John Malone was interviewed by Bill Schneider and Karen Perdue with videography by Deborah Lawton and Michael Letzring of KUAC radio/tv, Fairbanks on April 16, 2008 at the Marriot Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. John was also interviewed by Bill Schneider and Karen Brewster on March 11, 2008 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Alaska Mental Health Trust History
Date of Interview: Apr 16, 2008
Narrator(s): John Malone
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Karen Perdue
Videographer: Deborah Lawton , Michael Letzring
Transcriber: Carol McCue
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Section 1: His experience with his brother’s mental illness.
Section 2: Dealing with former Morningside patients in rural Alaska and lack of local mental health services.
Section 3: Changing responsibilities of Alaska State Troopers regarding law enforcement and dealing with community and social problems.
Section 4: How he became involved with mental health issues through Bethel Community Services and why he remained involved with the Mental Health Trust.
Section 5: His role as president of the Alaska Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and his work for that organization during the final stages of the mental health trust settlement.
Section 6: His assessment of the mental health trust settlement and how mental health service delivery is currently working in Alaska.
Section 7: Lack of mental health services and treatment in rural Alaska and difficulties people had in returning home to villages.
Section 8: The role of the mental health trust in Alaska statehood, and his efforts to improve care and handling of patients at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute by petitioning the State and receiving court action.
Section 9: Key players in the final settlement of the mental health trust lawsuit.
Section 10: Conflicts during the mental health trust settlement and protecting interests of the mentally ill.
Section 11: Delivery of mental health services in the Territory of Alaska and the push by Congress for improvements.
Section 12: Getting involved with mental health issues when he became an Alaska State Trooper and investigated the Alaska Psychiatric Institute's facility.
Section 13: The importance of developing good relationships as part of improving mental health service delivery in rural Alaska.
Section 14: The legal process for protection of individuals who were mentally ill.
Section 15: Dealing with mental health patients in a village setting.
Section 16: Involvement of family members advocating for improved mental health services and role of Morningside Hospital in delivery of care.
Section 17: Conditions and patient care at Morningside Hospital in Portland, Oregon, and why people got sent there.
Section 18: Progress on mental health trust settlement during Governor Steve Cowper's administration, and addition of more beneficiaries.
Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.
After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
Section 1: BILL SCHNEIDER: Okay. Today's April 16th, 2008. And we have the pleasure of doing another interview with John Malone. So John, thank you for taking the time to come and do this. We're here at the Marriott, and this is a KUAC interview, so we appreciate being able to have all of this professional recording. Let me start off, John, with asking you a question that I wanted to get at last time we talked. JOHN MALONE: Uh‑hum.
BILL SCHNEIDER: Your brother came back from Vietnam. JOHN MALONE: Uh‑hum. BILL SCHNEIDER: And you had mentioned off tape that this had had an influence on you and your work with mental health. JOHN MALONE: Yeah. He was, tragically, like a lot of the vets that got ‑‑ they got the body home but they didn't get the mind home too well. There wasn't much treatment going on at the time.
Politically it was a very unpopular group to be talking about dealing with. He ‑‑ he had an extended tour. He was a draftee, actually. He won the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He ended up into jail quite a bit. In fact, my brother had just got out of law school, one of his first cases.
Mark finally got him into the VA. He wasn't even being treated by the VA really at that time. And he got to be ‑‑ he was a real problem. He became very psychotic. He was psychotic. Untreated. Ended up being corralled by the police more often than not. He tried to stay at my parents. My parents were kind of very much intimidated.
So anyway, to make a very long story short, I had sent him a ‑‑ I sent a one‑way plane ticket down to him and he came up here. And very fortunate at the time, Dr. Carl Koutsky had just taken over API , and he set up a file for me, or for him, I'm sorry, and then took him out to Elmendorf and set up a file out there for him. And which was a very often used service.
Yeah. And the tragic thing about those type of guys is they ‑‑ once they disconnect, which he did, they don't get any better; in fact, they get worse. Oh, he ended up freezing his feet off, lost both his feet. And then he died.
Yeah. Didn't get ‑‑ VA services weren't much then. Yeah. Yeah. Couldn't get him any really good support services locally in communities.
Well, he was a problem, too. The older he got, I think the sicker he got, and the less they were able ‑‑ the less they were able to do for him. Yeah.
Section 2: And then I 'd been ‑‑ even before him, I had been involved, of course, in meeting some of our early discharge Morningside patients. Two that I always reminisce about, the ones that ended up in Sand Point living under a boat with letters from the state, I called them Dearest Mommy, Dearest Daddy, here I am.
One set of parents had died, and one set of parents had already moved ‑‑ they moved back to Washington, the state of Washington, years before that. So here they sat with their letters in hand and their bottles of medicine. One was in compliance, in other words, had been taking the medication; one hadn't been.
So I brought them into API. In fact, that's how I first met Dr. Koutsky, his first month or so on duty. And I had no idea about the whole Morningside discharging process, or at that time, none. Oh, thank you, Karen.
That was before my brother. Kind of a humorous side of that. Things were much easier in those days, too. I remember going into the hospital coming off the chains, I usually had ‑‑ you know, you had prisoners or some other children sometimes in custody. I just went to the hospital first. And I walked into his office, and we just had been introduced, or we introduced each other.
And I just looked at these two guys and I said ‑‑ and I said, I believe these belong to you. And he said, yeah, I think they do, too. They were pretty ‑‑ they looked pretty rough, you know. That was the whole admission.
Yeah. He took over from there. One went out to Elmendorf because he was a veteran. I never did know what happened to the second one. Well, out in rural Alaska in those days, there wasn't any treatment going on. There wasn't anything.
The BIA, basically ‑‑ a lot of people don't remember how poor we were as a state. And the BIA carried on a lot of our duties. Education, social services, public health in those days.
So the ‑‑ there was an issue ‑‑ there was two main issues, communication between the two organizations, federal government and the state government, and responsibility. Who had responsibility. So ‑‑ so anyway, that's ‑‑ that's the basic of my beginnings of interest anyway.
Section 3: KAREN PERDUE: So, let me just interrupt you for a minute, John ‑‑ BILL SCHNEIDER: Those early years, the troopers had a lot of responsibility for them.
JOHN MALONE: Yeah. I don't think their statutory responsibility has changed much over time. It's having to do with basically, you know, the state growing up, the state maturing. Revenue, of course, increasing with the pipeline, and with the oil pipeline, of course, that was a big ‑‑ a big deal.
So we ended up with more subcategories of agencies dealing with problems that the troopers traditionally ‑‑ licensing alcohol. We used to license all of the beverage dispensaries in the state and enforced all the alcohol laws.
A child ‑‑ well, this is when the ‑‑ I think children's ‑‑ children's jurisdiction was still under District Court up until about '67. So, boy, I used to file an awful lot of petitions for kids. I mean on or about kids. I mean lots. Hundreds. Yeah.
What was the other one. Well, those are two of the big ones I can think of off ‑‑ off the off the top ‑‑ top of my head. Of course, outpost duties and how you were assigned duties, the hours you worked, all that was different then, too.
They didn't have a union at the time, so when you went to an outpost, it was 24‑hour days is what it was. And you learned how to manage your time or you didn't. And it was very important that you successfully did an outpost if you were going to stay on the career ladder, if you will.
Section 4: BILL SCHNEIDER: Let me ask you a question more directly about the Trust. As you look back over the years of your serving, what has kept you involved with the Trust for so long?
JOHN MALONE: Well, I think that ‑‑ I think the issue in Western Alaska probably, well, without question was it had ‑‑ it was so under-served in all aspects of social services. And I got involved with a nonprofit ‑‑ starting a nonprofit with the notorious Judge Nora Guinn back in '69, and that's actually when we founded Bethel Community Services.
There was four of us. And it was all about placing the kids, mainly, in that town. We had ‑‑ the city had a contract, the City of Bethel was under contract to Public Safety to do its policing, that means we had to run the jail, too.
We were ‑‑ the city was selling liquor. And it was a horror show, one way to describe it. It got so bad that a lot of kids just couldn't find a place to go home at night.
So what I started doing, the National Guard donated, oh, God, 50 sleeping bags, something, a whole wall full of them. A whole wall full of them. So I used the courtroom on weekends, which was the worst, for these kids. And of course, this had been going on for months.
And what I did was, it wasn't very legal at the time but I think the statute of limitations has run, I also put them on the meal list, the jail meal that came over, we had a contractor at that point. So they liked that. Judge Guinn didn't like it too much. It was supposed to be a very temporary thing.
After 6 or 7 months, she ‑‑ she could see the handwriting on the wall, so she told me do something about it. And, well, we did anyway. And I got ahold of the superintendent of the BIA. The BIA headquarters and here, in Bethel, or in Alaska but in Bethel was the largest one in the United States. They had lots of resources. And they were very accommodating, extremely accommodating.
So we started a receiving home just for these kids in one of their buildings they donated to us. And we called it a receiving home. And started a little nonprofit corporation. We were all volunteers. And we ran it that way for about a year, but it grew so damn fast, the services that were needed grew so damn fast that, you know, we needed to hire permanent staff, which we did.
And then there were other programs, WIN, the Work Incentive Program, was one of them. I can't remember the other, it's been too long ago now. The next thing you know we're ‑‑ we're an ongoing enterprise, I guess, is one way of saying it. Growing.
In the second year, I think we had nine programs functioning in the community. And basically, the philosophy of the organization became, you know, we'd start programs, bring them into the community, and then as entities that were responsible for them, like the University for Adult Basic Education, a good example, we did that for two years, and then the University came down and they took it over. We got several things started.
But at the end of that second year, like I said, I think we had nine programs. And they needed a ‑‑ an executive director. And guess who they recruited. Yeah. And it went on from there. It's been in existence since '69, so ‑‑ in different forms within the community. Right now it's a foundation, it's a community‑based foundation. In fact, it's the only community‑based foundation in the state. Yeah.
Section 5: BILL SCHNEIDER: Let's talk about the Alaska Alliance for the Mentally Ill. JOHN MALONE: Uh‑hum. BILL SCHNEIDER: Tell us a little bit about the history of that, and then your becoming president of it. JOHN MALONE: Well, I was a member because of my brother. I became a member because of my brother.
The Alaska Alliance was set up around community groups. Like the Bethel Alliance, the Anchorage Alliance, Fairbanks. Actually founded by two mothers back in Minnesota about 1982, 1983. And it really focused on family, family support, family involvement.
And it grew. It grew exponentially. It just grew exponentially. Although there was just so many folks out there that just needed help and had no idea where to go. And you have to remember, 99.99 percent of your mental health delivery system at that time was all in the public sector. Well, nobody could really afford the private sector, the only reason.
So anyway, each state had a chapter. We had ‑‑ I think we had 12. When I ‑‑ when I was elected president, I think I had 12 communities. Yeah. And then we ‑‑ of course, we were moving into the final ‑‑ we hoped was going to be the final death throes of the settlement, we were going to get a closure. So I ‑‑ yeah, I stayed with it and rode that one out.
We ‑‑ we had an interesting position. We didn't have ‑‑ everybody had a lawyer except us. My biggest concern, to tell you the truth, in ‑‑ in resolving Weiss was not the land. I used to facetiously comment to anyone who wanted to listen, including the lawyers, that I had the best lawyer in the case anyway, which was the trial judge.
She had already ‑‑ the Supreme Court had already told her what she was going to do. She could mix it up any way that she wanted, but they had already directed the reconstitution. But the programmatic changes that were more important, I thought, than ‑‑ or equally as important, the money wasn't going to solve our ‑‑ our issues. The money wasn't going to solve our issues.
Significant policy changes, that's what we really, really needed. And so anyway, they kind of left me alone. I co‑chaired the plaintiff's group during that last settlement, the last phase of the settlement, and the only piece that I really actually had to participate in was transferring the changes to the program into the new settlement bill.
And we had worked the previous winter, almost the whole previous winter on that, the group, the plaintiff's group. And it came time to put it on the table, I put it on the table and there was no dissent. It just went.
Margaret Lowe was there, she was the commissioner. And it just went. And all 60 ‑‑ about 60 pages of it. It wasn't perfect, but it was a heck of a long ‑‑ heck of a long further on that ‑‑ than we'd been.
Yeah. And then within about two weeks, we were in front of the legislature getting the amendments that Judge Greene wanted to bring the final conclusion, and it was done.
All we needed was Governor Hickel's signature, which we got at 2:30 in the morning. Yeah, we were that special ‑‑ that first special session, the guy that we ‑‑ I think we went back into session two times, Karen, do you remember, or was it three times? KAREN PERDUE: I don't know. It was ‑‑ JOHN MALONE: Yeah, it was... But it was 2:30 in the morning in his office, and we were all pretty whipped. Yeah. (Break.)
Section 6: BILL SCHNEIDER: Okay. So ‑‑ so John, as you look at that settlement that occurred, how ‑‑ how well has that worked out? And where would we be if we hadn't had that settlement? JOHN MALONE: Oh, I don't know. I think it's ‑‑ it's ‑‑ it's such a ‑‑ it's such a huge thing, a big thing policy-wise, and it's such a new concept.
I don't know ‑‑ no other state has ever undertaken this concept, if you will, of public policy management, actually having a board of trustees involved in an appropriation bill, which is separate from the appropriation bill from the rest of the state. So we had two appropriation bills.
I think ‑‑ yeah. I think ‑‑ I think it's working ‑‑ I think it's working well. Do I think it could work better? Oh, absolutely. Ask me any day of the week, I can tell you that. But it's ‑‑ it's a new way of thinking, a new way of ‑‑ the commissioner had to ‑‑ big adjustments in the department, in the state department. A lot of things had to be worked out as far as chain of command, you know.
Some things we intentionally kept ambiguous. The one I love, of course, was ‑‑ was a state plan. Under the federal rules, you have to have a state plan, a state mental health plan. And of course, the department has always had responsibility for that. And my constituency, the mentally ill, were a little upset over that.
Previous plans, some of them didn't even mention families or consumers, so they wanted the whole plan. They wanted the state out of the plan. Well, my ‑‑ my rebuttal to that was, well, you're going to put a plan ‑‑ a plan together, you're not going to do anything except sit on your hands, and these people are going to have to run it. That isn't going to work. The people who are going to have to run it are going to have to be there at the table. That was my kind of...
So the lawyers went back ‑‑ was that a Sat ‑‑ it was actually a Saturday morning. Went back to the table. And Phil Volland called me. Judge ‑‑ now Judge Volland. And he says, well, how about this, he says. How about the Department of Health and Social Services, in conjunction with the Mental Health ‑‑ the Mental Health Trust Authority, will develop annually, or whatever it was, the mental health plan for the year.
He says, you're ‑‑ this is pretty risky, but I think it's kind of where you want to be because there's no legal definition for "in conjunction with." And, of course, Karen has probably heard me many times mention that ‑‑ that condition, if you will.
Because I've always viewed it, it is the State's responsibility to put that plan in place and implement that plan. And again, I had to appease ‑‑ I had to appease my people, or maybe suffer lynching, I didn't know. They were pretty hot. That was a real hot item with the alliance, the alliance families. The plan.
Section 7: BILL SCHNEIDER: And again, how was it worked out, do you think? JOHN MALONE: I think it's ‑‑ well, we ‑‑ every ‑‑ about every year, haven't we, Karen, every year we've ‑‑ we can go back and revisit it, basically, any time we want to. Typically, we've been going back every year. And I think we're honing it down into more doable ‑‑ yeah, into more doable parts. We're isolating it better as to what you want to achieve, what are the benchmarks to achieve it.
Yeah. I think that it certainly hasn't gone backwards. I think it's definitely gone forward. Yeah. That's good. BILL SCHNEIDER: Karen Perdue has described the history of the trust and the delivery of services to the beneficiaries as really a civil rights story. How would you characterize the history? JOHN MALONE: A super rights? BILL SCHNEIDER: A civil rights.
