Monday, September 12, 2005

Parks and King County Lawsuits

As I was walking back to my car this weekend, after paying my $1 for the required parking ticket at Marymoor Park, I couldn't help but think about why we are asked to pay that $1 and lose that minute or two to get it? Is that revenue so vital that funding of our parks cannot come from anywhere else funded by our taxes?

Call me fixated on the subject, but I couldn't help but think about that private lawyer, hired by King County DOT to sue the King County Hearing Examiner, and the $210 per hour that DOT is paying him to help Weyerhaesuer.

As I've posted already, King County DOT has paid - I mean the taxpayers have paid - this private firm $202,000 between the end of January through July. I'm assuming that this firm is still being paid as that lawsuit progresses. I thought about all the other firms under retainer by King County, intended to prevent them from being able to represent anyone litigating against the county.

My Public Disclosure Act request asking for this information won't be available until mid-October, but how many millions of dollars a year does King County spend hiring and retaining private law firms, despite having the Prosecuting Attorneys Office there to defend it against allegations of wrongdoing, or representing it in lawsuits and appeals even if against other King County agencies?

$1 dollar to support parks isn't very much for such a valuable public resource, but for every 210 cars in that lot, one could equate that to King County hiring one lawyer for just one hour to do something that the county probably should not be doing. For the first 202,000 cars parked at Marymoor Park between January and July of this year, what would those people think if they were told that their parking fee was going to hire private lawyers to help Weyerhaeuser and sue another King County agency?

We were forced to vote on a parks initiative to maintain our county parks, but why aren't we asked when county agencies spend our money to help developers and sue other county agencies who make findings they disagree with?

We all know the answer to that question, don't we?


Anonymous said...

I puke blood everytime I think of King county and the crap they have forced on the people that live there. Thank you but I haven't the stomach lining left to visit Safeco, whatever they're calling the football stadium, or the "welfare team playing for the U-Dub". See Ya!

The Geezer said...


King county are mere pikers when engaging the legal profession.

You wanna see an agency with every law firm in Western Washington on retainer, check Sound Transit.

Yes, indeedy, the originator of "if we retain all the lawyers, then no one can sue us".

One of my six favorite lawyers is a conservative (read Republican, capital R) in LEWIS COUNTY!!!! Yeah, like Chehalis. No lawyers between Seattle and Chehalis, I guess, because his firm is retained by Sound Transit. I suspect to lobby the R's for more pork.

Sound public policy, engaging all the law firms, brought to you by the folks that deliver half of what was promised, at twice the cost, Sound Transit.

The Geezer

who blogs at

Anonymous said...

PARKS & LAWYERS? Thats like comparing Apples to Pizza....

Anonymous said...

I'm a female who worked for King County Parks for 4 years as a seasonal. I along with many others dealt and still deal with discrimination unsafe working conditions, unfair hiring practices, and and bullying while on the job. As a house wife trying to return to the work force I was sickened by the abuse of power by people in my government so they can feel important and have what they want. I watched and was subjected to a hostile workplace where everyone who wasn't part of the "Good Ole Boys Club" didn't dare speak up for fear of retaliation. This is Parks for goodness sakes! The Parks employees that control Parks do illegally things all the time. I witnessed them. I fought it all the way thru the council and Ombudsman. It became very obvious that County had no fear of my suing them. I can't find a lawyer to represent me even though I have a strong case with female discrimination. Now I know why.

GetsGreased said...

When I saw my state supreme court rule in 2005 to forgive this corrupt county of all it's wrongdoing related to Redmond Ridge and Trilogy, I suppose I finally woke up to the fact that some corruption is so big and permeates so many levels of government that the only way to bring it down is to vote it out. And as the voters of this county and state show election after election, they are so unaware of the wrongdoing around them that they keep electing the same corrupt people to office.
During the time I was active fighting this corruption here, we occasionally heard of county employees quitting. More times than not, though, we learned of people who put their job and income above their integrity. I wish I thought honest people on the inside could stop the corruption, but it's like government everywhere. Once infected with corruption, there is little to nothing that can stop it other than the voters. But until the voters are aware and ready to stop it, it continues to grow until no one is safe within government who is honest.
Ombudsman? A joke. Prosecuting Attorney? A joke. Ethics Board? A joke. Superior Court? A joke. They are all part of the facade of responsible government, but at their cores, they are all just pieces of the totally corrupt government complex.
I'm sorry for what you're going through. You have two options. Stomach it or run from it. There are really no other options.

Anonymous said...

I'm not running. Too many friends inside that can't speak out. Working on a petition right now against the PDMC who abused me and others that will be on before Christmas. Taking it public. Wonder if they'll try and sue me?! A petition against King County Parks hiring practices will be following soon after.

Anonymous said...

Sue you, probably not. County has been burned and its cost taxpayers in settlements. No, they'll likely just use standard King County retaliation tactics, such as demotion of a grade or two, poor performance evaluations, threatened layoff, moving you to a new position where you can rot doing something insignificant, etc. In the end you'll probably want to quit anyway, which will be their motivation in making your life miserable. Seen it happen. Ultimately it will come down to your willingness and ability to sue them. You'll have to do it on your dime, while they defend their wrongdoing on your dime - and mine.

Anonymous said...

I'm already out, the boss black balled me for defending myself against bullying by a male and going above his head on a safety issue. The incident that supposedly sunk me involved a male threatening me on the job. I was never questioned about it, never knew it was an issue. The male still had a job the following year. I don't want to sue, don't think I should have to with a boss so blatant. It's documented. A mentally challenged young lady ended up sexually assaulted on his watch because he did nothing when the problem was brought to him over a 3 year period. This man is headed for higher spots in Parks. I'm doing everything I can to be responsible with taxpayer money, haven't sued yet. This sexual incident cost county taxpayers a 5-6 month investigation, lawyers, $300,000 in a settlement and approx 8 months of retro pay for the young lady. I can't just walk away. I'm sorry I've cost you so much already as this has cost alot of money already in man hours investigating.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me, I was not implying that I would care about the costs of taking on King County. Throughout this blog are the stories of our attempts to reign in the corruption in court. What we learned is that the corruption extends beyond the county leaders and bureaucrats, but to the courts themselves making legal challenges an uphill battle to begin with. My point was that while you would be forced to fund a legal challenge yourself, the county has virtually unlimited resources to fight you, since they have direct access to county citizens' wallets.

I can't recall the exact amount, but as an example, the county retained lawyers to the tune of several million dollars to defend its corruption in court against us. We raised a quarter-million over the course of a decade to press the fight. With unlimited funds and courts where judges WILL back the county given any opportunity, I'd never challenge King County in court.

Public opinion is the ONLY avenue to defeating this corruption, but the local media is only slightly less in the tank with King County than the rest of our system. Reporters all want to work for King County someday on six figure salaries as press secretaries.

I commend you for what you've done. I simply know first-hand that this corruption exists from our most local jurisdictions all the way up and beyond our Federal government. Yes, most definitely including this state's government. That said, until people wake up and accept it exists, corruption will continue to flourish and grow UNTIL that day. After last week I MUST accept that we are a very long way from that day, and VERY dark times separate us from that day.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like I'm on an OK course then trying a petition. Only way I know of to get the truth out there some. Where ever it ends, I know I did something,.