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updated 10:27 PM CDT, Sep 8, 2016

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Durkan faces decision on tax-ruling appeal that may help define her as mayor

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It's quite likely that Jenny Durkan won't get through her first day of business after she is sworn in tomorrow as Seattle's first woman mayor in more than 90 years before she has to make a decision that could help define how she will be perceived as Seattle's chief executive.

The issue is the ill-framed and now court-rejected Seattle city income tax and whether or not the city will appeal the decision made by King County Superior Court Judge John Ruhl late afternoon of the day before Thanksgiving, giving those involved a long weekend to think about what now with the case.  

And those thinking about "what now" undoubtedly includes Durkan, who has said she favors the income tax but is also on record, the day she announced her candidacy last May, that while she views the state's tax system as too regressive, she doubts that a city income tax is the right solution.  

But that was before the city council that she will have to work with approved the income tax measure in July, enacting a resolution supporters called a "wealth tax," amid cheers from those in attendance of "tax the rich!"  

It was actually referred to as a tax on high incomes, 2 percent of the amount above $200,000 for an individual or $500,000 for those filing jointly. Perhaps spurred by the cheers from the gallery, the amount was boosted to 2.25 percent, a move criticized by opponents as an action driven by little more than a whim.

Judge Ruhl found that the city had no authority under state law to impose the tax, in fact, was in violation of two state statutes, and rejected the city contention that what was called an income tax was actually an excise tax for the privilege of earning a living in Seattle. A cynic might suggest that if you are trying to sell a pig, and call it a stallion, it might bring a better price.

As Ruhl wrote: the City's tax, which is labeled 'Income Tax,' is exactly that. It cannot be restyled as an 'excise tax' on the ... 'privileges' of receiving revenue in Seattle or choosing to live in Seattle."

Within minutes after Judge Ruhl issued his 27-page decision, one viewed as thorough and comprehensive, and well beyond the detail that at least appellant attorneys expected, the office of Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said they will be appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court.  

Since there was no instant need for the city attorney's office (there was no indication that the statement came from Holmes rather than from someone in the office late day who was asked by the media, "are you going to appeal?"), it surprised many that there was no indication of intent to consult the soon-to-be mayor.

It may come as a surprise, and irritant, to members of the city council that they have no say in the decision of whether or not to appeal. That decision rests on the mayor and the city attorney, but it's impossible to envision the decision would be made without consultation between the two, and approval from the mayor.

From the time the measure was passed, there was acknowledgement that the goal was to get the issue of an income tax before a state supreme court that, proponents hope, will ignore court rules as well as its own precedents that a net income tax is unconstitutional and quickly seize this case as an opportunity to open the door for a state income tax.

So despite the fact that constitutionality of the city's income tax was not part of Judge Ruhl's deliberations and decision, the forces viewing the income tax as vital to correcting a regressive state tax system are hoping the court will decide the case offers an opportunity too good to pass up, regardless of its rules.

Durkan is universally regarded as a smart and courageous attorney. Deciding what to do about an appeal of Ruhl's decision will give her opportunity to call on both qualities.
The reality is that continuing to needlessly stoke the fuels of anger over economic distinctions that the "tax the rich" mantra has brought is of little long-term value to the city.  

Any law school graduate knows that in Washington State, among many states, a losing party can ask the supreme court to review the lower court decision, but unless some glaring error leaps out, the high court procedure is to tell an appellant "take your issue to the court of appeals."  

So since Durkan is well aware that there is little likelihood the state high court would agree to bypass the state appellate court and grant direct review, she would have to be pandering to the city council's loudest voices to seek supreme court review, at the expense of smoothing over the Seattle political divide. And perhaps enlist a broad coalition in a goal of working to change the state's tax structure, a goal that will require support across the political spectrum.

There is no doubt that Durkan will clash with the council's loudest voices, or more accurately loudest mouth, since Kshama Sawant prides herself on not having any Republican friends and Durkan has friends across the political spectrum, including a brother who is a Republican lobbyist.

Intriguingly, as it relates to any mayoral concern about smooth relations, members of the city council didn't wait for Durkan to shed her "Mayor-Elect" title before they thoughtlessly planned to cut her budget by $1 million, or 17 percent, in their search for dollars after the idea of a business head tax failed.

Fortunately, Mayor Tim Burgess, whose 71 days as interim mayor end when Durkan is sworn in, convinced the council it was unfair to the incoming mayor to cut such a chunk out of her budget, so they decided trim by about $500,000 the amount they were diverting. It's difficult not to be amused by the attack on a part of the mayor's budget given the fact the legislative branch budget is about twice the size of the mayor's but no one suggested that a portion come from both the mayor's and the council's budgets.

Oh, and it's amusing also that the amount being cut from the mayor' budget is about what the city has agreed to spend for legal expenses defending Sawant in suits for defamation over unfortunate outbursts in two separate cases.

But as to the point about Durkan helping define herself in how she decides on seeking a direct appeal, or any appeal on behalf of an obviously illegal Seattle statute.

She is likely to find broad support, including many in the business community who opposed the city tax because it was enacted despite it being obviously illegal, who would join in a legitimate campaign to change what most agree is a regressive state tax system.

But to begin such a broad-support effort she first has to move the City Council away from its goal of punishing the wealthy and instead focus on enlisting all segments of the population in creating a fair state tax structure.

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Kindness & Caring Change The World For The Families of Granger

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If you doubt that kindness and caring can change the world, then you're not familiar with the Yakima Valley town of Granger or the tiny non-profit called Families of Granger, created by Bellevue business leader Joan Wallace, that has been world changing for the children in the mostly Hispanic community. And for their families.

The story of the birth of the little 501c3 that is sustained almost entirely by an annual holiday email ask by Joan Wallace to her giving friends began 14 years ago at a Thanksgiving dinner in Granger as Wallace listened while her sister in law, Janet Wheaton, laments one aspect of the coming Christmas season.  

Wheaton, then principal of the Granger middle school, explained her worry that when school closes for the holiday season, the children do not receive the two free meals a day that they qualify for, and there is little food at home to feed them because most of the families are crop pickers who have no wintertime jobs.

Joan WallaceJoan WallaceBecause Wallace is a woman of action, almost instantly was born the idea of the email appeal to her friends and what soon became the 501c3 has grown in impact since then, with results that couldn't have been envisioned as she conceived the ask.

Her 14th email, which now raises the $35,000 that is almost the sole of money for the non-profit's budget, goes out next Monday. "At this time each year I am very aggressive about finding friends," she jokes, while husband Bob matches her sense of humor. "He told me 'If I let you near anyone at this time of year, you'll try to pick their pocket.'"

And thus this Thanksgiving season's Harp, as has been the case for almost a decade, is offered as the annual information update on what I referred to the first time I wrote about this story of caring as a "Michelangelo Moment" for a growing number of people in the Puget Sound area and Yakima Valley.

The money raised each Thanksgiving appeal goes for Christmas gift cards and food baskets purchased locally at the grocery in Granger, and, in the spirit of the season, sent anonymously to Granger's neediest families.  

She says that last year, 125 of the poorest families in one of the poorest communities, with 86 percent of the families Hispanic, got $50 gift cards to use at Walmart and $75 food baskets purchased to use at the local Hispanic grocery.

But over the years, the money has also gone to provide emergency clothing needs through the year and a few years ago she and Wheaton and their local supporters created an annual summer camp.

Wallace will be sharing with her email recipients that a years-long effort to get a splash park for the kids is about to come to fruition, due partly to the fact the number of snow-day makeups made it impossible to have the month-long summer camp so that money was available for another use.  