JOHN MALONE: Oh. Yeah. Yeah. I would say that. I mean, that's a ‑‑ that's a great characterization, Karen. Yeah. I don't know ‑‑ and you know, again, we were a very young state. The first two decades, especially the first decade, I went for years out in the Bush, I never had a District Attorney or Superior Court Judge, so I was always dealing in petitions and preliminary hearings, and jurisdictional issues that today only, you know, the ‑‑ the DA's office would touch.
So I got ‑‑ I got involved in a lot of resolutions of issues that would not have ‑‑ I don't think, would have been resolved without us. And a lot of them had to do with mentally ill people in village settings.
A mentally ill person in a village setting who hadn't been treated, and they weren't treated under the Indian Health Service, pretty intimidating. And when we got into this Bethel Community Services, building it, we built the Bautista House. In fact, it was the first designed residential supported living facility in the state.
I think ‑‑ I think ‑‑ I think it was you or someone who asked me why a lot of these people just didn't go back to the village. Well, it was the previous con ‑‑ conduct, their previous conduct over years that was so intimidating to the communities, to the families, once they got those people out of those communities, they wanted them out. Literally wanted them out. Yes.
We used to send people back with escorts to visit two or three days. They'd never make it ‑‑ and I don't think one ever made it longer than three days. Which was okay. But there was a whole ‑‑ there was a whole disconnect, with kids especially, too.
The BIA had a contract, Brown School, several Outside for juveniles, minors, it was a whole different educational treatment center or treatment concept of anything we had in the state, anything.
Section 8: BILL SCHNEIDER: John, do you ‑‑ do you see the history of the Mental Health Trust, do you see it as a statehood story? JOHN MALONE: A what story? BILL SCHNEIDER: A statehood story? JOHN MALONE: A statehood? BILL SCHNEIDER: Yeah. Do you see it as part of the story of the formation of this state?
JOHN MALONE: Well, yes. An unfortunate part, I think there were many early on, certainly if you read the Congressional Record, in the 1950s, Congress ‑‑ Congress well understood what was needed at a state level, what authorities were needed at a state level.
It wasn't a knee‑jerk kind of thing, where okay, we just ‑‑ now you've got the administrative and fiscal responsibilities, guys, and here's the checkbook, this is the perimeters of the checkbook. We just ‑‑ I don't know why ‑‑ actually, again, I go through this dichotomy of being out in the Bush and being in the urban center. I don't know how ‑‑ I guess the part that always angered me, we separated Rural Alaska right from the get‑go. Right from the get‑go.
It was almost like having ‑‑ API was almost like a Morningside. There was only one place. And I can remember filing a petition with Karen's department, the first someone who's ever prosecuted ‑‑ I mean, prosecuted, took five days. Judge Guinn made me do it.
So I said, I've never done one of these. So I went up to Fairbanks and got a hold of Cowper and a couple of the attorneys in the AG's office ‑‑ or the DA's office. I'm sorry. And ‑‑ and they started looking through this stuff, and gave me a law clerk and went through and started looking at petitions, there had been hundreds of petitions filed, literally, but none had ever been brought to a conclusion because everything that had to do with mental health was in Department of Health and Social Services. Everything.
So it was one circular door. And it seemed like nobody ever came out. Well, they hadn't. At least in the court record they hadn't. I spent months, boy, I'm talking 6, 7 months.
Well, the case she gave me, the case was ‑‑ it was a guy named ‑‑ from Scammon Bay by the name of Daniel Katonga (phonetic). And anyway, I ‑‑ I filed this petition. She was the district court judge then, and Judge Hepp in Fairbanks was our Superior Court, the presiding Superior Court judge.
Well, Judge Hepp's position with us out there was, you know, basically, we produce the findings of fact, then he would ‑‑ and then ‑‑ and a recommended order, and then he would sign the order. Well, we never had one of these before.
Well, anyway, Judge ‑‑ well, then it was District Attorney Van Hoomisen came down. He was trying to hire this VISTA attorney away from us down there in Bethel. And when he arrived, the clerk of the court had the flu or something and couldn't go to work, so he ended up being the clerk of the court for four days.
And so he went through this whole ‑‑ he went through this whole transcript. And what I had asked this young VISTA lawyer to do was represent this guy. Because I couldn't ‑‑ you know, as a policeman, I just couldn't call up someone. You know, we didn't ‑‑ in fact, we didn't ‑‑ I don't even think we had a public defender in place. So it went on five days. Hearing went on five days. And I ‑‑ I wrote the finding for her and I recommended ‑‑ yeah. The recommended order. And Judge Hepp signed it.
And I had some really good stuff ‑‑ stuff the State had never seen before. In other words, he would not be discharged from Alaska Psychiatric Institute without the court hearing first. The court would make a determination whether that was in his best interest.
And that was the whole issue, what was in his best interest. And discharging him, the way they discharged him, without any supervision, was not in his best interest. In fact, he became very dangerous.
So anyway, went through that process, Judge Hepp signed the order, Daniel went back to the hospital, lived, I hope, many happy years thereafter because two or three years ago sent ‑‑ somebody sent me his obituary.
It was tragic. He had no family. No friends, no family, no ‑‑ which I knew was untrue. He came out of Scammon Bay. He had been hospitalized at Morningside when he was 15 or 16. He was schizophrenic, very schizophrenic. But apparently had been well managed. He really had been well managed.
