Voters have legitimate reason to oust Rep. Akin

Political candidates fear the dreaded gaffe.

There are two types of gaffes. The first is a statement made in a moment of spontaneity or in the heat of a passionate exchange that can often misrepresent a candidate’s true intentions, and haunt them for the remainder of the campaign.

The other type is an off-the-cuff remark that reveals a person’s genuine character, or a belief they’d rather not expose to the public.

Both presidential candidates have committed gaffes of the first type this year. President Obama’s statement that “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” and Mitt Romney’s quote that “I like being able to fire people,” both fall into the category of verbal stumbles that distort what they really meant.

The statement by Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin about “legitimate rape” is of the second type.

Displaying amazing ignorance about the female body, Akin tried to justify his opposition to legalized abortion for rape victims. He said, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

This wasn’t an accidental gaffe.

Akin and Rep. Paul Ryan, who is now on the Republican presidential ticket, co-sponsored a bill last year – called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act – that attempted to add the term “forcible rape” to the rape exception in the federal abortion funding ban.

And this is a man who serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Perhaps voters in Akin’s congressional district will figure out how to shut down his whole offensive attitude toward women.

Those South Sounders who haven’t yet wandered through the new East Bay Public Plaza are in for a treat.

The plaza fronts the soon-to-open brand-new Hands On Children’s Museum and features the state’s first reclaimed water feature designed for play by kids of all ages. People are encouraged to take off their shoes and wade through stream, which runs from LOTT through the plaza and into East Bay.

The LOTT Clean Water Alliance owns and maintains the plaza, but partnered with the Port of Olympia, the City of Olympia and the museum to develop the space.

A self-guided tour of the plaza reveals it was built with recycled and sustainable materials, including a soil and plant “green roof” on the public restrooms. Interpretive signs explain about the water-wise plants used through the landscaping and remind people of the historic link between Olympia and the waterfront.

Credit all the partners in this latest addition to the revitalization of the East Bay neighborhood.

Are you a civic-minded person looking for a way to make an impact on statewide educational issues?

You have until 5 p.m. next Friday, Aug. 31, to throw your name into the ring for the one open seat on the State Board of Education. The Western Region Position 4 is open to help develop programs through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Applications go to the OSPI office in Olympia.