"We put the funds into a match for development of a splash park since Granger doesn't have a pool, summers are hot, and pools are expensive to run," she explained.
So the community gave, the 501c3 provided some funds and the city provided the land and agreed to fund maintenance for a splash park, which she describes as "basically a tricked-up sprinkler system that will now be open in May."

In her annual email, Wallace will say the past year "had its triumphs and griefs, as on one end of the spectrum our motivational program to reduce absenteeism resulted in Granger again standing out again against all schools in the state.

"Our saddest contribution was to provide clothing for a family of eight children when their father murdered their mother," Wallace said. "Their home had become a crime scene and they were locked out.

"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 and break the poverty barrier," Wallace explains.

And the result in terms of attitudes of the families has been manifested with the successful campaign of students, parents, and teachers at the middle school two years ago to build a program to improve attendance, using the slogan that became a mantra, "Every Child, Every desk, Every day."

Driven by the attendance-campaign slogan, the school set the state mark for best attendance record in the state, with an absentee rate of 4 percent, compared to a statewide average of 16 percent absenteeism.  

The accomplishment promoted the creation of a special award, called Innovations in Education, that was presented at a banquet in Seattle in May of 2016 with support from the Discovery Institute, the Seattle law firm Patterson Buchanan, Kemper Development Co., Q-13 Fox and Sound Publishing.


They didn't win the honor this past year, but apparently came close and are focused this year on getting back on top.
 
Oh, and as for the "Michelangelo Moment," the story of Granger and the 501c3 that Wallace and Wheaton started, and the support that sprang up to support it brought to mind the painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, where the outreached finger of the almighty touches mankind.
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Marine Corp Birthday Near - Marines' Always Brothers are fundraising

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Friday's 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps will be a time for many of those who are or were Marines to focus on their time in "The Corps." And one of those is Maple Valley Attorney Dan Nielsen, who helped create an event called Always Brothers 100 Mile Memorial Run to raise money for families of Marines killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Nielsen, a founder, and treasurer of the board of the event recalled in an interview how he and 12 fellow Marines who had all served on Presidential Guard Duty in the mid-'90s teamed in 2011 to honor the memory of one of their own by establishing the 100-mile run.

dan nielsenDan NielsenNielsen remembered that Always Brothers began its signature 100-mile honor run in August of 2011 for Capt. Tyler Swisher, a Marine Corps brother who lost his life in October 2005 and who had served on Presidential Guard duty with the Always Brothers founders and board members. Swisher was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq in 2005.

That first run, called "100 Miles for Swisher," began at Camp David with a goal of finishing at Swisher's grave at Arlington. But Nielsen remembers that "we needed to run a couple of times around the national mall to be sure we actually did 100 miles and when we did the mall, a couple Marines who were then on Presidential Guard ran along with us."

The 100-mile run over the next four years became an annual event, in different locations,
to honor fallen Marines and Navy Corpsmen who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan by raising money for the education of their children.  

Two of the runs have been in Ohio. The first was to raise money families of Lima Company, 22 of whose Marines and one Navy corpsman were killed in Iraq in 2005 when the vehicle in which they were riding was blown up.

Seattle was the location for runs in 2013 and 2014 with the second done in conjunction with Marine Week.  The beneficiaries were six children who lost a parent in In Iraq and Afghanistan from areas where our board members are from.

Circumstances interrupted the run after 2015, though Nielsen promised it will resume in 2018 "somewhere, maybe Seattle, or California." 

I met Nielsen last month when we happened to sit next to each other at the annual Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (MCSF) dinner, an event held in various states to raise money for scholarships for children of U.S. Marines. It was being held in Seattle for the fourth time. We were both there as one-time Marines, supporting the event chaired this year by retired Marine major general Tracy Garrett.

Ret. Maj. Gen. Tracy GarrettRet. Maj. Gen. Tracy GarrettThe Always Brothers board made the MCSF the beneficiary of their 100-mile event fundraising in 2015 when they established an endowed scholarship in Tyler Swisher's name.

Reflecting on the success of the 2017 dinner, retired general Garrett said the event raised about $477,000 for the national fund.

"We have raised more than $2 million since the start of the Seattle dinner," she said. "There are so many good causes to support. We are thankful that Northwesterners are choosing MCSF as a way to recognize the sacrifices made by Marines and their families in the 16 long years that we have been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan."
 
Nielsen chuckled during our interview, following the MCSF dinner, as he reflected on the first 100-mile run, telling me he wasn't a runner then or now, though he stays fit (he's now 44) with some weight lifting. So he had some physical challenges getting ready for the first event. He says he actually completed 85 miles, with some rest stops along the way.  
 
Offering a lesson in how an ordinary guy prepares for a 100-mile run, Nielsen, who grew up in Yakima, said "at first, you do a lot of running, like five to seven miles some days, sometimes 20 miles on a Saturday with the important focus on building back, core and leg strength."
 
"It took about 27 hours and I stopped at 50 miles to change socks," he said. "at about mile 60 I ate a hamburger and got the shakes so had I had to stop for several hours."
 
"One of the neat things is this is not a race," Nielsen emphasized. "We start together and end together. We have guys like me that are not really runners while some guys are really good, guys who find it just as hard to slow down as it is for us to try to speed up."

2014 Seattle run coin2014 Seattle run coinAn unusual aspect of the run is that a coin, slightly larger and thicker than a silver dollar, was created in 2013 for the Seattle run. It was intended, as Nielsen put it, "as a constant tribute to the reason why we are doing what we do with the one side showing honor to Tyler and pointing out where we served together -Marine Barracks 8th and I, WHCA (White House communications agency) and Camp David. The opposite side symbolizes the purpose and location of each run."
 
"We usually have 300 coins made each year and we give them to runners, supporters, and the people we meet along the way who inspire us or who we've inspired," Nielsen said.
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Autonomous vehicles will drive WA state's future

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There is a growing conviction among influential leaders in Washington state, ranging from the governor through local elected officials and business executives, that autonomous vehicles will play a key role in this state's transportation future.

If 2016 was the year of the train in the Puget Sound area with discussion and debate over the nation's most expensive transit ballot measure ever, the $54 billion ST-3 to build a regional rail infrastructure over the next 25 years, then 2017 could be the year of the first meaningful steps toward a future of reinvented highway vehicles.  

But the first actual, autonomous "wheels on the road" project in this state could get underway in early 2018 in the City of SeaTac, the municipality that includes Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  

But as meaningful steps toward what I'll call - aCars, or even what's being referred to as semi-autonomous vehicles that will have a driver at the ready, begin emerging, proponents will need to develop a plan to deal with the inevitable pushback from the disruptive idea of vehicles without drivers.

Gov. Jay Inslee, whose support will be essential to overcome the objections that emerge, set the stage for a strong focus on autonomous vehicles when he issued an executive order in June to put the state behind autonomous vehicle development efforts, including allowing companies to test drive them on state roads.

A month later his office welcomed the robot vehicle from a Virginia company that was spun out from Virginia Tech after it was safely driven, as a semi-autonomous vehicle, across the country, and through Washington state without incident.

Nothing is as far along in this state as the Virginia company, called Torc Robotics, but a couple of noteworthy efforts are underway that could attract increasing attention, and not just in this state. One is in Bellevue, where a focus on autonomous vans (we can refer to them as A-vans,), paid for without public subsidy, is occurring. The other is in the City of SeaTac, which would be a project logical by the proximity of airport-related businesses and the amount of traffic they and the airport itself generate.