But here we go years later, had to be 20 years later, I still have the copy of the obituary, Eskimo male, Scammon Bay, Alaska, no known relatives. It didn't even say where he died. It was Anchorage, but it didn't say. You know, somebody drove over him or had a heart attack or... Yeah. But kind of the ‑‑ kind of the way we looked at folks then. Yeah.
BILL SCHNEIDER: So the whole notion of petitioning for services for rural Alaska ‑‑ JOHN MALONE: Couldn't ‑‑ you couldn't get a damn state social worker off their butt to do that if they could find them. Karen's laughing back there. Any way they could dodge that bullet, they dodged it. Yeah.
Section 9: BILL SCHNEIDER: I have ‑‑ I have one other big question I want to ask you. JOHN MALONE: Uh‑hum. BILL SCHNEIDER: As you look back at the history of the trust and the struggles for justice, who do you single out for their contributions? Who do you see as people that are real heroes in this story?
JOHN MALONE: Well, boy, there were a lot, really. I mean, a lot. Several. You know, they ‑‑ different personalities in different roles. Yeah. I had ‑‑ well, Harry Noah then became the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. He was the named plaintiff ‑‑ the named defendant. I'm sorry. Certainly one of the wisest men I got to know.
Without his willingness to negotiate with us, you know, we went through three mis‑settlements, if you will, I called them, settlements that the legislature tried to jam down our throat. That's a little harsh, but it worked good back in those days. A little harsh today, but ‑‑ but that's the way we looked at them. Until Harry was appointed by Governor Hickel as commissioner.
Remarkable man. He knew nothing about mental ill ‑‑ illness, health, or anything else. But he hired Julia Mason as his attorney in this matter, and things really ‑‑ things really moved on. Another one, I guess, I don't know, Phil Volland, we all agreed on the plaintiff's side that, well, there were two disgruntled attorneys, but there were probably 26 of us or so around the table, so these two disgruntled ones didn't get very far.
They ‑‑ everyone, I think, agreed that Phil Volland, who was one of the later people to come into the ‑‑ representing the out ‑‑ the agent, in fact, it was the last class accepted, admitted, certainly had a significant role in comp ‑‑ getting the compromises we needed out of both sides to make it work.
But there was an awful lot of people there. You know, you're talking about ‑‑ you know, I think the real hero in the early days was obviously Steve Cowper. You know, he filed the original case, and I can assure you, he knew very little about mentally ill. He and I used to have some real heavy debates about that.
Won the case at trial, and then won the appeal in '85, Weiss versus. And I think his whole fees to the State of Alaska was less than $30,000. But he'll, I'm sure, be glad to fill you in on that. But yeah.
Then ‑‑ I don't know. I could go down the list, really, and you really need to go down the list, especially down to the end, the end players, the last group at the table, because we all had our own assignments, if you will, and we met ‑‑ we met weekly at API.
And yeah. We had our own assignments and ‑‑ and we did them. We did them or we didn't do them. We ‑‑ more often than not we did them, got them done. So I think there was ‑‑ you know, there was quite a group.
The consensus, I think, that Phil Volland brought to the table was extremely important. His integrity as a lawyer I think was a big part of it. And again, Harry Noah, I can't say enough.
Section 10: BILL SCHNEIDER: The flip side of the ‑‑ of the question is are there people that history should remember for what they didn't do and should have done? JOHN MALONE: Yeah. But you're really going to make some people mad. Especially two lawyers I can think of. But yeah.
Well, why don't we rephrase that and say were they acting in their best interest or their client's best interest. I had the feeling that there were two that were acting in their ‑‑ their best interest before their client's. Yeah. BILL SCHNEIDER: Who were they representing? What was their ‑‑
JOHN MALONE: Oh, they were representing the ‑‑ the Mental Health Association; actually, Association of Professional People. And the last attorney that was representing Vern Weiss. Yeah. We better be careful how we publish that one, but yeah. It ‑‑ they were getting paid an awesome amount of money to keep the process of the land selection, the million acre land selection going.
And Charlie Cole had cut that deal with them. So it was a ‑‑ a happy day for us when Charlie got in an airplane and went back to Fairbanks. I hope you ‑‑ it really was. Yeah. But he had set up quite a deal for them, and we were all very perplexed about what the hell we were going to do because we know what his motive was.
And he had already told us, well, not in an open meeting, but told us in our closed meeting, you know, you ain't never going to get no goddamned trustees, you ain't going to get any goddamned money, the only thing you're entitled to is the land. Okay.
Section 11: BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, how are we to think about Bob Bartlett and his role? JOHN MALONE: Well, where would he be, though, in time? I mean, he'd be early on. BILL SCHNEIDER: Very early.
JOHN MALONE: Yeah. I think you have to put it in the context of ‑‑ well, there are two contexts. One that here you've got a territory that's just it's going to move on to statehood eventually, within, you know, a bracket of very few years, and you haven't done anything, you haven't done anything for 50‑some‑odd years, since the ‑‑ since the Organic Act, definitely you haven't done anything, a little less than 50, but there was a real ‑‑
my sense, from reading the Congressional Record, there was a real concern about the quality of things going on in Alaska. There was several, I think, audits, weren't there, Karen, several audits come up by Congress, not only for the mentally ill, but for everybody. I mean, for all of the children. There was some horror shows about children.
But yeah. I think ‑‑ I think Congress did ‑‑ did a grand job, to tell you the truth. Some really artfully, well written, futuristic language incorporated in what they wanted to see as an outcome to a public program.
