“I verified his PRIOR ARREST FOR DUI for the booking criteria and then escorted him back to my patrol vehicle and had him face my camera and asked him if he had anything on him that could be used to hurt me…”
Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino was arrested on Christmas eve 2014 as he sped across state lines between Oregon and Washington. After crossing the Columbia River, he was pulled over by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) for speeding and for erratically crossing the divider lines. After refusing the portable breathalyzer test, he was arrested, his concealed weapons were confiscated and he was brought to the WSP station where he ultimately blew two breathalyzer samples – both of which were twice the state blood alcohol legal driving limit for conviction of drunk driving.
According to the State Patrol officer, this was the Second DUI Dan Gasperino had experienced, although based on the date of the earlier Benton County case (Case #J00110576) it looks like this was the first one he earned as an adult.
“I verified his PRIOR ARREST FOR DUI for the booking criteria and then escorted him back to my patrol vehicle and had him face my camera and asked him if he had anything on him that could be used to hurt me…” WSP Case #4Z1107051 p.3 arrest report
As the intoxicated deputy prosecutor Dan Gasperino explained to the arresting officer, he was very familiar with the process since he had taken the same class on administering the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) test himself. After changing the court venue from Clark County to neighboring Skamania County court (appropriate given his work in the Clark County Courthouse), Mr. Gasperino eventually pled guilty to the DUI and was forced to wear a monitoring bracelet for several weeks last year. In 2015, it appears that Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino was the only prosecutor in the State of Washington who was working to convict criminals while he was on parole himself, wearing his own electronic home monitoring bracelet. Given the rarity of such an occurrence, it certainly is newsworthy. The Columbian wrote an odd, fawning article about the incident, praising the prosecutor for checking himself into rehab while downplaying the significance of the arrest and conviction. The Columbian ignored the prior DUI referenced in the officer’s arrest report, and ignored the $1400 of donations Mr. Gasperino made to Prosecutor Golik’s last few election campaigns.
Last month, we wrote an article critical of The Columbian’s failure to cover a story about fraud in the Elder Care Justice Center founded by Clark County Prosecutor Golik. This story was prominent enough that the Wall Street Journal conducted a full investigative report and published it on their front page last October. However, to the Columbian, this story didn’t merit mention at all. The story about Mr. Gasperino’s arrest and conviction was so obvious that it generated at least one article in the Columbian sandwiched between repetitive political attacks on Clark County Commissioner David Madore.
This is not a story about Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino being arrested for drunk driving, having his weapons confiscated, or even his probation and wearing an electronic monitoring device while prosecuting criminals himself. His final probation hearing was a few months ago, and it appears he is no longer on probation, which is a real accomplishment. This should make the Clark County Prosecutor’s office proud. People make mistakes, and perhaps the Clark County’s Prosecutor’s office operates a three-strike policy for employees as well as for those they convict, or perhaps there is a special category of treatment for employees who donate $1400 to Proecutor Golik’s last two elections. Mr. Gasperino currently manages the Drug Prosecution Unit in the Clark County Prosecutor’s office, so the “internal investigation” after his criminal conviction must have been glowing.
However, this is a story about the Columbian soft-pedaling stories about scandals involving elected officials like Clark County Prosecutor Golick and a completely different treatment of elected officials like Clark County Commissioner David Madore over far less significant issues. By all reports Prosecutor Golick is personal friends with the Columbian’s editor Lou Brancaccio, so he will get a pass from this newspaper on the various scandals in his office. David Madore, by all accounts, helped kill the Columbia River Crossing boondoggle fiasco, which the Columbian long championed, and there will never be any forgiveness for that capital offense. To make matters worse for Commissioner Madore, he stepped on the toes of the Central Planners in Clark County by proposing alternative comp plans, asking too many questions, reducing taxes, and reducing bureaucracy and taxes on new commercial construction. These were unforgivable offenses to the powers that control that paper
The Columbian is political in nature, and like all the similarly declining circulation newspapers in Washington State, this bias impacts both the slant of the “news” articles and what stories they cover and ignore. Fair enough. It is a free country, our First Amendment still exists, and the more options people have to get news, the better off we all will be. The illusion that the Columbian is a worthy “paper of record” will become more difficult to sustain as time goes on. A newspaper which continues to yawn when Clark County residents are injured by the Elder Justice Care Center or when Deputy Prosecutors get arrested, but will spill an acre of ink to nitpick questions Commissioner Madore might ask in a public hearing has lost perspective.
On the optimistic side, this will just continue to give more opportunities for the rest of us to cover the many stories the Columbian prefers Clark County residents don’t know…
Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.” It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people. It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government. It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.” Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed…
Related articles & Source Documents:
Public Disclosure Donations by Dan Gasperino to Prosecutor Golik – 2010 -2014 (The Columbian didn’t think this was news)