Friday, October 12, 2007

CHARGES OF ILLEGAL DISCRIMINATION BY BAINBRIDGE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

I offer some observations on this issue but I ask that my comments not be used with attribution. I stand by my comments and can verify them but to use my name tends to work at counter purposes to my good wife's efforts in this matter. I also offer these observations of my own volition.

Mary is one of the most accomplished "artists" on the island with poetry awards and a film body of work running on local stations here and in other places. In addition she is a smart, professional and focused individual who is more than capable for performing volunteer services for local groups, churches or organizations. She has been doing these types of volunteer and historical endeavors for many years. It was Mary's hard work and drive that had Fort Ward and many of the buildings places on the Washington State Historical register.

Now Mary sees a public advertisement for docent volunteers at BHS and responds to the solicitation. First, Mary also has donated many books and movies to BHS and worked closely with Ms Varga, previous director to Ms Cosgrove (you also might dust off the info on the circumstances of Ms. Varga's abrupt departure since it is very related to the issues Mary raised). Mary responds but hears nothing for months and months. She follows up and hears nothing for another long period of time. Finally she gets a cryptic invitation to meet Ms. Cosgrove and another BHS trustee at a local coffee shop. Mary has filled in those details.

We know the story ending thus far. My observations on this are as follows:

1) Mary is on a BHS black list -- similar to the ones in effect during the McCarthy era back in Hollywood. All attempts by Mary to get appointed to any board or group through the Mayor's office have been denied. Mary raised the issue with the Mayor and got a flippant answer. Mary's sin is that she is a smart conservative who has championed balanced history on this island. I guess Mary's other sin is any association with me. My sin is similar to Mary's except I am even more determined to break down barriers to free speech and intellectual honesty on our island.

2) On the face of it the claim that Mary could not serve as a docent because she has opinions is outrageous. On the BHS board is Mary Woodward and a number of extremely vehement supports of BHS full commitment to the "Japanese Internment story." Mary Woodward and the other trustees have had no problem writing or speaking in public on their agenda. Yet my wife gets boxed out because she writes a letter to the editor calling for the Pledge of Allegiance. What an insult.

3) Mary contacted COBI with questions on issues of discrimination. You have to look carefully at what Ms. Briggs wrote back. Interestingly Ms. Briggs spends a great deal of time stating COBI and BHS are not related. However, I know there are financial, business, and "partnership" ties between COBI and BHS. Both are "partners" on the Japanese-American Memorial according to the Public Law that is funding the NPS. To suggest that COBI and BHS are unrelated does not pass the smell test. BHS gets funding support, advertisement and probably some staff support from the BIAHC, which is all COBI public monies. Funny thing is -- a very telling -- when Mary asked Ms Cosgrove where here promised written response as stated at their meeting, Ms. Cosgrove said Mary had "her answer" in Mary Jo's letter. Cosgrove has revealed she lets Mary Jo speak for her organization yet Mary Jo says they have no relationship. When pressed on the letter, Ms. Cosgrove had a melt down and hung up. Also promised was a letter from the Board at BHS but note they refuse to answer also.

4) Public organizations cannot get away with blatant discrimination and lying about it. Some of the documents produced by BHS or COBI in answer to Mary's complaint still had the ink wet on them as they were created to cover their behinds from a charge of discrimination. COBI would not tolerate a black woman being denied admittance to COBI supported organization. COBI would not tolerate a denial of a gay person from membership or volunteer work. However if you are a white female conservative, COBI and BHS have no problem denying access on the most outlandish pretenses and then thinking they can get away with it.

5) BHS has set up a "whisper campaign" that Mary is not professional enough to be a docent. Yet BHS will have the most rabid other members on their board and not give it a second thought.

6) Mary was told -- interestingly enough by Cosgrove -- that an independent study done on behalf of BHS -- told them to knock off the previous over-the-top coverage of all things Japanese internment. You will notice in their releases and I am told in their displays all the EO-9066 memorabilia is now somewhatt muted. Yet when a volunteer comes forward to help out she is discriminated against because she has produced intellectual property on the matter. Yet BHS, by their consultant's own report, was guilty of over-emphasis and pushing an agenda.

Mary is hard working and this kind of rank unprofessional character assassination is not deserved. If these organization think they can run over good people with impunity, they should know better. You are well aware of the censorship that BIAHC engaged in on this subject and the consequences that befell them.

You have covered a number of these issues to your very great credit. I believe wholeheartedly that organizations that breach the public trust when accepting public funds must be called out. The public is the only group that can demand BHS act in the interest of all Bainbridge citizens and not just a select few who are very afraid of open and full discussion of history on Bainbridge.

Frankly all of this speaks loudly about our "dysfunctional" city government and the agencies who spend the taxpayer money (BIAHC and BHS). With both BHS and BIAHC, the groups function without clearly stated rules of behavior on funding or volunteer criteria. It is only after challenged do these organizations create after-the-fact documents to attempt to deflect charges of bias and discrimination. It in not coincidental that these organizations use vagueness to enforce a local orthodoxy. If you challenge this orthodoxy, you invite rebuke, shunning or outright discrimination.

Again, no attribution to me but any ideas are free for the taking once you verify them.

Regards, Jim Olsen

6 Comments:

At October 13, 2007 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you still here? We thought your season on Bainbridge ended like a bad rerun of Archie Bunker.

Stay here. We love a good laugh!

 
At October 15, 2007 11:21 AM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

The "Leaving our Island" indoctrination has been wittled down to one "forum day" for 2008.

The reason given by Sakai is "Leaving our Island" was not in compliance with the State of Washington and school administrators were concerned with getting audited.

How's that for a laugh?

Ha! Ha! Ha!

 
At October 15, 2007 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 9:03 Anonymous -- actually the sick laugh is on Our pretentious intolerant liberal hollow.

Did you read about the WA Supreme Court decision -- $$$ and a big slap down.

And the controversial Leaving Our Island JA curriculum was wacked back to one day. To see the great curriculum screech from 4 weeks to one day tells me the label of controversial was right on the mark.

You date yourself with your TV habits. I guess you are "meathead." Choose your poison. Talk about a patron saint whining liberal -- Karl Reiner.

Actually Bainbridige Island is more akin to Invasion of the Body Snatchers rather than All in the Family.

JMO

 
At October 26, 2007 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt that Mark Weber, Bradley Smith or Fred Leuchter would have been welcome either.

 
At October 27, 2007 7:44 PM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

You forget it was the Japanese who were allied with the Nazis and fighting the racial holy war, not the Americans.

"The Japanese Ministry of Education was controlled by the militarists who, "To deliver the lectures and teach new courses, they enlisted specialists in Japanese racial thought, academic opponents of liberalism and advocates of Nazi theories of law".

-Masuda Tomoko, "Tenno kikansetsu haigeki jiken to kokutai meicho undo" p. 173.

 
At October 27, 2007 7:51 PM, Blogger Friends of Historical Accuracy said...

"You must remember that only a trick of fate has brought you so far from your homeland, but their must be no question of your loyalty. When Japan calls, you must know it is Japanese blood that flows in your veins."
Daniel K. Inouye with Lawrence Elliot, Journey to Washington, Prentice Hall 1967, pages 36-37.

"By the eve of all-out war with China, Japanese Public schools, under orders from the Ministry of Education, were inculcating Shinto mythology as if it were historical fact: emporer ideology had become fused with anti-western sentiment: and a coceptual ground had been prepared for the transformation of Hirohito into a benevolent pan-Asian monarch defending not only Japan, but all of Asia from Western encroachment."

-Bix, Hirohito, p. 283

 

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