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Sunday, November 4, 2007

RE-ELECT ALEC FISKEN AS WHALE OF THE PORT COMMISSSION

Once more:
RE-ELECT ALEC FISKEN PORT COMMISSIONER
I find Alec smart, patient, by no means obstinately independent such as I can be, and understanding of what constitutes that complicated ball of wax, "the public interest." Alec is one of the few commissioners, I believe Lloyd Hara is one other, who takes a close look at the provisions of some of the contracts, quite a few of them no-bid with SSA Marine/ Carrix the 889 pound Orang Utahn that no paper here will do a close story about!

I have, meanwhile, tried to check out his opponent, Bill Bryant, and he does not appear to be what he presents himself as being: Alec "light", a potentially more co-operative, consensus building commissioner in a consensus fetishized * great dank Norwest [* : note my note on the history of major consens - suses? si? ae? - suggestions from all those suffering from obsessive compulsive grammaticalites welcome !] since its invasion by the empire builders around 3000 + moons ago]

First of all, he was put up by ex-Port Exec Mic Dinsmore [whom I happen to dig if only as a throwback to more royal days] and "ethically challenged" "memory challenged" anyhow thoroughly challenged Commissioner Davis, who also needs a hairpiece! Will she have the chutz pah to run agin in two years! Don't bet against Pat!

Dinsmore had vowed to to replace the fractious Fisken, as an act of vengeance for
giving the "royal" Mic a hard time! Alec smiled all the way.
Even so, Bryant might be all right.
Unfortunately he is not, I regard him to be a demagogue. For one look at his tendentious primitive website: http://www.bryantforport.com/menu.php
For two, regard his false claims: ah another one who has turned all green - actually the port years ago took a green policy, and Dinsmore, the child of that chemical cesspool, that wonder of the accumulation of capital on the backs and intestines and lungs of American labor, the well named Butte Montana,
was in the lead as much as Alec. Green is the slogan when the Port for years now has been going in that direction.
It's an instance of the lazy editorial boards
who don't know what close examination is
who never take a close look at and compare contracts and who thus
who lag behind when they have their sessions: Mr.Malarkey's PCPs in the Duwamish - that the once consensus - beloved of roofers hereabouts for about a 100 years - started being cleaned up several years ago.

To be pro-business? It is hard to be pro-port and anti-business. However, the part of the business community that prefers Bryant likes the status quo of being able to live off the tax subsidy; a tax that doesn't amount to all that much and that keeps the bond rating high but which the port, if run just a tad better and more efficiently, wouldn't need.

Current Port Commission President John Creighton felt that I ought to get to know Bryant, and since John C. is a Republican for whom I have some real liking, and since I was not disposed against Bryant at the time, I sent Mr. Bryant an e-mail asking for a meeting, or maybe we'd just chat for a while - I trust my analyst ear. Despite Creighton's wish and his then intercession Bryant failed to reply. I mean I am of course a real power house, all I can do is persuade my various feathered friends to stuff the ballots with horse feathers, that's about it. I then went to the Transportation Club's luncheon for the candidates. http://www.transportationclubofseattle.org/
After watching Bryant I had not the slightest interest, nay an aversion to make any kind of physical contact; that does not happen often, not often enough unfortunately that my detector gets it right right away.

It's a really weird entity The Port of Seattle, $ 300,000 is backing Bryant, chiefly from interested parties in the bi community. That kind of backing comes for interested reasons. Bryant himself has exclusively given, rather large amounts, only to Republicans, Cheney-Bush being the cut off line for me to trust his good sense. The port buys a rail line from BSNF and then turns around and sells it to King County; it gets into all kinds of strange matters ... a very odd semi-governmental entity.

Here are a few other links to other views of the matter:
http://www.seattleweekly.com/2007-10-31/news/right-leaning-port-candidate-claims-green-but-why.php


http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/337851_port02.html

In the other race, I now prefer Bob Edwards, a bit of a local politico, but an awfully nice one, over National Security wonk Gael Tarleton who is running for Secretary of State, Ayn Rand always gave me the willies and so does Gael.

