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The Attorney Who Kept Mariners and Seahawks From Leaving Retires

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Arthur Harrigan, the Seattle attorney who, with little fanfare or thanks, used his legal prowess to save the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks, has retired from the firm he founded in 1986.

But Harrigan, now 79, shouldn’t be permitted to ride off into the sunset without belated acknowledgment by the community whose professional teams remain here because of him, despite credit having been legitimately shared with several others.

In essence, Harrigan’s legal victories over Jeff Smulyan and Ken Behring that prevented their moving the teams to other cities paved the way for finding local owners for their teams. In the case of the Mariners, that allowed the late Sen. Slade Gorton to emerge as a hero for finding local ownership in Nintendo and owner Hiroshi Yamauchi.

Harrigan is having trouble finding the sunset as he remains involved as a funder, organizer, and chairman of an energy project designed to help save the planet.

Art Harrigan's legal maneuvering to save Mariners got no visibility but paved the way to find local buyerThe legal battles with the owners of two of Seattle’s professional sports teams came about because they were tenants of the Kingdome, having leases with King County, which was a longtime client of Harrigan’s law firm. So it fell to him to keep the teams from moving.

The venue for resolving the future of the Seattle Mariners franchise was what amounted to an arbitration hearing before Arthur Andersen, the national accounting firm that both sides agreed to have decided some key issues relating to the lease.
Since it wasn't a court process, which would have gotten large visibility for the battle between attorneys over the fate of the Mariners, the outcome got no media attention.

So it was amusing to both Harrigan and me that after I first wrote a column about seven years ago on his success in keeping the two teams, he told me his staff, in reading the column, asked, “How come no one knew of this back in 1992?”

Harrigan's maneuvering over the meaning of wording in Smulyan's contract regarding an attendance clause accepted by the Andersen firm was key to the final outcome,

So Smulyan was required to give a four-month opportunity for a local buyer to be found. And of likely equal importance, Harrigan successfully argued that there should be a local value lower than the open-market value.

The accounting firm agreed and set a "stay-in-Seattle" valuation at $100 million, rather than the national open-market value of $135 million that it had determined.

That created the opportunity for Gorton and others to lead the effort to keep the team in Seattle to find a local buyer for $100 million, rather than $135 million, within four months.

No one knows if, at $135 million, Nintendo's owner would have opted to pick up the cost of saving the Mariners for Seattle.

More visible was the effort to save the Seahawks since the battle with Ken Behring included a decision by the State Supreme Court.
King County hired Harrigan's firm to keep Behring from fulfilling his widely publicized intent in the winter of 1996 to leave Seattle and move the team to Los Angeles.

Behring made the argument after some tiles had fallen from the Kingdome roof, that he had concerns about the seismic security of the Dome as he announced that he was moving the team to Los Angeles.

Harrigan recalled the meeting at which he, King County Executive Gary Locke, and his assistant and chief civil deputy Dick Holmquist met with Behring and his attorney, Ron Olson, who Harrigan noted was also Warren Buffet's attorney.

He said Olson read from a yellow pad, explaining that the team, fearing earthquakes might impact the Kingdome, had to be moved to the comparative safety of Southern California and the Rose Bowl.
“Holmquist and I were trying not to laugh," he said.

"We were poised to file a temporary restraining order the moment the meeting ended, Harrigan said. “In the meantime, the trucks had already begun the moving process.”

"So when Behring and Olson left the room, I made the call, and the restraining order was filed," he added. "Had that not happened, we would have had to go to California and ask a California judge to send them back."

In the same timeframe, the NFL owners were holding their annual meeting in Boca Raton and wanted to hear what both sides had to say," Harrigan said. "I brought along Jon Magnusson and two other renowned structural engineers with West Coast seismic design expertise who explained that the idea that Southern California was safer than the Kingdome in case of earthquake was ludicrous."

The legal maneuvering all came to an end when it was announced that Paul Allen had purchased the Seahawks.

Now that the man responsible for this little-known piece of Seattle sports history has retired, there needs to be some recognition of what he accomplished.

There’s also an interesting piece of far-reaching legal history for Harrigan from when he was a young attorney in 1975 and spent a year as senior counsel to the Church Committee, the original Senate Intelligence Committee.

Chaired by Idaho Sen. Frank Church, the U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence was looking into all federal intelligence activities, including IRS activity.

Harrigan discovered that other intelligence agencies were obtaining tax returns from the IRS and using the information for their own purposes. In one instance, the goal was to prompt an IRS audit of a Minnesota citizen to take place during the 1968 Democratic Convention so that the individual could not attend.

Harrigan determined the IRS wasn’t initiating its own audits of individuals but was responding to requests from other federal for the returns of individuals whose activities the agency was concerned about.

He said when he appeared before the full committee, Goldwater, Church, Mondale, and others, to tell them what he had learned, Mondale was outraged that one of his constituents was among those abused by the process.

“Mondale called a full-day committee hearing,” Harrigan remembered. “In the meantime, I had already told the IRS Commissioner what we had learned, and before the Senate hearing, he had already adopted new regulations to ensure nothing like that could ever happen, installing audit rights against any agency that has sought tax information from the IRS. We had the hearing. The Commissioner reported that he had already stopped this in its tracks. Frontpage NY Times the next day.”

As to the climate-aiding energy project that is still on Harrigan’s business plate, where it has been since he first got involved a dozen years ago, it's called Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES),

It’s basically “highly efficient’ electric rail cars running uphill and generating energy, converting electric power to mechanical potential energy, which is delivered when the cars are deployed downhill.

Harrigan and prominent Bellevue business leader Spike Anderson provided much of the initial and continuing funding for this system which CEO Howard Trott, another Seattleite, has in recent years led. The ARES system has already attracted attention from utilities around the country.

It’s been seven years since I did a column on the project, headlined “Seattle investor friends focus on ‘The Holy Grail of Energy’ train project,” indicating their long-term commitment to the time and cost of bringing the project to final deployment.

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Don Bonker might have become the state's senior U. S. Senator but for encountering Patty Murray in the 'Year of the Woman'

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Don Bonker might have become the state's senior U. S. Senator but for encountering Patty Murray in the 'Year of the Woman'

Bonker, a friend for more than half a century, might well have become this state's senior U.S. Senator had he not encountered Patty Murray in the race for the 1992 Democratic Senate nomination.

Bonker's political credentials as a seven-term Congressman from the Third District in Southwest Washington and a congressional leader on trade issues, were far more impressive than those of Murray, a state legislator.

But Murray had the benefit of being 'The Mom in Tennis Shoes" in the year Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were elected in California and Carol Moseley Braun in Illinois as the first black female in the Senate, in what became widely known as "The Year of the Woman."

Those four women were sworn in the following Congress, the first time the Senate had welcomed four new women senators, all the result of people believing Anita Hill wasn't lying in her accusations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. So other men paid the price for Thomas in that political year.

Bonker's trade credentials, both those he earned during his 14 years in Congress from 1974 to 1988 and from his involvements thereafter, gained him broad respect in this country and abroad for his trade and foreign investment knowledge.

Mike FlynnDon Bonker

I got to know Bonker well from the late '60s when he was in his early '30s and an innovative auditor from Clark County, laying the groundwork for an intended but unsuccessful run for secretary of state. I was UPI's state political editor in Olympia in my late '20s.

We got together at many Democratic gatherings, I as reporter and he as participant, spending time together since we were usually the two youngest people in the room.

Later, after his first unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate when he lost the nomination bid to the late Mike Lowry, I had him write a regular trade-issues column for Puget Sound Business Journal.

During his tenure in Congress, Bonker authored and was a principal sponsor of significant trade legislation, including the Export Trading Company Act and the Export Administration Act. I had fun telling friends occasionally when Bonker came up in conversation that after he left Congress, we met for lunch and he gave me a photo of us that had been taken at a 1968 political fundraiser for Sen. Martin Durkan and that had hung on his wall during his years in Congress.

After sharing the story, I then added with a chuckle that the reason the photo with me had hung on his wall was because of the third person in the photo, then-Sen. Birch Bayh of Indiana, a Democratic presidential hopeful and one of Bonker's heroes.

Bonker, in recent years, had traveled back and forth regularly from his Bainbridge Island home to Washington, D.C., where he was an executive director and on the international advisory council of APCO Worldwide, global public affairs & strategic communications consultancy.

We hadn't visited for a decade or more when I suggested that we have lunch so I could learn about his then-newly published autobiography called Dancing to the Capitol. The book begins with what the foreword describes as "a wry take on his brief stint as a dance instructor, which gives the book its title and its spirit."

The foreword, by former Los Angeles Times editor Shelby Coffey who is now vice chairman of the Museum, describes Bonker as "a man of faith--often struggling with being both a Democrat and a Christian," and noting that Bonker helped bring the National prayer breakfast to international prominence.

"He has been a key, if quiet, force for others of faith who contend in public life," Coffey wrote.

"My own achievements on international trade, human rights, preserving our natural resources happened only because of bipartisan support," Bonker wrote in his 2020 autobiography, "A Higher Calling: Faith and Politics in the Public Square."

I got together with Bonker for lunch again a year or so ago and invited Brian Baird, who became Third District Congressman a decade after Bonker left the office, to join us.

So I asked Baird this weekend for his thoughts on Bonker: "He was a friend. Mentor. Role model and outstanding public servant, who served our state in countless ways right to the end. He stayed engaged and informed and always found ways to make a difference."

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Memorial Day salute to those who chronicle the deeds of sons and daughters who fought our wars

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Those who fight the wars that political devils create are sometimes also tagged as evil. But some journalists convinced that those warriors deserve to be remembered, chronicle their sacrifices and thus merit special recognition for ensuring that the sons and daughters who fought our wars are remembered appropriately.

That was the lead of my Memorial Day column of two years ago, which was a reflection on those who write of the warriors who fight our nation's wars to ensure their sacrifices are remembered.

That column included my longtime friend and former UPI colleague, Joe Galloway, whose three books and a movie about the battle of the Ia Drang Valley made him perhaps the best-known correspondent of the Vietnam War He died three months after that Memorial Day of a massive heart attack at the age of 79.

And it included my then-recently acquired friend, Scott Huesing, a retired Marine Corps major who guided his men of Echo Company through battle in the deadly urban battlefield of Ramadi during the Iraq War and then wrote about his experiences in Echo in Ramadi.

Huesing, in a small-world connection, but maybe not so small, explained to me when we met in San Diego in August of 2020 that as he wrote Echo in Ramadi, "it was the voice heard in Galloway's We Were Soldiers Once...and Young that left a great mark. It shared not just the stories of battle but of people. That power of human connection is so vital to me in all things."

Huesing's book became a number-one best-seller after it was published in 2018. It was described by a prominent reviewer as "so gripping it will be read by a generation of grunts and leaders, vividly depicting how, in crisis after crisis, mutual trust pulls a unit or a business through."

Huesing said he sent autographed copies of the book "to those I owed something, and Joe was one. Joe sent me a heartfelt note and a glowing review of my book. Although we've never met in person, Galloway and I understand the uncertainty of war and the most certain danger it brings close to one who endures the worst of what humanity provides, a connection that is something irreplicable"

Scott Huesing wrote of leading his Marines into war in Iraq in Echo in Ramadi
Scott Huesing

Now Huesing, 53, whose 24-year career in the Marines spanned 10 deployments and who led combat operations in 60 countries, seeks to help other veterans to become authors. One of those he introduced me to in an email exchange in which he described me as "fellow Marine and friend" was Andrew Biggio, whose book The Rifle. Was then about to go on sale days after that 2022 Memorial Day.

The Rifle is described as "an inspirational story and hero's journey of a 28-year-old U.S. Marine, Andrew Biggio, who returned home from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, full of questions about the price of war. He found answers from those who survived the costliest war of all — WWII veterans."

The promotion for his book goes: "It began when Biggio bought a 1945 M1 Garand Rifle, the most common rifle used in WWII, to honor his great uncle, a U.S. Army soldier who died on the hills of the Italian countryside. When Biggio showed the rifle to his neighbor, WWII veteran Corporal Joseph Drago, it unlocked memories Drago had kept unspoken for 50 years. On the spur of the moment, Biggio asked Drago to sign the rifle.

Andrew Biggio's The Rifle collected the stories of WWII vets who held and signed his M1 and relived memories
Biggio

Thus began this Marine's mission to find as many WWII veterans as he could, get their signatures on the rifle, and document their stories.

For two years, Biggio traveled across the country to interview America's last-living WWII veterans. Each time he put the M1 Garand Rifle in their hands, he recalls that their eyes lit up with memories triggered by holding the weapon that had been with them every step of the war.

With each visit and every story told to Biggio, the veterans signed their names to the rifle. 96 signatures now cover that rifle, each a reminder of the price of war and the courage of the soldiers.

Biggio noted that he realized of the WWII vets "they were leaving us at an alarming rate, and their knowledge was leaving with them."

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 325,574 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive, but around 296 die every day.

Biggio said the M1 being held by the veterans, who averaged 94 years of age, "acted like a time machine to take them back 75 years, and I asked them to tell me about their most stressful experiences." And thus, the book took form.

Biggio told me that about half of those whose stories are contained in the book have died since it was published. But among those still alive, most have become friends, and he has taken four or five at a time to France for book signings.

Now another group of interviews will be included in The Rifle 2, which is due for publication in September.

Biggio brought deeply rooted ties with the New England veterans community to the book project as the founder of Boston's Wounded Vet Run, a motorcycle rally nonprofit through which he's helped raise more than $1 million for wounded veterans.

Huesing has created his own non-profit to aid veterans. His is Save the Brave, devoted to providing companionship and stress-management tools to veterans with programs to address psychological and emotional challenges.

The most visible of those is Save the Brave Offshore, which provides offshore fishing opportunities for veterans at no cost, with Huesing sharing his view that nothing "can cure the effects of PTS better than connecting with fellow veterans in shared experiences on the water."

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Recalling the close relationships of three long-ago track competitors who never forgot the ties

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Anniversaries are to create memories. And sometimes if the anniversaries are from long ago, the memories they bring come in clusters.

That's to set the stage for this very personal column that may only be interesting to readers who competed in college sports or who made very special college friendships, often in sports, that stood the test of time.
 
The memories came when my college roommate at Marquette University, Richard (Dick) McDermott, recently emailed me an announcement about MU celebrating 100 years of track and field.
 
There were actually three of us incoming track-team members who met for the first time in the fall of 1958 in the dressing room under Marquette Stadium a couple of miles from the Milwaukee campus and became fast friends.
 
