Bomber Mascot Controversy
Issue # 21 ~ 08/17/01
Today's comments submitted by:

Mary Triem Mowery (47), Bob Harman (51)
Bob (Mike Clowes) Carlson (54), Burt Pierard (59)
Irene de la Bretonne Hays (61), Paula Beardsley Glenn (62)
David Douglas (62), Jackie DeVries Brown (62)
Sharon Brooks Sims (62), Keith Hunter (63)
Ann Engel Schafer (63), Roy Ballard (63)
Jim House (63), Jeanie Walsh (63)
Maren Smyth (63-64), Gary Behymer (64)
Carol Converse Maurer (64), Dennis Hammer (64)
Patricia de la Bretonne (65), Bob DeGraw (66)
Rebecca Hanson Lange (66), Bill Wingfield (67)
Ken Staley (68), Stephen Lewis (69)
Mike Davis (74), Kim Edgar Leeming (79)
>>From: Mary Triem Mowery (47)

I attended the Tuesday night school board meeting, along
with four others from my class and two from the Class of
'46.  Bomber pride goes through several decades.

I am not a full-time Washington resident.  I would like
to suggest that those of you who are keep an eye on every
agenda the school board issues for their meetings.  I am
sorely afraid that the NAME will be tucked into one of
those meetings and if so, Bomberville-ians should come
out in full force!

-Mary Triem Mowery, proud to be a '47 Bomber
>>From: Bob Harman (51)

As a Class of '51 graduate I was around here when the
bomb was dropped and I am still proud of our school and
the bomb!  What a biased decision the board made!  Those
who have written chastising the board for voting their
opinions rather than the wishes of the people are
correct.  So much for representative government.

I find it ironic that this vote was taken on the eve of
the anniversary of the surrender of Japan.  That
surrender was undoubtedly the result of the bomb and
saved untold lives, both American and Japanese.  I don't
know what can be done about the vote but whatever it is,
if it is legal and moral, I will support it.

-Bob Harman (51)
>>From: Bob (Mike Clowes) Carlson (54)

Fellow Bombers:

Those of you who went to the School Board meeting on the
14th inst. have just been given a lesson in politics.
The will or wishes of the people do not count.  If you
don't believe that, remember the last Presidential

But enough of sour grapes.  While the idea of recall
sounds great -- and it may work some times -- recalls are
viewed by many as pure vindictiveness on the part of
those proposing the recall.  The better solution is to
select a candidate who not only shares your views, but is
someone who is more than a "one trick pony".

Is there someone in Bomberville willing to step forward?
I can think of a few names, but I'll hold that idea for

It is easy for those of us who are away from the scene of
the action to make comments, but if what was reported
concerning two of the "opposition" is true, they are the
most likely targets for replacement on the board.  Now,
find out when their terms are up and elect someone who
can at least speak coherently.

Onward Bombers!
-Bob (Mike Clowes) Carlson (54) - from muggy Albany, OR
>>From: Burt Pierard (59)

I took a couple of days to reflect on the incredible
spectacle I witnessed which could be euphemistically
referred to as an "Open Richland School Board Meeting".
This "meeting" consisted of about 45 minutes of public
comment and "input" which everybody in attendance thought
the Board members were listening to and considering
before their decision.  Then each Board member spoke and
the three who eventually voted NO read PREPARED
STATEMENTS!  This was the first indication how much
weight those three were giving to the Public comments --
zilch!  They couldn't care less what their constituents
thought, they had their own agenda and their minds were
made up long before the meeting!  Their prepared
statements were almost a joke.  Board member Peterson's
convoluted "historical" speech focused almost exclusively
on the European Theater and sounded like he was building
up to tearing down the Day's Pay mural.  He never did
speak on point to the Bomb being a symbol of a past event
in Japan.  Noted "homeschooler" (never had any kids in
the Richland School District) Board member Phyllis Struck
Strickler (60) gave an emotional presentation (the tears
on cue were kind of cute) which boiled down to the Bomb
was "too Big," "too much 'In Your Face'."  Apparently
"Size Matters" -- what is her opinion of the giant mural?
Then we come to the "lameduck" President Weiss.  Since
she didn't have the guts to file for reelection, she was
totally free to leave her stamp on Richland High School
and then ride off into the sunset.  Interestingly, her
argument also boiled down to the fact that she felt the
Bomb was too Big and the shape had no connection to RHS.
Does this mean she would have accepted a full size
replica of Fat Man?  Now there would be a Big Bomb!  I
understand that work is going on to build a full scale
Fat Man.  I hope it continues and then it is offered to
the Board.

