Islands Sounder Letters to the Editor | Aug. 11

SUPERIOR COURT JUDICIAL RACE

+++++RANDY GAYLORD

To The Editor:

I worked as a Deputy Prosecutor for Mr. Gaylord for over 3 ½ years. Mr. Gaylord earned my respect and admiration for his fairness, consistency, and the high ethical standards he set for himself and all who worked for him.

I am dismayed that recent news accounts and others have twisted a procedural disagreement in contested litigation into a charge of unprofessional conduct. It was not. For Mr. Gaylord, there was no charge, no complaint, and no ruling of unprofessional or unethical conduct.

Terminology is important here. The rules of professional conduct and ethics for lawyers are the Rules of Professional Conduct, and are enforced by the State Bar Association. The ethical rules for judges are found in the Code of Judicial Conduct, and are enforced by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. The procedural rules governing non-criminal superior court cases are called the rules of civil procedure.

There is a profound distinction between a legal error and misconduct. It is factually and legally incorrect to equate a judge’s preliminary oral ruling about a fee award for a legal error under the rules of civil procedure to Mr. Linde’s formal discipline by the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

If fee awards against Mr. Gaylord are newsworthy, shouldn’t we also know if Mr. Linde has ever had attorney fees or other terms awarded against him? Shouldn’t we know how he answered the other questions on the Governor’s Questionnaire?

In the spirit of fair play and full disclosure, I urge Mr. Linde to disclose any claim, charge, or complaint that he should pay an award of fees or costs under any rule of the district or superior courts, and to make his Judicial Questionnaire available to the public as Mr. Gaylord has.

Cameron O. Carter

Portland, OR

Dear Editor,

We write to urge our friends and acquaintances on all the Islands to vote

for Randall Gaylord for Superior Court Judge in the August 19th election.

We met Randy shortly after moving to Orcas, almost 18 years ago. From then

to now, he has always impressed us as having the exceptional ability to cut

through a maze of information to solidly identify the key importance of an

issue, and then communicate his concise understanding of that issue with

great clarity.

Luckily, for the community, Randy transferred his great private practice

skills to the public arena as our prosecuting attorney. It is now fitting

that he should continue to serve the public in such an excellent manner from the bench.

A vote for Randy is a vote for a highly experienced, yet down-to-earth

independent thinker, a man who has demonstrated solid qualities of

leadership through many years of proven public service. He is the best

choice to be the People of San Juan County¹s first elected Superior Court

Judge.

Chris & Liz Ledgerwood

Orcas

Dear Editor,

I am not personally acquainted with either of the two candidates running in the nonpartisan race for Superior Court Judge for San Juan County. I have not had an opportunity to sit in a courtroom and observe either one of them at work. However, as I drive around the island I observe shiny, pristine signs announcing Randy Gaylord’s candidacy. I also see bent, defaced, removed and destroyed signs for John Linde. It becomes quite evident by their following, which man stands for justice, integrity and respect for the law.

Susan Herrera

Lopez Island

Dear Editor:

Randy Gaylord shows he will offer leadership by conducting truancy cases in a way that allows students, parents and administrators to stay on Orcas and Lopez and not have to travel all the way to Friday Harbor.

John Linde says we can’t have court anywhere but Friday Harbor.

I will vote for the candidate who offers vision and hope for a better court. Please join me and vote for Gaylord. I am convinced that he is the best man for the job. Randy Gaylord has the integrity to be an outstanding and impartial judge.

Sincerely,

Nancy May Knapp

+++++JOHN LINDE

In thirty years of practicing land use law, I have at various times sued San Juan County, advised the County, and represented numerous parties in between. Recently, media in San Juan County have reported on a matter involving County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord and myself that took place ten years ago. I did not agree with the spin on the matter, but was going to leave it at that. However, a letter was published last week from another lawyer attacking John Linde and suggesting that Randy Gaylord has no significant baggage. That’s unfair.

