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Community Comment

Archive for August 2011

An adult fairy tale twice told…

Good evening, Netizens…


If we, as adults, could only imagine having such things as adult fairy tales, perhaps this evening's cartoon by David Horsey might be even more of an entertainment event than the cartoon itself.


What if, for example, we suddenly endured a category 3 hurricane here in Spokane, an event that by itself is a bit preposterous. Mind you, I didn't suggest it was impossible, just slightly ridiculous. If one can imagine having a tropical storm suddenly make its appearance on our ill-fated version of the evening weather forecasts, all kinds of hell would break loose as meteorologists attempted to explain just how that happened.


But in keeping with David Horsey's cartoon, what would happen if, our imaginary hurricane were to suddenly clean our benighted local government out while it wended its way back toward the ocean? Neat as a pin it might pick up the Mayor, the nefarious Council President, the majority of the City Council and the City Attorney's office up and sweep them all out to sea, neatly rearranging our upcoming election for the voters without so much as a by thee well.


Now what would the news media call THAT?


They more than likely would sputter a bit before calling it an unprecedented disaster or some other suitably solemn-sounding description complete with four-inch headlines. However, being a somewhat unwashed member of the Fourth Estate, I would most likely pause for reflection and then term it divine intervention, and let the Divine take the blame for the aftermath that would most certainly follow.


Yes, it is a fairy tale. No, no hurricanes are coming to clean out the Stygian mess we have in local government. The only solution which seems to have a chance of cleaning up the mess for either David Horsey's fanciful cartoon or my interpretation thereof is the voters taking action.


Of course, your fairy tales may differ, and from them, your results may differ as well.



Pop the lid on the box and see what falls out…

Good afternoon, Netizens…


Like a vaunted knight of old, I have been futilely railing at Queen Mary Verner, Joe Shogun, Rocky Treppiedi, Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and a host of other high-ranking city officials for what may seem like a lifetime to some, and until very recently, it would seem that I was wasting my breath and time. However, in today's paper, someone lit the fuse beneath Jonathan Brunt, reporter for the Spokesman-Review, and he posted what I feel is one of the most-informative, honest and dead-on stories about the murder of Otto Zehm since this entire ugly affair first hit our fair city.


We are getting closer to the truth, and Brunt may have shown us the pathway to follow. Read the entire piece, including the comments (of which there are many) here:


As in most criminal affairs, it all comes down to who knew, when did they know and why is it only now we, the citizens, are hearing bits and pieces of the truth?


The citizens of our fair city can either sit on their hams and watch City Hall rearrange the facts to suit themselves, thus keeping the people in the dark, or the citizens can take action at the ballot box. One way or the other, it is time for action. Of course, your thoughts on this matter may differ.



Monday night’s City Council farce…

Good evening, Netizens…


Last Monday night we saw, once again, the bombastic, nastiness that City Council President Joe Shogun brings to the performance of his job. Although Shogun evicted George McGrath and mispoke David Brookbank's name twice or more, at least he didn't evict Ron the Cop this time around.


I suppose someday we will see some kind of political retrospect of our present City Council meetings; we'll call it “Joe Shogun in Review”. In retrospect after Monday's exhibition of The Joe Shogun show we probably should call it the George McGrath show, although he already has his own radio show. Eluding that thought, perhaps we should call it the “David Broadband” report, I mean the David Brookbank report. It is truly ridiculous that Joe Shogun couldn't get David's name right several times in succession, much less that he evicted George McGrath from the City Council meeting when George McGrath insisted that Otto Zehm was murdered. Oh? You mean to tell me that poor Otto Zehm's death wasn't a murder at the hands of various police officers? That surely is news to me.


However, as David Brookbank observed, Joe Shogun tends to be abusive to the citizens who make the mistake of approaching the Spokane City Council during public forum, and I do most strenuously agree. In all fairness, since I have ostensibly crowned Mayor Mary Verner Queen Mary for her lack of diligence and not being forthright with her constituents, I think it only fair we name Joe Shogun Joe the Tyrant for his deplorable behavior in public.


The only exception that comes to mind when considering Joe the Tyrant's rules of “no clapping, no whistling” during public forum might take place once I see that Joe the Tyrant (who I am told still fears snipers on rooftops) is no longer in office.