McDermott and Terrance (Terry) Evans were both Milwaukee area high school runners who were convinced by track coach, Bus Shimek, to accept athletic scholarships to come to Marquette rather than other schools that sought their talents. Meanwhile I, from Spokane and not boasting offers from any other schools, was able to convince Shimek that my high school performance at Gonzaga Prep should make him want to have me attend Marquette on one of his six freshman scholarships.
 
I sought out Marquette because it was a prominent Jesuit university (my father had made it clear I would attend a Jesuit school) with what was considered one of the best journalism schools in the country and I knew then that I intended to have a career in journalism.
 
So McDermott, who focused on cross country running (he had been the Wisconsin high school champion), won several of his collegiate meets and Evans and I had modest success through our sophomore years. Evans won several of his 880-yard races and I won in the Wisconsin collegiate indoor in the quarter mile and took first in that event in dual meets against Notre Dame and Bradley. And in two relay races I passed the baton to Evans, winning one relay and taking second in the other. 
Mike DickMarquette teammates Dick McDermott, (lower left) and Mike Flynn, (upper right), from 1961 team photo

As a guy who capped his legal career with prominent New York law firm Rogers & Wells by helping put together his firm's merger with the London firm Clifford Chance to create one of the world's largest law firms, it was logical that McDermott's legal mind came into play with the anniversary,

He sent a note to the school's athletic director a few days ago questioning the 100 years tout, saying "how is it 100 years given that the school dropped track and football in December of 1960, never restored the football program and only restored track and field in the '70s?"

As McDermott wrote in his memo: "The university dropped track and cross country along with the football program, ruining the careers and disrupting the lives of student athletes who had been recruited from around the country."

"Even more heartbroken than the athletes that day was Coach Bus Shimek, who had coached a number of NCAA champions as well as Olympic medalists and was himself an NCAA two-mile champion at Marquette," McDermott wrote.

The best Marquette track star was Ralph Metcalf, who took second to Jesse Owens in the 100 in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and joined him on the Gold Medal 400-meter relay team.

Years later, Owens credited Metcalf, who later engaged in a long political career that was capped with his four terms as a congressman from Illinois, with helping his 16 Black teammates get through the Berlin Games. Remember, those Games were Hitler's event to show the world the talent of the Third Reich and the black competitors who diminished the German display were not appreciated,

But back to McDermott and Evans, neither of whom I had much contact with after I went home to Spokane in February of 1961 and transferred to Gonzaga, which did not have a track team. Thus I was left to focus on co-eds and academics (in that order) so met my wife-to-be, Betsy, in math class.

Dick and I had spoken once when he called me in Seattle in late 1965 to tell me of the birth of his first son.

And Terry and I spoke once when I called him in 1988 to ask if my son, Michael, could stay with him on a college-look-see visit to Marquette.

By then Evans was a U.S. District judge, named to the position in 1979 at the age of 39 as one of the youngest appointees ever to the Federal District Court. "We'll be on a trip at that time but he can certainly stay at our house...I'll leave a key," Evans said, an offer that Michael quickly rejected as not appropriate.

The close relationship that developed long ago between Evans and me sprang from things like the fact that, in track, I passed the baton to him in the mile relay and the relay team's performance depended on both of us, and we on each other.

Five decades on from our Marquette parting, I decided McDermott, Evans and I should reconnect so I reached out to the two of them and said "it's 50 years this September since we first met at Marquette Stadium so let's get together again in Milwaukee and bring our wives."

And so we did, spending several days together and visiting the campus, including a visit with the university president, thanks to McDermott's alumni prominence.

Evans had, by then, become a judge of the Seventh U.S. Circuit, appointed in 1995 by President Clinton at the recommendation of Wisconsin's Republican governor and its two Democratic U.S. Senators.

And what kind of a judge was he? I learned during our visit that a newspaper reporter had once asked him that question and his response was "that's like asking me if I'm a good kisser. I'd have to be on the receiving end to answer either question."

When a traveling carnival worker was found to have a rigged game, the penalty included the donation of 144 teddy bears to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

And according to CNET.com, Evans was the first federal judge to cite a YouTube video in an opinion, which occurred in July of 2007.

Evans and I didn't have an opportunity to explore how much the visit reconnected us because a couple of years later he died suddenly of a respiratory infection.

But McDermott and I reconnected from the moment he came into the workout room at the Pfister Hotel, saw me working out on the treadmill and rushed over, flashing a smile, and gave me a hug.

In the 15 years since that reunion, we have stayed connected, despite his living in New York and I in Bellevue. He reads my column regularly and reaches out to touch base and share thoughts on various sports, political or business things via phone or email.

So having spent three days of face time in the 62 years since I bid him goodbye and headed back to Spokane, McDermott, who remains a prof at Fordham Law School, has resumed being, and remains, one of my closest friends.

He may attend the 100-year celebration of MU track and field on June 10. I won't be able to be there.

McDermott was also critical, still, of MU dropping football, noting in his letter to the A.D.:"

The football program Marquette saw fit to abandon so abruptly had produced nine NFL draft picks in the previous three years and two NFL players who became Pro Bowl stars from that final team. And the 1960 team had the nation's second-leading passer who was drafted by the New York Giants." his letter to the athletic director ended thus:

"Lest I be misunderstood, I have not lost my devotion to Marquette. Twenty years ago, my wife Mary Pat and I established an endowed Blue & Gold Scholarship for the benefit of members of the women's lacrosse team. We remain grateful for our education and experiences at Marquette, particularly our meeting in the Brooks Memorial Union."

And I remain grateful to Dick for our meeting and remaining close friends, although unusual in time and distance.

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Lisa Brown's credentials in Spokane mayor's race include legislature, academia and state

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When I sat down with Lisa Brown in downtown Spokane's Davenport hotel for an interview on her decision to run for mayor of Spokane, it was a day after Gov. Jay Inslee announced he wouldn't seek a fourth term. So I couldn't help but kid her about "why aren't you running for governor?"

When I mentioned that the following day to a mutual friend, he said: "That's not as much of a joke as you think, Mike. She has better credentials to run for political office than Jay Inslee, who was merely a member of Congress with a healthy ego 12 years ago when he decided he wanted to be governor."

Those credentials include being the majority leader of the Washington State Senate, a role she held for eight years, then serving as chancellor of the WSU Spokane campus, in which role she helped set the stage for the launch of WSU's Elson Floyd Medical School. Then Inslee named her to be director of the state Department of Commerce, the role she is leaving to run for mayor.

She now hopes to parlay what she would characterize as a background of leadership into the job of Spokane mayor, seeking to unseat Nadine Woodward, who is running for a second term.

Both Woodward and Brown have more visible political ties than is usually the case in nonpartisan municipal races. Brown's Democratic ties, including close friendship with U.S. Sen, Maria Cantwell and in Olympia for at least the rest of Inslee's term, are a key part of her background. And Woodward has close ties to several Republican groups, including keynoting last weekend's Mainstream Republicans of Washington conference in Leavenworth.

And those partisan connections could play a role in the outcome of the race for the top elected position in the city that is the economic center for a region stretching over three-state and two Canadian provinces. It's a region viewed as more conservative than liberal.

But Brown polled 52 percent of the Spokane County vote in her unsuccessful run in 2018 against GOP incumbent Cathy McMorris Rogers in the heavily Republican Fifth Congressional District.

lisaLisa Brown's background includes having been the majority leader of the State Senate.

I asked former Spokane mayor John Powers, a Brown supporter, what are the key challenges Brown faces in her race against Woodward, who was a local TV personality before winning the race for mayor in 2019.

"There's a bit of a perception in centrist and conservative communities that she is too progressive," said Powers, who became head of economic development organizations in King and Kitsap counties before retiring and returning to Spokane to go into real estate.

"But I think that's not accurate," Powers said. "She understands better than most the process of getting things done by discussion, compromise and resolution," he added.

According to the local Spokesman-Review, Brown appears to have the backing of the majority of Spokane's city council, who are progressive. "She also has the support of several leaders of color in Spokane," the newspaper noted.

"Black leaders in Spokane have clashed with Woodward's administration over roundtables on police reform and her decision to locate a police precinct in the former East Central Library."

"Visible homelessness, housing affordability and the perception that crime is worse downtown are real issues that I will take on," Brown told me. "But building on our strengths as an increasingly diversified regional economy is a key theme for me."

"I plan to be a mayor focused on economic development," Brown said.

'The cluster model we helped create at the Commerce Department is dramatically present in Spokane with the clusters of aerospace, healthcare and emerging technology, which can be built on to be keys to the future."

Spokane is my hometown, where I retain personal and business ties. So I've been intrigued to see the downtown develop into a surging business core while watching downtown Seattle decline to a level from which some bet it won't fully recover.

And I think a growing visibility for Spokane may accompany that Seattle core decline. And part of Spokane's economic success, dating back its 1974 World's Fair, has been that leaders have understood the importance of the fact The River Runs Through It.

And now that riverfront focus has extended along the north bank to include The Podium, the adjacent Spokane Arena that houses concerts and sports events and a new $35 million outdoor football and soccer stadium across the street which will open later this year.

So the area is developing into a true sports and entertainment district and that represents another cluster that will require close relations between city hall and the Public Facilities District that oversees those facilities and the role they will play in Spokane's economic future.

The realization of that cluster emerging, coupled with events already long part of the Spokane sports scene gave me the opportunity in February 2022 to suggest that Spokane should take the nickname "Sports Town USA."

The idea actually came to mind as I watched high school and college runners from across the country at a track event in February 2022 at the city's still gleaming new indoor 200-meter six-lane track that boasts the nation's newest and one of the few hydraulic-banked running tracks. That means the ends of the track in the $53 million Podium near downtown are hydraulically elevated for sprint events and lowered for other events.

There might actually be little argument if Spokane claimed the title of the nation's basketball capital. Afterall, it's not only home to a Gonzaga Bulldog basketball team that has dominated the nation's collegiate ranks for going on a quarter century, but the city also hosts on one weekend each year the 3-on-3 basketball tournament called Hoopfest that is the largest event of its kind in the world. Or as the event launched in 1989 touts itself, "the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament on earth," attracting a quarter-million fans, 450 courts spanning 45 city blocks and drawing 6,700 teams.

Then of course, for the world of runners, there's the Lilac Bloomsday Run. The 7.4-mile run marked its 46th anniversary this past weekend, celebrating the 1977 launch of the event by Spokane resident Don Kardong, who had finished fourth in the marathon at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

I'm still waiting for someone in Spokane to have the courage to say: "Of course we should be Sports Town USA. And we are going to start a campaign to claim the title." Maybe Lisa Brown in her run for mayor.

 
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Divided communities are putting small-town newspapers to the test of journalism integrity

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In a divided nation where some openly suggest civil war lies ahead, leaders and some elected officials in various communities across the land seem to be intent on producing a script that would bring that about. And thus local media in little-known places like Cottonwood, CA, and McCurtain County, OK, are being put to a real test of journalistic integrity, and even courage.

So this column is about the battle being waged by newspapers in some small towns, suggesting you don’t have to be a major newspaper or one in a major city to be called to serve the people’s right to know. And know with accuracy.

And in an era where many newspapers in towns and cities are being purchased by companies that have been described as corporate strip-miners seemingly intent on destroying local journalism for the profits, it’s heartening for advocates of quality local journalism to see that quality occurring..

One of those local journalism dramas is unfolding in McCurtain County in Southeast Oklahoma, where clean rivers and lakes and forested foothills have attracted North Texas residents in growing numbers.

And now it has attracted national attention with an AP story distributed across the country with the lead paragraph noting “the growing optimism about the county’s future took a gut punch.”
That came about when the local daily newspaper, the McCurtain Gazette-News, reported on a conversation among several county officials, including the sheriff and a county commissioner who were caught on tape discussing killing journalists and lynching black people.

The tiny Gazette-News, with circulation of about 4,000 and not even having a website, is locally owned since 1988 by the Willingham family, which also owns the local weekly Broken Bow News.

 But many of the other 200 or so newspapers in the state covered the story, including the role of the local newspaper that broke the story.

Residents gathered over the weekend in Idabel, the county seat, to demand the removal of the local officials. Not the kind of protest those in big cities expect from residents in rural America, such negative expectations amounting to prejudiced and divisive thinking in itself.

The governor has called on the state attorney general to investigate and take action to remove the officials, if appropriate. And the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association suspended three McCurtain County Officials
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So now over to the Shasta County town of Cottonwood, midway between Redding and Red Bluff in Northern California. And covering the divide that has developed in the community of 6,200 is Dani Chamberlain, a former columnist with one of the local dailies who started an online magazine she named A News Café, that documents local affairs, and readers came with her.

But then Covid shut down the state, and laid bare the bitter fault lines that divided this community.

Residents angry over pandemic closures began filling county meetings, sometimes forcing their way inside, and directed their ire at elected officials who enforced only the minimum restrictions required by the state.
 
One local resident, Carlos Zapata, warned the board of supervisors at a meeting in August 2020 to reopen the county or things wouldn’t be “peaceful much longer.” Chamberlain has written of Zapata extensively, including calling him “an alt-right recall kingpin, militia member, semen-purveyor, former Florida strip-club owner.”
 
And another resident said at a board of supervisors meeting in January 2021: “When the ballot box is gone, there is only the cartridge box. You have made bullets expensive, but luckily for you, ropes are reusable.”

.But there was more than just a backlash under way. The anger coalesced into an anti-establishment movement backed financially by a Connecticut millionaire named Reverge Anselmo, who Chamberlain described as having a longstanding grudge against the county over a failed effort to start a winery.

The response of parts of Chamberlain's community has left her shocked: “This isn’t how it’s supposed to be to be a journalist. I shouldn’t go to my car afraid one of these guys is gonna bash me in the head with a baseball bat,” she said.

And the situation in Cottonwood has attracted international media attention, with a major story last week in the U.S, edition of the respected United Kingdom newspaper, the Guardian.

I reached out to my one-time UPI colleague, William Ketter, long one of the nation’s most respected media executives, for his thoughts and he called fhe McCurtain County situation “beyond the pale.”

“I applaud the courage of the Willingham Family and the McCurtain Gazette-News for pursing public records and aggressively reporting on suspicious conduct of the sheriff’s office and the county commissioners. That’s what good, responsible local newspapers do. They are not intimidated.”

On the news “dark” side, though, there are too many newspapers now that lack the courage to even write stories that would upset an advertiser let alone face threats from some in the community upset at the local news coverage.

