Accurate Perspective – EP17 – General Election Results

AP | EP17 – General Election Results Accurate Perspective

Accurate Perspective – EP17 – General Election Results

  • The 2022 Elections are almost in the books, and we go over the results in the show and discuss future steps for Republicans and Democrats moving forward in Yakima County. 

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Accurate Perspective – EP16 – Election Integrity in Washington State, what is the latest?

AP | EP16 – Election Integrity in Washington State, what is the latest? Accurate Perspective

EP16 – Election Integrity in Washington State, what is the latest?

With elections right around the corner, we had Bill Bruch from the Washington State Republican Party election integrity committee speak with us on the show.

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Homeless Crisis in Yakima County: We need to do better! (1of2)

The people of Yakima County are getting extremely concerned, and honestly fed up, with our county’s homeless problem. What are our county officials doing to remedy this? It’s easy to forget that we do have good services available, for those who want them. Even still, the growing number of homeless are driving out local businesses in multiple areas all over Yakima County, occupying hotels on 1st Street, and threatening public safety with trafficking, garbage, feces, criminal activity, used needle syringes, and drugs. It got so bad that on October 5th, 2022, over nine tons of rubbish and fecal matter from homeless encampments was airlifted from areas around the Yakima River and Yakima Greenway. This is in addition to dozens of clean-up efforts led by Ladon Linde, The Department of Human Services, The Yakima County Health District, and many local volunteers, to whom we are very thankful! 

Although the homeless crisis seems out of control, did you know that organizations throughout Yakima County have a powerful toolbox of services they utilize to help reduce and prevent homelessness? It’s true! Yakima Neighborhood Health coordinates numerous services to help citizens keep their home or find a new one, assists with utility deposits, etc. Other local organizations provide meals, clothing, coats, and blankets. While many of Yakima County’s services play a synergistic role in the battle to get people back on their feet and treat the whole person/family, there have been glitches in the system at the county office that have hindered some of our best community service providers.  

Yakima County’s Camp Hope, run by Grace City Outreach, is our county’s largest homeless encampment, emergency shelter, and serves as one of our local outreaches. In case you aren’t familiar, an outreach program is where an organization goes out into the community to offer services to the homeless on the streets and on the rivers within the whole Yakima county, even the lower valley. They facilitate substance abuse treatment services through Triumph Treatment Centers, mental health services through Comprehensive Mental Health, medical care, case workers, monitoring, and more.  All this is provided on-site at Camp Hope 5 to 7 days per week.  They are always more than happy to open their doors, hearts, and services to anyone in need. 

Camp Hope shared, however, that local and state governments have made it difficult to provide these services while at the same time asking them to increase bed capacity. Due to multiple financial obstacle courses created by the Yakima County office, grant money has not been reimbursed in a timely manner. As a result, the Camp Hope director and even some willing employees have had to agree to reschedule their payday more than once just to cover the bills. They feel these delays are unfair due to the challenging nature, safety, and care needed to operate this amazing facility in our community.

I asked Mike Kay, the director of Camp Hope, how the process for the funds works. He stated that each year they submit a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) to ask for the funds they will need for the year, and then the Human Services Department divvies up the county’s budget and issues a grant for what the county will cover in that year. Once Mr. Kay knows what kind of budget he is working with, he then has to determine cash flow. As we all know, the sky-high inflation rates and labor costs make budgeting extremely challenging with constant moving targets.

Like other service providers receiving county grant money, Camp Hope is required to spend their cash flow upfront before submitting a detailed expense report for each grant accepted.  Mr. Kay says that it can then take the county up to 60 days or more to reimburse them with the grant money. One reason for the delay is because our county is issuing paper checks in large sums of money and snail-mailing them. In March of this year, Camp Hope’s monthly check was mailed to Detroit, Michigan by mistake. Then their August check was mailed, but somehow returned to the courthouse, where it couldn’t be located, and a replacement check had to be issued. At that point Mr. Kay resolved to pick up the grant checks in person for this particular check.

