It is who you know…not what you know!!
As you folks might suspect this Investigative Journalism Gig I’ve got going results in developing sources of information throughout the Spokane Community so I’m privy to a lot of information you are not and I try to inform you of what I know as much as possible without divulging sources, including those at the Spokesman Review, Local Government, Criminal Justice, etcetera.
One of the things I find funny is the way the SR handled a recent Letter to The Editor written by retired SPD Sargent Mike Yates who along with many other retired SPD Cops has a lot of insight with respect to not only SPD but also The Condon Administration, as do many of us retired cops most of whom are doing their best to help get the old organization out from under the corruption that permeates it.
Yate’s letter did get into the print and e-versions of the SR but of course NOT into the online version which is followed by many including Politicians, Cops, Lawyers, Other Media, and of course the Condon Administration who follow it religiously and especially the SR Comments Section.
This is what got in the print and e-version on 6/5/2016:
I hope the police chief selection panel chosen by Mayor Condon to replace Spokane’s shamed previous chief, will focus on potential candidates’ integrity, experience, and proven accountability. The past couple of chiefs chosen by inadequate and deficient panels have failed miserably.
The only legitimate outside chief of Spokane was Terry Mangan. He had the attributes and vision to modernize the Spokane Police Department and understood our NW culture. Unfortunately, the powers that be continue to make bad chief choices, in favor of choosing a candidate who is more committed to answering to Mr. Condon’s corrupt agenda.
The chosen candidate must be able to take into account the adverse impact previous outside chiefs have had when they attempted to ignore Spokane’s unique culture. I submit, the only culture that needs to be examined is the one created by Mr. Condon, Theresa Sanders and Frank Straub.
The Spokane Police department has been jerked around enough. The re-occurring problem in the past decade has been a lack of fundamental law enforcement leadership. That potential leadership can be found in the current rank and file of the department or from the Inland Northwest. Not some outsider.
SPD Sgt. Retired
This is what didn’t get in because it was too long:
I hope the police chief selection panel chosen by Mayor Condon to replace Spokane’s shamed previous chief, will finally focus on the candidate’s integrity, experience, and proven accountability to the citizens he/she will serve. The past couple of chiefs chosen by inadequate and deficient panels and/or committees have miserably failed to take into account the Inland Northwest’s unique culture. In my opinion the first and only legitimate outside chief of Spokane was Terry Mangan. He had the above attributes and vision to modernize the Spokane Police Department and understood our NW cultural. Unfortunately, and evidently the powers that be (mayor and council), do not consider a culture audit as a prerequisite for a professional law enforcement leader. As evidenced by continuing to make bad chief choices, in favor of attempting to find a chief who is more committed to answering to Mr. Condon’s agenda, rather than leading and mentoring a police department. It will not surprise me if the future repeats the past if the currently designated panel does not think carefully about the cultural aspects of the Spokane community. Any candidate chosen must be able to assess and assimilate into the community. They must take into account the adverse impact previous outside chiefs have had when they attempted to ignore Spokane’s unique culture. I submit to you, the only culture that needs to be examined is the one created by Mr. Condon and Frank Straub. That is the source of the corruption degrading Spokane. Selby exited quickly, and Nancy got out quickly. Once Teresa Sanders goes, we just have to wait for Mr. Condon to go. The Spokane Police department has been jerked around enough already. The political atmosphere of City Hall, and the jockeying of positions and favors rendered, has caught the SPD in its crosshairs. The SPD needs to be shielded from that corruption so that they can do the difficult and dangerous job of policing without interference from what Mr. Condon has created at City Hall. The reoccurring problem in the past decade has been a lack of fundamental law enforcement leadership. That potential leadership can be found in the current rank and file of the department or from the Inland Northwest. Sgt. Michael Yates SPD Retired
These are the only letters that made it to the online version of the SR:
Boy…you sure have to wonder why Yate’s letter didn’t appear in the online version, perhaps it was a lack of Bandwidth? 🙂
The SR of course receives many LTEs, emails, and even phone calls that are never published or we don’t hear about, which in many cases are made fun of in the newsroom or on SR Staff personal Twitter or Websites. I thought this one Addy Hatch tweeted about was kind of funny and appropriate for this story, especially since Addy is bucking for Gary Graham’s job when he retires.