The focus on autonomous multi-passenger vans is the brainchild of Steve Marshall, manager of the City of Bellevue's Transportation Technology Partnership, and Charles Collins, who has been active in exploring transportation and commute issues since his days as the second director of King County Metro in the late 1970s. Collins created the King County vanpool system that has become the most successful in the country.

The transportation experience and expertise of Marshall and Collins have probably put them at the peak of the pyramid from which to envision what lies ahead for autonomous vehicles. And from that perspective, both see a van-focused future of autonomous vehicles

Before taking the Bellevue post on May 1, Marshall was executive director of the Center for Advanced Transportation and Energy Solutions (CATES). He has more than 30 years of experience working on energy and transportation issues, including serving as chief outside legal counsel to Puget Sound Power & Light as a partner at the law firm of Perkins Coie.  

It is CATES, now under the executive leadership of John Niles who replaced Marshall, that is helping guide the City of SeaTac through evaluation of a program employing driverless shuttle mini-buses or vans on City of SeaTac roads, providing supplementary service between Sea-Tac Airport and hotel locations.

Another example of what could emerge City of SeaTac activities would be small, quiet, electric shuttles connecting light rail stations and transit centers with residential neighborhoods.

Niles told me he is putting together recommendations that he calls an Action Plan that, once accepted by the staff of the SeaTac City Council, likely by the end of the year, would be available for review by citizens to make it ready for action by the council, probably in January.  

The effort by the City of SeaTac, which has charted for itself the goal of becoming a Center for Municipal Excellence, has gotten advance approval by both South Transit and Metro.

Approval by the SeaTac council would, as Niles explains it, be "steps on how to proceed on automated first-last mile small vehicle, driver-less automated transit for citizens to use to reach light rail stations, employment sites within City of SeaTac, and community centers and services."

"There will probably be a phase one pilot serving only part of the City," he added. "I am aiming for deployment of proven technology already tested elsewhere and proved to be safe."

In a comment directed at those concerned about driverless vehicles, Niles offered that the way his robotic micro-transit vehicles would work in SeaTac is with a control center keeping an eye out for trouble and dispatching help when needed."

Niles' comment addressed one of the key roadblocks to be overcome by the forces arrayed on behalf of an autonomous future, the concern of many drivers about the pervasive presence of vehicles without a driver. But other hurdles are already emerging in other states, concerns that will play out here, from forces restless about lost jobs like cab or truck drivers, auto repair and service businesses who won't have cars to repair and even insurance companies fearful of providing a product eventually not needed.

Part of the pushback could come from Sound Transit's board which is bound to see the early hints of buyers' remorse on the part of voters who approved ST-3 in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties last November grow as new unexpected costs emerge while development of the autonomous van fleet takes hold.

By 2022, almost two decades before ST-3's rail network is completed, clues to its obsolescence will be offered as that's the year the first van test for 100 autonomous vehicles is scheduled, likely opening the way for thousands of such vehicles on area highways, without public cost.

And the betting is that those who can summon a van to take them where they want to go for a small fee will likely not opt to queue up for a train, thus further diminishing the modest passenger-use expectations of Sound Transit.

Those whose reaction to ST-3 was a "how can they vote for this? Do they really think it's required of those who care about the environment to vote to create a network of trains?" may well react with amusement to the cost of ST-3 beyond just dollars becomes clear.

The fact that was never shared with voters but will be shared as the reality sets in is that the greenhouse gas generated over the years of construction will never be paid back by people riding a train rather than driving or being conveyed in a vehicle.

An intriguing development for emerging use of autonomous vehicles is the fact that Kemper Freeman's Kemper Development Co. and its Bellevue Square expects to begin next year offering customers, many assumedly loaded with purchases, an autonomous-vehicle ride back to their cars parked on site.

Marshall offers a whimsical view of past as prologue to public acceptance of autonomous travel. One is the case of his grandfather who, after working his Palouse fields on horseback all day, tied the reins to the saddle horn and slumped over to sleep on the way home, confident his horse could "drive" itself back to the barn.

Plus he offers the example of elevators. When the years of people greeting the operator as they entered for the ride up began to give way to elevators without operators, there were some passengers who fought off discomfort. Then automatic elevators became universal, to the point when, if a person is operating it, some people may wonder "is something wrong with this elevator?"

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NOT 'some white dude' - The New Face of Biotech in Washington

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As M3 Biotechnology Inc. launches clinical trials on its therapy for Alzheimer's that is expected to halt the progression of, or even reverse, the disease, it's a satisfying development for those who have been believers in the role of the company and its CEO at the leading edge of the new field of regenerative medicine.

So when Melinda Gates lamented, before a large audience of women in computing, that the technology industry was dominated by a "sea of white dudes," one group who heard the message could be forgiven if its members, mostly men but including a couple of talented women, shared a knowing smile.  

Leen KawasLeen KawasThey knew that, despite the general accuracy of Melinda Gates comments, the CEO who has become the face of biotech in this state and even beyond is a 32-year-old woman from Jordan named Leen Kawas.  

And although several members of the group were key women investors guided in part by the fact Kawas is a woman, the male supporters seemed far more focused on their belief in her ability to get the drug to commercialization then concerned about gender.

Thus Kawas was the beneficiary of believers who came to her aid as investors, mentors, and supporters because they were convinced that she had the ability to bring to market a drug that would alter the course of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and perhaps reverse them.

The manner in which Kawas, in just under four years as president and CEO of M3 Biotechnology Inc., took the young company from the lab toward commercialization and has ascended to virtually the top of the visibility pyramid in her industry is storybook material. But it's a satisfying example to many who are convinced that no doors remain closed to those who refuse to accept rejection.

When I first met Kawas in late summer of 2013, she had yet to know anyone in Seattle and was merely the chief scientist for M3, a company still immersed in the labs at Washington State University, where its drug was undergoing animal trials to test its seeming ability to spur cellular regrowth. That fact naturally led to neurological testing since if a drug could regrow cells, its future could be assured and, before long, Kawas had her name on several of the patents for the drug.

And soon she was tapped to be CEO by the two WSU profs who then owned the majority of the company because it was still in their labs. So the second time we visited was soon after that when she was seeking help in meeting people who might invest in a promising young company and its young CEO.  

When she returned to Seattle, she shared that the other 63 were all males and her reaction in discussing that fact in an almost dismissive manner was an early indication of how committed she was to overcome the pushback and discrimination and comfortably stand up to it and seek to change it.

As we began a process over the next several months of meeting those who could either invest or introduce us to investors, I told her, partly to see how she would handle the pressure, that I would get the first meeting for her to make her presentation but it would be in her hands for people to agree to a second meeting with us.

Early on we had a meeting in Orange County, CA, with Richard Sudek, perhaps the most important angel-investment leader in Southern California at the time as chair of the largest angel investment group in the country, the five-county Tech Coast Angels. I was hopeful he would be impressed enough to offer Kawas some advice on raising money.

When she finished her presentation, he said, to my pleasant surprise: "I would be happy to be a business advisor for you."

It was in the fall of 2014 that she had her media debut with an impressive interview with Q13 anchor Marne Hughes in which those watching at the studio said she looked like she had grown up on camera.


What followed were major features in local business publications as well as major visibility in the annual report of Association of Washington Business and Life Science Washington as well as participation in an array of panels on the industry as well as membership on Gov. Jay Inslee's committee on life sciences.
 
By then she had outgrown the need for introductions, except for an occasional desire by a major investor to get a friend into the mix.
 
