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Fans of Jeremy Taiwo, Seattle Olympic decathlete, seek Tokyo games assist

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From the time Jeremy Taiwo was four years old, he knew he had to be an Olympian. After all, his father, Joseph Taiwo, a Nigerian who was recruited to Washington State University's track & field team, competed in both the 1884 and 1988 Olympics for his home country.

"Once I learned he had been in the Olympics and what that meant, I had to be the best and work the hardest," said Taiwo, a Seattleite who made the U.S. Olympic team last summer as the nation's second best decathlete and finished 11th at the Brazil games last year.

Jeremy TaiwoJeremy TaiwoBut I have to make the next Olympics since he was there twice," Taiwo said of his father, who is now track and field coach at Newport High School, which Jeremy attended before competing for the University of Washington.

"My dad was ninth in his event but I was 11th in Brazil so I felt I still have something to prove."

Both Taiwo, 27, and his coaches say they are convinced he has another Olympics in him, with two who provide some of his key training support disagreeing over whether he could be third in the next Olympics, or Gold.

Although he's currently recovering from an adductor-muscle strain, when he returns to training he will be keeping his eye on the progress of the runners who present what Taiwo describes as "a fair amount of competition from different countries" for the decathlon event at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The competition includes Brazil Olympics Silver Medalist Kevin Meyer from France and Bronze medal winner Damian Warner from Canada, plus a pair of German athletes he describes as "incredibly talented," plus a couple of Americans.

"Since the dominant world record holder (Ashton Eaton) has retired, it will be interesting to see who is able to claim the title at the next Olympics," Taiwo said.

But there is one area in which Taiwo lags dramatically behind his competitors, particularly the Canadian and the Europeans. That's the financial support that athletes like the decathlon competitors receive, and need, because of the training intensity and costs necessary in preparation for 10 events.

"They are getting an incredible amount of support," Taiwo said.. "I'm sure they all own their own houses at this point." That's a level of support he could only dream of.

"There's not a lot of love or appreciation for our event in this country anymore, it seems," Taiwo said of the competition whose Gold Medal winner was once automatically proclaimed "The World's Greatest Athlete."

The men's decathlon consists of the100-meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meters, 110-meter hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and a closing, 1500-meter race.

Each of those events in the two-day competition requires different skills -- speed, endurance, throwing, vaulting and jumping and thus decathletes are some of the most versatile athletes in the world.

Although he had won the Pac-12 Decathlon competition as a senior at the University of Washington, he wasn't that well known until he placed second at the Eugene Track and Field qualifying last July, scoring 8425 points for the Silver Medal, 325 points behind Eaton.

Taiwo recalled in an interview that going into the 1500 final event in Eugene, he was in fourth place and needed to beat the third-place athlete by 13 seconds. But he vaulted all the way to second and the Silver with his time of four minute-17 seconds.

"In a business sense, where people want to do the least amount of work and make the most money, that translates to athletes doing the most and paying them as little as possible," said Taiwo with a logical edge of frustration.

It bothers Taiwo that decathletes aren't paid like world-class athletes since the top Olympic athletes in swimming, gymnastics and track and field can make six-figure deals with endorsements, others, like Taiwo, hardly receive enough money to make ends meet.

Taiwo's mom, Irene, knew her son couldn't continue to wear himself out between training and work heading toward the 2016 Olympics, so in December of 2015 she suggested he start a GoFundMe account. GoFundMe is a fundraising website to support causes, where donations are welcome worldwide and where more than 100 Olympic hopefuls have created accounts.

Taiwo and his family used Facebook to advertise the donation page, asking co-workers, family, and friends for help. Taiwo said people he had never met were donating hundreds of dollars to his cause. Taiwo's initial GoFundMe goal was $15,000, and by the end of January, to his surprise, he had surpassed his goal, eventually raising more than $40,000 and got an additional $10,000 for so significantly passing his goal.

But he isn't interested in holding his hand out for donations henceforth. So he is hoping that the sponsor dollars that come out of the woodwork for some athletes might start coming his way in the coming months as a Seattleite who is considered a strong candidate for a medal, maybe gold, in Tokyo.

So right now he's doing without the strength and conditioning coaches who would cost about $500 a month as well as the physical therapy sessions that included massage and strength training on which he last year spent $100 to $150 per week.

A handful of Seattle and Bellevue business people have made up their minds to campaign among friends, associates, clients to support Taiwo.

One of the prominent coaches offering him training guidance, Bryan Hoddle, who now lives in Phoenix said of Taiwo: "He's a tremendous athlete, but he's an even better person." Hoddle, one of the nation's top sprint coaches who now spends his time teaching veterans who have lost limbs how to run again, provides some training counsel for Taiwo from afar but that can't substitute for coaches and trainers here.

Taiwo is the kind of young man who, despite his competitive focus, spends a considerable amount of time giving motivational talks at school, observing "it's awesome talking to kids because they are so interested."

And Taiwo, who attended Newport High School although he lived in Renton because he wanted Spanish immersion classes and wound up with a 3.5 GPA, plus weighting, emphasizes to the kids the importance of education.

Although the Tokyo Olympics is three years hence, Taiwo has benchmarks before then to measure his progress. Thus his short-term focus is on the USA Indoor National Championships in New Mexico in February, Indoor World Championships in March in Birmingham, England, and the Outdoor National Championships in June.

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Many will be sharing memories of Costco's Jeff Brotman in coming days. Here's one.

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As the sudden and tragic loss of Costco co-founder and chairman Jeff Brotman, who died in his sleep early Monday, settles in on those who knew him and those who merely knew of him and his impact and contributions, memories of him and stories about him will be shared by many in the coming days.

You don't get over the loss of someone like Brotman, Time merely allows the memories to slowly displace the pain of loss, and the sharing is an assist for that process. But so are visual memories, and because Brotman, as with his now-retired Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal, shunned media and event visibility, visual reminders about Brotman beyond photos may not be that easy to come by.

