Log in
updated 2:54 PM CDT, Jul 28, 2018

FlynnsHarp logo 042016

Facility for mental health issues, addictions may ride a post-virus healthcare tsunami

Screen-Shot-2020-06-16-at-4.11.37-PM

In seeking to build a special facility in the hills north of Santa Barbara for those with mental health issues and addictions, Todd Dean may have caught a wave that could well become a post-coronavirus healthcare tsunami.

Dean recalls that his own personal struggles, as well as candid feedback from CEOs he coaches, spurred him to focus on creating "a world-class wellness center.", And his extensive background in venture and angel-investment funding provided him the key to proceeding to seek funders for the launch of Sanjara Wellness.

The birth of the idea for Sanjara, a name derived from Sanskrit words meaning love, forgiveness, peace, and happiness, and the launch of construction on the facility came well before the arrival of the coronavirus. But the impact and fallout from the pandemic seem likely to put Dean's project at the forefront of confronting what is coming to ail society.

Todd DeanTodd DeanDean, 51, created his own venture fund in 2004 and that moved him into creating the Keiretsu Forum Northwest, the Seattle chapter of the global investment and deal flow organization created in the Bay Area in 2000.


Keiretsu brought him into regular contact with accredited investors and CEOs so he left Keiretsu to focus on working with a number of entrepreneurs and helping them grow their companies.
But as a coach for a growing number of the CEOs he worked with, he says he came to realize the extent of challenges they faced.
 
"People I meet and work with are struggling with marriages, with their kids, with suicide, with depression, with mental health illness and it's just continued to grow through the years," Dean noted. "So that was really the genesis of wanting to create and build a center, hence, Sanjara Wellness, to solve these issues."
 
So the construction of Sanjara, and fund-raising that he targets at $20 million, got underway. Then came the pandemic.

Dean notes that as the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic impact have negatively affected the mental health of a wide array of people, industry experts are predicting there will be a growing need for greater access to behavioral health providers.

"As one expert I read about put it, that you could attract more investors to mental health start-ups going forward," Dean said.

A couple of statistics that Dean shared were that equity funding for mental health startups reached a record high in the first quarter of 2020 and that behavioral health companies are making strategic moves to grow, such as exploring mergers and acquisitions.
 
"To be honest, I didn't know there would be such a correlation between COVID-19 and mental health issues, addictions, depression, suicide, and other related things," Dean said.

Sanjara will have high security for its 30 beds, with 15 men sleeping on one floor and 15 women on the other floor, he explained.  
 
The building is finished but the interior is still being completed, but Dean said there is already a small staff in place.

"Services include technology, spiritual aspects, education with structure, and some eastern philosophies as well and we will also have amenities like massage, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and other spa aspects as well," he added.

Dean said costs for those who will be served there are still being worked out, but added: "we will cater to CEOs, rock stars,  models, actors and actresses, and their families." 

"It's a high-end facility because I want to make sure our investors get a return on their investment first," he said. "I expect our investors will be getting an ROI in years three or four," Dean said, adding that he intends to expand the concept to other cities and then other countries.
Continue reading

Political issues emerge for Inslee as the state seeks to cope with major jobs funds theft

Covid_Theft_Banner

The necessary steps Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took to get a handle on the spread of the coronavirus in the state where it first appeared have apparently achieved the goal of controlling the virus. But the ensuing developments following Inslee's action have spiraled out of control and put the governor in a hunker-down, defensive situation.
 
First came the unfortunate impact of the economy halt as 600,000 state residents lost their jobs, sending them seeking state unemployment checks to survive the crisis.
 
Then Washington became the epicenter of a ring of foreign thieves tapping into the unemployment claims system, the calculation of the millions lost magnifying each day.
 
It's now estimated that the loss to the state is at nearly $1 billion, dwarfing the loss suffered by the handful of other states whose payment systems were hacked, reportedly by scammers including a Nigerian crime ring.

Suzie LevineSuzie LevineFederal officials said Washington suffered far more losses than the half dozen other states that experience hackers because this state had a vulnerable system. That brought an unseemly defensive response from the governor's staff that if the feds knew Washington systems for handing claims was vulnerable, "why didn't they tell us." Really?
 
Then came the far more unfortunate, and frankly indefensible, action Inslee's Employment Security Department (ESD) commissioner, Suzie LeVine, took to try to get control of the hundreds of millions of state dollars in fraudulent claims. LeVine decided to hold up payments for unemployment claims until steps were taken to verify each claim, rather than make the payments and then reviewing the applications.

Now come the stories of anguish, desperation, and despair from those who first suffered the loss of jobs and now are suffering the loss of what's turning for many to be survival money because of LeVine's fraud-correction strategy.
 
But also now comes Lynn Brewer, who knows a few things about financial shenanigans and malfeasance from her days as an executive at Enron, a name that may ring few memory bells, 20 years on, despite the fact that until its bankruptcy in 2001, it was hailed as "America's most innovative company."
 
Thus when she and her husband's unemployment checks were caught up in the ESD scheme and the resulting scandal still unfolding, she expressed a sense of "I've been here before," with strong indignation in her voice.
 
In her book, "House of Cards: Confessions of an Enron Executive," after her 2001
departure from Enron, she detailed what happened inside the company. And for several years, she as a sought-after national speaker on the topic of corporate integrity.
 
"This is a governance failure of Enron proportions," Brewer said. "From my experience at Enron, I believe there are underlying issues with ESD that have not been revealed to the public by the media."
 
So she has filed a public records request seeking all email contact between Inslee and LeVine and between LeVine and those in her department.
 
"The public records request will tell us what those underlying issues are," Brewer added. "With a corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission would investigate.  But here, it is left to the people to do the investigation."
 
Brewer also said she has "discussed a possible class-action lawsuit with one of the class action law firms involved in the Enron cases and they are assessing that."
 
Lynn BrewerLynn BrewerBrewer told me today that she learned from one of those emailing her that ESD is refusing benefits to those who worked for a church or a nonprofit, which should provide fodder for media questions of the governor.  

Republican Sen. Ann Rivers of Clark County said she has asked Inslee to use Federal CAREs Act dollars to do an audit of the ESD system but has had no response, as with the GOP lawmakers' request for the governor to call a special session of the Legislature to deal with the massive dollar loss.
 
Then Brewer began tweeting her dissatisfaction with the ESD and its lack of communication on the failure of ESD to pay her and her husband's claims. And the victims of ESD's disastrous effort to clean up the fraud issue began emailing their stories of anguish to her.
 
And those now 200 or more stories of pain came flowing in.

So she's been asked by Sen. Curt King, R-Yakima, to send the names to him so the Republican caucus can send the names to each legislator, Republican or Democrat, in whose district the resident denied claims resides.

"I have received emails from those who have not been paid, including people who have had their telephone shut off for non-payment; others who are sleeping in their car; and one who had lost 25 pounds from stress, and many more stories," she said. 

LeVine is a much larger political issue for the governor than a flap with state Republican legislators. She is a prominent Democratic fund-raiser, having raised $2.3 million for Barrack Obama, who appointed her ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein.
 
During the 2020 presidential campaign, she hosted a parade of presidential candidates in what one media organization described as "Salon-style fundraisers at her home in Seattle in her role as deputy finance chair for the Democratic National Committee."
 
Unless you are an extremely courageous chief executive, you withstand any pressure to fire a Suzie LeVine, regardless of her failures and shortcomings, particularly if you are a governor who hopes for a position in a Democratic administration, should Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump in November.
 
Senator Rivers said she is "amazed that the governor is doubling down on LeVine," a concern that Democratic lawmakers may soon if they haven't already quietly done so, be expressing to Inslee.
 
.While Brewer said she voted for Inslee, she has taken the lead as a visible protagonist in the campaign to get rid of LeVine, which could prove more troubling to Inslee than merely facing the criticism of Senate Republican leaders whose criticisms, even when supported by facts, will come across as political.
 
"The EDC snafu is a failure of numerous programs in the State government under his watch and there was a coordination of programs to curtail payments and an effort is being made to keep claimants and voters in the dark," Brewer charged.
 
"Simply, the public needs to know who coordinated this response to cut Washingtonians off from their weekly payments and what did Inslee know and when did he know it?" she said.
 
Continue reading

Shared thoughts and one man's Facebook post on #BlackLives that have mattered

BlackLivesMatter

Before anyone came up with the phrase "Black Lives Matter," I saw it being played out as a way of life for the kids, black, white, and many others, who grew to adulthood in our diverse neighborhood in Seattle's Mount Baker area.
 
And despite watching the protests in cities across the country the past week over the slaying of George Floyd, a black man, by a Minneapolis police officer, I hadn't thought about that long-ago interaction among young people until one of them created a Facebook post this week.
 
But before I get to the moving post by Brett Omri, a Seattle firefighter, I need to offer a little background on the neighborhood, which had been the upper-middle-class area where doctors, attorneys, investment advisors lived. Until the Black unrest in the late '60s lashed Seattle and created fear for those upper-class whites who moved out to safer neighborhoods.  
 
So we and other young couples, white and various minorities, with young children discovered the neighborhood and found prices that were marked down so much by escaping longtime residents that we couldn't pass up living there since we had no problem with mixed race.
 
So our three kids commuted to a mixed-race St. Therese catholic grade school where Michael's focus on athletics immersed him with the talented young minority kids Together, with Michael as the only white boy on the starting five eighth grade boys basketball team, they won the state championship.
 
The parents who followed their basketball-hopeful sons grow from barely capable to state champions knew the amazing change was the handiwork of former Seattle U. basketball star Peller Phillips, an African-American who truly cared about the boys. They came to know he was their friend and he became a friend of all the parents.
 
In track, the team coached by Wayne Melonson, an African-American who would become the principal and whose funeral in 2015 would fill St. James Cathedral (see Flynn's Harp: Wayne Melonson) with mourners of every race, wiped out the completion.  
 
The three young black boys, with Michael, on the 400-meter relay team that won its races against other Seattle catholic school kids, included the young Peller Phillips, who routinely took the baton from Michael. In one meet, Michael stepped on Peller's shoe and it came off and by the time he ran back a couple of steps and kneeled got his shoe back on, the second-place team's runner was within 30 meters. Then Peller took off, and it was over.
 
And the lasting impact his friends had on him was evidenced when Michael came home from his first day of basketball practice at Seattle's Blanchett High School, where blond hair and blue eyes marked the student body, I asked him how it went.
 
He looked at me and said, "I guess ok." "So what's wrong?" I asked. "They all have white boy's disease!" "What's that?" "They can't jump," he replied seriously.

---------
Now to Brett Omri, who grew up on the corner, two houses from ours, with the African-American editor of the Seattle Times in the home between us and the Omris. Across the street were the homes of three African-American families, including the number two executive of the Bellevue School District who raised her family directly across the street from us.
.
Brett is a 45-year-old Seattle firefighter, a friend of my youngest daughter, Eileen.

Here is his Facebook post:
"Black Lives matter to me. Not because it's 'politically correct,' but because I'm selfish. Black Lives have been intimately and beautifully intertwined in the story of my life. Black Lives have run and played with me as a kid. Black lives have both learned with me and educated me. Black Lives have competed and performed with me. Black lives have hung out and broken bread with me. Black Lives have welcomed me into their homes and brought me to church with them. Black Lives have celebrated and mourned with me. Black lives have created with me. Black Lives have lead and worked with me. And sometimes in those moments, Black Lives have been gracious enough to share their stories.

