Resetting Your Moral Compass

preamble 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 remedy

Finally, remedy:

Mayor Murray’s tweet inviting the residents of his city to the 25 August 2016 annual “Kitty Hall” cat adoption event downtown set me to weeping again.

Maybe that’s what Hilary meant by “triggering”-?

From a trauma-educated perspective, tears are a normal, healthy response to sadness and loss.

I type.

I cry some more.

The Wa$hington legi$lature defined your cruelty in capitali$t terms that you and all of your employee$ $hould be able to re$pect, mi$erably failing a$ you are in ba$ic human dignity that I respect. According to RCW 9.91.170 “’Value’ means the value to the dog guide or service animal user and does not refer to cost or fair market value.”

Frida is worth a thousand times again the paltry $1 million you vacuumed out of Paul Allen’s bank account in June.

Are you beginning to see how passive aggressive communication is expensive, bad for business, regardless if your business is designing and building airplanes or providing social services?

It’s not about replacing my service animal with just any cat, just as you would not replace a dead child by adopting another child. It’s about, specifically, my cat, an individual cat among all other cats.

This is not Frida:

frida service animalThis is a digital representation of my service animal intentionally harmed by the nonprofit corporation contracted with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, State of Washington, King County, and the City of Seattle to provide social services to women fleeing criminal abuse within their natal or marital homes. And, in my case, criminal abuse from the neighboring State of Idaho.

You may try to argue that if I require a service animal then I must be “mentally ill,” matching Idaho’s definitions, and should be disabled enough to qualify again for Metro’s disabled bus fare, and delay law school applications to rise to the top of King County’s understocked poverty housing with a disability lottery ticket, but the way I see it is at least two Ph.D. psychologists in Seattle are emotionally mature enough to recognize our nation’s tragically broken systems of mental juridical health, education, and criminal justice, and nevertheless find ways within those broken systems to actually provide care for their clients despite those broken systems. In a democratic nation, an educated, physically and emotionally fit woman would not be locked up without due process of law while beer-gutted white males condescendingly lecture their prisoners about the value of pet care after their police counterparts jeered at me for reporting what I know about a cold case homicide.

frida most wanted

Most Wanted: Frida. Armed and possibly dangerous.

Frida first came into my life on 15 June 2005. The Ides of June. I remember the date distinctly because it was the second time that spring that I gave notice to The East Oregonian that their screaming abusive sales staff needed to straighten up and fly right or they would need to find their third graphic designer in six months because my two predecessors had given them much the same feedback. That glorious sunshiny morning I obeyed the suggestion of my direct supervisor to place boundaries on her substitute by taking some time off if the screaming abuse recurred in her out-of-town absence, and I met my then-husband, then a Deputy District Attorney for Umatilla County, for lunch al fresco in the park near the river with the same name, pace the opinions of Idaho’s mental juridical health professionals who in 2014 described my ex-husband as a “delusion” because a senior electrical engineer at Micron told them so.

Pendleton, Oregon’s riverside park at that time boasted a sizable feral cat colony, surprising to my urban self, anticipating all dogs in the country when we moved east from Portland, and I stocked up on bags of cat litter in advance of the move. Across the park from our picnic table, a tiny white kitten, smaller than a squirrel, came out from behind what we called “the feral cat tree,” opening her tiny mouth as if to meow for help, but no sound came out.

Frida had not found her meow yet.

The prosecutor would have left her to certain death, where as you can see, bacteria had already eaten away her right eye, threatened the second eye, and she was further covered in fleas, her feline mother unable to provide adequate care from the predatory abuses of other cats, much as her human care-giver has been unable to find adequate protection from human abusers. The Pendleton vet cleaned out the bacteria, leaving an empty socket that I tenderly nursed, cleaning and applying antibacterial drops every day. At his suggestion, a veterinarian in Moscow stitched up her eye socket concurrent with spaying so the young kitten would only have to undergo one dose of anesthesia.

To his credit, after lunch, after an emergency trip to the vet, after he returned home from a long afternoon prosecuting criminals, and changed out of his lawyer suit, the as-yet unnamed ball of flea-bitten fur had already charmed the prosecutor, who told me he was glad I had saved the kitty, that he thought we should keep her, and that she had found us for a reason, a memory I would have forgotten if I had not written it down in my journal.