Ketter is the senior vice president for news at a newspaper company named Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., (CNHI), which owns 80 local newspapers, mostly dailies, and digital sites in 26 Midwest, Southwest, Southeast and Northeast states.

“My company’s newspapers focus their coverage on common concerns and interests of the communities we serve…We take our watchdog role seriously,” Ketter said.

Ketter’s background, in addition to his time at UPI, includes serving as editor of the Quincy Patriot Ledger, a suburban Boston daily, for 20 years, then editing the Lawrence, MA, Eagle-Tribune, where his staff won the Pulitzer prize for breaking news coverage in 2002.

As a long-time journalist, I’ve been concerned about the future of the daily newspaper industry as it has become the focus of companies like Alden Global Capital, dubbed by vanity Fair as “the grim reaper of American newspapers,” buying them and tearing them down for profits.

Thus I’ve been intrigued by Ketter’s company.

CNHI’s ownership is pleasingly unusual. The Alabama Retirement Systems bought CNHI, which had grown from a handful of newspapers in 1997 to one of the nation’s largest local newspaper groups, in 2019.

And every indication since then is that the retirement systems’ intent is that the newspapers, magazines, websites and specialty products that are part of CNHI make service to their communities a priority, with the premise that profits will follow media done right.
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'Declaration of Innocence' fitting closure from Judges for Justice for two men's end of 24 years in jail

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A “Declaration of Innocence” document presented by the CEO and founder of Seattle-based Judges for Justice to two men at a dinner on the evening of their release from Ohio prisons was a fitting closure to their 24 years behind bars for a crime they had nothing to do with.

Michael Heavey, former Washington state legislator and retired King County superior court who created Judges for Justice (JFJ) a decade ago, presented the document, signed by him and three other retired judges to Karl Willis and Wayne Braddy Jr,

The two Toledo men, convicted in early 2000 of the 1998 murder of 13-year-old Maurice Purifie, ‘were grateful to have four judges proclaim them 100 percent innocent,” Heavey remarked following the dinner.

Karl Wilis (L), Mike Heavey, Wayne Braddy and Deborah Fleck in front of Ohio courthouseKarl Wilis (L), Mike Heavey, Wayne Braddy and Deborah Fleck in front of Ohio courthouseAs the two men emerged from court the morning the judge pronounced them free to go, they wore gray hoodies emblazoned with the initials O.I,P., standing for the Ohio Innocence Project, which had launched the effort to free the men, in cooperation with the retired judges group.

The O.I.P effort was spurred by former King County Judge Deborah Fleck and her son, Tyler Fleck, who is married to a cousin of Braddy. Fleck challenged the prosecutor by writing behind-the-scenes letters questioning the convictions while her son created a website, www.freewayneandkarl.com, and they helped turn the tide.
 
The final chapter came to be written when Ohio Innocence Project deputy director, Jennifer Bergeron, contacted local Toledo TV station WTOL 11 in 2019.  Brian Dugger, an award-winning investigative journalist, spent hundreds of hours investigating this case.   WTOL aired his broadcast, Guilty Without Proof,, in August of 2019 and aired an update in August of 2020, bringing public attention to these wrongful convictions.

For years, Lucas County prosecutor Julia Bates staunchly defended the aggravated-murder convictions. However, in open court on March 28, Bates supported Braddy and Willis being released, noting that the case had attracted the attention of "retired judges from far away from Ohio.”
Karl Wilis (L), Mike Heavey, Wayne Braddy and Deborah Fleck in front of Ohio courthouse

What Heavey refers to as “turning the court of public opinion” is the process by which Heavey approaches cases Judges for Justice has decided are instances of wrongful conviction.

Heavey’s premise has always been that “the vast majority of people are good, honest, and kind. And once educated, they will not tolerate an injustice in their midst. In the end, the good people of Ohio, friend-to-friend and neighbor-to-neighbor, saw the injustice and demanded it be rectified. The public swell to right the injustice motivated the prosecutor to do the right thing.”

Heavey’s organization’s effort to create public support for the wrongfully convicted is almost the reverse of what got those people to prison in the first place.

As he has explained it: “any shocking crime generates fear in the community. Fear generates pressure on law enforcement and that pressure leads to what we call a ‘wrongful conviction climate’ where pressure leads to tunnel vision and its perverse by-product: noble-cause corruption.”

The Ohio case is the second high-visibility victory for Judges for Justice this year.

The January exoneration and release from prison of Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, a native Hawaiian man, after he had served 21-plus years of a 130-year sentence for the 1991 kidnap, rape, and murder of 23-year-old Dana Ireland on the Big Island drew national attention.

Heavey noted that “our 14-part documentary, Murder in Hawaii, seen by thousands of Big Island residents, changed public opinion from ‘They are cold-blooded killers’ to ‘they are innocent men wrongfully convicted.’”

As part of the public pressure Heavey mounts, he noted that “at the end of episode 11 we give the names, addresses and phone numbers for the prosecutor, mayor and police chief. We then tell viewers if they believe the case should be reopened and the real killer be pursued, please contact these offices.”

“There were over 37,000 views of Episode 11 and if just one percent, 370 people, contacted them, they would have been inundated with calls and letters,” Heavey said with a chuckle.

But there was no reference during the dramatic final court proceeding in which Schweitzer was released, nor in the media coverage on national tv news or newspapers from Seattle to New York, of the part Judges for Justice played in turning public opinion in Hawaii in Schweitzer’s favor.

And that represents one of the key challenges for Heavey’s organization: It lacks sufficient visibility with much of the financial support coming from retired Washington State superior court judges.

In addition, former Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander has been supportive “with advice and dollars” and former Justice Richard Sanders has also been supportive, Heavey said.

He notes that Judge Jay White (ret.), a Kent resident and former King County Superior Court judge, “has been an unofficial co-CEO of JFJ for the past four years and is my right arm and backbone.”

Thus it may be appropriate to celebrate the 10th anniversary of JFJ as an occasion to launch a fund-raising effort on the group’s behalf. That’s likely to be quickly echoed by his close supporters and friends, like U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a close friend since they were freshmen in the state house of representatives in 1987 and prominent investor John Rudolf, who has already expressed interest in such an effort.

Both are part of what Heavey refers to as his "bucket brigade" of donors.

A last case on JFJ's list, for now, is the case of Patty Rorrer, serving two life sentences in Pennsylvania for the 1994 murder of a woman and her infant that snagged worldwide attention during the search for the missing woman and baby.

More than 20 years after her conviction, JFJ is helping to build the case that she was innocent.

I have done several columns on Heavey and his organization in recent years and have been continually surprised by the fact that in an era where concern about injustice to minority-community members has soared, attention to Heavey’s organization has not.

I recently asked Heavey, 76 and a decorated Vietnam veteran, if there are other cases around the country of wrongful imprisonment that he could get involved in and he said: “there are dozens of requests from around the country” out of, he guessed, “thousands.”

“I’d love to have the funding for us to pursue 20 to 40 cases where we believe the person is innocent,’ he added.

The case that provided the launch for Judges for Justice was one with the highest possible visibility, the trial, conviction and imprisonment of his daughter’s high school friend, Amanda Knox. After Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were arrested in Italy in 2007 for the murder of her roommate, Heavey believed her innocent and got heavily involved in turning back Italian justice.

Heavey and others from more than 5,000 miles away in Seattle helped turn the tide of public opinion in favor of Knox and Sollecito.  Knox and Sollecito were finally freed in 2011 after serving four years in Italian prisons.
 
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Reflections on Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign: western primary voters wanted someone else

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Awaiting the next word on Jimmy Carter, the 98-year-old former president now in hospice care at his Georgia home, may stir some reflection on his 1976 campaign when voters in western states’ primaries all wanted someone else to be the Democratic standard bearer.

And Sen. Henry M. Jackson of Washington was actually the favorite to win the nomination when the’76 campaign for president began. It was a role Jackson might already have held had the script of fate been written differently 16 years earlier.

The challenge in the West for the former Georgia governor wasn’t that his disarming “Hi, my name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for President” didn’t sell as well with western voters as with those in other parts of the country. Rather it was that 1976 was a year of western favorite sons or favorite sons of neighbor states.

In fact, two of the favorite sons, Sen. Frank Church of Idaho and Rep. Mo Udall of Arizona, were considered to be in the running, along with Carter, through the primary election season and collected delegates at the party’s national convention.

Jimmy CarterJIMMY CARTER'S 1976 quest for the presidency found a challenge with western primary votersChurch and Udall were longtime opponents of the Vietnam War with Church’s opposition dating back to 1963, well before the escalation began under Lyndon Johnson. The opposition was part of the Church’s criticism of American policy in Southeast Asia.

And though the final day of the war had been in 1975, the campaigns of most presidential hopefuls had begun by then and its political impact on the electorate still echoed into 1976.

The other favorite son was California Gov. Jerry Brown, then only two years into his first term as California chief executive, who won both his state’s primary and the Nevada primary.

Udall, who won the Arizona caucuses, finished second to Carter in the delegate contest at the Democratic National Convention and Brown third. Church won Idaho, Montana, and, in an upset, Oregon.

Jackson was a long-prominent Senate Democrat, including having been chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1960 and had been on the short, short list for the vice presidential role with John F. Kennedy before JFK decided to pick Lyndon Johnson because of his Texas and southern ties. Thus Jackson might have already been president before 1976.

Jackson’s appeal rested on his political beliefs that were characterized by support of civil rights, human rights, and safeguarding the environment. He was one of the few members of Congress who sent his children to D.C. public schools.

But his equally strong commitment to oppose totalitarianism in general and communism in particular and support for the Vietnam War as the focus of his campaign against communism brought a hostile reception from the party’s left wing.

Jackson’s run for president in 1972 drew little support but by the time of the 1976 campaign, he was viewed as the frontrunner. He received substantial financial support from Jewish Americans who admired his pro-Israel views.

Henry M JacksonHENRY M. JACKSON was actually favored to win the Democratic nomination when the 1976 presidential campaign beganUltimately, Jackson’s decision not to compete in the early Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary spelled doom for his presidential aspirations as Carter took the largest percentage of caucus votes in Iowa and won the New Hampshire primary over four other candidates.

Jackson won the Massachusetts primary but after losing the key Pennsylvania primary to Carter by 12 points, he dropped out of the race.

I had the chance to help cover the 1976 Oregon primary for United Press International as a political reporter and so had the opportunity to see Carter, Church, and Brown on the campaign trail in that state.

One of my favorite memories from my political writer days was when I was sent to the Portland airport to interview Church as he arrived on election night, with returns showing he was on the way to a substantial victory over Carter.

So as I walked up to a smiling Church as he walked from his plane to the airport, introduced myself and asked: “So, are you going to be viewed, senator, as the new “Lion of Idaho?”

The question was a reference to Sen. William Borah, who was affectionately, and widely, known as “The Lion of Idaho” during his 33 years in the Senate, elected in 1907 as a Republican and establishing himself as a prominent progressive with fiery independence.

“I’d be fine with that,” Church responded with a smile, “as long as I don’t also become known as "'the stallion of Idaho,’”: apparently an amused reference to a lesser-known aspect of Borah’s reputation.

Despite losing the western primaries and caucuses, Carter went on to win the nomination and defeat Gerald Ford in the 1976 general election and become the nation’s 39th president. And it was losing four years later to Ronald Reagan that the door was opened in his post-presidential decades to become known for a life of service, which will be his lasting legacy.

Jackson died on September 1, 1983, of an aortic aneurysm at the age of 71, in his 30 in the Senate.
Jackson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. President Ronald Reagan called him "one of the greatest lawmakers of our century.”

And as a closing note, it’s difficult for a one-time political writer not to offer the following observation: For a man with Carter’s experience and background to defeat three highly respected and qualified members of Congress like Jackson, Church, and Udall is an indication of the role of timing and circumstance in fate's scripting.

But the important role Carter came to play after his single term as president may be taken as evidence that fate, in whatever form, does have a plan.

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If Gov. Jay Inslee decides to seek a fourth term, climate tax on gasoline could prove to be an issue

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Gov. Jay Inslee hasn’t indicated publicly whether or not he will seek an unprecedented fourth term. But on the issue he hopes will be his legacy, he may have sidestepped a negative public reaction that might have tempted one of the three Democrats waiting in the wings to decide it’s time to help him step aside.

It’s fair for Inslee to say he is a national leader on the issues of climate change and clean energy since he gained national visibility in what turned out to be a quick-exit run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 with climate as his sole issue.
But his website goes farther in what some may view as a bit of a stretch by saying he is “known as the greenest governor in the country.”

As an amusing note, Inslee actually owes a bit of thanks to the oil-producing countries of whose product he’s not a fan. The reason is that the latest dramatic decline in the last half of 2022 in the price per barrel of oil from $122 in June to $80 in January took the sting out of a January doubling of the state tax on the per-gallon price of gasoline.

The “sting” was a boost of 49.4 cents per gallon in the price of gasoline at the pump, and 59 cents on the cost per gallon of diesel fuel. That represented a doubling of the tax rate of 49.4 to 50.4 and it took more than a century to reach a tax first implemented in 2021.

But given that decline in price per gallon, which stood at $5.55 as the average in this state in June, likely exceeded the 49 cents for gasoline and 59 cents for diesel price additions in January, there was nothing for voters to react to. Certainly not how they likely might have if the new taxes had pushed the per-gallon gas cost in this state to over $6 per gallon.

WA Giv. Jay InsleeeGov. Jay Inslee's carbon tax could be an issue if he decides to seek a fourth term


What went into effect on January 1 was a result of the Climate Commitment Act passed by the Legislature in 2021 and the related cap-and-trade program to cut carbon emissions.

At its core, the program is designed to cap, or limit, greenhouse gas emissions to 25,000 metric tons and allows those industries or companies that exceed that amount to purchase “emission allowances” to offset 6 percent of carbon emissions.

The Act directed the Department of Ecology to develop and implement a “Cap and Invest” program to raise the penalty for exceeding the 25,000 metric ton allowance to $58.21, an amount that, incidentally, is much higher than the estimate used by the legislation.

Thereby hangs the tale of a 49-cent or 59-cent increase at the pump. The global oil price decline allowed the tax to go into effect basically unnoticed rather than being an issue to stir the political pot.
 
The intent of Inslee’s program is to penalize industries that historically are heavy emitters of greenhouse gas emissions to force them to reduce their emissions to save the planet.
 
But critics say the reality is that when the oil-producing nations send the price back up, it means the state’s new carbon tax will leave Main Street burdened by yet an additional cost for nearly everything that is delivered. Transportation of any goods will now require what amounts to a gas tax disguised as a carbon tax.
 
