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Monday, October 30, 2006 - Page updated at 12:32 PM

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Letters to the editor

You get a vote

Some people don't get the full respect of the candidate

Editor, The Times:

The Seattle Times' endorsement of Sen. Stephen Johnson over incumbent Justice Susan Owens for state Supreme Court states "... Johnson promises to protect the people's rights" ["Johnson for high court" Times endorsement, Oct. 26].

I find that assessment completely at odds with his voting record in the Washington state Senate.

In the 12 years he has been in the Senate, Sen. Johnson has voted "No" 12 times to extend fundamental civil rights to fellow taxpaying citizens who happen to be gay or lesbian. Fortunately, the so-called "Gay Civil Rights Bill" finally passed the Senate this year after 29 annual attempts, over Johnson's objections.

While Johnson has been responsible for notable accomplishments worthy of a good public servant, his willingness to perpetuate second-class citizenship of a segment of the population is disturbing, and calls into question how he will protect and serve the interests of the most marginalized state citizens.

While civil rights is just one issue among many, it is perhaps the most fundamental issue for the judiciary. For that reason alone, I urge voters to re-elect Justice Susan Owens, who exemplified fairness by voting to overturn the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

— Leo Egashira, Seattle

How she would rule

Susan Owens does not understand the purpose of the state Supreme Court on which she serves.

"Supreme Court race: Candidates' views easy to tell apart" [Local News, Oct. 18] quotes Owens telling an editorial board: "The Legislature is really behind the times socially," in defending her belief that the court should overrule legislation and decide policy issues unilaterally.

No.

The court's only role is to measure issues against Washington's constitution, not against "the times" or Owens' opinion.

Stephen Johnson is right: Government was designed to let the people, through the Legislature, decide that kind of issue. Owens' belief that she should overrule the people is anti-democratic, it's dictatorial.

If she wants to set the rules, she should resign from the bench and run for the Legislature — or queen. Then she might find what the people's will really is.

— K-Y Su, Kirkland

A well-rounded gavel

Frank LaSalata is the unmistakable choice for judge in King County District Court in Redmond. The pressures, challenges and responsibilities that come with presiding over a courtroom demand the highest in ethics, experience and competence.

A judge must vigorously hold individuals accountable for breaking our laws, but must also remain fair, impartial and compassionate. In his eight years as judge pro-tem, LaSalata has demonstrated his ability to do precisely this.

His opponent enjoys the name recognition gained from 10 prior failed runs for elected office [but] has been rated "unqualified" by the King County Bar Association. Having been rated "well qualified," LaSalata can stand squarely on his professional accomplishments.

In my 10 years as a prosecuting attorney, and nearly four more representing individuals in court, I have argued from both sides of the aisle. I have seen firsthand how Pro-Tem Judge LaSalata's judicial demeanor commands respect for our criminal-justice system, which, despite its flaws, remains the best in the world. You always leave his courtroom knowing he has listened to you carefully, and given you a fair shake.

In the end, there is no more that you could ask from a judge.

— Edmund P. Allen Jr., attorney, Seattle

The play in Bounds

The Times appears to have "missed the boat" on Charter Amendment 8 ["City charter amendments: 'No' on 8, 9 and 10," endorsement, Oct. 19], and in endorsing a "no" vote on this amendment, applies misinformation to the equation.

The Times states that Parks Superintendent Ken Bounds "made himself unpopular ... in Wallingford because of his proposal to have concerts in Gas Works Park." The proposal to site at Gas Works Park actually came directly from the mayor's office and Bounds and parks staff were simply doing the bidding of the seventh floor.

This is exactly the type of situation Amendment 8 seeks to correct, by adding a process that will prevent the mayor from directly running these offices as he sees fit by installing department heads who respond only to the mayor — instead of the people.

Let's return accountability to the people! Vote "yes" on Charter Amendment 8.

— Ben Schroeter, Seattle

The safe choice

City of Renton Proposition 1, regarding "the use of fireworks in the city," will appear on your ballot this November.

We all enjoy fireworks; they are beautiful, exciting and help us celebrate our country's Independence Day. But your Renton firefighters are asking you to vote NO on Proposition 1. We ask this because we have seen and experienced the devastation that fireworks have caused.

No one ever thinks it will happen to them. Your local firefighters have seen children with third-degree burns from sparklers, Roman candles, etc. We have seen the devastated looks of homeowners whose entire homes have been destroyed because of one stray firework.

We work hard to keep our citizens safe and understand the impact Proposition 1 will have on the citizens we serve.

— Craig Soucy, president, Renton Firefighters Local 864

We reprove this message

I have lived in the Seattle area for eight years, and I have never been subjected to so many campaign telephone calls. Do the candidates actually think they are helping their cause by interrupting people with prerecorded messages?

I can read. I have received my Voters Pamphlet from the state of Washington. Now I want to sit quietly at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee and take the time to thoughtfully complete my absentee ballot, WITHOUT INTERRUPTIONS.

These telephone calls do nothing but make us voters irritated.

— Toni Parson, Woodinville

So go the bumper stickers

Deb Eddy, the legislative candidate for the 48th District, admits she pulled at least 100 of her opponent's political yard signs, but claims no wrongdoing because she called the Republicans to confess and invited them to come to her garage to pick up the signs ["Eastside House candidate's removal of signs leads to complaint," Local News, Oct. 27].

She says she did not commit theft under state law because her post-heist phone call demonstrates she "had no intent to deprive them of their property."

That's just what we need down in Olympia — more lawyers adept at Clintonian word-parsing?

But I can't help wondering. If I "remove" Ms. Eddy's car and take it for a joyride before stashing it in my garage, will she overlook the matter simply because I give her a call to tell her where to come get it?

— David Burnett, Bellevue

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