By Edward Snook
Editor's Note: Imagine for an instant that your home - the place you are supposed to feel safe beyond all else - has become your prison; not due to some crime that has you under house arrest, but rather besieged by a city government and neighbors that assault, harass and slander you at every opportunity. Those opportune moments come every time you walk out your door or pull-up to park in front of it. They target your children; your guests. You are bitten, clubbed, and your very livelihood is threatened. They even post“wanted” posters around the community making it seem as if you are the problem. Would you move? Or, would you fight?
This story outlines the years of physical and emotional torment one Vancouver, Washington woman has endured at the hands of city government officials, police officers, code enforcers and bully-like neighbors, and the battles in which she has triumphed; yet, this story is not over. This fight, this war she has justifiably waged to feel secure in her home has one final chapter; defeating a city government that reportedly denies any wrong-doing and is digging-in for a long legal battle.
Dr. Kathy Marshack
Her plight has been featured on Lars Larson's radio show, and FOX News Channel 12 (viewable above) and we are bringing it to you; not only to inform, but to call you to action. She needs our help. The City of Vancouver needs to know that enough is enough.
Together we can come to the aid of this upstanding citizen and flood the city offices with calls and e-mails. Look for Vancouver City Government contact information at the end of the article.
There is no better weapon against bad government than that of public opinion - use it.
VANCOUVER, WA - Kathy Marshack crosses the Burlington Northern train tracks at least twice a day as she comes and goes to her home in east Vancouver, Washington where she has lived for the past 27 years. The old crossing was built in 1908 and is still the same steep one lane road it has always been - no improvements, no safety equipment, just a couple of stop signs and the train hornto alert you of approaching trains. With 40-50 trains daily passing along this track, going at speeds up to 70 mph, Dr. Marshack is careful to advise her guests and clients to stop, look and listen along the deeded legal easement.
Dr. Marshack operates a psychology practice from her home which is nestled in the trees and has a beautiful view of the Columbia River. After years of relative peace and quiet, everything changed in 2004 when the City of Vancouver and several community leaders reportedly targeted Dr. Marshack for living and working on the “wrong side of the tracks.” City government officials and numerous neighbors wanted a Train Horn Noise Quiet Zone, and as long as Dr. Marshack had a business license to work out of her home, the Federal Railway Administration would only issue a Train Horn Noise Quiet Zone permit if the City was willing to pay to upgrade the easement's crossing. This would cost the city an approximated $350,000 to $500,000 - a hefty price tag. The City refused to pay, reportedly due to the fact that only one person stood in their way. If they couldn't get rid of Dr. Marshack, either the bill for a Quiet Zone would jump up another half-million, or the permit would be defeated entirely.
So, the harassment began. Since 2004, Dr. Marshack has experienced threatening phone calls and emails, spurious code enforcement citations, video-stalking, cyber-stalking, lawsuits, assault and battery, false arrests and malicious defamation. The Mayor, City Manager, City Attorney, Police, the Columbian Newspaper owner, and several of Dr. Marshack's neighbors have reportedly terrorized her and her family for years, and still to this day.
According to Dr. Marshack, she finds it odd that no one ever approached her for her cooperation with the Quiet Zone project. In fact, she states she had no knowledge of the project until she did some digging of her own, and further claims that this is why she is being targeted.
In a written outline provided to the US~Observer, Dr. Marshack stated:
“It seemed random at first. The complaints were confusing and irrelevant, such as a code enforcement citation regarding my right to park my motor home on my property next to the garage, and a code enforcement citation saying my home business had somehow become a 'nuisance' to my new neighbors, or Police complaints that I was trespassing when I would take a legally deeded easement road to the river.”
Each time she was attacked, Dr. Marshack successfully defended herself. But, the attacks were growing increasingly irrational and seemingly desperate.
Vancouver City Attorney Ted Gathe and
wife Sharon Wylie
On July 4, 2006 Dr. Marshack was physically assaulted by one of her neighbors - her neighbor literally bit her. When the police arrived, instead of protecting Dr. Marshack and listening to the witnesses, the Police arrested Dr. Marshack for assault and battery, trespass, stalking and lying to the police. According to Dr. Marshack, she was terrorized beyond belief by these false accusations. It was then that she finally suspected that there had to be more to this harassment than disgruntled neighbors. It took a few more years of digging to get to the bottom of it.
Dr. Marshack best tells the story of her week in trial
for her proven-to-be false charges from the July 4, 2006 arrest:
“Judge Melnick had just admonished me a second time. He was angry that during pretrial motions, I had leaned toward my attorney to ask a question. ‘I'm warning you,’ he said. ‘If you so much as whisper a word or look once at the jury, I will declare a mistrial!’ I was so startled by his anger with me that I sat motionless. Later my attorney Therese Lavallee told me she had never seen Judge Melnick act this way. While it is true that a defendant must remain calm, cool and collected in the Courtroom, it is odd that Judge Melnick was excessively worried that I would somehow influence the jury in a misdemeanor trial. I learned a year and a half later why Judge Melnick was so worried about me. It had to be that letter written by City employees Jim Jacks, Josephine Townsend and Richard Landis.
“For the remainder of the process, pre-trial motions, voir dire (jury selection) and other formalities in the trial, I sat motionless, expressionless, and only spoke to my attorney during breaks. Now I understand why murder defendants appear to be unconcerned about their fate. The judges are afraid that these defendants will somehow sway the jury with their non-verbal behavior. But I was on trial for misdemeanors, not felonies. Yet Judge Melnick and the City Prosecutor Kevin McClure treated me as if I was Public Enemy Number One.