I hoped to show you a picture of her at five weeks, when she was a mostly white kitten with only seal points, before her Siamese mask grew out, and I called her my beige kitten with chocolate accessories during her adolescence, then by the time she was fully grown, she had become my chocolate cat with little splashes of vanilla on her chest and chin, but her kittenhood, with the exception of my memories, must have been on the Dell laptop I bought to head off to grad school, and is since lost to trafficking theft, along with my birth certificate, marriage certificates, and divorce documents.

You see how our racial identities might change over time, as we grow?

The only art student in my program – perhaps nationally – with a PC instead of a Mac.

All because Wall Street and Washington had to have their little Great Recession.

I cry.

I type some more.

I need a painting studio and my service animal. This typing gig on 21st century technology is insufficient for trauma recovery.

Pace the undereducated opinions of Idaho’s mental health professionals, Frida came by her name after I placed healthy boundaries on my abusive ex-FBI ex-smother-in-law, returning a scenic landscape Utah calendar because I was worn with my then-husband’s mother controlling all of the days of our lives – many of those nights too – and replaced it on the walls of our home with a calendar of Frida Kahlo’s work.

That launched World War III. out of Bountiful, a bedroom community north of Salt Lake City, where coincidentally my adopted eighth cousin twice removed Ted allegedly kidnapped a high school girl in 1974.

From this image meta-dated 14 May 2013, Frida sleeps beside the rag doll that my paternal grandmother sewed for me when I was a child. That heirloom, too, lost to trafficking theft after my family denied our relationship with the Arizona Strip Bundys to Idaho’s mental juridical health professionals just one year later in their determination to force their will over me. I wish it were otherwise, but my Mexican-born grandmother and Cliven Bundy are first cousins, once removed, pace the opinions of Idaho’s undereducated mental juridical health professionals unfamiliar with genetics, psychology, art, design, technology, and the old-fangled notion of civil liberties:

service animal frida with heirloom dollPace the opinions of Idaho’s visually illiterate and psychoanalytically uneducated mental health professionals, this is what healthy trauma recovery looks like, from my Ragdoll series completed in Palouse, Washington, in 2007, added to the State of Idaho’s collection in 2014 via theft acquisition:

fall ragdoll series

Ragdoll | Fall, 2007, 76.5×57 cm, charcoal and Prismacolor on Fabriano Artistico. Photo documentation courtesy Patrick J. Finerty, Jr.

Idaho’s “solution” looks like drug addiction, more child abuse, and mass shootings.

Which would you rather add to your neighborhood?

From your perspective, you may think I have no respect for authority or the “bureaucracy” that you blamed for your staff’s failures to uphold our contract and Washington law. From my perspective, my respect for the authority of Greyhound Bus Lines was so great that, between the two options of both of us freezing in the winter snows, I decided better to leave my service animal in the care of a kind stranger, after Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare dumped us both out into the desert after a month of me of enduring their psychiatric abuses while the state invented a biography for me, telling me that my real, evidence-proven life was all a “delusion.”

A shrink simple-minded enough to think the compound of a globally notoriously abusive family willing to lie about homicide was a safe place for me to go.

A mental health “program” of ker-plop prisoners in chairs while hypocritically yappity-yap-yapping about the mental health benefits of pet care and force-feeding drugs causing egregious social harm.

Back on the outside, encountering mental health “professionals” who rape, preach Christian hypocrisy, and/or dole out more harmful drugs to their emotionally and socioeconomically vulnerable clients.

big pharma aesthetic

Neighborhood aesthetic for global pharmaceutical experiments in trauma recovery.

From whom might I have acquired the requisite letter designating Frida as my service animal?

Once I was on the bus, I wished I would have rebelled against their authority and hidden her away in my carry-on bag. They would never have noticed. Greyhound functions primarily to transport drug dealers from one rural stop to the next all over eastern Washington, where they peddle their antipsychotics, antidepressants, and opiates for ten bucks a pop to the undereducated, miserable country population.

