There was the guy who created a company for the sole purpose of filing false unemployment and worker compensation claims, and the gal who used 16 fake names to seek comp payments in five counties. An interpreter billed for almost a half-million dollars in services he didn't provide, and a massage therapist forged doctors' signatures to the tune of nearly $100,000. Those are some of the phonies busted by a state Department of Labor and Industries crackdown on abuse under a program expanded with additional money from the Legislature. In the first quarter of 2005, L&I spent $3.3 million on the antifraud program. In return, it recovered an astonishing $27.2 million in improper payments and delinquent employer premiums. That's an 8.5-to-1 return on investment. It's also a shining example of how government can get it right by recovering money it wastes, instead of adding another tax or fee. RICK ANDERSON
Election year politics can make for bad public policy. Nowhere is this more evident than in the $10.7 million Veterans and Families Levy proposed by King County Council member Bob Ferguson, D-Seattle. For the past three years, the King County Alliance for Human Services has been struggling to come up with a dedicated, sustainable funding source for a broad array of human services. Now Ferguson threatens that work by singling out veterans—dividing social service funding into discreet parts. The Alliance for Human Services, whose members serve veterans among others, has for months opposed, in vain, Ferguson's segmented approach. Why does the council member persist? As a result of redistricting, Ferguson must run for re-election against another incumbent County Council member, Carolyn Edmonds, D-Shoreline. Support for veterans is a great issue during wartime. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
KING-TV and Bullitt Foundation alum Emory Bundy has been waging a one-man war against Sound Transit. He's been trying to hold the agency's feet to the fire over broken promises and ballooning costs. But he's had trouble getting the media to pay attention. That might be changing. Last week, Bundy sent e-mails attacking recent guest columns in the dailies by state Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and King County Council member Larry Phillips, neither of whom, Bundy thinks, has been sufficiently skeptical of the regional transit agency. By distributing his e-mails to a wide list of politicos and journalists— and touching nerves—Bundy got the politicians to respond. The result was a snarky flame war that even included former Gov. Booth Gardner, who begged Phillips to lead an effort to bring sanity and clarity to regional transportation planning: "Do it, Larry. You are one of the few who can." KNUTE BERGER
Two years after Seattle police officers allegedly beat him, Raymond Nix sued the city and four cops on July 28 in U.S. District Court. Seattle Weekly detailed the incident last year (see "The Cops' Credibility Gap," June 2, 2004), after Nix, a homeless man whom police arrested for alleged drug possession in 2003, went public. The altercation left Nix, then 65, with a ruptured spleen, among other injuries. The suit contends that Nix was assaulted by the cops and that his civil rights were violated. Criminal charges against Nix were later dropped. PHILIP DAWDY