What is happening is not new. What happened to George Floyd has happened thousands of times before. Each incident is woven, painfully, into another family's history; sometimes more than once. I can't claim to grasp the depth of that suffering. I just know that my heart hurts. I can't help but run over the faces of Black Lives that have touched mine and wondered about my loss if their lives had been cut short before they intersected with mine.

Black Lives are our neighbors, teachers, classmates, bosses, coworkers, teammates, coaches, leaders, family, and friends. That's why Black Lives Matter. Black Lives are a part of our lives. Why do Black Lives have to keep reminding us of that? How sad is it that Black Lives need to plead to the rest of us that they simply "matter." And that our response is to get cute with a hashtag that invalidates their pain. So, yes, this is my line in the sand. If you can't bring yourself to say, at the very least, Black Lives Matter then I don't think I have anything more to say to you.
The destruction that is occurring as I write this is a consequence of a dream that has been deferred indefinitely. This is our fault. We don't seem to take notice of anything else and then have the audacity to judge when the pain, sorrow, and rage boil over. It is the cruelest form of gaslighting I can imagine. When Black Lives marched, we released the dogs and fire hoses. When Black Lives stood up, we cut them down. When Black Lives kneeled, we called them un-American. What is there left to do but rage?

To the Black Lives that have touched mine - you have my undying support and love. You have made me a better human being and opened my eyes to so many things. I wouldn't be me without your influence, friendship, and love. I am at a loss of how to help ease the pain you are experiencing, likely because I can't. Please, just know that I see you. #BlackLivesMatterToMe."
Continue reading

Seattle, Bellevue officials prepared for peaceful protests, not "American ISIS"

king5_Bellevue_NationalGaurd_2020
Police and elected officials in Seattle and Bellevue were prepared for a weekend of peaceful protests that had the laudable purpose of raising awareness about the "murder" of a black man by a white policeman in Minneapolis. But they were unprepared for the accompanying rioting and mayhem guided by what could come to be described as an American ISIS of white thugs, self-named Antifa, bent on revolution.

But the fact is the mayor and police chiefs in both cities were warned in advance that the creators of a strategy of destruction were coming in under the cover of the peaceful demonstrators.

In fact, one Antifa social-media message Sunday left the strong implication that the group had intended to take their destruction into suburban neighborhoods in Bellevue.

And now the officials in both cities will be pressed to explain to both business communities whose members will be assessing the extent of the damage, much of it dramatic, the inadequacy of police response but more importantly to create a strategy for the future.

Meanwhile, President Trump is, with apparent accuracy, blaming Antifa for much of the destruction in American cities across the country, while facing pushback from his opponents for his desire to officially declare them a terrorist group.

For those unaware, Antfa is described by the New York Times as being organized in "local autonomous cells around the country," adding that "though it is said to lack official leaders, it does have operatives who move across the country making mayhem."

And for those who might be tempted to pooh-pooh this information about Antifa leadership, here's a tweet that went out Sunday early afternoon:

"Alert. Tonight's the night comrades. Tonight we say 'f--- the city' and we move to the residential areas...the white hoods. And we take what's ours."

The tweet was retweeted 289 times and had 33 likes.

The Trump Justice Department has quickly branded Antifa a domestic terrorist group with a press release from Attorney General Bill Barr saying, "the violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly."

And Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz, a Democrat, acknowledged Saturday at a press conference: "The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd. It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear, and disrupting our great cities."

ISIS is the powerful, best known terrorist militant group in the world so when Bellevue business leader Michael Nassirian, attached the ISIS name to the mayhem, he may have set an appropriate stage for future planning on preparing for demonstrations and accompanying unrest.

Nassirian, an Iranian who became a top Microsoft executive before retiring to become an investor and leader in the Bellevue business community, gained some recent attention in the battle to help bring the economy back from its impact by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nassirian contracted COVID-19 and was bedridden for almost a week and soon set about seeking to create an app to provide employers and employees and customers current information before they interact, a step to aide re-opening the economy. He has named it "My Immunity Pass."

There has been considerable criticism starting to occur about the inability of the police in either city to avert or diminish the extent of the damage given the fact they had advance information.
And maybe particularly toward Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett spending more than half an hour visiting with the legitimate demonstrators while the thugs wreaked havoc inside Bellevue Square.

Nassirian, after being among business leaders who toured Bellevue Square and the Bravern Monday morning to assess the extensive damage, was quick to point out the those bent on mayhem were "well organized, well-funded, and had a solid communications infrastructure."
"Now isn't the time to point fingers to find blame but rather to commit to come together as a community and prepare for any such thing in the future," Nassirian said.

And it could happen that as Trump seeks to put together a full-fledged Justice Department effort to go after Antifa as a terrorist organization and withstand pushback from the inevitable concerns about privacy invasions, being able to use Nassirian's American ISIS brand could be a major asset.

Because officials in cities across the country are likely to understand that Antifa is as it seems to be, this weekend rioting and destruction won't be its last appearance.
Continue reading

IRS needs strong pushback on PPP loans ruling

tax_IRS

Congress, our delegation taking the lead, needs to push back IRS on PPP loans

Many would argue that the Internal Revenue Service will screw the taxpayer whenever it means the tax agency can take in more money for its actions. But in the midst of the coronavirus and the CARES act tax treatment of loans designed by Congress to help businesses survive?

Seems so, according to information my Seattle accountant, Mark Long, distributed to his clients this week, following up on information sent out a few days ago by Bloomberg News Service and other business-information sites.

His email memo said that last week, the IRS issued an order "which substantially changes the tax treatment of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan program."

Long, of The Myers Associates, noted "the CARES Act explicitly states that the forgiveness of the loan is NOT taxable income."

"The IRS has concluded that while the forgiveness is not taxable income, the qualifying expenses (payroll, employee benefits, rent, etc.) will be non-deductible," Long said.  "The IRS Notice, therefore, does effectively make the forgiveness taxable income."

So the goal of discussing the issue here is that members of both the House and the Senate need to be pressed to push the IRS away from the table, in essence by nullifying the agency's decision, ideally in a high-visibility push back. The more public scrutiny and outcry on this the better.

And this state's Senators and members of Congress should be pressed to be in the forefront, and not with deliberative pace, but quickly.

PPP was established under the CARES Act. Operated by the Small Business Administration (SBA), it provides cash for two months of payroll costs. The measure, enacted by Congress in March, allows recipients to use the proceeds for payroll costs, employee healthcare benefits, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, utilities, and interest on any other debt. The loans do not have to be repaid if employers keep workers on the job or rehire laid-off workers.  

While the measure said the loan is not subject to taxes, it failed to let companies know whether they could still write off the expenses they covered with that money. In any other circumstance, IRS regulations allow companies to write off business expenses, such as wages, rent, and transportation expenses. The clarification adds the latest wrinkle, the news service noted.

It's a big difference," Long told me in an email. "And the biggest problem is that you have to make business decisions with minimal info.  If you want people to spend the entire PPP loan, then that's different than them spending part and holding part back to cover taxes."

The IRS Notice "is substantially different than all of the initial information released about the PPP program, and from what we have read, it is also contrary to the intent of the CARES Act legislation," Long added.  

At this time, it is unclear whether the IRS position will remain as stated in the Notice or if the Notice will be reversed.  It is also possible that a legislative fix is introduced.  However, it's quite possible this may not occur until after your 8-week loan forgiveness period is over."

Continue reading

(Part 2/2) Reflecting on little-noted anniversary of Saigon's fall, Vietnam War

galloway2

(This is the second of two columns relating to the 45th anniversary of the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, that brought an end to the Vietnam War.)
 
As Joe Galloway shared with me his reflections of the horror and heroism in the Ia Drang Valley in 1965 that his book and the movie that followed helped make unforgettable, he talked of the medals and commendations that followed and it struck me the place perhaps should be remembered as The Valley of Valor.
 
Bruce CrandallBruce CrandallThe memories flowed out after I asked Galloway, who became one of the most respected correspondents who covered Vietnam, to share his thoughts with me as we marked, 45th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.
 
Those memories included the deeds of Bruce Crandall, now a Port Orchard resident, who was a hero of the battle and became Galloway's lifetime friend. In fact, Crandall was one of the interviewees when Galloway came to Seattle a few years ago for a week-long series of interviews that he conducted at KCPQ-TV studios.  

Major Crandall, then 32, led the 16 helicopters that transported troops to the Ia Drang battle zone. Then he and his wingman, Ed "Too Tall" Freeman, kept their Hueys returning, almost 20 times, to resupply and remove the wounded, recovering 75 casualties, and finally flying them out.  
 
Both were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for their valor at Ia Drang, but it was more than 40 years before these were upgraded to the Medals of Honor. Paperwork delays are described as the reason it took so long for the Medal to be awarded.
 
But it's pretty likely that Galloway's book "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young," co-written by the commanding officer of the Ia Drang troops, and the movie made from it played a role in their eventual recognition.  
 
Galloway noted that there were actually three Medals of Honor, the first to Second Lt. Walter Joseph (Joe) Marm, who was 24, like Joe. He was honored for
single-handedly destroying an enemy machine-gun position and several of its defenders while suffering severe wounds in the process. Marm was awarded the Medal of Honor a year after the battle  

Hal Moore, the then-lieutenant colonel who was commander of the U.S. Army forces at Ia Drang and who co-authored two books on the battle with Galloway, was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the nation's second-highest honor.
 
And Galloway himself, who rescued a wounded soldier under fire, was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with "V" for valor. Galloway proudly noted in his email to me last week: "the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division and Gen. Moore personally pinned the Bronze Star Medal on my chest in front of a Standing Room Only audience of cheering troops in June 1998."
 
Explaining the valor that permeated that valley in the four days of fighting, Galloway noted: "quite a number of medal-worthy actions were never recognized because so many men were wounded and evacuated and so many others were at the end of their tours as draftees and rotated home."
 
As an intriguing sidelight, Galloway shared that "During the Clinton Administration, Moore and I worked to have Congress pass a bill opening the window for submission of duly drawn and recommended upgrades and awards of medals of valor. We originally intended to bypass statute of limitations for Ia Drang veterans only but Congress opened the window for ALL veterans ALL wars and left it open."

The UPI correspondent who welcomed Galloway to Vietnam and showed him then ropes was Ray Herndon, who joined UPI in early 1962 when he was also 24, and covered the final days of the Laos War before moving to Vietnam in 1963.

Herndon made his name as one of the "Boys of Saigon," a small cadre of journalists who chronicled the rebellion by Buddhist clergy against the authoritarian South Vietnamese regime, and America's increasing - though officially unacknowledged - military involvement in the region.
 
When Herndon first arrived, he was covering Kennedy's War, but as he recalled for me his thoughts for a column I did with him a decade ago, "I was here for the event that turned Kennedy's Vietnam involvement into Lyndon Johnson's war."

That event in early August of 1964 became known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, what the Johnson administration described as a sea clash between two U.S. destroyers and several North Vietnamese PT boats. It became the device that paved the way for the U.S. to begin sending combat troops to Vietnam.

Ray HerndonRay HerndonHerndon, who died of cancer in 2015 at the age of 77, was two years into a five-year stint covering Vietnam when the Tonkin Gulf incident occurred. He recalled that "there was a great deal of skepticism among the press corps in Saigon about the incident. The North Vietnamese were not stupid and it never made sense that they would attack a vastly superior naval force without provocation."

