Meanwhile, the dispute between Longshoremen in Longview and EGT is going global. The International Transport Workers Federation is announcing the launch of a campaign page in support of the efforts of Local 21, also linking to statements of solidarity and actions that are being taken in support of dock workers here in Longview. The ITF is an international trade union federation, claiming membership of 779 unions with nearly 4.7 million workers in 155 countries around the world. Yesterday in Holland, Dutch dock workers staged a protest in support of ILWU Local 21, with about a dozen workers picketing an STX Pan Ocean ship at a port in Holland. STX Pan Ocean of South Korea is a part-owner of the EGT terminal, along with Itochu of Japan and Bunge of the USA. Links to photos of the protest are now posted on the ILWU website.
Archive | September, 2011
EGT is working to tell its side of the story in this dispute, sending out a blast e-mail to “Community Leaders, Friends and Neighbors” earlier this week. In the letter, EGT CEO Larry Clarke says that he knows that this dispute has had a “big impact” on the local community, and he says that they had no idea that things would get to this point. He talks about the lease that was signed with the Port of Longview, claiming that the project would have huge economic benefits to this area. He directly disputes the claim that EGT is bound by the Port’s agreement with the ILWU, saying that they had the language regarding labor requirements stricken from the final lease agreement. He also claims that the Port signed that final lease agreement. He claims that the Port’s current position is “unsupportable,” and that EGT is NOT contractually obligated to engage with the ILWU in a labor agreement. He also contends that they did meet with the ILWU, but the union made unreasonable demands during those talks. Clarke notes that the issue is now in front of a judge in Tacoma. Port of Longview Executive Director Ken O’Hollaren says that they have no comment on Clarke’s e-mail, other than to say the issues discussed will be sorted out in Federal court. It was also disclosed in separate information that oral arguments regarding a motion for summary judgement in the case will be heard this Friday at 1:30 pm by U. S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton.
Family and friends of recently terminated Port of Longview Marketing Director Valerie Harris are going on the offensive, claiming that she’s the victim of a vicious and calculated campaign. At Tuesday’s Port of Longview Commission meeting, Harris’ father, Bill White of Kalama, says that she is the victim of scandalous activity. White spent about 15 minutes presenting what he claims is evidence that Harris’ ex-husband and his new wife sent anonymous e-mails to Port officials, supposedly raising questions about her academic credentials and trustworthiness. At Tuesday’s meeting, the Port Commissioners voted unanimously to support the decision to terminate Harris, noting that all employees at the Port work at the discretion of Executive Director Ken O’Hollaren. White says that there’s no legal recourse for the termination, but he does claim that Port officials have been involved in illegal activity, improperly releasing Harris’ resume and other personnel records to unauthorized persons. White is calling for the immediate firing of O’Hollaren and the severance of the contract with Port Attorney Frank Randolph. White says that he’s meeting with the County Prosecutor’s Office to pursue criminal charges against those involved, and he’s also filing a complaint against Randolph with the Washington State Bar Association.
Kelly Edica, 37, of Longview is an extremely lucky woman, after her loaded log truck lost its brakes while coming down Gore Road near Kalama, careening off the road and hitting several parked vehicles, a shop and a trailer. People living in the 600 block of Cloverdale Road called 911 just before 7 yesterday morning, when the fully loaded Teevin Brothers log truck failed to stop at the intersection with Gore Road, then crashed on property owned by Craig and Susan Showalter. Edica’s truck hit a trailer, an unoccupied car, a motor home and a shop before finally coming to rest. The load of logs was also dumped, and Edica was trapped inside the cab of the truck. Crews from Cowlitz Fire District 5 in Kalama responded, and were able to extricate Edica from the wreckage. Despite the carnage, edica suffered only minor injuries, and was treated and released from Saint John Medical Center. The crash also totalled several recreational vehicles being stored in the trailer were destroyed, and it’s speculated that the Showalter’s manufactured home may also have been damaged, as it was connected to the shop. The Department of Ecology was called in to help deal with diesel spilled from the truck. The State Patrol is following up on an inspection of the truck’s brakes.
Michael Thomas Veatch, 25, of Longview is under arrest on a first-degree burglary charge, as Longview Police continue to investigate an incident reported late Tuesday night. Just before midnight on Tuesday, people living in the 700 block of Delaware called 911, saying that Veatch was threatening to shoot them. One caller reported that Veatch was armed with a .22 rifle. The caller claims that Veatch said that “he was going to murder whoever it was that F-ed up his face,” and fired several shots in the air. He also claims that Veatch fired two shots in his direction, but he wasn’t hit. Several more shots were then fired into the ceiling. Officers responded and eventually got Veatch into custody shortly before 1 am yesterday, with a .22 rifle also seized. Veatch is now being held without bail in the Cowlitz County Jail, as the investigation continues.
The Sheriff’s Office is following up on the reported theft of some medical marijuana from a home near Kelso. The residents of the home called 911 at about 1:30 this morning, saying that two men had stolen mature plants off of their deck. The two plants reportedly have a street value of $600 to $700 apiece. One of the residents says that he thought he recognized one of the suspects, but no arrests have been reported as of yet.
The Fall term Community Conversation lectures at Lower Columbia College begin today, working off the theme of “Community Partnerships.” College officials say that they’ll be having representatives of various local social service agencies, talking about their groups and the people they serve, along with their partnerships in the community, with citizens, service groups and other agencies. This term’s Community Conversation series starts out with Corie Dow, the Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates, the group that helps children that are involved in the court system. The free lecture starts at noon in the Wollenberg Auditorium at LCC’s Rose Center for the Arts.
The R. A. Long High School Curriculum Night Open House is set for today, running from 6 to 7:30 pm at the high school next to Lake Sacajawea. All who are interested can come by and check out this year’s curriculum at the high school.
A reception honoring the artist of the current exhibit at the Art Gallery in the Rose Center will run from 4 to 6 pm today. “Nature’s Claim” is a collection of paintings by Erica T. Melville of Portland, and investigates space and place through the growth and decay of both built and natural environments. Today’s reception is free and open to all, as is the exhibit itself, during regular gallery hours. The LCC Art Gallery is open from 10 am to 6 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, and from 10 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Friday.
It was a raucous Port of Longview Commission meeting yesterday afternoon, with a large contingent of Longshore union members and supporters filling a room at the Expo Center, calling for action against EGT by the Port Commission. Local 21 President Dan Coffman says that the controversy is literally tearing the community to shreds. A number of people spoke about how they’re “appalled” by what they’re calling preferential treatment for EGT. They’re demanding that the Port unilaterally dissolve the lease agreement with EGT, claiming that the company has already been involved with several violations of that lease. The Port now has another controversy, with the sudden dismissal of Valerie Harris, the Port’s Marketing Director. Several supporters of Harris also spoke, claiming that the basis for the firing is bogus. Ostensibly, Harris was fired after concerns were raised about her claimed educational credentials. It’s noted that Harris has a BA from Almeda University, an on-line school that was also at the center of a diploma mill investigation involving Washington State Patrol Troopers. Supporters claim that Harris’ firing was engineered through an anonymous e-mail campaign conducted by her ex-husband and his new wife. When the Commissioners confirmed Harris’ dismissal, saying that Executive Director Ken O’Hollaren has the authority to hire and fire at his discretion, the crowd reacted angrily, hurling catcalls and profanities at the Commissioners. The Commissioners decided at that time that the meeting could not proceed in an orderly fashion, and voted to adjourn.