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Guess who’s coming to dinner?


Good morning, Netizens…


Guess who is coming to dinner? Would you believe David Elton is coming back to Spokane, and that might be interesting, considering he is contemplating at least two lawsuits. I would wager a small pittance that perhaps Doug Clark and myself might find this mildly amusing, although I assume that others might not be entertained with David's return what passes for the cultural illuminati of Spokane. On the other hand, that is no guarantee that either of us will be eating dinner with David Elton anytime either.


Of course, those of you in the know might already be aware that in July Mr. Elton's book, ostensibly titled “Crazy Drunk Mormon” will be released. Of course, before the BMOS (Big Mormons of Spokane) stand up in unison and begin beating their agitated and celebrated gongs in favor of Moroni, the publisher of this upcoming tome is partially owned by the Mormon Church, which should make for interesting late-night final edit sessions in David Elton's future.


To add to this merry band of miscreant potential, yesterday, David Elton sent out a formal press release where he announced a forthcoming lawsuit against Cowles Media and Spokane County Judge Mary Ann Moreno…not to mention Detective Corey Turman. That set of events alone, along with a personally hitherto unknown lawyer who hails from Oregon, Mr. Gregory Ernst. (His website is http://www.LincolnCityLawyer.com ) should prove enlightening, to say the very least.


Yes, David Elton has reassured me by phone he IS coming back to Spokane, and the only advice that comes to mind at the present is for everyone, including Joe Shogun, to ignore the rooftops for the time being.


Welcome back to Spokane, David. In our new-found sense of enlightenment, we even have a PhD running our Police Department these days.



The Woes of David Elton…

Good evening Netizens…

Gee, and if you wondered why your e-mail INBOX has been so quiet all of a sudden, one of our favorite sources of local electronic entertainment may be out of commission for awhile.

David Elton, ostensibly one of Spokane's finest gold-plated gadabouts and according to Joe Shogun, perhaps no longer on our Council President's personal Christmas Card list, is in jail again. This time, instead of a short-term visitation with Spokane's finest, he is currently in the Clackamas, Oregon County Jail http://web3.co.clackamas.or.us/sheriff/roster/inmate.asp?in=2011003756 charged with assaulting his wife, Belinda. According to his wife, this time he possibly will not be able to pick and choose between local attorneys at will, since he has been informed by his parents that he may be stuck this time with a Public Defender.

I wonder if anyone has bothered to inform the local probation office, since unless my memory is short-circuited, I do believe he is on probation here in Spokane, the result of his most-recent brush with the law.

Stay tuned. It may be interesting to see how this all plays out.


Elton gets credit for time served in jail

A man convicted of harassing the Spokane city council president and the chairwoman of the company that owns The Spokesman-Review was sentenced today to credit for time already served in jail. 

David H. Elton, 44, will be on unsupervised probation for two years. He was sentenced to a year in jail with 351 days suspended. Elton already spent two weeks in jail after his arrest in February 2009.

A jury convicted him of misdemeanor harassment against Council President Joe Shogan and Cowles Co. chairwoman Betsy Cowles for emails sent in December 2008 and February 2009.

Prosecutors had sought felony convictions against Elton for threats to kill, but the jury ruled the victims did not reasonably fear for their lives.

A third charge alleging Elton harassed his ex-wife has been dismissed.

This morning, Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy asked Judge Maryann Moreno to prohibit Elton from consuming alcohol while on probation, but the judge declined, saying there was no way to enforce the requirement.

Past coverage:

Oct. 8: Jury convicts Elton of 2 misdemeanors

Oct. 6: Shogan, Cowles testify against Elton

Oct. 5: Elton on trial for Shogan, Cowles threats

Shogan, Cowles testify against Elton

According to court testimony Tuesday, Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan sent a mass email this week describing his near-death experiences at war.

“These look like, for lack of a better word, scary experiences,” said Mark Hodgson, lawyer for David Elton, who’s on trial for felony harassment against Shogan and Cowles Co. Chairwoman Betsy Cowles. “And David Elton didn’t make the list?”

“No,” Shogan replied. He then asked if he could explain why he was looking to rooftops after learning of threats from Elton in February 2009. Hodgson replied that he couldn’t.

“Oh? OK,” Shogan said huffily. A male juror smiled at the exchange.

Shogan later got a chance to explain his fixation on rooftops - saying he’d heard that “Mr. Elton considered himself a superb marksmen.”