As reported, about ten years ago, in a case in which my clients were challenging a County land use decision, I made a motion asking Judge Alan Hancock to sanction (punish) Mr. Gaylord under Civil Rule 11. To put it in layman’s terms, when a court sanctions under CR 11, it is saying that there was no basis for what the attorney did. I asked for sanctions because Mr. Gaylord reneged on a binding written agreement, causing my client to incur substantial expense. When Judge Hancock heard the matter, he confirmed unmistakably that CR 11 had been violated. In fact, a court reporter was present and took down word for word Judge Hancock’s ruling. Mr. Gaylord subsequently sent me a check for several thousand dollars. Contrary to the spin I have read recently, the money was not paid to be “nice” in the face of unreasonable demands. It was paid because it had to be.

Peter J. Eglick

Seattle

Dear Sounders’ Editor:

We are voting for John Linde on August 19th.

If I had to appear in court and be judged by someone who held my future in their hands, I would want to be judged by someone with wisdom, integrity and experience.

Being nice is not a requirement to be a good judge. Being fair and honest with lots of experience IS a requirement. (This is not to say that Judge Linde isn’t nice, he is, very. But that isn’t the criteria for such an important position.)

As there seems to be some confusion it should be stated that it is against the rules (Code of Judicial Conduct) for a candidate running for judge to make his political affiliation, be it a Democrat or Republican, independent, Libertarian or other, a matter of public knowledge. Nor can someone running for judge discuss issues in his campaign or voice partisan support for other candidates. (Besides being the law, it is just common sense as the bench MUST be impartial and not affiliated with any party or position.)

Voters must decide upon their choice for judge by their judgment of the integrity and responsibility shown by the person running.

John Linde is running on the foundation of his 35 years experience as an attorney, which includes 21 years as our County’s District Court Judge, and our Superior Court Judge since January 1st. His integrity is of the highest level. I want a judge with the honesty and experience that John has.

If you want the same thing I suggest you cast your vote for John Linde on the ballot that you just received in the mail.

Warren for Warren and Laurie Miller

To the Editor:

I recently had occasion to represent a client in a civil case which ultimately had to be resolved through a jury trial that occurred in March of this year in Coupeville. I was particularly nervous about this trial in that it was to be conducted on, what was for me as a veteran attorney in Bellingham, unfamiliar turf and because I had never appeared before Judge John Linde who had been assigned to the case.

By the time the trial was completed, I was thoroughly impressed with Judge Linde. Throughout the trial it was clear that he had gone the “extra mile” to conduct his own independent legal research on some of the difficult issues which arose. In addition, he did not hesitate to articulate the legal rationale for his rulings. I believe that the willingness of a judge to share his thought process with the parties to a lawsuit is immensely helpful to the litigants and has a tendency to reduce the number of often costly and time consuming appeals.

In addition, Judge Linde treated the proceedings with the respect they deserved. He maintained a serious demeanor throughout the trial although he did so in a manner that was not overbearing, arrogant or rude. To the contrary, he demonstrated considerable patience in listening to opposing arguments from the attorneys, and often asked critical questions, demonstrating that he fully understood the issues at hand and the arguments being presented.
In summary, Judge Linde conducted this particular trial with highly focused attention and the utmost impartiality – the two most essential components of a judicial system in which citizens can have confidence. In addition, in my observation, the parties, their respective attorneys and the jurors were all treated with absolute respect and courtesy. If this case is indicative of how Judge Linde typically conducts court proceedings, then it is clear that citizens of San Juan County would be well served by retaining him as their Superior Court judge.

Jeffrey A. Thigpen

Attorney at Law

Bellingham

Dear Editor,

I wanted to share my experience in a land deal on Orcas Island in which then, new island attorney Randall Gaylord represented me, and John Linde represented the other side.

In every round of letters, between the two lawyers, Linde was the far superior lawyer in every way. I found Randall to not show a genuine interest in prevailing but rather only to posture himself for his own future political strides within the islands. When a 3’rd party Seattle law firm entered the negotiations, Randall completely folded up his tent telling me “they know a lot of powerful people in the islands and I don’t want to make waves”. His actual words to me!

It is now many years later, and low an behold, look who is now running for another political office position. My experience with Randall is he only cares about himself and his own political gain, and basically stole $1,200 from me doing nothing towards my interests.

Linde is a far superior Lawyer than Randall and I’d like the $1,200 back that you soaked me for Randall (with interest please!).

Sincerely,

Tyler Newman

Orcas Island

Tom Evan’s bizarre attack on John Linde in last week’s paper is only understandable when you consider the source.

Since 1979 I have represented a full spectrum of land use clients in San Juan County and had considerable experience with Linde as opposing counsel and co-counsel. Linde is a careful, thoughtful and talented lawyer. Evan’s attacks are straw men, immediately blown over when looks behind his assertions.

It should be known that Evans some years ago launched a series of vindictive and meritless lawsuits against various Orcas Island residents. A group of lawyers, including Linde, rose to the defense. Ultimately, under pressure, Evans agreed to drop all the suits and published an open letter of apology to the citizens of the County for his bullying behavior.

Apparently last week was Evan’s attempted “payback” time for Linde’s successful protection of Orcas residents. That’s why I say “consider the source.” By any objective measure, Linde is a fine candidate for reelection.

Peter L. Buck

The Buck Law Group, PLLC

Seattle, WA 98121

ORCAS WEST COUNTY COUNCIL RACE

++++RICHARD FRALICK

I am actively supporting Richard because I believe he will bring to the County Council the kind of representation I want from my Councilman. I want a Council representative who will: 1) actively seek out and understand the bases for the diverse positions that exist on critical issues, 2) genuinely listen to us all and 3) then take decisive action. I want a Council representative who is committed to representing the will of the people and is willing to state publicly why he has voted as he did. I believe Richard is exactly that kind of person.

I do not want someone who is willing to make decisions that please only a select group.

As an actively involved resident for 27 years, Richard is exceptionally knowledgeable about the critical local issues that face our community and our county government: levels of compliance with the Growth Management Act like stormwater management and additional dwelling units that meet our community’s needs; total environmental stewardship including ensuring that we have clean water sources and providing sewer infrastructure; continuing to find creative ways to provide affordable housing to enable the diversity needed for a healthy community. He will focus on solving those challenges in a fair and reasonable manner.

Possibly of greatest importance is the need to plan strategically and to establish spending priorities regarding types and levels of service and fiscal management. The challenges to county government are going to be tremendous and the Council does not have the luxury of deficit spending. Since the revenue side of the budget is not likely to increase appreciably, it will have to be balanced on the spending side. Deciding how the Council will spend the money citizens give them will be a very important challenge in the next few years. Richard can do this without any biases or predispositions but rather as our representative. He will ask the tough questions and make the difficult decisions.

Since many of the issues of greatest concern to us are decided at higher levels of government (ferry service, GMA requirements and even education), Richard is also committed to advocating vigorously on our behalf at the appropriate state and Federal levels.

For all these reasons, I believe that Richard Fralick is the very best candidate to represent all of us in Orcas West.

Art Lange

+++++MINDY KAYL

We are writing in support of Mindy Kayl for San Juan County Council, Orcas West (District 4).

Mindy embodies a sincere integration of professionalism, warmth and strong leadership. Her focus is our focus:

1) preservation of a rural island community that is unlike anything else in the world

2) devotion to ecological principles and wise stewardship of this incredibly beautiful island we are privileged to call home

3) sensitivity to the needs of all.

Mindy brings a diverse background, fresh ideas, and new direction and is not an independent voice. She is the voice of Orcas citizens.

Get to know this courageous, dynamic, woman of excellence. It is time for Mindy Kayl.

Darrell and Terra Dally

Eastsound

+++++ALAN LICHTER

I’d like to add my voice to those supporting Alan Lichter in his campaign for reelection to our County Council.

Alan has been a strong and effective supporter for affordable housing, for maintaining our ferry service, for fiscal caution, and for the need for long-range planning that won’t make our islands look like the suburbs of Everett. He’s been particularly effective in working with the State Legislature, something that’s vital to our ferries and our overall County funding. It’s not by chance that Alan has been enthusiastically endorsed by both our Olympia representatives, Jeff Morris and Dave Quall.

Every election produces a new set of candidates’ promises, often based on too little exposure to the practicalities of government. In contrast, Alan has spent the past four years as County Commissioner and County Councilman, including guiding the difficult transition to the County Charter, chairing key committees and working to help County residents. He understands how our County government works today and the issues it faces. He won’t make promises that can’t be kept.

There’s another contrast, too, with other candidates — a promise that’s already being kept. It’s also one that obviously startled some of those at the Candidates’ Forum a week ago. Alan won’t adorn our lovely island with campaign posters. He understands the need for advertising, but not at the expense of our scenery. Other candidates have talked about preserving the beauty of our islands. It’s great that there is one who shows that he means it.

Roger Collier

Eastsound

Council Member Alan Lichter is a committed conservationist, a leader in protecting the scenic and natural beauty of Orcas and the San Juans. He was a strong advocate to save Turtleback Mountain on Orcas and Watmough Bight on Lopez. He fights for public access to our shorelines, and enhanced park facilities.

Alan supports affordable housing for young families, fair distribution of benefits for all veterans, and careful use of our limited county financial resources. His is a fair, intelligent, and respected leader in county government; we need to retain his voice and experience on the County Council.

Bob Myhr, Council Member

Lopez

I write to express my support of Alan Lichter for re-election to the County Council. It has been a rare experience for me to have a political representative who listens so carefully to his constituents and who is so effective at finding a principled common ground among the divergent opinions and ideas present in our community.

Alan understands the value of one-vote-at-a-time government as on-going expression of the people’s political will, and also the impact the actions of our government have upon the day-to-day quality of our lives. He is committed to these beautiful islands and to the diversified economy that allows all of us to live, work, raise our families and retire here, while still being careful to protect the gentle qualities of our island life that are so special and endangered – those qualities we enjoy daily and hope to leave to our children.

I have appreciated Alan’s practical problem-solving approach to our County’s challenges and his special ability to place our local problems within the larger context of the broad challenges of our times and then help solve them. I respect his ability to think clearly and broadly while staying focused upon the problem at hand. And I admire his ability to respond to the concerns and needs of his constituency while remaining faithful to his own core values.

There is, in my opinion, a lot wrong with politics in America today, most particularly the distortions of the truth that pass for public discourse and the unceasing partisan bickering and negative campaigning. Yet, it is still possible – and for me, a pleasure – to support a candidate like Alan Lichter for whom public service remains a higher calling.

Harvey Himelfarb

We are writing to express our support of Alan Lichter for County Council, District 4 (Orcas West). We are faced with very competent and good candidates for this position but we have decided to stick with what we know. We know that Alan is in simpatico with our vision for the islands and with the Vision Statement for this county. He has demonstrated clear, even handed and thoughtful decisions concerning development issues and the very important growth issues facing this county. He is very environmentally concerned (thus no signs yet to clutter up our roads until after the primary). Alan worked with fellow Councilman Kevin Ranker to develop the Proposal which listed 26 ways to reduce the County’s energy use and “carbon footprint” in response to global warming last year. Alan has also been very active in working with the past Ferry Advisory Board and with the state and has been an advocate for islanders with the WSF. He’s always accessible and reasonable and always listens graciously when I have called him at home with concerns. We have known Alan for many years and feel like we have someone on the Council that represents our concerns. We sincerely hope that he will be able to continue to be that “watch dog” we have come to rely upon to speak our voice on the county level. We feel represented by a committed, qualified, accessible, dedicated, good and ethical person and urge you to vote for Alan Lichter.

Sincerely,

Patty Pirnack-Hamilton

Jim Hamilton

+++++Misc.

Free elections include signs

I am writing to report a rather strange occurrence – the sign my husband and I placed on our property in support of Randy Gaylord has disappeared five times. We have since learned that this has happened many times in many places on the island. Hopefully, those in support of both candidates value the right we have in our republic to open and free elections. Anyone disrupting this process harms us all.

Elise Anderson

Orcas

Drenched with Gratitude

We would like to thank the Orcas Island men and women who came out and supported the Wet T-Shirt contest on August 2nd. In addition to raising over $1000 for the 60-mile-3-Day Susan G. Komen Walk, we were also able to raise awareness about the importance of mammograms and self-breast examinations.

A special thank you goes to all the male contestants who were the highlight of the evening— Additional thanks to Jim Passer and the staff at the Lower Tavern, Laura Leict, Heidi Bruce, the Mystery judges, Ethna Flanagan for speaking about the importance of early detection, Nikki Ames of Tres Fabu for donating a raincoat for Laura Leicht; Mistress of Moisture, Wes Anderson and Sierra Neveda, and to the musical group Buzzbombs; Bruce Harvey, Jimi Mudd and Jaen Black who got people dancing.

Rachel Newcombe and Mia Kartiganer

Eastsound

Support for Fire Department

Concerning “Special to the Sounder ” Jessica **Galis and guest opinion by James R. Scheib, paid member of the Fire Department (man and wife). Why do paid member of the department want to make a case about the public that attends the Fire Commissioners meeting, as being against the “Volunteers and Paramedics? The public and the Sounder has always been “very” supportive of the Volunteers and Paramedics. People at the meetings are very upset when the Chief/Commissioners are asked questions, and they say that they know the answer, but will not answer.

Once again paid members of the Department or their spouses come to the aid of the Department Chief/ Commissioners, Fire Fighter/EMT James R. Scheib, 70-year-old volunteer. As a past member of the department (over 65) age is irrelevant; you pass the physical exam and physical test, you are in. At one time the department had many volunteers over 50. I believe the requirement to be a Fire Fighter/ EMT has reduced the number.

Jessica **Galis, wife of the Fire Fighter/EMT who wrote the “Guest Opinion” wrote what I consider to be the best explanation of the EMT/Paramedic system of the Fire Department I have ever read. As a past volunteer Fire fighter for five years and Fire Commissioner for six years, I commend her research. Great “public relations” for the department. Her letter should have stated her relationship to the Department; it would not have detracted from her excellent commentary.

Mr. Scheib’s comments: 1.The comment about “fifth column assault,” neither the Sounder nor the public has criticized the volunteers at any of the meetings that I have attended. People, “citizen-taxpayers,” are questioning the Chief/ Commissioner, and want “answers,” not to be told, “I will not answer. “

2. I have served on boards of many organizations on Orcas and national boards of business organizations. It is (to quote Mr. Scheib) “vituperative” for myself and other citizen-taxpayers to be thought of as troublemakers. We want answers.

**Name should have been “Jessica Giasullo,” it was misspelled by the Sounder.

John Erly

Eastsound

Barcodes invade privacy

This barcode situation is a serious invasion of our voting privacy, and it is unfortunate that a suit had to be made. However, there was no other choice, since the authorities who could have stopped the practice would not take action to do so. One related fact in this situation that really bothers me is that at least two of the people on the board of directors for the company that owned the ballot-tracking program in question have been tied to government offices. One of those is now in direct communication with our country’s president.

The encryption of the codes can be accessed by the company owning the program. So, to insure privacy of our vote, we need todelete the two barcodes with our name. The code on the lower left side of the ballot on both sides is the name code. I have learned that writing the code out completely with a black ballpoint pen will not delete those ballots. They will instead have to be set aside to be counted manually. I plan to go for that much better counting plan.

Thank you again for exercising free speech of the press. God bless you each.

Sincerely,

Lois Ludwig

Lopez Island

School library funds

At the August 1 school board meeting, a discussion was had and a vote was taken on how much money to restore from the overall school budget for the school library in 2008-2009.

Board Member Tony Ghazel said he wants to keep the library personnel budget as it was in the last school year, and he noted that the board already recently cut the book budget from $14,000 down to $4,000. I am glad that Tony understands that to cut into the very small, existing library budget would have dire consequences.

Board Member Keith Whitaker, on the other hand, advocated “total elimination” of the library, from staff to books. Earlier in the meeting, he said that, “We’re not making program changes.” But eliminating the entire library budget would mean a significant program change: namely, closing the school library.

Keith promised me in a July e-mail that he will “continue to do the best I can for the district.” My question to him is: How does closing a school library serve even the most basic educational needs of our deserving students? I urge Mr. Whitaker to reevaluate his priorities so that the needs of the students come first.

Claire Reutter

Deer Harbor

Thanks for Orcas Island Blood Drive

At your blood drive on July 31, we registered 99 donors and collected 83 badly needed units of blood. This will help up to 249 patients.

Your donations are critical to maintain a stable blood supply for medical emergencies and to support patients battling life-threatening illnesses like cancer. Your blood drive provided over 10 percent of the blood needed the following day in regional hospitals.

Special thanks to Paul Losleben organizing the blood drive, the Orcas Island Lions Club for their support and blood drive sponsorship, and the Orcas Island Fire Department for providing the blood drive location.

The following are just some of the many patients who received blood from Puget Sound Blood Center in the past few days. The blood was available for them, thanks to blood drives like this one:

• nine-year-old patient (heart transplant) has been issued 17 units red blood cells & 4 units plasma.

• 31-year-old patient (run over by tractor, multiple trauma) has used 32 units red blood cells, 26 units plasma & 4 unit platelets.

• 21-year-old patient (obstetric bleeding) has been issued 15 units red blood cells, 12 units plasma, 1 unit platelets & 2 cryoprecipitate pools.

• 36-year-old patient (motorcycle collision) has been issued 98 units red blood cells, 13 units platelets, 82 units plasma & 12 cryoprecipitate pools.

• 35-year-old patient (open heart surgery) has been issued 25 units red blood cells, 26 units plasma, 7 units platelets & 2 cryoprecipitate pools.

• 47-year-old patient (kidney laceration) has been issued 4 units red blood cells, 10 units platelets, 6 units plasma & 4 cryoprecipitate pools.

The next drive is Thursday, Sept. 25.

Carol Rondello

Puget Sound Blood Center

Mobile Representative Whatcom, San Juan and Northern Skagit Counties

Fire Division Chiefs issues

In her effort to clarify the nature and suggest the benefits of an administrative scheme for the fire department proposed by our three Fire/Medics, Valerie Harris states, “The public…could expect that the implementation of…service would be enhanced through the proposed administrative changes” and “The expanded administrative duties and re-designation of rank would finally fully integrate all components of the Department into a clear ‘chain of command’ and ‘span of control’.” Without substantiation such assertions lack credibility.

The latter statement suggests that currently there is confusion in the ordering of the chain of command as does the assertion that “the biggest change that the volunteers would notice [upon implementation of this plan] is a clear sign post (sic) of which officer to go to for a specific need.” In this small department with a chain of command containing few links are the volunteers truly confused as to who is one’s immediate superior or into whose area of responsibility a problem falls, or is this implied problem nonexistent?

It is stated that “There would be no ‘physical’ separation of the Department into different divisions, simply an administrative division of labor…”, but there is no explanation concerning the utility of taking the single job of Assistant Chief and dividing it into three parts (Division Chiefs). Absent such an explanation, it would appear that this is an action without beneficial outcome, essentially useless at best.

It may well be that “The concept of Division Chiefs is not new or untested”, but the more germane issue is whether or not it is an appropriate solution tailored to this department’s needs keeping in mind its idiosyncrasies.

Failure to follow a line of argument to its logical conclusion more likely than not results in the implementation of policy or course of action that, at best, fails to improve a situation or correct a problem and, at worst, exacerbates the problem. Until such time as the fire commissioners conduct a thorough and impartial investigation and public discussion concerning this issue, the merits of the proposal and its value to the community cannot be properly ascertained.

Robert Herrup

Eastsound

Rosario to be auctioned

I wanted to write you today, in advance of a public statement, that Olympus Real Estate Partners will be offering Rosario Resort and Marina at auction on or about September 30, 2008.

Over the years of our ownership, we have tried to be worthy stewards of this truly great property. As you know, we worked hard to secure final approval of a Resort Master Plan which we believe offers our successor the ability to create a sustainable future for Rosario. While everyone did not entirely embrace the outcome, we are never the less pleased to have been a part of the dynamic Orcas community and to have been a small part of Rosario’s storied history.

Sincere thanks to all who have been so supportive. I wish you all the best.

Laurie Cameron, Managing Director

Olympus Real Estate Partners

Superior Court judicial Race