Thus I want to share the story of what may have been the last such visual of Brotman. And the process by which a half-minute video for the Junior Achievement Puget Sound Hall of Fame came about would be just what those who knew him would expect. And because it was a story only a handful of people closely involved were aware of, it may provide some opportunity for inclusion in the stories of Jeff that will be shared in the coming days and weeks.

The 2017 JA event was, for the first time, seeking a sponsor for the video vignettes of the laureates and because we had talked with Brotman about chairing this year's Hall of Fame banquet before learning he had a prior commitment he couldn't change, I contacted him about Costco sponsoring the video.

Brotman and Sinegal had been reluctant laureate honorees at the 2015 Hall of Fame event so those vignettes of their lives will also be part of the lean legacy of both men, and I'm sure the videos will be featured at the 2018 Hall of Fame as a final tribute to Brotman.

At any rate, knowing Costco is famous about its reluctance to market (maybe infamous would be suggested by those who sell advertising as a more appropriate word!), it was with less than high hope that I called Brotman and suggested that since he couldn't be there, his visibility in a video congratulating the 2017 laureates would be welcomed.

He said he'd get back to me in a couple of days and he did, saying that Costco would be a sponsor of the videos, meaning its sponsorship fee would pay the cost of producing the videos on the lives of the laureates that have been the high points of the banquet since the event began in 1987.

But he said "I don't need to have a video on this," to which I replied "yes you do, because you being video visible welcoming the new laureates to the unique Hall of Flame club of which you and Jim are key members is too appropriate for you to pass up, so please do it."

He agreed. So it was arranged by KCPQ TV General Manager Pam Pearson for Brotman to come by the station and be filmed sharing his comments.

Thus Jeff's video welcome to the new laureates opened the program May 4. As a final remembrance of Brotman's role with JA, the organization will be opening the 2018 program with a video of his greeting.

The ultimate irony of that is I had told Brotman that he would be the host for the 2018 event, which of course turns out not to have been meant to be.

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Seattle expected to field team in new men's professional basketball league

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Seattle fans hungry for a men's professional basketball team to root for apparently will have an opportunity to do that this coming season, but it won't be an NBA team that is seeking their support and affection.

davie magleyDavid MagleyRather it would be a Seattle team, without a nickname as yet and under a group of Toronto owners, that will compete in the new North American Premier Basketball (NAPB) league that was unveiled July 5 at a Chicago news conference. The Toronto owners are expected to be open to finding local partners.

And in fact, according to David Magley, who is president and COO of the new league that he says is tobeginplay January 1 with about a dozen teams from the U.S. and Canada, there could soon be teams from other Washington State cities, with Spokane, Yakima, Bellingham and Tacoma on his list of possibles.

When the formation of the league was announced at the Chicago news conference, Dr. Sev Hrywnak, who owns several surgical centers in the Chicago area and is Magley's co-founder and CEO of NAPB, said the league will operate from coast to coast in the United States and in Western Canada. It will have combine tryouts this fall in 15 cities, with Seattle tryouts on September.

Those tryouts of pro hopefuls, many bringing college-play and some professional backgrounds, will thus produce the 12-man roster of the Seattle team, as well as any other Northwest teams that emerge.

Magley, who hails from Indiana and played his college ball at the University of Kansas, and has been commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada, was in Seattle this week where I caught up with him for a conversation about the return of men's pro basketball to Seattle.

Prior to taking the reins of the Canadian pro basketball league, Magley was general manager of the Brampton professional team, where one of his players was Jordan Hamilton, a Seattle Prep star who went on to Lehigh University where his team earned basketball fame for its upset of Duke in the 2012 NCAA tournament.

Magley said he expects that the 27-year-old Hamilton, who played professionally in Germany and Luxemburg, would be a player as well as business manager of the Seattle team.

According to Hrywnak and Magley, the now defunct Continental Basketball Association, the demise of the ABA and the effort to move NBA's G-League teams closer to their parent teams leave markets across the U.S. abandoned. 

A marketing study conducted over a 2-year period identified 60 cities in the USA and Canada that have the fan support and financially stable potential ownership groups to sustain professional basketball in each of those areas.

"There are more than 60 markets that once had NBA, original ABA, CBA and D-League teams that are now without professional basketball teams," Magley said. "Then there are places like Spokane and Boise that have never had professional basketball but represent appealing markets to us."

In talking about the potential of Spokane, as an example, Magley said: "Do you think the owner of a franchise there that had signed half a dozen former Gonzaga U stars and several from Washington State who were still interested in playing basketball would attract fans to see the games? Who could doubt that would successful."

Criteria for owners is a net worth of $2.5 million, he said, but that would be the group financial qualification in a case where four or five partners might want to be involved.

The franchise fee would be $200,000, but Magley suggested during our interview that in five years that value would likely be closer to $1 million.

"Its important to understand that most franchises will take an average of three years to reach breakeven," he added.

Payroll for each team would be about $125,000 to $150,000 with three levels of monthly player salaries, $1,500, $3,000 and $5,000, he said. "Other costs, such as players' housing and travel, would be about the same."

The NAPB will enlist former NBA Director of Officials Ronnie Nunn to serve as VP of Officials to, as Hrywnak put it, "set high standards for league referees." Nunn has flown around the world to speak to leagues in Europe and Asia about officiating, training, and league regulations.

Magley's vision is that the teams would become closely involved with their communities, noting "we can do things with the players and inner-city kids, summer camps or give tickets to and working with local schools."

Turned out that Magley headed for Yakima after our Seattle visit this week where, among other meetings, he sat down with Yakima businessman Bob Hall, who had put together a local group to purchase the city's CBA team, the Sun Kings, to keep the team's then distant owners from moving to New Orleans, which had lost its NBA franchise.

Hall told me after the meeting that Yakima, whose Sun Kings had been the first team in CBA history to show a profit and won four CBA championships, "could definitely support an NAPB franchise but successful requires local ownership that has its boots on the ground and that reaches out to the community to build relationships."

