OF MINE ON DAVID BREWSTER'S PIECE ON THE PORT IN CROSSCUT ISSUE FEB 14
Dear Mr. Westneat,
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".
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.
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?
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
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 port credit card.
But leave it to the patheticallypetty to be petty in refusing to acknowledge error.
The public deserves a better paper and better columnists and better reporters than it receives from the Seattle Times.
-- "Chicquita abracas a todos" > MICHAEL ROLOFF