Share |

Skullduggery at Parks

Island Life

I have always liked the word "skullduggery" for various reasons, not the least of which has to do with the visuals it inspires. As usual though, once you start looking into an origin or true meaning, some of the lustre and mystery of it sometimes will wither up or melt away. There is of course the whole pirate thing it has going on for it, with skull and dug and the images of pirates digging up or burying something, regardless of whether or not that has anything to do with the meaning of the word, which it doesn’t. Defined in various places around the interwebs, skul- or skullduggery is known as a ‘euphemism of uncertain origin’, supposedly coming from the Scottish word sculduddery or sculdudrie, with meanings ranging from bawdry to adultery to obscenity and fornication. Some of its synonyms are listed as hanky panky, hocus pocus, jiggery pokery, artifice, dissemblance, perfidiousness, hypocrisy, guile and fraud. It is noted in some places that Skull Duggery was a villain in the first episode of the Japanese anime classic Speed Racer from 1967. It also notes that the villain’s name was changed in following episodes, although the character’s appearance remained the same.
This kind of brings us back to my reasons for the title of this column, which is actually a misquote of what Island surveyor Jerry O’Hare told me regarding a survey map he did for the Vashon Park District of the area containing the Vashon Elementary School or VES Field project. What he told me over the phone was that there was no skullduggery (his word) going on at the VPD regarding the recording and re-recording of the map and survey which was completed on 3 June 2009. He said that he had simply forgotten to put in the road, which in this case meant the line and descriptive call out for the Rosser’s driveway along the south border of the VES property when he first had the document recorded with the county. I said okay and thanks and that was that- sort of. Before we go further I will refer you to another bit of video deconstruction that has been loaded and ready for viewing on the You Tubes. One can find it here: , or as an alternative, you could also go to the land of the youtubes and search "the Rosser Driveway Debate Revisited".
What happened last night at the VPD commissioners board (or bored) meeting was mostly uneventful. During the public comment period, Islander CC Stone got up to ask the board about the problems that are fairly apparent in the timeline and reality of the three survey maps mentioned in the video above. As part of his answer, Commissioner Hackett used the term "conspiracy theory" to describe any speculation about the myriad reasons why someone might change these documents. As we all know, the conspiracy label is a bit of a spoiler, as there is a certain nut job association that now comes along with a mention of the term. But with the actual map objects in my hand, his sleight becomes more like the pleas of the Wizard of Oz to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, or Exxon’s banning of media from their Arkansas oil disaster so it can’t be reported on- if you can’t see it or even if you can and told you can’t, it isn’t there. And then there was this. After getting off the phone with Jerry O’Hare I called Gay Rosser, since Mr. O’Hare had said that she had talked with him a short while before. In talking with Gay I found out another interesting tidbit- Mr. O’Hare had let on that he was talking with her from the Park District office. I’ll leave speculation as to why he was there up to you, you darn conspiracy theorists, you.
The problem with Mr. O’Hare’s explanation is that I have seen the man behind the curtain and the oil on the lawns of Mayflower, Arkansas. I’ve also seen all the survey maps in question. In our case, it is the original whiteprint of the VES field survey which is dated 3 June 2009 that is of primary importance. This has the Rosser driveway on it with it’s exclusion from the VES property noted on the legal description above. While the legal description of that exclusion remains on the copy that was recorded with the county on 16 July 2009, the line designating the road, along with its legal callout, have disappeared from the scene. There is no drawn curtain, just an undrawn line. For some reason I would like to think that things like this do not happen by accident, nor by paranormal activity as some reality TV shows might lead one to believe. After obtaining a copy of this record and pointing out the discrepancy of the missing line indicated by the still intact legal description, the person at the desk at the County Records Office said that if the drawing does not reflect the legal description on the page, then it should not have been accepted as a legal record of the property. Why is any of this important? I don’t know, which side of the conspiratorial coin does one fall on if someone has a survey indicating a county record that shows that your driveway does not exist as your property, even though you know it does and it is? I don’t think we ever were in Kansas on this one, Toto, but if one looks closely at another part of the legal description on that page, it has the adjacent property that the Harbor School is on listed as being in Pierce County. That, as they say is another story.