I asked Mr. Kay, going forward, if the county could notify them when their check was cut, and then he could sign for it and pick it up himself, to which the county told him they didn’t have the manpower. Mr. Kay also didn’t have any answer as to why their monthly payments haven’t transitioned over to wire transfers or ACH payments from the Yakima County Auditor’s Office directly, since they are responsible for issuing these payments. 

We all know that accidents happen, but where is the resolution? This level of incompetence is really disheartening, especially given that these large sums of misplaced money are depended upon by struggling citizens in our community and the good-hearted servants working so hard to make a difference in people’s lives. 

In 2019, Commissioner Vicki Baker assisted Camp Hope in applying for a Covid-related grant for additional shelter space. Mike Kay stated that Baker told him they would be able to purchase portables to house additional new beds and that the grant would even provide additional funds for operating costs. Camp Hope was awarded the federal grant in November 2019, in the amount of $1.1M; $800,000 for the portables and construction, plus an additional $210,000 for operating costs. The construction took about a year, and then the additional funds for operating costs weren’t available for months after that. The county also decided that Camp Hope was not going to own the portables, but rather the county would own them and lease them to Camp Hope for free with the stipulations that Camp Hope is responsible for all maintenance and repairs, plus they will need to ask the county every 2 years if they can still use them. After additional construction costs were tallied, the total remaining operational funds were reduced to around $173,000. Why is this all so important? In short, Camp Hope had to find a way to “foot the bill” for the power and operating costs in the meantime. 

When the contract was eventually finalized on these remaining funds, Camp Hope was forced to “draw down” on these additional operational costs as a completely separate expense report each month. This means that there is now twice the administrative tracking just for the portables, plus the rest of the camp’s operations. Every individual lightbulb, roll of paper towels, and hour of labor must be tracked separately in order to access those funds – AFTER Camp Hope has already spent the money on it! 

 When you add 100-150 beds to a facility, your expenses go up quickly and Camp Hope has had to scrounge up scarce funds. When they don’t receive their checks from the county on time, it hurts. As Mike Kay stated, “A thousand dollars can break us!” Truthfully, a thousand dollar error can break anyone right now. Kay stated that if it weren’t for their amazing donors and his faith in God’s provision, they would be in a much tighter situation right now. 

Proper accounting is important and administrative procedures must be followed,  but what can we do to improve these processes for the good of our community? 

On top of Camp Hope’s grant payment delays, they have also faced dwindling annual grant totals. In 2019, Yakima County established a new Department of Human Services program, led by Esther Magasis, to spearhead aiding the homeless and to disperse the county’s grant money appropriately. This department started out with a $9M budget and has grown to approximately $33M. Unfortunately, our homeless counts have kept growing. 

YearEntity Running Camp HopeNumber Of Beds HostedCamp Hope RFP Annual Operation GrantOutreach RFP Annual GrantCommissionersIn OfficeDept. of Human Services BudgetHomeless in Yakima County(Individuals / Households)
2019Sunrise Outreach(GCO in Aug.)120$475,000$15,000Norm Childress
Ron Anderson
Vicki Baker – Dec.
$9,000,000(first year dept, was created)439 / 328
2020Sunrise Outreach(GCO in Oct.)120$314,000No funds availableNorm Childress
Ron Anderson
Vicki Baker
662 / 523
2021Grace City Outreach250$269,000$50,000(granted late in year)Ron Anderson
Ladon Linde
Amanda McKinney
663 / 553
2022Grace City Outreach250$222,000$53,000Ron Anderson
Ladon Linde
Amanda McKinney

670 / 554

While I applaud Ms. Magasis and her team’s administrative efforts to keep all these contracts, grants, rules, and regulations straight, I firmly believe they need more assistance from the commissioners and law enforcement to find a multi-pronged approach to solving our homeless situation.

