Vote for a prosecutor you can trust | Guest Column

Editor’s note: The following is a rebuttal to Nick Power’s column “Candidate talks drugs, prosecution in last week’s edition. Gaylord and Power are running for the position of San Juan County Prosecutor.

by Randall Gaylord

San Juan County Prosecutor

Your choice for public prosecutor should be a person you can trust. A person you can count on to tell you the truth, and protect the public interest.

Last week, my opponent wrote I “refused to prosecute (Deputy Parker).” Untrue. I began looking into the actions of Deputy Parker the day I learned of his misconduct. I set up the first interview with the victim, and gathered details to provide to the Skagit detectives assigned to investigate.

I then asked the Skagit prosecutor to follow up with the Skagit detectives and make the charging decision. Why? At the time, Parker had ongoing cases here. This assured the public that a prosecutor with no stake in the outcome would make a decision.

The Skagit prosecutor decided not to charge. This is called a “decline.” Irrespective of its popularity, the decision was made in a way that was fair and ethical. It was a decision that can be trusted.

My opponent would second guess the well-informed decline and charge anyway. But in doing so he is not exactly disinterested. He is the lawyer for the teacher with a possible lawsuit of $10 million against Mr. Parker (and the county). His potential fee makes him self-interested. Public trust requires decisions free from taint.

My opponent’s criticism of drug cases is also unfounded. We review all cases for viability. Recently, when key evidence was ruled inadmissible, we went to trial anyway with the help of vigilant citizens like you. Just ask folks on Geiser Way or Blanchard Road on Orcas. Drug houses have been closed down and dealers sent to prison. All drug cases are addressed in accordance with state standards.

My approach balances rehabilitation, accountability and public safety. Rehabilitation works for those who wish to better their lives. The hours and access to drug and mental health counseling must be improved on all islands, and I have worked to increase public funding for this purpose. My office is part of the county team working on the drug/therapeutic court docket.

Just licensed in Washington in 2013, my opponent has labored to disrupt the choice of voters and elected officials. He has unsuccessfully filed for recall of school officials, frivolously sought ouster of a council member, tried to undo the voter-approved changes to the county charter and sought to suppress the speech of the county auditor.

For more than 20 years I have led a prosecutor office that is founded on trust. We have provided solid, legal advice and defense of lawsuits to protect people and the islands. I promise to never relax that trust you have granted me.

I am proud of a great team of exceptional lawyers and staff. Our innovative thinking has resulted in a vibrant victim services office, whale protection rules, limits on jet skis, customized solid waste and recycling and policies to promote green burials. I am proud of this record and it is my honor to offer you a choice you can trust. For more information visit www.teamgaylord.com.