Zone


She/he/they/it/whatever approached the photographer who was standing firmly on the public sidewalk adjacent to the parking lot where, armed with a hose, buckets of soapy water, and a sponge, they were attempting to earn  enough money for summer rock camp. There’s no doubt this beats panhandling all to hell. Their business acumen, however, was more than a little lacking.


Nervous Nellies Object to Bodies Being Photographed


“You must ask for our permission to photograph us,” she/he/they/it/whatever demanded. “No, it’s not required,” responded the photographer. “Yes, it is,” she/he/they/it/whatever rejoined.

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An older teen approached the photojournalist and temporarily joined in the conversation. He opined that permission was needed when children were present. The photographer attempted to disabuse him of his misapprehensions, but he was having none of it, claiming he knew more about this area of law than the photographer who also happened to be a paralegal who specialized in this area of law. “Are you a lawyer?” he was asked. “No,” the kid responded, “but, that doesn’t mean a paralegal necessarily knows the law about this either.”

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Having met so many vacuous attorneys and even judges, the kid’s point was hard to argue with. “Tell ya what,” invited the photographer, “let’s call the cops, who are charged with enforcing laws surrounding disputes such as this, and let them enlighten you.” The kid seemed taken aback, but, as it turned out, his mother must have thought this was a swell idea as she called the man (who turned out to be a woman) to arrive on the scene.


Teen LaQueefa

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Having been advised by the dispatcher to protect himself, the photographer made his way across the street next to one of the bars with an open door for a better camera angle and less harassment. The Queers continued to charm the photojournalist and the public with an upraised middle finger while waving their signs seeking customers. Like a bared teeth dog wagging its tail, it was difficult to know which end to believe.

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Once a few shots had been acquired, it was time to call it a day in Olympia. Walking through the Artesian, some folks (one in particular) had watched the scenario. When questioned, yours truly spoke of how photography was not a crime, but a fundamental right in public venues. Some of the more obtuse began to express differing opinions until the more civic minded guy pronounced his understanding in accordance with 1st Amendment principles.


Mom argues her late teen son is too ‘young’ to have his picture taken in public.

Just then, the cavalry arrived, a young female Olympia police officer, by herself, approached the photographer. Almost immediately, the mother and her teen son closed in to express their complaint about the photographer (Photographing, [*gasp*] children in public…or so she said, though the teen son had disavowed being a minor when asked earlier). The officer ordered them to step back so she could finish her interview with the photographer, which she did.


Wearing Bullet Proof Vest & Explaining the law to one of the lesser lights in the universe

After listening to his explanation and the importance of preventing force and fraud, not just reporting it, she cut the dialog short by emphasizing, “I get it!” “I’m finished with you,” she advised before turning her attention to the mother in waiting, and to give her a clue.


It is what it is!

A full shot of the LEO’s face, name tag, and badge wasn’t made because she declined to have her picture taken while admitting she had no legal right to prohibit it. Prudence suggested, under the circumstances, not to push the point since her responding to the situation was largely discretionary.

Having struck a blow for exercising our rights to avoid losing them, the photographer left the scene to write this story. The obtuse and aggressive continue to dominate the downtown streets of Olympia. Belligerence and intimidation continue to be the order of the day there. It is hoped the Olympia police department will add more emphasis on drawing bright lines where the boundaries of fundamental liberty interests lie.


Queen LaTifah

The police do not have the inclination (the above referenced officer made that clear) or resources to control the streets and our public spaces. The public itself will have to assume some responsibility to reclaim them. Today, everyone has a camera. Today, we are the press! Today, we can reclaim our public spaces by exercising that responsibility, that right.

Yielding to arrogant bullies and the violently obtuse only encourages the abuse. The abuse will only get worse until the public puts a stop to corruption, both in government AND in the people!

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3 Responses to Oly Artesian & Queer Carwash Sw@p Spit, (A)ttitude

  1. Has it ever entered your head that you’re just being a dick? A car wash isn’t news, and refraining from taking the police officer’s photo is based on her being armed, not on your principles. As long as you think you can call on a bigger bully you’re fine with pushing the limits of your “right” to take photos. Once the model you want to shoot has a gun to shoot back, it looks like your rights and your principles dissolve into ether. You remind me of my chickens, the bigger peck the smaller. At least they don’t resort to claiming they are maintaining some fictional rights to be peckers.

