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Monday, May 7, 2007

Hypocrisy at the PI: Elite Luncheons

posted by on May 7 at 10:41 AM

Kenneth Bunting, the associate publisher of the PI, wrote a lengthy editorial last week, “New York Times reasserts its principles,” applauding the New York Times for bowing out of the annual correspondents’ dinners at the White House.

Wrote Bunting:

Rhonda Chriss Lokeman, a columnist for the Kansas City Star, opined during the March discussion that the media’s chumminess with Washington power brokers at such black-tie and white-tie spectacles is wholly inappropriate and unbecoming. Perhaps Lokeman was right. Some journalists manage to transform themselves into Washington socialites at such events. Why should the public think they could be arms-length watchdogs, critics and uncompromised observers at other times? But more interesting will be whether any others among the nation’s media elite follow suit. In what we in Seattle call “the other Washington,” hobnobbing is a well-accepted way of life.

The other Washington? I’ve got three creepy words for you Mr. Bunting: Community Development Roundtable.

As you know, since you’re a member, the CDR is an elitist, private membership group of big business power players like Greg Johnson, President, Wright Runstad & Company; Ada Healey, Vice President, Real Estate, Vulcan Inc.; Stephanie Daley-Watson, VP, Secretary, Assoc. General Counsel, Safeco Corp; Jared Smith, Vice President, Area Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff; and Don Stark, Managing Partner, Gogerty Stark Marriott; and media leaders Mr. Michael Fancher, Editor-at-Large, The Seattle Times; Ms. Jill Mackie, Vice President, Public Affairs, The Seattle Times; Mr. Mark Trahant Editor, Editorial Page Seattle Post-Intelligencer; and Mr. Emory Thomas Publisher Puget Sound Business Journal, that meets for private lunches at the snooty Washington Athletic Center (WAC) on Mondays.

Its explicit purpose since its formation (by the Chamber of Commerce and the publishers of the dailies back in the 1930s) is to bring together the city’s media, political and business elite behind closed doors for off-the-record discussions and, not coincidentally, to cement the Establishment’s hold over civic affiars. It fosters a clubby atmosphere between the rich and powerful movers and shakers and the top editors and executives of Seattle’s newspapers.

Aren’t the power players on this list, the same people you’re supposed to be covering?

The question, Mr. Bunting, is not whether national media will follow the NYT’s example by pulling out of the once-a-year correspondents’ dinners, but if you will follow your own advice and pull out of the clubby weekly CDR.

I’ve linked the membership list below to give readers a real sense of who the media is hanging out with—I see former Port Commissioner Mic Dinsmore on there.

Mr. Scott Armstrong
President & CEO
Group Health Cooperative

Mr. William Bain
Consulting Design Partner

Ms. Ernesta Ballard
Sr Vice President Corporate Affairs
Weyerhaeuser Company

Mr. Randy Bannecker
Bannecker & Associates Public Affairs

Mr. Charles Barbo
Chairman & CEO
Shurgard Storage Centers, Inc.

Mr. Stan Barer
Chairman Emeritus
Saltchuk Resources

Mr. Chris Bayley
Stewardship Partners

Ms. Debbie Bevier
DL Bevier Consulting, LLC

Mr. Bernt Bodal
Chairman & CEO
American Seafoods Group

Mr. Jonathan Bridge
Co-CEO/General Counsel
Ben Bridge Jeweler

Mr. Jeff Brotman
Costco Wholesale

Mr. Kenneth Bunting
Associate Publisher
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Mr. Phil Bussey
Senior Vice President Corporate Affairs
Puget Sound Energy

Mr. Patrick Callahan
Urban Renaissance Group, LLC

Ms. Phyllis Campbell
President & CEO
The Seattle Foundation

Mr. Bruce Carter
President & CEO
ZymoGenetics, Inc.