The testimony came Tuesday afternoon, the first day of a trial that’s expected to end tomorrow morning. Shogan, city council president for five years, was the last witness to take the stand Tuesday. Read my full story on the opening day here. 

Here are a few additional tidbits:

Shogan recalled a confrontation with Elton at City Hall on Election night 2007. Elton ended his public comment by saying “May I say Mayor Vernor?” which violated council rules on political speech because Verner hadn’t yet been elected. Shogan banged his gavel and told Elton he was out of order, then was confronted by Elton outside council chambers.

“We talked really toe-to-toe together,” Shogan said. “He told me he didn’t like the way I run the meetings. I told him I didn’t like that he couldn’t follow instructions.”

Shogan said he feared for his life when he learned from Spokesman-Review blog contributor John Olsen that Elton had threatened Shogan.

“When I saw the line about decapitation, I really wondered whether there was someone else out there who sort of did this work for him,” Shogan said, referring to December 2008 email in which Elton said he would “enjoy the decapitation of Joey boy.”

Olsen had called Elton after receiving an email in February 2009 in which Elton listed seven poeple, including Betsy Cowles, he wanted to kill. Shogan was not mentioned until Olsen called Elton to discuss the email. The administrators of the Community Comment blog, Dave Laird also received the email and notified the Spokesman-Review.

 Hodgson emphasized the fact that neither email was sent directly to Shogan or Cowles, and that neither directly threatened to kill. In the February 2009 email, Elton writes, “That is the crux of the problem, I want to murder the following people,” and lists seven names, including Cowles and her brother, S-R Publisher Stacey Cowles.

“Does Mr. Elton say he will murder the following people?” Hodgson asked.

“No, he just says he wants to,” Olsen said.

In the phone call, Olsen said Elton never said he was going to kill Cowles or Shogan, nor did he saw he was going to harm them. He just wouldn’t agree to contact Olsen if decided to.

“I was still concerned,” Olsen said.

Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy asked Olsen if Elton can be “cunning.”

“Mr Elton has led me to believe that he could subvert the truth and pull things off in a wily way if that’s what you’re asking,” Olsen replied.

Elton on trial for Shogan, Cowles threats

Trial begins today in the case of a Spokane man accused of threatening to kill the Spokane City Council president and the chairwoman of the company that owns The Spokesman-Review. 

David H. Elton, 44, is charged with two counts of felony harassment - threats to kill in connection with e-mails sent to Joe Shogan and Betsy Cowles in early 2009. UPDATE AFTER TODAY’S TESTIMONY: Elton did not send the messages directly to the two, rather they learned of the messages through concerned citizens.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. before Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno . A jury of 12 Spokane County residents, with two alternates, was selected Monday.

Elton, who was arrested Feb. 10, 2009, has said the emails were a joke and that he would never hurt anyone. Elton also was suspected of threatening to kill Cowles’ brother, Spokesman-Review Publisher Stacey Cowles, but the publisher declined to pursue charges.  (Stacey Cowles and Betsy Cowles are pictured.)

Spokane police Detective Corey Turman said in January that Elton said he wanted the Cowles family to sue him so he could use the evidence process to obtain company records. 

But Elton, who described himself as a “hyperactive political activist,” claimed “he was not willing to commit a crime just to get them in court,” Turman said.

Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy has read portions of the e-mails naming Shogan (left) and Cowles at pre-trial hearings. They discuss Elton’s knowledge of high-powered rifles and his intended victim’s schedules, Nagy said. Elton also advises that getting him locked up won’t do any good because he’ll tell experts everything they want to hear, then cause mass destruction when he’s released, Nagy said at a past court hearing.

The case has gone through seven judges and at least one defense lawyer. Elton faces a second trial on a charge that he threatened to kill his ex-wife, Robin Stewart.

In June, Moreno ordered Elton to undergo a mental evaluation to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial. She cleared him for trial in August.

Betsy Cowles and Shogan are expected to testify. Nagy said he expects to wrap up his side of the case by Wednesday. Elton is represented by Mark Hodgson.

Previous coverage:

June 16: Candidate will undergo mental evaluation

April 15: Elton avoids jail after violating court orders

April 3: Elton’s wife donated to Stevens’ campaign

Jan. 21: Trial set for Elton on threat charges

Feb. 12, 2009: ‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

David Elton goes to trial…

Good morning, Netizens…

This morning, at long last, I will be testifying at the trial of David Elton for the prosecution. Approximately 600 days ago, this sordid affair called the case of Washington State Versus David Elton began, based upon an e-mail message written by David Elton February 6, 2009. Since that time, there have been multiple schedule changes to the court docket; Elton has fired a long list of lawyers and various judges have recused themselves but at last we are here, ready for a jury trial.

