Friday, February 16, 2007

Will The Josh Brown spectacle ever end?

It was Will Rogers who said, “There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.” That kind of sums up my feelings about a lot of what’s happened around here lately.

At the local level, the whole Josh Brown residency circus was finally settled in court. Our democracy worked the way it’s supposed to. Whether you agreed with the outcome or not, it’s time to move on.

While it seems to me to be a moot point now, Bainbridge Island resident James Olson, challenged Brown’s residency to the county Canvassing Board claiming he had “clear and convincing evidence” that would prove Brown didn’t live at the address he claimed.

The Canvassing Board is made up of Auditor Karen Flynn, Prosecutor Russ Hauge, and Commissioner Chris Endresen. All are Democrats and all donated money to Brown’s campaign. Endresen was quoted as saying she believes Olson’s challenge is “harassment by sore losers,” yet said she has no problem being impartial.

Olson understandably asked for a change of venue — which Flynn denied — and the hearing was set for Feb. 15. At the last minute, Olson withdrew the complaint, citing a “conflict of interest” on the part of the Canvassing Board. He then filed a felony complaint against Brown. In his trial testimony, Brown admitted under oath to what could be interpreted as a Class C felony.

After Olson withdrew the Canvassing Board complaint, Brown’s attorney said he would file a counterclaim for perjury. Olson dismissed it as “lawyerly bluster.” Stay tuned.

Will Hauge actually pursue the felony charge? Probably not — unless he is compelled to.

In my view, no matter what he does from this point forward, Brown will always be damaged goods politically. The outcome of the trial won’t really matter because most people understand he won on what amounts to a legal technicality. The question of his basic honesty will always dog him. Meanwhile, threats and attempts to intimidate citizens into silence who criticize his actions will only do him more harm than good with voters in the long run. Is it just me, or does Brown not realize he is continuing to dig himself into a deeper and deeper hole?


  1. Jim S1:48 AM

    Lary, Lary, Lary

    Point 1
    As Auditor Flynn pointed out there is no provision in law for a change in venue for a canvassing board. However, Olsen could have appealed an adverse decision on to court if he felt the decision was based on prejudice by the board members as opposed to sound legal reasoning.

    Point 2
    Be clear, Josh Brown did not file the perjury complaint against Olsen, John Morgan and I filed the complaint. Josh had no knowledge of the filing until after the fact.

    Point 3
    When an experienced judge rules that had the defendant (Brown)presented no evidence at all, the plaintiff (Ross)would still have lost, that is hardly "...he won on what amounts to a legal technicality." However, your statement to that effect appears to demonstrate personal bias and an attempt to spin non-supportive facts to support your contention.

    I am sure your posting will be red meat for those upset with Josh Brown's election.

    However, for me Lary, nice try but no banana!

  2. Point 1.
    We don't disagree that if Olson is serious, perhaps it would have better if he had at least gone through the motions with the Canvassing Board. However, given the makeup of the board, and all that has surrounded this situation (Endresen's quote for example), it's easy to see why he doesn't believe he can get a fair hearing there. But like I said, it seems to me the entire point about Josh's residency is moot anyway, so why bother at all?

    Point 2
    Morgan is Josh's lawyer and defended him at the trial. He was obviously there to address the Canvassing Board as well. To say Josh had no knowledge of Morgan's threatened action against Olson may very well be true, but makes passing the straight face test pretty difficult.

    However, what I find extermely disturbing, is the idea that Josh, or Morgan, or whoever, will use the legal system to attempt to silence a critic, essentially denying them their First Amendment right. Josh is a public figure. If he can't stand the heat generated by his own words and actions, he needs to get out of the kitchen.

    Point 3
    Josh did essentially win on a technicality. That being the weight the judge gave to the Dumas case about what the exact residency requirements are, and the fact he didn't feel the case involving the Wenatchee mayor was as applicable.

    Did Ross put on a credible case? Not in my view - especially when you take into account the investigator testified he couldn't find Josh anywhere on the day he was sworn into office. But where Josh was wasn't the main issue in the case. As Morgan successfully argued, it was about what constituted legal "residency" not how much time he actually spent in the apartment.

  3. If Olsen wants to keep throwing his public hissy fit, let him. Wasting time and energy on this means less time and energy to spend on things like the upcoming 2008 campaign season.

    The longer this goes on, the more credibility they lose. According to your own blog here, the PI they hired to investigate Brown changed his story on the stand.

    Olsen really needs to just drop this whole thing and move on. After the first trial against Brown, does he honestly think this next one will be different?

  4. Denise9:36 PM

    Olson has a valid point. Did Josh commit a felony or not? Based on his testimony, I think he did, and I think it needs a full public hearing.

    I'm a Democrat and I voted for Josh, but what I have seen since then disturbs me greatly. I DO NOT want someone who believes he is above the law representing ME, and it seems like that what Josh believes.

    I say, let Olson have his day in court and make Josh prove he didn't break the law,!

  5. Keith4:05 PM

    I have to agree with Denise. I too voted for Josh and am more than a little pissed off about what amounts to his intentional deception.

    And now his lawyer is filing charges against the guy asking the questions? To me that's not only wrong, it's downright scary. Is Josh SO arrogant he thinks he can shut down people who don't agree with him by using the legal system?

    We learned a lot about him during the trial - maybe more than he wanted us to know, because it seems he isn't the same guy I thought I voted for.