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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Elections: Who are the right candidates?

Carr has record of success, deserved endorsement

As a former Seattle police officer and detective, former chair of the city’s Ethics and Elections Commission, current City Council member and chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, I’ve had many firsthand experiences with Seattle city attorneys.

Tom Carr does an outstanding job as city attorney, ethically representing citizens and working diligently to protect taxpayers while finding humane and safe alternatives to incarceration. His innovative and highly effective approach to criminal justice slashed auto-theft rates by 60 percent, reduced jail bookings by 38 percent and made our neighborhoods safer.

Yet he knows we must do even more because he understands the critical importance of public safety. Carr’s track record has earned him the highest rating from the Municipal League.

The Seattle Times overlooked Carr’s overall job performance and experience in its endorsement of his opponent [“Pete Holmes for Seattle attorney,” Opinion, editorial, August 3].

Regrettably, The Times allowed one issue to cloud its judgment, failing to recognize the complex and sophisticated nature of this critical position in city government. Tom Carr is the best candidate, and that’s why the majority of my City Council colleagues have endorsed his re-election.

— Tim Burgess, Seattle City Council member, Seattle

The Times endorses a candidate with no prosecuting experience

We at the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild are concerned and disappointed to see The Times’ endorsement of Pete Holmes for city attorney. Whether the Times editorial board likes it or not, experience as a prosecutor is critical, since about half of the position’s activities have to do with criminal prosecution.

This sort of experience has a direct impact on public safety and our ability to protect the public from potentially dangerous members of society. Holmes has no experience as a prosecutor.

Only one of the candidates for city attorney has that experience, and that is who we endorse: The man who has been successfully filling this critical role in city government for the past eight years.

We endorse Tom Carr as city attorney.

— Sgt. Rich O’Neill, Seattle Police Officer’s Guild president, Seattle

Ellington’s protection of children is not a first

Your endorsement of Judge Anne Ellington [“Re-elect Ellington to state appeals court,” Opinion, editorial, August 3] praising her opinion that children in initial truancy proceedings are entitled to an attorney mistakenly said, “No other state offers such a right.”

In fact, the right to counsel for children in truancy proceedings is not a novel or unique idea. For example, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Alabama and Nevada address truancy in Child in Need of Services, or CHINS, proceedings in which children are entitled to counsel.

Minnesota handles truancy as a CHINS matter, and the court must appoint a public defender before any out-of-home placement can be ordered. Wisconsin has a similar rule.

Arizona addresses truancy in its incorrigibility statute, and children have a right to counsel.

Oregon does not lock up children for truancy, although a parent may be cited if a child does not attend school.

Washington is in the unusual position of incarcerating children for not going to school, allowing prosecution of a child for truancy followed by a contempt proceeding. What the Court of Appeals did, with two other judges joining the unanimous opinion written by Ellington, was to recognize the due process right to a lawyer to protect children in hearings that affect their constitutional rights to liberty, privacy and education.

— Robert C. Boruchowitz, Seattle

Common sense needed in school closures

I am the candidate not mentioned in the endorsement article [“For Seattle School Board,” Opinion, editorial, August 3] regarding the School Board race in District 5, and it is time I speak for myself.

Some dismiss me as just being against school closures, but the work of the group for reopening TT Minor Elementary School includes a vision for an International School Program supported by many in the area. The TT Minor reference area — not large or gerrymandered — has the highest birth rate of any reference area in the Central Area cluster, and the fastest-growing number of children under the age of 5 of any reference area in the entire Seattle School District.

Therefore, if we really want neighborhood schools that are embraced by parents, the community must be included in deciding what type of program in places like TT Minor would make sense.

Unless all communities are empowered to advocate for their schools and programs, wonderful neighborhood school choices will be realized for some neighborhoods and not for others. I believe all the candidates, especially the challengers, have ambitious ideas for our schools.

The difference is that I will insist on your help to hold all the elected officials responsible for ensuring the Central District and all neighborhoods are proud of their schools and programs.

I will insist that parents and communities are included in the process of designing the programs and schools that all neighborhoods deserve. School assignments must make sense. We have to come together for the sake of our children, our families and our communities.

My candidacy is about all communities being treated fairly and equitably. Common sense can be applied to data.

— Joanna Cullen, Seattle

Green candidates sure send lots of campaign mail

With the primary election in full swing, we in Seattle once more are getting bombarded with candidates’ green credentials — written on mounds of literature mailed to us and placed on our doorsteps. See any contradiction?

Yes, campaign literature is integral to our electoral process, but can’t we get a little smarter about it? Making the literature smaller — I like postcard size — and more recyclable come to mind as a start.

Or perhaps just put it all on a Kindle?

— Beverly Marcus, Seattle

Comments | More in Election, Local ballot measures, Politics, Seattle, Seattle City Council, Seattle School Board

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