And if an increase from oil producers occurs between now and the 2024 state elections and the reality hits voters that the state tax on gasoline will continue to rise until 2030 with the goal of a total increase per gallon of 80 cents, voter reactions may be interesting.
 
And lest there be any doubt that those who pay the gas seller's fee will be passing on the tax, despite state officials' suggesting otherwise, the memo from a Kittitas County petroleum dealer should make it clear,
 
The note to customers of A-1 Petroleum and Propane spelled out the added cost per gallon for each type of fuel and then noted “our neighbors in Oregon and Idaho have seen significantly lower prices at the pump since January 1.”
 
“If those costs concern you,” the memo concluded, “please reach out to your local and state representatives.”
 
As to the Democrats waiting in the wings hoping that Inslee ultimately decides that, having just turned 70, it may be time to leave the governor’s office rather than pursue a record fourth term, it’s pretty sure that one of them would replace him.
 
The reality is that with the next election, it will have been 44 years since a Republican was elected the state’s executive, and none seems to have emerged to challenge in the 2024 election.
 
So if history holds, it would mean that three-term Attorney General Robert Ferguson, 57, Four-term King County Executive Dow Constantine, 61, or Lt, Gov, Dennis Heck, 70, would replace Inslee.
 
And many Democratic leaders might offer candidly that they’d like to see one of the three take charge of the state for the rest of this decade, bringing a focus on other issues while continuing Inslee’s climate focus, which is now part of this state’s political culture.

I asked the state’s most respected political pollster, H. Stuart Elway, if Inslee could be successfully challenged in the unlikely event any of the three Democrats would run against him if he does decide to run again. He indicated that would be unlikely
 
Elway said that while Inslee’s approval rating has long been “underwater,” meaning fewer than 50 percent of voters approve of his performance, “it’s been constant,” meaning he’s done little to irritate voters nor much to make them enthusiastic.
 
But most tellingly, Elway said that among Democrats, 62 percent would support him if he runs for a fourth term, though at this point they haven’t seen any other candidate.

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Differing views on accountability as key to public safety highlight the race for prosecuting attorney

Port-of-Seattle
While the outcome of races here and around the country in which partisan politics at its most bitter is on display and attracting maximum voter attention, the most important contests may be eluding people’s attention.

 But that’s becoming hopefully unlikely for the King County Prosecuting Attorney race, where the ratcheting up of attention is evidenced by the major coverage in the Seattle Times Sunday and Monday on the two candidates and their views.

It’s not partisanship that’s at issue in the contest for the seat being vacated by retiring 15-year veteran Dan Satterberg, which hasn’t been an open race for more than four decades, but rather different versions of implementing criminal justice in the county.

One candidate is Leesa Manion, who currently runs the prosecutor’s Office as chief of staff while overseeing nearly 600 employees and a budget of $80 million. If elected, she would be the first female and first person of color to hold the job.Leesa MannonLeesa Mannon

 The other candidate is Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, who spent 19 years in the prosecutor’s office after being recruited by longtime and highly respected late prosecutor Norm Maleng, before running for the Federal Way City Council. He then led the effort to switch to a strong mayor form of government and was later elected mayor of Federal way three times.

He believes that a change in direction is needed in the King County Prosecutor’s Office and that the status quo is not an option.

The prosecutor’s race was not on my radar until a few weeks ago when I visited with HomeStreet Bank Chairman and CEO Mark Mason, who has been touting Ferrell's candidacy. Mason has been high visibility about concerns for safety in the downtown Seattle area where the headquarters of his bank, a fixture on Seattle for 100 years, is located.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand the deterioration of public safety in Seattle as our employees have experienced assaults and drug-abuse issues on public transit and on sidewalks on the way to work,” Mason said. “As a result, my employees are afraid to come to work.”

“As I sought to understand the drivers of the decline in public safety, I now know that the policies and mismanagement of the King County prosecutor’s office are significant contributors to the problem,” Mason added.

Now he’s seeking to get endorsements for Ferrell’s candidacy from as many business organizations and key individuals as possible.

Ferrell, incidentally, is an intriguing candidate in that he was a Republican, including running for a seat in the legislature, until he switched parties and has been a Democrat since 2012.

His explanation should endear him to moderates of both parties: “The GOP started moving too far to the right for my comfort,” he said, adding, "I think most voters in this election will be more concerned about my views on safety than on the fact I was once a Republican.”

Among those who have endorsed Ferrell is Mike Heavey, former state representative, state senator, and King County superior court judge. He’s since gained fame as the founder of Judges for Justice, a local organization with a national focus on seeking to free those who have been wrongfully imprisoned.

“Jim Ferrell is an excellent lawyer who was always mindful about public safety and holding offenders accountable,” said Heavey, in whose court Ferrell often appeared during his years as a deputy prosecutor, including five years under Satterberg’s leadership.

“But at the same time, he has a compassion toward the defendants as fellow human beings,” Heavey added.

And it’s the issue of holding offenders accountable vs. compassion toward them, particularly compassion toward defendants who are juveniles, that is likely to become a much more prominent issue dividing Ferrell and Mannion, and their supporters in the final weeks before the General Election.

Jim FerrellJim FerrellThe issue is called Restorative Community Pathway (RCP), a program created by the prosecutor’s office last November to offer diversion for young people involved in a range of felony crimes. These include organized retail theft, assault, residential burglary, and unlawful possession and display of a firearm.

Mayors of Kent, Auburn, and Renton in addition to Ferrell in Federal Way, have expressed concern with the program’s diversion of firearm crimes as their South County communities are experiencing record-high levels of gun violence.

The mayors collectively agreed they support restorative justice for simple misdemeanor crimes for first-time juvenile offenders, but “failure to prosecute felony crimes is taking King County in the wrong direction and is making our communities less safe.”

And they also express concern that they were neither consulted about nor made aware of the plan before it was put into place.

The race for prosecutor has already divided the mayors of the county’s communities and in several cities, the mayors from their police forces, most notably Bellevue.

Police guilds in Seattle, King County, Bellevue, Kent, Federal Way, and Des Moines have endorsed Ferrell. Bellevue Mayor Lynn Robinson has endorsed Mannion. But Bellevue is more complex in its key endorsements in the race, with city council member and former Bellevue mayor Conrad Lee and council member Jennifer Robertson having endorsed Ferrell.

Of her lack of endorsement from the police organizations around the county, Mannion makes that basically a badge of honor because of her helping establish the public integrity unit in the prosecutor’s office that reviews police use of force.
“The unit’s review would not appear fair and transparent if I am endorsed by police unions,” she told one media outlet.

But she does boast endorsements from Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, County Executive Dow Constantine, and former Gov. Gary Locke, as well as county council members Claudia Balducci and Sarah Perry.

Of the RCP program, Ferrell says, “deferrals are an important part of the criminal justice system when matched with the proper judicial oversight and accountability measures. The problem with the RCP program is it lacks both accountability and oversight. The serious felony crimes included in RCP are adult crimes and should be removed from the program.”

Supporters of RCP, if they actually hope to sell it to the public, should be in the lead of having outside research to evaluate its success or failure or outline possible changes going forward.

Those long involved in juvenile justice or in working with juvenile offenders will likely remember the late ‘70s documentary, “Scared Straight,” about a group of juvenile delinquents and their three-hour session with actual convicts.

The program was conceived by a group of inmates at Rahway State Prison in New Jersey, an inmate group known as the "lifers." They were shown berating and screaming at and terrifying the young offenders with four-letter words in an attempt to "scare them straight" so that the teenagers would avoid prison life.

Versions of the idea were picked up in other states and put in place over the course of the next two decades with little evaluation of their success.

 But an array of studies in the late ‘90s, including a report to Congress in 1997 and one by the prominent Pew Charitable Trust, concluded the programs “increased delinquency relative to doing nothing at all.” Several noted that “agencies that permit such programs must rigorously evaluate them.”

HomeStreet’s Mason made the unarguably legitimate point in an op-ed piece in the Business Journal that “any program that allows offenders to avoid charges for their crimes must come with accountability.” Since the county council approved the RCP program, voters should look first to the council members for an accountability program.
 
Maybe the King County program could be renamed “Coax Straight,” gentle treatment and guidance from various non-profits involved in a program for the juvenile offenders in the hope they won’t offend again.

During his deputy prosecutor days, Ferrell, incidentally earned lasting courthouse recognition for his actions when one defendant appearing in court broke away from his police guard and sprinted down the hall seeking to escape.

Farrell, an outside linebacker and special-teams player for the Huskies in the Don James era, sprinted down the hall after the escaping defendant, tackled him, and brought him back to court.
 
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Cantwell's role in CHIPS bill passage was a revival of the dying art of seeking bipartisanship

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The ability of members of Congress, either House or Senate, to work across the aisle to gather support from the other party for a proposal that requires bipartisanship to move toward final approval seemed to have become a dying art in this era of stark divisiveness between the parties.

Thus the ability of Maria Cantwell, Washington’s junior U.S. senator, demonstrated an across-the-aisle ability that was key to the passage and presidential signing of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 to subsidize U.S.-made semiconductor chips led to a rare but welcome act of bipartisanship. The so-called CHIPS bill passed the Senate with a 64 to 33 majority, with 17 Republicans voting in favor, and passed the House with a 243-187 vote, with 24 Republicans voting for the legislation.

In a place where feelings rather than facts frequently guide decision-making, since feelings, after all, are what politics is all about, Cantwell used facts to overcome the politics that were in play in the Senate Republican caucus after GOP minority leader Mitch McConnell told his side they were not to negotiate on the CHIPS bill.

With a comment that had amusing implications, perhaps, as Cantwell is looked to in seeking bipartisanship on future issues, she remarked, “The leadership politics just got in our way, and we just had to figure out a way around all that. And so we did.”

The “way around all that” was teaming with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York to invite all 100 Senators to a classified briefing in a secure room on the national security imperative of passing a competition package before the August recess, a gathering that attracted about 60 Senators split equally along party lines. But she also credits Indiana Sen. Todd Young, who is completing his first term this fall, with his work on the Republican side of the aisle.
 
Cantwell had organized at least three previous classified briefings for members of the conference committee, but she wanted to hold one for all Senators to make a broader case for the legislation. The House held a similar all-members classified briefing on the legislation that week.

Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, and National Intelligence Director Avril Haines met with the Senators for nearly two hours, and the group of Senators reportedly asked 30 to 40 questions on the various national security implications of relying on chips made in China or Taiwan.

"Afterwards, I just remember members talking on the floor about it and saying, ‘Well if we can fall behind in one area, why can’t we fall behind in others?’ And so let’s get going,” Cantwell said.
 
“Today marks the start of the turnaround for U.S. chip manufacturing,” Cantwell remarked as the bill was signed. “More than a dozen companies are expected to make announcements in the next few months about expanding the chip supply chain in the United States,” she added.
 
“America wins, and workers win, and consumers win because every product dependent on semiconductors: cars, trucks, computers, phones, and farm equipment – will start to have a more reliable supply,” said Cantwell, who has chaired the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation since 2011, 11 years after she was elected to the Senate at the age of 42.
 
As the first woman to guide the important Senate committee, as well as being selected to co-chair the Senate Democrats’ new high-tech task force and earlier this year being named one of four “legislators of the year” by the Information Technology Industry Council, the lobbying arm of the high-tech industry, her leadership talents are being well recognized.
 
Maria CantwellMaria Cantwell found a way around leadership politics in getting across-the-aisle support for CHIPS semiconductor subsidyAnd an across-the-aisle leadership, as evidenced in the final steps on CHIPS would be a welcome re-emerged talent in the divisiveness-driven\ Congress.
 
In fact, one of her predecessors as Washington’s U.S. Senators was Warren G. Magnuson, who guided the Senate Commerce Committee for 22 years and was among the most respected members of what he liked to refer to as “the world’s most exclusive club” and he treated every member of his “club” as his friend.
 
Of course, your party must stay in control for 22 years to chair a committee for that long!
 
I’ve been a fan of Cantwell’s since I learned she was one of two Democrats among the eight votes against a measure called the America Invents Act proposed by President Barack Obama and supported by the vast majority of his Congressional Democrats. The measure, the first major change in patent law in decades, was touted as clearing the way for start-up and entrepreneurial innovation to find success against the tech giants by making first to file rather than first to use the new keystone of patent law.
 
Clearly, her high-tech background as an early employee and vice president of marketing at RealNetworks, a Seattle-based provider of artificial intelligence and computer vision-based products and an early pioneer in internet streaming-media delivery, gave her a unique understanding of the little guys’ tech struggle with the big guys.
 
I became aware of the act when I invested in a tiny company called VoIP-Pal, a penny stock company then based in Bellevue that had patents for most forms of voice-over-internet protocol, which by then had been, in essence, infringed upon by the major tech companies who were thus being sued by VoIP-Pal.
 
And the appeals board set up under the act could be, and was, composed of attorneys who had once been employed by one or another of the tech firms, Amazon, Verizon, T-Mobile, Twitter, or Apple, that were being sued for patent infringement.
 
So I began to search the background of the creation and passage of an act clearly doing the opposite of what it was promised to do.
 
As part of the research, I found a video clip of Cantwell giving a speech on the Senate floor in which she wound up with a heated comment: “This act is clearly favoring the big guy against the little guy,” explaining her “no” vote. In essence, leadership politics was getting in the way of doing the right thing.

A little-remembered example of her willingness to work across the aisle, even if it involved pushback against her leadership, was in May of 2010 when she joined 39 Republicans to block the Senate from ending debate on financial regulatory reform legislation, proving a “no” vote on the motion to proceed to a vote.
 
Despite the majority effort, Cantwell said she felt the bill, as it stood, failed to close loopholes in unregulated derivatives trading.
 
The bill then went back to the House, and as she recalls, “tough new rules on derivatives trading were added during conference negotiations.”

So now, as Cantwell is likely looked to for other cross-the-aisle initiatives, at least one comes to mind.

She promised some Senators concerned about the possibility of U.S. semiconductor manufacturers making investments in China or Taiwan for chip production that the CHIPS legislation provided “guardrails” allowing the government to “claw back” money if companies violate restrictions on investment in China. But it’s not unlikely that some subsequent legislation may be required to keep the companies on the straight and narrow.
 
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Egil Krogh's reflections on Watergate as "integrity lost" belonged in Gaslit miniseries

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There has to be a bemused reaction to the outpouring of national media interest, including from late-night TV personalities, to the eight-part Starz miniseries Gaslit, an off-beat approach to re-examining the nation’s most notorious political scandal, Watergate, through the formerly obscure character of Martha Mitchell, wife of President Nixon’s trusted insider, John Mitchell.

