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Community Comment

Archive for September 2011

Did Queen Mary tell a whopper?

Good afternoon, Netizens…

 

It is entirely one thing when I, a lowly author of a Blog, takes Mayor Mary Verner to task for some of her perceived errors and gaffes, even tampering with her title by calling her “Queen Mary”. However, as of this morning we have an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Tim Durkin in a brief calling Queen Mary on the carpet over a so-called press conference held September 9, in front of City Hall.

 

It seems portions of the Frequently Asked Questions which were unveiled by Queen Mary during her impromptu Press Conference were outright fabrications. As you may recall Queen Mary called a harried press conference to discuss the City's options regarding the Otto Zehm case. She refused, at that time, to answer any questions, referring members of the press to her list of published Frequently Asked Questions, instead.

 

According to the Center For Justice web site, http://cforjustice.org/2011/09/28/patently-false/ Durkin asserts that “several of the publicly disseminated “FAQ” statements are patently false and inaccurate, including representations by city attorneys that they ‘met with’ DOJ officials after receiving a June 15, 2009, e-mail outlining DOJ concerns, inter alia, with conflicts of interest within the city attorney’s offices and interferences with the DOJ’s ongoing investigation.”

 

It gets even better. It seems that, according to Durkin, such a meeting never took place. The Department of Justice sent an e-mail stating they were eager to meet with Mayor Verner, Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, and Council President Joe Shogan. Unfortunately that e-mail never made it to either of the three, and City Attorney Howard Delaney has refused comment about where the e-mails ran amiss. The City of Spokane should hire former detective Ron Wright to investigate how e-mail sent to City Hall seems to develop a selective lifelessness of its own.

 

Furthermore, citing the FAQ's printed by Queen Mary's unfettered press, the same FAQ answer by the City succinctly sets aside the conflict issue this way: “The court found no issues of conflict or impropriety on the part of the City.” Durkin responds to that by saying, “(N)o court has yet considered, reviewed, and/or addressed any city attorney’s actions-conduct in this matter.” In other words, Queen Mary got caught telling one or more whoppers by an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

 

You might think this close to an election even Queen Mary would be more circumspect about her speeches and shut down her unfettered press, as such actions might be construed as impromptu and ill-conceived.

 

Dave

Officer-involved shooting on South Hill…

Good morning, Netizens…

 

We have another Spokane Police Department office-involved shooting, dammit!

 

Although clinical details are somewhat lacking, a solitary man, ostensibly 45 year-old James Rogers according to family members quoted by KREM-2, was employed by S.L. Start, a firm that helps handicapped people, and began making suicidal threats at his workplace. When police were summoned, Rogers fled in a van which overturned at 7th and Hatch where Officers say the man refused to come out and continued his suicidal threats. For reasons that remain unclear, eventually police fired their guns, killing Rogers. At the present time, there is no evidence that Adams fired his shotgun which, according to family members, contained one shell and did not work.

 

What is known is that family members were present at the scene, and had attempted to tell officers that Rogers had mental issues, and was suicidal. Police officers shot Rogers without any explanation.

 

The man's father said his son had been dealing with depression and high stress the last few days. The father also said his son stole his van and shotgun from his house earlier in the day.

 

Rogers was an ex-military police officer who served in the Army and got out in 1994.

 

Investigators from the Spokane County Sheriff's Department, Spokane City Police and the Washington State Patrol were in charge of the crime scene, as of this morning, and Hatch Road is closed at the crime scene until further notice.

 

Not even Spokane Police Department's Public Relations Officer, Jennifer DeRuwe had an explanation for police actions, other than Rogers posed a threat to the public. I supposed that if a person were mentally distressed and armed with a dysfunctional shotgun, Spokane Police seem to have a history of posing a threat to citizens.

 

Of course, your results may differ.

 

Dave

Milk Bottle and Ferguson’s both heavily-damaged in fire…

Good morning, Netizens…

 

At approximately 8:42 PM Sunday night, preparing for bed, we couldn't help but hear the wailing of sirens as the Fire Department responded to a three-alarm fire in the Garland District as two historic restaurants were burning. Mary Lou's Milk Bottle and Ferguson's Restaurant were engulfed in flames as the fire trucks arrived, and both iconic eateries were heavily damaged, although no damage estimates were available from the Fire Department nor is the cause of the fire(s) known at this time.

 

Fire crews were able to enter the Milk Bottle and somewhat protected the building but they were unable to get inside Ferguson's Cafe, and fought that fire from the outside of the building.