A sidelight of this corruption of the Republican Process
is the identification of Truthtellers and Liars amongst
the principal players.  Roy Ballard (63) had no reason to
lie.  He was just the poor grunt workhorse of the
Richland Alumni who has contributed countless hours,
energy and personal funds to try and make Richland High
School better for the students.  I accept his recount and
timeline of the events as Truth.  Steve Neill (72), the
new RHS Principal, artfully crafted a CYA (Cover Your
A**) memo that totally disagreed with Roy's version.
Supt. Semler accused Roy of trying to stir the Alumni up
by publicly airing their private conversation where
Semler said that it would be up to the Board to change
the nickname and any previous (or new) votes by the
students would carry no weight whatsoever, implying that
he was denying the conversation.  Again, I believe Roy's
version of the conversation.

Don't give up the fight!  Only one vote needs to be
turned on the Board and that position will be vacant!

Bomber Cheers,
-Burt Pierard (59) ~ Monroe, WA
>>From: Irene de la Bretonne Hays (61)

To: Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)      

Very, very well said, Diane.  May those who have ears (and minds) hear.

To: Jim Anderson (72WB)

You have a fine way of making your point.  Even then, it
may be too subtle for some readers.  Perhaps stating it
in all caps would get their attention -- like shouting.
Good job, Jim.

-Irene de la Bretonne Hays (61)
>>From: Paula Beardsley Glenn (62)

To say I was disappointed with the Richland School
Board's decision would be an understatement.  As many of
our fellow Bombers have already shared, I felt the
decision had already been made and we were allowed the
"courtesy" of a hearing in order for them to vote their
conscience and not the people's will.

Although I was at the meeting, I chose not to speak after
hearing my fellow alumni do such a great job of sharing
our thoughts on the bomb.  There was nothing I could have
added that would have changed the Board members' minds.
It would have been appropriate for the Board to allow
additional input from the audience after they presented
their "thoughts" and perhaps I would have been more
willing to speak to their reasons and hopefully changed
at least one person's mind.  Alas, that was the dreaming
part of the night following the nightmare.

I am planning to write to each member of the board
personally regarding my thoughts on their decision.  It
probably won't make a difference but I need to let them
know that they will have my support or not come November
and why.  I recommend that those of you so inclined do
the same.  The address for the Richland School Board is
615 Snow Ave.  Richland, 99352.

I commend the students that spoke up at the meeting.  If
the Board members had been truly listening to the people
they are supposed to represent -- the students -- the
outcome would have been different.  Shame on them!!

-Paula Beardsley Glenn (62) ~ Bomberland - Where at 5:30am
                         it is already too warm and headed
                         into the triple digits again!!
>>From: David Douglas (62)

I would like to take mild exception to Jim Anderson's
(72WB) suggestion that being in favor of our bomb mascot
-- even fervently so -- means not caring for the
homeless, etc.  The two are not mutually exclusive.  I'm
going to make a transfer of the bomb picture with my
little Epson printer for my T-shirt which I shall proudly
wear (well, maybe not out on the streets of Tianjin),
which will in no way detract from my charitable

-David Douglas (62) ~ Gilbert, AZ (for five more days)
>>From: Jackie DeVries Brown (62)

I am very disappointed in some of our school board

FYI - 

School Board members are elected for four year terms.
Meg Weiss's term is up Nov. 2001; Jim Peterson's and
Phyllis Strickler's terms are up Nov. 2003.

I also wondered about V. Skinner and the comment she made
about hanging black men in effigy at RHS.  I have seen a
lot of things over the years at RHS, but don't recall
that; maybe I'm just having a senior moment.

I would like to give a special thank you to Roy Ballard
and crew for all your work.

To: Jenny Smart Page (87)
     I like the idea of the Bomb on top of a green and
gold car, really makes a statement.

