I dare say I am the only voter to freeload two back-to-back fundraisers to identify the best possible judge in their own informal environments. And I don’t even vote in Pierce County.
My volunteer organization, which attempts to serve parents in trouble with Child Protective Services and therefore the courts, took a special interest in Superior Court Judge Kathryn Nelson because of her incredulous decision to permit in-home visitations for the Powell boys. Normally, CPS insists on supervised visitations within their its own DSHS offices. We were not surprised by Nelson’s low ratings in the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association poll you published.
But she is a very nice person with loads of friends, as I discovered at her posh Fircrest Country Club reception Thursday evening. Judge Thomas Felnagle enhanced his top bar rating with a clever and informative introduction of Nelson. But her obligatory pitchman to get supporters to open their checkbooks was awful. He launched a vicious personal attack on challenger James Schoenberger, not by name but with phrases like “just a disgruntled loser.”
The night before we went to a beer and pizza joint on upper St. Helens Ave. to meet Schoenberger and his supporters. The pitchman there, another articulate attorney, presented a simple, positive case for his candidate: “One of the smartest persons I have ever known, courteous, judicial temperment, fair, honest.”
My companion, an open-minded, incumbent-leaning voter from Parkland, finally decided on the challenger. Too bad. I liked the Nelson merlot better than the Schoenberger beer.