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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

OPEN LETTER TO THE SEATTLE TIMES RE THE COMMISSIONER HOLLAND AFFAIR.

BELOW, MY LETTER (S) TO THE SEATTLE TIMES, VIA WESTNEAT & A LONG COMMENT
OF MINE ON DAVID BREWSTER'S PIECE ON THE PORT IN CROSSCUT ISSUE FEB 14


Dear Mr. Westneat,
Indeed, "who" would seem to be the only important word in your weaselly column in today's paper.


That great muckraking paper, the Seattle Times, that was so on the ball during the Mic Dinsmore/ Pat Davis era, it was as sharp as Brian Sontag's auditors, wasn't it, and I put it to you, the Seattle Times continues to have the same unacknowledged agenda. The Seattle Times front page Sunday piece on Bob Holland 

and its follow up


was obviously designed to take him down, a peanut gallery shoot on the part of one of the shittiest papers in the nation, everything halfway worthwhile derives from syndicates - the Seattle Times, small time of small time, beyond provincial, village picayune.  The Seattle Times won't really touch a truly touchy story, as I once found out trying to work with Duff Wilson, your Pulitzer Prize winner, prior to his departure, to anything but greener pastures it turns out. Meanwhile the Seattle Times has won another Putzer - basically for ambulance chasing! 

The initial piece on Holland is one peanut after another, and the typical innuendo of guilt by association, ah but if only the Seattle Times exerted itself in this fashion in more important matters!

Bob Holland if nothing was overly well intentioned and naive. I used to be too at one time in a different line of work in New York - amazing the monsters you find yourself working for or with or encountering, and that is in book publishing! What if you dug as deeply into the life of a two-faced ambitious beast like Gail Tarelton, or Commissioner Bryant? Is the Times really bothered by the current Port C.E.O.s two timing conflict of interest?

What a peculiar crucible the Port Commission is - jumping off point to other elective offices, with pay of $ 500 a month - the proposal to pay a commissioner in terms of the workload that being a real overseeing commissioner entails seems to have gotten nowhere. What a sacrifice it is to be a commmisioner these days, not so of course at the time that the Port Commisio was whelped, 100 or is it a 1000 years ago.

The Port Commission elections indicate to me the invasion of the nastiness of national politics, and its whys and wherefore into local politics.

Bring back the bad old days I say, when the best commissioner in decades, Alec Fisken, was defeated by business supported Bryant, and a fine Republican like Bob Edwards was done in by Tarelton - all under the attack rubric "throw the rascals out", which is never sufficiently honest to proclaim, "for the sake of the new rascals".
Stay dry, if you can.
Michael Roloff
              
2

2

For reason obscure to me but no doubt having to do with my working on several books and being engaged in several major on-line controversies I missed David Brewster's piece on the Port until  John Creighton called my attention to it today.

http://crosscut.com/2013/02/14/politics-government/112957/port-seattle-gang-cant-shoot-straight/?page=2

First of all, let me express astonishment at Brewster's apparently buying at face value the Seattle Times' Emily Heffer but no doubt editor in chief and power's-there-be-approved petty hit piece [s] on Bob Holland. Have we lost all ability to be sceptical? Do we buy into the cool-aid like a first grader? Can we not probe where interests lie?


and its follow up

 The interview that the piece cites, was conducted via e-mail, yet Heffer has Holland "tearing up." Holland evidently wouldnt have been in a bit of a financial mess if his 30 hours a week at the Port had been embursed, say, at the rate of a mid-level civil servant. I found Holland to be overly well intentioned and a bit wet behind the ears, and his election as well as those of Gail Tarleton and Bob Bryant (see anon), for my money, prove the point made among the comments here that the voters are ill-equipped to chose Port Commissioners - but why are they ill equipped? Because the Fifth Estate does such a superb job of vetting them and of keeping tabs on the way the Port is run, that is my derisive conclusion based now on near twenty years in Seattle, City of Banana slugs where critical mental activity has never managed to speed them up to be, what?, water striders? Yet think of themselves as hip, why, because they drink latte's first thing in the morning. Caffeine no matter how well served will never do the trick.