A key to the attention being generated for Gaslit, based on the 2017 first season of Leon Neyfakh’s Slate podcast Slow Burn and which premiered last Sunday, is clearly that Julia Roberts stars as Martha Mitchell, an unlikely whistleblower on the Watergate break-in that occurred 50 years ago next month, and Sean Penn plays her husband.

It’s unfortunate that nowhere among the many characters portrayed during the course of the series is there a place for Egil (Bud) Krogh, who was a young Seattle attorney who gained a seat at the center of power as assistant to Nixon's key advisor and former Seattle attorney John Ehrlichman and thus personal attorney and advisor to the President. Krogh took personal responsibility for Watergate and the evil that unfolded after it, all of which he blamed on a break-in he had orchestrated nine months earlier.

As I read about Gaslit and the half-century-old history it brings to light anew, I realized that a large portion of the population watching the series will be learning of the Mitchells and many of the other Watergate personalities for the first time, to no particular benefit except learning a bit of history.

But the story of Bud Krogh could provide a lesson in integrity that would have been valuable for all at a time when the word "integrity" is so remote from the current political climate that politicians who hear the word may not even know how to spell it and certainly not be able to define it.

For Bud Krogh, the lessons from the fall of a president echoed down the years less as a bitter memory than as a reminder of integrity lost. He felt it was important that the events of 1972 that led inexorably to the resignation of Richard Nixon two years later be kept ever in the minds of not only elected officials but also those who work for them
 
Egil Krogh's reflections on Watergate wereEgil KroghEgil Krogh
of Integrity Lost and could have been
a valuable part of the mini-series Gaslit

The series reminded me of a column I did a decade ago to mark the 40th anniversary of Watergate, a 2012 column that was an interview with Krogh, with whom I had become friends because of columns and a series of interviews I did with him before various audiences after we met in 2007.

The interviews and columns first occurred in 2008, 40 years after the 1968 campaign in which two other Washington State figures had key roles: then Gov Dan Evans, who was the keynoter at that year’s Republican National Convention, and mountaineer Jim Whittaker, who had become the closest aide to Sen. Robert Kennedy in the months of the campaign leading up to Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.
 
Krogh, who had just passed the bar in 1968 after graduating from law school at the University of Washington, actually didn't have a part in Nixon's campaign. Instead, being left to run the Seattle law practice of John Ehrlichman, the prominent Seattle attorney who helped engineer Nixon's general-election victory and became Nixon’s chief domestic advisor.
 
Krogh told me once with a chuckle that after the election, Ehrlichman returned to Seattle to close his law office and said to him, “how would you like to come back and work for the president?”

There is an Ehrlichman character in two of the eight Gaslit episodes
 
After the June 17, 1972, arrest of five people for breaking in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Washington, D.C., Watergate building investigators found that the perpetrators were connected to Nixon's re-election campaign, which was run by John Mitchell.
 
Krogh recalled for that 2012 column that even though he had moved from the White House to be Undersecretary of Transportation by then when he picked up the Washington Post that June morning in 1972 to read of the arrest of those who had been caught in the Watergate break-in, he said he recalled one thought: "My God, that's my fault."
 
The reason for that reaction was that as co-director of the White House special investigations unit called the "Plumbers," Krogh had nine months earlier, in September of 1971, approved a covert operation as part of a national security investigation into the leak of the top-secret Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.

The covert operation was a break-in at the office of Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist for Daniel Ellsburg, who had released the Pentagon Papers. Krogh hired G. Gordon Liddy and H. Howard Hunt to do that break-in, the same men who were arrested at the Watergate break-in.
 
“I had made it seem that it was okay to do a break-in in the name of the President,” he told me to explain his sense of personal blame.
 
It's that certainty about his personal responsibility for what became Watergate, even though he knew nothing about the break-in before reading about it that morning, that guided his thinking and involvements through the following decades as a sort of personal quest for redemption.
 
His 2007 book, "Integrity: Good People, Bad Choices and Life Lessons from the White House," had a second run the month before I caught up with him by phone as he was en route toward a Pennsylvania speaking engagement and I asked him how the sales were going. "It's selling better now than at the beginning, he replied. “The issue of government integrity seems more relevant to people today," a comment that would obviously be at least equally true in 2022.
 
He also developed and was sharing a decision-making model he called The Integrity Zone, which was designed to help people make integrity-based choices in their professional and personal lives.
 
The dedication in his book, written with the help of his son, was a telling reflection of that lifelong campaign: "To those who deserved better, this book is offered as an apology, an explanation, and a way to keep integrity in the forefront of decision-making.”
 
The book itself details the lessons of Krogh's lifelong effort to make amends for what he describes as a "meltdown of personal integrity" in the face of issues of loyalty to the president and to the power of the office.
   
Krogh eventually went to prison for almost five months after pleading guilty to criminal conspiracy for engineering the break-in at Fielding's office.

He told me that Nixon had offered to pardon him but that he had pleaded "Please, Mr. President, if I ever hope to get to practice law again, I will need to have served my punishment."
 
Krogh recalled in several of our discussions over the half-dozen years we were friends, that after Nixon's resignation, his personal path toward reconciliation involved a visit with Fielding to apologize to him for what Krogh told him was "an unacceptable violation of the rights of a genuinely decent human being."
 
Then followed a visit with Nixon in California in which Krogh recalls basically saying: "Mr. President, I apologize to you because everything that's happened was really my fault."
 
Krogh left Seattle soon after that 2012 interview, he had returned to Washington to be a Senior Fellow on Ethics and leadership at the Center for Study of the Presidency and Congress and Counselor to the Director at the School of Ethics.
 
Reviewing the 2012 column and thus recalling his words and thoughts is what made me realize that the mini-series should have provided a role for Krogh, who died In January of 2020 at the age of 80.

An amusing close to this column is that Krogh once told me that even the famous meeting between Nixon and Elvis Presley, who wanted to help the President tackle the nation's drug problem, had an outcome that simply lacked integrity.
 
"Elvis asked if the president could get him a special badge from the bureau of narcotics and, even though he wasn't entitled to that kind of a badge, I told the president I'd get one," recalls Krogh, who had actually arranged the Elvis meeting. "Elvis not only got a badge, but he carried it for seven years and he simply shouldn't have had that badge."

Krogh told me that in arranging the 1970 meeting, he had needed to explain to Nixon who Elvis was!
 
A historical note is that at the time of our conversation he told me that of all the requests made each year to the National Archives for reproductions of photographs and documents, the one that was requested more than any other was the photograph of Elvis and Nixon shaking hands at that December 1970, visit. More requests than for copies of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

The Day Nixon met Elvis, published in 1974, was Krogh's other book, basically a picture journey through that day.
 
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Aggression in Ukraine ends 30-year ties between Washington State and Russia

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Watching Russia in a warlike and aggressor role in its unprovoked war on Ukraine has likely brought a mix of sadness and regret for those who recall the time in 1994 that Boris Yeltsin, first president of the Russian Federation, stood before a Seattle luncheon audience of 800 that included ambassadors from many nations and shared his vision of a special relationship between this state and his nation’s Far East.

The unlikely but real relationship between a state and one of the world’s most powerful nations that began to develop more than 30 years ago and reached a high point in the ‘90s came to a sad but necessary end last week as both the state of Washington and the non-profit Council for US-Russia Relations ended ties with Russia because of its military aggression against Ukraine.

carol vipermanCarol Viperman - Founder, Foundation for Russian-American Economic CooperationGov. Jay Inslee last week ordered state agencies to cut ties with Russian institutions and the Council for US-Russia Relations condemned the “military aggression by the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian sovereign nation and people,” adding ‘We call for the earliest cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of Russian Federation forces from Ukraine.”

Derek Norberg, President and Founder of the Council of U.S.-Russia Relations, and Executive Director of its subsidiary Russian American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) said in advising me of the council’s action last week: “We are unable to continue, given the current situation.”

Although there was a trio of important events in that special relationship, mainly an economic one, for Washington State and the Russian Federation, the relationship was guided over two decades mainly by the Seattle-based Foundation for Russian-American Economic Cooperation and its founder and president, Carol Vipperman.

The first of those special events was the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, which were never envisioned to be held in Seattle when media mogul Ted Turner, troubled by the political boycotts of the Olympics by the U.S, in 1980 and by the U.S.S.R. in 1984, decided to sponsor an international sporting event. The first games were held in Moscow in 1986 with the second destined for the U.S. four years later.
 
Even before the Moscow games opened, sports promoter Bob Walsh created the Seattle Organizing Committee to bring the games to Seattle. On June 19, 1986, the Committee won the bid from Turner for the 1990 games, outdoing five other cities that had hoped to be selected, and Walsh began putting together a $180 million production.

Seattle hosted those second Goodwill Games in July and August of 1990. Thousands of athletes from nearly a hundred countries competed at local venues, including the UW, the Tacoma Dome, and Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center that was built for the games. By then the U.S.S.R., was mid-way through its three-year dissolution that resulted in the emergence of 15 independent republics, including Russia.

The Games’ keynote address, a very brief welcome, came from Ronald Reagan, who had finished his second term just 18 months earlier. The Cold War was then almost over with what President Reagan had once described as “the Evil Empire” on the brink of collapse.

It was actually the year prior to the Goodwill games that Vipperman, a Seattle marketing consultant, was invited to join a U.S. group invited to go to Moscow and Leningrad to look in on newly formed cooperatives designed to pursue U.S. business approaches. She returned and launched the Foundation.

 
Derek NorbergDerek Norberg - Founder, President Council of US-Russia Relations“Remember April of 1989,” Vipperman replied when I asked her what her expectations were informing the foundation. “It would be seven months before the wall fell. We felt if we could do business together we’d be less likely to go to war.”

Derek Norberg, founder, President Council of US-Russia Relations
 
And so for the next 22 years, FRAEC would be a leader in the quest to build economic ties between the two nations.

Ralph Munro, then-Secretary of State, actually went to Russia on a people-to-people mission in 1983, a time when the tensions in the relationship between our two countries were at a peak.

“The Russians thought we were going to wipe them out,” Munro recalled. “All they seemed to want to talk about with an American was how we were going to kill them. Then I ran across people who thought there was hope.”

Then a year following the Games, as business relationships were being pursued both in the Russian Far East mainland and on Sakhalin Island, Alaska Airlines decided to commence summer service to the port town of Magadan, and Khabarovsk, the largest city in the Far East. Alaska eventually extended its service to five cities in the rugged Far East of Russia.

It's worth noting that Seattle is 500 air miles closer to Magadon than Moscow is. Vipperman said, “The Alaska flights were meaningful to both sides.”

Munro recalled taking eight to 10 trips to the Russian Far East, including one on which he “took the first boxes of Washington State Pears to that region and they went crazy for them.”

In 1992 the new Russian Republic opened its first consulate office in the U.S. in Seattle, with what was described as “jubilation.” Chicago, with a large Russian population, had expected to be selected, but it was Seattle.

“We got the consulate, and they gave us a consul general, Georgiy Vlasken, a visionary guy who wanted to make things happen,” Munro said.

Vipperman recalled that Vlaskin was “a vegan vegetarian and never drank,” which brought back an amusing memory of my encounter with him when Vlaskin invited me and three of my editorial people to come to his Capitol Hill home for a get-acquainted lunch.

As the four of us sat down, Vlaskin poured a vodka for each of us and offered a toast. As he drank down his vodka, I did the same. Then he poured another and drank it down, so I did as well.

It was a day on which I had to drive to the airport for an afternoon flight to Spokane so I was a bit edgy when he poured a third vodka for both of us and drank his down. I carefully downed mine and told him that was all for me.

When I later related the incident to Vipperman, she laughed and informed me he always had water in his vodka glasses.

Washington State’s relationship soon grew to include most West Coast states and several in other parts of the country.

“The vision was originally for Washington State and we led states by a long way in trade and commerce,’ Norberg of the Council of U.S. Russia Relations told me. “And we had the only operating joint U.S.-Soviet joint venture company, Marine Resources Co. International,” a company with which Norberg held a variety of management positions in the 1990s.In the late 1980s, Norberg worked on Soviet fishing joint-ventures in U.S. waters off Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

Ralph MunroRalph Munro - Former Secretary of StateNorberg’s Russian-American Pacific Partnership held its 26th annual meeting last July, a bilateral gathering that attracted 90 participants from both Washington, D.C., and Moscow as well as representatives from seven states and seven eastern Russian regions. Among presentations was one by John Sullivan, U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, who said there are now some 1,100 U.S. companies operating in Russia.

Sullivan noted that “during times when our two governments do not see eye to eye on many issues, annual meetings like RAPP assume even greater importance. Such meetings between businesspeople, entrepreneurs, academics, and students, and regional and civic leaders serve to explore the many avenues for potential cooperation and provide ballast when the bilateral relationship is strained.”

Then came the Ukraine invasion. And that has left little but reflection.

“We have no interest in having anything to do with Russia now,” said Norberg. “I don’t think there’s going to be much return to anything normal. There’s no path for Russia to return, except without Putin.”

Alaska Airlines’ service to the Russian Far East was driven by both the pursuit of a business opportunity as well as our interest in building cultural ties between regions of the Far North,” said Joe Sprague, president of Horizon Air who was Alaska’s senior vice president for external relations when I did a column a few years ago recalling the Russian Far East service.

Alaska had to discontinue the connection in 1998 when the Russian economy collapsed. In an email to me for this column, Sprague said: “Regrettably, the business opportunity did not fully materialize and there were significant logistical challenges. It’s unfortunate because, as we see today, those bridges of understanding are more important than ever.”

Alaska’s innovative outreach to the Russian Far East actually went back almost two decades earlier, in the early ‘70s, when the Seattle-based carrier began charter service to the Soviet Union’s Siberia as a result of what has been described as “secret negotiations” between the airline and Soviet Authorities.

When the U.S. Department of State learned of the deal, it decided not to block the plan, indicating it didn’t want to create a negative response from the Soviet Union. It might also be assumed the agency wanted to avoid a negative response from Washington State’s two U.S. senators, Warren Magnuson and Henry Jackson, then among the Senate’s most powerful members.

Joe Sprague - Horizon Air PresidentJoe Sprague - Horizon Air PresidentI have my own Russian memories since part of the Goodwill Games involved conferences and hosting Russians. Thus as the publisher of the Business Journal, I agreed to host a journalist. So Mikail (Misha) Bonderenko, a 39-year-old journalist who was actually the president of the young journalists of Europe, became not only part of the PSBJ staff for a couple of weeks, but also my family’s house guest.

Through him my wife and three kids had the unique experience of learning first hand about Russia and Russians since later Misha asked me if we would host his wife and 9-year-old daughter, Masha, and Dasha, who lived with us for a time as we introduced to the growing Russian community in the Seattle area.

Meanwhile, Misha and I created a Russian newsletter with the intent of keeping interested business people informed of developments in Russia.. But we couldn’t generate enough newsletter sales to keep him interested, in part because he had a career to build and I lost track of him.

Vipperman recalled for me winding down her organization in 2011 because funding, primarily from government sources, was winding down as relations between the two nations were deteriorating.

She recalled, “getting the most touching emails from people all over the world” when word of FRAEC’s closing spread.

But she said she remained hopeful about the future until returning from a photo workshop on Mt. Rainier “I turned the radio and the top item on the newscast was that Putin was going to run for president again in 2012.”

"I was glad no one was around to hear the four-letter words that spewed out," she chuckled.
 
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Dan Evans' long-awaited autobiography offers more than reflections

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The long-awaited autobiography of Daniel J. Evans, governor, U.S. senator, college president, and six-plus decades as a civic leader, was well worth the wait and offers more than a look at the deeds and accomplishments of a man who is viewed as likely the most important political figure in Washington state’s history.

It also offers the first broad telling of what may be one of the most intriguing civil rights stories never fully told before, one that I’m hopeful is destined to finally bring national recognition to Evans and Arthur Fletcher, the black political figure Evans reached out to in the late '60s and who went on to become the Father of Affirmative Action.

The autobiography gives an important historical look at the bright young professionals Evans describes as "a lively mix of lawyers, accountants, engineers, contractors, real estate developers and
businessman," a group basically composed of young republicans and Jaycees, whose leadership in the early 1950s included the creation of an organization called the Seattle Municipal League, whose grades for political candidates made it a prominent influence on local elections.

Its members, including Evans and a group of then age ‘30s professionals, all veterans, some of whom would become part of his political team a decade later, brought a political acumen that changed the face of a Seattle in which “city hall and the courthouse were patronage mills and where police winked at gambling and prostitution corruption. In addition Seattle merely looked on as its “burgeoning bedroom communities were dumping raw and partially treated sewage into Lake Washington at the rate of 20 million gallons a day.”

Dan EvansDan EvansThat group of young professionals who would change Seattle included future congressman and lieutenant governor Joel Pritchard and future attorney general and U.S. Senator Slade Gorton. And Jim Ellis, the young attorney whose half-century of citizen activism included cleaning up Lake Washington and voter approval of his Forward Thrust bond package that included The Kingdome, that provided a home for the baseball Mariners and pro football Seahawks when those teams came into existence.

I chuckled at the likely reaction of Seattle’s current emerging political and civic leaders to learn that it was a cadre of young Republicans who were the city’s first civic movers and shakers.

In the late ‘60s, after Evans had been elected governor, the second youth cadre he nurtured sprang from the ranks of young Republicans. The following passage from the biography indicates how the stage was set for the emergence of Fletcher.
 
"Sam Reed (who later became a three-term Secretary of State) and Chris Bayley, two of the brightest young guys I’d ever met, launched a political action movement in 1968 that harnessed the restless energy of a new generation of moderate Republicans. They were frustrated by Vietnam and passionate about civil rights.

"'Action for Washington' was the genesis of today’s Mainstream Republicans of Washington. Back then they called themselves 'Dan Evans Republicans.' For me, it was an honor and a responsibility rolled into one.
   
"Christopher T. Bayley, a descendant of one of Seattle’s most respected old-line families, arrived back home with a law degree from Harvard in 1966. Sam Sumner Reed, the grandson of Wenatchee’s leading lawyer, became executive director of my Urban Affairs Council in 1967 after receiving a master’s degree in political science from Washington State University.

"Bayley, 29, landed at Perkins Coie, a top Seattle law firm. He had extensive contacts among King County’s politically ambitious young reformers, not to mention large donors. Reed, 27, had founded the College Republican League of Washington in the fall of 1967. He knew energetic young Republicans on campuses around the state."

Evans recalls one of Reed’s first assignments as an intern in the governor's office was to work with Secretary of State Lud Kramer, House GOP leader Slade Gorton, and Seattle civic activist Jim Ellis to draft an urban affairs report.

When Reed met Pasco City Councilman Art Fletcher he saw a rising star. A football star at Washburn University in Kansas, and the first black player on the old Baltimore Colts team in 1950, Fletcher organized a community self-help program in predominantly black East Pasco after moving to the Tri-Cities to work at the Hanford nuclear site. Fletcher radiated charisma.

As Evans wrote: "The Reed-Bayley masterstroke was to create the first, and to date only, effective party ticket in Washington State history. They dubbed us 'The Action Team for an action time.' Each flier, full-page ad, and TV spot featured our foursome, three young white men and one black, as Evans noted, “striding forward side by side with clean-cut confidence.”

Arthur Fletcher had already built a reputation in other parts of the country for activities that set him on the road to becoming a political anomaly as a Republican civil rights activist. Evans viewed him as the type of political leader who could bridge racial differences at a time of high local and national racial tensions.

I had the good fortune, as UPI's state political editor in Olympia, to meet and interview Fletcher in early 1968 after Evans’ press secretary, Neil McReynolds, flagged me about “this cool guy in the Tri-Cities whom Dan has been very impressed with.” Soon other Puget Sound area reporters also wrote about him, which helped propel him into an attention-getting role with Washington voters.
 
Evans, an engineer by education, engineered the fletcher role in the quest, with enthusiastic support, for the lieutenant governor's race against popular Democratic incumbent John Cherberg. In the end, he lost.
 
At the 1968 Republican National Convention, for which Evans was the keynoter, Fletcher had a role promoting his self-help philosophy to an audience eager to attract black voters. Among those drawn to Fletcher's convention message was Nixon himself.
 
Soon after taking office, Nixon appointed Fletcher Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards. With responsibility for the wage and hour regulations for the nation's workforce and supervision of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, Fletcher now had the power to revoke federal contracts and debar contractors from bidding on future work.
 
On June 27, 1969, Fletcher implemented the nation's first federal affirmative action program, which required federal contractors to meet specified goals in minority hiring for skilled jobs in the notoriously segregated construction industry.
 
But after two years, Fletcher's affirmative action programs had earned him so much enmity among the leaders of the skilled construction unions that he was forced to resign.
President Nixon gave him a brief assignment on the United Nations delegation under Ambassador George H.W. Bush, which began the friendship that would take Fletcher's political career to even greater heights.
 
He went on to serve in the administrations of Ford, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush and became known as the “father of affirmative action.” Fletcher headed the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and as president of the United Negro College Fund coined the phrase “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
 
“Those were remarkable achievements,” Evans has said to me on several occasions in recent years as we discussed Fletcher. “But how I wish Washington could have been the first state in the union since Reconstruction to elect an African-American governor. That would have been a proud boast.”
 
When Evans shared with me passages about Fletcher from his autobiography four years ago, he said: "I'm confident that if Art Fletcher had been elected lieutenant governor he would have succeeded me, perhaps in 1977. In any case, sooner rather than later."
 
"He later had remarkable achievements, but how I wish Washington could have been the first state in the union since Reconstruction to elect an African-American governor. That would have been a proud boast. It could have had a huge impact on race relations and who knows how history could have changed.”

Evans' reflections on Fletcher, with whom he remained friends until his death in 2005, have been key parts of interviews I’ve done with Evans in the past couple of years, two at the Columbia Tower Club, including in fall of 2019 and another last fall for Seattle Rotary, done remotely since the club wasn’t having live programs that month.
Regular readers of The Harp may recall a column I did four years ago on the Evans-Fletcher story, a half-century anniversary piece, As I wrote it, I realized that 1,700 readers were a dramatically small number to know about the story.

So I reached out to Mark Higgins, assistant editorial page editor of the Seattle Times, to offer him the column and he first explained that The Times doesn’t run a piece that has already appeared as a column elsewhere.
But he soon decided, on reflection, and much to his credit, that the Evans-Fletcher story deserved being brought to The Times readership. So the Harp appeared as an op-ed piece under the headline: ‘Remembering Arthur Fletcher, the father of Affirmative Action.”
 
In fact, in terms of national visibility, if you search Wikipedia for Fletcher, there’s a brief look at his accomplishments. And there is one media source reference. Seattle Times: Remembering Arthur Fletcher, Father of Affirmative Action (Mike Flynn, Nov. 11, 20128)

John Hughes, former editor, and publisher of the Aberdeen World, who edited the autobiography, remembers meeting Evans in Olympia in 1966 when he was a reporter for The World.

He told me he began helping Evans five years ago, noting that at the time Evans had written about 300,000 words but the manuscript ended when he left the U.S, Senate in 1989.

"I'd liken my role in Dan's marvelous book to that of a consulting structural engineer. (Ever the engineer, that line will make Dan smile)."

Hughes, now chief historian with Legacy Washington in the Secretary of State's office, recalls "Almost exactly a year ago, Secretary of State Kim Wyman asked me how Dan was doing on the book. Sighing, I said it was still unfinished. Then in a spontaneous moment, I suggested we help him finish the narrative and publish the autobiography as a Legacy book. 'Absolutely!' she said."
 
"From February to October, I conducted oral history interviews with Dan to speed up the process. He'd review the transcripts, then I'd weave them into chapters."

"I think it's a hugely important book, particularly at this moment in our political history.
Dan's memorable declaration that he 'would rather cross the political aisle than cross the people' reminds us that politics doesn't have to be fear and loathing."

Now as national book reviewers get their copies, I'm hopeful they'll focus on the Evans-Fletcher segment.

Then perhaps my goal of seeing some ongoing national recognition come about for what their relationship meant, both in Evans' original goal and the way it paved the road for Fletcher's future, will begin attracting attention in high levels.

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Decade-old law to halt insider trading by members of Congress drawing some renewed attention

US-Congress
At a time when Congress is poisoned by political animosity and divisiveness on most issues, there’s suddenly conversation that lawmakers should address the issue of the law-breaking they are permitting from many members’ stock-market involvement.
 
Law-breaking? Well, there’s a law in place, largely the work of former Washington Congressman Brian Baird, called the STOCK Act. The measure, appropriately titled Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, was designed to make insider trading by members of Congress illegal and force more transparency in their financial dealings.
 
The issue has stirred some attention in recent weeks, including an intraparty squabble instead of the now-usual partisan shouting.
 
Brian BairdBrian BairdUnfortunately, there are some compelling issues like hearings on the January 6 insurrection, struggles over voting rights, and discussion over political views on violence that have created gaping divisions almost totally partisan that challenge interparty discussion on other important issues like member financial dealings.
 
But disclosures by the global online media company Insider of the dozens of violations of the STOCK Act, and thus the law, sparked the exchange among Democrats over stock ownership and maybe created an issue that can attract focus from lawmakers in both parties.
 
The disclosures prompted Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex to suggest members of Congress should be barred from trading and holding stock, even individual shares. That set off House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who scoffed at the idea, saying “We’re a free market economy and they (members of Congress and spouses) should be able to participate in that.”
 
It’s worth recalling that it was Pelosi’s ineptitude in 2011 with questions on the stock-ownership issue from a reporter for 60-minutes and a public reaction it caused that helped push Congress to quickly take up and pass the STOCK Act in 2012. That quick action to pass the bill in the face of public outcry came after six years of Baird unsuccessfully pressing for consideration or even support.
 
So perhaps the 10th anniversary of the passage of the STOCK Act and recalling the manner in which intense public pressure brought about its passage might prompt a revisiting, particularly with a recent focus on its failings in terms of sufficient penalties for violators.

I reached out to Baird, the former congressman from Washington’s third district and now an Edmonds resident, for his thoughts.

“The penalty for insider trading by a member of Congress should be no less than that kind of trading by a corporate insider,” he said. “It is a flagrant abuse of power and trust that not only distorts markets but undermines the public’s faith in their government. That warrants very serious consequences in my judgment.”

 Ironically and unfortunately, since Baird, now 65, didn’t seek re-election in 2010, he had been out of office nearly a year when the telling CBS segment aired to set the stage for a rush by Congress to pass the bill.
 
Here is a section from a November 2011 column I wrote after the CBS program aired.
 
“During the last three of his six terms representing the state's 3rd District, Democrat Baird sought unsuccessfully to pass, or even just gather support for, what he called the Stock Act. It would have barred members of Congress from doing stock transactions in areas they regulate, in essence, prohibiting their investing in a manner that those in the real world call Insider Trading
 
 “For ordinary citizens, reaction to Baird's proposal would be a laughable ‘well, of course’ But in a place whose mantra is ‘the rules we make for you don't apply to us,’ seeking to force action by the lawmakers on one small, self-imposed ethical constraint could become a rallying point for a fed-up public.
 
“The thrust of the CBS segment that aired this month is that lawmakers often do make stock purchases and trades in the very fields they regulate. While ordinary citizens could be jailed for engaging in the kind of investment shenanigans that those in Congress involve themselves in, there's not even an ethical concern among lawmakers.
 
“And a sure way to take this worthwhile campaign viral is to share in every possible social-media fashion 60 Minutes reporter Steve Croft's questioning of current House Speaker John Boehner and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi at their respective news conferences.
 
Viewers of the ineptitude with which both Boehner and Pelosi tried to answer Croft's questions about whether their investment practices were at least conflicts of interest were irate.
 
Pelosi was unforgettable, stuttering ‘you…you wouldn’t suggest I’d do anything that was not in the best interest of my constituents?’ The thought that had to occur was ‘Who elects these people?’ The answer, unfortunately, is people like us elect them. Shame on us.”
 
The kind of stock-market activity that Croft pointed out included Boehner, now retired, having bought a bunch of health-care-related stock during the healthcare reform debate of 2009. And when Boehner's efforts to kill the so-called "public option" succeeded, those stocks skyrocketed.
 
Pelosi, meanwhile, had gotten in on a series of lucrative stock Initial Public Offerings. One of those involved an enormous number of Visa shares that Pelosi purchased while she was working on legislation that would have hurt credit card companies. Two days after purchasing the stock at $44 a share, and after the bill was put on long-term hold, Pelosi's stock shot up to $64 a share.”
 
After the program aired and the public reaction to it shocked members of Congress, lawmakers rushed to get their names on the bill once it was introduced in January in both house and Senate.
 