Reflecting on his own career, Magley told me: "I lived a Walter Mitty life, growing up in a small town in Indiana, playing for a great college basketball team, getting a chance to play briefly for the Cleveland Cavaliers, then playing in Spain and Belgium."
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Effort to fund endowed chair for Dr Paul Lange, prostate-cancer research pioneer

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Passing the leadership baton is usually accompanied by fanfare and fond farewells, but for Dr. Paul Lange, who co-founded the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research (IPCR) and built it over nearly three decades into one of the most prestigious research institutions of its kind in the world, it was a low-key transition befitting his style.

       Dr. Paul Lange
But once word of his retirement at the beginning of 2017 spread among his friends and admirers in the medical community and well beyond, there was a growing agreement that one of the true pioneers in prostate cancer research and treatment would not be permitted to quietly step aside.

Thus commenced an initiative by those friends to raise the $2.25 million to create an endowed chair in his name, designated to the development of future leaders in prostate-cancer research. Those friends include a cadre of men in the region whose prostate treatments or surgeries were performed by Lange, as well as many, like me, who came to know Lange and learn of his impact on prostate cancer after their surgeries.

In fact, because Lange learned a few years ago that he had prostate cancer and decided to have a prostatectomy, a bond of sorts developed between him and many others of us who, like him, turned to Dr. William Ellis, the UWMC prostate surgeon who is frequently referred to his patients as The Top Prostate Doc.

An example of the reaction to the endowment effort came at a recent breakfast meeting where I advised a prominent Eastside businessman (who will remain nameless) about the endowed-chair campaign and he said "Great idea! I'm in for 100(assuming I understood the three zeroes following)."

It was Lange who, among other leadership roles with prostate cancer innovations, was instrumental in bringing to prominence the blood test with the now universally known initials PSA to assess the presence of prostate cancer. In addition to working closely with the firm that developed the test, he was said to have been present the day the FDA approved it.

When Lange first learned of the endowed-chair effort, he was described as "especially excited." Those who know Lange know it wasn't because of any ego gratification about having the development of a chair in his memory but because of the role the funds would play in retaining the talent to create the research in the battle against the disease.

As Lange has told me on numerous occasions, the IPCR, despite its world-class prominence, is urgently in need of further private support to keep it in the forefront as one of the leading research entities."

IPCR ranks in the top 10 in the country for federal funding and is in the top five in prostate-cancer funding, with Lange estimating that over the years at least $60 million, mostly from NIH, has come to IPCR.
 
But ironically, IPCR has dramatically lagged in raising the private funds that the NIH views as a key to its own funding decisions.
"We are significantly behind the eight to 10 of the top prostate-cancer research institutions in the country in keeping up with private fund raising, which is essential if we are to retain a world-class team and explore new ideas that need to be developed because they are not yet advanced far enough for the NIH to fund," says Lange.
Dr. Daniel Lin 
Dr. Daniel W. Lin, who has been Chief of Urologic Oncology in the Department of Urology at the University of Washington and recipient of numerous awards from his scientific peers, was tapped early this year to succeed Lange as director of IPCR. Lange has not yet actually retired from his work at the institute, only from the top roles.

"One of Paul's greatest attributes has been his ability to motivate young scientists in their early research careers, inspire them to pursue novel investigations, and encourage them during the inevitable ups and downs of all scientific endeavors," Lin told me.

"Paul had the insight and energy to bring together researchers and clinicians from across the Pacific Northwest to apply for federal grants as a collaborative research enterprise and to form  the IPCR that continues to push the boundaries of prostate cancer discovery and progress," Lin added.

Lange, MD, and Robert Vessella, PhD, had already been a team at the University of Minnesota for a dozen years when they decided in 1989 to accept an offer to come to the University of Washington to launch the collaborative effort that a few years later would officially become the IPCR. By then he had helped it become an unusual collaboration between the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
The unusual team of Vessella, an academic prof, and Lange, a medical doctor, went on to build a world-class team and guide leading-edge research that have made Seattle a nexus for prostate-cancer research.

As I wrote in a Harp I did on the 25th anniversary of the IPCR in 2004, "In a sense, Lange and Vessella were medical opportunists in deciding to focus on a cancer for which they thought there might be a light at the end of the tunnel."
At the time there was basically no funding available for prostate-cancer research and, as Lange recalled for that column: "No one really cared at the time about an old man's disease."
But far from being "an old man's disease," the number of younger men diagnosed with prostate cancer has increased nearly six fold with more than 10 percent of new prostate cancer diagnoses in the U.S. being in men younger than 55.
And significantly, the disease is often much more aggressive in younger men, compared with a usually slower progression in older men.
It's routinely said of accomplished leaders that their contributions are too many to list, but in Lange's case several are too important not to list because they frame essential chapters in the role IPCR has come to play on the global prostate-cancer research stage.

One was a partnership that emerged in 1992 with Leroy Hood, who had recently arrived at the University of Washington, with funding from Bill Gates Jr, to found and chair the Molecular Biotechnology Department.
The other was the relationship that Lange helped bring about between The Hutch and the University of Washington Medical School, viewed as so noteworthy as to be almost unique.
Hood, already internationally prominent as developer of the automated DNA sequencer that was a key to the human genome project, recalled in an interview for the 2004 column how he and Lange, both then heading departments at UW, got together at a retreat in 1992 to discuss how genomics could be applied to prostate-cancer research.
"We decided to work together and I outlined on a napkin at dinner a genomic approach to prostate-cancer research," Hood recalled for me. "Then Paul and I agreed to help Michael Milkin, as he created a series of seminal meetings on the genomic approach to prostate cancer."
"Lee was hugely instrumental in putting us in the national spotlight," Lange said. "Thanks to a variety of influences, Lee decided to devote a large part of his translational research efforts to prostate cancer. The support of the Michael Milkin organization to the tune of about $12 million over the years was largely due to the participation of Lee and his group in our research efforts."
Dr. Pete Nelson     
And one of the important developments from the relationship was the recruitment of Dr. Pete Nelson to prostate cancer research from Hood's lab where Nelson was working on another cancer. He has since then been Lange's key research leader at IPCR, where his work has garnered international honors and recognition.
As Nelson, who has assumed the role of IPCR Research Leader, noted to me: "Paul created IPCR at a time when there were few bridges between The Hutch and UW and certainly to engage the two in community philanthropy was the kind of bond that just isn't seen."

