Posted on August 4, 2005

Flakiness at the Top is Sinking The NAACP

Robert L. Jamieson Jr., Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Aug. 4

The NAACP, the venerable civil rights organization, publishes a magazine called The Crisis.

The name aptly describes the state of leadership in the organization’s Seattle chapter. Blame falls on Alfoster Garrett Jr., a local lawyer who became chapter president this year.

Garrett struggles keeping appointments and always has a schoolkid’s explanation for why. His repeated flakiness sullies the organization.

Garrett has stiffed the governor and the Seattle school chief and has showed up late to court more than once. Meanwhile, the good NAACP name draws people to his private law practice, raising eyebrows.

Back in May, Garrett arrived tardy to the court of federal Judge John Coughenour, an act that in a column I called inexcusable. At the time, Garrett was heading up a lawsuit on behalf of students who allegedly were shackled and roughed up by security guards in the Kent School District.

Coughenour, ticked off by Garrett’s lateness — the third instance in which the lawyer was tardy or a no-show in the judge’s court — dismissed the suit without prejudice. After that, Garrett vowed to shape up.

Now, other examples of Garrett’s irresponsible behavior are coming into view — behavior that tarnishes a branch that a year ago was named tops in the country under Carl Mack, the former chapter president.