Letters to the Editor

San Juan Journal Letters to the Editor | July 30

Supports Gaylord for Superior Court
I support Randy Gaylord for San Juan County Superior Court judge because of his intelligence, integrity and dedication to public service as our prosecutor for the past 14 years.

As a lawyer of criminal defense, juvenile and family law in California prior to moving to the San Juans, I had daily contact with the District Attorney’s offices in the counties in which I practiced. It was not unusual to be met with arrogance and downright divisive manners by some prosecutors.

For nine months in my recent past, I was in contact with the San Juan County Prosecutor’s Office as the County Council clerk on a daily basis. Randy Gaylord was always polite in his dealings with the County Council. Though under pressure, Randy always kept his cool. If he didn’t know the answer to a question, he quickly set to the task of research to find the correct answer. Randy astutely analyzed problems and applied the law in an efficient manner.

The Prosecutor’s Office, under the supervision of Randy Gaylord, has had the responsibility to rewrite several chapters of our County Code in order to implement the changes required by passage of the County Charter. At the very same time, I witnessed Randy’s ability to review and report to the council on all past and present legal issues regarding the county. As a result of this work, Randy is apprised of all pertinent federal and state law and how it affects our county. Every case that has walked in the door and every trial that has come out of the Prosecutor’s Office for the past 14 years has been under the supervision of Randy Gaylord.

In the July 16 issue of The Journal, Gov. Gregoire expressed, in part: “… Superior Court Judge candidates Randy Gaylord and John Linde are ‘two well-qualified candidates — either would be a great judge .’ ” I believe that Randy is the best choice due to the reasons stated above: his 23 years of practicing law, and his long-standing working knowledge of our county’s administration and criminal justice system.
Laura L. Tuttle
Friday Harbor

* * *

I encourage you to favorably consider and vote for Mr. Randy Gaylord to be the first elected Superior Court judge in San Juan County.

Having been a resident of San Juan County for more than 11 years, I have been able to follow Mr. Gaylord’s performance as San Juan County’s prosecuting attorney. He has gained a county-wide reputation for fairness, professionalism, and commitment to the citizens of the county.

His dedication to “… doing what is right …” is a hallmark of his reputation. Yet, he has displayed an admirable capacity to be innovative, compassionate and responsive to community needs.

Mr. Gaylord, having been the San Juan County prosecutor for more than 13 years is intimately familiar with San Juan County’s expectations for elected officials — primarily that they be open and ethical. Mr. Gaylord epitomizes those expectations.

His management experience in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office is an essential base of experience to carry with him to the office of Superior Court judge.

I consider us lucky to have a man of his experience, knowledge, and commitment to public service wiling to assume this critical position.

We have wisely elected him to public office four times before. We should once again recognize the creditability, values, and skills that led us to do that and elect him as the county’s first elected Superior Court judge.
Chase Riveland
Deer Harbor

* * *

As we look forward to voting for our first local Superior Court judge, I urge you to join me in electing Randy Gaylord to that position.

I know Randy to be uniquely qualified to serve San Juan County as a judge because of his accomplishments as our prosecuting attorney as well as his personal attributes.

In the years prior to being appointed to the State Transportation Commission, I served as chairman of our San Juan County Ferry Advisory Committee. During that time, I came to rely on Randy’s counsel in dealing with county-state relationship issues and questions regarding the applicability of state laws to citizen advisory groups.

Since joining the commission, I have continued my involvement with local planning and quality of life issues here in the San Juans. I depend on Randy’s depth of understanding and his impartial, focused advice on the interrelationships between the law and the commonsense, human dimension on a wide range of topics.

Randy Gaylord has a genuine grasp of the needs and aspirations of the diverse population in our islands’ community, and he understands the effects of the application of the law on individuals on all sides of an issue. His combination of legal expertise, accessibility and personal qualities make me confident that electing Randy Gaylord to the Superior Court judgeship will ensure the court will be led by someone who will preside with judicial integrity and excellence.
Bob Distler

* * *

On any given evening, if you are strolling through your neighborhood, you may have seen Randy Gaylord walking or bicycling from home to home as he campaigns for judge.

