Justice For You

Island Life


So, maybe you know the know the ad? There is this guy on the street with good hair and a suit- I have no idea how expensive it might be, the suit that is. He is walking along and then reaches for his cell phone and starts to talk. Wow, you are thinking, this guy is really accessible. Here he is, out there on the street in a nice suit and good hair, dealing with whatever rigors the street might throw at him, like maybe a slight breeze or the sun or the fact that a person who is not a lawyer and who just passed him by actually trod upon his shadow. This guy is tough and accessible and is here to fight for you no matter the hardship. That’s the picture- while in the background there is this voice over talking about personal injury lawsuits and how before you even take another breath after you get your own shadow stepped on or your lap violated by a spilled cup of hot coffee, you should first get this guy’s free book about the importance of lawyers- you know, as written by the guy with the suit and the hair and is out on the street with his cell phone just waiting for your call. He is waiting because he has been ordained as a lawyer and therefore can sign his name without reproach with an added “esquire” at the end. And because he is a lawyer he can do what no one else can do, and that is get you some justice, and maybe some money. But mostly justice, because that is the punch line of this ad- the big finish- Justice(!) for you.

It’s all pretty amazing really. Here we are in this cruel and unjust world, and all it takes to get me some justice is a lawyer (and some money). As it turns out, almost every time I see this ad it gives me pause, and generally evokes a verbal response here along the lines of: “justice for you- yeah, right”; or “justice for you- blow me”; or “justice for you- and whose bank account?” One might say that there seems to be a hint of cynical disdain being exhibited here, and one (or more) might be quite right in that observation. What I could say in response to that is that in my three, fairly recent experiences with a lawyer’s justice, I have not seen results that would allow a line to be drawn, either straight or curved or even mildly erratic, that might connect the words lawyer and justice on any page. As a macro example I would simply point to the teevee or this computer or anything containing a current headline out there about the present, orange occupant of the White House who has avoided justice so far, thanks to the work of his lawyers and the head lawyer of these United States, as well with a little help from his media minions- this seems to be about to change. As a personal example of lawyers and justice or the lack thereof, I can reference the antics of my only sibling and her actions in violation of my parents’ wills and trusts, whilst my parents’ lawyer as the named, co-executor of the estate, did nothing (at best) to stop her. And then of course there is the ongoing saga of the Vashon Park District and the VES fields debacle, which to tell the truth, I thought we were done with. But it seems that in spite of field play and regular water use to keep the grass alive as it persists in its sand based environment, the fields are not yet complete.

If anyone has been wondering or has forgotten the reason why the VPD has been and continues to be in economic distress, it is because of the efforts of two former parks commissioners who decided to rebuild a set of soccer and baseball fields without really having the money to do it. As the budget  for basic operations got consumed by the project, staff was let go, programs were cancelled and the parks plunged toward insolvency. With the departure of the two main perpetrators of the project and the installation of a new director, the parks teetered back towards viability. But with the “new” fields winding up costing more than twice their original estimate, certain pieces of the project had to be delayed or altered. The problem was and is though, there were state monies involved with a requirement attached that the project be completed, which only seems right. The problem(s) is/are that a bunch of the things that have been done there were never in compliance with King County ordinances from the start, and so finishing things up requires that stuff needs to be done that automatically violates current codes. I know this because I have a friend who, in the parlance of these and other times, is a whistleblower. When I see her about town we talk of basic things. When I see her name show up on my phone, it has and still does mean that something probably related to Parks and VES is, or is going to be, amiss or afoot.

This was the case the other day when Gay Rosser called to say that the field lights were being installed at VES and she had nearly been arrested while trying to explain to the contractors and the officers that the permits being used to allow the installation had parcel tax codes associated to the project that referred to a private property out in Issaquah. This, to my ears, was just the latest in a litany of debacles surrounding permits and drawings and this project. I was recalling way back in the midst of this mess, when Gay showed me the set of original drawings for the fields that had the eastern boundary of the project drawn over the roof of her house, which meant that perhaps this structure- her home-was expendable as far as the kids soccer field was concerned. When a number of objections were raised about the possibility of someone’s home on Vashon being destroyed to make way for a soccer pitch, the old, historic gym that was included in the original drawings, suddenly was found to have terminal structural damage and it was razed so they could move the project lines to the west. I could go on, but that would require more refreshing than my brain cares to handle right now. Besides, what is more important to point out is that at least one of the original parks commissioners has been back on the behind the scenes recently with his efforts to find some justice for these cursed fields, and even though there were no permits to get these lights installed for the longest time, David Hackett, an apparent lawyer extraordinaire and peddler of rural justice (perhaps he learned something from country lawyer Giuliani) seems to have found a way to install field lights on Vashon with permits from Issaquah. What will be equally fascinating will be to see how the four existing water tanks where only one is permitted gets spun so that they conform to some other code apart from the one that allows only one tank in that situation. It will also be interesting to seed whether the dugouts at the baseball field there ever get an actual roof, which would then change their current definition as a fence into one of a covered structure, and thusly put them out of compliance with current codes as well. It’s kind of a mess, not unlike, in principle anyway, the mess of the current president’s own making. Gay will undoubtedly keep blowing the whistle, which I’m sure any lawyer in the house would do as well if this were going on next to their house. I would suspect that if there had been a lawyer next door to begin with, this would not have made it off the table to anywhere close to THEIR backyard. As it is, Gay would like some lawyerly advice with all this- Pro bono would be nice. But don’t think of it as being free- more like what my high school Latin class taught me- for the good. Let me know- I’ll get you in touch.

As for the last two bits of justice, I have come to believe that what I experienced with my sister stealing most of what my parents left me is not unlike what is happening on the national scene with our p.o.s. POTUS. They seem to have very similar characters. My sister seemingly would screw anybody over to get what she wants, and so, apparently, would the current but soon to be asterisked president of the United States. I am not ever going to get back what my sister stole, either in a monetary sense, nor will I ever recover the lost sense of family. Most of what I think about in terms of justice in any of this always seems to turn to vengeance, which in the end would get me to a place much less than I’m at right now. I can only see any justice in this coming out of a scenario of magic realism, where my parents show up out of the mist and I am briefly able to say to them, “look what your trust in her has wrought.” That of course would get me relatively nowhere, but it would be rather cinematic and ultimately fairly cool.

What I see as justice for Mr. Trump would be something, again, of his own making, or unmaking if you will. What I would like to see happen is for him to be impeached and removed from office and found guilty of some crimes which would warrant incarceration, all of which seems to be a not too distant possibility. Rather than an actual prison (for profit or not), I would like to see him confined to house arrest on the top floor of Trump tower for the rest of his life, so his family would incur the cost of his confinement. He would have his phone taken away and his twitter account suspended. He would be able to watch television,  but have no way to call anybody to rant or complain to. He would also have to watch just the news, which would be restricted on the cable box to CNN or MSNBC, and he would not be able to leave the room when the news described each and every one of his executive orders being rolled back and his judicial appointments annulled, including both Supreme Court justices. One of the rooms in the penthouse could have an artificial putting green, but all four walls would have screens that played a constant, repeating loop of Barack Obama playing a full 18 holes of golf. Oh, I forgot one thing- there would be a permanent ban on anyone ever being able to say Donald Trump’s name on radio or teevee ever again. Of course college professors and stand up comedians in non-broadcast situations would be exempt. For me, that would be justice- anything less would be uncivilized, and certainly nowhere near as much fun.