Bomber Cheers,
-Jackie DeVries Brown (62) ~ Richland, 1OO+ degrees again
>>From: Sharon Brooks Sims (62)

I would like to thank all of you who attended the school
board meeting.  I think that the decision was made before
the meeting began.  If the objection is the "size" of the
bomb shell, would they accept the gift if it was
installed at a different place on the campus?  Was that
already addressed?

Thanks all Bombers who stood "tall"!

-Sharon Brooks Sims (62)
>>From: Keith Hunter (63)

Rick, what about a legal approach?  Who is an attorney?
And where can we get some good sound advice?  Lawsuit!

-Keith Hunter (63)
>>From: Ann Engel Schafer (63)

To our dear friend Roy Ballard,
     You did something from your heart you thought would
unite the town and all classmates and I hope you know it
worked.  Richland is a unique town where many friendships
were born and still remain to this day.  WE ARE BOMBERS
and will always be.

-Ann Engel Schafer (63)
>>From: Roy Ballard (63)

To: Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)

Sorry, but you didn't listen.  Whether you like history
or not, history is history.  No one here in this alumni
group is glorifying the bomb; it is part of our history.
By the way, I got a phone message from the East Benton
County Historical Society and the message was "the bomb
belongs in the school but if they won't take it the
Society would be glad to have it because this is part of
our history in this area."  I don't know if Bill would go
along with you, but you are entitled to your opinion;
that is what has made this country great.  Thanks for the

-Roy (63) and Nancy Ballard
>>From: Jim House (63)

The Bomb was too big?  I guess an airplane is out of the

Will someone please explain the Richland School
District's gift policy.  I am concerned the School Board
may find a loophole in my estate plan that will allow my
daughters to go on a frivolous binge.

-Jim House (63) ~ Houston, TX
>>From: Jeanie Walsh (63)

OK Bombers, listen up!  It's time to go to work and beat
them at their own game!!!

Surely out of all the alumni who still live in Richland,
there must be someone who ran for the school board???  I
suggest we find those brave souls, and convince them to
take on the task of running again, only this time, the
entire alumni get behind these individuals by either
"getting out the vote" if you live locally or by
contributing $$$.  We can do this folks, but it's going
to take time and a commitment from all of us to support a
candidate(s) for the School Board.  Three candidates
would be perfect as it would give them a majority on the
board.  So, are there any taker?  I nominate ROY

-Jeanie Walsh (63)
>>From: Maren Smyth (63-64)

Subject: Tri-City Herald non-scientific poll.

As of 00:54 Friday morning the count is 563 yes, 43 no on
the question to allow the bomb at RHS.

-Maren Smyth (63-64)
>>From: Gary Behymer (64)

Here's where you can make a difference.  Be heard and

Contact Richland School District

-Gary Behymer (64) ~ from downtown Colfax, Washington
>>From: Carol Converse Maurer (64)

I was very sorry to hear about the decision at the school
board meeting.  Our city council does the same thing down
here -- most of them already know which way they are
going to vote, even before they hear from the people who
voted for them.  Some of them don't care how the public
feels, they go with their own opinion anyway.  Very sad!!
I was thrilled to hear that so many alumni were at the
meeting.  That certainly shows that we are concerned
about our school and our community (I say 'our
community', even though I don't live in Richland).

-Carol Converse Maurer (64) ~ Eureka, Ca
>>From: Dennis Hammer (64)

The school board cannot be recalled because of wrong-
thinking, there has to be wrong-doing.  It appears that
there were too many successful recalls a number of years
ago and they changed the law.  You now have to have a
petition for recall, then go to court, and the court has
to decide there is reason to believe something illegal
was done.  About 12 years ago I was part of a group that
tried to get the Richland School Board recalled.  We lost
the court case, appealed to the State Supreme Court, and
lost there too.

It took us four years, but we finally replaced every
member of that board.  Only thing is, with a couple of
exceptions, the new board was not much better than the
old board.

