Stupid mugs and banging away

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photoLou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor.

Anybody do anything stupid yet today?

Cue my critics who might say something like, “Yeah, I read your column and now I’m trying to figure out how to get that six minutes back.”

Hey, don’t do stupid stuff. Whatever that might be.

OK, OK, that’s a lead-in to our wildly fun Don’t Do Stupid Stuff mugs.

Speaking of fun, I had a ton of it a few months ago when I opened up The Columbian on a Saturday to sell a few of the $10 mugs.

Lots of folks apparently can’t make it here during the week, so — what the heck — I decided to do it again today.

I’ll be here from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 701 W. Eighth St., a couple of blocks from Esther Short Park. Cash only today.

So come on by. I’d love to say hi.

Now, a few of you reading this might be saying, “What the heck is the editor doing, dealing with these mugs?” Am I stupid or what?

Well, I would respectfully ask, why shouldn’t I be doing this? For me, it’s less about the mugs and more about the community involvement the mugs have created.

Now, I do more than my fair share of community events, but hanging out with folks who come in to get their mugs opens up more opportunities to get involved with readers.

Who’s eligible for a mug?

Of course, if you’ve never done anything stupid, never plan on doing anything stupid, or don’t know of anyone who ever has done anything stupid, these mugs aren’t for you.

However, if that’s not the case … I’ll see you today.

Blame the port?

Speaking of stupid stuff, who is the culprit in our becoming the possible oil hub of the West Coast if a new oil terminal is located here?

I’ve gone after the city for lollygagging rather than taking a stand against this oil slick. But one reader suggests I should be banging away at the Port of Vancouver, where the terminal will be located.

“The Columbian has completely bypassed the port in their push for no terminal. They are the only decision-maker at this point. They could halt everything. Just a thought I had.”

To the average human being, there are so many elected officials and agencies in any given community, it’s difficult to keep them straight.

So, yes, there is a Port of Vancouver and, yes, they elect people to run it and, yes, they can spend your tax dollars as fast as any other elected officials.

Oh yeah, they could make everyone’s life miserable if they do stupid stuff.

So the port folks have approved this oil terminal. And yes, that’s stupid stuff. But other approvals have to happen, so the stupid stuff could end.

Hey, who’s interested in oil things blowing up and making a big mess? Well, OK, I guess the port is.

So — as the readers asked — why ain’t I banging away at the port? Well, it would be a bit nonsensical. Here’s why.

The port has a mission; it’s to bring business into the port. Now, I’m not saying the port doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the city as a whole, but its focus is port business. And I can appreciate that.

The city of Vancouver, however, does give a rat’s behind about the city as a whole. So on its own, the city should be concerned about an oil terminal here. But the terminal creates even more problems, because we happen to have a proposed waterfront project that could be jeopardized if this oil terminal goes in.

So it should be a quick and easy decision for the city to say no. Yeah, right. Unfortunately, nothing is ever quick and easy when you’re dealing with instant-rice politicians. They must mull. They must ponder. They must take forever.

Now, the city won’t have the final say on this oil terminal. But if the city government comes out quickly and decisively against it, that would go a long way in killing the thing. So I’m banging on them a little.

You know what? Doing stupid stuff sometimes happens when you don’t do stuff in a timely fashion.