 

Driving down Garland Avenue, one could never help but notice the Milk Bottle, a distinctive structure sitting on the corner of Garland and Post. Right next door, Ferguson's had been featured in several Hollywood films, including “Benny and Joon”, “Vision Quest” and “Why Would I lie?”.

 

If your culinary tastes range to include burgers, fries and big milk shakes, you may have to find a different place to dine, at least for awhile.

 

Dave

A PETA porn show?

Good morning, Netizens…

 

I grew up on a cattle ranch where we raised black-faced Angus cattle, chickens, pigs and even an occasional turkey. Once upon a cold winter we even raised piglets in our basement when the mother pig died shortly after giving birth. Talk about a stink! Everything we raised we butchered and served on our dinner table eventually. This was, of course, long before the days of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) who hate that people kill and eat animals. I would imagine that the folks at PETA would have made our entire family into a poster if they had witnessed how, each spring, we would selectively taken a few choice chickens out behind the hen shed and, armed with only a rusty old ax, lop their heads off, leaving them to run around headless in the back pasture until they finally gave up and were summarily boiled in a huge vat, then plucked and eventually butchered.

 

In the lean years of my life about fifteen years ago, I reverted to my youth and raised a few turkeys and chickens which put food on my table, along with occasional scavenging of native deer and one year, an elk. When all else failed I even fished in nearby creeks and lakes often coming home with several handsome trout to put on the table.

 

A contingent of folks from PETA were on the West Coast this week to protest the killing of fish. That’s right, they came to the home of the North Pacific fishing fleet to tell anyone who would listen that fish suffer on the way to our plates. With hooks gouging their flesh or nets entrapping their bodies, fish are yanked from the water to suffocate in the air, if they are not first clubbed to death. There is even talk they may consider creating pornographic videos of animals all the better to discourage people from killing and eating meat.


  

Cartoonist David Horsey took a slight shot at PETA in this caricature of beavers getting ready for the big PETA porn shoot, and although I found it a bit humorous, even scatological, it missed the mark of my opinion of PETA. I believe they fall within the definition of being eco-terrorists. Of course, your results may differ.

Dave

Abstract humor…

Good evening, Netizens…

 

Four friends, who hadn't seen each other in 30 years, reunited at a party…

 

After several drinks, one of the men had to use the rest room.

 

Those who remained talked about their kids.

 

The first guy said, 'My son is my pride and joy.. He started working at a successful company at the bottom of

the barrel.

 

He studied Economics and Business Administration and soon began to climb the corporate ladder and now he's the president of the company. He became so rich that he gave his best friend a top of the line Mercedes for his birthday.'

 

The second guy said, 'Darn, that's terrific! My son is also my pride and joy. He started working for a big airline, then went to flight school to become a pilot.

 

Eventually he became a partner in the company, where he owns the majority of its assets He's so rich that he gave his best friend a brand new jet for his birthday.'

 

The third man said: 'Well, that's terrific! My son studied in the best universities and became an engineer. Then he started his own construction company and is now a multimillionaire…

 

He also gave away something very nice and expensive to his best friend for his birthday: A 30,000 square foot mansion.'

 

The three friends congratulated each other just as the fourth returned from the restroom and asked: 'What are all the congratulations for?'

 

One of the three said: 'We were talking about the pride we feel for the successes of our sons…

 

What about your son?'

 

The fourth man replied: 'My son is gay and makes a living dancing as a stripper at a nightclub.'

 

The three friends said: 'What a shame… What a disappointment.'

 

The fourth man replied: 'No, I'm not ashamed. He's my son and I love him. And he hasn't done too bad either. His birthday was two weeks ago, and he received a beautiful 30,000 square foot mansion, a brand new jet and a

top of the line Mercedes from his three boyfriends.'

 

A grand and eloquent silence was heard around the table. Of course, your results may differ.

 

Dave

Which piece of pie do we get?

Good evening, Netizens…

 

Have you had a piece of pie lately? Which kind was it: the Republican slice of the pie or the pieces that are left over once the wealthy get their piece of the pie? As David Horsey's cartoon so adeptly shows, it all depends upon how the pie is sliced as to how much dessert you and I will get. As many in recent times have noted, only the wealthiest Americans get the tax breaks obliquely mentioned in the cartoon, not to mention the harsh reality unfolding across the country.

 

What is the cure for this disparity of the pie?