Nothing has changed.  They didn't listen then either.  It
seems that they think that if they give the public a
chance to speak at the beginning of the meeting they can
go on and do whatever they want and the public will think
it has been heard.  This caused a year or more delay in
getting Chief Jo reopened.  They wanted to give Chief Jo
to the City of Richland and build a small school way out
in West Richland.  They had a possible site, but would
not commit to that so they wanted us to give them money
to build a school and we did not even know where they
were going to build it.  I am the one that suggested to
the board that they put two issues on the ballot, one for
the bond and the other to let the people decide to either
remodel Chief Jo or build a new school.  They took that
idea and changed it to an "advisory vote" so they could
do what they wanted and make the people think they were
being listened to.  As a result the bond failed because
the people were not as stupid as they thought.

That Meg Weiss voted against the bomb is no surprise to
me as she was a supporter of that old school board and
part of the committee that wanted to dump Chief Jo and
build a new school regardless of what the people wanted.
Phyllis Strickler however was a part of our group and I
would have expected her to remember how we did not like
it when we were totally ignored by the school board.

The way I see it, the school board members have been
elected to those positions and they have the right not to
listen to the public when they make their decisions.  But
they work for the people and if the people do not like
their decisions then the people have the right to fire
them.  It's just that, unless the law has been changed,
we will have to wait for the next election to do it.
Unfortunately I live in Kennewick now and will not get to
vote in Richland.

ANOTHER THOUGHT: While I would like to have seen the bomb
installed at the school, if they had accepted it as a
gift, it becomes property of the school and they could do
what they want with it.  They could make a surprise
decision at a board meeting to remove it and have it cut
up for scrap the next morning before anyone could stop
them.  If it remains private property they can't do that.
Disadvantages of course are that someone will have to
haul it around for display or an off-campus site will
have to be found.  Hopefully one that will be hard for
vandals to get to.

-Dennis Hammer (64)
>>From: Patricia de la Bretonne (65)

To: Diane Carpenter Kipp (72)
     Well said!  Thank you.

To: Jim
     Also well said!  Loved it!

-Patricia de la Bretonne (65)
>>From: Bob DeGraw (66)

Hey BOMBERS!!  Bob DeGraw here, Class of '66.  How ya
doin'. (That's not a question.)  How many of you were
under the impression that this Bomb thing had anything to
do with World War II or some other political issue?
Raise your hand if you thought that.  That's what I
thought.  Just a couple of you nimwits.  For me this was
about some people trying to strip me of my identity.  I'm
a BOMBER damn it and you take away my BOMB and how does
anyone know who I am!!!  I'll tell you that down here in
Vegas when the discussion of high schools comes up, I
whip out my NUKE 'EM signs and my mushroom cloud and they
damn well know where I comin' from.  I AM A RICHLAND
BOMBER!!  I want the Bomb to be displayed so that people
know who we are and who our parents are and that we are
proud of our heritage.  I'm starting to get a little
excited here so if I mispell a word or somethiunbg just
let it go.  Now I can't vote these vile despicable vermin
on the school board out of office because, as I said, I'm
down here in SIN CITY, but if you who are up there don't
.... well, I just might have to bring my lean and fine
tuned muscle bound body up there and do a little A
kicken.  And Steve Neill .... don't you be a-wimpin' out
on me son!!  I was changin your diapers long before you
were a principal.  Now, if anyone out there dosen't feel
like I do then I suggest you just take your lilly livered
name of the BOMBER roll call.  Go be a Beaver or
Hummingbird or some mushmouthed swine roller.  And I'll
tell you another thing.  If I was there in Richland I'd
be up to putting Bombs all over the place.  They would
have to have a special police force just to try and stop
me!  Just like the bonfire days of yore.  Damn those were
good days!!  Well I guess I'm tired now and need my
medication.  BOMBER BOB TILL I DIE!!!

-Bob DeGraw (66)
>>From: Rebecca Hanson Lange (66)

To: All Richland Alumni who worked so hard on getting the
    Bomb properly displayed where it belongs.

Have been a faithful reader of the events going on in
Richland concerning our mascot "THE BOMB".  Was sorry to
see the vote went against displaying it.  Even though I
haven't lived in Richland for more years than I want to
count, I am still a "Bomber" and will always be one.  I
want to personally thank all of you who worked hard on
getting this issue before the Richland School Board and
for trying to make sure they knew that it was important
to us, the Alumni.