In fact, history would show that the incident likely never happened, at least as it was portrayed to serve Johnson's intended goal of certain Congressional support.


There was indeed little skepticism about it in Congress, where the resolution was approved with only two senators, Ernest Gruening of Alaska and Wayne Morse of Oregon, voting against it. That gave Johnson carte blanche to commit the American military to war in Vietnam.


Herndon was part of the string of the best and the brightest of reporters who spent time covering the Vietnam War.


When we visited, he was a couple of years away from the news business, having retired from the Los Angeles Times, he retained the honed skills of observation and perspective.


So when I asked Herndon about what he considered parallels or similarities between Vietnam and Afghanistan conflicts, which was then in much greater public prominence then it is now, this was his response:

"We really seem to have a knack for picking some terrible places to fight wars. Both Vietnam and Afghanistan have long and proud histories of tirelessly fighting to expel foreign armies. And winning."
 
Herndon, who followed his UPI tenure with editor roles in Florida, Dallas, and Los Angeles before retiring, noted that the Vietnamese fought against the Chinese for a thousand years, then defeated their French colonial occupiers before the U.S. made its own unsuccessful attempt."

"Afghanistan, for its part, was the first and only country that Alexander the Great couldn't conquer," Herndon said. "And Imperial Britain, which easily gobbled up the combined territory of India and Pakistan next door, somehow couldn't defeat the much smaller Afghanistan. And it wasn't for lack of trying."
Continue reading

(Part 1 of 2) Reflecting on a Vietnam anniversary that apparently mattered little, except to a few

galloway2

The 45th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and thus the end of the Vietnam War might have passed without note this week regardless of the impact of COVID-19. No gatherings were planned that had to be canceled. No celebrations. No special remembrances.  
 
But the anniversary has been on my mind in the past few months, as I'm sure it has been on the minds of others, like the ones who fought there or whose fathers, sons, brothers or children are among the 58,320 names of the dead on the wall in Washington, D.C.
 
galloway seattleJoe Galloway
So why mark the 45th anniversary rather than the 50th? Because it's important to remember now since in another five years, hundreds of the remaining Vietnam veterans who deserve to be celebrated, as anniversaries provide the opportunity to do, won't be here.
 
For recollections in recognition of the anniversary, I reached out to Joe Galloway, whom readers of this column may recall I've written about half a dozen times over the past few years. He was one of the most prominent correspondents of the Vietnam War, serving four tours with United Press International over the decade from 1965, arriving as a 23-year-old, to 1975.
 
In addition to sharing his thought in emails we traded,  Galloway agreed to do an interview Wednesday with me and a television-personality friend from New England, Danielle (Dani) Rocco, with whom I do interviews. The link is at the bottom of this column.
 
For Galloway, this was to be the final year of a seven-year odyssey under special assignment with the Defense Department to do interviews with veterans of the war to preserve their memories with "the body of material for future generations who want to know what this war was all about." Two of my columns on him related to his two visits to Seattle for his interviews.
 
But the impact of the virus has put his travels on hold, as have all DoD travels been put on hold, he told me.
 
He'll soon be promoting his new book, his third on the war and the soldiers who fought in it. "They Were Soldiers," to be published May 12 by Nelson Books, is a co-authored look at the private lives of those who returned from Vietnam to make "astonishing" contributions in science, medicine, business, and other areas, "changing America for the better."
 
His first book, "We Were Soldiers Once and Young," was a chronicle of the battle of Ia Drang in November of 1965 that was the first battle between U.S. forces and the army of North Vietnam, and for many historians remembered as the defining battle of the war.

Galloway later described Ia Drang as "the battle that convinced Ho Chi Minh he could win," despite the fact that close to 2,000 North Vietnamese troops died in the four days of fighting.
 
And in vivid descriptions, writing articles about the battle later, Galloway wrote: "What happened there, in the Ia Drang Valley sounded alarm bells in the Johnson White House and the Pentagon as they tallied the American losses-a stunning butcher's bill of 234 men killed and more than 250 wounded in just four days and nights, November 14-17, in two adjacent clearings dubbed Landing Zones X-ray and Albany. Another 71 Americans had been killed in earlier, smaller skirmishes that led up to the Ia Drang battles."

That book, published in 1992 and co-authored with Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, who as a Lieutenant Colonel was the commanding officer in the battle and who became Galloway's lifelong friend, became a well-received movie, "We Were Soldiers."  
 
Ia Drang was near the end of Galloway's first year covering the war. As we now prepare to mark the 45th anniversary April 30, I asked Galloway in an email to recall his decade in Vietnam that as well as the end of the conflict.

"I was in Bangkok covering the arrival of foreigners expelled from Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge from the French Embassy when Saigon fell.
 
"For me, it marked the end of 10 years of intimate involvement with the Vietnam War -- from spring of 1965 to spring of 1975. I was deeply saddened by the abandonment of our South Vietnamese allies.
 
"I made five trips back to Vietnam after the war ended," Galloway said.
 
"Interviewed North Vietnamese Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap three times for our books. Traveled back to the old Ia Drang battlefields in company with the North Viet Army commanders who had done their damndest to kill us all there.
 
"Now we found ourselves friends of a sort; blood brothers of a sort. We had shed each other's blood in large quantities but now we would stand together in a circle, our arms over each other's shoulders, and say a prayer for the souls of ALL the brave young men who had died, who had killed each other, on that blood-drenched red dirt."
 
joeGallowayinVietnamGalloway in VietnamOther American veterans of Ia Drang were there, too, for the remarkable meetings with their old enemies and for a haunting visit to the place the Vietnamese called "The Forest of the Screaming Souls."
 
The meetings with their old foes stunned the Americans, who hadn't known what to expect. They were warmly welcomed as they exchanged detailed memories of those horrific days in 1965.  
 
On an impulse, Moore gave his inexpensive wristwatch to General Giap, and recalled for an interviewer: "Giap held the watch in both his hands, looking at it with amazement, as tears gathered in his eyes and mine. Then he turned and clutched me to him in a full embrace. It was my turn to be stunned as this former enemy - arguably one of the greatest military commanders of the twentieth century - held me like a son in his arms for a long moment."
 
Galloway and Moore wrote of the return to Ia Drang with their former enemies in "We Are Soldiers Still. A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam," published in 2008

Moore died three years ago at the age of 94.
 
Here is the link to the interview with Galloway
 
(Tomorrow: Recalling the column I wrote on another former UPI colleague who served as correspondents in Vietnam and introduced Joe around when he first arrived. And about the helicopter pilot, now a resident of Kitsap County, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for the role he played in helping Moore and his troops at Ia Drang.)
 

Continue reading

National Parks closures pose challenges for the future of youth-focused NatureBridge

yosemite_banner Yosemite National Park is just one of the places that NatureBridge takes over 35,000 kids to learn each year.

The arrival of National Parks Week in the midst of COVID-19 closure of most national parks is a sad reminder for those who enjoy nature and the wilderness. But for an organization focused on the parks as learning centers for young people the closure poses a concern for what the future holds.
 
The organization is NatureBridge, a nonprofit that brings kids to national parks to spend days learning about science and the environment as they discover the pleasure of the outdoors while spending time with other young people.  
 
Closure of the parks means the organization's programs that bring 35,000 kids, mostly ages 12 to 16, to Yosemite and Golden Gate in California, Olympic in Washington State, and Prince William Forest Park near Washington, D.C.
 
Robert Holmes, a NatureBridge board member for whom the call of the wild has been a lifetime personal counterpoint to his role as a developer of both real estate and resort projects across North America, sees the closure as a "crisis."
 
A year ago the organization was preparing for its early May annual fund-raiser at the Iconic Bentley Reserve in San Francisco's Financial District where 300 attendees would spend "An Evening with NatureBridge."

The event brought people together to celebrate another year of cultivating the next generation of environmental stewards and raised $650,000.  
 
This year's event in early May in San Francisco has been canceled. And while the website calls visitors to "raise a paddle" for virtual donations, no one knows how much will be raised from would-be attendees, sponsors and supporters to avert what Holmes says is a looming revenue hole.
 
"In addition to the fact that  35,000 not 13,000 kids don't get to experience their national parks this year, our nonprofit will experience $5 million in lost revenue and significant staff reductions," Holmes said. "We, like so many others, are in crisis, which threatens NatureBridge's ability to continue its mission on the other side of this pandemic."
 
Holmes recognizes that the crisis facing NatureBridge is no different than that facing a myriad of other organizations and non-profits whose fund-raising events have been canceled or put on hold across the region and the country.
 
But Holmes, CEO of THG LLC (The Holmes Group) in Bellevue, has made a personal commitment to help make sure (if he can) that NatureBridge will be back to prepare for its 50th anniversary year in 2021.
 
In an email to friends and associates this past week, Holmes said "NatureBridge needs to survive this - for our parks, for our planet and, most importantly, for our kids. To that end, I am matching all donations (up to $25,000) made to NatureBridge before June 30."
 
And Holmes said there will be a video interview with Dr. Nooshin Razani, a NatureBridge alum who is now an infectious disease specialist in Oakland and the video is likely to accompanied by an ask, as has become the virtual substitute for an actual fund-raising gathering for a host of organization.
 
The students NatureBridge reaches usually apply through science teacher though in some cases whole classes attend or, as Holmes noted, "in some cases, like Cupertino, all the students from the school attend."
 
For those whose parents can't pay, students can get scholarships and financial support through NatureBridge,
 
This was not meant to be a column about Holmes. It's about his cause for which he has stepped into the breach to see if through the dollars he generates, along with other board members and their supporters, they can save the future for Nature Bridge.
 
But inevitably, a cause is judged, in part, by the quality and influence of its supporters.
Holmes' many involvements and adventures in the wilderness likely have played a role in some of his resort development efforts in addition to his commitment to NatureBridge.
 
He's made parachuting the sky-high part of his outdoors experience and focus since he helped create a parachute club as a freshman at Central Washington University and he recalls "we often jumped into college games and events."
 
Since then he has done "1,200 or so jumps," including tricky, multi-person jumps of up to 10 people that have led to skydiver performance awards and recognition.
 
"As a skydiver, I created wilderness jumps, including jumps into Mount Jefferson and then Mount Washington," Holmes recalled, adding "at the grand opening of the Inn at 7th Mountain in Bend, three of us parachuted in and that evening I met Lute Jerstad, who had climbed Mount Everest with Willi Unsoeld."
 
He says the jump into Mountain Jefferson and the climb that followed is what hooked him on mountaineering so he signed up for Jerstad's climbing school, But a climb on the north face of Mount Stewart came close to costing him his life as he fell about 80 feet and landed on a ledge, breaking his back. He spent 24 hours on the ledge before being rescued.
 
As to his business roles, before shifting to Bellevue where his projects have included Kemper Freeman's Bellevue Collection, Holmes was president and CEO of Intrawest USA and president and CEO of Harbor Properties in Seattle.  
 
In his resort projects, he has guided the development of the Village at Mammoth, Schweitzer Mountain Resort and the Village at Whistler.
 
As to the future, Holmes told me "We will be successful and will come back. The cause and the kids are too important." CLICK HERE to learn more and help NatureBridge help the children.

Continue reading

CARES economic stimulus - Opportunities in addition to survival

opportuntiyZone_Banner

Out of the potential economic disaster, there may be a fortuitous convergence of the two-year-old Tax Cuts & Jobs Act with its role of stimulating the economy and the coronavirus-spurred CARES Act with its role of saving the economy.
 
"Opportunity" was the keyword for one of the most interesting provisions in the massive tax cut measure of 2017, a section providing for what was named Qualified Opportunity Zones. The QOZ, as they are known, are a device basically intended to allow the wealthy to defer capital gains if used to help the poor and create jobs.
 
ralph IbarraRalph IbarraCARES, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, opens the door to several interesting opportunities in addition to its basic focus on getting survival funds and loans to businesses. Opening the door to QOZ businesses would merely be a creative byproduct.

The possibility of a fortuitous convergence of two legislative packages, one borne of a surging economy and the other of an economy threatening to sink to a 90-year low point, provided a sign of hope for some who have been focused on Opportunity Zones since the tax-cut legislation was passed.
 
Basically the QOZ provision allowed temporary deferral of capital gains that are reinvested in geographic areas in each state designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones. Those are census tracts, selected in each state by the governors but they needed to include economically distressed communities. In other words, job-creating investment opportunities.
 
The key opportunity the CARES Act is meant to provide is billions of dollars in various categories to help small and mid-sized businesses survive and begin moving back toward where they were before.
 
But without distracting from that key goal, there are other opportunities that could improve the fortunes of some businesses when the economy is restored or is moving toward being restored.
 
And one is the kind of businesses the Opportunity Zones were designed to spur into existence and provide growth with capital gains millions.
 
The opportunity to use those capital gains benefits of individual taxpayers in "partnership" with the federal dollars in the CARES Act to restore economic viability for small businesses in areas that will have a harder time coming back is an energizing concept.
 
Particularly that's true for businesses in smaller and mid-sized cities who fear they will be left out of the federal stimulus dollars distribution or short-changed.
 
My longtime friend Ralph Ibarra, a fan of the Opportunity Zones idea from the outset who has delved deep into the details of the tax-break legislation in his Diverse America consulting business, says he felt it was a "golden opportunity" to provide a chance for investor dollars to work with federal dollars.
 
"QOZ Fund investments in small business concerns can be amplified with the provisions contained within the CARES Act," Ibarra suggested.
 
The CARES Act focus also represents a significant opportunity for innovative banks to build relations with small businesses by reaching beyond their roster of clients, but for some reason, many banks aren't doing that.
 
"Unfortunately, not all banks are broadly offering these loans," said Mark Mason, CEO of Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank.
 
"Many banks are limiting applications to current customers or to certain-sized customers and while we are prioritizing our customers, as you would expect, ultimately we expect to help non-customers as well," Mason said.
 
As Ibarra observed when we discussed banks using the funds for business development, "when banks show themselves as human, they make customers for life."
 
Another opportunity that could emerge beyond survival is the CARES dollars that can assist the little-known small business development centers (SBDC) to build relationships with the small businesses that have been supposed to be their target.
 
CARES provides $240 million for the SBDCs, an arm of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), to create the engagement with small businesses that have only been marginal at best.
 
The Washington SBDC, a member of the national SBDC program, is a network of nearly three dozen expert business advisors in nearly three dozen communities across this state located in places like chambers of commerce or port districts.
 
The state SBDC network is governed by a cooperative agreement between Washington State University, which is the statewide host of the program on its Spokane campus, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
 
Recovering from this economic crisis could bring with it, for small business, the SBDC services of helping small-business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow and transition their businesses that have been sadly outside the radar screen in the past.
 
Conrad Lee, the Bellevue city council member and former mayor who was SBA regional administrator from 2002-2004, told me "many businesses don't know how to access the funds."
 
Noting that not all banks are SBA lenders, he said SBA must work with all banks to assist small businesses to access the money and help.
 
"The one objective must be to help business survive,".Lee said.

Continue reading

Planning to Celebrate Young Leaders Emerging From Crisis as a New Kind of Outlier

Alicia_Iorio_Banner

It may seem strange to now begin planning for a fall awards event for rising young business executives in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that, as one young associate in this effort put it, "is leading people to care less and less about things that aren't meaningful."
 
In this case, the honoring event I am helping put together happens to be the 21st annual San Diego 40-Under-40 gathering that last October became a two-county event celebrating the young professionals from both San Diego and Orange Counties.
 
But Bob Page, my 84-year-old friend, former boss at UPI and a long-time publisher of major daily newspapers and later Southern California weeklies, perceives that the young leaders who emerge from this frightening and challenging time will be outliers of a new kind.
 
As the owner of a business magazine called SD Metro that owns the San Diego 40-under-40 event, Page each year has presided at the Chairman's Luncheon where the honorees are introduced.
 
As Alicia Iorio, a 33-year-old fast-rising executive and one of the 40-under-40 honorees at the 20th annual luncheon, put it to me: "The young leaders who emerge will be those who combined success and sacrifice in a model that will become the new order. And in doing so we begin to set a new standard."

"Crises reveal the core, either good or bad, bringing forth those people and companies whose highest priorities and deeply held beliefs that represent their driving force will rise to the fore and become the new basis for recognition," she added.
 
"It needs to become how much did you care and what did you give even while continuing to have one eye on business success?" she added,
 
"Given those thoughts. you're going to be on the team, as a past honoree, putting this together," I told her.
 
Her summation of what we want this event to become as we emerge, or begin to emerge, from this crisis can be applicable to the array of 40-Under-40 events around the country, including Seattle, where success has been measured on the business achievements of the young executive.
 
In fact, it was because the Seattle 40-Under-40, created in 1999 by my son, Michael, for Eastside Business Journal and then taken over by Puget Sound Business Journal to present thereafter that Page, whose event was born that same year, asked me to help with the 2019 event.
 
So virtually every event, ranging across the spectrum from business to sports to non-profit fundraisers or community events has been canceled or postponed so that crowds are not induced to gather, particularly at a time when there might seem little to celebrate but life itself.
 
But I concluded the effort on behalf of this event, which at its 20th anniversary last October 1 in San Diego had become a San Diego-Orange County one, was a story worth sharing because my young business associate, Alicia, suggested it was an important initiative, because of this environment in particular.
 
So I decided to write about a Southern California event in a column whose readers are mostly in the Seattle area and the Northwest because the idea of a new rationale for what kind of young leaders should be honored merits consideration in every region.
 
And the 40-Under-40 event, because it's held in most every important metro area in the country, may be the most logical place to begin honoring the new breed of business outlier as the passing of the virus allows resumption of most such events, hopefully with many seeking new models.
 
I view Iorio as an example of the new model. After she spent more than a decade in corporate accounting and financial consulting, she turned to healthcare and is now president of CBMD, which she describes as a "physician-backed, medical-grade" CBD company.
 
In addition, she is responsible for community outreach for OC Hospice. She also serves as chair of OC Gift of Life, a worldwide bone marrow registry seeking to provide patients battling blood cancer with a second chance.
 
Because I need to contact her on occasion as this 40-under-40 effort takes shape, I've been struck by how often she texts me "I'll have to get back to you later. I'm with a patient at the hospital right now."
 
So it may come to be that the virus passes and the 40-Under-40 event can be held in the fall and when Page stands before the audience at the Chairman's Luncheon, it will be an honoring of those young executives whose rite of passage was a litany of caring and concern and community, not merely a financial success.

Continue reading

Spokane Journal Icon John Stone followed the 'right path' to development success

SpokaneWA

Some people are born into wealth and riches and others achieve them by ingenuity and hard work, often with a touch of luck thrown in. John Stone, who created a series of high-visibility businesses across the Northwest, might chuckle at the suggestion that he had it both ways.
 
He was born into the "wealth" of the St. Aloysius neighborhood in Spokane where the mom's kept track of all the kids and grabbed them by the collar if they were acting up and gave them a smile or hug when they did well. For those who went to St Aloysius Grade School, the Holy Names nuns knew well both the collar grab and the smile.
 
John StoneJohn StoneWhen my mom died in 2004, John sent me a note after sitting quietly in the back of the church for her service to tell me that she had been one of the "angel moms" who kept him from straying very far from the right path.
 
The "right path" took Stone, who turns 77 next month, on a path from Boeing computer systems to his own computer service firm, a multi-state mini-storage company, then in the early '90s, he entered the multifamily and senior housing segment of the real estate industry. Stone developed luxury apartment projects in San Diego, Seattle, and Portland, in addition to Spokane, then independent living assisted living and Alzheimer's facilities.
 
He was to be honored this week by the Spokane Journal of Business at its Icons event, the publication's annual celebration of Inland Northwest business pioneers and innovators. I was to introduce him at the luncheon event.
 
But like all events scheduled during this virus-impacted time, the event was canceled but the Journal of Business produced a special supplement on the Icons of 2020 in this week's issue.
 
When I asked publisher Paul Read about his sense of why Stone deserved the honor, he replied: 

"John Stone's legacy as a business Icon in our region will be marked by his bold vision for what real estate development could and should look like, his willingness to take risks where others wouldn't, his courage and tenacity to speak his mind on civic issues, and his humble philanthropic spirit."
 
Developments in Coeur d'Alene and Kirkland, WA, particularly will carry Stone's development imprint far into the future.
 
The first is Riverstone Development, which began in 1999 when Stone saw the opportunity to turn an old sawmill at the northwest edge of Coeur d'Alene into something special. He purchased the 155-acre site and turned it into a lifestyle center, a "town within a town" to provide its residents with restaurants and shops.
 
Stone purchased the property in 1999 and built his live, work, play concept in phases. It gained traction among retailers and residents, but as the Great Recession hit, tenants moved out, threatening the future of the Village at Riverstone.
 
A year later, with developer friends, he created Stone Rivard and McGonigle, Development, LLC, which has become one of the larger developers on the West Coast.

As the economy bounced back, so did Stone's determination to continue with his dream project. Tenants began signing leases again as Coeur d'Alene's population grew.  
 
Now, the project is fully developed and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. What was one a sawmill has become the gateway to Coeur d'Alene.
 
The second development, one that had an impact on the entire state, was negotiating the deal to build the new Google facility in Kirkland that paved the way for Google to begin bringing thousands of employees to this state in 2004.

Had the Icon event occurred this week and I had the chance to introduce Stone, I would have spent a bit of time sharing little-known details about him that provided evidence of the fact he completes what he sets his mind to.

That's a reference to Stone's decision to compete in Ironman triathlon events.

It was in the late 2000s that Stone explained to me that "I looked in the mirror and said 'you are getting to be a fat slob and you are going to run an ironman and have six months to get ready.'"
So six months later, at the age of 63, he competed in a half ironman in Carlsbad, CA, and a year later he ran a full ironman triathlon in Coeur d'Alene. Two years later, he did the Ironman Canada.
 
Throughout his career, Stone, who graduated from Gonzaga U in 1967, has remained closely tied to his alma mater as a member of the GU Board of Trustees and a member of the board of regents. Stone also was involved in the fundraising for the 6,000 seats McCarthey Center Basketball Arena on the Gonzaga campus.
 
He once shared with me that he got his first line of credit as a result of his GU ties. That was credit from Jack Stockton, co-owner of Jack and Dan's Tavern where the students and grads hung out. He took that early financial lesson far.
Continue reading

Tracy Wood's pluck and luck keyed her success as UPI Vietnam reporter

TraciWoods_banner

For Tracy Wood, pluck and luck defined the process by which she convinced United Press International to send her to Vietnam in 1972 as one of the wire service's correspondents.  
And those characteristics, plus tenacity and skill, helped her become one of the most admired reporters during the final chapter of that war.
 
I had planned to write about her, as well as two other one-time UPI colleagues, Joe Galloway, and the late Ray Herndon, in reflective columns as we near the 45th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, that brought the Vietnam War to a close.
 
No such celebration of the 45th anniversary is likely during these virus-focused times.  
 
And instead of writing about Tracy in reflection, I'm writing of Tracy in memory because she died of cancer on March 12 at her home in Fullerton, CA at the age of 76.
 
I did several columns on Tracy in recent years after we became friends a decade ago as I made periodic business-related trips to Orange County, where she was an editor of Voice of OC, a respected on-line news service, following her years with the LA Times post-UPI.  
 
We had known of each other back then because we were both UPI state capital, political reporters, at the time, she in Sacramento and I in Olympia,  
 
The columns came about after I learned of Tracy being the only reporter on hand for the first North Vietnam prisoner release in 1973 that included John McCain, and of the book in which she partnered with eight other women correspondents to write of their Vietnam experiences.
 
Wood was in her mid-20s in the Sacramento bureau, when she decided she wanted to go to Vietnam but knew she would first have to get to UPI's headquarters in New where her lobbying would be closer to the decisionmakers.
 
Her immediate boss on the UPI cables desk in New York didn't think women should cover wars. But Wood had the good fortune to work for UPI, whose top editors Roger Tatarian and  H. L. Stevenson believed in the ability of women to report just as well as men, and dispatched several high-visibility female correspondents to the war zone. Then it was Wood's turn.
 
The column on her reflections of covering the release of McCain and 102 others from the Hanoi Hilton in March of 1973 came about when I called her after McCain's death in August of 2018.
 
Tracy said that when she learned of McCain's death, she was "really sad. That guy went through so damned much and the remarkable thing is he seemed to learn from each setback and become better for it."
 
She recalled that she had been in Vietnam less than a year when word came that McCain, who had been imprisoned under constant torture for five years, and the others would be released two months after the agreement between the U.S. and North Vietnamese to end the war.
 
Wood made up her mind that she would be in Hanoi for the release of the POWs at a time when every reporter was trying to find a way to get to Hanoi. She first tried to set up a press pool (meaning a group of reporters sharing resources) flying into Hanoi from the Philippines.  
 
But as she remembered during our phone conversation, "Nixon himself vetoed any press pool plan, apparently because he didn't want any of the   prisoners photographed and have the photos sent back to this country."
 
"So that meant that I had to try a different way," she said.
 
Thus with that mix of pluck and luck, Wood decided to just ask the North Vietnamese directly for permission to be in Hanoi for the release. And they gave her permission.
 
Then how to get there, since there was no way for her to merely hop a flight from Saigon. She decided to take commercial flights from Saigon to Bangkok, Thailand, then to Vientiane, Laos, where she caught the Aeroflot flight that was the only commercial connection to Hanoi.
 
She explained with a laugh that the photo she sent of her arrival in Hanoi dressed in a miniskirt (that I included in that column and here) was because she had dressed for commercial travel rather than for the usual military lift into battle zones in jungle fatigues.
 
Wood recalled that she "got to stand very close" as the POWs were walked through the iron gates at Ly Nam Prison to the plane for their flight to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, but she wasn't able to talk to McCain or any of the others. She noticed that McCain, 36, his hair graying, limped noticeably as he and the other prisoners walked along a wall from the prison to their waiting flight.
 
Wood made two other trips to Hanoi after the one in which McCain was freed, as the POW's were released in stages in 1973.
 
"On the final trip, we had to rent a plane," she recalled. "CBS was so sure the North Vietnamese would give Walter Cronkite a visa that they tied up every available plane from Hong Kong south, but in the end, Cronkite and the CBS crew had to go on my visa, along with the others in the pool and we all used Cronkite's plane.
 
"I was afraid he would be furious but he was incredibly nice and told he I was just doing my job," she added. "Remember, he was a war correspondent for United Press in World War II. Really classy guy."
   
Wood, who spent years as an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles times after leaving UPI in 1975, and at the time of her death was an  editor for the Voice of OC, which bills itself as "Orange County's non-profit, non-partisan newsroom."
 
Of the book, Tracy recalled for another column that she and Kate Webb, perhaps the most prominent of UPI women correspondents, who died of cancer in 2007, have chapters in "War Torn, Stories of War From the Women Reporters Who Covered Vietnam."
 
It's a book whose contents are touted as "nine women who made journalism history talk candidly about their profession in deeply personal experiences as young reporters who lived, worked and loved surrounded by war."
 
Last time Tracy and I connected was by email in September of 2018 when I had to apologize for canceling our planned dinner because my flight to OC had been canceled.
 
"I was really looking forward to connecting, but life doesn't always turn out the best way," I wrote. I didn't make it to OC again.
 
That's a close whose sharing left me with a sad sense of loss that seems almost too relevant given circumstances today.

Continue reading

Boeing board faces questions - What lies ahead? How about coming home?

boeing_Banner

Were it not for the trauma the coronavirus is visiting on this region, the travails of Boeing's effort to restore the lost luster that made it the model for corporate success and community treasure would likely be the subject of negative conversation wherever community leaders gather.
 
Now David Calhoun, new to the Boeing CEO role but a decade on the board during which the crises within the company were being spawned with no sense the board saw anything to question now-ousted CEO Dennis Muilenburg about, is seeking to right the ship.
 
As if to prove that the board had no sense of anything amiss until the two 737 Max crashes and the challenges that have dogged the company since then, Calhoun admitted, in an interview two months after he took the reins, that things inside the company were worse than he had thought.
 
"It's more than I imagine it would be, honestly," Calhoun said, adding "it speaks to the weakness of our leadership," an indictment aimed at ousted CEO Muilenberg.  

But there are some who would suggest it might logically apply to the board. Part of a board's responsibility, after all, is being accountable to the public for the quality of services and goods delivered.
 
It's quite likely that the congressional report that scored "a culture of concealment" and "grossly insufficient oversight" was referring to more than the executives who ran the company.
 
I recall when I first heard that Boeing charged its airline customers an additional amount for installing devices that would ensure greater safety of its products, my first thought was "the board needs to determine if that's true and, if it is, simply say 'don't do that anymore."
 
But some will protest, "boards don't do that!" Tell me about it.
 
So if you haven't, it's worth looking at the board whose job it is to protect the traveling public and the customers who fly them, no less a responsibility than overseeing shareholder profits.
 
It's definitely a board that could compete admirably with other boards in "the fame game."
 
First, there is (The) Caroline Kennedy, who most recently served as ambassador to Japan, and former South Carolina governor and U.N. representative Nikki Haley.
 
The board has military star power. Adm. John Richardson was appointed to the board last year after completing a four-year term as Chief of Naval Operations, and Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Jr. former vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, is completing a decade on the board.

Board chair is Lawrence Kellner, former chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines, who has been on the board since 2011

Other board members were company chairman and CEOs, Robert Bradway at Amgen, Arthur Collins Jr. at Medtroni, Ron Williams at Aetna and Ed Liddy at Allstate president and CEO, as Lynn Good at Duke Energy and Mike S. Zafirovski, at Nortel. Susan Schwab.  
 
Professor at the University of Maryland school of public policy and the former US. Trade representative, named last year fills out the board.
 
All seem capable of more innovative action than just to name one of their own as CEO.

The fact is, the Boeing that was created in Seattle in 1916 by William Boeing and grew to become one of the most successful and admired companies in America hasn't been the same since it moved to Chicago a week before 9-11. Bean counters, represented by Harry Stonecipher who as president and CEO of McDonnell Douglas orchestrated the merger of the two companies and replaced ousted Phil Condit, took control of Boeing in 2003.

In fairness, a defense-department procurement scandal that eventually led to Condit's resignation, among other embarrassments to the company, began when Boeing was still a Seattle-based company and only exploded after the move to Chicago.

Hard to know whether the culture might have continued in Chicago if Alan Mulally, then president of Boeing Commercial, where the airplanes were made, had been named Boing CEO, which he had expected when Condit was replaced. So instead he went to Ford two years later and worked his engineering-leadership magic for a car company.

Nevertheless, what would be the reaction if that Boeing board decided on a dramatic move to prove the board members wanted a different culture and opted to return the company to its Seattle roots?

The culture shifted when the years passed with the corporate executives 2,000 miles distant from the place where the culture of Boeing's largest unit, commercial airplanes, was nurtured or diminished.

Given the corporate presence that has emerged here in the past two decades, not only in homegrown companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Expedia but expansions here by the likes of Google, a move home by Boeing could not only carry shareholder logic. It could also send a message to customers, lawmakers and employees about the desire to restore the culture and integrity that seems to have waned.

Continue reading

Goal-driven focus is key to Chuck Stempler's marathons & business

Chuck-Stempler-banner

A conversation with Chuck Stempler might make an interviewer think that continuing to grow his prominent printing business is only a little more important than the marathon races that occupy a regular focus of attention.
 
In fact, Stempler is nearing milestones in both business and running. On March 1, he will log his 100th marathon when he competes in the Napa Valley Marathon.  

And next year will mark the 20th anniversary of his ownership of the business that he bought in 2001 and has since built it into the world's largest AlphaGraphics franchise.
 
Chuck StemplerChuck StemplerAs a senior sprinter, I am awed by seniors who run marathons so I was most intrigued by the attitude and focus that have brought him to the point of anticipating his 100th marathon.  

So this column will be more about Stempler running the distance than about running his business, although he suggested in an interview that the two connect. What happens in that running provides "quality time to be alone with my thoughts and think through the issues and opportunities I face, both personally and professionally."
 
There are a number of articles that suggest that "those who do 100 marathons tend to be goal-driven, patient, resilient and social."
 
When I asked if those apply to him, Stempler said: "yes, that describes me except that I'm not particularly social. Goal-driven would be the one characteristic that best describes me, especially when I can set the goal."
 
And as he nears fulfilling his 100-marathon goal, one he has been pointing toward since he ran his first one in 2003, Stempler disclosed that he's already looking to completing another 100 of the 26.2-mile events. But he will increasingly be looking to fun places to run.
 
This will be the 17th time he has run the event in Napa, which Stempler says is his wife, Sally's, favorite place for him to run, adding that "we have rules that I run in places where we enjoy being."
 
The 61-year-old Stempler, whose wife is three years younger, says that in beginning to plot out the second 100 marathons, which he figures will take 'til he's 76, he'd like to "make more, bigger trips," as in his plan to run in Helsinki, Finland, in May.
 
When I asked Stempler to explain how he got into running, he said he began to focus on a higher quality of lifestyle "and running was a part of that," although his focus on running never involved setting a win or place goal.
 
As to the time he spends running, Stempler said he ran 2,300 miles last year, including seven marathons and eight half marathons, that "provide a foundation for my day, week, month and life."
 
A note on Stempler's business, since the way he runs it has generated substantial success.
 
Since buying the business, he has made 16 acquisitions of other Seattle-based printing companies, creating over his 19 years at the helm one of Washington's fastest-growing companies and one of the nation's largest commercial printing companies.
 
And I saved for the close a comment he made as we were talking about why he is so taken with marathon running that I figured might also apply to the challenges of sustaining his business:  
 
"I enjoy something that is really hard, that falls between pleasure and pain."

Continue reading

Bud Krogh's lessons from the fall of a president

Egil-Bud-Krogh_-banner

Egil (Bud) Krogh took personal responsibility for the fall of a president and ever after cautioned against the "meltdown of personal integrity" that can accompany excessive loyalty to a president and the power of the office. Thus some with an ironic sense of history may evidence a thoughtful pause at the word that Krogh died quietly last Saturday at the age of 80, two days after the commencement of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
 
The disgraced presidency of Richard Nixon is the stuff of history books. But for Bud Krogh, the memories that remained vivid for the rest of his life were of condemnation and redemption for the role he played and the belief that the events that led to the fall of the president need be kept ever in mind by both presidents and those who work for them.
 
Egil Bud KroghEgil (Bud) KroghWhat follows is taken from a column I did on Krogh, with whom I became friends as the 40th anniversary of the 1968 campaign that brought Nixon to the presidency came about. And I did several interviews with him before various Seattle audiences.

Krogh, who had just passed the bar in 1968 after graduating from law school at the University of Washington, actually didn't have a part in Nixon's campaign. Instead, being left to run the Seattle law practice of John Ehrlichman, the prominent Seattle attorney who helped engineer Nixon's eventual general-election victory in 1968.    
 
But after the election, Krogh was asked to join the White House team as personal attorney to the president and staff assistant to Ehrlichman, who was one of the handful of men who basically ran the White House and thus the country until Watergate brought them all down.

The many books on Nixon and Watergate detail how Krogh, who was caught up in the scandal, was named by Ehrlichman to guide the "Special Investigations Unit" that came to be known as "the plumbers," whose charge was to stop the leaks to the media after the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers.

That led to the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times had helped create a siege mentality in the Nixon White House. Krogh's role eventually led to a prison sentence after he pled guilty to criminal conspiracy for engineering the break-in. 
 
Krogh recalled in our conversations and interviews how after Nixon's resignation, his path of reconciliation involved a visit with Fielding to apologize to him for Krogh's unacceptable violation of the rights of "a genuinely decent human being."

And Krogh and Ellsberg became friends, with Ellsburg writing the forward comments for Krogh's book.

Then followed a visit with Nixon in California in which Krogh recalls basically saying: "Mr. President. I apologize to you because everything that's happened was really my fault."    
I asked Krogh over lunch in 2008 if he and Ehrlichman, who also went to prison for his part in the events, had ever had the opportunity to talk through what had gone wrong. "John and I had several opportunities to visit after we were in prison, about what happened and why," he said. "We concluded that so many of the mistakes were due to our not grasping how off-base Nixon was in his demand for results that used illegal means."

Loyalty to 'the man' was the over-arching requirement for service on that staff." And it is the flaw of misguided loyalty that Krogh has remained ever convinced that presidents and their staff members must be vigilant to avoid. That commitment included his caution about "reliance on hazy, loose notions about 'national security' and 'commander in chief' and what such notions can be tortured into meaning."

Krogh left Seattle and his law practice in 2011 to join the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress as a Senior Fellow on Leadership, Ethics, and Integrity.

We last talked in 2012 as I caught up with him by phone as he was en route to a Pennsylvania speaking engagement. The time was near the anniversary of Watergate and I asked him if the book was still successful. "It's selling better now than at the beginning," he replied. "The issue of government integrity seems more relevant to people today."

By then his personal focus had become zeroing in on the School for Ethics and Global Leadership, which attracts high school students, and it was in that environment of sharing his philosophy with young people that he honed his Integrity Zone concept.

The concept of the Integrity Zone was based on a couple of fundamental considerations. The first is to challenge the process of thinking that precedes decisions, basically: "have I thought through all the implications?" while the second part is ethical considerations: "Is it right? Is this decision in alignment with basic values like fairness and respect?"

"We never asked any of those questions in the Nixon White House," Krogh told me. "And most of what we see in Congress today fails those tests. Instead, we see a focus on loyalty and fealty to party. You simply can't check your integrity at the door."

Continue reading

Green Bay Packers' most ardent fans? In Spokane!?!?

spokane_packers

While the Green Bay Packers were the enemy to fans looking on at TV screens in Seattle Sunday as they ended the playoff hopes of the Seattle Seahawks, it's an interesting sports history footnote that there was a time when Spokane area football fans were among the Packers' most ardent fans.
 
That was because a Gonzaga Bulldog running back was at the forefront of Green Bay's offense in the '40s. In fact, Anthony Robert (Tony) Canadeo set the Packers' career rushing record, carving out 4,000 yards during his career from 1941 to 1952 even though he lost almost three years for World War II service in the U.S. Army

In fact, Canadeo, who was not just the star running back for the Packers but in some years a key passer, set the single-season rushing record of 1,052 yards in 1949, then only the third NFL player to have a 1,000-yard season.
 
He was not only the Packers' leading rusher in 1943 but also their leading passer. Additionally, he caught two touchdown passes that year.
 
Canadeo's career offered proof of one of my favorite sayings, that the chain of fortune formed by fate is sometimes composed of strange links. Fate played a role in his arrival at Gonzaga and at Green Bay.
 
He actually got to Gonzaga by accident. That was because a high school friend of his in Chicago who was offered a football scholarship by Gonzaga made it clear he wasn't coming to Gonzaga unless his friend also got a scholarship. So Tony came to Spokane to play football with a friend long since forgotten.
 
Canadeo, who was known as the "Gray Ghost of Gonzaga" because of his prematurely gray hair, was selected by the Packers in the 9th round, as the 77th overall pick in the 1941 NFL draft.
 
And in fact, it was by accident that he was available to Packers' coach Curley Lambeau to draft.
 
Seems that Ray Flaherty, the NFL all-star end who had played his college football at Gonzaga before becoming one of the NFL's most successful coaches with the Washington Redskins, had intended to draft Canadeo but figured other teams would bypass him and he'd be available when Flaherty got around to him.
 
Flaherty, who always returned home to Spokane in the offseason, told me once during an interview in the late '60s at his Northern Idaho home that his friends always pressed him to draft the top Gonzaga players and he chuckled as he said he got a lot of heat from those friends for letting Canadeo get away.
 
And a year later, when Flaherty's Redskins won the 1941 NFL title, he had Gonzaga Bulldogs Ray and Cecil Hare in his backfield, likely one of the few if not only times that an NFL champion had two running backs from the same small college, and brothers, in the backfield.
 
In fact, Flaherty's Redskins held their training camp in Spokane in 1940 and 1941.
 
It wasn't until Jim Brown became the Packers' star running back in the late '50s that Canadeo's records fell.
 
And both Canadeo and Flaherty are in the NFL Hall of Fame, Flaherty as a coach and Canadeo as a player.

Continue reading

PART 2 - A Decade of the most memorable Harps

Decades_Most-memorable_2

(This is the second of two articles in which I am offering readers of The Harp a reprise of the stories from the past decade that were most memorable to me, some of which got little in the way of broad visibility but all of which got repeated visibility here for reasons that will become obvious.)


The story that was my personal favorite was actually several Harps relating to my friend Joseph L. (Joe) Galloway, one of the best-known correspondents of the Vietnam War, who has been on the road much of the past decade doing interviews with veterans of that conflict to preserve their memories.

The interviews by Galloway have been part of the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration to honor those who fought in that war but were never thanked when they returned to a divided nation.
 
Galloway's travels to do the interviews, mostly about two hours in length and which he told me now number about 400, embody his commitment to producing the "the body of material for future generations who want to know what this war was all about."  
 
The formal launch of the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration was on Memorial Day of 2012 and since 2013 Joseph L. (Joe) Galloway, one of the best-known correspondents of that war, has been on the road doing interviews with veterans of that conflict to preserve their memories.

Galloway, a reporter assigned by United Press International to cover the war, was selected by the Defense Department unit charged with administering the program to do the interviews to preserve for future generations.

Galloway, decorated for battlefield heroism at the Battle of Ia Drang in November of 1965 where he was the only correspondent and joked to me that he turned in his camera and took a machine gun, spent a week doing interviews in Seattle in the spring of 2015. I had urged him to come to Seattle for a round of interviews and found KCPQ TV willing to make its studios available for his interviews. He returned to Seattle for another round of interviews two years later.

I've written several columns on Galloway and his Vietnam interviews, partly because we were UPI colleagues (he in war zones and I as a political writer and later a Pacific Coast executive for the company). But in a broader sense because of a fascination with his perspectives on the war in articles and speeches, and the import of the battle in the Ia Drang Valley that Galloway and the late Gen. Hal Moore, then a lieutenant colonel in command of the U.S. Army forces in that battle, made famous in their book and a subsequent movie.

The battle became the subject of Galloway's and Moore's book, "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young," and the resulting movie, "We Were Soldiers," as well as a second book, "We are Still Soldiers... A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam" when the two returned to the battlefield years late.

In an earlier column, I quoted Galloway about his time on the battlefield, particularly at Ia Drang: "The men I met and the time we spent together fighting for one another was a life-changing experience that transcends the bonds of friendship and brotherhood."

During one of our interviews, Galloway said of the Vietnam veterans: "They are not bitter but I am bitter in their behalf. It makes me angry that those who came to hate the war came to hate the warriors who were their sons and daughters."


It was seven years ago that I first learned of and wrote about the then decade-old commitment by Bellevue business leader and philanthropist Joan Wallace to the mostly Hispanic children in the Yakima Valley community of Granger that changed their lives and the life of their community.  

Wallace listened over Thanksgiving dinner in 2003 while Janet Wheaton, her sister in law and principal of Granger Middle School, expressed concern that the children, who had little food at home, would be going hungry without their two in-school meals a day over the Christmas holidays because the school would be out.

When Wallace returned home, an email donation request to pay for Christmas baskets of food went out to a few dozen of her closest friends and associates and soon thereafter, a non-profit named "Children of Granger" was formed.
Joan Wallace

Thus began an ongoing commitment by two women, one an educator and one a prominent Bellevue business leader. Their continuing involvement changed the future for the families in the city of 3,500 where the population is 84 percent Latino or Hispanic and 35 percent of the families live below the poverty level.

After writing the first Granger column, an annual update of the dramatic things that continued to unfold in Granger because of Wallace and Wheaton became my regular Thanksgiving offering to readers of The Harp.

Everything they did was aimed at helping kids break the poverty barrier, from giving each child in all grade levels an annual $200 "slush fund" for things like shoes and coats to giving mothers of pre-schoolers learning toys that brought grants once they had proved the value of their "Ready for Kindergarten" program.

"While doing our best to take care of the immediate needs, we also believe it is equally important to cultivate self-sufficiency and to enable these children to finish school," Wallace said.

But the most dramatic story of the impact that the two women had was with the successful campaign at the middle school five years ago to build a program to improve attendance because of its key to educational advancement. They came up with a slogan that became a mantra, "Every Child, Every desk, Every Day."

Thus in 2014, I was able to share that the little non-profit had put together a relationship with nearby Heritage University and its largely Hispanic student body and that the relationship had led to the first-ever grant to Families of Granger.

The $15,000 grant from the Yakima Valley Community Foundation, due largely to the involvement of Heritage student and mother of four Alma Sanchez, was used to implement an attendance-incentive program that Sanchez had created.