 

We either have to place additional taxes on the wealthiest Americans (yeah, watch the Republicans and Tea Party pass this one!), place a flat tax that taxes everyone equally based upon their relative income levels or tear up the IRS tax code and start over. Given the lack of cooperation evident in Washington, DC, do I realistically think for a minute any of these will pass into law?

 

From my perspective, the biggest problem we have in resolving the breakdown of the tax breaks is simple: eliminate all tax breaks.

 

Of course the biggest obstacle to any of the above is that the top percentile of the wealthiest Americans are in the US House and Senate in far-off Washington. Now someone tell me why they would be in favor equalizing the tax codes, eliminating tax breaks and various loopholes used by the wealthy to avoid paying taxes.

 

Of course, your results may differ.

 

Dave

Alzheimers and divorce, according to Pat Robertson…

Good evening, Netizens…

 

Religious broadcaster and former Republican Presidential candidate Pat Robertson stunned religious communities when he stated recently on his television show “The 700 Club” that it was OK for married couples to divorce if one of them has Alzheimer's Disease.

 

Robertson's comments came after a viewer asked what advice he should give a friend who had been seeing another woman since his wife had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

 

“I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her,” Robertson said.

 

Gee, whatever happened to the marital vow about “in sickness and health”? Do we conveniently disregard this when a lifetime partner become afflicted with Alzheimer's?

 

An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease – a figure expected to rise sharply as baby boomers enter their older years. And about 80 percent of Alzheimer patients who live at home are cared for by family members. The moral dilemma thus created by Alzheimer's will deepen over time.

 

The King James Version of the Holy Bible, in I Corinthians 13:12 speaks to me the of impact of Alzheimer's Disease thus: “For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face.”

 

I am not entirely certain that the Reverend Pat Robertson doesn't already have Alzheimer's Disease, for in his supposedly-learned treatise, he apparently has lost touch with reality. I am not sure I will miss him.

 

Your thoughts and realities may differ, however.

 

Dave

How do you scratch the itch?

Good morning, Netizens…

The Photo courtesy of Seth Wenig / AP I heard about this woman Chris Walton, who, according to the New Guiness World Record for 2012, has the longest fingernails in the world. Now my irreverent question is, how the hell will she ever scratch herself without doing bodily harm? Now that I've asked the question, I believe the answer is very carefully.

Dave

The truth about Otto Zehm begins to emerge…

Good evening Netizens…

 

We have been bystanders for over five years as the Otto Zehm homicide has inexorably ground its way through the news, and until recently we were none the better-informed for it. All we knew for a certainty was that an innocent man was beaten to death and asphyxiated by a group of cops in a Zip Trip Store. Fortunately, there were damning videotapes which showed the grisly beating, and the total lack of violent behavior on Zehm's part. Every time anyone got too close to the truth of the matter, they were either ignored entirely or the City Government sought to nullify their actions and words.

 

Our own Mayor, who I gleefully call Queen Mary, for her imperious, high-handed manner of governance, has apparently sought to sweep the entire affair beneath the rug. The reign of terror hardly stops there, which is more a condemnation of our City Government than other incidents of the past involving our Spokane Police Department. There is no lack of corruption in City Hall, nor in the Police Department. So it doesn't surprise me in the least that our Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick and Assistant Chief Jim Nicks are both bailing out of the Police Department while the chances are still good they might get away unscathed.

 

Chief Kirkpatrick has made no bones about the fact she was leaving, and has bid on several jobs in other police jurisdictions in the past. Unfortunately, the Spokane Police Guild cast a vote of “no confidence” in her leadership just days after federal documents revealed that Nicks had reversed his earlier statements and was expected to testify against Karl Thompson, the man who ceaselessly beat Otto Zehm that ill-fated night.

 

Now that the zipper has been unzipped from City Hall, and various other elements of government, we can see the filthy hands of Ernie Wuthrich, the head of the Police Guild, is not necessarily working toward justice for all. Rocky Treppiedi, like Wuthrich, works for his own designs, best-known for suing citizens who have an ordinary grievance with City Hall. More sweeping goes on in City Hall in 2008 and 2009 when Rocky Treppiedi, according to court records, begins preparing “the majority” of Spokane police officers for testimony before the federal grand jury and debriefs them afterward about what they said. This also includes non-police witnesses.

 

Too little too late, Queen Mary announces in a press conference that she will be conducting a full internal and external review of the city’s handling of the case of Otto Zehm. Why did she wait so long? Was this the power the Police Guild has over Queen Mary?