And some of the funds she corralled told their own story of her growing reputation, as she got two grants from the state's Life Science Discovery Fund totaling $750,000, an impressive $1.7 million from the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Fund and a half million dollars from the Dolby Family Fund.
 
So now almost exactly four years on, M3 has raised more than $17 million from investors who represent a most impressive array of seasoned leaders, both men, and women, from a mix of the world of life science and enthused investors and some who simply have a commitment to changing the world of degenerative disease. And the company has begun initial human trials from which the future will be shaped.
 
And meanwhile, biotech giants are lurking in the wings to reach out to seek major stakes in the young company at the first sign of success.
 
As an aside, M3 is the first company to emerge from either of the state's research universities to reach clinical trials, a fact viewed by WSU as a major biotech coup.
 
So what stirred the interest of investors?

As Biotech icon Bruce Montgomery replied when I asked him why he had become a supporter of Kawas' and a key investor in M3 and a board member, he replied: "It frankly didn't occur to me to dwell on whether she was female or non-caucasian. I understood the science of what she was hoping to achieve and felt she had the ability to achieve it."

It was a sentiment echoed by investor and M3 board, chair John Fluke, no stranger to investing in startup entrepreneurs.
 
Jim Warjone, now retired from his roles as chairman and CEO of Port Blakely Companies, told me some months after deciding to invest, following one of what I refer to as an array of examples of fate helping guide Kawas on her road to success, "She's the smartest person I have ever met."
 
The touch of fate with Warjone came when Kawas was about to present to a group of which I was a member at Suncadia in August of 2015 and I went out to get some coffee, encountering Warjone, whom I hadn't seen in several years, in the lobby of the resort.
 
"What are you doing here?" he asked and when I told him, he asked if he could sit in, which he did, so he was among the half-dozen who heard her presentation, and was one of the two who decided to invest.
 
Michael Nassirian, longtime Microsoft top executive, who watched his father, a business executive in Persia, wither mentally and die of Alzheimer's, told me his goal was to do something "to change the magnitude of that disease. And when I heard Leen present and went to the M3 site and studied their successful step, I believed she and her company could provide a solution to Alzheimer's."
 
As to the women investors, who make no apologies for their financial support of Kawas because she is a female as well as talented CEO, I have found each to be amazing talents attracted to invest in the CEO and becoming her friend.
 
I asked Amber Caska, who has guided family funds for Paul Allen's Vulcan and Alphabet chair Eric Schmidt and is now president and chief operating officer of women-entrepreneur focused Portfolia in the Bay Area, why she had invested in M3.
 
"When I met her at a JPM Morgan Bio Conference dinner, I did further diligence and figured that not only was she extremely intelligent and driven, M3 was a compelling investment opportunity and backed by a very reputable science team and board. I knew that M3 was onto something incredible and I wanted to support her along the way."
 
Carol Criner, who has served as CEO and turnaround executive at an array of companies in various industries, was the second person I introduced Kawas to. When I asked her about her decision to invest, she said:
 
"I was more personally invested in supporting her as a young, female CEO.  I became a business advisor to Leen, both because of your encouragement, and that I was fueled by wanting to see Leen succeed.," Criner said.
 
"Now that she is a celebrity CEO, it's hard to imagine this all began a few short years ago," said Criner. "I witnessed her face the headwinds of giant egos and sexism with resilience. She never gave-up. Her success largely silenced a lot of vocal-doubters. I love it.  She's amazing and strong."
 
 In discussing her much smaller sector of the burgeoning tech industry in the Puget Sound area, I once overheard her compelling reply to a young entrepreneur quizzing her on why it was necessary to distinguish high tech from biotech sectors, as long as tech jobs were coming to the area in large numbers.
 
"Technology is the field that will help us build new devices to be held in the hand. Biotech will help us build a new hand," she replied. "Which would you prefer to be part of helping develop as an industry?"
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New pro basketball league footprint will include area cities

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Yakima will field a team in the fledgling North American Premier Basketball League (NAPB) meaning the newest professional basketball league will have at least two Northwest cities in its footprint when the circuit begins play in January, and another closer to Seattle could be announced soon.

Yakima, where the SunKings once dominated the old Continental Basketball Association, will field a team, joining six other cities ranging from Vancouver, B.C., to Albany and Rochester, NY that will have teams in the new league.

David Magley, a one-time basketball academic all-American at Kansas who has been traveling the country nonstop for the past few months seeking to create the new league by selling a mix of memories and opportunity, made the announcement of the Yakima ownership Tuesday. And he says he may soon have an owner in a city that could assuage some of the Seattle area's hunger for professional men's basketball pending the likely return of the NBA to Seattle somewhere in the future.

The team will be owned by Yakima businessman and orchardist Jaime Campos, who quickly announced a major coup with the landing of Paul Woolpert as Coach and General Manager, bringing home the coach who landed three of Yakima's five CBA titles while becoming the fifth winningest coach in the CBA.

Magley's presentation, being capitalized on in the 60 cities around the country that once had professional basketball teams, including a few that are former NBA cities, is apparently having an impact since in addition to the seven, possibly eight, that begin play in January, Magley has a half dozen others queuing up to join in 2019.

The lineup of cities for the launch of the league, in addition to Yakima, includes former NBA cities Vancouver, Kansas City and Rochester, NY, plus Albany, NY, Akron, OH, Owensboro, KY.

Albany and Yakima were once leading teams in the CBA, with both cities producing large crowds and healthy profits for the teams, before the impact of the Great Recession drove the league to cease operations in 2009. Thus the names Patroons, which the Albany team carried for more than three decades, and the SunKings, which Yakima's CBA carried during its existence, will be resurrected.

Magley, 56, was commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada until a year ago and says the idea of a new pro basketball league began taking shape in early summer when he began searching for a partner and began pursuing potential ownership in various cities across the country and Canada.

Unique to this league is the fact that players will be expected to spend time with kids and in, which, with the pervasiveness of social media are expected to bring the teams close to their communities.

Campos says he was attracted to owning the Yakima team partly by Magley's explaining that the league's emphasis on "community impact" will have its players active in the school systems delivering messages about self-worth, anti-bullying, dangers of drugs and alcohol and value of staying in school.

The way Campo, 41, whose electrical contracting company is his primary business, put it: "I wanted to do something for kids in the community and that's not a cliché."
"I hope not to lose too much money as we get this thing going," he added. "The in four or five years we can put together a competitive team."

Campos added that if things go well, he might want to have two teams in Northern Mexico in 2019, which Magley notes would give the league a true North American footprint with teams from Canada to Mexico since several Canadian cities have expressed interest in having a team for the 2019 season.

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Thoughts of the president of UNLV in reflecting on nation's worst mass slaying

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Compassion and caring aren't the first words that would come to most peoples' minds when they think of Las Vegas with its glitz and glamour. But compassion, love, and unity are the words Len Jessup, President of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, used to describe the community's response to the horror of the nation's worst mass shooting.

LenJessupLen Jessup"What amazes me is how this campus and the entire community came together, so quickly, so compassionately, and with so much love and unity," Jessup said in an email to me in response to my question of how his campus, faculty, and students had fared.

"Within minutes, our Thomas and Mack arena was fully staffed and served all night long as a shelter for hundreds of victims," said Jessup, who is finishing his third year as president of UNLV "And within minutes, in the middle of the night, community members got word and brought blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, food, water, coffee, etc, for the victims."

