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A Measure of Success

The email was a surprise and then it wasn’t. The man was in my scout troop in San Francisco thirty years ago and as a teen was not the best example of the principles of Scouting. In his first interaction with my son, Matt was left in tears. The man tracked me down on the Web in order to make amends. Although unnecessary from my point of view I recognized this step in recovery and agreed to help. I became a scoutmaster mostly to insure that Matt had a safe experience. Boys can


Bigfoot 200 is an endurance run from south of Mount St. Helens to Randle, Washington. It is put on by a company that stages one smaller race here and a similar race at Lake Tahoe. The whole endurance running scene is quite colorful. Ham radio licensees provide much valued support since there is no telephone, no electricity, no cell service, and no Internet. The mountains prove a huge technical challenge for us, but we did it. Friday afternoon Here I am in the Mount St. Helens

General Ham I Am

That’s the General Class Amateur Radio Operator, the next level above Technician which I passed about a month ago. I figured I would reach for the added privileges while I was still “hot” at exam taking. The iPad app was most helpful and after taking practice exams about 20 times, I was ready. I got just one wrong on the 35 question test. Now I can use the high frequency bands, the ones that usually require large radio sets, accessory appliances, and elaborate antennas. The H

Ham I Am

I am now officially KG7LEA for the next ten years! A week ago I took and passed my amateur radio Technician Class exam, one wrong answer out of 35. I checked this morning and the FAA database has my call sign listed and I am free to transmit on any of the authorized frequencies. I am mostly interested in ham radio to be able to help out in the event of an emergency. I’ve trained as a NERT in San Francisco, as a CERT in Seattle, and have drilled with the local volunteers with


In my posts about my work speaking up for abused and neglected children I have mentioned those kids who are adopted once their parents’ rights to them have been terminated. Not all children get adopted, some go to relatives’ homes under third-party custody agreements and some actually go home to their parents. When CPS removes kids from the home, there are reasons. Issues such as mental health or sobriety make it unsafe for the children. The court tells the parents to get the

Turkey Day

My ancestors were at the first one in 1621. Teenagers Elizabeth Tilley and John Howland survived that first winter when her parents died along with many of the other Mayflower passengers. The new settlers had much to be grateful for and not the least of the gratitude was toward their neighbors, the Indians. The Indians taught the English how to survive. Apparently the locals forgave the English for plundering their food stores upon stepping off the Mayflower. They were pretty


I just concluded almost three weeks of trial to terminate the parental rights of a father whose three children were removed from the home (a cheap motel room) three-and-a-half years ago. Well, two were removed. The third was born during the dependency and she is now two-and-a-half. This has been an amazingly complex case that has surprised everyone with its twists and turns (“Oh, THAT case”) and has churned through seven or eight social workers, fifteen or more different publ

Pickups II

I got to use the truck while I was a member of the Civil Air Patrol in Sacramento. The CAP is nominally the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and dates from 1942 when civilians used private planes to search for U-Boats. In the spring of 1966, CAP still flew searches for missing planes, but mostly it was a youth group. We teenagers drilled in Air Force uniforms and dreamed of flying jet planes. Our real flying was limited to orientation flights and instruction in small, even tin


Recently the Seattle Police Department has implemented a training program to address allegations and perceptions of racial profiling. That’s where police take action only because or partly because of a person’s race. It’s a hot political issue and there there isn’t even agreement on the definition, “partly because” or “only because.” As a narcotics agent in the 1970s I did racial profiling based on “partly because” definition handed down to me by my superiors. The profiles we

Small Victory

The year end produced some good news, but I didn’t learn of it until just the other day. One of my foster kids was adopted by her grandmother after two and a half years in care. The case showed the complexities and glitches in even the most straightforward dependency cases. N***’s 17-year-old mother was homeless when she gave birth and the biological father was one of two teenagers with gang affiliations. The mom picked one as the dad for the birth certificate. Mom (in depend


July 14, 2008 I was recently nominated to be a member of the Seattle Police Department Office of Professional Accountability Review Board. This is a seven member panel of citizens which oversees the office that investigates allegations of police misconduct and the discipline system. (That’s me, lower right, at the police academy in 1970, not the new board.) This is actually the second iteration of this board which, for seven years, consisted of three members. Complaints about

Adoption Day

The idea of making new families is completely out of character there. The tiny courtroom sits on the third floor with a view of Third Avenue and the Pioneer Square area. A glass wall separates it from a waiting area where happy, nervous people and fidgety babies and children laugh and chat. One at a time the families file into the courtroom while the people in the waiting room watch through the glass hoping to learn something of what would happen to them. A chalkboard next to

Advocating for Children

May 7, 2008 I had to go through an application process, provide references, be interviewed, undergo a background check, take twenty-four hours of training (plus twelve more hours every year). All that does is teach you what you don’t know. Then you make a choice from among dozens and dozens of gut-wrenching cases involving drugs, alcohol, insanity, and just plain criminal behavior. I have a leg up on most of the other volunteers. I have a background in investigations so readi

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