Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mirror Mirror ... Who Remembers The Least Of All

In one of the recent pleadings regarding the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) lawsuit, there is a declaration from a paralegal who has gone to the effort of quantifying the level of non-responsiveness of our public servants.

Before we get to the tally, for the sake of background, remember that the OPMA states the following:
The legislature finds and declares that all public commissions, boards, councils, committees, subcommittees, departments, divisions, offices, and all other public agencies of this state and subdivisions thereof exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of this chapter that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.
"Governing body" is "the multimember board, commission, committee, council, or other policy or rule-making body of a public agency, or any committee thereof when the committee acts on behalf of the governing body, conducts hearings, or
takes testimony or public comment."
"Action" is "the transaction of the official business of a public agency by a governing body including but not limited to receipt of public testimony, deliberations, discussions, considerations, reviews, evaluations, and final actions. "Final action" means a collective positive or negative decision, or an actual vote by a majority of the members of a governing body when sitting as a body or entity, upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance."
"Meeting" means "meetings at which action is taken."
Remember, too, that there is no dispute about whether the CAO Committee meetings took place in secret. They did. The dispute concerns the content of the meetings. The position of the participants is that they only discussed scheduling and not more substantive matters, despite documentary evidence (notes and emails) to the contrary.

When questioned about the meetings, this is how the deponents remembered (or did not remember) events.
  • Lovel Pratt was deposed on January 3, 2013, and she expressed 67 denials of knowledge (63 "I don't recall", 4 "I don't know")
  • Richard Fralick was deposed on January 3, 2013, and he expressed 22 denials (21 "I don't recall", 1 "I don't know")
  • Patty Miller was deposed on January 4, 2013, and she expressed 63 denials (51 "I don't recall", 12 "I don't know")
  • Shireene Hale was deposed on January 17, 2013, and she expressed 100 denials (52 "I don't recall", 31 "I don't know", 17 "I just don't have a specific recollection")
Mirror, mirror on the wall ... who remembers the least of all? Looks like it's Hale, followed by Pratt, Miller, and then Fralick.


  1. That's what I like, ice cold quantitative data. How incivil.

    Kivisto: Crank up the Rant Machine and get back to work shredding facts.

    But I am sure there is a logical explanation for all of this, such as being misquoted out of context.

  2. I clearly remember a number of years ago, Councilman Alton Boyce was recalled for this very sam thing!!

  3. Were it not for the TH we would not have a clue what is going on in this county. Why does the county,certain groups, other "news" sources and elected officials think it is ok to conceal information from us? This is sick.


  4. TH you need to quote the number of questions asked. I am sure Ms. Hale was asked a lot more questions.

  5. Ms Hale was still not knowing when she gave the training for the poor regulated groups a while back. If she wrote the stuff, and still cannot explain it, shouldn't we all be questioning why she (and Lovel and Jamie) supported it?

  6. I had the same thought as Mr. Wright - what's the lack of recall to question ratio? The per capita memory loss of the individuals is the only way to meaningfully compare.

    Unlike Mr Wright, I quite (meanly?) assumed that Ms. Hale would have the greatest number no matter which way it was calculated. Based on my limited dealings with her, I've found her to be a supreme obfuscator.

  7. @ Bill Wright et al

    At the moment, the TH does not know the answer to your question (i.e., the total number of questions asked), but we're looking into it. We'll pass it along when/if we get it.

  8. Were they asked, under oath, if it had been suggested,implied, or mentioned in any way that they answer with...I don't recall..I don't remember...or any variation meaning the same thing?

  9. @4:17. That is a great question and I hope it was asked.

  10. Two comments:

    A) it's truly horrifying that public servants paid with our tax dollars are either so dippy that they can't remember anything about numerous meetings they went to in the not distant past. Or they are so duplicitous that saying they can't remember is preferable legally to telling the truth. Or both.

    B) it's a reasonable assumption that the people being deposed had legal council prior to the depositions and they may have been advised that answering that they could not remember much other than their names was a reasonable legal strategy given the cock up they've made of WA sunshine laws.

  11. May I have the envelop please?

    Ahem. The name of the legal counsel sitting in the room representing the interests of both the deponents and San Juan County at the SAME TIME with no thought of conflict is none other than ... drum-roll, Roman trumpets, cathedral organs and crashing thunder ...

    The one. The only. On a silver platter where his head is rolling, folks a great big hand, its:

    The Randy Gaylord Show!


  12. Having suffered through four depositions I've got to comment:

    It is very likely none of these people have sat for a deposition before. Some attorney had to advise them and coach them into this stonewalling.

    In my experience, NO attorney advised me to stonewall like this, and in at least two of these suits big money was involved. (I toiled in the medical world and was a deep pocket target.) All attorneys told me to keep my answers short; yes or no, and not to offer any information not asked for directly.

    Often I was questioned by several attorneys, once there were six of them. These depositions were hundreds of pages.

    I reviewed every one of these documents and I know I NEVER said "I don't recall." That is total coaching BS.

    The insurance attorneys were pissed at me sometimes and my left foot got stomped a few times, but we never lost a suit. (Minimal settlement value is considered a win.)

    So telling what you know is not going to condemn you and in the end, by my lights, it is the best course to follow. Any attorney that advises otherwise should be hauled before the State Bar.

  13. I am fed up with these lying spin doctors! Those people that were involved in this that were voted into office need to be recalled and the people that they hired must be fired! This is a willful and blatant violation of their office and the public trust.

    These people Have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of our tax money to create a myriad of onerous, unneeded and unnecessary new rules and regulations that will further stifle our county"s economy. We all know who they represent!

    Lets get rid of them!!!!

  14. And yet, the kool-aid slurping lever-pulling Democratic goof balls will flock to their mail boxes and vote in two east-coast silver-spoon non-productive untalented people to heap more and more taxes and regulations upon their back...I wonder if small New Hampshire and Vermont communities have west-coast lazy trust-funders running for and winning offices there?

  15. Lovel...if you can remember, can you please enlighten all of us of your vast business and work experience? Work meaning: get up, go punch a clock and do something to EARN a paycheck, not sit on one busy-body committee after another, or live off of someone else's talent,success, or in your husband's case trust fund.

  16. @ 7:57 pm I think that you have an excellent question, not only for Lovel but also for Lisa (maybe Jamie too? Not sure what Jamie ever did for a job as it's not clear from information available online):

    So, candidates: when did you have a job that required you to manage a business in the real world -- no grants, no governmental sinecures, but competition and regulation to deal with.

    Lovel, apparently never--she's been up to her teeth in busybody mutual backslapping "community" groups for as long as we've known her.

    Lisa has been involved in (and very successful at) obtaining grant money and donations and getting regulatory exemptions. Her claim to have successfully navigated regulatory thickets is a bit odd, both because her biggest supporters are part of the thickets and because the government provides extra money and special treatment to this one group of builders--to the detriment of regular builders, who get no waiver of fees or head-of-the-line processing.

    Jamie, I don't know what he does or did--he's too young to be retired.

    Bob Jarman worked long and hard in the islands dealing with real people to solve real problems, both in the pre-Century Tel telephone system and in small business.

    Rick Hughes has a successful track record in big businesses (Disney, ESPN) and small island entrepreneurship (running Ray's Pharmacy with his wife/partner).

    The most interesting candidate for this analysis is Brian McClerren on Lopez, who is young and smart as a whip. He brings the unique perspective of being young, raising a family in the midst of an unprecedented recession, holding down a full-time job and starting up a small business. I bet Brian knows how to balance a budget without adding in grant funds or trust funds. The Charter Review people said that they wanted to open up the new council to folks who weren't rich and/or retired. Here's where we get to see if they meant it.

    Anyhoo, that's how the experience question needs to be asked: do we want people who operate in the subsidized world of government grants (our tax dollars, or what's left of them after being skimmed by the federal and state governments for "management"), or people who struggle with balancing real world priorities with little or no hope of bailouts.

    Like our current County budget--which is unquestionably premised upon the assumption that we'll all vote for more unprecedented tax increases in the next three years. Look it up; do the math. (You didn't think that the Community Conversations were really asking for just a wish list, did you? Look at the "product" published on the county website. All words. No prices.)