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April 23, 2007

Seattle Times Editorial Pays Lip Service on Port Scandal

As noted on this blog last week, it was Seattle P.I. reporter Kristin Millares Bolt who broke the story on Port Commissioner Pat Davis' bogus bonus deal for retired Port CEO Mic Dinsmore. MIllares Bolt has been following the details closely and doing a great job. The other paper in our (whew!) two-newspaper town, the Seattle Times, was caught flat-footed until burying an article about the scandal in their business section (h/t to commenter Paul Elliott). Since they were bested by half, the Times has published an editorial all about the "undignified mess", wasting lots of ink deconstructing the term "severance" -- something I already defined in EP's first post on the subject. Moreover, they make the following untrue statement:

The five Port of Seattle commissioners are clearly of no mind to pay former CEO Mic Dinsmore a severance package[...]

In fact, one of the five Port commisioners -- Davis -- had every intention of paying the "severance". Um... memo to the Times: that's what this whole damn thing is about to begin with. No one can predict how long Commissioner Bob Edwards will continue trying to play both sides against the middle, but Hara, Fisken and Creighton have all staked out their territory.

When it comes right down to it, the Times thinks that Dinsmore was a "fine" Port executive and was paid accordingly. Yup. That would be the accurate description if you're alluding to the caviar nights and champagne dreams of Dinsmore's tenure as the globe-trotting, glad-handing dandy who gained a reputation as the nation's highest paid Port CEO. And instead of calling for Pat Davis' dismissal (either by resignation or impeachment) the Times says this is all that's required:

What remains at the Port of Seattle Commission is an undignified mess. Commissioners need to make some apologies and get back to the people's business.

"Commissioners need to"...? "Apologies"? Again, I must have missed the part where the other commissioners were at fault. From everything we've heard so far, the other commissioners were left out of the loop on the Dinsmore bonus and have implied that Davis is lying through her teeth. For elaboration, perhaps the paper's editors should read Lynn's interview with Alec Fisken. The Times is trying to have it both ways and comes up empty-handed, which sort of makes sense for a paper that has a very good reporting staff but a totally compromised editorial board.

The Port Commission's next public meeting is Tuesday, when the Davis-Dinsmore escapade will surely merit at least a comment or two from those other commissioners. I'm certain Millares Bolt will be there for the catch. Will someone from the Times?

Posted by shoephone on April 23, 2007 at 01:43 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink


Among items on tomorrow's Commission mtg agenda
a first report on the Holiday Tree policy task force,
and a $10M spending commitment.

Didn't see anything in there about a "let Bygone be bygones" resolution, but the situation has to be resolved one way, or another.

For audio/video options:

Meetings usually start in non-public Executive Session, which can drag on a while befoer the live feeds for open session ligh up.

Posted by: RonK, Seattle | Apr 23, 2007 10:14:03 AM

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