August 31, 2005
$55,800 Whitewash? (II)
I obtained a copy of King County's so-called "independent investigation report" on absentee ballot handling that was reported in yesterday's paper.
First, here is Dean Logan's press statement that accompanied the release of the report. It opens
In the spring, I initiated an independent investigation...
I haven't finished reading the report, but I'm skeptical that the investgation was all that independent. The first page alone has a couple of hints that bolster my skepticism.
First, it's headlined "PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY WORK PRODUCT/ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION". Copies of final report were handed out to the media. But my hunch is that other communications and work product related to the report will be treated as privileged when I attempt to request them. Besides, what kind of "independent investigation" for a government agency is done under the assumption of attorney-client privilege?
Second, the lead attorney who wrote the report, Sheryl Willert, is a Ron Sims campaign donor.
The complete report is here. [29 pages, 2.9 MB]. I'll have more to add after I finish reading it.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at August 31, 2005
05:40 PM | Email This
1. If I am not mistaken, once a source document has been cited as a basis of fact-finding conclusions, the Attorney-Client Privilege is negated.
Amazing how the attorneys hired to do whitewash investigations of government scandals tend to be campaign donors to the politicians whose *sses they are hired to protect.
In May 2000, when the $18 million missed appeal deadline blunder came up, then-AG Christine Gregoire at least had the political savvy to hire a Republican law firm to do the $50,000 whitewash investigation -- McKay Chadwell, whose senior partner Mike McKay was heading up Bush's election campaign in this state. The McKay Chadwell law firm then gave Gregoire a modest, but symbolically important, $200 contribution the day after it was retained.
The lead attorney is a Sims donor?? Some independent investigation!
Notice how they keep falling all over each other to say there was no fraud, etc.? Well, how can they say that when they can't even explain why there are almost one thousand more mail ballots than mail voters?? Thinking people know that something's not right here....
4. Did she declare this piece as an in-kind donation to the Sims campaign?
"independent investigation report" done by a n'nonpartison Blue Ribon' pannel would have been what I would have looked for them to trot out.
I have come to regard anything containing any of these buzz words with a great deal of suspicion.
King County spends money like it's not even theirs!
Oh, wait a minute, it's not theirs but formerly ours!!
I just received a response to a PDA request of mine that revealed that King County DOT spent $202,000 this year to hire a pro-development law firm to represent it as it worked to help Weyerhaesuer expand a massive development east of Redmond. With that firm they are also suing the King County hearing examiner in superior court and appealing his findings to the King County Council.
Even though the examiner found wrongdoing committed by DOT to help this developer and strongly recommended denial of the development, opposition has been bankrupted and silenced for a fraction of the profits on just one Quadrant home. DOT will now use our tax dollars, along with Weyerhaeuser and its profits from new home sales, and they will almost certainly "buy" their way around that ruling.
What's it mean?
The simple answer is that all of us will be asked to fork over tens of millions of dollars - on top of the tens of billions we're already on the hook for - to build the additional road capacity to support these additional 800 Quadrant homes, while Weyerhaeuser counts it profits and DOT lives off the pitiful permit fees and mitigation that may cover 5%-10% of local area road improvement costs.
What a system!!!
Note the similarity in "thought" processes (for lack of a better term) when they did the Mail Ballot Report and when they tried to retrieve the "NSOF" ballot envelopes from the secure area.
In neither case did Huennekens or Way show any recognition of the benefit they could gain by knowing how many ballot envelopes or ballots should constitute the total.
Way just grabbed the NSOF envelopes she saw, and Huennekens accepted it as the sum total of all such "NSOF" ballots in existence. It wasn't, of course. A child (other than Huennekens) could see that no names beginning with "A" or "B", and few names beginning with "C" were among the envelopes, which had been put in alphabetical order. This indicated that some others were still somewhere in secure storage. When Huennekens was told by Webb that "DIMS" showed 735 such NSOF envelopes existed, not the 560 retrieved, Huennekens ignored the information.
For the Mail Ballot Report, an essential number was the number of ballots returned by voters. Only with that number could anyone compare the numbers of ballots sent through vote tabulation and those rejected during verification and thus see whether all returned ballots had been accounted for. DIMS could provide a number, whether it was the correct number or not. No one has ever asked any of Logan's gang, to my knowledge, what number DIMS said had been returned by voters. There's no indication that Way, Fell or Heunnekens got that DIMS number before preparing and passing along the false Mail Ballot Report to the canvassing board.
In both cases, they showed no ability to grasp the concept of reconciling their ballot totals. They didn't care how many NSOF ballot envelopes were supposed to be in the cage. Their attitude was to grab what they saw and consider them to be all that existed. They didn't care how many absentee envelopes had actually been returned by voters. Their attitude was to tabulate the votes on whichever ballots were sent through the tabulation process--once, twice or more times apiece wouldn't matter--and accept that as the correct count of votes.
Maybe they aren't pretending to be dumb.
Methinks Nicole will be able to retire from the lawsuit that is about to follow.
Get your eye and ear protection ready.
Sorry it's the tax payers money. Can we reallocate some of the monorail slime dollars to pay Nicole's settlement?
gads- maybe we can make a sequel to erin brokovistiwishoslajd
When a caged chicken has a wound, the other chickens in the coop will peck it to death.
Humans are not chickens, but it is possible that the investigation was colored by the mere fact that Ms. Way and others were put on administrative leave.
When someone isn't around on a regular basis to be looked in the eye, it is easier to pile on them since they are out of the picture and they have already been scapegoated.
Subconsciously, any person working in KCREALS would want to put something like the 2004 election behind them. Blame must be affixed on SOMEBODY, so why not Ms. Way?
It reminds me of office politics. Sometimes the person who leaves a workplace is blamed for everything that has been going wrong, when blame really ought to be more widely distributed.
It's much easier to betray someone who is not around than speak objectively about people who remain.
Very astute observation, Tim.
The question has to be asked, why was Garth Fell never placed on administrative leave? Some of the other staff mentioned in the report were placed briefly on administrative leave, and then returned to duty, some were reassigned to other positions wihtin the office without administrative leave, some were both put on leave and reassigned.
But there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to any of the administrative leave decisions - other than to pinpoint who the designated fall guy was going to be. "It's OK to blame these people, front line folks! The top managers already are!"
Even more importantly, looking around at the people who were not removed from the office sent a very strong message not to speak out against those folks, even when they were known to have contributed to the chaos, as Logan had their backs.
It wouldn't be the first time that Sims and his underlings have used this tactic during internal "investigations" throughout the county, but also before in this exact agency.
The fact that Garth Fell was Way's supervisor and he's basically walking out of this scot-free is absolutely disgusting.
11. Everything is normal in Seattle and King County -- the previous posts put together are a perfect expose of the overall mentality that is prevalent here -- get rid of Sims -PLEASE -- BUT KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED -- and double check your recent property assessments. And have fun at the pumps these days - keep 'er topped up.
12. An "independent report" by a Sims campaign donor....how transparent can they get? There isn't even an effort to maintain the appearance of propriety any more. Sims is so used to running rough shod over every one he is getting sloppy. He is running this county like his own kingdom and even the counsel is beginning to see it. Have you read Phillips' comments about Sims' efforts to sidestep the counsel and move SW to Boeing? Hopefully Sims and his gang of whitewash experts will be history in November. We need to spread the word that we have a great alternative - IRONS. The Sims travestry needs to stop. Every time somes rags on Sims make sure they know Irons - a man with intregity and common sense - is on the ballot in November.
13. Argue that he has waived the attorney-client privilege by providing the information.