It was the 2012 bill introduced in the Senate by outgoing Sen. Joseph Liberman that added a name to Baird’s Stock act, Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. It passed the House in February with only two dissenting votes and in April in the Senate with three dissenters.
 
I asked Baird this week to reflect on what’s happened since including the impact disclosures under the act’s reporting requirements had on the two Georgia Senate races in 2020 whose outcome determined control of the Senate.
Actually, the role played by the STOCK Act in the defeats of Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both Republicans, that this gave the Democrats Senate control was significant visibility for certain stock trades they made. That visibility came at a time when the suffering caused by the pandemic and the widespread economic hardship of the average Georgians were viewed as playing in the outcomes.
 
“Unfortunately many members are flagrantly disregarding the STOCK Act,” Baird said. “Rand Paul, for example, did not file in anything near the required time and that fact only became known after the election.”
 
“This has to change through more stringent enforcement and serious consequences for violations,” Baird added. “Enforcement should be through a combined process of the SEC as an external entity and the internal ethics mechanisms of the Congress. It may be necessary to create an independent review body.”  
 
Maybe the 10th anniversary of the STOCK Act may occasion some focused discussion on how it's doing. Or not doing.
 
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Archival-video business would save messages for military families

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The idea of preserving the voice and video presence of every U.S. service member killed in action led Sandy Wheeler to create an archival video platform that would allow those whose military service leads to the ultimate sacrifice to have preserved, before their departure for a battle zone that may be well known or top secret, their legacies for family members left behind, and even those not yet born.
 
“We would hope to make it part of their pre-deployment requirement that they create for their loved ones and family members short video messages that will go into the archives,” said Wheeler, a Vietnam veteran who returned to civilian life in 1970, graduated from what was then Central Washington College and began what he expected would be an accounting career.
 
But a decade later Wheeler, now 74 and a Wenatchee resident, turned to be an entrepreneur, founding and presiding over the founding and growth of one of the best-known exercise-equipment companies, Bowflex, and its acquisition of Nautilus as well as Schwinn Fitness and Stairmaster.
 
Wheeler says the idea for memory-carrying time capsules was planted when he arrived home from his 18-month tour in Vietnam expecting to connect with one of his best friends, Dennis, who was to be discharged two weeks after him and also head home. But he learned that Dennis had been killed in action two days before his discharge.

“Simply unbelievable. Dennis’ baby boy would never see his father and his wife would never see him alive again,” Wheeler said.

Sandy WheelerSandy Wheeler“That was truly the point in time that this vision took root,” Wheeler said. “I was sick with grief that this baby boy would never get to hear his daddy's voice, play ball, wrestle or do any of the things little boys desire and need.”

Fast forward to this past August as the U.S, involvement in Afghanistan wound down and two events served to cement in Wheeler’s mind the power behind the vision, and the need for the time capsules.
 
First was an incident related to him by a friend in the Seals who had a close friend, Lou, who was among the 22 Seals killed, along with eight other U.S, troops when their helicopter was shot down on August 21 in Afghanistan.
 
“Lou left a wife and two little boys, 7 and 9, behind,” related Wheeler. “But something else he left behind cemented in my mind the power behind this vision. Lou had a fellow Team member film a video of him on August 6 that was to be sent to his wife and boys IF he was killed in action. At Lou’s funeral, his wife played the video messages for all to see and there was not a dry eye in the place.”
 
“Finally, on August 26, 2021, our whole nation watched in horror as 12 Marines and one Navy Corpsman were killed in Afghanistan and their loved ones would be left in shock with no chance to say goodbye,” said Wheeler. “I then knew this vision had to move forward and launched it with two other co-founders.”

The first group Wheeler hopes to target with his TimeCapsules Corp., for which as CEO he is now in fundraising mode, is the 75,000 or so members of the various Special Operations (Special Ops) units spread across the armed forces, troops ranging from reconnaissance and counter-terrorism typically conducted by small groups of highly trained personnel like Army green berets and rangers and Navy Seals. Those are all grouped under what is commonly referred to as special forces.

“The deaths of the 12 marines and the navy corpsman killed in the suicide bombing attack on the airport in Kabul made me realize how important it might have been for their families to have videos of their dead service member, to hear them say "I love you" and they could listen a million times,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler's first step with his business is a crowd-funding effort to raise $350,000 to complete the technical aspects of the capsule and provide first-year operating costs. Then, having filed a Reg-D, he will go after qualified investors seeking to gain equity shares and looking to an exit strategy.

“We are now working on the app and finishing the buildout of the encryption stuff,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler's knowledge of how to grow a business is indicated by his exercise-equipment venture. He launched Bowflex in 1985, taking the role of marketing vice president and fundraiser, then guiding the purchase of Nautilus as well as Schwinn fitness and Stairmaster in the '90s, using the name Nautilus for the collective businesses. Then he took the companies to the NYSE under the symbol NLS, completing the growth from zero sales to more than a half-billion dollars.

Wheeler emphasizes the importance of family to him. He and his wife, Dianna, celebrated their 50th anniversary in July, and the day we talked, he was heading off with his grandson to drive to Nebraska to go deer hunting.
.
“Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), which has three or four special ops groups, would be our first target, then Fairchild near Spokane, then once we have all special ops, move on to regular military, to all reserve and eventually national guard members, whose lives are on the line if they are called up.”

It’s intriguing that Wheeler’s project starts with a part of the military that frequently operates in secret so most Americans are not even aware there are members of the military who are on assignments that, at any given moment, can be in life or death situations.

“The time capsule will allow any member of the military to leave something for any future calendar date they wish and for any reason, even 20 to 30 years into the future, and the system knows the disbursement date,” Wheeler explained. “Those for whom a message is left will have a disbursement date that could be like to a granddaughter on her wedding day saying in a video capsule ‘grandpa would love to be with you on this special day.’”

Wheeler’s time in Vietnam included an incident that brought home to him personally the importance of communication with loved ones, an incident he shared with a chuckle.
 
He recalled that he sent a letter each week to his mother, “sometimes even just a quick note, like ‘send cookies,’ but it was every week.”
 
“Then I got sent on a secret mission to Laos or Cambodia, a mission where you didn’t even take your dog tags let alone communicate,” he said.
 
“So when my mom didn’t get her letters, she called the Red Cross and her concern eventually came to the attention of an admiral who called me in when I returned and he said ‘we can’t have your mom calling the Red Cross. Next time you leave me a series of letters to send to her and I’ll take care of it.’”

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Tale of two cities and debate over a region's name

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The congenial disagreements that I've had over the past couple of years with my friend John Powers, longtime economic development leader in this area, about our respective views of Seattle's future role in the region took on a bit of a new spin as a result of last week's Seattle elections.

In some respects, our discussions reflect primarily on who Seattle was, and its likely comeback, vs. a changing workplace dynamic and its maybe not comeback might be the tale of two cities.

Powers, whom I met 20 years ago when he was mayor of my hometown of Spokane and who then came to Seattle to head the King County economic development organization that he renamed Enterprise Seattle, has contended that despite the growth of the surrounding communities and counties, this region needs to remain "the Greater Seattle" area.

I have contended that it's time to focus on the fact this is the "Puget Sound Area," with the image of Seattle declining, and marketing material should acknowledge a Puget Sound designation.

John PowersJohn PowersBut the Seattle election results that suggest moderates may again be in the ascendancy in Seattle may have changed the tone of my conversations with Powers, who actually became a client of mine for a time after I retired as publisher of Puget Sound Business Journal and he was lured away from Enterprise Seattle to run Colliers International's Northwest operation. We've stayed close since then.

My view had seemed to gather greater credibility when Amazon CEO Andy Jassey, obviously throwing down the gauntlet to Seattle, told the Geekwire summit in early October: "We don't view Seattle as our HQ1 any longer. We view it as Puget Sound."

Jassy wasn't taking part in that "what should we call our region" discussion. But he might have been when he commented: "Bellevue, just east of Seattle, is where most of our growth will end up being." He added that he wouldn't be surprised if Amazon opened other offices in additional cities in the region.

But soon after Jassey's comments came last week's mayoral and a city council race and, of all things, a city attorney contest involving a former Republican who won. That allowed us to agree that, in Powers' words, it was "absolutely heartening" to see Bruce Harrell's overwhelming victory in the race to be Seattle's next mayor and the sense of the city's moderates emerging to actually make their voices heard.

For business and civic leaders in communities across Puget Sound who may have become convinced that the Seattle they watched warily over the past several years was on the verge of becoming a city living on the memories of yesterday's accomplishments, those Seattle election results had to bring a collective sigh of relief.

There was a particular satisfaction in seeing the photo of Harrell, son of a black father and Japanese mother, standing next to a hugely smiling Norm Rice, the black leader whose two successful terms as mayor saw him build back downtown, improve schools and reinvigorate neighborhoods.

Powers summed it up for me thus: "Bruce Harrell's Election bodes well for the entire region as 'Seattle Together' begins to tackle big challenges and moves forward to regain its footing and credibility. It will take time - resources - and a strong political consensus as well as the will to turn the situation around - but I do believe Mayor Harrell's election will be seen as the event that was the beginning of the turnaround."

But careful about giving way to optimism too soon, I told Powers in a post-election conversation. We have to see how Harrell as mayor handles the pushback that is sure to come from the group of city council members furthest on the political left, considerably to the left of Harrell.

It's pretty clear that the greatest opposition to Harrell is likely to come from council member Kshama Sawant. But then Powers offered: "Sawant's voice is going to grow feinter not louder." And she may be recalled in a vote on December 7.

And I suggested to Powers, who retired a year ago after nine years guiding the Kitsap Economic Development organization and moved home to Spokane, that Jassey may have inadvertently opened the door to that "Greater Seattle" vs. Puget Sound Area" discussion.

The elections were one of the things that have loomed on the horizon to determine what the future holds for Seattle's long dominance in the region's identity. The other, which hasn't gotten a lot of attention yet with the elections dominating the discussion, is the yet-to-be-released census data.

If the census data, to be distributed in depth before year-end, shows dramatic comparative growth of the Eastside vs, Seattle, it may require rethinking from both political and resource-allocation standpoints of the relative impact of the city vs. its Eastside suburbs.

The region is flush with communities whose ties with each other are at least as important to them as ties with Seattle, much as with the array of individual cities surrounding the Bay Area, which of course is a designation that has come to be globally recognized, as would The Puget Sound Area become.

In fact, I'd submit that the idea has been made much more logical by the post-COVID phenomenon of remote work, which is allowing a large percentage of workers once office-bound five days a week to now choose what appealing place they want to live. And it's likely to be true that communities around Puget Sound, along with more distant and more rural locations, will be in the running to create strategies to lure those remote workers.

And it's already clear that far fewer employees are likely to be working downtown, leaving a central Seattle that may well be far less a "where it's at" business community than it was accustomed to being in the pre-COVID time.

And it was amusing to see the PSBJ struggle over the "what's the name" issue over the weekend when under a headline that read "Seattle region office market's rent growth is tops in North America," the reporter wrote, "The Puget Sound region ranked No. 1 among North America's 30 leading tech markets for office rent growth."

Among those I visited with on the regional-name topic, I thought the best summing up for my side of the discussion came from a retired newspaperman, Peter Horvitz, who owned and was publisher for several decades of the Eastside Journal and the South County Journal, before succumbing to the inability to create a successful daily competitor of the Seattle Times. He thus understood the east-west competition in a more personal way than most business people on either side.

His summation of "the center of gravity has shifted away from Seattle" would draw a knowing acknowledgment from Eastside business leaders and a likely closed-lipped, reluctant lifting of eyebrows from many Seattle business leaders

"Despite what Seattle thinks, the growth has moved and won't be stopped," offered Horvitz, who himself moved with his wife recently to Florida. "It's important for people in positions of influence in the area to recognize the role the Eastside has come to play, a role that requires a rethinking of allocation of resources and where the political power rests."

And as with most Seattle vs. Eastside ideas, I had to ask Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, despite the fact that in repeated attempts over the years, I've never been able to get him to wax critical of Seattle, inevitably telling me "the leaders of Seattle were all friends of mine. I had dinner at their homes."

Of course, that reluctance to criticize has never extended to Seattle-born ideas that would impact the rest of the region, as with ST3, the light rail program for the region, the most expensive transportation program ever undertaken in the nation. Freeman paid for piles of research trying to defeat ST3 with the message it would never attract enough riders to cover the costs.

And merely because it will actually be completed doesn't mean Freeman might not be right in the end, particularly if remote work significantly decreases the number of people heading to downtown offices.

But Freeman did tell me for this column, "I can't explain how they've lost all the things that made Seattle great."

Then comes a vote for Powers' view from John Oppenheimer, founder, and CEO of Columbia Hospitality, the Seattle management and consulting company with a portfolio of more than 40 properties, hotels, restaurants, conference centers, and golf courses, in two dozen different communities, many of which could likely become remote-work success stories.

Thus he could be the region's key beneficiary of the growth of the remote-work phenomenon and the rise of Zoom Towns far from urban centers, although since his firm operates the World Trade Center as well as Port of Seattle conference facilities and owns part of the Four Seasons Hotel,

Oppenheimer would prefer to have economic health occur for both downtown and distant towns. And as he told me, "I'm very optimistic about downtown. Yes, we've had a period of shakeup, but the number of people moving downtown is increasing, the number of new apartment units is increasing and the inventory is on the rise. And the new convention center will add to the need for downtown."

I thought the best close for this column was to relate what's come to be a growing recognition of those from around the region, outside of Seattle, who, when in meetings in other parts of the country now note that when they say they are from Seattle, they catch themselves and correct if they are actually from Bellevue or Redmond, for example.

And one business person chuckled as he related an incident at the Canadian border as the border agent asked where he was from while looking at his driver's license. "Seattle," came the reply. "Then why does your license say Bellevue?"
 
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Dan Evans' memoirs may include little-known facts of his major contribution

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As Dan Evans finalizes the long-awaited publication of the memoirs of his six-plus decades of public service, I’m not alone in hoping that what could be his most important contribution, heretofore virtually unknown, may finally get the visibility it merits. The timing couldn’t be more appropriate.

I’m not referring to his political contributions, which would themselves fill his book. Rather I am referring to his effort more than a half-century ago, along with two other prominent state Republican elected officials, to hatch a plan they hoped would lead to the election of Arthur Fletcher as the first black governor since reconstruction.

Dan EvansDan EvansEvans, a three-term governor and one-term U.S, Senator was my guest this week for an unusual interview, originally intended to be a live interview before Seattle 4 Rotary Club. After the Rotary Club decided not to do live interviews this month, Evans and I did a recorded interview before an audience at the Columbia Tower Club for replay to Rotary the following day.

During the interview, I asked Evans both about the progress of his long-awaited memoirs and the coverage in the book of the strategy he guided to accelerate the political career of an unknown black politician on a path designed to lead to the governorship.

“Hope to have it out before the Christmas rush,” Evans said with a chuckle of the memoirs, title yet to come. He said he’s at the final editing stage, “putting my initials on each page as final approval.”

“And yes, there’s a substantial section about Art Fletcher,’ he added. "And about his eventual role as the Father of Affirmative Action."

Fletcher, a football star at little Washburn University in Kansas who joined the original Baltimore Colts in 1950 as the franchise's first black player, had already built a reputation in other parts of the country for his activities as a political anomaly, a Republican civil-rights advocate.

I’ve often felt, since I first learned years ago of this one-of-a-kind plot by a group of Republican state elected officials guided by their governor to set the stage for the election of a black man as governor that it merited national visibility, particularly at this time.

Regular readers of The Harp may recall a column I did two years ago on the Evans-Fletcher story, As I wrote it, I realized that 1,700 readers were a dramatically small number to know about the story. So I reached out to Mark Higgins, assistant editorial page editor of the Seattle Times, to offer him the column and he first explained that The Times doesn’t run a piece that has already appeared as a column elsewhere.

But he soon decided, on reflection, that the Evans-Fletcher story deserved being brought to The Times readership. So the Harp appeared as an op-ed piece under the headline: ‘Remembering Arthur Fletcher, the father of Affirmative Action.”

Now my hope is that reviewers of Evans’ memoirs will focus on, or be directed to, the Fletcher portion of the book and that a broad, maybe national, audience will learn the story and begin to think of ways to credit Evans for posterity. And also Fletcher for his role fulfilling the hope held out for him.

I have asked Evans on several occasions why he hatched the plan and he has explained how he first met and became impressed with Fletcher, who had founded a self-help cooperative in the largely black community of East Pasco.

Art FletcherArt FletcherEvans recalled his first meeting with Fletcher: "a big man, and former pro football player who carried a commanding presence and spoke with conviction in his resonating baritone voice."

Remember the timing of Evans’ strategy for Fletcher. Not unlike the 2020 Summer of Discontent, the riots in cities across America over the ‘60s grew out of black poverty and joblessness, and police brutality.

But the rioters’ rally cry of “Burn Baby, Burn” was far more ominous than the marches and demonstrations, mostly peaceful (except where thugs came along in some demonstrations burning and looting), under the banner and to the cries of Black Lives Matter.

As keynoter at the 1968 Republican convention in Miami, Evans’ message was that the time was right “to touch the troubled spirit of America,” alluding to the demonstrations opposing the Vietnam War as well as the racial unrest. But of the latter, Evans told the delegates it was time to resolve "the crisis in the main streets of America--a crisis of violence and stolen hope.”

The plan for Fletcher was already underway at that point to have him run for lieutenant governor.

As Evans once said to me on another occasion of Fletcher's possible election: "It could have had a huge impact on race relations and who knows how history could have changed. He was a remarkable man and one I admired immensely."

And the campaign poster picturing four young members of the Republican team seeking statewide office, all in their early 40’s, three of them white and one black, was way ahead of its time, as were the convictions for equality of the two young leaders, Evans and Gorton.

Had he been elected lieutenant governor, he would have been in a position to seek the governor’s office to subsequently replace Evans.

In the end, Fletcher lost the election to popular incumbent John Cherberg, though Evans told the audience at our interview that he lost by only a few points and the difference was the King County vote.

Fletcher had gained exposure at the GOP convention speaking to promote his self-help philosophy to an audience eager to attract black voters.

Among those attracted to Fletcher’s message was Nixon himself and after the election, Nixon appointed Fletcher Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards. His responsibilities included wage and hour regulations for the nation’s workforce and supervision of the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance.

So on June 27, 1969, Fletcher implemented the nation’s first federal affirmative action program that required federal contractors to meet specific goals in minority hiring for skilled jobs in the nation’s notoriously segregated construction industry.

But after two years, Fletcher’s affirmative action programs had earned him so much opposition among the leaders of the skilled construction unions that he was forced to resign.

However, Fletcher went on to serve in the administrations of presidents Ford, Reagan, and George H.W, Bush and became known as “the father of affirmative action.”

My hope is that as the Evans-Fletcher story might reach a broad, national audience, that there would be a move to honor both for this unique political story. Maybe somehow together.

The challenge could be that such an effort on behalf of two Republicans would likely need to commence in their home state, home to a democratic legislature, Democratic governor, and two Democratic U.S. senators.

On the other hand, it might be an appropriate opportunity to see if doing what’s right ever transcends what’s merely right and correct politically.
 
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Election laws rewriting draws ire of state's GOP secretaries of state

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The political melodrama being played out in Republican-held legislatures around the country of rewriting election laws, a process worrisome to election officials of both parties, is getting a hard pushback from two nationally respected retired Washington Republican secretaries of state as well as the current holder of that office, also a Republican.

And a Republican side-stage scene of a bizarre vote recount in Arizona is described by Kim Wyman, the three-term current Washington secretary of state, as “a process that should concern every American.”

As in their outspoken support for Georgia’s secretary of state as he was being personally pressured by President Donald Trump to twist that state’s election outcome to his favor, five-term secretary of state Ralph Munro and his three-term successor Sam Reed have nothing but criticism for the voting rewrite efforts.Kim WymanKim Wyman

“It’s ridiculous for elected officials in these states to be using this Democracy-threatening device to perpetuate the big lie,” said Munro, to which Reed said, “that’s exactly how I would say it.”

“These election-change efforts are starting down a pretty scary road for Democracy,” added Wyman, who was elected to her third four-year term last November.

The three, plus Bruce Chapman, Republican who was appointed secretary of state in 1975 by Gov. Dan Evans and was elected to a single term in 1976 then made an unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination for governor in 1980, are being honored in a virtual event on May 20 by the Mainstream Republicans of Washington. The four will share the virtual stage to discuss their collective roles in this state’s 57-year GOP hold on the office of secretary of state, Washington’s chief election officer.

That remarkable political success story in what has usually been, and increasingly so in recent years, a deep blue state began in 1964 with the election of young Seattle City Councilman A. Ludlow Kramer who joined Dan Evans, who was elected governor, in a remarkable year in which their success defeating Democratic incumbents went dramatically against the Democratic sweep across the nation, led by Lyndon Johnson’s overwhelming defeat of Barry Goldwater.

Jon Nehring, the 10-year mayor of Marysville and chair of the organization that names itself mainstream isn’t sure an organization of that name exists in other states, though he agreed with a chuckle that it’s quite likely Republicans in Alabama or Texas would describe themselves as mainstream. Pretty certain that would include all the GOP House members who ousted Liz Cheney from her leadership role Wednesday for her criticisms of Trump.

Reed said that while The Mainstream Republicans of Washington is a unique organization, most states have a loosely connected group of moderates/mainstreamers.

Incidentally, I advised the three that Republicans like them are going to have to come up with a different mantra than “big lie” about Trump and Republicans who contend without factual support that the election was stolen by President Joe Biden and the Democrats. That’s because Trump this week co-opted that “big lie” phrase to now refer to his view, and the view of his followers, that he actually won in November.

The Washington Post did an analysis of the GOP’s national push in states around the country to enact hundreds of new election restrictions. The Post said the effort “could strain every available method of voting for tens of millions of Americans, potentially amounting to the most sweeping contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction, when Southern states curtailed the voting rights of formerly enslaved Black men”.

In data compiled as of Feb, 19, the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice found that in 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws that would limit mail, early in-person, and Election Day voting with such constraints as stricter ID requirements, limited hours or narrower eligibility to vote absentee.Ralph MunroRalph Munro

One of the numerous voter constraints being enacted or considered in many states where Republican legislatures hold sway is voters being required to carry some sort of approved personal i.d. to be permitted to vote.

Addressing that, Wyman said, “if states are going to crack down with a requirement for a voter i.d. then every eligible voter should have access to official i.d. for free.”

Wyman was particularly critical of the unusual election recount in Arizona, where the Republican-led State Senate ordered a recount of All 2.1 million votes cast in Maricopa County, a review being conducted not by elections officials but by independent contractors…a Florida firm that has no background with elections.

“If the 10,000 people who oversee local elections are to be replaced in oversight of the elections by state legislators, outcomes in the future will depend on which party is in power in a particular state,” said Wyman,

Wyman used the phrase “epitome of the opaque” to describe the Arizona recount, which she said is “a process that should concern every American.”

Munro, who I’ve known for 54 years and have never known him to go easy with something that deserves his criticism, said “rightwingers see voter fraud under every rock. In my 35 years of election involvement, I’ve seen voting mistakes occur but never of significant consequence.”

“To allow legislatures to directly oversee local election officials would be totally politicizing what is basically a very good process everywhere with people from both parties involved in watching the process and the counting,” he added.

When I wrote of Munro’s and Reed’s praise Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for the manner in which he resisted personal pressure from Trump to alter the presidential election outcome in his state, I noted their suggestion that he deserved some sort of national honor for his courage.

Now Raffensperger’s state is among the leaders of the move to basically rewrite voter eligibility provisions with what critics see as a way to reduce the minority vote in the future.

One of the reasons Munro and Reed give for the phenomenal string of terms the Republicans have held the state’s chief elections overseer is that all have guided the office almost as if it were a non-partisan office.

And each had roles that went well beyond election oversight in their service to the state, including the international trade role, in Munro’s case.

Meanwhile, as the Republican state senate order of a recount of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County continues, one of the Republican senators who voted to approve the recount, under the control of a Florida firm hired to oversee it, is expressing regret at voting in favor of it.Sam ReedSam Reed

“I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point,” Paul Boyer said of a partisan recount.

More than 100 Republican former governors, members of Congress, cabinet officials, and others plan to release a “call for American renewal” statement of principles and vision for the party on Thursday, a day after House Republicans removed Liz Cheney from their leadership ranks for her opposition to Trump’s false claims about a stolen 2020 election that sparked an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The group says it is prepared to raise “tens of millions” of dollars to support candidates in competitive 2022 midterm elections that will decide control of Congress and are laying the groundwork for an alternative party if the GOP doesn’t change course.

But Reed had a firm response to the idea of an alternative party.

“Third parties are a pipe dream. A waste of time,” Reed said.

That means he sees changes that need to be made having to come from within the GOP.

(Virtual event May 29 at 7:00 pm. Register at www.mrwalliance.org/honoring-our-secretaries-of-state-virtual-event. Individual tickets are $25 each or purchase a ticket to the event and the VIP reception with Secretary Kim Wyman for $250.  NOTE: Information on how to log onto the Zoom event will be sent after registration. )

 
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Two experienced women head Bellevue first-responder groups

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Two Eastside women with significant business backgrounds have recently assumed roles heading the non-profits that fund technology needs and community outreach programs of Bellevue’s first responders, both police and fire. This amid the challenge posed by the national movement to defund the police, a move that both view as not supported by the majority of citizens.

Villette Nolon, president and executive director of the Bellevue Police Foundation for only a few weeks, has made an intriguing transition into her new role having most recently served as the president and CEO of Imagine Housing, the Eastside’s leading affordable housing non-profit where she frequently worked with low-income families.

Villette NolonVillette NolonThat involvement helped her realize “the relationship between the community and the police is complicated but important.”

Nolon was long one of this area’s most prominent female angel investors, including chair and president of Seraph Capital Forum, the nation’s first all-women angel group, and a key executive with Angel Capital Association, the national association of angel investors.

Laura McCloud Mathers, President & CEO of the Bellevue Fire Department Foundation, was urged by Bellevue Fire Chief Jay Hagen to take the leadership of the foundation after she had been tapped as a consultant in December of 2019 to advise on how to create a foundation for the department.

Mathers, who had served as head of the Seattle Police Foundation for two and a half years while Kathleen O’Toole was chief, describes Hagen, who had spent 30 years with the Seattle Fire Department before being tapped to head the Bellevue fire department three years ago, as “an incredible leader, passionate in his commitment.”

Mathers’ background includes being the first membership director of the Columbia Tower Club, a key executive at the World Trade Center, and executive director of the Seattle Rotary Club.

“It is so sad that defunding the police foundations is a new racial justice target, putting pressure on companies to cut vital ties with nonprofit police foundations,” said McCloud. “Clearly they don’t understand the role of the foundation is primarily to ensure the police are well equipped with those things that will save lives and make the community safer for ALL!”

Nolon used as an example of the importance of the foundation’s work last month’s grant of $104,000 to police for what she described as “sorely needed new training and command system and a mobile wellness hub for officers, their families and retired officers to access health and wellness benefits the department offers.”

Mathers pointed to several examples of tools available to the Seattle police department as a result of community donations to the foundation, starting with AEDs for every patrol car, which she explained are “easy to use, low-maintenance defibrillators for people experiencing cardiac arrest while waiting for a medic unit to arrive.”
 
Another Mathers example:
Laura McCloud MathersLaura McCloud Mathers“Naloxone, a nasal spray that could be administered by officers to opioid overdose victims to bring back to life,” she explained. “SPD having Naloxone was initially a concern with the Seattle Fire Union - it was believed to be intruding on their scope of work. Fortunately, a meeting between Police Chief O’Toole and Fire Chief Scoggins put that to rest. “The union recognized the greater good for the community was for police to have it as they typically are at the scene before medics arrive – and seconds do matter between life and death.”

It might be suggested that those seeking to “defund the police” be made aware more forcefully of that point that police are usually at the scene of accidents or crises before the medics arrive and thus their services in such situations are vital, possibly even to the survival of victims.

The pushback against defunding the police may be getting underway, at least if the comment by New York mayoral candidate Eric Adams, a black former NYC police officer who see himself as the pro-public safety candidate who seems police as part of the solution. is any indication.

In an interview with New York Magazine published Tuesday, Adams said the "defund the police" movement is led not by people of color in the Big Apple, but rather by young white professionals.

Reflecting on her time guiding the Seattle Police Foundation, Mathers said:  “It was truly an honor to work with the many amazing men and women of SPD. I saw only big hearts and dedication to serving a community and improving lives. After seeing the evil of mankind perpetrated daily, they got up every day to face it again and pray they returned home safely to see their families again.”

Both are undertaking their roles confident that they’ll get more yes than no responses as they go about their fundraising duties in the Bellevue community.

 
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