The Thomas and Mack Center is the home of the Runnin' Rebels basketball team that once was the key to national visibility for the university, founded 60 years ago this year as a small, branch campus of Reno-based University of Nevada.

But in the future, the university and its arena may be remembered for the role both played in helping the community deal with the victims of the tragedy and the aftermath.

"Nurses and counselors showed up on their own to comfort folks, and Uber and Lyft drivers and countless community members showed up in cars to take victims wherever they needed to go for free," Jessup added. "Countless acts of love and compassion like that happened all that night and all week here in this community, showing what locals know well, that LV is truly a wonderful community."

Jessup is still dealing with the impact of the mass killings at the open-air concert on his UNLV community of students, faculty and staff. A former student was among the 58 killed in the hail of bullets fired down from an upper floor of Mandalay Bay Hotel. He reported that four students and one staff member, an assistant coach of the hockey club, were among the wounded and one student sustained an injury trying to escape.

Jessup's regard for how members of his university and the broader community responded said something about his regard for both that have developed since he arrived in January of 2015 as UNLV's 10th president.

I got to know Jessup as a member of his national advisory board when he was dean of the Washington State University College of Business before he became president of the WSU Foundation and vice president for university development in May of 2005. Jessup filled the board with CEO-level executives from around the Northwest and beyond.

We have had the opportunity to reconnect on my occasional trips to Las Vegas. 

He left WSU to become dean of the Eller College of Management at his ala mater, the University of Arizona, and was instrumental in helping to build out that university's technology transfer and commercialization program, Tech Launch Arizona.

After honing his higher-education administrative leadership skills at WSU and University of Arizona, Jessup was ready when the right opportunity for a university presidency was offered from UNLV regents and he accepted at a time of dramatic challenge and change for the university and the city of 2.2 million.

Indeed Jessup's challenge when he arrived was to grow the impact and image of a university whose major claim to fame was that it had the second most diverse student body in the nation.

Since then he has ensured that the new UNLV medical school, funding for which was approved a few months after his arrival, was on track to welcome its first students and become the focal point of a planned 214-acre medical district in Las Vegas.

"Our medical school is launched and the first cohort began this past July, all of them on full-ride, four-year scholarships from the community," Jessup e-mailed in obvious pride.  

"We had 900 applicants for the 60 spots, and there are a few vets among them, many first-generation college grads, and even some first-generation high school grads within their families"

In fact, Jessup raised in San Francisco with both mother and father of Italian descent, was the first member of his family to graduate from college, which he told me as prompted him to "devote my life to service in higher ed because of the opportunities it has given me. And also to pay back my ancestors for the sacrifices they made in coming to America to make a better life possible."


Of the UNLV medical school's first class, Jessup said: "It's a very diverse class. We went after kids with direct Las Vegas or Nevada ties so as to increase the chance that they will stay here as doctors," which would be an important development for a state that has ranked 45thnationally in the number of doctors per 100,000 population.

I asked Jessup in one of the emails what long-term impact might the events on the night of October 1st have on the community and the university.

"I don't know that what happened will deter people from visiting this great city in the future," Jessup said. "But it does mean that we'll have to rethink security for the open-air music festivals like the one this past Sunday evening that have become so incredibly popular here in town. And we will."

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Possible Seattle bid for Amazon 2nd HQ stirs some thoughts

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UPDATE: (Bellevue is planning to submit a bid to earn the role of Amazon’s HQ2, setting the stage for the possibility that the separate but equal headquarters that Amazon said lies ahead could find executives merely going back and forth across Lake Washington rather than flying cross country. Bellevue councilmember Kevin Wallace requested that the city work on a formal proposal to attract Amazon. Other councilmembers agreed that Bellevue’s business environment, ongoing infrastructure improvements and skilled workforce, make it a viable contender. Staff will return with an update on the process in the coming weeks. Responses to Amazon’s RFP are due by Oct. 19.)

Amazon's announcement that it is planning a separate but equal second headquarters has drawn enough comment, and criticism from some expected sources, that it's difficult to find an aspect that hasn't been explored or discussed. But the decision that Seattle should go after that second-city prize provides a new opportunity for thought, and perhaps some amusement.

It's interesting, and maybe amusing, to take a close look at the idea from Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council member and five-day mayor, that Seattle should seek to persuade Amazon to put the projected 50,000 employees that the electronic commerce and cloud computing giant says will work at HQ2 here in Seattle, along with HQ1.

"Quite candidly, if there are to be an additional 50,000 jobs, they should be for our residents," said Harrell, who briefly replaced Ed Murray after his resignation in the face of multiple child sex abuse claims. Harrell said he was directing staff to "examine the city's business retention strategy and make sure employees are considered."

First thought: does Seattle really want to solidify its growing image as "the biggest company town in America" with up to another 50,000 Amazon employees?
Second: does anyone in political leadership in Seattle recall that the city's role is as a "super-regional city" with the good of the region for which it is center meant to be a part of political considerations, not merely the good of the 600,000-plus who live within its boundaries?  

And for amusement, if Seattle actually produces a plan to be headquarters city 2, might anti-business council member Kshama Sawant be willing to be part of the group of elected officials that would present the plan personally to Bezos and his executive team, letting them know the city care about their needs? 

But her presence might remind the Amazon execs of what some have suggested as one of the reasons for the company's decision to look for a second headquarters city, just in case -- the anti-business attitude of Sawant and he followers in city government. 

If the city has a business-retention strategy, to which Harrell alluded, that would likely come as a surprise to some members of the city council as well as to Murray and his predecessor, Mike McGinn, who was heard to remark to an aide at a business breakfast early in his only term "these are not my people."

It's not known what fate awaits Harrell's executive order directing Seattle's economic development officials to respond to Amazon's request for proposals to be the site for what the company says will be a headquarters that cost $5 billion to build and operate and is expected to generate as many as 50,000 jobs.  

Soon after issuing that order, Harrell stepped aside and turned the job of mayor over to Councilman Tim Burgess, who will serve until Jenny Durkan or Cary Moon is elected in November.

Amazon's stated goal of uncovering a place for a second headquarters, and as many as 100 cities and regions around the country have indicated they will be submitting bids, is expected to inject a surge of money and population into whatever region is ultimately selected.  

The company said it has added $38 billion to Seattle's economy between 2010 and 2016 and boasts approximately 40,000 staffers in more than 8 million square feet of office space.  

With respect to the "one-company town" idea, that's a designation offered recently by one real estate expert who noted that Amazon's footprint in Seattle is estimated at 19 percent of Seattle's downtown prime office space, more than twice as large as any other company in any other big U.S. city.

Of course, Seattle has long been viewed as a one-company town, first with Boeing, whose actual physical presence was dispersed across the Puget Sound area and beyond, then Microsoft, which was actually located in Redmond.

Wouldn't it be an interesting idea if officials of the city that is supposed to understand that it is a "regional city" decided not to try to win the second-headquarters for itself but rather sell Amazon on the concept of keeping that second headquarters within the region, outside of Seattle? 

Thinking only of its residents seems to have become the sole consideration of a city elected leadership whose predecessors seemed to understand that as a super-regional city, the basis of Seattle's economy and political considerations isn't just its 650,000 residents, but the 8 million to 10 million people of the region.

Tacoma hopes to be among the cities that seek to attract Amazon to consider them, and indeed Pierce County has a lot going on that doesn't get much attention from the Seattle area. So far in 2017, the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County has conducted 21 site searches for companies looking to relocate to or expand in Tacoma or Pierce County.  

And with respect to Bellevue, which hasn't indicated an intent to bid on any second headquarters, Amazon is already slated to occupy all 345,000 square feet of the new downtown Bellevue Center 425 Schnitzer West office tower when it is completed.    

I asked Bellevue Developer Kemper Freeman Jr. if he'd be interested in attracting Amazon.  

"Love to," he replied, "but we don't have any space right now," referring to the fact his new 400 Lincoln Square Office Tower and its 700,000 square feet of space is now basically all leased.

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Moscow entrepreneur-investor sees Seattle as ideal to find startups

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Natalia Blokhina, who helps guide a Moscow-based fund management company, has learned early in her career as an international investor that business relations almost always overcome politics.

Blokhina smiles as she responds to a question: No, she's never had an entrepreneur in whose start-up business she was offering to invest tell her "we don't want investment from Russia."

Natalia BlokhinaNatalia Blokhina"The more absurd political discussions get, the less business people pay attention to them," observes Blokhina, executive director of one of several fund management companies in the Russian capital.  


The Moscow native found from her 12 years working with British and U.S. companies and in the emerging markets of the BRICS countries in China, India, and Africa that she was "fascinated with all the entrepreneurial opportunities."

So Blokhina, 37, as a millennial entrepreneur with a degree from the TRIUM Global Executive MBA program in her impressive resume, returned home to Moscow in 2015 at a time of financial challenge for Russia "because I wanted to make a difference for my country."

And, she added, you have to "try to listen to what you would love to do."

So, as she told me, she transitioned "from someone who always thought of themselves as a corporate person who works inside the system to one who, having met successful entrepreneurs inside the business schools, thought they wanted to be one of them."

I had not been aware of TRIUM Global Executive MBA program until our conversation.  

The program is an alliance among NYU Stern School of Business, London School of Economics and Political Science, and HEC School of Management in Paris. Those accepted into the program take classes at all three institutions getting, an executive MBA and when finished, they have a global MBA from TRIUM, ranked third in the world in the 2016 Financial Times EMBA rankings and first in the 2014 rankings.  

She got her degree, jointly awarded by the three schools, in 2015 as one of the youngest of the graduates of the program. Now she pursues investment opportunities for her boutique fund management company, one of several in Moscow formed by high-net-worth individuals, bringing with her the contacts with an alum group that is global by definition rather than by chance.

Because of her NYU-alum contacts, she has invested in New York, but she said she has developed a keen interest in investment opportunities in the Pacific Northwest, having found "it is easier to do business with a smaller, more connected community that the Seattle area represents than with Silicon Valley. I didn't expect to find such a vibrant tech community here."

That perception on her part may already be creating a benefit for Seattle among young prospective entrepreneurs and investors in Europe.

"A few companies in Europe that asked me about how they should go about getting into business in the U.S. and said they were thinking about expanding to New York or Silicon Valley, and I told them to look to Seattle," she said.

But she cautions that the search for start-up investment opportunities has potential pitfalls, saying "you need to be able to diagnose the entrepreneur. Do they have what it takes? Are they self-critical enough? Do they want the company to transcend themselves?"

"I work with those for whom the answer is 'yes' to each of those questions," she said. "Work with" includes meeting with the portfolio companies usually monthly and serving on their boards.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Blokhina is a fan of women entrepreneurs, offering "women can be good founders of companies because they are practical and realize needs better and more quickly than men."

"Women have more time to look around and dream," she added. "They want to change things in ways that make things more usable and beautiful."

"But they need to work with men," she added.

Blokhina disclosed that New York alumna of the TRIUM program, with support from the TRIUM Global EMBA, are launching a new competition program for women-guided startups.

"We will engage female leaders from our global network to mentor the startups to prepare for the competition, with our goal being to have the first competition in 2018," she said, explaining that the competition will involve judges choosing the startup that will be awarded a large investment.

The panel of judges will include TRIUM alums, faculty members, and other angels, she said.

They have already begun an effort to attract angel associations and incubators to have roles as funders or sponsors of the competition.


"They seem to appreciate the idea of global diversity of the mentors and women-to-women collaboration," Blokhina said. "And the initiative creates a platform for the angel investors."

As the award and competition to win it take hold, it's quite possible that its international aspect and focus on women entrepreneurs could lead to it acquiring growing prestige among both entrepreneurs and angel investors.

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Bryan Hoddle's coaching links to disabled athletes, wounded veterans draw praise

The career of Bryan Hoddle, one of the nation's most recognized and honored track and field coaches whose attention to developing young athletes and counseling coaches came to include aiding disabled athletes and now wounded veterans, provides evidence that the chain of fortune forged by fate is sometimes composed of remarkable links.
bryan pixThis Harp is about those links that Hoddle has forged during his 34-year career as a track and field coach in Olympia, a career that over the past two-plus decades has included a national focus on disabled and wounded athletes. I learned of Hoddle and his work as we met and developed a link while he was Bellevue in July working with area athletes who queue up to spend 30 minutes or so with him each summer to get tips on running, training and life disciplines.
And it's with his focus on wounded veterans that he is off this weekend for what has become one of his most important contributions, an annual week-long involvement with a select "team" guiding programs at Eagle Summit Ranch in Colorado for those "suffering from the visible and the invisible wounds of war."  
There he is part of a unique team working with the veterans in sessions at Eagle Summit, one of two such ranches founded by Dave Roever, himself a dramatically wounded Vietnam veteran, and his wife, Brenda, through their Roever Foundation, to work with wounded veterans.
More on Roever (pronounced Ree'ver), the foundation he and his wife created, and his unique ranches for programs for wounded veterans later in this Harp, but first the rest of the Hoddle story.
Hoddle has received a scrapbook-full of accolades for his accomplishments as a coach and an advisor to coaches, a career that over the past two-plus decades has come to include an emphasis on assisting disabled athletes and, since 2005, aiding seriously injured veterans, including those who have lost limbs.
Among his many honors, Hoddle was chosen head coach of the 2004 U.S. track and field team in the Athens Paralympics, was a 2013 Runners World Magazine Hero of the Year in Running and a U.S.A. Track and Field Presidents Award winner. In 2014 he was honored by the Washington State House of Representative for his work with disabled athletes and wounded soldiers.
But the accolades all pale for Hoddle when compared with the expressions of gratitude through emails or telephone or personal contact from the athletes, particularly the wounded veterans, who he says inspire him every day.  
"Each day I email or text several veterans letting them know I still care and encouraging them, and many veterans have inspired me by something they have said in response." Hoddle emailed me.
Before his focus on wounded warriors, Hoddle had suddenly burst on the scene for work with disabled athletes. That resulted from a series of links that came about by accident, or maybe fate, when in 1994 his wife, Sherri, saw a television program on Tony Volpentest, the young disabled sprinter who had won three gold medals in the 1992 paralympics in Barcelona.
Volpentest, born without hands or feet, took some time off after the '92 paralympics and before he could compete again he faced the problem that officials had decided his prosthetic leg was too long and provided an unfair advantage and would have to be shortened.
By that point Hoddle recalls that he had reached out to Volpentest, who lived north of Seattle, "so we met and formed a friendship."
"When he decided to train for the 1996 paralympics, he called me and we talked about how it could work for me to coach him and help get a new, shorter prosthetic leg," said Hoddle, noting that "Ross Perot had taken Tony as a cause and agreed to provide for all his expenses. When Tony talked to Perot about me coaching him, Perot gave the thumbs up to pay me to be Tony's coach and we started training in the fall of 1995. Perot was wonderful to me and my family."
At the '96 paralympics in Athens, under Hoddle's coaching, Volpentest bested his 1992 record 100 meters time by half a second and shaved two seconds off his 200 meter record time, winning the Gold medal in both.  
ABC did a special feature on Volpentest as he stayed after his victories and, as Hoddle had instructed him, signed every autograph of those who wanted one, many of them disabled youngsters. The signings went on for more than 90 minutes.
The Volpentest experience led Hoddle to work with athletes with disabilities, including Marion Shirley, an amputee Hoddle convinced to try sprinting who then went on to win the 100 meters in the 2000 parlympics as well as the 2004 games for which Hoddle had been chosen to be the head coach of the U.S. team in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens.  
Just after returning from Athens, Hoddle got a call from an organization called Disabled Sports USA, asking him to come back to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to do a running clinic for injured soldiers.
 
He made three more trips to Walter Reed then began doing running clinics at Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, AL, which became a continuing commitment as Hoddle told me he made his 17th trip there last April.
 
"Lakeshore asked me in 2005 to come to one of their sporting camps, to which they invite veterans from all over the country, teaching a lot of them how to walk again and some, although they may have just gotten prosthetic legs, who want to run," Hoddle said.
 
He told me of working with one veteran who was one of the first soldiers wounded in the Iraq invasion, his leg blown off, adding "Two years after we began working together, he ran in the Houston marathon."
 
In discussing relationship building with the wounded veterans, Hoddle told me "relationships are about letting them know you care about them beyond just running. You've got to win someone's heart before you can win their mind over and help them.
 
Now on to the compelling link to Dave Roever and his far-flung wounded-veterans connections.
Roever recalled, in an email exchange with me after Hoddle gave us a virtual introduction, that it was "a casual conversation spurred by a mutual friend about our need for a good coach for the wounded athletes in Operation Warrior RECONnect and Bryan's passion for reconnecting the troops to a healthy and active life that made him a perfect fit." So Hoddle joined the team in 2015.
Eagle Summit Ranch is an amazing story in its own right, one appropriate for marking 9-11 since it was on that date in 2007 that it was dedicated into service, a story that Roever shared with me in our email exchange.
 
He told me that it was his dream to "provide a place where our beautiful, young heroes, who were wounded while serving so faithfully in the United States Military, have a place to be restored, encouraged and trained. Eagles Summit Ranch, Colorado, is just that place."
 
"The Roever Foundation was birthed from the unspeakable inner pain brought on by the negative reception of Vietnam vets coming home from war. As a vet I swore they would never again do that to our heroes returning from this Global War on Terror. One man can make a difference."
 
The "inner pain" may well have a personal aspect since in 1969, as a gunner in the elite Brown Water Black Berets in Vietnam, Roever was burned beyond recognition when a phosphorous grenade he was prepared to throw exploded in his hand. The ordeal left him hospitalized for more than a year and he underwent dozens of major surgeries.
 
He came back to become a speaker of national and international prominence who appears in a variety of settings from public schools, military installations, business groups and youth organizations, as well as television interviews and appearances.
 
Hoddle, who will travel to the Roever Texas ranch for additional veteran sessions in October, told me he's often asked about what he's learned from his involvements. His answer: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  I think that's something we can apply to any profession or relationship."
 
There's a personally satisfying Hoddle link in that our mutual friend, "energy medicine specialist" Robert "Doctor Bob" Greczanik, who is one of Hoddle's closest friends, convinced him to give some advise on sprinting to a senior sprinter who was preparing to compete in the Hunstman World Senior Games in October in St. George, UT.
In fact, "Dr. Bob" is responsible for one additional link to both Hoddle and me, enlisting our involvement in the effort to attract support to Olympic decathlete Jeremy Taiwo, who is hoping after his 11th-place finish in Brazil to return to the Olympics on the U.S. track and field team for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
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Cellular icon Mikal Thomsen lives 'dream come true' as owner of Tacoma Rainiers

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When Triple A baseball returned to Tacoma in 1960 after a 55-year absence, one of the fans in attendance that opening day to watch the team then nicknamed the Giants was 3-year-old Mikal Thomsen, there with his father, seeing his first professional baseball game. 

That ignited a life-long affection of a kid, then a man, for his hometown baseball team.

Mikal ThomsenMikal ThomsenAnd thus, although he grew up to make his name and fortune over two decades as he became a leading figure in the cellular-mobile phone industry, Thomsen's "dream come true" is played out each year as CEO and, with his wife, Lynn, the major investor in the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League baseball. The Thomsens put together a team of investors prior to the 2011 season to join them in owning the team.

The home season ends next Thursday. The Rainiers are on the road for the Labor Day weekend wrap up, far out of first place in the PCL's Pacific Northern Division and far back in attendance, playing in the smallest market in the in the far-flung 16-team league and in one of the smallest ball parks.

But he says "we've been highly successful in every way I can imagine, for the city, for the fan base, and for the investors. We have made stadium improvements each year, on our dime, and the Rainiers have been embraced by the city and the whole South Sound community."

That's a conviction likely buttressed this year by the fact that Tacoma, for the first time ever, played host last month to the Triple-A All-Star game at Cheney Stadium, a game won, 6-4, by the PCL all-stars over the stars of the International League. The satisfaction was in not just having the game for the first time but to the fact, the selection of Tacoma was made by the other AAA owners.

And Thomsen disclosed during an interview a few days ago that after the 2016 season ended "the team offered to buy out any of the owners at twice the amount they had paid for their share in 2011, but no one took us up on it." The Rainiers made the playoffs last year and came within 1,000 fans of equaling the best attendance mark of Thomsen's tenure.

Thomsen's team of 15 investors includes his longtime business partner, John Stanton, the CEO and majority owner of the American League Seattle Mariners, for whom Tacoma is the Triple-A franchise and a major piece of the Mariners' baseball operations.

Stanton and Thomsen, both in their early 60s, have what is likely the most unusual business relationship in professional baseball, and maybe in all of pro sports.

Their desks are 20 feet apart in the offices of Trilogy Partnerships, the Bellevue-based venture fund where they share responsibility, as they have for much of the 35 years since they joined the fledgling McCaw Cellular and went on to become two of the icons of the wireless industry in which they made their fortunes.

I asked Thomsen if he's ever tempted to complain to Stanton over major-league, minor-league issues, as when the Mariners call up key Rainiers players to the majors when the Tacoma team is winning, as at the start of this season when the Rainiers were in first place before several top players headed for Seattle.

He laughed as he replied: "We are in the unique position of being an organization that sells tickets, popcorn and hotdogs but doesn't have to pay for performers," reminding me that the Mariners pay all the costs, including salaries, of the players they sign and assign to Tacoma.

"They want a strong Triple-A presence and we have provided that," Thomsen adds.

Thomsen and Stanton's office interactions are likely fewer these days with Thomsen spending about what he estimates as about 20 hours a week during the season in Tacoma while Stanton has the CEO's office at Safeco Field that he visits as often as possible.

Although Thomsen is the Tacoma boss he is quick to credit others for contributing to the team's success, particularly team president Aaron Artman, who was in place as president when they bought the team.

"Inheriting Aaron was a godsend," Thomsen said.  "He is a very creative guy with a wealth of knowledge running minor league baseball operations, and we paired him up with a great CFO, Brian Coombe whom we hired the first summer we owned the team. Together they are a phenomenal leadership team for the club."