 To hold his early dislike of affirmative action against Holland - I don't know, but affirmative action as well as busing are not just insults to the affirmed and transported, but declaration of what a hideous country the U.S. of A. is historically in so many ways that those practical means had to be devised to redress some balances.

At about the time, eight years ago, that, for reasons of personal acquaintance with a series of candidates, I took a gander at the Port of Seattle, it then devolved that Tim Eyemann's initiative to have Brian Sontag do an audit resulted in the finding of what was it, a 100 million dollar problem? Now, my New York City sharpened and not yet again sleepy-headed nose was not surprised that the so nepotistically administered Port was found seriously wanting, and that that very formidable executive Mic Dinsmore then resigned, and his chief backer among the commissioners, Pat Davis, clever girl, then followed suit.  However, the two candidates who ran on a reform platform, Tartleton and Bryant, have turned out to be anything but. Two-faced Tartleton near instantly  was in the bag of the administration, ditto for Bryant; and best to my estimate, defeated the best commissioner I met during my watch, Alec Fisken, and a Bob Edwards, the kind of Republican I happen to like. Best as I could tell, with the kind of money then invested in running for these obscure position that election had a bit of the feel of the sulphur of the national kind.

I entirely agree that the State of Washington needs a State Port Commission that ought to
first decide where what is shipped out of and into most efficiently and fairly. Since I happened to drive up the coast back in June 1994 and sought to find a place to eat in Hoquiam Grey's Harbor on a Sunday eve, I got a memorable whiff of a very depressed area, and would not want it to be neglected in the process.http://cityofhoquiam.com/

I could go on at some further length, but do so in my letter to Westneat at
http://seattle-vistas.blogspot.com/2013/02/open-letter-to-seattle-times-re.html


 



Another silly long-winded column from that crappy columnist Westneat who appears unaware [or suffers from early dementia]  that it has been realized for at least ten years that if you really want to supervise that nest of nepotism the Port of Seattle as a commissioner you need to devote at least 30 hours a week to this job, and not be beholden to whatever handouts the Port may afford you, that is, to eliminate the grift. In other words, that as a sacrifice to civic service thjob is scarcely tempting unless the sacrifice provides a jumping off point to higher and paid office, vide Tarelton,and John Creighton, too, has eyed other political opportunities too, and sacrificed quite a job to do so.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times and Westneat refuse to acknowledge that in their village petty story they were wrong in the use Holland made of his porcredicard.

But leave it to the patheticallypetty to be petty in refusing to acknowledge error.
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/02/26/seattle-times-refuses-to-correct-obvious-error-in-watchdog-story-cited-as-reason-to-subscribe-to-the-seattle-times

The publideserves a better paper and better columnists and better reporters than it receives from the Seattle Times.

A good recap of the entire story and links and various takes on it can be                                                           found at




 

1 comment:

  1. On 2/27/2013 3:18 PM, Alec Fisken wrote:
    Mr. Roloff,

    So now for a while you send me these drafts (and other random items) which I enjoy and generally think are accurate, and often you solicit suggestions or comments, which I never offer. But I've been thinking about it, and I wanted to note a difference in our perspectives on the port, which maybe I expressed before but the discussion slipped my mind.

    Being by background a finance person, I think the big issue at the port is the tax levy, and the fact that it does not go to lower the cost to shippers and thus encourage business, but to provide additional revenue to stevedores - primarily what used to be SSA and then Carrix and now Goldman Sachs/Carrix. I would guess (although they have not shared the key documents with me) that in 2012 Goldman Sachs was the primary beneficiary of the levy.

    So I do think that commissioners should be paid, and agree with David B. that they should be appointed (the rest of his piece was just channeling Dick Ford), and that the port has a important role in economic development. And probably the staff set Rob Holland up unjustly. At least I know they do do that, although maybe he was an easy target.

    But the levy is my obsession, and until that's dealt with, I think the good things that the port could do are at risk, and so one should focus on that.

    Whew. Now I've commented.

    Hope all's well. Alec

    ReplyDelete

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