While I am not going to disclose my testimony at this point in time, suffice it to say that upon completion of the trial I will post excerpts of the original e-mail message so that you can judge for yourselves what his intentions at that time were. I do not believe now, after this passage of time, that justice would be best served by incarcerating Elton. This comes hard on the words of County Prosecutor Dale Nagy who, yesterday in a phone call informed me that I should not testify that Elton is bi-polar, although Elton takes enough psychotropic drugs to flatten an ox upright on its tail with its eyes crossed.

Among other luminaries slated to testify for the prosecution, Dr. John Olsen, City Council President Joe Shogan and Betsy Cowles to name a few. There is enough printed paper involved in this court case that we could paste the entire interior walls of Judge Moreno’s Court Room. We could call it interior decoration, were it not so macabre or such a waste of the taxpayer’s money.

So, hitch up your knickers folks, because here we are, going to trial.


Elton still in the race…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

If you look here http://www.inlander.com/spokane/switch.php?str=Elton&x=29&y=6&control=gsearch.c&c=all you will see where candidate David Elton has withdrawn from the political race for County Commissioner according to The Inlander. That would be newsworthy were that truly the case, but contrary to Inlander reporter Kevin Taylor, the press release is inaccurate.

I spoke with Mr. Elton this afternoon by phone and he has not withdrawn from the political race for the Spokane County Commissioner, District 3 at all, and moreover, Elton made the assertion to me that he is supporting Bonnie Mager, one of the candidates whom he purportedly is challenging for the Third District Commissioner’s seat. I quote Mr. Elton: “Along with Don Barbieri and Steve Corker……Bonnie is a democrat I admire. She does a great job…..and she is my opponent. I am a lifelong Republican…but I never deny the truth…..That truth is that Bonnie Mager does a helluva good job. I admire Bonnie Mager!”

This comes hard on the heels of the Elton being termed “a civic gadfly” by Thomas Clouse writing for the Spokesman-Review ten days ago. To this I rebut, “If you kill a man like me, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me,” because my role was that of a gadfly, “to sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth.” (paraphrased from Socrates)

I will leave the judgment to others of whether Elton is a gadfly or whether the irritation he sometimes causes in certain social and political systems in Spokane actually serves as a civic function far beyond being an irritant; that instead of simply serving as a gadfly, Elton is actually in search of the truth in his own obscure and sometimes unintelligible way and thus serves a higher and more noble cause.

Of course, your thoughts may differ.


Candidate says he’s back in the running

A day after announcing an end to his campaign, David Elton says he’s back in the running for Spokane County Commission.

On Monday, Elton wrote a news release announcing his departure from the race. Today, he told a Spokesman-Review reporter that he’ll still be a candidate because it’s too late to get a refund on his $930 filing fee.

“I will be running,” he said. “But I will not be running a full-fledged campaign.”

Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said Elton’s check that he submitted earlier this month when he filed to run for the seat bounced. Even so, McLaughlin said it’s past the deadline for him to withdraw.

Candidate drops bid for county commission

David Elton, a civic gadfly and former radio show host, announced Monday that he is dropping his bid for Spokane County Commission.

Elton had filed to run as a Republican for the seat held by Democrat Bonnie Mager. Elton faces harassment charges related to e-mails he sent that allegedly threatened City Council President Joe Shogan and Cowles Co. Chairwoman Betsy Cowles. The Cowles Co. owns The Spokesman-Review.

Elton recently was ordered by a Spokane County Superior Court judge to undergo mental evaluations to decide if he’s competent to stand trial.

“Mr. Elton believes that he cannot get fair and accurate media coverage from the local journalists,” said a news release from Elton that announced his departure from the race.

Spokane County Elections Manager Mike McLaughlin said it’s too late for Elton to pull his name from the August primary ballot. Mager and Republicans Jeff Holy, Al French and Steve Salvatori remain in the race for County Commission.

Elton to get court-ordered mental evaluation

The mental state of a Spokane County commission candidate is in question.

 A week before filing for office Friday, civic gadfly David H. Elton was ordered by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno to undergo mental evaluations to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial on harassment charges related to threatening e-mails sent last year to Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and to Betsy Cowles, chairwoman of the Cowles Co., which owns The Spokesman-Review.

Elton’s trial, previously set to begin June 28, is on hold pending his mandatory mental health evaluation, Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy said.

Read the rest of my story here.

Previous coverage:

April 15: Elton avoids jail after violating court orders

April 3: Elton’s wife donated to Stevens’ campaign

Jan. 21: Trial set for Elton on threat charges

Feb. 12, 2009: ‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

On the campaign trail of David Elton…

Good morning, Netizens…

I almost got into journalistic trouble the other day when I stated a bit prematurely that David Elton was running for County Commissioner. There was a slight lapse between when I posted my announcement and when the Secretary of States web site updated at http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/spokane/runningforoffice/Pages/CandidateFilings.aspx.

That is because I received word of Elton’s filing from an private source and I verified the information from the Secretary of States office here in Spokane almost at the time he paid his filing fees. That seemed good enough at the time, but I wasn’t aware that the state web site had not been updated.

Once David Elton was officially in the running, it took less than 24 hours for his preliminary political campaign to run onto the rocks after a fashion. I have been aware for some time that David has an affection, a strange fascination for the Davenport Hotel, and ostensibly has been using their in-house computer network to access the Internet on a number of occasions, which is a serious no-no from their perspective, since is was not a guest of their establishment. He was warned several times, but persisted until yesterday, when he was escorted from the Hotel by security personnel and served with a notice titled “Notice of Trespass/Exclusion Private Property”. Ostensibly he is forbidden from entering the Davenport under city code 10.12.050, http://www.spokanecity.org/services/documents/smc/?Section=10.12.050 ie., trespass.

One never knows quite what David Elton will do next, but he always speaks his mind as he sees fit, with a considerable degree of cogency and clarity. More often than not, he creates controversy wherever he goes, whatever he says.

However, you might want to closely watch the political campaign in the County Commissioner’s Third Seat in the upcoming election. This is bound to be an interesting political campaign.


David Elton files for Commissioner seat…

Good afternoon Netizens…

I understand via the grapevine that David Elton has filed to run for County Commissioner for District 3 just a short time ago. Now this could be an interesting campaign, given the amount of muscle and financial wherewithal that he can bring to bear.

I also understand that David Elton is about to hold his first press conference, this time with KXLY TV. As more information comes available, I most certainly will keep everyone advised.


Elton avoids jail after violating court orders

A man accused of threatening to kill Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and Cowles Co. Chairwoman Betsy Cowles avoided going to jail in advance of his May trial, even though a judge ruled today that he “clearly” violated court orders.

David H. Elton, 44, will be jailed if he continues to disregard orders such as the requirement that he notify the court 48 hours in advance if he’s leaving the county, said Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno.

When defense lawyer Mark Hodgson questioned how she knew Elton violated that order, Moreno pointed to a folder filled with emails sent by Elton to Moreno and her judicial assistant .

Elton spoke of his travels in the emails “but that’s long after he’s already left,” Moreno said.

When Moreno asked Elton to stop emailing her, he began emailing her judicial assistant, she said.

“Some of them are fine, some of them are absolutely vile,” Moreno said. “You’re correct, Mr. Hodgson, that Mr. Elton has shown disrespect for the court and disrespect for the court’s officers.”

Hodgson said he “can only express my deepest regrets that emails like that were ever sent to the court.”

“I make my living in this system and I think it deserves the highest respect,” Hodgson said. “That type of behavior is simply not tolerable.”

Hodgson said Elton has been “admonished by me personally that he needs to follow court orders.”

Hodgson said Elton is not a flight risk.

“I think there’s a lot of people in Spokane County who would like Mr. Elton to leave the county, (but) he really is not fleeing prosecution,” Hodgson said. “He stands ready. He wants to go to trial.”

Trial for Elton on charges that he threatened to kill his ex-wife, Robin Stewart, is to begin May 17. The trial for the charges related to Shogan and Cowles (the Cowles Company owns the Spokesman-Review) is to begin after that trial is complete.

The charges have been separated into two cases because the charge involving Stewart includes an amendment related to Elton’s previous conviction for harassing her. That previous conviction can’t be heard by jurors considering the Shogan and Cowles charges - only the Stewart charge.

Previous coverage:

Elton’s wife donated to Stevens’ campaign

Trial set for Elton on threat charges

‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

Elton’s wife donated to Stevens’ campaign

A candidate for Spokane County prosecutor has accepted a $500 campaign contribution from the wife of a man being prosecuted by the office he wants to oversee.

Records show that Republican prosecuting attorney candidate Dave Stevens accepted the donation in February and has kept the money despite knowing that the contributor’s husband, David Elton (left), faces three counts of felony harassment.

David Elton wrote in an e-mail in February that he would “donate as much as he could afford” to Stevens’ campaign. Documents from the state Public Disclosure Commission show that Elton’s wife, Belinda Elton, contributed $500 in February.

Read the rest of Jonathan Brunt’s story here.

Elton, 44, is accused of making threats in e-mail messages to his ex-wife, Robin Stewart, Cowles Co. Chairwoman Betsy Cowles and Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan. Deputy Prosecutor Dale Nagy is seeking a bench warrant for Elton, alleging he’s failed to notify Nagy on several occasions that he’s leaving town 48 hours in advance as required by a court order.

Judge Maryann Moreno is set to hear that motion on April 15.

Mark Vovos withdrew as Elton’s lawyer late last month. Elton has said he may represent himself.

Past coverage:

Trial set for Elton on threat charges

‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

Trial set for Elton on threat charges

A man accused of threatening to kill City Council President Joe Shogan and the chairwoman of the company that owns The Spokesman-Review will go to trial in April, a judge ruled today.

David H. Elton, who turns 44 on Friday, is charged with three counts of felony harassment for alleged threats made to Shogan, Cowles Co. chairwoman Betsy Cowles, and Elton’s ex-wife, Robin Stewart.

Elton was arrested Feb. 10 after police obtained an email in which Elton said he wanted “to murder”several people, including Cowles and Stewart. Elton was suspected of threatening to kill Spokesman-Review Publisher Stacey Cowles, but that charge was dropped the day of his arrest after Cowles “expressed no fear or concern about Mr. Elton’s conduct,” according to court documents.

Elton has said the emails were a joke and that he would never hurt anyone. Spokane police Detective Corey Turman testified on Thursday that Elton said he wanted the Cowles family to sue him so he could use the evidence process to obtain company records.

But Elton, who described himself as a “hyperactive political activist,” claimed “he was not willing to commit a crime just to get them in court,” Turman said.

On Thursday, Judge Maryann Moreno, the eighth judge assigned to the case, ruled that statements Elton made to police were voluntary and can be admitted at trial.

She also ordered that sixty Spokane County residents should be called for a jury pool. Jury pools typically have about 35 people.

Elton’s defense attorney, longtime trial lawyer Mark Vovos, has filed a motion asking for the charges to be dismissed because of judicial mishandling.

Past coverage:

‘Murder’ email meant as joke, suspect says

Elton vs. Eugster

Last night’s City Council debate sponsored by the Campaign for Liberty, went free of personal attacks until David Elton landed one on Steve Eugster.

Elton, who is competing against Eugster and four other candidates for the right to represent south Spokane, complained about a blog post on Eugster’s Spokane Record that questioned if Elton has an Oedipus Complex.

“That’s not the way a distinguished former councilman should behave,” Elton said in his closing statement. ”Maybe that’s why he’s no longer allowed to practice law.”

Elton was referring to Eugster’s 18-month suspension from praciticing law handed down by the state Supreme Court in June.

Eugster’s closing statement was before Elton’s, so Euster didn’t get a chance to mention Elton’s legal problems: Felony harassment charges that prevent Elton from attending City Council meetings.

After the debate, Eugster said he didn’t have anything to add, except to say that he pulled the Oedipus Complex reference from his site after learning that Elton was offended. Today, however, Eugster has reposted the original entry along with e-mails Elton sent that warned him that “Now…the gloves come off” and questioning if Eugster is a “Cowles sycophant.”

Here is Eugster’s original post:

One of the candidates for Spokane City Council Position 2, District 2 uses his candidacy to lambast Betsy Cowles and the Spokesman Review, wants to go after the police department because there have been “seven killings” and because a man was killed by a police officer because he had a bottle of pop in his hand (I think that’s what I heard him say), wants to tear down a short commercial building to make a 0.8 acre “open space, and wants to see a new skyscraper built downtown, (or was it Browne’s Addition?). He would use the power of government to denigrate a women, bring powerful police officers to justice, knock down an old not very tall building and build a new tall building.
What is all of this about? Is it possible the candidate has an Oedipus Complex? I suspect some hidden truth is unconsciously at work in the candidacy of David Elton.  Or said another way, there is meaning here someplace.

Candidate alert: 6th candidate in South Spokane district

As the deadline draws near, another candidate has entered the race for South Spokane’s District 2 council district.

David Elton, who is currently banned from City Council meetings because of verbal exchanges with Council President Joe Shogan, filed at 4:28 p.m.

Elton has a history that can be charitably described as colorful. He’ll face Steve Eugster, incumbent Mike Allen, outdoor magazine publisher Jon Snyder, congressional aide Kristina Sabestinas and first-timer Greg Ridgley.

Full list when filing closes at 5 p.m.

Courthouse watch: 5.21.09

A man charged with threatening to kill city of Spokane and Cowles Co. officials and a man charged with impersonating a federal agent were among cases with hearings today in Spokane County.

Steven E. Escallier, 40, (left) is charged with criminal impersonation, first-degree attempted robbery and malicious mischief after police say he tried robbing two men who were completing a cell phone sale arranged through Craigslist in early March.

Escallier told officer he thought the men were drug dealers when he identified himself as a DEA agent and ordered one to “hand over his drugs,” according to police. He was arrested a few blocks away from the crime scene at Crestline and Empire.

David H. Elton, 43, was another defendant in court today who’s made the news.

Charged with three counts of felony harassment - threats to kill, Elton was arrested in February after several people told police of emails he’d sent threatening to kill Spokane City Council President Joe Shogan and Betsy and Stacey Cowles, who own The Spokesman-Review. Elton has said he suffers from bipolar disorder.

“Elton states that the people he has targeted are largely semi-innocent, but his hate for them is based on their greed and ignorance,” according to court papers. “He states that the only exception is his ex-wife. He writes that he dreams of killing her and burning her remains and he listens to Chopin and Van Halen.”

Judge Ellen Kalama Clark granted trial extensions for Escallier and Elton Thursday. She also allowed a special judge to be assigned to Elton’s case.

Escallier remains in Spokane County Jail; Elton, who is out on bond, is represented by private criminal defense lawyer Mark Vovos. Vovos described the case as “complex.”

Friends of David Elton…

Good evening, Netizens…

I received this information from David Elton’s wife, Belinda, in e-mail, and because perhaps not everyone received this information, I am making it public.

If you or anyone you know would like to write to David Elton during his stay in the Spokane County Jail you may do so using the following address:

David H Elton
c/o Spokane County Jail
1100 W. Mallon
Spokane, WA 99260-0320

Perhaps now, more than ever, receiving mail from friends might help his emotional makeup during the time he is incarcerated.

Thanks in advance…


David Elton’s surety bond $400,000…

Good evening, Netizens…

I first met David Elton face-to-face early in the morning at Starbucks on the South Hill last winter and suffered some of Starbuck’s wretched coffee. Ironically, despite the fact David was distracted by holding several other simultaneous conversations and playing competitive chess at a high level he managed to hold a fairly cogent conversation with me before I finally drifted away into making my early-morning runs.

I believe that was the only time I ever met David Elton face-to-face. It isn’t to say he is a stranger to me at all, after nearly 500 e-mail messages and countless telephone conversations, I feel I have a fairly comprehensive understanding of his capability and well as the nature of his bipolar affliction. It seems almost Orwellian that he is both one of the most engaging, convivial persons I have met in my walk through life, and simultaneously one of the more-dramatic cases of bipolar disorder I have witnessed. One can be both.

I believe when David Elton was arraigned on today various felony charges, relating to his threats against City Council President Joe Shogan and Betsy and Stacey Cowles that perhaps I understand him better than most people. Did David Elton, as charged, present a clear and obvious danger to himself and others, as he has written? I submit that depends upon your perspective about bipolar disorder.

Annie M., a severe Schizophrenic patient I knew over a decade ago, who were frequently hospitalized at Eastern State Hospital for repeatedly attempting to kill either herself or others, once stated in a rare moment of lucidity, “Just because you are crazy as a loon doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Sometimes it means you are more loving and empathetic than those around you, just unable to remain that way all day long.”

Eventually Annie M.’s horrific Schizophrenia was cured by medication. She went on to marry, have a family of her own and finish her Doctorate at Washington State University. Her degree? She won honors in abnormal psychology.

Tonight David Elton is in the Spokane County Jail with his surety bond set at $400,000 by Judge Judge Patti C. Walker. It seems to me that, instead of arguing his case before Judge Walker, the highest and best use of Justice would have been for David to request immediate mental health treatment rather than jail time. I join with many others in the hope he gets the care he needs and returns to productive living soon.