Those two things basically made 2014 the little non-profit's most important year. And there was a degree of magic in the results of Alma's idea. a quarterly incentive program aimed at perfect attendance.

Driven by the attendance-campaign slogan and the commitment of children, parents, and teachers, the school set the mark for best attendance record in the state, with an absentee rate of 4 percent, compared to a statewide average of 16 percent absenteeism, outdoing schools even in places like Mercer Island and Bellevue.  

I knew that accomplishment would go largely unnoticed by media and business leaders in Western Washington. So I met with Kemper Freeman, Pam Pearson of Q13 and Mike Patterson, since deceased, whose law firm represented a number of school districts and together we created a special award called Innovations in Education.

All involved, most especially Wallace, Wheaton, and Alma, were honored at a banquet at the Rainier Club and presented with plaques to help them remember the accomplishment that helped change a community.

The Yakima Foundation got involved with a grant for the attendance campaign and has supported the annual effort since.

Last week an email arrived from Wallace advising that the time for an exit to her active involvement in Granger had arrived. "The time has come and the path is not only clear but exciting and gratifying," she said, adding in the mail to her Friends of Granger, "together we have made a difference." She included a chart that showed "we poured $425,000 into the community."

"Friends of Granger will go back to the community to be run by a committee of teachers and community leaders," Wallace wrote.


My first column on Shabana Khan came when in 2015 when she was struggling to raise sponsor money to put on the Men's World Squash Championship at Meydenbauer Center as the first time ever for the event in the United States and I was asked to help her. I wrote a Harp then because I was intrigued about the sport and her efforts and other Harps followed as I watched her progress.

The men's world event turned out to be a success, attracting attention in all countries where squash is prominent, and within a couple of years, the 51-year-old former national women's squash champion had grown to become nationally and actually globally prominent as the queen of the promoters of the sport of squash.

That growing recognition for her efforts has come as a result of a few giant steps while to her frustration and the frustration of a few key supporters, her local visibility has come in small steps, including virtually no local media visibility.
 
Her late father, Yusuf Khan, brought the sport of squash to Seattle from his native India a half-century ago and, as one of the world's top squash professionals, proceeded to bring Seattle to the attention of the national and international squash establishments. Yusuf, who died in October of 2018 at 87, saw his two daughters become women' national champions, with Shabana beating her sister to claim the national title in 2001.

She put on a squash event last August that was the first of its kind in the country as she created a world invitational squash tournament that attracted the world's top squash talent, six men and six women and was pleased to have the event sponsors name the event after her late father.

The invitational event held at the Hidden Valley Boys & Girls Club in Bellevue was named "PMI Dave Cutler Presents the Yusuf Khan Invitational."

The "PMI Dave Cutler" portion of the title is for the two men, both internationally known in their respective professions, who have become the financial support for YSK Events, the little non-profit through which Khan carries out her squash events.

One is Dave Cutler of Microsoft, universally acclaimed as the key technical brain behind the Microsoft Windows NT and all the subsequent Windows versions. A decade ago he was recognized as a National Medal of Technology and Innovation laureate, perhaps the most prestigious honor in the country for developers of new technology.

The other is Robert Harris, founder, and CEO of PMI-Worldwide, a Seattle-based brand, and product-marketing company with offices in seven cities around the world whose corporate philanthropy has only recently begun to be recognized.

The two have come to team up for a $150,000 donation that for the past several years has allowed Khan to put up the prize money, which this year will total $300,000.

Among her important innovations for the sport has been her National College Showcase for nationally ranked students, 16 men and 16 women, aged 15 to 18, playing before coaches of the top schools where squash is a scholarship sport.  
 
Part of Khan's stated goal is bringing an awareness of squash to young people of all backgrounds rather than merely the children of the squash affluent, whose demographics are men and women, both players and fans, with median incomes of more than $300,000.
It seems that eventually, Khan's efforts on behalf of a sport that has begun growing in this country at a rate third fastest in the world will pay off with attention and support in this region, including sponsorships dollars.


It needs to be noted that when I refer to virtually no local visibility for several of the Harp topics I feature in this decade-ending reprise, I have to single out KCPQ13 television for the manner in which the station picked up on the Harps.

The station's VP and general manager Pam Pearson and her staff seized on the opportunity to provide support for Joe Galloway's veteran interviews and news coverage through his week of conducting interviews. And the station stepped up to be a sponsor of the Innovations in Education event for Joan Wallace and Granger involves. And they did an excellent interview with Art Harrigan that must have made other stations mutter "where the hell were we?"

Continue reading

A Decade of the most memorable Harps

Decades_Most-memorable

Few journalistic tasks could be more subjectively challenging than that undertaken by various media entities as the old year faded into a new decade and they chose the best or most important news stories of that decade past. Thus came revisiting of the education funding battle, the various clashes over Sound Transit, the drama of Amazon's quest for a second headquarters, Boeing's travails and ventures into the absurdity of the Seattle City Council's machinations. But for me the challenge was easier: choose from a decade of Harps the stories most memorable to me, some of which got little in the way of broad visibility. These are not my most personal Harps like my daughter's selection for the Oregon Supreme Court, my involvement with the rise of the young biotech company, Athira, from being its first outside investor to watching its move toward national Alzheimer's treatment visibility, or my almost yearly opportunities to compete in the World Senior Games. But ones with broad impact that deserved more recognition.


The story that may have been the most impactful on the Seattle area in several ways was about Seattle attorney Arthur Harrigan, Jr., who had key legal roles in saving two of Seattle's professional sports franchises.

Harrigan's low-visibility legal maneuvers forced absentee owners Jeff Smulyan of the Seattle Mariners and five years later Ken Behring of the Seattle Seahawks to be pressed into allowing time for local buyers to be found rather than being permitted to move the teams.

The legal confrontations with the owners of the two professional sports teams came about because Art Harrigan's law firm, now Harrigan Leyh, long represented King County on its legal issues. And the owners of both the Mariners and Seahawks came into conflict with the county because they sought to abandon the county-owned Kingdome and their leases there.

Because the Mariners' decision occurred in arbitration session rather than court battles, there was no media visibility for Harrigan's victory that required Smulyan to not only allow an opportunity to find a local buyer but had the arbitrator set a "local value" $35 million below market value for the franchise. No visibility, that is, until Harrigan shared the stories with me nearly four years ago (search Flynn's Harp: Art Harrigan).

And five years after the Mariners were saved, a series of Harrigan legal maneuvers that ended up before the State Supreme Court and eventually NFL owners, left enough uncertainty about Behring's likely ability to move the Seahawks to LA that he sold the team to Paul Allen.

Harrigan's arbitration victory with the Mariners allowed the high-visibility work of then Sen. Slade Gorton and John Ellis in landing Nintendo as the new lead owner to unfold and Paul Allen to emerge as Seahawks owner. But Harrigan deserves a moment of thanks as each Mariner season opens and when Seahawk fans gather for the first game of the year.


The story I personally found most memorable was the quest of Washington State University, President Elson Floyd, to convince a legislature that was initially reluctant to give him a hearing, to create a medical school at WSU.

Getting the 2015 Legislature to approve the creation of a new medical school at WSU, despite bitter opposition from the University of Washington and its powerful lobbying influence, was the crowning achievement of Floyd's eight years as WSU president.

It only later became known, as his battle for his medical school was being won through the tireless effort of hours of testimony before legislative committees and engaging lawmakers in one-on-one meetings, that he was waging another battle.

Floyd apparently learned early in that 2015 session that he had colon cancer, which before long he learned would likely be terminal. But he fought with equal determination for the next four months against his cancer, a battle he would lose, and for his medical school, a battle he won.

He died on June 20, 15 days before Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill containing the first $2.5 million to launch what would soon be named The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, which would be located in Spokane and grow to serve communities in all parts of the state.

As a member of the national advisory board for what is now the Carson College of Business, I had the opportunity to get to know Floyd from soon after his arrival and was stuck, as many others were, with his focus on his conviction about what he viewed as the job-creating mission of higher education.

"We need to communicate with the Legislature and policymakers that we understand that we are about creating jobs, about economic development," Floyd said at his first meeting with the advisory board.

Thus he transformed WSU's role as Washington's land grant university into something far broader. He stood at the national forefront of college leaders in understanding that the role of universities in economic development was destined to become the issue it has become in most states.

And the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, in August of 2017, welcomed its first 60 students to its Spokane campus.


What I describe as the most interesting business-sports story of the decade was the decision by two of the icons of the cellular-wireless era to bring their mutual love of baseball to develop alongside their affection for their wireless business.
John Stanton and Mikal Thomsen were in their 20s when they teamed up in the early '80s at McCaw Cellular to become part of the birthing of a fledgling communications technology whose growth globally they helped guide through several major companies over the next 20 years. Stanton was actually second in command at McCaw.


Now in their early 60s, both have parlayed their business success into owning and guiding professional baseball teams, a commitment both might well agree is a passion that rivals their business activities. Stanton is the majority owner of the Mariners and Thomsen majority owner of the Tacoma Rainiers, making them an anomaly in all of professional baseball since the Rainiers are the Triple-A franchise for the Mariners.  

A business focus remains, however, as they continue to manage their Bellevue-based wireless venture and investment firm, Trilogy Partnerships, formed by a collection of long-time wireless partners after the sale of their Western Wireless to Alltel Corp. in 2005.

Stanton's and Thomsen's baseball involvement extends across the state and down to the West Coast League, an amateur collegiate summer league, where they are among owners of both the Walla Sweets and the Yakima Valley Pippins.

That baseball tie began, in fact, with the Walla Walla team in 2010 when Stanton, an alum of Whitman College, where he served as member and chair of Board of Trustees, called Thomsen and advised that he wanted him to join the ownership group Stanton was forming.
 
Thomsen returned the favor in 2011 when he advised Stanton that he was fulfilling his boyhood dream of owning his hometown Tacoma Rainiers team and wanted Stanton and his wife Theresa Gillespie, to join the ownership team.
 
In both Thomsen's and Stanton's cases, their love of baseball stems from childhood memories.
 
Thomsen once told me that the opportunity to create the ownership team that bought the Rainiers was like his "dream come true." He would be owning his hometown team that he had grown up rooting for from the time his dad took him to his first game at age three. That was the year that the then-Tacoma Giants returned after a 55-year absence.
 
Stanton also recalls attending the games of his hometown team with his father. That was in 1969 when, as a teenager, he became a fan of the Seattle Pilots in their first and only year of existence and recalls crying when they left town for Milwaukee.
 
So now Stanton, who took the title of Mariners CEO for a time after the ownership group he led bought out Nintendo, then turned over that role to Kevin Mather, has returned to officing fulltime in Bellevue where he can wander into Thomsen's office any time to discuss either baseball or wireless.
 
(The second article in this two-part series on my most memorable stories of the decade will be sent tomorrow. They will include a Harp that's my personal favorite because it's about my friend and former colleague, Vietnam correspondent Joe Galloway and his interviews with Vietnam veterans. Then there's the most overlooked story of the decade: the amazing commitment by Bellevue businesswoman Joan Wallace to the children of Granger, and finally the story of the locally overlooked but globally successful promoter of the sport of squash, Shabana Khan)
Continue reading

Type Art of Old helps say "Thank You" for 2019

crhsitmas-type-2019
Merry Christmas, as I am again blessed to be able to offer to you readers who are kind enough to allow the weekly arrival of Flynn's Harp into your email box. And I am particularly grateful to those who have been on the recipient list for this colunn all or most of the now dozen years since I launched it.
 