"I'd be hard pressed to name two medical research institutions in the world that raise funds together," added Nelson, whose IPCR role is noteworthy because he has continually turned down opportunities at the top research institutions in the nation to remain here.

"Paul masterfully engaged scientists, administration, and community leaders to come together in establishing research priorities and allocating resources into the science that would most rapidly impact patients," Nelson said. "Through this effort, he was even able to obtain funding from the State of Washington that supported prostate cancer research."
A third initiative by Lange and Vessally that was disease altering was the creation early on of what they called a "rapid autopsy program" in which metastatic cancer cells that are still living are removed from more than 20 bone sites of patients within a couple of hours after death.

This Rapid Autopsy Program, the first of its kind in the world and still one of only a few in operation, has now been ongoing for over 20 years. More than 150 such autopsies have been done, resulting in one of the largest tumor banks on metastatic prostate cancer in the world.
"It is quite safe to say that several of the major treatment advances in the field that have extended the survival of men with advanced prostate cancer were fueled by the UW-IPCR Rapid Autopsy Program," Nelson said. "Biospecimens have been shared with numerous investigators throughout the world--at academic centers as well as pharma and biotech companies, usually with the none-to-minimal cost to them."
Of the initiative to gather the funds to create the endowed chair in Lange's name, Nelson told me it "will serve as a lasting and living legacy that will be used to support young scientists who embody Paul's curiosity, tenacity, creativity, and drive to eliminate prostate cancer."

Lange has repeatedly predicted that prostate cancer "will be controlled if not mostly cured" in his lifetime, reducing the disease from the second leading cause of cancer death among men to a minor cause. And he believes the IPCR will figure prominently in this achievement.
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Independence Day reminder that families of those in military also served and sacrificed

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It seems appropriate to celebrate Independence Day 2017 by focusing on a couple of events designed to help remind us that our freedom was secured at the outset and ensured for decades since then not just by the men and women in the military, but by their families, who also served.

One is the 55-year-old Marine Corps Scholarship Fund, whose purpose is to fund college scholarships for children of U.S. Marines. The event has gained growing recognition in the Seattle area since the first local fund-raising dinner three years ago. The other is a new scholarship named to honor widely celebrated Seattle-area Medal of Honor recipient Bruce Crandall and his late wife, Arlene.
 
Major General Tracy Garrett (Ret.)Major General
Tracy Garrett (Ret.)
Although the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund was been an annual event nationally since 1962, providing more than 37,000 scholarships and $110 million in scholarship support, the first Northwest event was held in Seattle in 2014, raising $200,000.

Even before that first Seattle event,  the Scholarship Foundation helped scores of Marine children in Washington and the Northwest. But now it has grown dramatically
in visibility and support, with the 2016 event raising $900,000.

And that awareness is still growing since, as a Marine whose active reserve duty was in 1962, I first learned about it a few weeks ago when I met Tracy Garrett, the retired Marine major general who serves as campaign chair for the Northwest banquet, which will be held October 25 at the Westin in Seattle.

I decided to do my bit for broader visibility when I learned that two longtime associates, Kirby Cramer, who as CEO guided Hazleton Labs into global leadership in its industry, and Karl Ege, Vietnam veteran, and prominent Seattle attorney and civic leader, were honorees at the 2016 banquet. Cramer was the Globe & Anchor Award recipient with Ege receiving special recognition.

When I called Cramer last week to get a quote for this column, we talked a bit about our past service with the Marine Corps and he appropriately scolded me with "how can we know each other for years and I never knew of your Marine background?"

Then he offered "This MCSF dinner introduces several hundred people to the wonderful work being done to provide higher education to the children of Marines, but the enthusiasm of their word of mouth exposes this event to thousands of their friends."

At this year's Northwest event, the husband and wife team of Fred Radke and Gina Funes will be honored. As bandleader and soloist they have been prominent entertainers in Seattle at first Westin then Four Season hotels and as faculty members, at University of Washington School of Music, they have educated many who became musicians.

"It's worth sharing the impact the scholarships have on the children of Marines," retired Gen. Garrett offered. "Young men and women raise their hands to support and defend our nation and pull their families into the commitment with them. Moms and dads, husbands and wives and certainly the children support their Marines with quiet courage and self-sacrifice."

Garrett, a UW grad, struck me as an excellent reminder that neither the Marines nor any other military branch, whether among the enlisted or officer ranks, are male bastions any longer.

She retired three years ago after 36 years of active and reserve service with career highlights that included combat deployment in Iraq in 2004-2005, being the first woman to serve as Inspector General of the Marine Corps in 2006 and serving as Commander of Marine Forces in Europe and Africa in 2007 and 2008.

The Bruce and Arlene Crandall Social Courage Award, created by their son, Steve, will be presented by Antioch University Seattle and is named for a military hero rather than being presented to a veteran or his or her offspring.

But as Steve Crandall told me: "I always viewed dad's service as not just a sacrifice he made but in which my mother was a partner."
 
"We often recognize those in the service but this is to recognize her sacrifice, a woman left with three young boys, including a year old infant, while her husband was off on the first of two tours in Vietnam," Crandall added. "She was an example of the truth we now recognize - that you don't have to go off to war to serve your country."

Bruce Crandall was an Army helicopter pilot whose prominence was tied to his heroism at the Battle of Ia Drang. The role in the battle taken by Crandall and his wingman, Ed "Too Tall" Freeman flying their 'copters nearly two dozen times into what amounted to an under-constant-fire Death Zone to drop supplies and evacuate wounded was featured in the book We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, and the movie, We Were Soldiers.

Crandall and Freeman were both awarded the Medal of Honor, the only time that two helicopter pilots were so honored for the same battle.