  2. admin says:

    If the officer had claimed taking her picture was prohibited, it WOULD have been taken, instantly. Other LEO’s more obtuse than her (e.g. ones encountered in Hiawatha Park at West Seattle’s belly dancing/medfest celebration) were responded to in exactly that fashion. So your character attack in that regard fails, as always. You’re entitled to your viewpoint of what’s newsworthy, though it isn’t a requirement for street photographers to exercise 1st Amendment principles. Photography is not a crime. The fact some dunderheads think it is constitutes all the more reason to exercise it or we will lose it as a right, de facto, or worse. That’s already proven to be so in a multitude of r@dical public venues. This is only the most recent (of many) encountered. Thus, it arguably *IS* ‘newsworthy’.

    When a street photographer is challenged/vetted EVERY time simply for walking on the sidewalk near Olympia’s Artesian, camera in tow, that’s as much of a problem as aggressive panhandling. It’s also a problem because many ordinary citizens are afraid to shop in downtown Olympia due to the intimidation factor. It invites black market activities, which exist now. It encourages the city police to write the area off as ungovernable, which the responding officer alluded to when she said, “What can you expect in an area like this from these people?” Constitutional principles aren’t just for ‘nice’ people–they apply to everyone–even “dicks”. Serious problems arise when citizens and LEO’s begin to substitute their personal biases for them. The 1st Amendment is worth fighting for, even if it means being a “dick”.

    If downtown Olympia isn’t ‘safe’ for a street photographer acting within the law and Constitutional principles, it isn’t safe for anyone. Ergo, photos and a narrative illustrating this point *ARE* newsworthy and the effort to report, regardless of ad hominem attacks arguing the contrary. The people being photographed were not ‘models’, but subjects. The pictures were not being taken for commercial purposes, but editorial. No permission to take them was required, nor was it (as a matter of principle) sought–especially when one aggressively argued it was necessary.

    The pattern appears to be the misapprehensions surrounding this issue exists across the political/cultural spectrum but is especially concentrated in the r@dical community and even more among the gender benders. The tenderloin area of Olympia serves as a primary haven for them, not to say they’re restricted to there. Sylvester park is a haven for different reasons, among which is it’s owned and administered by the State rather than the City.

    Another common attribute witnessed is the preference for confrontation rather than dialog among r@dicals. Finally, your syntax is showing: “Once the model you want to shoot has a gun to shoot back…?” The responding officer was not confronted with a weapon or shot at. If she had, she’d have every right to shoot back as would every citizen. Your mis-characterization reveals an agenda beyond rational analysis. The ‘bully’ you reference (LEO) was mutually invited and served a constructive purpose: to educate the deliberately obtuse and willfully ignorant. i.e. To PREVENT force & fraud, not simply to take a crime report after the fact.

    The right to photograph in public is hardly ‘fictional’–another deliberate mis-characterization. It’s a fundamental liberty interest belonging, inalienably, to every person. It is part of the right to document what we see, hear, taste, smell, feel in any public venue where we have a lawful right to be. It isn’t secured by largess from government, though the U.S. Constitution does name only ONE profession/trade by name for protection: The PRESS!

    Your sympathy (if it’s that) is misplaced and an example of why r@dicals, especially the stupid ones, should be viewed with a jaundiced eye.

  3. admin says:

    An Afterthought: When it comes to bullies, (A)narchists & their sympathizers, especially the r@dical gender benders are the FIRST to use force or threaten its use. Accounts of the same in multiple articles herein can be found as well as on the rest of the internet. e.g. the TESC strong-armed robbery, assault, and malicious mischief in the spring of 2013 at the ‘@narchist’s Convergence’ on campus; the 2013 PSU Law & Disorder Conference where 2 women tabling for DGR were tabling; the San Francisco Book F@ir assaults earlier this year; the disruption of the PSU Law & Disorder conference earlier THIS year by the same set of gender benders who created the embarrassment last year. Of course there’s the almost punctual May Day riots, @ssaults, and v@ndalism in Seattle, the vandalism of a Church (along with bragging about it online) in Olympia, the smashing of car windows, slashing of tires, and innumerable other instances of property destruction, vilification, snitch hunting, labeling, and character assassination.

    Yes, let’s handle the perpetrators of such acts and their sympathizers with velvet gloves. Aggressive panhandling and badgering (or worse) of street photographers should be encouraged. Why not just trash the 1st Amendment while we’re at it? It’s all part of the brave new world (A)narchists and the Queer brigade, who would like to f**k you up, hope for. The Greeks believed when the gods wish to punish us, they grant what we wish for. Perhaps the disruption Kristian Williams ran into at the recent PSU Law & Disorder Conference is a good example. At any rate, a picture is worth a thousand words, and those capturing the Queer Rock Camp Car Wash denizens are self evident in telling the story. These shy street damsels too shy to be photographed had no problem playing the heavy in a downtown Olympia neighborhood known for assaults, robberies, car prowls, heavy drug use, and a thriving black market scattered with litter. The responding officer got it right: “What can you expect in an area like this from these people?”

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