In a recent debate Amanda McKinney, Yakima County commissioner Dist. #1, stated, “We need to get to the root cause. Throwing more money at the problem is not the answer, and how we spend that money matters.” McKinney argued that the homeless problem continues because we allow them to choose this lifestyle by providing free services without accountability.  McKinney also mentioned that only about 10% of Yakima county’s homeless actually took advantage of the county’s abundant resources to resolve their homelessness. She voted against  the handing out of more homeless hotel vouchers, unless there is evidence of domestic violence, because this makes drug use and other illegal behaviors too easy. When the homeless are admitted to a shelter, they are searched and supervised, which makes this kind of illegal behavior much more difficult. 

The director of Camp Hope stated they do not allow firearms or drugs on campus and regularly utilize random drug-dog searches. Prescription medications are even locked up in the office where each resident can safely store their medication and sign a record sheet for administration. 

We at Accurate Perspective agree that these hotel vouchers are a waste of our county’s dollars, unless warranted in domestic violence cases. Why would anyone get sober and get a job when they can get a free hotel room on the county’s tab and head to the mission for their free meals?

LaDon Linde, Yakima County commissioner Dist. #3, has been taking the lead on tackling our homeless crisis since before he took office, and has been quoted saying he is “pleased with our effort so far”. However, the public health and safety issues and numerous and expensive clean-up projects, including the recent Operation: Airlift 9 Tons, will continue to be a painful obligation unless we are able to change our strategy to get ahead of this. Linde did not respond to any of our requests for comment or information. 

As our homeless counts keep rising, many of us are wondering what is being done about it? The answer, just like the problem, is multifaceted. While not all people who are suffering homelessness are troubled, we need to take action on the 90% of the homeless population who continue to choose squalor, drugs, and criminal activities as a lifestyle.  Increases in homelessness over the last few years have also been due to factors such as mental health issues, separations or family trauma, tenancy moratorium ending, insatiable inflation rates, and inept political leadership. This is an important time to stay engaged and keep your elected officials accountable.  

Perhaps you, or someone you know, has at one time experienced homelessness? None of us are immune to life’s curveballs. Fortunately, there is a lot of amazing help throughout our community from churches and food shelters, to Camp Hope and UGM, and all the various government orchestrated services. 

Stay tuned for Part II in our effort to unpack our options in tackling the Homeless Crisis in Yakima County.

Accurate Perspective – EP15 – Yakima County Commissioner District 1 Forum!

AP | EP15 – Yakima County Commissioner District 1 Forum! Accurate Perspective

Today we had Angie Girard (D) & Amanda McKinney (R) on for a forum to discuss ongoing issues in Yakima County & their upcoming election in November. 

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Special: Regional Government – Full Breakdown on what it is, and what’s happening!

Special: Regional Government – Full Breakdown on what it is, and what's happening! Accurate Perspective

Today Mark Herr from Center for Self Governance joined us for a special on Regional Government. If you’ve been wondering what it is and want a full breakdown of it, join us!

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YVCOG Crime Center gets $2.8 mil while evading ARPA application process, proof of solvency, voter accountability. part 1 of 2

As September 30th approaches, 151 local applicants are waiting in anticipation for the announcement of who will be awarded ARPA Grant funds for their eligible community work.  In 2021 Yakima County was allocated $48.8 million dollars in ARPA funds from the federal government under the American Rescue Plan Act in order to aid in the COVID-19 pandemic response and economic recovery in our community.

Yakima’s county commissioners (Ladon Linde, Ron Anderson and Amanda McKinney) agreed to a process for vetting applicants and painstakingly created a website detailing under what criteria and exactly how community organizations could apply.  All applications were due June 24th, 2022 and over $155,000,000 million were requested. The first announcement of funds recipients is set for this Friday!  

But one organization, Yakima Valley Conference of Governments (YVCOG), has already been promised $2.8 million of those ARPA funds for their Regional Crime Intelligence Center (RCIC) as a result of a 2-1 decision initiated by Commissioner Linde, outside of the Regular Agenda Meeting, at a work session on July 15th.  