Even mediocre attorneys, including Rocky Treppiedi, should adhere to standards of good taste, and both he and Joe the Tyrant are tasteless public servants, despite being attorneys.



Sumptuous fare…

Good morning, Netizens…


Imagine, if you will, a street scene in Spokane, where the warm August afternoon lays across the city like a lazy courtesan, granting her favors to some but not all our residents.


A gang unit police car, always eagerly sniffing the air for errant activity in our neighborhood, smoothly idles down the summer street, and spying a young woman dressed in a gang hoody, he pauses beside her on the street and rolling down his passenger window, politely asks her name, where she lives and where she is going. From my vantage point, I can see him typing on the terminal inside the car, perhaps verifying who she might be.


Another day, perhaps, he might have put her inside the sterile cocoon of the squad car, but today he simply concluded his conversation, watching her closely as she continued up the street, ostensibly toward her destination. Or perhaps she was who she stated, albeit dressed in gang attire, walking down the sidewalk in a benign neighborhood, minding her own business and trying to avoid trouble. With a clash of technology, he suddenly accelerates, and within a few minutes I see him dashing up the next street down, once more in the hunt for someone who perhaps fits a profile that he recognizes as someone who is up to no good.


As the afternoon continues waning, the birds in the trees begin quieting down for the evening, the kids on their bicycles that have been eagerly moving up and down the avenue in a madcap manner for most of the day, have nearly all headed for home and the genteel tranquility of the neighborhood slowly begins delicately slowing down to its evening serenity.


It was nearly dusk when I heard an approaching young woman's voice from up the street singing, and so I remained in my chair on the front lawn the better to see what this might be about. As she passed by I could discern she was perhaps 14 or 15 years of age, with long red pigtails, riding her bicycle, and singing the National Anthem in her delicate voice, as she hustled down the street on her way to somewhere in the evening dusk. Perhaps sensing me sitting in the shadow of the bushes, she stands upright on her bike's pedals and increases her speed as she moves across the intersection and on down the avenue. She could have sung anything and I probably would not have recalled it later, but even as she crossed a block down from where I sat, I could still hear her singing as she passed through the evening ether.


When it transparently fell from dusk to nearly darkness, and still contemplating the young woman riding her bike and singing our National Anthem, I finally withdrew for the night, and rejoined my family gathered around the kitchen table. When I related the sight of the young girl singing as she rode through the dusk, and the song she chose to sing as she traveled down the street, my family understood how it had touched me, and left me satisfied, like I had just had a good meal.


Life doesn't get much better than this, I guess.



Reverse immigration…

Good morning, Netizens…

Is this morning's David Horsey cartoon depicting truth or speculation?

Granted, our national unemployment has risen to nearly an all-time high of 9.2%, while Mexican unemployment has remained at 4.9%, both facts which remain in question as to whether or not they retain accuracy. However, I haven't seen any statistical evidence that illegal Mexican immigrants are leaving the country in droves, rather I suspect the numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border into the United States may be largely unchanged in recent months.

Since we are unflinchingly delving into speculative statistics, however, what would happen to our current national unemployment statistical base, if we were able to do so, were we to gather up every immigrant illegally in the United States? Would our employment suddenly ascend like a rocket to Mars?

Would farmers, somewhat dependent upon Mexican illegals for their harvests, simply find another method of acquiring temporary farm hands?

I also suspect that the closer one moves toward the Mexican-United States border, the number of illegal immigrants migrating back across the border into Mexico would decrease. The “coyotes” who are responsible for helping so many illegal immigrants cross the border for a fee are, simply put, too well organized and vastly more efficient than the U.S. Border Patrol.

I just cannot envision a horde of illegal immigrants crossing the border into Mexico. Perhaps the mob of quasi-legal immigrants bailing out of the United States depicted by David Horsey hasn't happened yet. Let our economy worsen a few more points and perhaps it might happen. Of course, your results and opinions may differ.



When will the guilty be held accountable?

Good evening, Netizens…

At some considerable risk of having this message zotted by my handlers, I am going to post this message from former Sheriff Tony Bamonte to Tim Durkin, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. I am posting it verbatim, in its entirety, in the hopes that others might read and carefully consider Mr. Bamonte's impeccable comments regarding the murder of Otto Zehm. I knew from the beginning that something was horribly wrong about the initial police version of what had transpired, and recent developments make me even more certain we were misled from the beginning.

