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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
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Mason County Journal
January 30, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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January 30, 2014
 

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! !1 I OPINION Komen Comment The life of 'Mr. Seattle' t was Dec. 11, 1964, the dapper man once known as "Mr. Seattle" stopped off the boat from McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary. He had served 2 years. Dave Beck was free to return to his home in Seattle. He lived another 29 years, until his death at age 99. To this day he is remembered as a man who once was considered one of the most powerful men in America. The pinnacle of his power came in 1952 when he was elected president of the Teamsters Union. He had risen from driving a laundry truck as a 16-year-old high school dropout in Seattle in 1910 to become head of the country's largest labor organization. And in the process he became influential in business, government and politics from Washington state to Washington, D.C. To list his positions he had just in Seattle is a testament to the regard in which he was once held. He was president of the University of Washing- ton Board of Regents, he was on the state Board of Prison Terms and Paroles, served as a member of the Seattle Civil Service Commission and the Seattle Boxing Commission, and was even named Grand Exalted Ruler of the Seattle Elks. His prominence was un- questioned. He was also a very wealthy man. From his Seattle Team- stors headquarters he could look across the street at the Grosvenor House, a high-rise apartment complex he owned. It was one of hundreds of real estate holdings he bought and sold, making him a mil- lionaire many times over. But the millions he accrued were greatly overshadowed by the millions of dollars Seattle re- ceived through his influence as Teamsters Union president. It was said Beck was personally responsible for bringing $100 million to the Seattle economy. The heyday of Seattle's love affair with Dave Beck came on Dec. 3, 1952. Seven-hundred of the state's leading citizens gathered in the Olympic Ho- tel to honor Beck's election as president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. By JOHN KOMEN It wasn't just in his home- town where Beck was revered. His national stature was so im- pressive that three presidents -- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Har- ry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower -- asked him to serve as U.S. secretary of Labor. He said no to all three. It all changed when Beck became the target of the Sen- ate Rackets Commit- toe and its chief coun- sel, Robert F. Ken- nedy. Accused of mis- handling union funds, Beck was called before the committee where he invoked the Fifth Amendment 142 times. Eventually through a long and tangled legal process, Beck was convicted of relatively minor accusations, one a state charge of embezzling $1,900 from the sale of a used car owned by the union and the other for filing a fraudulent federal income tax form. In June 1962, he was sent to Mc- Neil Island Federal Penitentia- ry to serve time for both state and federal convictions. After serving his 2 years, still unrepentant, Beck's re- turn to Seattle was met with a considerable amount of goodwill from his fellov citi- zens. Far from a tragic figure, his good humor and rousing pluck made him a favorite as a speaker at local service clubs. He wasn't forgotten by high government officials ei- ther. Gov. Albert D. Rosellini pardoned him for his state conviction in 1965, and Presi- dent Gerald Ford gave Beck an unconditional pardon on the federal conviction in 1975. In one of his last interviews, Beck was asked what he had learned in his long life. "I don't care how great a fighter you are," he said, "sooner or later you're going to get floored.'" "The most important (rule)," he said, "is never stop trying." John Komen, who lives on Mason Lake, was for 40 years a reporter and editor, TV anchorman, national TV net- work correspondent, producer, columnist, editorial writer and commentator. His column, Ko- men Comment, appears each week in the Mason County Journal. 11" Mas0n County  111 USPS 492-800 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Mason County Joumal, Re. Box 430, Shelton, WA 98584. Published weekly by the Mason County Journal at 227 West Cota Street, Shelton, Washington Mailing address: Re. Box 430, Shelton, WA 98584 Telephone (360) 426-4412.www.masoncounty.com Pedodicais postage paid a.t Shelton, Washington Guest Column bcnool board seeks input on pool repairs ' 'o decision has been made at this point .--. - regarding the swim- ming pool. We are in the process of seeking a possible energy grant from the state and look- ing at all options. All five board mem- bers would like to find a way to keep the swimming pool open. However, achieving our main mission of educat- ing the children of the school district must be our num- ber one priority. By BRENDA HIRSCHI Unfortunately, the pool is 42 years old and is at or nearing the end of its useful life. Just like an old car with Letters to the Editor many miles on it, to keep this pool operational there is an increasingly higher cost for maintenance. Since 2007, we have spent more than $500,000 in just major main- tenance repairs, which does not include operations. The day-to-day operations are an- other $160,000 an- nually and includes salaries, utilities, chemicals and sup- plies. The revenues from the pool are only about $50,000 annually. We are now facing additional repairs that we estimate at this point may cost another $400,000 to $500,000 in ma- jor maintenance. At the same time, we have school buildings that need new roofs. We are fac- ing competing critical needs with limited resources and numerous unfunded man- dates from the state and fed- eral levels. Our first priority is to provide a safe, clean environment for our children to learn. We appreciate the com- munity's concern regarding the pool and welcome your input on all matters related to the Shelton School Dis- trict. Brenda Hirschi is presi- dent of the Shelton School Board. She can be reached at bhirschi@sheltonschools.org. Newsp00Lper coverage not too harsh Editor, the Journal The good people of Mason County are waiting for Ma- son County Commissioner Randy Neatherlin to get his house in order. You did take an oath to obey the laws of the office you serve. Was the local paper too harsh in reporting the faults? I think not. For the paper to learn and not report would show either a cover- up or favoritism. Correction Coniey Watson Shelton Food stamp cuts would hurt Editor, the Journal I want to voice my con- cern for the ongoing cuts to programs for our most See LETTERS on page A-5 A story on former Shelton City Commis- sioner Dawn Pannell in the Jan. 16 issue in- correctly stated that Mike Byrne was on the Mason County Joumal is a member of Washington Newspaper Publishers' Association. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $37 par year for Mason County addresses, $51 per year in stats of Washington but outside Mason County, $61 per year out of state. commission when she joined in 2001; her fel- low commissioner was Dick Taylor. The Jour- nal regrets the error. Owned and publishnd by 41elton-Mason County Journal, In Tom Hyde, publisher Newsroom: Adam Rudnick, editor Natalie Johnson, reporter Gordon Weeks, reporter Emily Hanson, sports reporter Kirk Ericson, proofreader Advertising: Dave Piedk, St. Acct. Executive Kathy Brooks, ad representative Lloyd Mullen, ad representative Front office: Donna Kinnaird, bookkeeper Rene6 Chaplin, cimulation Composing room: William Adams, graphics Linda Frizzell, graphics All editorial, advertising and legal deadlines are 5 p.m. Monday prior to publication. To submit a letter to the editor, email edam@masoncounty.com. Page A-4 - Mason County Journal- Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014