Most of us, I believe, confront the ballot with prism in hand, the imperfect lens through which we measure the quality of the candidates and the relevance of the election.
In the Oregon attorney general’s race between Ellen Rosenblum and Dwight Holton, your prism may be marijuana, prosecutorial passion or John Kroger.
My prism is Ben Alfano.
In the last two months of the veteran’s life, which I chronicled in February, Alfano was wrenched from the assisted-living facility he loved and dumped in a Gresham dementia-care unit. Alfano died there on Feb. 26, 2011, an especially bitter turn for four of his children, who had complained about conservator and guardianship issues for years.
Those objections were typically met with smug disdain, or worse, by the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and its well-paid bodyguard at the Department of Justice.
When Alfano’s two sons sought a change in conservators, ODVA Director Jim Willis wrote a letter to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., saying Steven Alfano had no legal status in his father’s case, when he, in fact, had Ben’s legal medical power of attorney, and accusing him of a “financial conflict of interest.”
When Alfano’s children sought help from state Rep. Mike Schaufler, D-Happy Valley, Kathy Andreas — ODVA’s conservatorship manager — responded to Steven Alfano’s meticulous detailing of the family’s problems with the agency as follows:
“It obviously took Steven many hours to organize and document his findings. That could explain why he has been spending less time lately with his father.”
There’s more where that came from, believe me.
When the four children looked to the state for help, they discovered that D. Kevin Carlson, one of Kroger’s senior assistants, was not only defending ODVA but billing Ben Alfano’s estate for his legal muscle and expertise.
Over the last two years, Carlson billed the estate more than $45,000. He also recommended in March that a Washington County judge reserve “at least $150,000” of what remains in the veteran’s estate to deal with the children’s federal civil rights’ claims against ODVA and the guardian, Chris Farley.
We have, then, another glaring example of the AG’s office defending state agencies to the extreme even when they’re in the wrong.
Full Article and Source:
Justice and the Oregon Attorney General’s Race Between Dwight Holton and Ellen Rosenblum
Following Benjamin Alfano’s Money