And some of it I think I cited. That's why I pulled it out in your little ‑‑ yeah. Cited it in an outline here I scratched out for you. No big qualifier, there were no big caveats. The focus was getting ‑‑ getting the best you could get in place; being, you know, fiscally responsible.
Section 12: BILL SCHNEIDER: On the question that they want to have on this particular recording is just could you summarize how you ended up coming to Alaska and how you ended up getting involved in rural Alaska, and that will be a good lead‑in to the story that you told first about the Aleutians and the two fellows.
JOHN MALONE: Uh‑hum. Well, I ‑‑ I ‑‑ I came like many Alaskans did in the early days, Uncle Sam brought me here, and I got discharged here. My first job was actually with the ‑‑ I think was then the Division of Corrections, now the Department of Corrections when they were transferring ‑‑ the Federal Bureau of Prisons was transferring the prison system over to the state.
And I ‑‑ yeah. I worked there for almost a year, not quite a year. And then the troopers recruited me out of there, or suggested that would be a good job for me. And so I applied to the troopers from there, and then went to the troopers.
And then I ‑‑ oh, I did a ‑‑ back in my ‑‑ in those days you had two academies. You went to one when you were hired, and one after you got the end of your probationary year. I went into investigation.
And one of the more humorous, but not really more humorous cases that I got involved with early on was complaints from people around Rogers Park and Lake Otis Road about API patients walking up and down the middle of the highway, the Seward Highway, Lake Otis. Of course, this is before the days they wore street clothes.
And there was nothing locked in the hospital. My facetious comment in my report that I ended up writing a month later was the only thing that was really secure was the janitorial closet. So anyway, it was one of these cases where a citizen wrote the Third ‑‑ Third Judicial ‑‑ it was the grand jury, complaining, and then it got handed down to the DA and then down to us.
So I went over there and I met the first superintendent, Francis Baumann. A wonderful man, just a brilliant guy. We got to know each other because I stretched the investigation a little longer probably than it needed to be, but one of the big issues at the time was that it had ‑‑ the literature that first came out on API was that, you know, this is the ‑‑
this is the most progressive hospital in any of the states, in any state. And I guess in a certain context, if you looked at the treatment regimes that were going on internally, yeah. It was only ‑‑ the only place, too. Yeah.
There was a little bit down in Seward, a little over in Valdez, they had hospital beds in Valdez at Harborview for adult patients, but 99.999 percent was right there at API.
Again, the issue was that they didn't want to increase the security around the ‑‑ you know, in the hospital; in other words, the access of patients going in and out, so the condition continued until this investigation. And I forget what they did, but they ‑‑ they tightened it down, I guess is one way of saying it.
Section 13: Yeah. And then immediately thereafter, I ‑‑ I think I gave you the story of meeting Dr. Carl Koutsky. Because Francis Baumann was just there temporarily, and that's all he wanted to be there was ‑‑ he was a man in his seventies then. But again, brilliant fellow. Yeah.
But I ‑‑ after establishing those kind of relationships, when I was out in the Bush, you know, I could get on the radio telephone, which was the old ‑‑ I think the Air Force ACS system, and I could call right in there and talk to somebody, a doctor, a real doctor, and make a determination. Something you can't do today. But yeah.
BILL SCHNEIDER: So those relationships were pretty important in terms of ‑‑ JOHN MALONE: Oh, God, yes. Oh, yes. BILL SCHNEIDER: ‑‑ your delivery of services? JOHN MALONE: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I kept up with Dr. Koutsky until he died in December, last December. I didn't know he died in December, but he did.
When we built the Batista House, we didn't have a doctor, and his son was teaching in Holy Cross on the Yukon. And we didn't have any money either. And this is before the State got involved in subsidizing housing.
And then that ‑‑ so I called him up and reminded him of how I got to where ‑‑ where I am, because of him, so he became our physician for three years. Flew up from Oregon, did all our screenings, all our med checks. Yeah.
Had great fights with the Indian Health Service Hospital. Yeah. He used to have great fights with the physicians out there. He was a great ‑‑ he was a gifted teacher. He's the one that brought the WAMI program to Alaska. But anyway, yeah. Yeah. Those relationships were ‑‑ never would have went anyplace without him.
BILL SCHNEIDER: And you went a long way. JOHN MALONE: I don't know. BILL SCHNEIDER: In terms of the types of programs you set up. JOHN MALONE: Oh, yeah, I think ‑‑ yeah, I think we did for the area, for the region. Don't you think, Karen? We ‑‑ yeah.
Some things probably would have never happened without BCS. Bethel Community Services. Some might have happened better. Never know. Like I say, now it's a ‑‑ a community‑based foundation, and the only one in the state, and it seems to be doing pretty well. The amount of grants it puts out on the street every year, or has been putting out the last three years. Yeah.
Section 14: BILL SCHNEIDER: Okay. I think we want to ask a question about petitioning. So Karen, do you want to ask that one? KAREN PERDUE: So you were describing, John, at one time that there was a legal process for protections for individuals and that were mentally ill. And but today there's the petitioning process and there's hearings that occur and so on for the mentally ill.
JOHN MALONE: Oh, once they ‑‑ once the petition was filed through the department, and they were placed in, quote, I guess "the department," there wasn't a division outlet. In other words, there wasn't an outlet where that person could get out of that system except for the hospital. If they went to the hospital and you got out of the hospital, you're out of the system. There was never a treatment concept in place.