So, without further ado, here is former Sheriff Tony Bamonte's letter:

Dear Mr. Durkin:

Please accept this correspondence as a formal complaint against the following people: Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, Spokane City Attorney Howard Delaney, and assistant city attorney Rocky Trepeddi. I am making my complaint to you because of your involvement and knowledge about the Zehm case. I ask that you forward this complaint to the attorney general for his approval. I believe you already have strong evidence to prove that, in harmony with each other, the above community leaders have conspired to mislead and have deceived the public for over five years. This concerns what appears to be the brutal killing of an innocent citizen by a police officer. The evidence of this has been overwhelming and exceptionally clear. I am especially concerned about Mayor Verner’s conduct in the case. In her position she is the only public official in the city with the power to remove the city attorney and the police chief for criminal behavior, yet, to this date, has taken no action of any kind.

Most important, in the positions each of these officials occupy, it was their duty to find and know the truth and protect the public. Instead, I allege each one of them knew the truth, yet in violation of their oaths and with complete disregard for the public’s welfare, publicly lied and concealed this felony crime. Further, I believe that the officers involved had to have been directed by their legal council to lie. The complicity of Mayor Verner and Chief Kirkpatrick is profound. Their failure to know the facts behind this case is unbelievable as they are both attorneys involved in one of Spokane’s largest scandals. Why would the mayor of Washington’s second largest city, make the public statement “In my opinion, … I just don’t think that the behavior of the officer rose to criminal behavior”?

In her position, this was a criminal act and violation of her oath of office in a direct attempt to deceive the public. I am a 25-year veteran of law enforcement, having served eight years on the Spokane Police Department and 12 years as the elected sheriff of Pend Oreille County. Consequently, I clearly recognize how government works, who will have the facts as fast as they become available, and who makes the decisions in high-profile cases such as this. This constitutes a number of criminal acts and is willful and wanton disregard for the safety of our community by Mayor Verner.

There is an established pattern of Spokane’s public officials lying to the public and committing serious crimes that go uncharged or prosecuted. Now, you have irrefutable evidence that Spokane’s top officials have became part of a cover-up by our police department of a senseless killing. It appears they will not have to answer for their crimes. It looks that Deputy Nicks struck a deal to protect the main suspects. I hope that’s not the case.

Again, please accept this letter as a formal complaint to investigate and charge these public officials with violating whatever laws they have broken – the list is long.


Tony Bamonte



Can Queen Mary beat the history of re-election?


Good morning, Netizens…


The preliminary results are in for the primary election and Queen Mary Verner has taken a substantial lead over David Condon by 61% of the votes for Verner compared to Condon's 32%. The voters have spoken, and have chosen to ignore Mayor Verner's culpability and/or knowledge of the Otto Zehm affair. In a low-news-week, that by itself would be significant, but the voters do not seem to remember Otto Zehm as much as remembering our Mayor's deft avoidance of what she knew, when she knew it, and her involvement with the Spokane police involved in Zehm's murder.


Of course, I'll never forget the deplorable condition we currently find our city budget in these days. Or the dreadful mess of snow removal and street repair. But I have Queen Mary's masterful manipulation of City Hall public relations to convince me these are both minor issues.


If she is elected next November, it would break the unspoken rule that most Spokane Mayors in the past have been elected for one term.


This could be one of the most interesting mayoral elections in many years. Then I am also closely watching the Fagan-McKereghan results for City Council, as well, as I informally interviewed McKereghan some time back and found her to be an intellectual heavyweight in a town seemingly filled with mediocre political hacks. Of course, your results may differ.



Another Texan in the White House?


Good morning, Netizens…


I have always been taught that if you want to comprehend the chaos and pandemonium of an election year, you should pay chose attention to the various candidates for the political party you find most objectionable. Given the wild swings in the national opinion polls, I nearly always veer suddenly away from the Republican Party. For that matter, given the morass in which we find our economy at the moment, I guess I'm also veering away from the Democratic Party, as well.


This morning's David Horsey cartoon bluntly asks, is America ready for another President from Texas? Can Rick Perry defeat President Obama in the race to be our next President?


First, he has to beat Mitt Romney whom it has been said is a Ken Doll, all plastic and eager to bend his beliefs. Michelle Bachman, by comparison, is a shrill harpy, with no real accomplishments, despite winning the Ohio Straw Poll. The rest of the Republican candidates are puppy dog eager to please their perceived constituents, but they can hardly be taken seriously, in my opinion. Don't even ask me about Newt Gingrich, as I find him personally repulsive and a hypocrite. Ron Paul might have some of the ideas, but none of the charisma.


There are several comparisons between Rick Perry and former President Bush, Jr., among them where they stand on Social Security. Bush wanted to privatize it, but Perry has stated Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, socialistic schemes that usurp the powers of state governments. We should be watching the Republican Party Platform closely, given Perry's statements, as I feel a sudden chill in the air.


David Horsey has stated, and his cartoon implies that Perry is a giant-sized version of Bush. If you liked Bush, you probably will wax ecstatic over Perry.


Horsey also asks, “Bush pandered to the right wing on guns, abortion, small government and cutting taxes. But he let the federal deficit skyrocket as he followed the single mission that seemed to genuinely engage him, the war on terror. Perry doesn’t merely pander, he believes. He has delighted the pro-gun lobby by brandishing a pistol in public, enraptured the small government crowd by hinting that secession is a solution to federal intrusions and helped turn up the heated Obama-is-a-socialist rhetoric as the Tea Party gathered steam.” Could Perry have the necessary steam to push the Republican locomotive over the hill into the White House?


Meanwhile, our national economy is teetering while the Republicans make a political football out of Obama's tactics. The net result is we are not getting anywhere soon. Of course, your opinions may differ.



How my census form got returned…

Good evening, Netizens…

They sent my Census form back AGAIN!! In response to the question “do you have
any dependants I replied 12 million illegal immigrants,3 million crack
heads,42 million unemployable people, 2 million in over 243 prisons, and 535
IDIOTS in the US senate and house. Apparently this was not a acceptable


A Gathering? By all means!

Good morning, Netizens…


I have been asked for possible date(s) to hold a Gathering this month, and to be utterly honest, both Jeanie's and my schedule are so chaotic as to make planning such a thing into a major migraine headache. Having said all that, Tuesday the 23rd and Thursday the 25th both seem like likely suspects. It fits in with Jeanie's schedule, it fits in with mine, and I believe Marty might not object. 8-)


Since our first Gathering, back in the day, was held at Franklin Park, weather permitting, I think that might be a good place to invoke the Gathering of the Tribes. If everyone can agree on a date, I'll see if I can reserve a piece of real estate (such as a shelter) from the powers-that-be on whatever date we can agree on.


Don't bother digging your tuxedo out of the closet; this is strictly a come-as-you-are affair. Food may or may not be available, but no fair mixing those nasty margaritas beneath the trees and attempting to make them appear by magic. Magic, for that matter, will be strictly disallowed, although anyone old enough to remember their many contributions from a different era may feel free to invoke the spirits of Roger Erdman, John King and various others who have played such a part in events of the past.


So, let us know what will work with your schedule.



The truth about Otto Zehm emerges…finally.

Good morning, Netizens…


To quote the Spokesman-Review's Shawn Vestal, in speaking of Jim Nicks' erratic and misleading trip to the truth regarding the death of Otto Zehm, “It took just five years, 20 weeks and a day.” That, folks, is just too damned long for a so-called leader of Spokane's Police Department, let alone any leader of government.


Oh, I am reasonably certain, given the opportunity, to reel his statements made at the time, Jim Nicks would probably gleefully take back everything he said about Officer Karl Thompson's assault on Otto Zehm, but this that isn't going to happen. The cat is out of the bag, and the truth is pretty ugly. A police officer, our Acting Chief at the time, lied to everyone, either by omission or by intent. He should have looked carefully at the videotape from the Zip Trip before he opened his mouth, and he did not.


Shawn Vestal's fact-filled article, which is located at pretty much says it all.


For the sake of absolute clarity, what this is not about is the rank-and-file policemen and policewomen who put their lives on the line every day in their performance of their duties. Their thankless and often dangerous job is a mean, ugly job. They serve as human garbage disposal experts combined with social workers extraordinaire; they deal with the dregs of society that none of us are capable nor eager to contend with, and yet deal with compassion with those of society in need. That pretty much describes their jobs, and I, for one, will not disparage their efforts.


No, the Otto Zehm death is all about a handful of police commanders who lied, and perhaps even attempted to cover it up. Particularly the lies started with Jim Nicks and Karl Thompson. In the words of our current police chief, Anne Kirkpatrick, “You lie, you die.” Will anyone in Spokane's City government have the temerity to hold Kirkpatrick to her word?


It is time to excise the cancer. Five years is too long to wait.



All that glitters…

Good morning, Netizens…


There was a sort of an earthquake hit the Spokane region last Friday, and as of yesterday, hardly anyone is talking about it. Oh, sure the news media have been vapidly referencing the tersely-worded announcement and somnolent quotes from the Department of Financial Institutions. I am speaking, of course, of the shutdown of the Bank of Whitman formerly of Colfax, Washington, which sent yet another tremor of fear through the Spokane regional marketplace.


As of Monday harried employees of the Columbia Banking Systems Inc. of Tacoma, which has purchased control of some, not all, assets of the former Bank of Whitman attempted to reassure former patrons of the Colfax-based bank. Their money is safe, guaranteed by the FDIC, and they can continue banking under the new system without fear. Although no records are available showing how many former clients of the Bank of Whitman are bailing out of the new bank, I suspect the number is much higher than we are being told.


The bottom line is we are seeing the logical outcome of the mind-boggling descent of the national economy in action, among other things. In recent years, the former Bank of Whitman underwrote many high-end commercial real estate developments, some of which did not quite turn out the way their developers had expected, due to the downturn in the economy. When loans do not get paid, when major business developments enter into default, the FDIC begins watching things closely.


In the towns of Lacrosse, Endicott, Washtucna, Lind, Pomeroy, Mattawa, Rosalia, Royal City, Warden, Pasco and Kennewick, the doors of the Bank of Whitman are now closed, as they are now owned by the FDIC and not part of the asset purchase by the Columbia Banking Systems. Some employees will lose their jobs entirely, along with any benefits they may have accrued. I would imagine a financial chill has inexorably begun descending upon some of these towns for, until recently, The Bank of Whitman was the only bank in town for most of the smaller burgs.

An old and tested axiom states, all that glitters is not gold. Developers of some of certain huge commercial real estate should take note. Don't build edifices you cannot immediately sell, lease or rent; don't even think about asking a banker about it. Of course, your opinions may differ.


Gimme a Dumb Phone!

Good afternoon Netizens…


Upon reading a genuinely-moving piece by the Spokesman's Shawn Vestal Saturday morning about life minus his Smart phone I suddenly felt vindicated, for I have resisted all efforts by anyone involved in convincing me I needed one of those devices. I have a Dumb phone in that it is a phone only and have relentlessly hung onto it for some of the same reasons that Shawn has mentioned in his piece. My Dumb Phone is a telephone, and although it does have most of the Internet features, they are disabled. I don't do text messaging because if I have something important to say, I will speak at length about what is on my mind.


Since I get paid for sitting in front of a computer for nearly seven days out of seven, I truly do not want a phone that would keep me in that nefarious place, trapped inexorably before an uncaring piece of electronic gadgetry that serves largely to distract me. Granted, I do love my work, do it gleefully and with a certain amount of skill, which if one is horribly honest about it, generally is tinged with a bit of luck. But do I need to spend my entire disposable time staring with bloodshot eyes into the mindless consciousness of the Universal All for the entire time?


Then there is the matter of the social networking, an ethos and way of life for which I have only limited use. Once again, I admit that most of the people who I have been befriended by on Facebook have little to no involvement in my day-to-day life. So why or how are they friends of mine? Oh, I suppose there are a few among them who I would consider to be my friend, but they are clearly in the minority, and most of my true friends I either would contact via a regular telephone call or ordinary e-mail. This would be yet another reason why I would not want nor need a Smart Phone, because I believe firmly that e-mail belongs on e-mail servers that are secure, and designed for that purpose, not only my telephone.


Last but not least, the new Smartphones are increasingly prone to malicious attacks as are traditional computers. There are thousands of attempted infections each day on mobile phones with the numbers of attempted infections doubling every few months; as many as 1 million people were hit by mobile malware in the first half of 2011. Google Inc. has removed about 100 malicious applications from its Android Market app store. One particularly harmful app was downloaded more than 260,000 times before it was removed. Android is the world's most popular smartphone operating software with more than 135 million users worldwide. Why would I want to expose myself to this kind of junk?


No, I think I'll stick with my Plain Jane Dumb Phone. Of course your results may differ.



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