Noticed that the Tri-City Herald poll tonight is showing
92.8% Yes votes for displaying the bomb with 7.2% voting
No.  Total of 596 votes taken so far.  The number of
votes seemed rather small to me.  If I remember
correctly, there were almost 600 kids in the Class of '66
alone.  I'd like to see a lot more votes showing in this

I've heard it said that it's best to strike while the
iron is hot, but then again, I have developed patience.
I don't get mad; I can wait a long time to even the
score.  And believe you me, when the opportunity comes I
don't hesitate.  So classmates, I suggest to you we pick
the next battleground carefully.  The Board took round
one, but they haven't won the war.  I think it's just

Will be reading with interest the thoughts of my fellow
classmates on this subject now.

Forever Green and Gold!

-Rebecca Hanson Lange (66) ~ in the boondocks of Kenai, AK
                           where it's raining today but
                           the Silver Salmon are running
                           up river and the fishing is
>>From: Bill Wingfield (67)

Director Guay      -- yes
Director Peterson  -- no
Director Steach    -- yes
Director Strickler -- no
President Weiss    -- no

Rich Semler (obviously) -- no
I agree with Victor Day (65).  This should be our vote
when these people are up for reelection!  I had to go
ahead and amend it because I believe Rich had a lot to do
with the board's vote, even though he didn't vote.  As
one person said, it was obvious their minds were made up
before the meeting.

I heard a bunch of good ideas from Issue #20.  I like the
one of the bomb on top of a car, or in a yard on Thayer,
but whatever we do, those people that did not vote the
voice of their constituents, should be removed.

-Bill Wingfield (67) ~ Augusta, GA
                       Where it is hotter than hell in
                       more ways than one. 
>>From: Ken Staley (68)

Matt Greenough and Art Dewald must be rolling in their
graves, knowing their lessons in history and democracy
were wasted!

To:  Patti Snider Miller (65), Brad Wear (71),
     Mike Davis (74)

"As elected officials I was under the impression that
they were there to do the bidding of their constituents
and not vote their own views on issues."

Sorry folks .... you do not elect slaves.  You elect
people, whose policies and politics you agree with ....
or those that most closely mirror your own .... to VOTE
THEIR OWN CONSCIENCES.  These people are not your slaves,
nor are they (well .... SHOULD THEY be) beholden to you.
You do not have to agree with their decisions .... but,
for the most part, you should respect the job they did.
As was pointed out .... how many of you were present and
so rabid when the last levy/bond issue needed help?  This
really is a tempest in a tea pot.

For those of you who wanted the board to be your puppets,
take a lesson refresher from:

Gary Behymer (64):
     "The power of the vote.  The only way to change this
is at the ballot box next election."

At least Gary seems to have paid attention!  I also
suggest, as difficult and hard on the system as it may
be, that you include a vote by the current student body
on this issue as well!

-Ken Staley (68)
>>From: Stephen Lewis (69)

So they didn't want to place an 11-foot high bomb in the
foyer.  The residents of the school district are going to
recall their school board.  The best test scores in the
state are not good enough for you?  At least if the bomb
was historically correct it would be okay.

Admit it people, the question is not heritage.  The bomb
doesn't look like any bomb that ever carried Hanford
plutonium.  Its true intent is as a political fetish
object.  Its collateral damage is to divide your
community that should be placing emphasis on effective

-Stephen Lewis (69) 
>>From: Mike Davis (74)

To: Jim "Bo" Anderson

Take the routine to Hollywood or give it a rest!

The issue is no longer the bomb.  The issue is the
process that the board chose to refuse it.  Three people
in that meeting (Strickler, Peterson, Weiss) decided the
issue, ignoring an overwhelming majority!  That is not
the role of an elected official.  I have taught for 22
years, ten of those U.S. History, and if that meeting was
an example of democracy I have done a grave disservice to
hundreds of children.

-Mike Davis (74)
>>From: Kim Edgar Leeming (79)

Is there anyone or maybe three alumni in the Richland
School District interested in running for the School
Board?  If successful, we'll have a slam dunk, and that
Bombshell will have a home, where it belongs!  You all
can use the "Gift Rejection" as a campaign issue.
(Showing that the Board ruled on feelings and not what
the people wanted.)

Just a thought!

-Kim Edgar Leeming (79) ~ Poulsbo WA
That's it for today.
Send RHS Nickname/Mascot entries to:

Mascot Stories and BMC Back Issues: