Shameless in Seattle 2012
The most disastrous gaffes, misguided crimes, and outrageous acts of ignominy of the year.
» We’re a lot like you—only without imaginary dead pets.
Tacoma police charged Yevgeniy Samsonov with insurance fraud when he allegedly filed a claim with PEMCO insurance for $20,000 for his dearly departed cat—a dearly departed cat that, it turns out, never existed. Samsonov is also believed to have tried the same scam, again for $20,000, for a dead parrot. As proof of the deceased bird, he provided PEMCO with a photo of a dead parakeet (not a parrot.)
» And now back to our regularly scheduled guiltless accumulation of high-tech, dubiously sourced gadgets.
We learned in March that former Seattle-ite and life-at-Amazon chronicler Mike Daisey fabricated much of his one-man show The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs—about the treatment of Chinese workers who build Apple products—when portions of the play ran on Public Radio International’s This American Life and the fact-checkers pounced. The radio show apologized.
» Like on The Apprentice, except with a confused, frustrated crank of a boss shouting stuff—so actually, exactly like on the The Apprentice.
Philip Dawdy, spokes-stoner for medical-marijuana advocacy group Safe Access Alliance, got pink-slipped in the middle of his own press conference in August when a competing group, with a similar agenda, crashed the conference and so frustrated Kurt Boehl—Safe Access’s president and Dawdy’s boss—that he turned on Dawdy and shouted, “You’re fired!”
» Tell everyone! But it’s a secret.
In September event organizer Michaela Graham pitched her “secret” unregulated, underground food market—at a Redmond warehouse—to food and drink reporters. But when the event caught the attention of King County Public Health Department inspectors (and a number of vendors got spooked) she blamed those food and drink reporters for, you know, reporting on the event.
» Then she unfriended her mom on Facebook.
Chronic U.S. congressional candidate Darcy Burner—this time gunning for Jay Inslee’s open seat in the 1st District—sent out a campaign flyer proudly featuring a photo of President Obama and his family. Never mind that she had spent the previous year hate-tweeting about the POTUS (choice missive: “This is news, that progressives have lost with this president? Barack Obama is (sadly) neither a progressive nor a populist.”)
In July, Kathlyn Ehl, a policy aide to then gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, was forced to resign after she posted tweets that were ageist (“If it takes you an entire green light to walk in front of my car GET A WHEELCHAIR #toooldtowalk”) and racist (“shut up and speak english #asians”).
» Clearly not ready for prime time
The first game of 2012 Major League Baseball, played in Tokyo between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics, took place at 3am local time. Most people didn’t even know it happened.
Good for football. Bad for Seattle pride.
Yes, the Seahawks beat the Packers, but it’s hardly cause for celebration when the victory is the result of one of the worst referee gaffes in NFL history. Golden Tate’s last microsecond touchdown “catch” in September finally made the league buckle, reenter union negotiations, fire the nonunion replacement officials, and bring back the real refs.
» And look who’s out of a job now.
In April, a woman who works with high school girls at the YMCA asked gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, in a recorded conversation, for his opinion on the Reproductive Parity Act. His response: “Why don’t you go get a job?”
» He didn’t really want to be a congressman anyway.
During a debate in September, U.S. congressional candidate John Koster said that immigrant farm workers should be tagged with a bar code and digitally tracked like, um, cattle (“If we can track cattle with chips, we can certainly provide a way for citizens to go through a process to be legal in this country”).
But maybe he’s really, really good at karaoke?
In September, after downing two pitchers of beer at the Tower Lanes bowling alley, Christopher Clifford of Tacoma asked employees if he could use the PA system to belt out a karaoke number. When he was told he couldn’t, he allegedly went into a table-throwing (it broke), glass-door kicking (it shattered), and racist rampage (he called an employee the N-word) before leaving the bowling alley, only to be arrested in front of his house soon after.
» A room with a racy view
Spectrum Dance Theatre’s The Miraculous Mandarin, a series of free performances scheduled to occur in the windows of the Bush Hotel in the International District in May, was abruptly canceled when Storefronts Seattle—a city-supported organization—pulled its sponsorship, citing the reason as the show’s “sexual depictions and implied nudity.”
» Man’s best ticket disposal
After discovering that his dog Sierra had eaten his Masters golf tournament tickets, a Seattle man forced the pooch to upchuck the passes, which he pieced back together again.
» Two blackouts, one drunk driver
Police in Colville arrested 28-year-old Robert Bankston for what has to be the wildest joyride in the history of the 4,700-person Eastern Washington town. Bankston allegedly glugged vodka and 14 beers before stealing a dump truck and careening through town, taking out light poles and power lines and leaving residents without power for two hours.
» That’s not really how these things work, Brad.
In September state senate candidate Brad Toft requested—and was denied—a restraining order against a former employee at whom he had allegedly swung a baseball bat.
» He also offered a Fort Lewis gym membership in exchange for a pedicure.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier Sylvester Haliburton was arrested in October after allegedly posing as an undercover police officer, picking up prostitutes, and threatening them with jail time unless they give him “a free blow job.”
Please don’t touch the red buttons.
In October, a bomb squad was called in when witnesses noticed a suspicious wooden box—fitted with two red push buttons—under the Aurora Bridge. Police blocked off streets. Boaters in nearby Lake Union were told to stay offshore. Then a 29-year-old UW grad student showed up to pick up the box—which just so happened to be nothing more than his college art project.
» Till social media do us part
Alan O’Neill of Tacoma pled guilty to attempted bigamy charges after his wife discovered the existence of his other wife via Facebook’s handy “people you may know” notification. The second wife’s profile pic was a photo of her and O’Neill standing next to a wedding cake.
» Also starring Nick Nolte’s mug shot
We learned in March that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch will appear in Matt’s Chance, a film chock full of D-listers—Edward Furlong from Terminator 2, Margot Kidder from the original Superman movies, and Gary Busey from nothing anyone’s seen in the past decade.
» Yeah, that’s the guy we want watching our money.
It was revealed in September that state auditor candidate Troy Kelley was accused, in a 2010 federal lawsuit, of “fraudulently transferring funds, intentional spoliation of evidence, shady business schemes, tax evasion” and hiding $3.8 million from creditors.
» Wanted: a nice jail cell
A Seattle man was arrested after he posted flyers (which included his real name and cellphone number) around town advertising that he had meth to sell—flyers one intrepid undercover narcotics officer responded to.
» The force is a little too strong with this one.
Permanent right-wing ballot-initiative mercenary—and sometime Darth Vader costume wearer—Tim Eyman grabbed headlines throughout yet another year, this time for a convoluted legal challenge regarding his Initiative 1185, a legal challenge for which he insisted on representing himself, and which he handily lost.
» Tree slugger
Former Mariner John Olerud made headlines in September when, frustrated that he couldn’t see the Seattle skyline from his $4 million home, he requested that his neighbor be forced to cut down a Chinese pine tree.
» You are now free to panic about the cabin.
On a Burbank-to-Seattle flight in July, an Alaska Airlines passenger noticed a wing flap that looked as if a piece had been gouged out of it. But have no fear passengers! Airline maintenance workers had helpfully written a sign on the wing with an arrow pointing to the gash: “We know about this.”