The Cactus Speaks: A trial, a train, and a hero

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect different opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at [email protected].]

by Earl Gipson

The Kingen V SeaTac Verdict
The jury verdict days the City must pay the Kingens $9.6 million and the Kingens must pay the City $257,000.

The trial was so complicated with 800 exhibits so I am going to have to write about this as a narrative. A parable, if you will. I sat through the whole thing (seven-plus weeks) with 90 hours of testimony. It is still complicated. Well here goes:

You (the City) and uncle Benny (Kingens) decide to take an excursion on uncle Benny’s yacht (SeaTac Center). You really love uncle Benny’s yacht but think he is a terrible yachtsman. He suggests a nice three hour tour but you keep asking him if we can just see one more place. On your excursion the seas become very choppy and uncle Benny is thrown overboard. With some quick thinking on your part you direct the cabin boys (City Staff) to find a cinder block. The cabin boys knows what the cinder block is for but look the other way.

Now uncle Benny is fighting for his life. The seas (recession) are getting rougher, but instead of the life ring you throw him the cinder block since you have a good chance of inheriting the yacht or getting quite the discount from the estate. Uncle Benny sinks and your plan is working perfectly.

Uncle Benny, although presumed dead, resurfaces and would like his yacht back. You chuckle. Uncle Benny knew what had happened and having receiving the cinder block knew your intent. Meanwhile, you purchased the yacht from the estate through a third party you had set up and there’s not a damn thing he can do (or, so you think!). Uncle Benny sues you in court (he wanted to shoot your crooked ass) but in court at least he has the chance to recover part of the yacht’s value. You claim the yacht leaked and needed maintenance (grasping at straws, but what the hell).

The jury sees what has happened but can’t charge you with attempted murder. But it can and does award Benny a portion of the yachts value ($9.6 million). Yes, the yacht leaked a bit so uncle Benny has to provide you a dingy ($257K). Both sides claim victory and the relatives (Citizens of SeaTac) are in disbelief this actually happened. Meanwhile the yacht sits in the harbor collecting barnacles and most of the cabin boys have fled.

Quote of the trial: When Councilmember Tony Anderson was asked under cross-examination by Kingen Attorney Brad Anderson “Did the city do anything wrong?” Mr. Anderson pondered for a minute or so and then said “No.” Keep in mind the Councilmember sat through the same trial I, and the jury did.

Morals of this story: The City of SeaTac needs a Code of Ethics so badly it hurts. At least one of the perps of the city would have something to read for moral guidance in how to treat others. With enough time, perseverance, and money (if they don’t drain you) you can fight City Hall.

Light Rail an expensive amusement park ride …..
At the Regular Council Meeting (02/26/16), The Council and audience got an earful about Light Rail and the huge amount of money spent (and asking for more) for little or no return on investment.

In public comment the Honor system of paying fares was identified as a joke. SeaTac Citizen JoAnn Hill, a frequent rider of the light rail, commented on the systematic avoidance by individuals of paying fares and easy ways to track the fare enforcers and keep away from them. She and previous commenter Joel Wachtel suggested turnstiles as a proven method of collection and a physical barrier to fare theft.

Per the presentation by CETA (Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives) by Maggie Fimia (former King County Councilmember and former proponent of light rail) and John Niles, projections of ridership, costs, and effectiveness of the Light Rail System seem to be a subversive lie to taxpayers and funded by contractors and those benefiting from political contributions/campaigns by same. Our bus system is a far more flexible and cost effective method of moving large amounts of commuters where light rail provides a solution to absolutely nothing but keeping the huddled masses huddled along the system (my opinion) and emptying our pocketbooks.

It was also implied in the presentation that our transportation agencies are causing auto congestion by design to increase the use and justify the expense of light rail, which will never meet expectations of ridership or achieve cost recovery.

Failure/ineffectiveness of light rail systems throughout the country is easily searchable and the only place where it works is in an amusement park and they make sure fares/tickets are paid or included in their admission fees.

The CETA Council presentation data can be found here.

A Hero
Also at the Council Meeting (01/26/16), SeaTac Police Chief Lisa Mulligan presented Tien Vu with King County Sheriffs Commander’s Award.

On December 17th 2015 Mr. Tien Vu, while driving through the Safeway on Military Road in SeaTac, Vu responded to screams and observed a woman being pulled into the bushes to be robbed or worse. He stopped his car and honked his horn. When that was ineffective, he got out of his vehicle and the perp turned on him and chased him around his car. This stopped when Mr. Vu grabbed his cell and called 911.

The perp ran away but everyone was safe. Mr. Vu’s young age belies his courage. The standing ovation he got from the Council meeting attendees is telling in how we all feel about this young man. The best to Mr. Tien Vu and his family’s moral guidance. And yes you are a hero.


3 Responses to “The Cactus Speaks: A trial, a train, and a hero”
  1. Melissa says:

    As much as I look forward to reading Earl’s blogs, I can’t wait for the day that we can stop hearing about drama..yes, drama that the previous council thrives off of. Onward to returning the city to the great place it was before it was called “Seatac”.

  2. Earl Gipson says:

    Correction-Council meeting 01/26/16 not 02/16/16 under light rail subject. Getting ahead of myself.

  3. Vicki Lockwood says:

    Earl’s parable makes me want to apologize to the businesses who endured the past culture at City Hall. I didn’t attend the trial, but it sounds like whether we were legally right or wrong as a City, we were unethical. I don’t think this was an isolated event, but rather the way the previous Council majority did buisiness and wanted staff to play.

    I did attend the 1/26 Council Meeting and Earl continues to tell it like happened. We need to hear what this CETA group is saying, put it in context with what we see has happened, and then ask ourselves if we want to continue down this road. It was refreshing to hear ‘the other side’ of the Sound Transit dream. I look forward to hearing both sides of future issues rather than what has historically been a one-sided circus for the Progressives.