Mr. Bill Center
Past President
Washington Council for International Trade

Ms. Lynn Claudon
Lynn Claudon Consulting, LLC

Mr. A.M. Clise
Chairman and CEO
Clise Properties Inc.

Mr. Arlan Collins

Dr. Richard Counts
President & CEO
Puget Sound Blood Center

Mr. Don Covey
Chairman (Retired)
Unico Properties, LLC.

Mr. Russell Crawford

Mr. Andrew Dale
Managing Partner
Buerk Dale Victor LLC

Ms. Stephanie Daley-Watson
VP, Secretary, Assoc. General Counsel
Safeco Corporation

Mr. M.R. Dinsmore
Port of Seattle

Mr. Bob Drewel
Executive Director
Puget Sound Regional Council

Mr. George Duff
Senior Advisor
Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce

Mr. James Dwyer
President & CEO
Washington Dental Service

Mr. Mike Dwyer
Lane Powell PC

Dr. Philip Eaton
Seattle Pacific University

Mr. Karl Ege
Chief Legal Officer
Russell Investment Group

Mr. James Ellis
Founding Partner
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Dr. Mark Emmert
University of Washington

Ms. Joan Enticknap
President & COO
HomeStreet Bank

Mr. Daniel Evans
Daniel J. Evans & Associates

Mr. Michael Fancher
The Seattle Times

Dr. Jack Faris
Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Assoc.

Ms. Anne Farrell
President Emeritus
The Seattle Foundation

Ms. Patricia Fearey
Chairman & CEO
The Fearey Group, Inc.

Mr. Jon Fine
President & CEO
United Way of King County

Mr. Tom Flavin
President & CEO

Mr. Mike Flynn
Mike Flynn & Associates

Ms. Petra Franklin
General Partner
Vault Capital

Mr. Daniel Fulton
Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company

Mr. Jose Gaitan
Managing Partner
The Gaitan Group

Ms. Marcia Garrett
Executive Director
WSU West

Mr. William Gates, Sr.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Ms. Donna Giordano
Quality Food Centers

Hon. Slade Gorton
Of Counsel
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. Mark Gould
Senior VP/Seattle Branch Manager
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Mr. Leo Greenawalt
President & CEO
Washington State Hospital Association

Mr. Frank Greer

Mr. Scott Harrison
President & CEO

Mr. Randal Hassler
VP, Amgen Washington Site Administration
Amgen Inc.

Mr. Ray Heacox
President & General Manager
KING TV, KONG TV & Northwest Cable News

Ms. Ada Healey
Vice President-Real Estate
Vulcan Inc.

Mr. John Hempelmann
Cairncross & Hempelmann, P.S.

Mr. Jerry Henry
Senior Advisor to the Chairman
Puget Sound Energy

Ms. Sheryl Hildebrand
Managing Partner, Seattle
Deloitte & Touche LLP

Mr. John Hough
Rockey Hill & Knowlton

Dr. Lee Huntsman
Executive Director
Life Sciences Discovery Fund

Mr. Keith Jackson
Chairman & CEO
Charter Bank

Ms. Sally Jewell
Recreational Equipment, Inc.

Mr. Peter Joers
President, Bank of America Washington
Bank of America

Mr. James Johnson
President & CEO
Washington Athletic Club

Mr. Gregory Johnson
Wright Runstad & Company

Ms. Kate Joncas
Downtown Seattle Association

Mr. William Justen
Managing Director, Real Estate
Samis Land Company

Dr. Gary Kaplan
Chairman & CEO
Virginia Mason Medical Center

Ms. Carolyn Kelly
President & COO
The Seattle Times

Ms. Linda C. Killinger
Olympic Consulting Partners, LLC

Mr. Ken Kirkpatrick
President, Washington State
U.S. Bank

Mr. Charles Knutson
Vice President, Public Affairs
Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce

Mr. H.L. (Skip) Kotkins, Jr.
Chairman & CEO
Skyway Luggage Company

Ms. Kaycee Krysty
President & CEO
Laird Norton Tyee

Mr. Stewart Landefeld
Firmwide Chair, Business Practice Group
Perkins Coie LLP

Mr. Earl Lasher III
Senior Partner
Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson

Mr. Steve Leahy
President & CEO
Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Bill Lewis
Lease Crutcher Lewis

Mr. Howard Lincoln
Chairman & CEO
Seattle Mariners Baseball Club

Mr. Gary Locke
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Ms. Kathy Lombardo
Senior Vice President, Manager NW Region

Ms. Jill Mackie
Vice President, Public Affairs
The Seattle Times

Ms. Sandra Madrid
Assistant Dean, Students and Community Relations
University of Washington

Ms. Susannah Malarkey
Executive Director
Technology Alliance

Mr. Jerry McKenna
Vice President, Market Manager
Entercom Seattle

Mr. Herman McKinney
Executive Dir.
Associate Member

Mr. Neil McReynolds
McReynolds Associates, Inc.

Ms. Mary McWilliams
Regence BlueShield

Mr. Nate Miles
Director of Government Affairs Western US
Eli Lilly & Company

Mr. William Mohler
President & CEO
KCTS Television

Mr. J. Shan Mullin
Perkins Coie LLP

Mr. Steve Mullin
Washington Roundtable

Ms. Carla Murray
Vice President Operations, NW Region
Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Mr. Kirk Nelson
President - Washington

Mr. John Nesholm
LMN Architects

Mr. William Neukom
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. Clare Nordquist
Cascadia Capital LLC

Mr. Robert Nuber
Chairman Emeritus
Clark Nuber P.S.

Mr. Roger Oglesby
Editor & Publisher
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Mr. John Oppenheimer
Columbia Hospitality

Mr. Peter Orser
Quadrant Homes

Ms. Patti Payne
The Payne Group

Ms. Pam Pearson
Vice President & General Manager
KCPQ (Tribune Television Northwest)

Mr. James Peoples
President, Seattle-Cascades District

Mr. Bob Peters
Market Executive, Commercial Banking
Bank of America

Ms. Jennifer Potter
Managing Director, Initiative for Global Development
Initiative for Global Development

Mr. Jim Potter
Kauri Investments, Ltd.

Mr. John Powers
Sr. Managing Dir., State of Washington
Colliers International

Mr. Arnie Prentice
Chairman & CEO
Kibble & Prentice, a USI Company

Mr. Tom Pursley
Worldwide Partner
Mercer Human Resource Consulting

Mr. Bruce Pym
Heller Ehrman LLP

Mr. Bob Ratliffe
Sr. Vice President, Capital Markets
Kennedy Associates Real Estate Counsel, Inc.

Dr. V. Lane Rawlins
Washington State University

Mr. John Rindlaub
CEO, Pacific NW Region
Wells Fargo

Mr. Stuart Rolfe
Wright Hotels Inc.

Mr. Skip Rowley
Chairman & CEO
Rowley Properties, Inc.

Mr. Charles Royer
The Institute for Community Change

Ms. Judith Runstad
Of Counsel
Foster Pepper PLLC

Mr. David Sabey
Sabey Corporation

Mr. Stanley Savage
Chairman, President & CEO
The Commerce Bank of Washington

Mr. David Schooler
Sterling Realty Organization

Mr. Jared Smith
Northwest Manager

Mr. Alex Smith
Kaye-Smith Enterprises

Mr. John Spellman
Of Counsel
Carney Badley Spellman, P.S.

Mr. William Stafford
Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle

Mr. Frank Stagen
Nitze-Stagen & Co., Inc.

Mr. John Stanton
Trilogy Partners

Mr. Donald Stark
Gogerty Stark Marriott, Inc.

Rev. Stephen Sundborg, S.J.
Seattle University

Mr. Paul Suzman

Mr. David Tang
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. Emory Thomas
Puget Sound Business Journal

Mr. Mikal Thomsen
Trilogy Partners

Mr. Mark Trahant
Editor, Editorial Page
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Mr. James Tune
President & CEO

Mr. Wes Uhlman
Wes Uhlman & Associates Inc.

