Press Talk: The M&M boys and Leavitt

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor



It’s gonna cost us … again

You just cost your company a cool $250,000 because — well — you did stupid stuff.

You hired someone completely unqualified and — worse — you followed no accepted process in the hiring.

You’re in a position of power — a big shot, frankly — and your company not only expects you to know how to do things the right way but expects you to lead, to show others how to do things the right way.

You had no defense for your inappropriate actions. In fact, the best you could muster is that sheepish plastic smile you display.

So what happens to you?

Exactly! You get canned, pronto.

Now, if you think this is some fake scenario I just dreamed up, a sort of training lesson some human resources department uses to show leaders what not to do, you’d be wrong.

It’s real.

Except the result — the getting canned pronto part — isn’t real. It’s business as usual, because we’re talking about the M&M boys.

As reported this week, another quarter of a million dollars went down the drain because Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke improperly hired their buddy, Sen. Don Benton, as environmental services director.

Oh, the boys will still claim they did no wrong. But you don’t shell out that kind of cash — even if you are the government and know you’re just dealing with taxpayers’ money — unless you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

Yep, the M&M boys got their rear ends sued by someone else in that county environmental services department who said she didn’t even have a chance to interview for the job.

Neither of these guys have spoken much about this issue, other than Madore once telling a TV reporter the person (the one they just paid off to go away) was a lightweight compared with the intellectual giant of a man, Benton.


o o o

Yes, I’ve heard from a few folks who say I should give these three sideshow artists a break. Truth is, I hear from more folks who say we should keep on all our political friends.

This email from Neil and Barbara came in Friday:

“Our continued support through our subscription is in a large part due to your continued monitoring of the political situation. Don’t ever give up!”

One nice reader who came in a few days ago said most residents are frightened to say anything, and she will always be grateful that I won’t back down.

o o o

On occasion, you’ll see these three caballeros out and about and they will act as if there’s nothing amiss, everything is fine.

They just keep smiling. And we just keep paying the price.

Wrong side of history

If you’re looking for a legacy in your life, the one place you don’t want to end up is on the wrong side of history.

Most often these are big-ticket items: The Equal Rights Amendment, integration and most recently, same-sex marriage. On all these issues the tide slowly turned. If you were insightful and — frankly — understanding, you moved to the proper side and were remembered for it.

I thought about that when the Vancouver City Council recently voted to oppose the proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

Yes, this is chump change compared to the other huge sea changes I noted above. But for our community, it’s important nonetheless.

The city council — as a whole — will eventually be known for ending up on the right side of history. But the vote wasn’t unanimous.

Mayor Tim Leavitt and Councilor Bill Turlay both voted against it. It was expected that Turlay would get it wrong. Heck, he still thinks because he once had his head up in the clouds, he knows that all of this man-made climate change stuff is hooey.

But you would expect more from Leavitt. Oh, if you ask Leavitt — and I did — he has a long list of technical reasons why he opted not to vote to oppose the oil terminal. You know, the resolution could have been written better. Stuff like that.

But as I told him in our short conversation:

“There’s this political axiom that says agreeing to something that’s not perfect — but still good — is better than nothing. In the end, you voted not to oppose the oil terminal. Period.”

In my humble opinion he — like Turlay — is on the wrong side of history.

Don't Do Stupid Stuff Mugs