For those unfamiliar, YVCOG was formed in the 1960’s to work on local issues through the Interlocal Agreement Act (ILA), which allows government agencies to collaborate on programs that affect all communities in a region.  They have historically provided fee-based services to local governments, such as transportation services, geographic information services, grant services, and strategic visioning facilitation. 

So why was YVCOG approved for funding before the September 30th decision date?  We emailed Commissioner Linde asking for an explanation of the reason that YVCOG earned the privilege of cutting in line in front of other community organizations and nonprofits.  We received no reply.   

Commissioner McKinney, however, was willing to take the time to explain to us at Accurate Perspective (AP) her reasons for voting “No” on the early approval of funds for the RCIC.  McKinney says she was blindsided by the premature motion for a vote, which was out of line with the agreed process, and that it had nothing to do with whether she believes the concept of a local crime lab is a worthy recipient of the funds.  “It was completely inappropriate to pull one application out of 152, knowing that neither the commissioners, finance director, or staff had even read that application yet,” McKinney said.  

“I am emphatically in support of law enforcement and giving them the tools needed, but we need to make sure we slow down and ask, “Are we doing it the right way?” But that conversation never got to happen,” McKinney lamented. 

Cutting in line for funding, however, is not the only concern that McKinney shared with us about the RCIC proposal.  “I’m concerned about the structure,” shared McKinney.  “Why don’t we take the time to figure out how to do it in a way that the voters can see more clearly. I just want to see them do it in a form that doesn’t create a very confusing bureaucracy for the voter.”  Although YVCOG appears to function like a local government agency, their employees are not elected and therefore not accountable to voters. Additionally, YVCOG executive boards govern large regions, crossing multiple jurisdictions, making it harder for voters to keep problems in check through elections.   

For this reason McKinney feels very passionately that any shared resources used by law enforcement in our county should be under the direct purview of the Yakima Sheriff’s office and the authority of the Yakima Sheriff, including the ability to hire and fire personnel.  “That’s because the sheriff is elected by the people,” emphasized McKinney. 

The RCIC would be governed by an executive board including the county sheriff and the participating city’s police chiefs, each having one vote for all decisions made. As an independent lab, its decisions would also be insulated from both county commissioners’ and city council’s decisions.  How is the voter able to influence a situation like this, given that the sheriff is the only board member that appears on the voter’s ballot?  Not easily, we argue.

The internal authority structure of the RCIC has been drawn into question as well.  The RCIC, as proposed, would be run by YVCOG and requires the funding of two full-time crime analysts reporting to YVCOG, which troubles Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray.  

Murray expressed concern to us that YVCOG does not have expertise in either law enforcement or analytics. He pointed out the need for clarity of duties and responsibilities and highlighted in an official statement (which he emailed to us) several other important questions that make this reporting structure problematic. “Who is the boss? How would the crime analyst decide what to analyze? How would they choose between a project sent from Zillah, Wapato, Yakima or the Sheriff’s office? and

How would the work and analysis be evaluated or shared?” he asked.  Murray elucidates, “There has been no clearly stated scope of work for them, no structure of reporting or authority and, working for YVCOG, there is no mechanism to end their employment if this experiment fails.  That is a very high cost and a high risk which does not appear fully vetted or planned.”

McKinney had similar questions about the RCIC such as:

“Who owns the crime lab? Who owns the equipment? And who controls the data?”  Although the $2.8 million in ARPA funds is pre-approval for the RCIC, the contract is still being worked on because of these unanswered oversight and governance structure questions. YVCOG will, however, receive a first installment of about $400,000 when these questions get ironed out, says McKinney.   This ambiguity was not allowed, however, for the other 151 grant applicants.  

Although Chief Murray believes in collaboration to fight organized crime, he stated “I believe this concept (RCIC) is not beneficial to the Yakima taxpayers as presented,” adding that they “should not pay for services they already receive.” The WA state crime lab already provides laboratory services and the city of Yakima currently employs their own crime analysts. 

McKinney desperately wants to provide all the tools available for law enforcement officers to do their jobs well, but rightly observed, “Isn’t this also a sign of poor state legislation that we are tempted to create our own privatized law enforcement enhancement tools because we just can’t get what we need from the state crime lab?” 

Proponents of the RCIC, including Yakima Sheriff Bob Udell and Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Brusic, argue that the state crime labs are back-logged and results take far too long. However, McKinney suggests that, instead of creating more bureaucratic problems, she  “would love to see us advocate for legislation at the state level that bolsters our state crime lab.” 

The other huge unanswered question about the RCIC is that of financial sustainability.  The RCIC proposal is dependent on the buy-in of the majority of Yakima county municipalities committing to annual membership fees in order for it to pencil out.  Currently, the city of Yakima is not convinced of the beneficiality of the proposal as it stands, and given that its contribution would be the largest out of all municipalities, this could threaten the viability of launching the RCIC, or shut it down if Yakima decided to pull out in the future.  

Merely securing the funds to open a crime lab does not guarantee it will stay open or continue to provide all the promised services. The recent decision to end DNA testing at the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab in Dayton, Ohio, for example, came down to being unable to hire a qualified technical leader for two years. Fulfilling this position is a requirement for the lab to meet federal accreditation standards. This lab, just like the proposed RCIC for Yakima, operates on a fee-for-service model so it depends on a variable income. “Sometimes people looking for positions would see that kind of business model and want to take a pure government position with more stability,” admitted Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger.

When Accurate Perspective reached out by email to Ladon Linde, to ask him how he saw the RCIC crime lab being financially solvent in 5-10 years, we again received no response. Although he felt it was urgent to motion for an early vote on the matter, the funding of a poorly designed RCIC could end up wasting Yakima’s desperately needed ARPA funds for COVID recovery in the event that the RCIC cannot deliver on its promises.  Perhaps respecting the Yakima County ARPA fund application process and being forced to justify how YVCOG would support the project long term would have helped them in nailing down their plan for financial solvency.    

YVCOG is not a law enforcement agency, yet their crime analysts’ reports would become the crux of criminal investigations as Sheriff Bob Udell stated in this live press conference (at minute 3:15), explaining, “Those analysts, with that crime software, can develop reports and tell us exactly where and who we need to be going after.”   We wonder whether YVCOG is prepared for the consequences they may face when positioning themselves at the epicenter of tactics aimed at gangs and drug cartels? 

YVCOG, we argue, is in the business of selling governance, sugar coated with promised solutions for our deepest problems, as long as we agree to their prescribed form of collaboration.  It is a huge temptation for desperate public servants who have been cut off at the knees by poor state legislation, a history of poor county leadership, and mismanaged funds leaving our sheriff’s office with far fewer deputies than needed and our county prosecutor’s office waiting for the evidence needed to bring trials to a speedy completion.  

But a degradation of the office of County Sheriff, the only elected official under oath to protect us against all threats foreign and domestic, will not go without consequences. On the contrary, the robust authority of this position is exactly what we must preserve, especially in these irrational times when parents at school board meetings are being labeled as domestic terrorists and a weaponized FBI is seeking to reach quotas of this overblown crime.  

Although YVCOG claims their executive committee is “under accountability” by consisting of local elected officials, Yakima city council member Matt Brown explains that the structure of governance does not allow for direct representation of citizens or the simple accountability of being able to vote them out when necessary.  

Chris Wickenhagen, the Executive Director at YVCOG, told us in an email that YVCOG “provide(s) programs and services to members, who consist of the elected officials in each municipality.” When we asked how they can ensure that the local community is a stakeholder in the RCIC, Wickenhagen confirmed “That is not the role of YVCOG.”

Looking beyond Yakima, we at AP wondered if there was a bigger agenda motivating our nation to expand regional crime fighting?  Commissioner McKinney shared with us that within a few days of the RCIC grant fund approval going through, she received an email from a group similar to YVCOG in another part of the country who was interested in knowing how Yakima got this passed.  “So it is definitely something that people apparently are trying to do,” she affirmed. This is an issue worth exploring and Accurate Perspective looks forward to expounding on this in a future Part 2 article on the specific dangers of the national trend toward regional governance structures in fighting crime. 

In the meantime, if the YVCOG Regional Crime Intelligence Center proposal causes you to have questions or concerns, please reach out to your sheriff, county commissioners, and city council members and let them know your thoughts!

Disclaimer: As a city councilman, Matt Brown also is a member of our team and editorial board, it’s important that we state this article does not reflect the majority opinion of the Yakima City Council as they haven’t had an official vote on this subject yet. It reflects the opinion of the editorial team at Accurate Perspective.

EP14 – Schools, Cities, and Elections coming in 2023!

AP | EP14 – Schools, Cities, and Elections coming in 2023! Accurate Perspective

Accurate Perspective – EP14 – Schools, Cities, and Elections coming in 2023!

School Boards

Yakima School District

West Valley School District

East Valley School District

Naches School District

City Council

Yakima City Council

Union Gap City Council

  • Council Position 4 – Jack Galloway – 2023
  • Council Position 5 – David O. Hansen – 2023
  • Council Position 6 – Julie Schilling – 2023

Moxee City Council

  • Council Position 3 – Jan Hutchinson – 2023
  • Council Position 4 – David Roy – 2023
  • Council Position 5 – Larry Frank – 2023
  • Mayor – LeRoy Lenseigne – 2023

Selah City Council

  • Council Position 4 – Clifford Peterson – 2023
  • Council Position 5 – Roger L. Bell – 2023
  • Council Position 6 – Michael Costello – 2023
  • Council Position 7 – Russell Carlson – 2023
  • Mayor – Sherry Raymond – 2023

  • Check out who is your representative for each.

This Day in History Segment – Intro (Matt)

  • 22 Sept, 1914 German U-Boat Submarine 1914 : For the first time in wartime the capabilities of Submarine warfare is seen when a German U-Boat submarine sinks three British cruisers, the Aboukir, the Hogue, and the Cressy, in just over one hour.

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EP13 – Interview with WA Congressional 4th Candidate Doug White (D)

AP | EP13 – Interview with WA Congressional 4th Candidate Doug White (D) Accurate Perspective

Accurate Perspective – EP13 – Interview with Congressional 4th District Candidate Doug White (D)

  • We interviewed with congressional candidate Doug White (D) and his plans for the Congressional 4th District. 
  • Today in History Segment

Next Show: Late September

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Interested in helping a political campaign?

Often times, we get asked how we can help a campaign. Is there training? How do I know if it’s the right candidate to help?

You want to be involved, to make an impact on the political scene in your community.  But how do you find a candidate with views you can support?  How do you make contact with that candidate?  What does that candidate actually need from campaign volunteers?  How can you utilize your particular skills in the political arena?

This Discussion & Dessert evening is for you!

Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 7-8:30 pm
Women’s Century Club – Historic Donald House
304 N. 2nd Street

Come hear a variety of people who have been candidates and have years of experience with political campaigns.  Get valuable information that can help you be involved in meaningful ways!

Presenters:  Matt Brown, Corey Gibson, Benine McDonnell, Patricia Byers

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Sponsored by Yakima Republican Women’s Club

EP12 – WA CD4, Republicans where you at? You ready?

AP | EP12 – WA CD4, Republicans where you at? You ready? Accurate Perspective

EP12 – WA CD4, Republicans where you at? You ready?

Accurate Perspective – EP12 – WA CD4 Issues, discussion, and an all around what the heck is going on around here?

Hannah Joy joined us from Skamania County today to discuss the hotly debated CD4. My passion on this episode may get me in trouble. (-Matt)

Also one our co-hosts Lindsey wrote a new children’s book check it out on Amazon, and pick it up for your kiddos! Link: