Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MLK, FAME, and the Seattle Times

Lynne Varner of the Seattle Times wrote another editorial on the sale of MLK to the First AME Church. Apparently the parties are getting together on Thursday to discuss the Church's ability and willingness to fulfill the covenants of the sales agreement.

That provided her with the occasion to cluck her tongue at this a bit more, like a pekingese tugging at a linebacker's pants cuff. She fretted that the District could suffer "a loss of fundamental trust and credibility". Seriously. Only people at the Times think the District has any trust or credibility left to lose.

The thing that struck me most about the piece was how it cast Ron English as tragic hero of this little drama. He alone stood up for the right thing, but his expert input (and the unanimous opinion of a committee formed to pick a buyer for MLK) was cast aside and overridden by the evil Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson (never mentioned by name) and the scheming Fred Stephens. Now the bitter irony: Mr. English (poor, honorable Mr. English) must, as the District's lawyer, defend the choice of FAME. Oh! Is there no relief from this honorable man's suffering?

That's a different role for Mr. English than the one the Times cast for him in the original story on this controversy.

The District leadership claims that they are all about earning the public's trust. So which path will better suit their political goals? A) Undoing the sale to purge the cronyism or B) Keeping their contract. Either way they will be breaking faith with someone.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's what I pointed out in the Times'comment section:

n the Times article about this issue, district lawyer, Ron English, was quoted as saying this:

"English said the district does not keep tabs on property owners, such as First AME, to see if they use the buildings as promised."

I contacted DeBell and Maier after that to ask why was it so important to sell to First AME (because of their promises to youth programming) if the district wasn't going to watch that it happened. Their answers:

DeBell:The Covenant Document with all of the District's requirements for community use and access is attached to the deed. According to Ron English and my own experience, those requirements are enforceable for the 40 year life of the Covenants regardless of a change in ownership. We will enforce the terms of sale regardless.

Maier:There is a Covenant, recorded and running with the land, that binds any owner of the property to the terms that First AME agreed. This is a fairly common method used in real estate transactions to ensure purchaser's promises are enforceable against any party who may acquire the property in the future.

I wrote them back with English's statement and asked, "Who will enforce this deal?"

Dead silence.

I feel confident the State Auditor's team will figure this out. The rest is up to the Board.

Worried Mad Valley parent said...

This explains the sign that was posted at MLK school yesterday: Space for Lease.

I didn't write down the phone number, but if anyone is interested, I can post it tomorrow.

*Sarcasm ahead* Maybe Lowell could rent out some classrooms.

At least someone cut the grass--FINALLY!!!

Worried Mad Valley parent

Cap'n Billy Keg said...

Ah... Shades of the "Queen Anne H.S." debacle...

Mark T. Weber said...

This is a time when leadership is needed. If First AME is using the building, fine let them continue but conditionally. Then unwind the deal. This certainly won't be the first real estate deal that's gone south.

After all the hooting and yelling has quieted down some, bring the three original player together to see if a compromise can be worked between them where they all use the property. It seems their aims are not that dissimiliar.

If they can't come to an agreement, go back to square one and follow the procedures set forth in SPS policies only, this time, do it out in the open.

There would certainly be some push-back from First AME and from some behind-the-scenes politicans, but isn't that what real leadership is about. Making a stand for what's right.

wondering said...

Lynne Varner states there will be a meeting on Thrusday with the state, auditors and SPS.

Does anyone know time and place?

basically said...

The editorial says it was 'updated'. In a major way? I don't think I read the original version.

basically said...

The editorial says it was 'updated'. In a major way? I don't think I read the original version.

Dorothy Neville said...

I see it says corrected, not updated. At the bottom it explains that it was corrected because University Heights was not sold to Broadway Bound. And that's an error that no one familiar with the University Heights Building would have made. Broadway Bound is only one of many tenants (and a recent one at that). I don't know who purchased the building. Probably a cooperative venture. Funny how the article links Broadway Bound and the U Heights building to Rainier Beach High School because they are miles and miles away from each other.

As for the Thursday meeting, I don't see where it says Auditors, just the State. And I also do not see any time or place listed. Is this the SAO investigation or something else? If it were the SAO report, there wouldn't be any reason for a "what now" discussion. The SAO only gives a factual account, it doesn't have any enforcement authority. Certainly when the SAO showed that the sale of Queen Anne High broke state law, that was the end of discussion.

basically said...

Thanks Dorothy N, I wasn't as desperate to know as my two postings would seem....I don't know why it went through twice..... I thought I scrolled through the article, but I guess not! Thanks for the info.

I love that WV is bullamp. I don't know what that means but it is an awesome word.

CD neighbor said...

Worried Mad Valley Parent, the lawn got mowed via a notice in a neighborhood blog:

First A.M.E.’s Future Community Center neighborhood outreach
First A.M.E.’s Future Community Center Needs You!
Saturday, June 11, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
3201 E. Republican St.

As part of NeighborWorks Week, the Central Area Development Association (CADA) and First A.M.E. Church (F.A.M.E.) are co-sponsoring a community work party to clear the grounds of F.A.M.E.’s future community center (formerly the MLK Jr. Elementary School). Tools, gloves and refreshments will be provided. Volunteer by contacting Erica Porter of CADA at (206) 328-6987.

Here's a link to the post:

seattle citizen said...


A "bullamp" is what the Reformers taking over the district use to project their bullshit to a wider audience. "BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!"

basically said...

Seattle Citizen,

Thank you, I just KNEW it was an awesome word.


Worried Mad Valley parent said...

CD neighbor,
Thanks, I saw that too. Do you know how many volunteers went?

In the past, there were lots of neighbors helping out. Many of them became members of the CCC@MLK.

(We had a graduation to go to.)