The younger Crandall, a member of Antioch's Board of Governors and CEO of ProMotion Holdings in Seattle. said $55,000 has been raised with the goal of awarding the first $5,000 scholarship this fall. He said the plan is to award scholarships quarterly to an undergraduate and one to a student pursuing a masters degree.

The award, for which applications are now being reviewed, is meant to empower Antioch Seattle students "with a desire and vision for engaging our community in addressing critical social issues," Crandall said, noting that "those who are veterans already can attend courses free at Antioch."

Going back to the Marine Corps conversation with Cramer, I shared that my post-retirement business travels on a somewhat regular basis to Orange County and San Diego have provided me considerable reminder time of Boot Camp in San Diego and advanced training at Camp Pendleton those 55 years ago.

Whenever my Alaska flight lands in San Diego, I focus on and recall the huts of boot camp visible not far beyond the airport. And on the occasions when I drive from Orange County to San Diego, the path crosses Camp Pendleton where sometimes training exercises are going on not far from the beach that is the west side of the mostly arid hills of the base.
Anyone who has been through Marine Boot Camp isn't likely to forget the not just physical by also psychological training that prepared Marines for whatever was to come. 
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Ruckelshaus comments recall 2011 insights on issues

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When William (Bill) Ruckelshaus, a Watergate "hero" who knows a bit about how to deal with presidents, offered some advice in a nationally syndicated column to President Donald Trump, it set me searching for a column I did on him six years ago in which he derided "this era of inflamed partisanship and ideology."

Ruckelshaus, who served two presidents as head of the Environmental Protection Agency and was talked about as a vice presidential candidate for another, was the email interview for a recent Bloomberg column in which he offered "there is only one person who can shut down all the current speculation" surrounding the Trump administration.

WilliamRuckelshausHow the President reacts to the advice "to turn over all the information he has and instruct his minions to do the same" is fodder for someone else's column. This Harp is about the thoughts he shared in late 2011 about the attacks on the EPA.

But almost equally compelling was his recollection of the time, despite the accusations then surrounding a president who was eventually forced to resign, when Congress functioned with an inter-party cooperation impossible to imagine now.

Ruckelshaus, since moving his family to Seattle in 1975 to become vice president of legal affairs for The Weyerhauser Co., has been a prominent business figure in the Seattle area, including as a principal in the Madrona Investment Group. He was honored as a Laureate of the Puget Sound Business Hall of Fame.

In our interview six years ago, there was a detectable sense of both disappointment and frustration in his voice as discussed what he termed the "most violent anti-environment rhetoric in recent memory coming from Congress" in attacks on the EPA.

As evidence of frustration, Ruckelshaus said "recent attacks are particularly mindless because they give no credence to the original bipartisan support for the creation of EPA," which came into being by executive order of Republican President Richard Nixon in December of 1970."

"It was at a time of public outcry that visible air pollution and flammable rivers were not acceptable," Ruckelshaus recalls. "And as EPA was being established, the Congress passed the Clean Air Act in a burst of non-partisan agreement: 73-0 in the Senate and 374-1 in the House."

It's difficult, in this era of what he calls "inflamed partisanship and ideology" to even imagine there was a time when such agreement between political parties and both houses of Congress could occur on any issue.

The fact that Congress could with virtual unanimity approve what obviously was legislation that assumedly made some members uncomfortable would be viewed as "historical fiction," or maybe "Fake History" by some political ideologues today.

Ruckelshaus was named by Nixon to be the EPA's first administrator, then was called back by President Ronald Reagan, to be the agency's fifth administrator. His name has become synonymous with environmental protection, which doesn't mean he's always defended the tactics or decisions of those engaged in protecting the environment.

For example, he acknowledged in our interview that "it's important to be careful about what power you give government and government hasbe careful about how it exercise that power." He suggested it's "almost a given that abuses will occur," but posed the question: "What's preferable, the possibility of abuses that must be reined in, or no rules? In order to provide the framework in which freedom can function, you have to have rules."

A sense of disappointment is evidenced in his reaction to what's evolved over four decades of the public's attitudes toward the EPA and environmental oversight. In a memorable speech some years ago as he accepted a national environmental award, Ruckelshaus characterized the public's, and thus Congress', view of environmental initiatives as "violent swings of the pendulum."

Ruckelshaus, now 84. has to be a disquieting persona for those engaged in what he refers to as "virulent" and "mindless" attacks on that agency.

After all, Ruckelshaus has impeccable Republican and business credentials, making it difficult for those seeking to dismantle the agency he guided to characterize him as a crazy environmentalist seeking to punish businesses and destroy jobs.

His Watergate role came about when he resigned from Nixon's Justice Department in 1973 rather than accept the President's order to fire Watergate special counsel Archibald Cox hours after the Attorney General Elliott Richardson was fired by the President for refusing to fire Cox.

Ruckelshaus was the 29-year-old Republican legislative leader in his home state of Indiana before he came to prominence in the Nixon Administration.

Those who have grown tired of the dysfunctional nature of verbal rifle shots that have replaced Congressional debate might wish there was something at the national level like the William D. Ruckelshaus Center in Seattle.

The mission of the center is to act as a neutral resource for collaborative problem-solving in the Northwest, providing expertise to improve "the quality and availability of voluntary collaborative approaches for policy development and multi-party dispute resolution."

For anyone inclined to dismiss the wording of the mission as "policy-wonk" speak, it should be noted that the center has successfully brought together parties to build consensus on a range of issues, perhaps most dramatically the Agriculture and Critical Areas Project.

The landmark three-plus year effort aimed at preserving the viability of agricultural lands dealt with the issue of how to control farmland runoff without destroying the prosperity of farmers, a development that has unfortunately received little visibility.

The center brought all groups, including environmentalists, farmers, tribes and local counties, to negotiate an agreement that was approved by the 2011 Legislature.

The Center is hosted at the University of Washington at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs and at Washington State University by WSU Extension. It is guided by an advisory board of prominent local, state and regional leaders representing a broad range of constituencies and geographic locations. The board is chaired by Ruckelshaus.

