by Art Chantry:
this is from the front page of the tacoma news tribune on monday, may 14, 2012. that fella (apparently being garroted by former tacoma mayor bill baarsma) is an old pal of mine name of dennis flannigan. he’s actually being awarded here with an honorary ‘doctorate of law’ degree at university of puget sound – the same college that kicked him out for writing an underground newspaper 50 years earlier.
ya see, denny is sort of a troublemaker. he likes to come up with ideas and then stick people together with these ideas and see what happens. this ‘talent’ has resulted in (among other things) feeding the hungry, fighting crime, building community, cleaning up streets, teaching people how to read, getting people clean and sober and generally making the city of tacoma (and even the entire state of washington) a better place. when i say ‘troublemaker’, i mean it in the nicest way. the guy is a local legend.
after he got kicked out of college for being so ‘radical’, he became a ‘freedom rider’ in mississippi (his ‘boss’ was stokley carmichael). from there he worked at the hilltop housing and relocation office, then teaching at WWU. he worked at comprehensive mental health services and ran pierce county alliance. he helped create and then run the emergency food network. meanwhile he was trying to work a career in advertising, marketing and (especially) copywriting. oh, and there was that family to raise, too.
in 1988, he got appointed to the pierce county council where he became the spokesman of choice for the tacoma underprivileged community. he started the process that resulted in our ‘safe streets’ program. then he was elected to the state legistlature where he became known a a very strong liberal voice, but also understood how to compromise to move his progressive agenda forward. he loved (still) figuring out how to put the right people together to make things happen. it was a skill that became his hallmark working style in state governemnt.
so, now, that’s he’s retired and “harmless” (that’s a laugh), his old ‘nemesis’ UPS gives him an honoray degree to make up for their overzealous mistake. isn’t that sweet?
i guess , now i have to call him “doctor flannigan.”