Many people have written in to this paper, showing their support for Randy. They cite his community service, balanced approach to the practice of law, his integrity, his efforts to keep our community safe, and his willingness to take on tough issues in the interests of the community.

For me, Randy’s approach of going house to house to meet people and ask for their vote is symbolic of his love of community. Like Obama, his grassroots approach to speaking with people directly is deeply respectful and hopeful. He is here to serve the people.

He doesn’t accept endorsements or donations from special interest groups. His campaign is powered by us. He has my vote.
Jay Kimball
Orcas Island

* * *

Candidate John Linde aligned his judicial views with those of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in a recent Journal interview. This provides voters with a critical insight into Mr. Linde’s thinking and judgment.

Chief Justice Roberts, appointed three years ago by President George W. Bush, is deeply conservative and not the role model I want for the first Superior Court judge in San Juan County. Based on his votes, Roberts does not appear to respect the rights of women or minorities. Roberts supported Exxon-Mobil in the punitive damage suit by Native Americans and fishermen for the largest oil spill in American history. The Exxon Valdez disaster impacted 2,500 miles of shoreline similar to the San Juan Islands, but Roberts supported a corporate penalty equal to three weeks of profit for Exxon-Mobil.

In contrast, Randy Gaylord, also a candidate for this, the first election of a San Juan County Superior Court judge, aligns himself with retired Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, a moderate who supported social change via the election process and the legislative not the judicial branch. Justice O’Conner supported the rights of women and a far more moderate view of our nation’s laws.

Randy Gaylord is the moderate choice for the Superior Court judge. Local leaders such as state Sen. Harriet Spanel and state Rep. Dave Quall are contributors and state Rep. Jeff Morris and the Democrats of San Juan County have endorsed Gaylord.

We in San Juan County have this unique opportunity to vote for this judicial vacancy on Aug. 19. Do we want our first county Superior Court judge to follow a right-wing judicial model? Sen. Barack Obama voted against Justice Roberts’ confirmation because he was “skeptical of his deepest values” and feared he’d use the court to “favor the strong over the weak.”

Despite what you see in slick ads, Randy Gaylord is the moderate in this election.
Anne Marie Shanks
Deer Harbor

* * *

I want to remind county voters that we will be selecting our Superior Court judge in the primary election — not in November — and that your ballot will be in the mail this week.

I am supporting Randy Gaylord for this position because of his able and compassionate record as county prosecutor. I appreciate his efforts on behalf of crime victims (not always a high priority for prosecutors). And as a person who enjoys quiet time on the water, I particularly appreciate his pioneer work in crafting and defending the first Jet Ski ban in the nation.
Louise Dustrude
Friday Harbor

Gaylord’s actions don’t measure up
I appreciate The Journal running its question-and-answer feature on the upcoming election for the county’s Superior Court judgeship. The only shortcoming of such an approach is that the answers are allowed to stand untested against a candidate’s previous actions.

For instance, Randy Gaylord said his experience shows he applies “common sense to difficult circumstances.” Was he really exercising “common sense” when he convinced the County Council to sue the proponents of the referendum to overturn the county’s stormwater tax plan, the first-ever voter referendum under the new county charter? Suing people whose only crime is exercising their democratic rights doesn’t strike me as showing much “common sense.” Fortunately, the council realized its error and subsequently directed that the law suit be dropped.

In response to another question, he said a “judge must be prompt in making decisions.” Probably so. Then consider this. On April 2, Sharon Kivisto filed a public-record request seeking e-mails and other documents from me and other members of the county’s Ferry Advisory Committee.

While the law requires a “prompt” response to such requests, Gaylord even didn’t notify me of the request for nearly a month. I supplied all the requested documents — there were about 150 of them — to Gaylord three days later. Yet Gaylord let them sit in his office until Aug. 3, 2007, before sending them to Kivisto, more than three months after she requested them and two months after I gave them to him.

