Though, I don’t live in the district the Tonasket hospital is in, it interests me because one way or another it touches our lives, be it monetary, a little bit of something citizens all over the country are standing up to, an example of integrity vs entitlement syndrome, etc. Going in with nothing but my interest, I left with much frustration and some serious concerns with the behavior of many.
When the man with the black suit came in (he wasn’t at the first hearing) I was thinking he was with the defense, given the jovial way he approached them and started conversing with Mr. Howe about some statute. Imagine my surprise when he was introduced as the Civil Deputy from the Prosecutor’s office! The judge did relay his inexperience with the recall process and I think he lost control of the court room after that.
The plaintiffs ask some real valid procedural questions. Mr. Howe having apparently worked with the gentleman in different legal capacities over a couple of decades, was that a conflict of interest? Living in small communities many have had to use the same professionals and have had to deal with the same issue.The second question, this is not an action against the hospital district but the commissioners as individuals, is using the district paid attorney a conflict of interest? Hmmm both great points.When the judge let Mr. Howe answer that it seemed questionable.
After that it just turned ugly. In my opinion since the judge and Mr. Howe had created terms that if it were dismissed on technicality or charges were heard and found insufficient they couldn’t be brought back. Which seemed dubious after the judge explained the process, listening to them talk about procedural issues and that ‘it would fail’ from the very beginning.Many were left thinking that the hospital attorney wanted the plaintiffs to take the bait and just go through with it. And when they refused to push through Mr. Howe asked for a judgement against them and the judge allowed it.
This is the furthest thing from frivolous and there seemed to be technical errors on all sides, so what are the grounds for the judgement? Since one commissioner was out of state and on was on the phone, If their administration was not part of the hearing why did they take the day off and why should the judgement include their time as Mr. Howe insisted? Now I don’t think I believe what the couple sitting in front of me seemed to take from it, “a perfect example of one elected official protecting other elected officials on the tax payers nickel” but it really does leave one wondering who was controlling the courtroom that afternoon.