“I have to say I was terrified when I took the stand in my defense. I was surprised when I choked up and started to cry. I was afraid the Judge would declare a mistrial because I cried. The whole horrible experience of being stalked and assaulted came flooding back as my attorney asked me questions. It was the betrayal that was the worst. To have my ex-husband, City officials and my neighbors lie about me so that I would be arrested and tried . . .well it was overwhelming. But I dabbed the tears with a Kleenex handed to me by Therese, and I proceeded to testify.
“One witness after another confirmed that I was the victim of incredible harassment. Even the hateful neighbors who had started all of this abuse confessed to stalking me and assaulting me. It took little time for the jury to reach a verdict of 'Not Guilty' on all charges. Clearly, I had been set up. Thank goodness honest people could see through it all and set me free. But not before I and my children had been terrorized for years, not to mention the extreme legal debt for which it will take decades to pay off.”
By August 2009, the same month the Mayor proudly announced that the city would soon have a Quiet Zone Permit for East Vancouver; Dr. Marshack reportedly discovered a letter in the City's files, dating back to September 2004 that explained it all. All of the harassment, stalking, assaults, verbal threats, damaging lies; all of the frightening disregard for her Civil Rights; all of it stemmed from that letter. The letter was reportedly written by Vancouver Citizen Advocate Jim Jacks, with alleged assistance from VancouverCity Prosecutor Josephine Townsend and Code Enforcement Officer Richard Landis. In this defamatory memo, Dr. Marshack was accused of being diagnosed a “Functional Sociopath” and that she should “NOT” have a license to practice psychology. They even went so far as to invent “proof” of their allegations, claiming that Dr. Marshack's own therapist wrote reports to the Court and testified against her - none of which is true, but rather a very dangerous and contrived lie, created to defame and destroy this innocent lady. Clearly the message had been sent out to the City hierarchy to take out Dr. Marshack.
Since the beginning of this nightmare over 7 years ago, a lot has transpired. A Judge ruled for Dr. Marshack upholding both easements, including the road across the train tracks and the road to the river. Law enforcement, City planners and code enforcers have all violated the judge's rulings. Continual harassment from neighbors, which was seemingly being supported by the police department, was finally recognized and punished - and still not even an apology from the police department. Dr. Marshack's neighbors were found guilty of contempt of court, harassment and assault. Dr. Marshack countersued for damages, and the neighbors settled. Dr. Marshack has filed a Superior Court conspiracy lawsuit against the City of Vancouver, but the City is holding out. After all, they have a lot to lose considering that three City employees actively engaged in libel in order to destroy Dr. Marshack's reputation and livelihood for the sake of the Train Horn Noise Quiet Zone. Or, was it?
Dr. Marshack's story has many sides to it and many players that have caused her grief. The US~Observer will be reporting on these and the progress of this fine woman's lawsuit against the city of Vancouver, Washington in her quest to find at least a miniscule amount of justice.
Marshack is represented by Attorney Dan Lorenz, who is reportedly very thorough. The US~Observer will keep our readership informed of his progress and work on this case.
Former Vancouver Citizen Advocate Jim Jacks went on to become a Washington State Representative and he recently left this position due to his reported alcoholism. Josephine Townsend's employment as Vancouver City Assistant Attorney has been terminated and she is in private practice in Vancouver. The City has reportedly hired council to represent Townsend concerning Marshack's lawsuit. Attorney Ted Gathe is currently Vancouver City Attorney – Gathe has obviously witnessed the corruption that has been leveled at Marshack and he has shown no responsibility whatsoever – possibly Gathe and Assistant City Attorney Alison Chinn are too busy writing about and supporting government immunity. And get this; Sharon Wylie, who is married to Ted Gathe was selected by Clark County Commissioners to replace Jim Jacks.
The Columbian newspaper from Vancouver has failed to cover the abuse that Dr. Marshack has been subjected to – maybe the Columbian has been silent because owner of the Columbian Scott Campbell was Marshack's neighbor when corrupted City of Vancouver officials, code enforcement officers and high level members of the Vancouver City Police Department conspired against her. Campbell opposed Marshack and had indirect involvement in the attacks against her according to a US~Observer source.
What about accountability in Vancouver Washington? Where have all the moral and decent people
been while their City officials and some individuals have attempted to destroy Dr. Kathy Marshack? Do the citizens of Vancouver condone the corruption their local government has perpetrated against Marshack? What's going on behind the scenes with the Waterfront/City Center Development – the Columbia River Crossing? What about the promoters and insiders tied to these projects?
Currently, the US~Observer is investigating how Jacks, Gathe and Campbell are tied together? In the Columbian, self-described alcoholic Jacks is portrayed as so heroic and dedicated that no one would dare condemn him. Then Jacks is replaced in Olympia by Gathe's wife. How convenient. How many others are involved with this daring trio?
The US~Observer would ask all of our readership to contact Vancouver City Attorney Ted Gathe at phone - 360-487-8500 fax – 360-487-8501 and Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes at phone – 360-487-8600 fax – 360-487-8625 and tell them the vile corruption that the City of Vancouver, Washington is engaged in is not acceptable… Please contact Edward Snook at 541-474-7885 if you have any factual information on the individuals associated with this case, including Clark County Judges.
Stay tuned. This story is not over.