While there is value in allowing candidates to express their own views of themselves, it is important that voters take the time to match words with actions. In Randy Gaylord’s case, his actions don’t measure up as well as they should.
Alex MacLeod
Shaw Island

Supports Linde for Superior Court
I urge you to vote for Judge Linde in the primary.

As one of two former judges in San Juan County Superior Court, both Judge Hancock and I have been in a unique position to watch and to evaluate Judge John Linde, both as an attorney and as our judge pro tem.

There is no doubt in my mind that Judge Linde is the best person for this job.

You have the chance to make history with your vote. After 100 years of being in a judicial district with another county, you now have your own court. The person you elect as San Juan County Superior Court Judge must be a person of character, one with a comprehensive knowledge of the law, one who is honest, fair and impartial — and above all, one who has a heart for justice.

That person is John Linde.

Politics has no place in the courtroom. That is why judicial races are non-partisan. Gov. Gregoire picked the best person for judge when she appointed Judge Linde in 2007. To her credit, she put aside politics and chose the best person for judge, John Linde.

The vast majority of cases in Superior Court are family law and civil cases. While criminal cases are important to all of us, they represent only a small percentage of the filings in Superior Court. You need a judge who has experience in both criminal and civil matters. Judge Linde is that person.

As an attorney, he specialized in general practice with an emphasis in civil matters. As a District Court judge for 21 years, he proved his ability to handle criminal cases.

It was a privilege for me to serve San Juan County as your judge for many years. I still want only the best for a place that I love. That’s why I ask for your vote for Judge Linde.
Vickie I. Churchill, judge
Island County Superior Court

* * *

There were two letters concerning the upcoming election for our Superior Court judge in the July 9 issue of The Islands’ Sounder. One commented favorably about our prosecutor, Randy Gaylord; the other was a mean-spirited attack on our Superior Court judge, John Linde.

The former is the appropriate way citizens should express their opinion and support for any candidate running for elected office. The latter was nothing but character assassination and an attempt to interject partisanship in a non-partisan election.

Vitriolic political statements are disheartening. Such accusations and comments are why voters become disillusioned about politics and citizen candidates ponder the personal price of running for office. I expected better from the voters of San Juan County. The mudslinging typical of state and national politics not only fails to inform, it demeans our democratic process and, in my opinion, has no place in our local contests.

As to the “mistake” made by our governor, she interviewed both candidates, sought advice from members of the judiciary and legal profession, looked into the qualifications of both men, and chose John Linde to be our first Superior Court judge. By choosing the most qualified person, Gov. Gregoire exercised leadership and judgment, certainly not the usual party politics.

How refreshing.
San Olson
Lopez Island

* * *

Now San Juan County has its own Superior Court judge, John Linde, appointed by our governor, Christine Gregoire.

The governor, after due consideration, appointed a blue-ribbon committee to thoroughly examine both candidates. The results of their examination found John Linde to be the superior candidate. The governor also studied the candidates. I mention this because she recognized this is a non-partisan position and that John had not been a Democrat as the other candidate, Randy Gaylord, is.

I admired her position. Our governor still publicly supports him to this day.

It is important for all of us to know that Judge Linde was a reelected District Court judge for more than 20 years and is a relatively short-term Superior Court judge. The people who know his legal talents best — the judges that served our county, Vicki Churchill and Alan Hancock — support him publicly, as do 30-plus judges around the area. The Big Guy himself, the head of the Washington state Supreme Court, Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, supports him publicly.

Obviously, I want you to know I support him and I know I’m prejudiced toward him. However, with all of the above agreeing with Gov. Gregoire, they cannot all be prejudiced.

We have a Superior Court judge now, Judge John Linde. This is a non-partisan job; let’s keep it that way. This is a very important position and privilege for San Juan County to finally have after all these years.

