Much smoke, little fire

November 30, 2012 

The flap over the location of the Governor’s Inaugural Ball Jan. 16 is much ado over very little.

The ball’s organizing committee has entered into an agreement with Saint Martin’s University to hold the soiree on the Lacey campus at the Worthington Center and adjoining pavilion.

It means the inaugural ball welcoming governor-elect Jay Inslee won’t take place inside the grand Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.

As magnificent a setting as the state Capitol is, the logistics of hosting the ball there are difficult at best. Among the main challenges are negotiating the many steps leading into the Capitol and lack of nearby parking, which has required event organizers to shuttle revelers from parking lots around the campus.

The Saint Martin’s site is all on ground level, surrounded by ample parking.

There’s a move afoot in Olympia, including a resolution passed this month by the Olympia City Council, to keep the inaugural ball in the Legislative Building, but the hue and cry is probably for naught. The ball is just several weeks away and plans are well under way for the event.

The controversy highlights a couple of issues. For one, it’s a reminder that the City of Olympia lacks a convention center capable of hosting large events. And moving the Governor’s Inaugural Ball to Lacey is not an affront to the capital city. Rather, it’s a recognition of a greater South Sound community that serves as the seat of state government.

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