Washington primary: Judges worth voting for | John Carlson

Judicial elections are different from all other elections in Washington State. First, if one of the candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, he or she automatically wins the race and it won’t appear on the November ballot. And second, most people don’t learn as much about the candidates as they want to know. But don’t worry. Here’s who you should vote for in the Aug. 19 primary and why:

Judicial elections are different from all other elections in Washington State. First, if one of the candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, he or she automatically wins the race and it won’t appear on the November ballot. And second, most people don’t learn as much about the candidates as they want to know. But don’t worry. Here’s who you should vote for in the Aug. 19 primary and why:

State Supreme Court, Position 3. Incumbent Mary Fairhurst has far more money than her opponent, Michael J. Bond. But several of her decisions have been troubling. She tried to strip Washington voters of their right to decide whether same-sex marriage should be legal or not, and attempted to impose same-sex marriage via judicial decree. She also is weak on property rights. Bond, a private attorney with 28 years experience, including a stint as a judge advocate in the Marine Corps, offers a more balanced approach, along with a solid record and resume. This race will be decided on Aug 19.

State Supreme Court Position 4. Three contenders here, including 18-year incumbent Charles Johnson. Johnson could use a strong opponent, which is why I recommend a vote for James Beecher, one of the most respected lawyers in Seattle who has served as a prosecutor, trial attorney, arbitrator, mediator and Judge Pro Tem.

State Supreme Court Position 7. Debra Stephens, an appointee from eastern Washington, has no opponent.

State Court of Appeals. Two races. Both incumbents, Linda Lau and Ann Schindler, are running unopposed.

Superior Court. These are county courts that hear felony and civil cases, along with juvenile cases and divorces. Judges serve four year terms. There are six Superior Court races this year.

Position One: Three candidates. I’ll give the edge to Tim Bradshaw, a highly skilled prosecutor, with Assistant Attorney General Sue Parisien a close runner-up.

Position 10: Again, three contenders, two of whom shine: Regina Cahan, another senior Deputy Prosecutor for King County and Les Ponomarchuk, a Superior Court Commissioner with sterling credentials. I lean toward Cahan, but again, I’m hoping the two are matched up in November.

Postion 22: Three women running, but one easy choice: Julia Garratt, a Parole Board member and Superior Court Judge Pro Tem. She has been both a prosecutor and a public defender. Garratt is a rising star who could one day end up on the State Supreme Court.

Position 26: Incumbent judge Laura Middaugh faces only token opposition from Matthew R. Hale. Too bad. She deserves a tougher opponent.

Position 37: There are three well qualified people running for this post. The best of a great field is Barbara Mack, a senior Deputy Prosecutor for King County who has spent more than 20 years putting bad guys in jail. Cops love her, but she also carries endorsements from a plethora of elected officials in both parties.

Position 53: This race also will be decided in the primary. Remember Mariane Spearman? She was the juvenile court judge who gave lenient sentences to two Eastside punks who drove by and pushed a minister off his bicycle, nearly killing him, six years ago. I’ll stick with Ann Danieli, who serves capably as a Superior Court Judge Pro Tem in Juvenile Court.

More in Opinion

Viewers in the gallery applaud as Gov. Jay Inslee makes his annual state-of-the state address before a joint legislative session Tuesday in Olympia. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Inslee: ‘It’s our state’s destiny … to fight climate change’

In his State-of-the-State address, the governor made the case for an ambitious carbon tax.

Inslee: ‘It’s our state’s destiny … to fight climate change’

In his State-of-the-State address, the governor made the case for an ambitious carbon tax.

Eyman isn’t letting a bad 2017 slow him down in the new year | The Petri Dish

The year ended as Eyman did not get enough signatures for a ballot to reduce car tab fees.

Displaced by a hurricane: Disaster relocation lessons

Editor’s note: This is the last of a three-part series by Bellevue… Continue reading

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks with Sound Publishing staff during a meeting on Jan. 20 at the Bellevue Reporter office. Photo by Matt Phelps/Kirkland Reporter
Judge delivers crushing blow to Inslee’s Clean Air Rule

It was the centerpiece of the governor’s crusade against climate change. Now it’s gone.

KCLS unveils its Best Books of 2017

And the envelope, please. Continuing an end-of-year tradition that dates back more… Continue reading

Displaced by a hurricane: The quest for housing | Guest Column

Woman describes challenges of helping family move from Puerto Rico to Bellevue

Firearms banned from state Senate gallery during sessions | The Petri Dish

Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib calls for prohibiting overcoats, large bags

Is someone you love experiencing memory loss? There’s a road map to help | Guest Column

By Shirley Newell Aegis Living At first, it might seem inconsequential, misplaced… Continue reading

What tax reform means here at home | Guest Column

Tax reform proposals swirling around Washington, D.C. right now make some sweeping… Continue reading

Global warming impacts | Letter

10-year-old writes about climate change concerns

Tax overhaul plan does not add up, Democrats insist | The Petri Dish

A tax overhaul plan drawn up by Republicans in Congress will be… Continue reading