Or drafted a letter from a fake psychologist on letterhead better designed than yours. Once I got back to Seattle, inspired by other homeless cat-carers, I could have managed. Somehow. Even sleeping on dirty mats on dirty floors while studying for the LSAT.

It’s not authority that I rebel against. It’s abuse of power that sickens me.

Bring on the authority. I love authority. Where in this nation might I find healthy leadership?

On 29 July 2016, I received a one-line email: “I recently moved and could not take any of our pets. We took Frida to the country and let her go. Our local shelter was not accepting cats and she was too untamed to place with a new owner.”

Again, a kind stranger is not responsible for doing the jobs that state-funded social service workers are paid to do. I doubt that she even knew Frida was a “service animal” or perhaps had not yet encountered the lingo of a nation-state with a miserably failing care economy.


Like my MFA thesis, Wild Child.

I tamed her.

Like me, Frida is not untamed. We both respond best to nurturing care. Please and thank you work really well for me. We don’t like threats or loud noises. Rambunctious children would likely encourage Frida to hide in the smallest, darkest corner of a four-story house and hiss at anyone who came near.

Layla’s Law stipulates the service animal “means an animal that is trained for the purposes of assisting or accommodating a disabled person’s sensory, mental, or physical disability.”

I trained her to reciprocate care.

She is imprinted on me, her caregiver, and -receiver.

Much as I trained the squirrels at Idaho’s State Hospital South to eat out of my hands in less than 48 hours, much as I more recently trained the feral rabbits at a neighborhood park:


Honey Bunny, service-animal-in-training.

As you can see from this image meta-dated 19 January 2010, from the kitchen in my Queen Anne apartment, I trained my service animal so well that she could communicate love in symbolic human language:

frida food love

Well-trained service animals reciprocate essential love.

And, no, I was not so bored slapping out job applications in post-Great Recession Seattle that I arranged my cat’s food; this was the condition of her bowl when I woke, prior to my morning tea.

Retrospectively noting the brutal coincidence of dates, four years earlier in the timeline of Frida’s life, a veterinarian in Moscow stitched together her gaping eye socket and spayed her so she, like me, would not suffer bringing more offspring into a world that rewards abuse and punishes care; four years later, a senior electrical engineer at Micron emailed, repeating his descriptions to mental health professionals of me as “psychotic” for asking for a toilet paper and cat litter budget in return for my labor he continued to demand for his household, threatening to shut off wifi if I continued to communicate with my genetic family; and last year, in 2015, the last time I saw Frida, coaxing her out from her hiding place under another sofa in another drug addict’s shack, caressing and caressing and caressing and purring and purring and purring, promising to return for her, no matter how long it takes me to find an employer, clients, and colleagues healthy enough to reciprocate my respect with a living wage, one day prior to the Supreme Court hearing oral argument in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child, and nine days after Moscow’s 2015 psychopharmacology induced mass shooting; and this year coincident with my email documenting Delores’s criminal behavior to your outbound criminally negligent Program Manager Jenn Pargas, further coincident with still more of Delores’s criminal threats of retaliation for calling 911 to report her criminal behavior.

Deep empathy for the families of the alleged victims of my adopted eighth cousin twice removed Ted. You might think it cruel of me to compare a cat to a human being, but all three of my cats, each in turn, were as close as I will come to having a child in this iteration. Partly my decision to not have children with a man not healthy enough to maintain healthy boundaries on his abusive mother. A decision cemented for me by an abusive man rampaging his demands for household labor in return for less than my menstrual experience. When I have been able to find employers healthy enough to reward my hard work with at least a living wage, I gave better care to my cats than any of my siblings give to their planetary sperm and ova donations.

The worst is not knowing. And to think of her starving. Or torn apart by wild dogs. Or cats more feral than she after a decade of doing the very best I know how to do to provide care in a careless world. And helpless to help her. Is she suffering? Terrified, and hiding somewhere-? Caught in the gears of a farmer’s combine, or crushed by speeding traffic she does not know to expect-? Tortured by Idaho’s drug addicts-?

Or maybe some kind farmer has taken her in, and wonders who would go to all the trouble of stitching the eye of a beautifully proportioned Siamese, only to let her go? I am grateful at least she is outside, not penned up in some miserable, disease-riddled kennel. Frida would have hated that. As I know from personal experience, there are worse things than being homeless. There’s being locked up in a cage for crimes you did not commit.

Or maybe she is really enjoying her new chapter outside. Maybe taming her and keeping her inside was selfish of me, a prison for her. Either way, I would like to give Frida the chance to decide if she would like to be with me, or outside fending for herself, and not have the decision made for her. Like a slave.

While the State of Idaho, without a doubt, shares some responsibility for the loss of my service animal; my entire oeuvre and other possessions; two years of my life (and counting); the deaths of David Trail, their suspect’s former landlord and a brother of former Idaho state legislator Tom Trail, Belinda Niebuhr, the manager of a Moscow fast-food restaurant regularly frequented by the suspect’s parents, and the suspect’s adoptive mother, Terri Grzebielski; and the critical wounds to Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights attorney Mike Chin, it is nevertheless the job of case and program managers to begin with where I am, with where each of your individual clients is, in addressing the issues that led to this experience of homelessness, when we arrive in your program. Their chosen interpretations of those jobs, stomping their ignorant feet and insisting all of our skills and challenges begin from the same datasets, are criminal. Individual human beings are more than the sum of your severely uncollected personal narrative data.

Pace the psychoanalytically uneducated opinion of a senior electrical engineer at Micron who readily identifies with the martyr narrative of an abusive drug addict diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder, and who insufficiently assumed that I did not contact the local police department in my second escape from human trafficking, the female cop who chauffeured me, my desktop computer, and my service animal across town, inquired, disbelievingly, “You have a cat in your backpack??”

That was after I placed a healthy boundary on a cop while in the backseat of her cop car, for her presumptive shaming me for the caliber of company I keep, by observing, “This is my reward for sacrificing my own career to put my prosecutor ex-husband through law school just in time to finish grad school at the start of the Great Recession.”

I am not in a position to decide whether or not the prosecutors in King County will choose to prosecute you for your crimes, but I am ready to testify that the behavior that I have borne the brunt of or witnessed under Compass Housing Alliance’s administrative mismanagement is worse, because it is perpetual and ongoing, than behavior that my state prosecutor ex-husband painfully realized of his own mother, after years of marital struggle, counseling, and finally pursuing his individual therapy, “I would prosecute for less than that now.” I can also tell you he described treating his new kitten that he acquired to replace Frida in our absence as I treat my cats, looking to me as a caring role model when his own mother failed.

Charlotte will be thrilled to learn that she succeeded in making poverty a full-time, unpaid job for me. Exactly what she wanted. But you notice how, in choosing to demonstrate my design, technology, and psychology skills as they connect to the field of law, while reaching out to an audience external to Compass, I may hopefully one day before too much longer accomplish what I want, an employer or clients healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a living wage?

Every problem is a design problem.

Every field uses 21st century technology.

You don’t escape human psychology however limited your knowledge of biology.

Every avoided communications problem becomes a legal problem.

These lenses overlap, always already, as the philosophers like to write.

Conflict does not have to be either/or. We might resolve and/both.

At least the Washington legislature was kind enough to include within RCW 9.91.170, “Nothing in this section shall affect any civil remedies available for violation of this section.”

The longer you avoid owning your bad behavior, the more likely your intentional abuse will have caused Frida’s death. Do you want a percentage of her replacement value to go to PayPal, or are you cutting me a check directly?

Respectfully submitted,

Jana Brubaker

*First initials correspond to real names to aid in internal and external investigations, but names changed to maintain confidentiality

preamble 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 remedy


David Foster-Koth
President, Board of Directors
Compass Housing Alliance and
Chief Trust Officer
Perkins Coie Trust Company
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 4900
Seattle, Washington 98101-3099

Maggie McElvy, Vice Chair
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
HomeStreet Bank
Ballard (on 24th) Branch
5900 24th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

David Swartling, Secretary
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Mills Meyers Swartling P.S.
1000 Second Avenue
30th Floor
Seattle, WA 98104-1064

Steven Gerlock, Treasurer
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
The Commerce Bank of Washington
Two Union Square
601 Union Street, Suite 3600
Seattle, WA 98101

Mike Anderson
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Community Advocate

Isa Backley
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
P.O.Box 97050
Seattle, WA 98124-9750

Franklin Chu
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
U.S. Public Health Services (retired)
9781 NE Murden Cove Dr
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

John Gienapp
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
University of Washington (retired)
Gienapp Family Foundation
12055 Lakeside Place NE
Seattle, WA 98125

Lisa Gustaveson, MNPL
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Program Manager, Faith & Family Homelessness Project
Building/Room: Hunthausen Hall 200
Seattle University
901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122

Dick Heine
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
U.S. Navy (retired)

Dana Henderson
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Pierce Transit
PO Box 99070
3701 96th St. SW
Lakewood, WA 98496-0070

Paul Hogle
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
The Boeing Company

Pastor Julie Hutson
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Luther Memorial Lutheran Church
13047 Greenwood Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98133

Marilyn Iverson
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
US West (retired)
c/o Rev. Tor K. Berg, Parish Pastor
First Lutheran Church of Bothell
10207 NE 183rd Street
Bothell, WA 98011

Tim Jorve
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Community Advocate

Judy Selmann
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Foss Home and Village (retired)
13023 Greenwood Ave North
Seattle, WA 98133

Gayle Solberg, Director
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Department Continuing Education
Bellevue College
Mail stop NORTH
3000 Landerholm Circle SE
Bellevue, WA 98007-6406

Jose Tello
Board of Directors, Compass Housing Alliance, and
Community Advocate

Val Bush, Grants Specialist
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
505 5th Avenue South, Suite 900
Seattle, WA 98104

David Wertheimer
Deputy Director, US Program
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
500 Fifth Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

Mark Putnam, Director
All Home
401 5th Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, WA 98104

Kathleen O’Toole, Chief of Police
Seattle Police Department
610 Fifth Avenue
P.O. Box 34986
Seattle, WA 98124-4986

Lally, Patricia
Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR)
Central Building
810 3rd Avenue Suite 750
Seattle, WA 98104-1627

Mayor Edward B. Murray
City of Seattle
600 4th Ave, 7th Floor
Seattle, WA 98104

John Urquhart
King County Sheriff’s Office
516 Third Avenue , Room W-116
Seattle, WA 98104-2312

Dan Satterberg
King County Prosecutor
King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue, W400
Seattle, WA 98104

Rob Gannon
Acting General Manager
King County Metro Transit
King Street Center
201 S. Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104

Dow Constantine
King County Executive
King County Chinook Building
401 5th Ave. Suite 800
Seattle, WA 98104

Lin Payton
Mental Health Program Manager
Clinical Quality and Care Transformation
Health Care Authority
Cherry Street Plaza
626 8th Avenue SE
Olympia, WA, 98501

Kim Wyman
Secretary of State
416 Sid Snyder Ave. S.W.
Legislative Building
Olympia, WA

Patricia Lashway
Acting Secretary
Department of Social and Health Services
Box 45131
Olympia, WA 98504-45131

Pat Kohler
Agency Director
Department of Licensing
State of Washington
PO Box 9020
Olympia, WA 98507-9020

Sharon Ortiz
Executive Director
Washington State Human Rights Commission
711 S. Capitol Way, Suite 402
Olympia, WA 98504

Bob Ferguson
Attorney General
Washington State
1125 Washington St SE
PO Box 40100
Olympia, WA 98504

Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

Jay Tabb, Jr.
Special Agent in Charge
FBI – Seattle
1110 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-2904

Director James B. Comey
FBI Headquarters
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

U.S. Representative Dave Reichert
Issaquah Office
22605 SE 56th Street Suite 130
Issaquah, WA 98029

U.S. Senator John McCain
2201 East Camelback Road, Suite 115
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Cindy McCain
McCain Institute for International Leadership
1777 F St. NW Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006

2 thoughts on “Resetting Your Moral Compass

  1. Pingback: Resetting Your Moral Compass | journal6other

  2. Pingback: Resetting Your Moral Compass | journal6other

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