I asked Thomsen, for a column I did several years ago if the fact Tacoma is closer to Seattle than any Triple A team's proximity to a major league city has an impact on attendance. He replied: "Most of the Rainiers fans are Mariners fans who enjoy keeping up with both teams and hearing about the players they saw in Tacoma now performing with the major league club. I think the nearness of the M's cuts both ways."

Indeed Thomsen's ownership group, which includes Brad Cheney, president of the Ben B. Cheney Foundation (named for the lumber magnate and community leader for whom the ballpark is also named) has created a community's love affair with its professional baseball team, not unlike the relationship that used to exist in cities across America.

The Rainiers have added a new left field deck, whiffle ball field and playground, which Thomsen says "is now a fixture, and drawing tons of kids," noting the idea was Cheney's who he says "is on the board, is very supportive of the team and the area through his foundation."

Cheney threw out the first pitch at the All-Star game after Thomsen went on the loudspeaker to tell the fans about coming to the park for games since he and his brother were kids, then said "This is for Tacoma. And this is for the South Sound."

The Stanton-Thomsen baseball-ownership ties extend beyond the Rainiers. In fact, the announcement of the Rainiers' purchase followed their successful launch a year earlier of a college-player amateur league team in Walla Walla.

It was Stanton, a Whitman grad and past chairman of the school's board of trustees, who convinced Thomsen that he should become part of the ownership team that was buying and bringing to Walla Walla an expansion team in the West Coast League, a summer league for college players, competing just below professional ball.

So it was appropriate that Thomsen approached Stanton to be part of the Tacoma ownership team.

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

Thomsen met his wife, Lynn, and Stanton met his wife, Terry Gillespie, at McCaw Cellular in the mid-80s, which they joined at about the same time in the early '80 and are now on the team of co-owners of the Rainiers, though the oversight of the franchise, including attending many games, falls to Thomsen.

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Fate dealing losing hand to Seattle income tax advocates

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Fate seems to be dealing a losing hand to proponents of a state income tax, given events that have unfolded behind the scenes with the lawsuits filed since the Seattle City Council enacted a tax on higher-income residents as a strategy to reach the State Supreme Court with the issue.

Their best hope now to achieve their goal is to be dealt a joker wild card by those on the other side who have sued to overturn the tax on the statutory grounds that the city violated the 1984 state law that specifically prohibits cities and counties from imposing a net income tax. 

The wild card could be handed to tax advocates because some of those suing the city seem tempted to turn it into a political issue that could be the key to unintentionally attracting the state's highest court.

From the outset of a campaign flatly touted by council members and their cheering supporters as an effort to "tax the rich," the goal of tax advocates has been to get the State Supreme Court to review the 84-year-old decision that a net income tax violates the state constitution.

Whether that campaign can move ahead may well be decided on November 27, the date set yesterday by King County Superior Court Judge John R. Ruhl for him to hear the motions by attorneys representing plaintiffs in three lawsuits filed against the city.

Matched by those whose rhetoric is "we need to tax the greedy rich" is the equally heated commentary of those who oppose any tax and particularly taxes on the wealthy, who feel they are already overtaxed. The anger of the latter was evident in the comment made in private by one of the attorneys that their purpose is to "kill the income tax and drive a stake through its heart so it never comes back alive."

As Matt Davis, attorney for Seattle investment advisor Michael Kunath observed: "What was supposed to be a purely legal exercise has devolved into the latest battlefield in the fight between two groups who have no hesitation about forcing their viewpoints on everyone else."

Kunath's suit was the first of the three and thus was the one assigned Judge Ruhl by lottery and it will be Davis' motion for a summary judgement against the city tax that will be heard on November 17 with the motions by attorneys for The Freedom Foundation and the Opportunity for All Coalition to also be heard then.

The first indication of the unanticipated challenges facing the city came when Kunath's suit, filed minutes after Mayor Ed Murray signed the tax into law following City Council passage, noted that the council fouled up in its maneuver to pass a tax that wouldn't be viewed as violating state law.

The council members passed what they intended to be a tax on gross income rather than net income, but they chose the amount on Line 22 on the federal tax form as the basis for each filer's taxable income and that line is described in various IRS documents as a "net" income tax line, which Davis highlighted in his suit.

The other suits included that point in their briefs against the Seattle City Council for its passage of a tax on individuals with income over $250,000 and joint-filing income of more than $500,000, They all indicate they want Judge Ruhl to merely rule that the city violated state law.

But the attorneys, including two retired State Supreme Court justices, have been told by Judge Ruhl that they must be prepared to argue the constitutionality as well as the statutory issue, although he said at the Wednesday meeting with attorneys that he intends to rule first on the statutory question. 

What that would mean is the issue of whether the income tax violates what's known as the "Uniformity Clause," a constitutional requirement that all property be taxed equally, wouldn't come up if he rules against the city.


Thus the only way the issue of the Uniformity Clause would become part of the case is if he were to find the city income tax was legal. 

Then attorneys for the three suits could use the Uniformity Clause as a backup issue and raise it for a discussion that would reach the high court.

The sense of those who want a state income tax is that a dramatically more liberal high court than the 1933 court that ruled that income was property and thus required to be taxed equally would throw out its own rules and reverse that decision, opting to throw out its own rules and eight decades of decisions by the high court supporting the 1933 decision.

The random selection of Ruhl to preside over the superior court deliberations on the case also has to be viewed as less than ideal for the city since he is considered by attorneys in this case as the best judge for them because his qualifications make it less likely he would be influenced by the political rhetoric surrounding this case. He is rated as "exceptionally well qualified" by various organizations, including the King County Bar Association.

Finally, Ruhl's decision to separate the statutory question of whether the city broke state law from the constitutional issue will make it more difficult for Seattle to get before the Supreme Court with the constitutional question.

 "Uniformity" in this case means the city's imposition of no tax on income under $250,000 and 2.25 percent for income above that.

The concern of those who fear that it's risky to turn this into a political issue rather than a statutory one are concerned about statements like that from Matt McIlwain of Madrona Venture Partners that "In defeating the city income tax, we can help maintain a system of opportunity and job creation for innovators and workers."

In addition, the complaint from the Opportunity for All Coalition of which McIlwain is a spokesman goes to great length in its suit to provide anecdotes of people being taxed on selling their homes or their businesses who are not wealthy but merely average Seattle citizens who will be injured by the tax.

Those are all political considerations.

Davis' motion makes clear at the outset that he and Kunath don't view this as a political issue but a simple statutory question. The other suits appear tempted to want to make political statements with their suits.

A long line of decisions in the decades since that 1933 decision that income is property and thus a tax on it must thus meet the constitutional requirement that property has to be taxed equally have cited that decision to reverse ideas like calling an income tax an excise tax or imposing an income tax on real estate transactions. 

And confronting those who hope the court will merely overturn that decision is the rule known as Constitutional avoidance, which says the court must make every effort to avoid interpreting the Constitution if it can deal with the statutes. But in the end, the high court can do whatever it wants.

The concern of those who don't want to tempt a Supreme Court likely to be sensitive to the views of those who want to repair an admittedly regressive tax structure with an income tax know the court will be searching for any argument that opens the door to consider the merits and wisdom of the tax.

Anyone who argues that the tax is unfair, unneeded or unreasonable is handing the Supreme Court exactly what it needs. And should the Supreme Court take up the issue and decide in favor of income-tax advocates, it's a good bet that soon thereafter, a legislature that now needs only a simple majority and no voter support because of Supreme Court action to throw out a decades-old precedent, will enact such a tax.

And history will honor or revile, depending on which segment of the population we are looking at, the organization or individual who made that come about.
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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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