P.S. I really do feel bad for Randy Gaylord; he is a good guy. However, he still has his job and I have lost my attorney, whom I have had for almost 30 years. That’s pretty traumatic too.
Sam Buck Sr.
San Juan Island

* * *

John Linde is one of the finest men I have ever met. And, at my age, I have met a lot of people.

John is a stalwart gentleman who always seems unflappable. Just the characteristics of an effective judge.

My first introduction to John was through our homeowners association. The board, of which I was a member, had a sticky situation that could have led to difficulties. We consulted with John and he was able to work with the parties involved to resolve all problems quickly and with no bitter aftereffects. My impressions were that John listened carefully and provided sound and unbiased advice based on the documentation of our neighborhood CC&Rs. I was also impressed with his judgment and his maturity.

As I grew to know John, I found that he was a person to look up to and to admire. If you asked his opinion, that is what you got. What you hear from John are the facts and not a bunch of fluff intended to make people feel good.

Last winter, Gov. Gregoire conducted an extensive evaluation of the possible candidates for the appointment of the first Superior Court judge for San Juan County. After this extensive evaluation and personal interviews, she selected John Linde for this position. His appointment started in January of this year. She still feels that John is the best man for the job and that he should be retained. She is currently honorary chairwoman of the Committee to Retain Judge Linde.

John is a very open person. If you have any questions about him or his background, I would imagine that he would like you to contact him directly.

We are fortunate to have a man of John’s character in this election. Please join me in voting to retain John Linde as our Superior Court judge.
Dave Vandaveer
Friday Harbor

* * *

Julia Evans’ recent letter to the editor requires a few corrections.

First and foremost, the election of a Superior Court judge is a NON-PARTISAN contest. There is no room for old-fashioned party politics in a decision of this importance. The individual that brings to the table extensive trial experience, judicial experience, and respect from throughout the legal community is what you want in a judge and those are the criteria that Gov. Gregoire used in choosing Judge John Linde.

Ms. Evans is either unaware or uninformed as to the very thorough and exhaustive vetting process that went into the governor’s selection, a process that puts partisanship on the back burner in favor of selecting the best person for the job.

In regard to Ms. Evans’ comments about Judge Linde’s relationship to courthouse personnel, my response is why are all the people in the two clerks office endorsing him if he is such an ogre.

Lastly, there is no place in an election like this to engage in negative comments and innuendo. If you can’t support your candidate with positive statements, remain on the sidelines and let this campaign be conducted on the high plain that it deserves.
John Bird
San Juan Island

* * *

As a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, I have had the opportunity over the years to observe our Superior Court justices in action.

I was dismayed when I heard that we would lose Alan Hancock and Vickie Churchill because, in comparing them to the judges my counterparts across the state faced in their courtrooms, I realized how very fortunate we have been to share these judges with Island County.

My anxiety was considerably relieved when the governor appointed John Linde. I had seen his thoughtful and reasoned work on the District Court bench and as an occasional pro tem substitute judge in Superior Court. Like every judge, Linde makes some rulings that I don’t agree with but he always gives clear reasoning for each ruling and treats all in his court with care and respect.

I am pleased to join my heroes Vickie Churchill and Alan Hancock in endorsing John Linde to be the first elected San Juan Superior Court judge.
Jan Osborn
San Juan Island

* * *

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 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

Petersen for San Juan South
I am writing in support of Gordy Petersen for County Council.

Gordy has been an avid student of the affairs of San Juan County — from the transfer station issue to budgets to the pollution of our waters from the Victoria sewage outfall. Our council needs another voice for monetary restraint in taxes and spending — and Gordy will provide that voice.

Gordy has the experience for the job, having been a local business man/grocer, a county planning commissioner, and a freeholder on the charter commission. He has been a continual observer and meaningful commentator on planning issues such as the Critical Areas Ordinance and the stormwater fee fiasco.

We need Gordy working for us. Elect him as our District 1 council representative.
Tom Starr
San Juan Island

Support Pratt for San Juan South
We support Lovel Pratt for County Council, District 1.

Lovel is a long-time supporter of local agriculture. She regularly attends meetings of the Grange, Ag Guild, Agricultural Resource Committee and numerous other volunteer organizations, which keeps her current with issues we face. Lovel works well in groups, is a good listener, facilitates the identification of priorities and goals, and follows through on what needs to be done to implement those goals.

Lovel was instrumental in finding a home for the San Juan Farmers’ Market at the courthouse parking lot, and is now working with the Ag Guild to find a location for a year-round famers’ market facility here on San Juan Island. Her eight years supervising the San Juan County Fair Ag Tent has increased the awareness of the importance of local agriculture. Lovel’s long-standing commitment to our community is why we support her.

Worthy note: Lovel has chosen to refrain from signage along our roads.

Jim Lawrence, Lisa Nash Lawrence, Jim Sesby and Christina Dahl-Sesby
San Juan Island

* * *

For County Council District 1, Lovel Pratt is our choice to represent the best interests of San Juan.

Lovel is level-headed, persistent, patient and really listens because she wants to understand your point of view. She is thoughtful and articulate, works well with others yet is a capable leader.

No shrinking violet here, she has been a conscientious firefighter, business owner, planning commissioner, executive director of a non-profit — a doer who gets the job done ... for all of us.
Don McLaskey and Susan Hill
Friday Harbor

* * *

Let us count the ways Lovel Pratt is the right choice for San Juan County Council, District 1:

She is extremely smart and well informed; she has a community mind and a volunteer spirit; she is a very good listener and speaks clearly and to the point; she is a truly loving person and has an amazing family.

All of these qualities are rarely present in one person, and when they are, it behooves us to pay attention. And if they are willing to serve, elect them!

As executive director of the San Juan Community Home Trust, Lovel got the Salal project off the ground and brought the first 10 of 15 affordable, great homes into the community. One of them is ours, and we both feel Lovel made it happen for us. She was like our midwife, helping deliver our family’s new house.

She has our full support and she should have yours. Please vote for Lovel Pratt.
Therese and Daniel Finn
Friday Harbor

Supports Orchid for Orcas West
Sitting on the deck of the West Sound Deli in 1990, while he was conducting my job interview for hire with the county, Bruce Orchid impressed me with his commitment to San Juan County and made me want to work in the Board of County Commissioners office.

I got the job and have been friends with Bruce ever since. Working with him was fun and educational. He cared about his staff and the issues concerning the county.

Bruce is an excellent mediator of controversial issues and a great moderator of official meetings. Please read his answers to the candidate questions in the local online and weekly newspapers. His responses are thorough and on point. He proves that he is still very knowledgeable of county issues.

I urge all District 4 voters to vote for Bruce Orchid in the Aug. 19 primary election for County Council. His knowledge and experience in education, arts, owning a local business for more than 20 years, community service and as a former county commissioner is what we need on the County Council. He’s someone who will listen to all opinions and make their decision based on what is legal and good for the citizens of San Juan County.
Lil Hamel

Supports Ranker for state Senate
We have an amazing opportunity to elect a fellow islander to the state Senate, which hasn’t happened in many decades.

There are so many benefits having Kevin Ranker represent us in Olympia. With the help of legislators that have lived part-time on the islands (McDonald, McMullen, Inslee and Rust, to name a few) we have gained enormously (think Land Bank). Imagine how much Kevin could do for us.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Democrat, Republican or independent, please vote for Kevin Ranker as he will make sure that the San Juan Islands are well represented.
Tom Cowan
Lopez Island

Time for a change in government
Every voter has a duty to read the state Supreme Court decision in “SAN JUAN COUNTY ET AL., Respondents, v. NO NEW GAS TAX, a Washington Political Action Committee, ET AL., Appellants. [No. 77966-0. En Banc.] June 8, 2006. Decided April 26, 2007.”

In its April ruling, the state’s high court reinstated the appellants’ civil rights complaint against the municipalities. This case has been reassigned to Judge Gary Tabor and trial has been scheduled for April 20, 2009 and the appellants will be seeking triple damages against San Juan County.

The voters should note this unanimous decision and particularly a concurring opinion written by the Honorable Justice Johnson that I quote in part.

“J.M. JOHNSON, J. (concurring) — Today we are confronted with an example of abusive prosecution by several local governments. San Juan County and the cities of Seattle, Auburn and Kent (hereinafter Municipalities) determined to file a legal action ostensibly for disclosure of radio time spent discussing a proposed initiative. This litigation was actually for the purpose of restricting or silencing political opponents and was quickly dismissed after the filing deadline for the initiative. The disregard for core freedoms of speech and association in this case, and resulting interference with these constitutional rights, is described in the majority.” ...

“Granting NNGT complete reasonable attorney fees and trial costs is appropriate and required here. This may serve to deter future state actors from using their authority to act similarly to deprive individuals of constitutional rights of speech (or initiative).” ...

Three individuals that brought this disgrace to San Juan County and its citizens are on your primary ballot: Kevin Ranker, Alan Lichter and Randall Gaylord. Whether you agree or disagree with Initiative 912 (NO NEW GAS TAX) you have a moral duty to vote against these three individuals so they can not use their authority to act similarly again.
Bill Wright
Friday Harbor

There’s a lot to see and do at SJCT
This month’s mail to all islanders included “Summer Fest ’08,” San Juan Community Theatre’s presentation of shows planned for July, August and September.

Is your copy handy? Be sure and read Mark Hetrick’s lively evaluation of upcoming one-nighters, including blues legend Duke Robillard. Mark says, “Man! What a summer of great music!”

The last page of the Theatre Times insert lists the lobby art shows. Dave Price’s work continues through the end of this month. “Tarte Times Ten,” paintings of Reuben Tarte County Park, done on site, follows in August. But the September art show in the lobby will not be “Mud to Magic”; that show of ceramic creativity has been postponed to September 2010. Instead, you’ll see vivid works by Friday Harbor artist Ann Walbert: the beauty of the Northwest in semi-abstract and realistic oil paintings.

Remember, the lobby is open during box office hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sam ConnerySan Juan Island

Kudos for moving project forward
Kudos to our Friday Harbor Town Council for having the vision and courage to vote unanimously to move forward with the annexation process for the Buck/Boreen parcel and the San Juan Community Home Trust’s permanently-affordable homes project.

Special praise is due to them for standing up to those who would further delay or reject the proposal.

The Home Trust’s 10-year plan to build 10-12 permanently affordable homes each year for the island’s working families is a one-time opportunity to help assure that we retain the diverse social fabric and quality of life on San Juan Island. If we do not take this bold, but common sense action we will be up the proverbial “s____ creek without a paddle” when we try to hire the new teachers, nurses, sheriff’s deputies, tradesmen and retail and restaurant staffs that make our island work.

I urge everyone to let our hard-working Town Council members — Liz Illg, Carrie Brooks, Chris Wolf and Carrie Lacher — know how much we appreciate and support their initiatives and energy, and how much we need them to move forward, without delay, to make this opportunity happen.
Roger Salquist
Friday Harbor

‘Rock the Dock’ was a rockin’ time
The San Juan Island Rotary Club wants to thank the community at large for its contribution to make our annual “Rock the Dock” family street party and dance a resounding success.

In particular, we want to thank the Town of Friday Harbor and the Port of Friday Harbor for allowing us to hold this event.

The San Juan Island Yacht Club supported our efforts once again by offering tickets to their membership with their July 4 meal.

Additionally, we thank the Lions Club, Friday Harbor Drug and San Juan Vineyards for providing food and drink to the masses.

And last, the most important contributors were our islanders and visitors who came to help us in our fight for polio eradication.
John Kalbert, president
San Juan Island Rotary Club

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