Kip Hill’s now infamous email to a reader also gives you a pretty good idea of where some of the SR Staff stand when it comes to their readers.
I still don’t understand why Kip Hill blocked me from his Twitter site? 🙂
Kipp Hill did subsequently apologize for his comments…but only on his own website.
Since Nick Deshais is again moving on to greener pastures it looks like Kip Hill will be covering City Hall, which should be interesting. Less Bike stories and more Video Game stories one would guess.
Perhaps my favorite expression of what the SR staff really think of their readers is this one by David Wasson who has also left the SR for greener pastures described readers as “spastic dogs with severe diarrhea” …that one I loved.
If you think that is bad you should hear some of the names they have for me!! 🙂
I could go on and on with copies with the things people have tried to get the SR to report on, but here are just a few.
To: Crooks Gary firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Letter to the editor
Mayor Condon and the city council agreed to an investigation of the mayors conduct during the Chief Straub-Monique Cotton disputes. Since then I have asked the mayor repeatedly to respond to questions about Chief Dobrow’s administration. I even emailed these questions to the recent KSPS city hall talk show. He has refused to answer any of my requests. Council President Stuckart has told me he can’t do anything and it’s up to the voters to recall Condon. Here are my questions; 1. What investigation is going on into the accusations against Chief Smith and IA Sgt. Staben for rendering criminal assistance in tipping off Sgt. Ennis of the pending sexual assault investigation by the Sheriff’s Office? 2. Is there any ongoing investigation into Chief Dobrow’s promotion of an officer involved in the infamous SPD salute of Karl Thompson in a federal courtroom in front of the innocent victim, Otto Zehm’s family and friends? And then stating he didn’t know Zehm’s family was in the courtroom! 3. Has Chief Dobrow explained to your satisfaction why he sent a captain home for a 30 day paid
suspension for allegedly moving used furniture to a new precinct? Is no one responsible in city hall?
To: Caldwell Bert Bertc@spokesman.com
Subject: Guest editorial
Guest Editorial Recent reporting by the Spokesman Review newspaper has revealed that Mayor Condon’s administrative staff have been avoiding their responsibilities on a larger scale than previously thought. Besides his assistant Theresa Sanders, his legal department and human resource office were complicit in covering up complaints against the mayors chief of police, Frank Straub. It now seems clear they were all aware of multiple complaints against Straub for creating a hostile work environment for many months. No one acted on these complaints even though state law required they do so on allegations of sexual harassment. It seems an unlikely coincidence that this failure to act occurred during the year Mayor Condon was running for re- election. We now know that Frank Straub may have been the worst boss in the city’s history, yet the mayor allowed him to stay on the job for nearly 6 months after learning of the serious allegations made against him. Mayor Condon finally fired Straub in late Sept. of 2015. The mayor was then elected for a second term. Now that the first of the lawsuits expected from Straub’s tenure as the mayors handpicked Chief has been filed, the city council should waste no more time in demanding the mayor resign. We know that City Council President Ben Stuckart and the mayor refuse to speak to each other. The mayor added another assistant to the city payroll to act as the go-between for communications with the council. Under these awkward and unprofessional conditions, the council should demand Condon’s resignation. It is now abundantly clear that they mayor has compromised his integrity and creditability by his lack of candor and truthfulness during the Straub conflict. His lack of responsible leadership has left a vacuum throughout city hall. The council does not need to wait several months for the so-called independent investigation to report its findings. Mayor Condon’s administration has already proven itself dysfunctional on many levels and unable to lead with creditability. The city council should be aware that the mayors second choice for police chief, Rick Dobrow, created an atmosphere of mistrust and doubts about his leadership skills during his tenure. As reported in a Dec. 4, 2015 Spokesman Review story, Chief Dobrow appointed Capt. Rick Meidl as assistant chief. Chief Meidl was the ranking officer