Mr. James Vesely
Editorial Page Editor
The Seattle Times

Mr. Jeffery Vincent
President & CEO
Laird Norton Company

Mr. Wally Walker
President & CEO
Seattle SuperSonics & Seattle Storm

Mr. Robert Wallace
Wallace Properties, Inc.

Mr. James Warjone
Chairman & General Partner
Port Blakely Companies

Mr. J. Tayloe Washburn
Executive Committee Chair
Foster Pepper PLLC

Mr. Bob Watt
VP, Gov & Community Relations
The Boeing Company

Mr. Stephen Welch
Todd Pacific Shipyard

Ms. Monica Whaley
Executive Director
National Center for APEC

Ms. Kathleen Wilcox
President & CEO

Mr. Bruce Williams
Chairman & CEO
HomeStreet Bank

Ms. Colleen Willoughby
Washington Women's Foundation

Ms. Kate Wilson
Washington Council for International Trade

Mr. Scott Woodward
Vice President for External Affairs
University of Washington

Mr. H.S. Wright III
Chairman & CEO
Seattle Hospitality Group LLC

RSS icon Comments


Yes, clearly the people who actually run things in this town should follow the open model of the pride parade.

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 10:52 AM

HMMM. I kinda wondered why neither the times nor the pi have run any stories in the past couple of years about the financings and tax impacts of Sound Transit.

Numerous property developers and commercial landlords are on that list. Their wealth shoots up when those trains pump thousands of extra workers downtown daily.

And look at how well the financiers (and general legal services providers) for ST are represented:

Mr. James Ellis
Founding Partner
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Hon. Slade Gorton
Of Counsel
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. William Neukom
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. David Tang
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP

Mr. J. Tayloe Washburn
Executive Committee Chair
Foster Pepper PLLC

Ms. Judith Runstad
Of Counsel
Foster Pepper PLLC

Mr. Peter Joers
President, Bank of America Washington

Posted by Ogelthorpe, Marris | May 7, 2007 11:13 AM

Oh, my gosh! Yes, the fact that a multi-billion dollar project involves banks and lawyers -- conspiracy! The fix is in! They're hiding something from us!

We should just let the trains build themselves, organically.

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 11:18 AM

Dagny Taggart would not approve.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 7, 2007 11:25 AM

@ 3 wrote: " The fix is in! They're hiding something from us!"

I agree. When the city's power elite wanted SMP to go down in that vote, the dailies published stories highlighting how many years of the tax there would be (50 years, est.) and what the YOE costs would be - about $11.5 billion. Those figures included financing costs and the effects of inflation.

But with RTID and ST2 coming up, the media organs in this CDR have not reported the costs in that way.

I'm with fnarf - the dailies (and entercom - 710 KIRO pimps the upcoming ballot meausre) are slanting their coverage to keep the real financial details of the upcoming ballot measure hidden.

Posted by The Original Kenjei | May 7, 2007 11:36 AM

Sarcasm is lost on you, apparently.

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 11:41 AM

I read fnarf sticks quarters up his nose.

Posted by The Original Kenjei | May 7, 2007 11:44 AM


Let's say ST2 is approved. Do you agree that it would provide additional taxing authority to ST for spending on projects described in Sound Move? That'd be allowed under sec. 2 of SHB 1396, which passed this past session.

What is your estimate of the sum of the annual tax collections over the next five decades by both ST and RTID over the next five decades (assuming the measure in November passes)?

Look, if you don't have a clue, that's fine too ... just say so.

Posted by The Original Kenjei | May 7, 2007 11:49 AM

Sotty, fnarf, I'm with Josh on this one. This is where I came in 40 years ago, except that the movers and shakers met at the Rainier Club then.