 

Wait until the criminal trial works its way onto the federal Court docket. There may be other surprises which wait unseen, and other names may come into play. Perhaps Queen Mary will descend from the throne of the City of Spokane and somehow manage to put a good face on all the corruption.

 

Of course, your results may differ.

 

Dave

Have the wheels fallen off the cart?

Good morning, Netizens…

 

In case you haven't been following recent news surrounding the Otto Zehm murder investigation, yesterday events got even more harried, hectic and somewhat misleading than they have been in recent times, especially from the perspective of Mayor Queen Mary Verner and various City Hall luminaries which will be mentioned by name as this article progresses. It has been nearly five years since Otto Zehm was murdered by the Spokane Police Department in a North Side Zip Trip store, and the details of how Otto met his demise have been in what appears to be a constant state of flux, depending upon whom was making the statements.

 

The search for truth has expanded its sphere from the various investigative officers of the Spokane Police Department to include Queen Mary Verner, City Attorney Howard Delaney Assistant City Attorney Rocky Treppiedi and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick to name a few. Unfortunately, now the tale of Otto Zehm has even reached the offices of the U.S. Attorney's office, and this is where, in the words of retired detective Ron Wright, “the wheels began to fall off the cart.”

 

David Condon, Verner's political opponent in the upcoming election, already had opened up a can of worms when he stated earlier in the week that the upcoming trial of Karl Thompson would serve as “an indictment” of City Government. Yesterday, when Mayor Verner scheduled her press conference, she had no stated reason for excluding Councilman Bob Apple from the list of Council members Verner had invited to attend, but Apple showed up of his own accord and wasted little time in asking why Verner had waited so long to pursue an investigation into the Zehm affair.

 

Is there a coverup unfolding in City Hall, as some have suggested? Is there a lack of transparency in City Government, as others have suggested? Have the wheels fallen off the cart of City Government? Has there been a coverup of the facts surrounding the murder of Otto Zehm?

 

At least from my perspective, it would seem so. Of course, your results and opinions may differ.

 

Dave

 

Did Cecil fib to the feds?

Good morning, Netizens…

 

I do not believe in kicking someone in the shins when they are already down, but it does seem to me that perhaps Kevin Harpham's father, Cecil, might want to more-carefully examine his hole card before his son accepts or rejects the plea deal now currently before Judge Quackenbush's court. Granted, Cecil is recovering from a nearly-fatal motorcycle wreck, and under a doctor's care.

 

Now as I recall the instances that took place before Kevin Harpham was arrested on a variety of federal charges, I do believe Cecil Harpham made statements to the investigators in charge of the attempted bombing of the Martin Luther King, Jr. march in downtown Spokane, one of which was that Kevin Harpham was with him in Addy on the day the bombing took place.

 

Whoopsie!

 

Even the local news media had pictures of what appears to be Kevin Harpham marching in the parade the day of the bombing. Thus Kevin could not have been in Addy at the time. If Kevin succeeds at pleading guilty, doesn't that imply that his father committed perjury by his sworn statement, lying to federal investigators?

 

I'm no legal beagle, but even I know you don't fib to federal agents.

 

Should the feds simply and compassionately ignore this momentary lapse on Cecil's part, simply letting him off the hook, or should he face federal charges as well as his son? No great sleuthing here, folks, just asking.

 

Dave

Romney’s Job Plan a con game?

Good morning, Netizens…

 

In this morning's David Horsey cartoon, we take a brief look at the Presidency campaign of Mitt Romney. Now before most of you bail out of our tiny boat, the U.S.S. Campaign 2012, gasping out of fear for your life vests, please bear with me, because I am certain beyond a question of a doubt that the Mitt Romney Campaign does not endorse this cartoon.

 

What Romney in the cartoon asks, and it seems a good question to me, is just what is his jobs plan, anyway?

 

I wonder if his Jobs Plan is actually Give More Money to the Rich Guys Plan in disguise. Of course we could always assume his Jobs Plan is another part of the vast Mormon Conspiracy, now couldn't we? Unfortunately, Horsey didn't write about that, which may be more the pity.

 

Although Horsey did jump on Obama's choice of religious preference way back when, I think that Romney's religious preferences should be just as big a target as Obama's, just as Obama's lack of a cohesive Jobs Plan.

 

I personally think the upcoming Republican Convention will make for fascinating material for the late-night television humorists. By then perhaps Romney will have a teleprompter that works.

 

Of course, your political views may differ.

