OR IS IT???
UPDATE!! UPDATE!! UPDATE!!
As it turns out not so “Odd”…as expected.
I figured at some point I would be updating this story, and was confident that the SR wouldn’t provide any background to their stories.
I wonder if Kutak Rock LLP was worried about the insurance they were required to carry with the contract if Hession was involved. Whether they were or not chances are we will be on the hook if something goes down the toilet.
You might notice that it was Roy J Koegen of River Park Square Case fame, who is now with Kutak Rock, signed the contract.
Since Hession is no longer with Kutak Rock that must mean a new contract directly with Hession, which will be interesting to read.
I gave a presentation to a nice group of folks recently who wanted to know why I started this news sight. This might help to explain why…someone has to get the truth and the facts to the people of Spokane.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!
As a true Spokanite who has lived here all my life, I have noticed that for some reason everything seems to evolve in a circular fashion with the same players always returning to involvement in controversy.
This short and sweet SR story announcing that former Mayor Dennis Hession will be the overseer of our defense against the Straub lawsuit makes me wonder.
People from outside of Spokane I’m sure would think it is odd that Mayor Condon has chosen Dennis Hession to run our defense of the Straub lawsuit given his background as Mayor of the City of Spokane and everything that transpired during his term. In reality this is SOP for our City and few people understand.
I think we should take a look at some of the facts that would bring most people to the conclusion the choice was odd at best, keeping in mind that again this whole thing involves management of the Spokane Police Department. In defense of some of the young reporters that give you most of your news today, most were still in college learning how to be reporters when a lot of this went on, but the true background is and always has been easily available to them.
For people that don’t recall Dennis Hession was appointed by the City Council as our Mayor Pro Tem when Jim West was recalled, he was then officially appointed Mayor on January 3rd, 2006 to complete West’s term. He ran for election as Spokane’s Mayor against Mary Verner who eventually won and was sworn in on November 9th, 2007. Verner actually inherited the mess left by the Hession Administration during his short term, the least of which was the Otto Zehm case and cover-up which started on March 18th, 2006.
This Inlander Article from July 19th, 2006 to an extent sums things up, and I have to ask how many times since 2006 have we heard over and over the same thing in Hession’s quote from the story?
“When we have mistakes that call into question the credibility of the Police Department, we need to act,” Hession said at his news conference.
What I intend to do is just hit some of the highlights regarding Hession, and I’ll leave out most of the facts concerning Hession and Rocky Treppiedi who was handling the Zehm case for Hession.
Back in 2006 Tom Clouse along with Bill Morlin, Benjamin Shors and Jody Lawrence-Turner started to put together facts and a timeline which includes information regarding Hession. Tom Clouse who did all of the primary reporting on the Zehm case but was transferred to Sports after what I have heard was a tiff between Clouse and his bosses over the Zehm case coverage. Bill Morlin retired, Benjamin Shors is at WSU, and Jody Lawrence-Turner is still with the SR. All of them would be great resources for young reporters working today.
Here are some more links that provide some background:
Dennis Hession’s start at looking into SPD didn’t get off to a good start:
The failed attempt to hire Don Pierce ended with Hession’s hiring of another consultant Mike Worley.
“The review brings closure to this case,” Kirkpatrick said.
The statement by Kirkpatrick in the story above could not have been further from the truth as history has proven.
I’m pretty sure I’m one of the very few people who at the time actually studied the Worley report which did offer some solid points most of which were for the most part ignored by SPD. I have mentioned the Worley report a number of times in the past so here it is for you folks to review.
I have always wondered what ever happened to the money that was left over:
THE TRANSPARENCY ISSUE:
During Hession’s time as Mayor many folks, including myself, did not care for his administrations lack of transparency. One of the things that chapped me were his efforts to keep “The Matrix Report” from public scrutiny. We even paid a PR firm to guide Hession through the inevitable roll-out as he knew that at some point he would have to deal with the report which reflected very negatively on his administration. Back in the day when the SR actually did some investigative reporting and the Matrix Report was leaked, now long in the tooth reporter, Mike Prager did some good reporting on the lack of transparency.
City documents obtained Thursday by the newspaper showed that Hession had been carefully planning an “efficiency study roll-out,” and was provided with elusive responses to politically sensitive questions.
When the newspaper published a draft of the Matrix study on its Web site at midday on Jan. 17, Hession called a news conference for 3 p.m. where he defended the decision not to release the study because, he said, it had errors that needed to be corrected first.
During the news conference, Hession repeated a major talking point by saying, “We looked at this issue as a way to benefit the public interest, and to find a way to better deliver service and also to return better value to our citizens for the dollars they give us.”
Hession’s legal department rejected a Jan. 3 open records request from the newspaper seeking a copy of the Matrix report because, an assistant city attorney said, it was a “preliminary draft” exempt from disclosure under state law.
As far as The Matrix Report is concerned it only really came up once as far as our current Mayor is concerned and that was in the story below by Johnathan Brunt who had the perfect opportunity to question Condon about a lot of other aspects concerning the report that have an impact on what we are dealing with today. In fairness it would have been hard for Brunt to realize the significance.
- A consultant hired by the city to review city services in 2006 said that the city was not investing enough in its urban forest. Should the city do more to plant and maintain street trees? If so, how?
The City should optimize current budget for urban forestry. The Matrix report had many recommendations that have been largely ignored by the current administration. City development guidelines currently require tree placement for most new development or significant changes to existing buildings. The city should use those guidelines to partner with citizens to improve the City’s urban forest.
As most folks know I have continually tried to point to The Matrix Report and its importance as it relates to what we have today. I hope Rachel Alexander reads this story of mine.
The SPD seems to be having a great deal of difficulty fulfilling Recommendation 10.5 of the COPS/DOJ Report. You can make your own guess as to why they are having difficulties, but you should keep this in mind, having an independent staffing analysis done on a law enforcement agency is done all the time is nothing new. It is obvious, to me at least, that when the consultants from COPS/DOJ did their thing the obvious hit them right in the face… “There is something wrong here!”.
Interviewees from both the community and the SPD noted that a lack of adequate staffing directly impacts the SPD’s ability to conduct community outreach and improve police-community relationships.
SPD should conduct a staffing analysis to determine if the department is meeting its operational needs and has an adequate amount of staff to ensure its continued mission, objectives and community policing principles.
The Office of Justice Program’s Diagnostic Center will provide technical assistance to SPD to analyze its workload. The panel studying this met on June 12, 2015 and held additional meetings in July.
The Facts Are That HESSION’S Matrix Report DID EXACTLY WHAT COPS/DOJ Recommended!
IMO, not much has changed since the Matrix Report and as a matter of fact things have gotten worse starting in 2012 when all kinds of fluff programs came into existence with Mayor Condon and Frank Straub. I am getting tired of repeating it, but I’ll do it again. SPD’s COMPSTAT DATA IS BUNK! The only real data that was helpful from the standpoint of oversight and evaluating how SPD was doing was the AIM (Accountability Information Management System), which we paid for, and was quickly eliminated once Frank Straub hit town.
The Inlander in this story is just starting to get to the bottom of the BUNK STUFF.
Here is a copy of the SPD portion of Hession’s Matrix Report for you to review.
If you were to compare the AIM Data to the Matrix Report, as I have, you would find that nothing changed…but that is for another day.
With all the controversy surrounding the Condon Administration I thought it real odd that he would choose the local office of Omaha based Kutak Rock LLP to handle this job, a job which just adds more lawyers and more expense, especially with Hession’s background and the involvement of another lawyer in that firm Roy J Koegen who was the bond attorney during the River Park Square Case.
But in retrospect…maybe not so odd!
I’ll stop here for today…lots to digest.
I REPORT YOU DECIDE!!!