Nothing will ever stop power from exercising power, but I want all the daylight on it that I can get, and so should you.

Posted by ivan | May 7, 2007 11:57 AM

I meant sorry. Fucking typos.

Posted by ivan | May 7, 2007 11:58 AM

Kenjei: I don't give a fucking shit. I want them to build the fucking train, period. The time for questioning the project is long past. Fucking over a few dollars in the financing plan at this point amounts to sabotage, and I don't like it. I want them to build the fucking train.

Which is not germane to the point I was originally trying to make, which is that the presence of important local figures from politics, banking, and law in a multi-billion dollar civic project is neither surprising or offensive. Who do YOU want to run it, Vern Fonk?

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 11:59 AM

I want them to build an atomic-powered magnetic train!!!1!

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 7, 2007 12:01 PM

Josh, this is interesting. Is this a "Public" council, or funded with tax dollars in any way? Would it not then be subject to the state open meetings laws? Perhaps not, as there are no *current* political officals on the list.

You raise an excellent point about the appearances created by the participation of not only the Times and P-I, but also several broadcast media companies, as well as the Puget Sound Business Journal.

We should not assume there's anything sinister going on, as I'm sure there are a number of very positive things this group promotes for the greater good of the community. But it's very much an all-powerful, well-monied group of people, and it never hurts to have some scrutiny by the Fourth Estate.

What reporter is going to risk their job by taking a critical view of a group in which the people who sign their paycheck is a member?

Maybe The Stranger could dig into the activities of this group a bit more, since no other media here in town is likely to do so.

Oh, and where did you get that list? Seems like a lot of "private" information in there. If this isn't a public council, then are you violating any journalistic ethics rules by publishing all of the contact details (and admin assistants) for this Council?

Posted by Watchdog | May 7, 2007 12:14 PM

Uh, those are the same financiers who put together the Seattle Monorail Project's financing scheme. They are now trying to pitch ST2 and RTID. There are less taxpayer protection provisions in this November's ballot measure than there were for SMP.

Fnarf's reaction, while understandable out of a four-year-old (he wants his choo choo, whatever it costs), is not what we need out of voters in the fall. The cost issues need to be vetted well, and that hasn't happened in the mainstream media.

Posted by Red Flag | May 7, 2007 12:16 PM

Looks like Josh got turned down at the P-I, which is too bad because we were expecting that big expose on Tim Keck.

Posted by 6th and Wall | May 7, 2007 12:37 PM

Although I somewhat agree with Josh's point about the hypocrisy of Mr. Bunting's editorial -- a simple line disclosing his and other publishers' membership in the CDR would've at least brought some perspective to this piece -- we're taking this a bit too far.

Find me one newspaper whose publisher, executive editor or similar executive isn't involved with at least one civic organization -- be it the chamber of commerce, elks club or anything similar -- and I'll show you a publication that not only is missing stories that occur "behind closed doors" but also isn't doing its part as a local business.

Given the NY Times' recent past -- especially in light of Judith Miller's blunders -- pulling out of the correspondents dinner likely was a good and interesting PR move for the NY Times . And it does bring to light the ethical questions that come with media participation and coverage of these events, as Bunting writes.

But to imply that membership in the CDR constitutes being a part of some secret, hooded clique that decides what's covered in the papers and what isn't is juvenile and absurd. Let's give some credit to reporters for not being weasels.

Posted by frederick r | May 7, 2007 12:44 PM

The dailies aren't reporting on the true costs of RTID + ST2 because the editors are in the CDR.

The dailies aren't reporting on the true costs of RTID + ST2 because the "pro" side of the campaign is buying their silence (both with promises of campaign spending AND promises of post-victory ad purchases).

And FNARF - given the sorry history in this burg of voters being suckered, I strongly suggest you read every damn word of what you will be asked to approve in November. And that goes far beyond the ballot title in your Voters' Guide.