Yeah. Like this Daniel Katonga, who was an excellent example that would realistically deal with what it took to manage a patient like that, particularly if you were going to return him to a village, like he was from Scammon Bay on the West Coast. He would have been a nightmare. He's a nightmare in Bethel.
Yeah. There was no ‑‑ there was no process in place like that, which really surprised me. Really surprised me. But I don't think there was ever a client that I went across in all those records up there that had actually ended up with a treatment plan that had been implemented. I don't think I ever found one. Which ‑‑ which is real unusual for Fairbanks. I mean, Juneau was the same way. You know, we were down here, the same way. It wasn't...
KAREN PERDUE: So how is that different from today? JOHN MALONE: Well, I don't know. Well, I think ‑‑ well, the whole involvement ‑‑ the whole concept, having friends, relatives, family, statutory changes, in other words, what you're responsible to receive, what you should be able to receive in services, certainly much more professionally staffed and maintained community‑based systems.
We still need to go a long way with, I think, the training there, but we've come a long way, one hell of a long way. Yeah. Yeah, that would be kind of my answer to that.
Section 15: DEBORAH LAWTON: And ‑‑ and I guess, you know, coming from a person who doesn't know a lot about the procedure, I would like to know what sorts of problems would have been presented by this man going back to Scammon Bay.
JOHN MALONE: Well, for one, he ‑‑ you understand the term "decompensated." He was schizophrenic and he was pretty well decompensated when we received him. He ‑‑ he ‑‑ he would ‑‑ to medicate him, you would force medicate him.
When he decompensated, he was pretty dangerous. Very hallucinatory. Used to go steal guns out of people's houses and hide along the road that used to go to the dump in the city of Bethel and shoot the tires out of cars because they were ‑‑ I forget what they were, but they were something evil.
They were something that had to be done away with. And he did away with a few. Yeah. That would have ‑‑ that would have never ‑‑ that never went over in Scammon Bay. Well, it didn't in Bethel, either. I used to keep him in my jail, or give him access to jail, get a bunk so he could eat. Yeah.
And he had been prescribed meds, and I used to go out to Indian Health Service and they'd renew them. I don't know if his doctor ever signed the order or not, to tell you the truth, but it was the one that he was discharged with and it was working, when you made him take it, when you ‑‑ you know, when he complied. When you make ‑‑ when you made him compliant.
But he was a dangerous person. And rightfully should be observed that way. And, of course, again, when he was in remission, he was fine. Yeah. I say "fine," but, you know, I mean, he certainly wasn't a danger to himself or to anyone else. In fact, he was very sociable.
And my jail staff, which were Native folks, very competent Native folks, boy, they could just pick up on him in ‑‑ in minutes when things started to go down. In other words, he'd be decompensating. Wasn't complying with his meds. And trouble was about to brew. They'd had ‑‑ they'd know that before anything else, anyone else, including me. Yeah.
Section 16: KAREN PERDUE: You know, one more question. This is Karen. You know, John, it seems to me you've said ‑‑ you know, you've talked about your family member, your brother, you talked about the individuals that you remember that you still remember in detail about what they needed.
I think about some of the other family members that were involved with the alliance. And you ‑‑ you know, you cite the people that were important or the people who were in official positions, but it occurs to me that many of the reasons the trust happened is this ‑‑ the family ‑‑ the families that were motivated. JOHN MALONE: Yes. KAREN PERDUE: And would say ‑‑ would never say this is done ‑‑ JOHN MALONE: Yes. KAREN PERDUE: ‑‑ until they felt they got the best deal.
JOHN MALONE: I ‑‑ when I wrote this the first time, I edited it into ‑‑ that piece out of here. I didn't get it all out. One ‑‑ the ‑‑ oh, it's the third paragraph. 1956, when the advent of the statehood grew closer, Congress passed the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act.
Well, in that ‑‑ in that phrase there, I had also included that ‑‑ what had most people didn't understand, you wouldn't understand unless you read the records, was that family members had been petitioning Congress for years, years, trying to get resolution, particularly for their children. Because if you read this, you understand the standards. The standard was a criminal standard.
So if you were ‑‑ if you needed hospitalization services ‑‑ in fact, I have a copy, it's blanked out, I think the last two children, they were 16, in 1957, which is a year after the act was passed, that were remanded to the marshals as the judge's order, remanding them to the marshals to Morningside.
Yeah. There was a ‑‑ quite a ‑‑ yeah. There was a quite a stir, quite a concern. There wasn't any organization, though. You know, families didn't ‑‑ just didn't know how to do it, for lack of a better ‑‑ they knew it. They just didn't have an organization. But there was quite a ‑‑ an intense approach continually to ‑‑ continuously to Congress over the use of Morningside under those circumstances.
Morningside wouldn't have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be, that's just my ‑‑ my ‑‑ my thinking, if they would have removed somewhere along the line in those 50 years that criminal standard. Yeah. Because it really gave the hospital license to run an institution a little ‑‑ a little tighter than we run an institution today.
The old adage was when we were going through the settlement with the lawyers was once you got that order, it was a lifetime commitment. I'm not sure that was totally true, but for most cases, I think it probably was.
And it wasn't until these families got wound up and directed Congress that these audits came down, I guess you'd call audits would be one way of ‑‑ yeah. It was a ‑‑ I don't know. Of course, the really unfortunate thing we had that I ran into, we opened up the Bautista House, we had I think 12, our original folks come in, they were all Morningside folks, had no records, no medical records.