present at the infamous salute by 50 SPD officers in a federal courtroom. They stood and saluted as fellow officer Karl Thompson was led out of the courtroom on his way to prison. He had been convicted of a felony for his part in the homicide of an innocent man, Otto Zehm. After his recent promotion Asst. Chief Meidl explained his unprofessional behavior by stating ” nobody in the courtroom knew anyone from Zehm’s family was there”. Chief Dobrow went on to state the mayor was apparently satisfied with this ridiculous excuse for the insulting behavior of saluting the felon who had helped kill Otto Zehm. No officer has ever been held accountable for their disrespectful misconduct in a federal courtroom. There is also the question of why Chief Dobrow has failed to act in the criminal case involving his then Asst. Chief Shelby Smith for tipping off Sgt Ennis of the pending investigation against him for sexual assault. According to a Spokesman Review story on Dec. 4, 2015, Chief Smith was the source for informing former Police Guild President, Sgt. Gately and Internal Affairs Sgt. Staben of the criminal investigation being conducted by the Sheriff’s Office. He called them, then later met with them in his office to keep them informed of the investigation and pending search warrant for Sgt. Ennis. Both Gately and Staben made several calls to Ennis, then reported back to Chief Smith that Sgt. Ennis was being kept up to date on when the search warrant would be served on him. This tip off to Ennis resulted in Sgt. Gately being charged with rendering criminal assistance and obstruction of an officer. Chief Smith, Smith and Sgt. Staben were not charged in spite of the overwhelming evidence they were complicit in the tip off. There has been no mention of where Chief Dobrow was during this incident. Chief Dobrow seemed to show little leadership and accountability when it came to disciplining his employees. He sent a command officer, Capt. Brad Arleth, home with pay for a 30-day suspension supposedly for moving old office furniture to the new downtown precinct when told not to by an unnamed city employee. This precinct move itself is now under fire. One more problem for Chief Dobrow who has now abruptly announced his retirement claiming among other things, he is tired. Mayor Condon has now appointed his third police chief, attorney Jim McDevitt, a close political ally of the mayors. He was appointed to the new chief selection committee by the mayor and is now taking over the department without any actual police experience. He made the statement that when he takes over in March, “we need to put a lot of stuff behind us”. That is exactly the problem now facing the mayor and his police department. For the sake of the taxpayers and citizens of Spokane, Ben Stuckart and the City Council must act to prevent any more wrongdoing by the mayor and his police department to further damage the reputation and creditability of the SPD. City employees must be held accountable, not put behind us. ______________________________________________________
To: Shawn Vestal email@example.com
It appears in this morning’s article by Shawn that you probably struck a nerve and he laid out the course this fiasco is taking. All of the problem cases the city is faced with are the result of the mayor making the decision as to how these cases were to be handled. We can be assured that the final decisions were the work of his staff and he signed off on them. You are correct in stating the mayor does not want any of these cases to go to trial because he doesn’t want the can of worms to be opened. IMOP the attorneys for those persons who stand in the corridors waiting to file or have filed are going to wait and drag their feet to see what happens in the Straub case. That will give them an idea as to what the mayor is willing to pay to keep the facts from the public. Everybody knows he is trying to salvage his political future which looks pretty dismal from my perspective. I am waiting for Doug Clark to come out with an article apologizing for the articles he wrote about Sgt. Gately and setting his column straight. I don’t know Gately but Clark did a real hatchet job on him and after the bell is rung there is no way to un-ring it as you and I know. Maybe Gately has a case of malicious reporting. I bet Clark will never admit in writing that he might have been mistaken. Keep the fires burning.
What is kind of funny regarding the above contacts with the SR is who are actually afforded the opportunity to express their opinions often in the SR, perhaps the most notable is Stacy Cowles and David Condon’s good buddy Jim McDevitt.