Your response seems selfish, FNARF (I'm sure you didn't mean it that way). This is not about whether any of us personally wants trains. It is about the costs to the poorest in our region of these regressive taxes, versus the benefits to the poorest in our region of the commuter trains. Don't be suckered in by the pitch: "it'll just cost you a latte a day!!!!!" RTID and ST2 is not about you or me. It is about the poorest in our community who don't need more sales taxes heaped on them. If you can't reasonably determine what the economic costs from the taxes would be during the next six decades, then you have no business voting for it (even if the notion of shiny new trains really seems exciting to you).

Just my two cents . . . .

Posted by old stones | May 7, 2007 1:03 PM

@17: The notion that the daily newspapers are being bought with promises of ST/RTID campaign advertising is pretty laughable. Newspaper ads have only represented a small part of campaign spending in the last 25 years--most of the bucks go to mailing and TV/radio buys.

@3: Monorail conspiracy theories are old and sad. So are old monorail supporters who just can't let go.

Posted by J.R. | May 7, 2007 1:15 PM

Sarcasm fails twice in the same post! Amazing.

I agree with you, J.R.

Old stones, if you're going to demand an absolutely spotless, perfect funding plan, you're going to get nothing. Nothing is what we've had too much of. In fifty years, nobody will give a shit what the ballot initiative looked like; they will, however, be pissed if their train is a half-assed joke line. Besides, we already know that the tax system blows and is unfair. I don't care. JUST BUILD IT.

Posted by Fnarf | May 7, 2007 1:22 PM

So, what's the name for the planning cabal of Dick Falkenbury, Peter Sherwin, Grant Cogswell, Joel Horn, Cindi Laws and Dan Savage? The "Back of the Napkin Brotherhood?"

Posted by Lionel Hutz | May 7, 2007 1:40 PM

Fnarf, from my experience, people whose sarcasm is continually misunderstood typically need to tone down on or rethink their sarcasm.

Posted by Jude Fawley | May 7, 2007 5:19 PM

"RTID and ST2 is not about you or me. It is about the poorest in our community who don't need more sales taxes heaped on them."

Uh, the poorest - those who need mass transit the most, old stones?

What taxing source would you recommend? Property taxes?

At least business pays about half of all sales tax, and people who don't make a lot don't buy a lot of crap at Restoration Hardware.

Posted by BigD | May 8, 2007 6:12 PM

The ST trains and commuter buses don't serve the poor (for the most part). They are a commute alternative for middle and upper middle class long-term employees who have jobs in downtown Seattle and Bellevue. Lots of government workers, and MSFT workers if Phase 2 passes. The people who don't make a lot are retirees on fixed incomes, the unemployed, those who get random grey-economy jobs, temp workers, and the self employed. They don't commute. Yet they'd be paying the sales tax on their light bulbs and shoes for their kids and toothpaste and jeans and socks and school supplies. We are near the top of the country in sales tax already, and adding more on this region just for commuter subsidies (and to increase developers' profits) is bad policy and harmful to families.

Posted by Yrba | May 9, 2007 7:18 AM

Hello everyone, wanna be part of some kind of community, possible here? anyone here?

Posted by Buy antivirus online | May 10, 2007 2:07 PM

Thanks for posting this, Josh. It is interesting. Especially how not all companies active in this area in particular sectors, be it high-tech, media, or financial, are represented here.
Now if we can get some info as to what are the topics at the meeting, who are the organizers, who attends, etc. maybe from the same source who provided the membership list?

Posted by reader | May 11, 2007 8:34 AM

fnarf states he doesn't care and wants "the train" built, yet the same power group killed a project that wasn't a boondoggle, didn't have all these KICKBACKS built into it, and didn't make a bunch of people millionaires - it was called the Monorail project - and would have cost considerable less - been considerably more valuable in the event of natural catastrophes - and riddled with far less corruption (if any at all!).

Posted by sgt_doom | May 11, 2007 12:49 PM


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Posted by Bill | May 12, 2007 6:57 PM

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