They had this mysterious fire down there, as this transition was going on. And patient records, the Alaska patient records went with it. And it was really a problem for a lot of the folks who had got into their fifties, been there since they were teenagers, surgeries that had gone on, lots of surgeries had gone on, but no record.
And actually, it was ‑‑ leave a lot of speculation over how it happened, the fire.
I know Thelma Langdon is very sensitive about this because of Ray's role as being the director, so we have to be careful with that. We really do. Do I think they intentionally did it? Hell, yes. Hell, yes.
Section 17: BILL SCHNEIDER: And why would they do it? Why would they destroy the records? JOHN MALONE: Oh, there were probably all kinds of things that were in the record system about treatment that basically, when you ‑‑ standard practice of treatment, usually if you change treatment from a standard practice, you needed two concurring physicians. My informants way back then told me that that rule went out long, long before the fire.
So you had a lot of, I would call it experimental medication, experimental treatment. We even, unfortunately, ran into that in API in early days, a couple of cases. Yeah. It was kind of a real eye opener to see that that would ‑‑ that still happened. That would be one of the reasons, I think. I think there was an awful lot of experimental.
And I think probably behaviorally there was probably some punitive stuff going on, too. Patients that didn't ‑‑ weren't being managed or didn't like the way they were being managed. It's pretty easy to get ‑‑ pretty easy to fall into that. You know. Yeah.
But I was never there, so I ‑‑ you know, I'm just picking it up on the Congressional Record. I think one of the better papers written was done in 1938 from a student at Reed College, and it's in your ‑‑ that's a rare paper.
Judge Greene on ‑‑ she didn't mention that but she did not have that when she had to go through that wonderful motion ‑‑ structuring that wonderful motion to determine who were the four ‑‑ who was going to be the beneficiary class. She did not have that in her possession. But that ‑‑ that lady was born and raised in Juneau.
And yeah. She was ‑‑ and then went to Reed College, and she did that as her, I think, a senior ‑‑ well, it says right on it what it was. But she had some great detail, really great detailed information. In fact, stuff ‑‑ stuff I don't think they'd let out today. They wouldn't ‑‑ about patients.
And also listed the patient ‑‑ oh, what's the sexual disorder. Not ‑‑ syphilis. Advanced syphilis. Which I was always curious about during the years, you know, during this ‑‑ typically we had mining camps, logging camps, and we had some big camps. Mining camps. Syphilis was a real problem, what to do with it.
In that whole record list, they only had two patients from Alaska they were in advanced ‑‑ advanced, second stage I think is what they called it, second stage syphilis, which is ‑‑ that's when you're really getting the organic deterioration.
Couldn't figure out why. And then I forget who ‑‑ who finally said, well, don't you remember the old blue ticket laws and the marshals in Fairbanks and Nome, they were there, we just gave them to somebody else.
And I guess that's what happened. I guess that's what happened because there was only two in 19 ‑‑ I know this paper ‑‑ it was 1938 when she wrote this paper. But that's a very informative paper. Very well written.
And I don't know whether it would have changed anything Judge Greene would have said or defined in the group. I thought she did a wonderful job with that motion. That was a tough ‑‑ tough, tough, tough piece of ‑‑ yeah.
BILL SCHNEIDER: And very important in terms of defining the beneficiaries. JOHN MALONE: Oh. The remainder of statehood, the remainder us, yeah. Unless somebody goes to court and sues for a def ‑‑ a different definition. Yeah.
Section 18: BILL SCHNEIDER: Let me back up finally, maybe, on the ques ‑‑ you mentioned that Steve Cowper was a hero in terms of that original Weiss case. JOHN MALONE: Yeah. BILL SCHNEIDER: But as an outsider looking in, I've ‑‑ I've always kind of scratched my head about why under his administration didn't things move faster.
JOHN MALONE: During his administration, you mean as ‑‑ BILL SCHNEIDER: As Governor. JOHN MALONE: Did they move faster? BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, why we didn't get a settlement then and why ‑‑ JOHN MALONE: Well, he was actually being a good governor for you guys. He wanted to settle Weiss in the best interest of the State of Alaska. I wanted to settle Weiss in the best interest of consumers and families who were going to be the recipients of the public policy.
And we were very close friends. So when I used to go to Juneau, I used to stay in one of his apartments there in the White House, and then we used to fight a lot at night over that. And ‑‑ and then he ‑‑ then his Attorney General saved my bacon, said he could not participate in any more dialogue, no more discussion. Yeah. You want to quit being Governor, you can represent them.
And to represent then, you're going to have to be Governor. Yeah. No, it was just his view of what he thought Congress originally had intended. Because Congress left a lot open in the Enabling Act that you could ‑‑ I mean, you could weave trains through it if you wanted to as far as ideologies and practices. And a lot of time had passed, too. A lot of technology, a lot of medicine. You know, a lot of advances in the system.
But no, after he ‑‑ no, after he became Governor and ‑‑ I don't know, how did he say it one time, I don't know a damn thing about what I was getting into here. Talking about who these folks were, who they possibly could be, the beneficiary class.
At that time, it was just the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled that everybody was talking about. I don't think anybody had anything ‑‑ they weren't defined at that time, but that's in the context of when you talked about who were beneficiaries of the mental trust, those are the two ‑‑ two classes.
And we expanded that, of course, to the Alzheimer's, the alcohols with psy ‑‑ psychosis. And provisions in there, too, for the legislature to expand into other groups as long as they don't chop off the services to the ones that are existing, that are there now. Yeah.