YVN, Since 1998
OK, we'll buy that
DOL will cancel Seattle Times' VIPS contract as it did the YVN's
OLYMPIA, WA (4-7-99)--WA Dept.of Licensing memos indicate major changes have taken place at the agency since the Yakima Valley News waltzed around the capitol with DOL bureaucrats last fall.
 
The band struck up when YVN learned that its telephone access to vehicle plate records--after 18 years-- had been canceled while that of the Seattle Times remained fully in force.
 
YVN then requested certain public record information from former DOL Director Evelyn Yensen, got it, and published it online. The idea was to reveal who lost and who retained VIPs access. It was a matter of fairness.
 
DOL democrat-bureaucrats in turn demonized YVN staff "hackers" for publishing info obtained from their own boss. Seattle Times reporter Peter Lewis was glad to pitch in so he wouldn't lose his own VIPS access.
 
On Sept. 3-5, 1998, DOL shut down the Vehicle/Vessel Information Processing System. They were panicked (unnecessarily) that the published info might give taxpayers access to the plate information.
 
Never mind the fact that thousands of Washington and out-of-state businesses--not just car dealers--retain VIPS access. The DOL chose the YVN to cut off simply because DOL knew the little paper didn't have the political clout enjoyed by the Seattle Times.
 
YVN waited a few months to see what would transpire at DOL after the Sept. 3 flap. According to letters and memos obtained recently by our online newspaper, changes at DOL over intervening weeks include:
 
• Former DOL director Evelyn Yensen quit and joined with a private Georgia firm "without writing a letter of resignation". That might teach her not to give out information the law requires her to give out.
 • Yensen was replaced by Seattle lefty elitist and Gov. Locke lock stepper Fred Stephens.
 • DOL Asst. Director and veteran careerist John Swannack was demoted to an "exempt" job at $1,000-a-month less pay. "Exempt" means this scapegoat can be fired by new DOL director Stephens at any time. Locke doesn't like publicity problems.
 • DOL bureaucrats were "treated well" by the Seattle press last year--to the detriment of the YVN--specifically by Times reporter Peter Lewis. KIRO and KING TV News treated bureaucrats nicely, too, according to the memos.
 • A memo between DOL bureaucrats Fred Helberg and Mark Varadian said "We discussed the (Lewis piece) in a Huddle and everyone was pleased with the article. DOL came out OK. I wonder what kind of article The Times will write when the DOL cancels its contract." Moral: don't suck up to Nazis, Mr. Lewis. Didn't they teach you anything?
• DOL contract manager Patrick Zlateff has gathered his boys and girls and told them "never" to approve a future VIPS contract with YVN. Whether they'll quietly sneak in a new contract with the Seattle Times remains to be seen....
Memos indicate the present WA regime is fanatic in its desire to implement the Clinton-Reno "Driver's Privacy Protection Act" which was proven unconstitutional in federal court last June.

Far be it from us to tell the public that DOL has substituted six-digit numbers for its old-four-digit codes so that its remaining 2,010 customers can enter VIPS via phone (Patrick Zlateff memo). We didn't tell 'em to try numbers between 100,000 and 999,999, Pat. You did. As one observer put it, "they're all stupid."

 
Posing as an investigator who wanted to "get some information on people from (Washington) state" via blind email, DOL agent-thug Bob Randolph tried to entice YVN publisher Larry Ashby into doing something illegal last September. The plan was to wire it so DOL could get the WA attorney general's office to bop the web newspaper.
 
Didn't work. Is DOL still trying? Memos indicate that, in January, they were. Stay tuned.

"Judging from his emails to YVN, Randolph is as moronic as those who sent him," said Ashby. "And I'd never hire Peter Lewis as an investigative reporter on my team. He harbors all the instincts of a state bureaucrat."