Below , if you care to read on, an op-ed type piece of mine that expresses my views on the Port Commission, on what is I think an outmoded, anachronistic alderman way of running, over-seeing something as complicated as a sea and airport in these times. Myself, I'd rather canoe and have the 520 covered with dirt for my burro, Durango.
=====================================================================


--
About 150 years ago it was the consensus to string up Indians to show them who was boss....
Then it became the consensus to break those great treaties with them, which could get a street such as Stevens Way named after you...
The names of the original thieves and robbers are Yessler, Denny, etc... and their descendants are amongst us...
Then it was a consensus to run the Chinaman out of town after he had dug the "ship" [yes "ship" not" birth" ] canal to Lake Washington
which lowered the water table by nine feet...
And opened up a huge marsh morass where it became "the consensus" to deposit all that industrial shit....
It became the consensus to hose down them thar obstreperous hills and make a lot of landfill that became Harbor Island....
Then it became "the consensus" to drive automobiles and submit to the cement and rubber and oil industry and then to eliminate the street cars...
Now it is the consensus to be green... and to vote for Prop 1...
These are the bad old times to come as the consensi / ae/ uses/ keep piling on and up....

==================================================================

John, if you could forward this to Mr. Yoshitani, for a more focussed and briefer version of what then spilled out of me yesterday late afternoon..it will endear you to me for a certain duration.
I certainly was impressed with the way your new CEO handled a number of issues.
Then had a wonderful two hour chat with Bob Edwards outside Pier 69 in the settling dusk which I will write you about separately.
xxx
michael


ED PORT [draft]
I became involved in Port of Seattle matters during the 2005 election as supporter of a candidate whom his firm then forced to withdraw when it prohibited all employees from holding public office. Meanwhile I've made pleasant and more or less thorough acquaintance with the various commissioners and the CEO preceding the ascendancy of Tay Yoshitani; and with the by no means uncomplicated issues facing the port in the world such as it is - ah, yes, "the world such as it is!" As the child of a father who ran a fishing fleet I have always found ports sexy, and I think, perhaps mistakenly, that my take on the Port is benign and not colored by immediate self-interest.
In light of these considerations, I am wondering whether the Seattle Port Commission is still able to do the job for which it was designed. Something certainly is quite puzzling, if not amiss, about the way it is currently set up. Judging by the 100s of thousands invested in the last and current commissioner campaign you would assume these offices to be worth more than 6 k per annum. What is really at stake? Not only does the job pay a pittance, commissioners who take their jobs seriously, lacking support staff or a budget for over- and insight, will - on top of whatever other job they have - spend many many hours at slave labor wages poring over contracts and the like; something only millionaires and the retired can afford - unless civic minded beyond the call of duty. The Port C.E.O., knowing of the comparative ignorance of the commissioners, has little choice but to want them to be compliant. However, under these circumstances the commissioners would seem to be easily beholden to the businesses with interests before the Port, which pour such large sums into these elections; certainly not entirely unselfishly I don't think.
The commissioners only perk are much derided junkets to air and sea port related cities where you can either have a good time or, once again, take your job seriously; that is, you can get yourself a translator and, say, haunt the docks; certainly a good thing to get out of Seattle to get an other than rain-drenched p.o.v.!
Thus I ask myself, ought not the commissioners, when their supporters' contractual interests come before the P.O.S., recuse themselves, as some candidates with multiple interest already promise to do? If the answer is yes, would the commission still be a functioning entity?
But what if it were an appointed commission of specialists in the various areas that the P.O.S. touches, and if such a commission were sufficiently funded and staffed, might it not do a far better job? And work far more cohesively with the executive? That certainly is the case at other Ports that also run their affairs far more efficiently per cargo ton.
The second matter of ethics that I find odd is that the previous Port CEO promised to raise money to defeat the re-election of a sitting commissioner, as in the 2005 election he had campaigned for the re-election of a different commissioner. Ought the Port C.E.O. be permitted political activity; no matter how justified it may seem to him from the point of view of running the port? The commissioners themselves also take action to support or defeat each other. Not the sort of thing that is needed I don't think in this instance. It strikes me as though the commission is about to implode.



Taking a less than Seattle-centric p.o.v., I also feel that a regional or perhaps state-wide perspective ought be taken. The age-old {!} competition between the ports of Tacoma and Seattle makes little sense; together they could draw far better contracts with the big stevedoring and shipping companies. Taking the ports of Everett and Olympia, and the birth place of grunge, Grey's Harbor, into state-wide consideration might even make better sense.

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