Sharing the below re-creation of the art delivered long ago via wire-service teletype machines to media newsrooms around the nation during the quiet hours of Christmas Eve has become my annual way of delivering holiday greetings.
 
While friends have come to reflect a varied array of religions and national origins beyond those for whom Christmas is a time of religious significance, the values that Christmas embodies transcend different beliefs and should be shared and cherished by all.
 
 In the days before computers, wire service teletype machines clacked away in newspaper and broadcast newsrooms around the nation and the world, bringing the news from all points to local media outlets.  
 
But in the quiet of the Christmas early hours in years past, in the offices of AP and United Press International, and those newspapers and broadcast stations around the nation, the teletype paper coming from the AP and UPI teletype printers would be graced with holiday art.
 
 For those of us who at an early stage in our careers had a turn with the lonely Christmas Eve or overnight vigil in the UPI offices as older writers got to spend time with their families, the holiday art created and transmitted by teletype operators composed on their keyboards is one of the special memories of working for that once proud company.  
 
The uniqueness of the tree below, a Christmas greeting delivered in nearly 50 languages, is that it is not in computer art but created by hand on keyboard, as with the wreath. 
 
Happy Holidays!
  
   
 

                                                +
1                                               "X"                                      
                                              "XXX"
                                            "XXXXX"
                                          "GOD JUL"
                                       "BUON ANNO"
                                        "FELIZ NATAL"
                                      "JOYEUX   NOEL"
                                   "VESELE   VANOCE"
                                  "MELE   KALIKIMAKA"
                                "NODLAG  SONA  DHUIT"
                             "BLWYDDYN  NEWYDD  DDA"
                                """""""BOAS FESTAS"""""""
                                       "FELIZ NAVIDAD"
                                  "MERRY CHRISTMAS"
                                " KALA CHRISTOUGENA"
                                 "VROLIJK  KERSTFEEST"
                   "FROHLICHE WEIHNACHTEN"
                              "BUON  NATALE-GODT NYTAR"
                              "HUAN YING SHENG TAN CHIEH" 
                           "WESOLYCH SWIAT-SRETAN BOZIC" 
                         "MOADIM LESIMHA-LINKSMU KALEDU" 
                        "HAUSKAA JOULUA-AID SAID MOUBARK" 
              """""""'N  PRETTIG  KERSTMIS""""""" 
                              "ONNZLLISTA UUTTA VUOTTA" 
                           "Z ROZHDESTYOM  KHRYSTOVYM" 
                          "NADOLIG LLAWEN-GOTT NYTTSAR" 
                         "FELIC NADAL-GOJAN KRISTNASKON" 
                        "S  NOVYM  GODOM-FELIZ ANO NUEVO" 
                        "GLEDILEG JOL-NOELINIZ KUTLU OLSUM" 
                     "EEN GELUKKIG NIEUWJAAR-SRETAN BOSIC" 
                    "KRIHSTLINDJA GEZUAR-KALA CHRISTOUGENA" 
                     SELAMAT HARI NATAL - LAHNINGU NAJU METU" 
                    """""""SARBATORI FERICITE-BUON  ANNO""""""" 
                          "ZORIONEKO GABON-HRISTOS SE RODI" 
                      "BOLDOG KARACSONNY-VESELE  VIANOCE " 
                     "MERRY CHRISTMAS  AND  HAPPY NEW YEAR" 
                      ROOMSAID JOULU PUHI -KUNG HO SHENG TEN" 
                      FELICES PASUAS -  EIN GLUCKICHES NEUJAHR" 
                  PRIECIGUS ZIEMAN SVETKUS  SARBATORI VESLLE" 
              BONNE  ANNEBLWYDDYN  NEWYDD DDADRFELIZ  NATAL" 
                          """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" 
                                                    XXXXX 
                                                    XXXXX 
                                                    XXXXX 
                                            XXXXXXXXXXXXX


 


                                                  zr 
                                               Yt$$$. 
                                            .,e$$$$$F' 
                          4e r               $$$$$$$. 
                          d$$br            _z$$$$$$$F` 
                           ?$$b._          ^?$$$$$$$ 
                            4$$$"     -eec.  ""JP" ..eee$%.. 
                            -**N #c   -^***.eE  ^z$P$$$$$$$$$r- 
                   .ze$$$$$eu?$eu '$$$$b $=^*$$ .$$$$$$$$$$" 
                --."?$$$$$$$$$c"$$c .""" e$K  =""*?$$$P"""" 
    ueee. ``  $E !!h ?$$$$$$$$b R$N'~!! *$$F J"""C.  ` 
   J  `"$$eu`!h !!!`4!!<?$$$$$$$P ?".eee-z.ee" ~$$e.br 
   'j$$Ne`?$$c`4!~`-e-!`$$$$$$$ $$**"z $^R$P  3 "$$$bJ 
    4$$$F".`?$$c`!! \).!!!`?$$$$F.$$$# $u$% ee*"^ 4`"$"?$q 
     ""`,!!!`$$N.4!!~~.~~4 ?$$F'[email protected]* [email protected]$$$$ec.      " 
     "Rr`!!!!h ?$$c`h `# !! $F,r4$L***  e$$$$$$$$$$$$hc 
       #e'4!!!!L`$$b'!.!h`~~ .$F'"    d$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$h, 
        ^$.`!!!!h $$b`!. -    $P /'   .$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$c 
          "$c`!!!h`$$.4~      $$$r'   <$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$P""" 
            ^te.`~ $$b        `Fue-   `$$$$$$$$$$$$$$P".  !! "< 
               ^"=4$P"     .,,,. -^.   ?$$$$$$$$$$"?. !! !!~ ,,ec.. 
                     ..z$$$$$$$$$h,    `$$$$$$P"..`!f !f ~)Lze$$$P""""?i 
                   ud$$$$$$$$$$$$$$h    `?$$F <!!'<!>~)ue$$P*"..!!!!! J 
                 .K$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$,     P.>e'!f !~ ed$$P".!!!!!!!!`.d" 
                z$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$      4!!~\e$$$P`!!!!!!!!!!'.eP' 
               -*". . "??$$$$$$$$$$$$       ~ `z$$$F".`!!!!!!!!!!',dP" 
             ." )!!h i`!- ("?$$$$$$f        ,$$P"! ). `'!!!!`,d$F' 
        .ueeeu.J`-^.!h <-  ~`.. ??$$'       ,$$ !!`e$$$$e `,e$F' 
     e$$$$$$$$$$$$$eeiC ")?-<%'^?        ?$f !!! ?$$$$",F" 
    P"....```""?$$$$$$$$$euL^.!..` .         "Tu._.,``"" 
    $ !!!!!!!!!!.""??$$$$$$eJ~^=.            ```` 
    ?$.`!!!!!!!!!!!!!!."??$$$$$c'. 
     "?b.`!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!>."?$$$$
       ^?$c`'!!!!!!!!!!!',eeb, "$$$k 
          "?$e.`'!!!!!!! $$$$$ ;.?$$ 
             "?$ee,``''!."?$P`i!! 3p
                 ""??$bec,,.,ceeeP" 
                        `""""""
Continue reading

Tears and joy flow on Alaska 'Fantasy Flight' from Spokane to North Pole

AA-2019-Fantasy-flight_banner

From the young boy who told his elf "thank you for making this the best day of my life" to the surprise 70th birthday party for Mrs. Clause, this year's Alaska Airlines' "Fantasy Flight" carrying 64 needy kids and their elves to the North Pole from Spokane International Airport brought abundant tears and joy.
 
This story of love and compassion has been Alaska's annual holiday gift to not just the greater Spokane community but also to its employees and to those who, in learning of it, get to share vicariously some of what I've come to refer to as "the magic dust of caring" that's sprinkled on all those involved. This year the volunteers included 15Alaska employees from not just Seattle and Spokane but from far corners or the airline's system.

This "Fantasy Flight" to the North Pole, always known as Santa 1 as it takes wing carrying orphans and foster children ages 4 to 10 from Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, chosen by social service agencies, has been an annual event in Spokane, with sadly only occasional visibility from regular media, for 23 years.
 
But the real magic didn't appear until Alaska got involved in 2008 at the request of Steve Paul, now president and CEO of the non-profit Northwest North Pole Adventures (NNPA), and in his 20th year as a volunteer.
 
United had carried out the holiday event for a number of years but merely taxied the plane around the airport before stopping in front of a north-pole bedecked hanger on the other side of the airport for a party with Santa. But when Paul, then a traveling tech exec and now a senior IT project manager at Spokane energy management company Engie Insight, approached Alaska about replacing United, he asked why the plane couldn't take off and fly around for a bit before arriving at Santa's home. And so it happened.
 
And every year since. So last Saturday evening the kids and their personally selected elves hurried aboard an Alaska 737-900 for a 20-minute flight to visit Santa and Mrs. Clause at their North Pole home.
 
Paul, who is Elf Bernie when he puts on his costume including red top hat, said there were some changes this year, with a new, more expansive hanger arranged for to provide a North Pole Santa's home with more space for volunteers, and a new Santa, the first change in the jolly old man in a number of years.
 
Paul is a senior IT Project Manager at Engje Insight, an energy management company rebranded a couple of years ago from Ecova, who spends much of the year preparing for the flight, working with agencies that select the children, gathering sponsors and overseeing details like elf selection.
 
When I asked Paul prior to last year's column about his elf age, given that he was 43 in people years when he first got involved in 2000, he said his elf age is 907 years, adding that is really only middle age for elves so he still has a ways to go. And he leaves no sign of slowing down.
 
A key part of the event magic in recent years has been Alaska pilot Eric Hrivnak, who has been at the controls for a half dozen or so years. As the flight nears its conclusion, the passengers are told to pull the window shades down and chant the magic words that will allow them to land at the North Pole.  
 
As the kids pull down their shades and do a chant, each wave a magic light wand they were given as they boarded and then Hrivnak deploys the engine thrusters when Santa and Rudolph appear on the radar screen, providing the confirmation that the "Santa 1" flight has entered North Pole airspace.
 
The jetliner taxis to a hanger on the other side of the airport, where the passengers are greeted by a group of elves, with live reindeer milling about, and are they taken to meet Santa and Mrs. Clause.
 
The surprise party for Mrs. Santa was to honor Leslie Lathrop, one of two women founders of the nonprofit, who has been Mrs. Claus 21 of the event's 23 years. As her party began at the donors' celebration, her family emerged from the fireplace in standard Santa style.
 
It was a youngster named Linkin (CQ) whose day of excitement prompted his comment about the best day of his life to his elf, Gwindor, who in real life is Alaska pilot Scott Hitchings, who is retiring next year but told Paul he wants to continue to participate.
 
I first wrote of the event in 2010 when I learned of it from my friend, Blythe Thimsen, then editor of a Spokane magazine, who was to be an elf that year, an experience she shared with me then subsequently wrote about and sent me a copy of the article.
 
And as I explain each year, retelling and updating this story has been my holiday gift to readers of The Harp since then because it's a story of human caring and compassion that not only won't get old but perhaps becomes more needed each year.

Continue reading

52°F

Seattle

Mostly Cloudy

Humidity: 63%

Wind: 14 mph

  • 24 Mar 2016 52°F 42°F
  • 25 Mar 2016 54°F 40°F
Banner 468 x 60 px