Wentzel was CASA volunteer 16 years ago

By Andrea Damewood, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: November 3, 2011, 8:55 PM

 
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Letter to Josephine Wentzel

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A letter mailed to Vancouver City Council candidate Josephine Wentzel and sent to The Columbian on Thursday verified that Wentzel was a Court Appointed Special Advocate — in 1995 under a different name.

Political Action Committee Save Our City, largely funded by Wentzel’s boss and anti-CRC activist David Madore, mailed fliers this month saying Wentzel is a retired police detective, CASA volunteer and mother of five.

The Columbian ran a story Wednesday reporting the YWCA, which administers the CASA program, could not find Wentzel in its records. The story was published after being held for an extra day to allow Wentzel time to respond. The Columbian placed two calls to her phone, and sent several emails to her personal and business email addresses. She did not answer those requests for comment.

CASA program director Jo Waddell said that Wentzel did not call her until the day the story ran, when Wentzel told her she volunteered under a different name. Waddell confirmed that name was Jaye Mitchell.

“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have a correct name to check our records,” Waddell said. “Once I had that name, I could check our records and verify.”

Wentzel took the CASA training in 1995 and was a volunteer for about eight months with the program. The YWCA asks that volunteers commit to one to two years of service minimum, but Waddell said that “there are circumstances that sometimes come up with volunteers that do not allow them to continue volunteer service.”

She said she did not know and could not say why Wentzel stopped volunteering with CASA.

Court Appointed Special Advocates work with children in the foster system as they make their way through the court system. Waddell said the program is in constant need of volunteers willing to commit the three to eight hours a month needed to help those foster children.

Wentzel is running against incumbent Bart Hansen for Position 5.

Wentzel did not return a request for comment Thursday.