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Seattle City Council proponents of income tax need to 'come clean'

incometax
Members of the Seattle City Council who are proposing a tax on the gross income of Seattle residents they view as "the wealthy" need to come clean with those constituents who are actually hoping for additional revenue to deal with what they perceive as pressing city problems. "Come clean" means admitting up front that this won't provide additional revenue for the city to deal with any of those issues, including the homeless problem.
 
The reason is that if the city council actually approves an income tax, suggested as 2 percent tax on the portion of gross exceeding $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a couple, it will be challenged in court, without question. The court case would then have to run its course, and the outcome be in Seattle's favor, before any tax could be imposed or revenue collected, several years at least.
 
In fact, "come clean" would also mean admitting that a court challenge is really why proponents and the City Council are seeking to pass an income tax because those in favor of such a tax have become convinced that the ruling of the state Supreme Court in 1933 that an income tax is unconstitutional might well be reversed.
 
The Seattle income tax proposal got its airing before a hearing of the City Council Finance Committee, derided by one business leader as "a pep rally for a tax on the rich," and in fact supporters attended the meeting waving "Tax the Rich" signs.
 
One friend suggested, with a chuckle, that he was surprised Kshama Sawant, one of two city council sponsors of the income tax plan, didn't have a rag doll tagged "rich guy" that she could have used to bring cheers by turning it upside down, holding the heels and shaking as if to dislodge anything in the pockets.
 
Former Gov. Dan Evans
Former governor and U.S. Senator Dan Evans, who is probably this state's most visible long-term proponent of a state income tax, told me in an email "I think the Seattle income tax attempt is wrong on so many counts that it is hard to try to analyze. This is just soak-the-rich taxation by the left wing."
Evans noted that his plan, which actually made the ballot but was rejected by state voters, "was tax reform with an income tax as part of it," repeating his oft emphasized belief that a net income tax only is legitimate if it is part of a full reform of the state's tax structure.
"Trying to institute a city tax without a vote of the people is even dumber than thinking of imposing a tax on gross income," he said. "People always get a vote on issues like his. Ultimately the people of the state will decide this issue through their vote and attempts to circumvent that are recognition that they can't win a statewide vote."
Indeed The pursuit of a way to get the Supreme Court to review the eight decades old precedent is based on the realization that the voters of the state don't seem likely to approve an income tax. And those who don't want the voters to continue to have the final say on the issue are hoping to find a way around that continued outcome.
 
But the reality may be that a Seattle test of the existing constitutional ban on an income tax may leave proponents simply disappointed, rather than finding a backdoor way to undo the longtime prohibition.
 
When the Olympia City Council sought to imposed a tax on incomes above $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for couples, lawmakers in the Capital City took the approach of asking the voters, rather than telling them. Voters turned it down.
 
But legal scholar Hugh Spitzer, who is generally seen as the legal expert approached for comment on the issue in this state, offered the comment before the Olympia vote that proponents of using a locally enacted income tax as the key to a court reversal of the 84 year old decision would likely be disappointed.

Spitzer, who understood the Olympia proposal was meant as a "test case" seeking to address the constitutionality of the state's ban, predicted that a court will rule that code cities such as Olympia (or Seattle) can't tax individual income, avoiding the constitutional issue.

In fact, some Republicans in the Legislature sought to remove any Supreme Court action with a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would specifically prohibit an income tax.
 
Rep. Matt Manweller, the Ellensburg Republican who was a key proponent of the proposed amendment that never even got to a vote this session, noted that while voters "have been saying 'no' to an income tax for about 80 years, the shift seems to be from ballot measures to finding a sympathetic court."
 
Voters in 2010 had an opportunity to pass Initiative 1098 that would have imposed a statewide tax on the net of high-income earners and reduced property taxes and business and occupation taxes. The measure passed in Seattle, but failed across the rest of the state.
 
The perhaps intriguing thing about the history of losses at the ballot is that the one time voters approved an income tax, and did so by a pretty healthy margin, was in 1932 with an initiative okaying a personal and corporate income tax. That was the measure that was overturned by the State Supreme Court in 1933.
 
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Ivar's support in Seattle Port decision - suggests need for 'legacy' role

KeepIvars.com

The Seattle Port Commission's airing of the decision by the Port of Seattle staff not to renew the airport lease of Ivar's seafood chain left the port staff looking a little like the baseball team that sent a minor league pitcher to face the leading home run hitter. Bad news ahead.

And unless the port has become an organization of people too new to understand the game, they have to be aware that bad news in the form of community pushback is what awaits if they throw the pitch, which in this case is tossing Ivar's Fish Bar out of the ranks of airport concessionaires.

ivarsSupportEmailsThe heavy hitter, partly because of the iconic restaurant chain he heads and partly because of the community support this issue generated going into the port commission's regular meeting Tuesday, was Ivar's president Bob Donegan. A generally congenial and friendly guy, Donegan leveled a withering indictment of the selection process by which the port's staff decided not to have Ivar's continue to operate the spot it has held in the central terminal since 2005.

Among Donegan's summary comments, each or which included details was that the process was flawed, the interview was "a sham," the evaluation panel "was simply not qualified" and the "scoring was seriously flawed."

Amid demonstration of support for Ivar's, including delivery of a stack of 7,600 supportive emails stacked on a wagon that Ivar's shift manager Lisa Bray wheeled in, the port commission upheld the decision of port staff. 

That was in spite of the fact that a few days before the commission's meeting, Port Commissioner Stephanie Bowman said protest mechanisms created by port staff for companies that lose bids for airport concessions are flawed.

And although Bowman supported the staff's decision, her comments about the appeal process are likely to help fuel community indignation that may well congeal in the days ahead.

Bowman was quoted as saying "The protest procedure designed by port staff does not meet the standards I have for fairness and transparency, which is frustrating for those who were not winning bidders, and an unacceptable gap in the competitive process."

The phrases that were offered by prominent people in the business community I talked with in preparing this column were "legacy" and "community interest." And it's those thoughts that are likely to fuel community discussion of the port's decision and the process in the coming days.

"I couldn't believe it," was the first reaction from retired Port of Seattle executive Don Lorentz, who guided the port's commerce and trade development operations, basically its overseas activity.

"The port in many ways is run as a business, but it's not a business, it's there for community interest as well," Lorentz said.

In fact, the port is a government agency created by the voters of King County and supported by residents of the county, whose $72 million property tax levy this year represents about 11 percent of the Port's $620 million budget.

Lorentz noted that even though the ferry service changed the company that operates its food services, "they made it clear they are still going to have Ivar's clam chowder."

One of the points made to me in interviews was that perhaps the airport of a city, even an international city like Seattle, should strive to give visitors a flavor of the place where they are arriving by providing "legacy" status to certain airport vendors.

"The airport is a local experience for those who come here and the vendors should reflect the flavor of the area," one suggested. "Ivar's is a wonderful example of Seattle legacy and once a legacy is lost, it won't come back and it's our job to guard against that."

The port commission should ensure there is a provision in the vendor vetting process for legacy vendors, when in fact there's almost a penalty factor since a key to the criteria points is being a small, new business.

The port commission, which apparently is already considering changes to the evaluation process for the next round of bids, has its next regular meeting June 27, and the process for those 12 restaurant spaces that go up for bid this summer could be altered to improve shortcomings.

One change would seem to be creating greater transparency, since Donegan told me "when they sent us the 10 pages of written comment and numbers that were our scoring criteria, I asked if we could see the evaluation of the others and they said we could if we would sign a release that included no protest."

I asked Donegan if Ivar's could bid on one of those 12 upcoming and he said, "Yes, we could, but unless the port changes the scoring criteria, it's hard for me to see how there'd be any different outcome."

 

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Two friends embarked on write-a-book path to success

Two friends embarked on write-a-book path to success

 

It's been satisfying to watch two close friends be among those seizing the opportunity that the era of self-publishing has offered entrepreneurs to seek the financial reward or personal satisfaction of writing a book about their business. 
Teri Citterman 
The first is Teri Citterman, who worked for me a decade ago and whose book, From the CEO's Perspective: Leadership in Their Own Words, was published almost three years ago as the collection of interviews with 20 CEOs, all from different industries, each among the most recognized in his or her field.

The other is Al Davis, a friend and former longtime client, who is a founder of Revitalization Partners, a Seattle-based business management and advisory firm whose business footprint has spread across the
Al Davis 
West Coast.

His book, written with partner Bill Lawrence, is
Insights to Grow, Build or Save Your Business!: Highly Successful Business Advisory Consultants Share Their Uncommon Advice For Common Business Situations. It is a selection from the columns they've written over the past three years. 
                                                
As a retired publisher and the writer of a weekly email column for the past nine years, I've found a growing number of friends wanting to explore the possibilities of column or book. And in some cases I've encouraged them or offered to provide some guidance.

In fact, I've come to believe, and espouse, that business people with experiences from which others could benefit ought to seriously consider doing a regular column, as email or web blog, either to just share insights or as the first step toward a book.

I had a forgettable bit part in the production of Citterman's book. She asked me if I would introduce her to two of the CEOs she wished to meet to interview and I declined, not being aware at the time of the positive impact she would have on the CEOs she interviewed or the quality of the pieces that she would produce for the book.

As it turned out, she reached out to the two CEOs on her own and both have become her friends and admirers of her work and her interview ability, along with the 18 others she interviewed to create her book.

When she had a debut party for the book, she asked me to say a few words on her behalf and I joked to those on hand that one of the reasons she was successful with the book was that she had paid no attention to me.

In Davis' case, it was a series of conversations in which I urged him to do a column and advised him how to go about it that resulted in a bi-weekly column over the past three years, then the book, which is a collection of the columns grouped by subject.

I learned of Davis' book in amusing fashion, being summoned to the Fairmont Hotel table where mutual friend Mike Kunath gathers friends and associates most afternoons to discuss an array of topics and where Davis was waiting to hand me his newly published book. He told me to open the cover and read what was printed on the facing page, which was a thank you to several people, and to me for convincing him he could write a column!

Citterman had already been doing some executive coaching and told me she was "hearing a common theme from CEOs. They were wondering, not WHO are the next generation of leaders, but WHERE are the next generation of leaders."

She says she then came across research that said nearly 60 percent of U. S .companies face a leadership talent shortage.

"So, I got curious and started asking my clients and other CEOs more questions ,which lead to an amazing amount of wisdom and insight, that I wanted to share with others," she explained. "Thus the book."

When I asked her what role the book plays in her business, she said: "The book is the air I breathe. It is the platform for my entire business."

Citterman has proven to be a successful entrepreneur as well as writer, since in addition to coaching CEOs and their executive teams, she has created what she calls a "forum series called 'From the CEO's Perspective.' Every quarter I moderate a conversation with three CEOs discussing whatever leadership topic I think is most pressing," she explained.

And Citterman, who was selected last year to be a member of the prestigious Forbes Coaches Council, is creating this fall "an exclusive, invite-only Leadership Lab to help newer executives elevate their thinking from the CEO's perspective."

When I asked Davis about the blog that led to the book, he said: "it was started as a business development tool. But as we found more things to write about, it became a way to use the wide experience that we had in business and finance to give something back to the business community, especially owners and managers of small and mid-sized companies."

"One of our biggest issues with our clients and potential clients is that they often wait until it's too late or almost too late before they talk with someone," Davis explained. "We hope that this book will demonstrate that they are not alone in their problem and there is someone to talk with about the seriousness of the problem."

The meeting with Davis and Kunath, who does his own occasional blog on personal experiences and perspectives (and who gets credit for first introducing me to Citterman 15 years ago or so), wound up with : "Now it's your turn to write a book."

So with some 470 Harps to choose from, I've decided to explore the possibility of collecting some in a book. Although the Harps were never meant to be anything other than an outlet to share information on interesting people, companies and issues, it has developed a business aspect as I get increasing number of outreaches from people who would like to explore doing their own email column or blog and want guidance on how to go about it.

And should a book of Harps emerge, I doubt anyone would be more pleased than a Spokane friend, Kate Spencer, a media person with the Spokane Club. A decade ago when I was evaluating the idea of creating a column and discussed it with her, she said: "You should call it Flynn's Harp, since the Harp is such a beautiful Irish instrument and if you wish to rag -or Harp-- on someone or something, it will be appropriate. So the name was instantly set that day.

And since Spencer has now written a book herself about life experiences, she frequently has followed our conversations about what might come from the growing number of columns with a firm: "Write the damn book!"
  

 

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Event marks 150th anniversary of Confederate emigration to Brazil

Event marks 150th anniversary of Confederate emigration to Brazil
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Removals of Robert E. Lee's statue in New Orleans and a Confederate monument in Louisville were designed to pluck from prominent display the symbols of that dark chapter of American history represented by the War Between the States over slavery. Meanwhile, a hemisphere away, descendants of Confederates who emigrated to Brazil after the Civil War were celebrating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of their ancestors in what would be their new country.

Perhaps proving that history is too complex to be rewritten or expunged, the celebratory gathering of some 2,600 confederate descendants at their annual picnic at Cemeterio do Campo, the cemetery where hundreds of "Confederados" are buried, included the continuing honoring of their flag, the Stars and Bars.Gary and Rose Neeleman with their book on Brazilian Confederates

The story of the Confederates, hailing mostly from Georgia, Alabama and Texas but with every state represented and amounting to the largest emigration in U.S. history, doesn't get attention in books on American history.

And the fact that the more than 20,000 southerners wanted to preserve the ways of the unreconstructed South, but didn't wish to bring with them the institution of Slavery, may merit some interest from historians unless the effort that some see as seeking to sanitize history is successful.

However, My friend Gary Neeleman, who with his wife, Rose, was at the cemetery for the 150th event, has published the definitive story of that slice of American history and was there to take orders for his book, recently published in Portuguese but with discussions under way with a U.S. publisher for an English version.

The title's English translation, "The Migration of the Confederates to Brazil: Stars and Bars Under the Southern Cross," is the account of how Brazilian Emperor Don Pedeo II successfully sought to attract the Southerners who didn't wish to be restored to U.S. citizenry.

The Brazilian government set up informational agencies across the Bible Belt and offered to pay relocation costs for all Americans willing to make the move. The first arrivers were met at the dock by the Emperor, who welcomed them to their new home.

The emperor's goal was to plant the seeds of Brazilian prosperity, including creating a cotton industry, by importing the self-exiling Southerners, who settled southwest of Sao Paulo in two communities a couple of miles apart, Americana and Santa Bárbara d'Oeste.

Neeleman, a longtime colleague at UPI and a friend of 45 years, who has been the subject of several Harps over the years, first visited the cemetery in 1963 as UPI's Brazil manager. The idea for a book began to take shape on that first visit.

Neeleman, now a robust 82, has made more than a dozen trips to the cemetery since then, often with Rose, as they gathered information from descendants and collected photos from them.

Because of his close ties to Brazil, and his official role as Brazilian Consul in Salt Lake City, Neeleman is sometimes asked to take guests to the annual gathering at the cemetery.

Thus a few years ago, he escorted former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Roselyn, and presidential press secretary Jody Powell and told me, "It touched your heart to see their tears as they looked over the Georgia graves and 'Dixie' was played."

"That first time I visited the cemetery, driving out in my '49 Hudson Hornet, I was shocked at the extent to which these people were still entrenched with their history," he recalled.

"The stars and bars of the Confederate battle flag is visible everywhere but it's important to know that wasn't the flag of the Confederacy. Rather they look upon the flag that was carried into battle during the civil war as the symbol of their states' rights," he added.

Among the interesting bits of information in Neeleman's book is that not only did those descendants reject the opportunity to have slaves in Brazil, where slavery remained prominent at the time, but at least one former slave came along.

"A black woman named Sylvia, a free woman, insisted she wanted to remain with the family for which she had been a slave and so she accompanied them to Brazil," Neeleman said.

Neeleman details the contributions the Confederate descendants made to their new nation, including helping make Brazil a leading cotton exporter, as the emperor had hoped.

"MacKenzie College was founded by the confederates in Sao Paulo and, with five campuses around the country, it is one of the top colleges in Latin America," he said.

"And a second-generation Confederate founded the big hospital in Sao Paulo, Samaritano Hospital, where three of our kids were born," he added. One of those was David, who founded Jet Blue and is now CEO of Azul, one of the largest airlines in Brazil.

"People in the United States consider that Confederate battle flag the symbol of slavery but for these people, it's a symbol of their ancestors' way of life," Neeleman said, noting that "not only are the flags prominently displayed on the graves, but some insist their caskets be wrapped in the flag."

The highlight of this 150th anniversary picnic, Neeleman told me, was when the American and Brazilian flags were raised, along with the Stars and Bars, over the gathering of some 2,600 attendees, and the "Star Spangled Banner" was played along with "Dixie." A parade included the great great grandchildren of the original southerners carrying the flags of the 13 states of the confederacy.

Perhaps to touch lightly on the effort to expunge things Confederate from U.S. awareness, Neeleman observed that when the band at the cemetery struck up Dixie, "it was reminiscent of when Abraham Lincoln faced the crowds after the victory of the North over the South, and people thought he was going to give a victory speech. Instead he turned to the band and ask them to play Dixie."

The visit to the cemetery was part of a challenging week for the Neelemans, with three stops in Brazil to promote the book on the Confederates and a trip back home to UCLA to be recognized by the Brazilian studies department for his third book, Rubber Soldiers, just published this month in English about Brazil's key role in World War II (see Flynn's Harp: Rubber Soldiers).

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"Even some of the people from Brazil studying there said they hadn't been aware of the role their nation played, in sending thousands of their countrymen into the jungles to restore the rubber harvest to producet the rubber without which the allies might not have been able to wage war against the Axis powers," Neeleman told me.

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