 

Dave

Spokane Mayoral candidates nose-to-nose…

Good morning, Netizens…

 

Picture: (David Condon, via the SR)

 

I have been largely ignoring the upcoming mayoral elections, largely because I believe it has been bid on in a competitive manner by a diverse group of organizations. Everyone, it seems, has a say in who we elect as our next Mayor of Spokane; everyone except for the voters perhaps. Rumors persist that a voluntary collection was taken by members of the Police Guild, the proceeds of which would support their chosen candidate, as well as stipends being given to Rocky Treppiedi and various other luminaries whom they feel best-represent their interests.

 

Of course we could kill two birds with one stone by formally making the ill-fated Ridpath Hotel the Mayor's official residence. This, of course, might give Ridpath heir-apparent/owner Greg Jeffreys and a handful of other owners a bad case of indigestion, because then they would be forced to clean up this blight on Downtown Spokane, something which the Ridpath's owners are apparently unable or unwilling to do.

 

Mayoral challenger David Condon, has already taken Mayor Queen Mary to task calling her handling of the Otto Zehm case “an indictment” of city government. “As mayor, Mayor Verner has wasted taxpayer money and slowed the course of justice by her defense of the city bureaucracy and the mismanagement of this case,” Condon said in a statement released Tuesday by his campaign.

 

Thus, Condon, who used to work for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, has come out of the chute barking at Queen Mary like a bulldog, but that doesn't seem to make a difference to me.

 

Dave

SR Staffers take buyout…

Good morning, Netizens…

 

[Taken from Huckleberries Online]

 

At Huckleberries request, SR Editor Gary Graham issued this statement re: 12 veteran newsroom staffers who opted to take an early retirement buyout recently: “It's no secret that we're losing 12 veteran, full-time journalists by the end of the year through an early retirement offer. Those who are leaving have played important roles in our journalism for many years and they will be greatly missed as colleagues and friends. The early retirement offer was only extended to employees who were at least 55 years old and had at least 20 years of service with the company. Those leaving include Steve Bergum, Rick Bonino, Jeff Jordan, Vince Grippi, Dave Trimmer, John Blanchette, John Craig, Kevin Graman, Bart Rayniak, Chris Anderson, Gil Hulse and Jim Kershner. I also want to note that some of the familiar names listed here will continue to write for us on a freelance basis.”

 

Good Lord, look at the array of talented journalists who are retiring!

 

Although you may recognize some of the names, I personally remember John Craig and Jim Kershner, both who have been writing since I first moved into the Spokane area over a decade ago. I distinctly remember a time many years ago when John Craig was the go-to person at the Spokesman for Stevens County news. Everything, from hellfire and dissension in Springdale's Council meetings, of which there were a lot back in those days, or even a homicide anywhere throughout Stevens County, John always managed to cover the news.

 

Perhaps that is why I was particularly distressed at reading how various unnamed members of the news media have sought to exploit the news of the early retirees for their own purposes. My only response to this is where were they when news from Stevens, Ferry or Pend O'Reille Counties took place? Do other members of the news media even have a daily column of the news from decades ago, such as Jim Kershner has done? Do the other news agencies even have such continuity?

 

I don't think so.

 

They appear to be attempting to suggest that the Spokesman-Review is doomed, that it is an endangered species. To that I say hogwash. However, we did lose a few friends due to retirement. I wish them all well.

 

Dave

Another fairy tale…

Good morning, Netizens…

 

A fairy tale of a decidedly different nature is taking place out at Oakesdale on Jerry Smart's 600 acre wheat farm, a legacy that has been played over and over as needed for decades. Years ago, I participated in one of these “harvesting bees” near Reardan and thus I tend to get a bit emotional whenever I remember how farmers, friends and family members always seem to come together to harvest the crops for a man who is injured and thus unable to harvest his own fields.

 

They arrive, often with the dawn, in huge combines, diesel trucks and tractors, in long lines that defy the imagination. They work out a plan, as farmers often do, and immediately begin the harvest, moving up and down the fields in near-perfect unison. Some of them are forgoing their own harvesting to help out a friend, because that is what farmers do for one another.

 

If you ask any of the participants what motivates them to harvest someone else's crops, they nearly always get embarrassed, and typically say, “We always help one another.”

 

It brings tears to the eyes at the sight of so many moving up and down the golden fields of wheat in unison. It is one of the many blessings of living in the Inland Northwest.

 

To see the video go to http://www.krem.com/video?id=128851973&sec=550262

 

Dave

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