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Candidates and their close relations

Post by Cheryl Tucker on Aug. 9, 2010 at 6:19 pm with 6 Comments »
August 9, 2010 6:21 pm

If letters to the editor are any indication, the race for Pierce County Council District 7 is just about the hottest one on the Aug. 17 primary ballot. (That district includes Gig Harbor, the Key Peninsula, University Place and a slice of West Tacoma.)

Political Buzz has a good roundup on the battle over endorsements. It mentions one letter to the editor, by former Peninsula school superintendent Jim Coolican endorsing Betty Ringlee. And we’ve run others supporting Chuck West, Todd Iverson and Stan Flemming.

One letter, by Suzanne Ellingson, praises Bill Sehmel and claims that he’s been endorsed by outgoing Pierce County Councilman Terry Lee. Lee is now saying that his letter in support of his longtime friend actually falls something short of what most people think of as an endorsement.

Several people have complained about the Ellingson letter, informing us that she’s Sehmel’s girlfriend. One critic – the spouse of another candidate – asked, if we don’t allow candidates, their spouses and immediate family to write letters during the campaign, shouldn’t that have applied to Ellingson as well?

Yes, and we wouldn’t have run the letter had we known of the relationship. We’re not omniscient here, folks. I don’t know how we can be expected to be aware of every candidate’s personal life. Some spouses don’t have the same last name; we’d probably not be aware of that either.

We would hope that letter writers would disclose their connections to candidates. And that candidates could get someone other than a spouse or significant other to write a supportive letter to the newspaper.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. Perspicacious1 says:

    Interesting. Those close to candidates should always take a look at how what they do, reflects on that candidate. Just the same as Terry Lee now saying that his letter of support and urging folks to vote for Bill Sehmel, is reflecting on himself.

    Throughout the whole process of this council race the candidates have acted mostly with good attitudes. The most controversy has come from everyone wondering who Lee would endorse.

    Now we know that while Lee supports his longtime friend, he doesn’t consider that an endorsement? Maybe we just learned one of the better reasons there are term limits?

    Kudos to all the candidates and their families and friends who try to campaign with some dignity and consideration for the others. Boos to all of those trying to get around doing things the right way.

    I hope the voters get enough information from all sources including the TNT, to make good decisions.

  2. Sagacious says:

    Another example of the wisdom of term limits; apparently Terry Lee’s judgment is waning. He doesn’t seem to understand endorsements. And his choice of a replacement seems already short of good judgment.

    Perhaps we should look for a better qualified candidate, like Randy Boss.

  3. I actually think this race is an argument against term limits. What we’re seeing in Pierce County is that the Council districts are large enough and the visibility of a federal/state election cycle (rather than having them during municipal elections) makes it difficult to unseat an incumbent. Since they are limited to two terms most people just decide to wait instead of running against the incumbent. But once it’s open you can get these wide-open fields that get kinda silly. It happened last time in this district as well.

    The bigger problem in this race is that we have a handful of candidates that are flat out unfit for office of any sort. With this flurry of endorsement silliness and lack of focus on actual issues I fear voters will be split evenly between all these candidates and we end up with someone with no clue how to go about the job.

    In short, I don’t think what you’re seeing Cheryl is how “hot” the race is (though I can see how it might seem that way) but just how incompetent some of the campaigns are. If you can’t talk intelligently about land use, budgets, and transportation in a County Council race, there’s not much left to go on about.

    Frankly it’s embarrassing.

  4. headedsouth says:

    I think its “silly” when current elected officials get involved in endorsing candidates like Gig Harbor Councilman Derek Young endorsed liberal democrat Todd Iverson. So Derek, who in your mind is unfit to run for County Council District 7? In all the news articles, letters and blogs it seems your horse Iverson is always on the short end of the stick. Lack of experience, bought and sold by special interest, labor hack, lack of knowledge on issues, and the list goes on. I don’t think it takes a master mind to be on Council. Look at Tim Farrell – he spends most of his day facebooking about Prop 8 and coffee shops while trying to build support for his run against Washem for Assessor in 2012. Or take Joyce McDonald, can you tell me one thing she did down in Olympia as a state legislator that did anything good for Pierce County? Or Shawn Bunney who has spent $13,000 of the tax payers’ money to send out a mailer about how good he is when he is running for elected office. Frankly, Derek, you are a hypocrite.

  5. I’m not sure why you think it’s silly. Pretty much all candidates seek the endorsement of other electeds, particularly ones in their district. Over the last 13 years I’ve been approached by dozens of candidates. Sometimes I stay out of it, sometimes I spend money and time on them. Usually I doubt anyone pays the least bit of attention to who I endorse.

    I based my decision on ability to work with other people and approach to understanding issues. Nearly everything they do for the next four years we can’t anticipate so I prefer to consider how they think and whether or not they can build coalitions or if they get stuck in partisanship. Basically I want another Terry Lee. That’s why I endorsed Todd.

    This will be someone I’m working with for a while so I’m hoping it won’t be someone that embarrasses us.

  6. PS I don’t get involved in races outside of the ones I vote in myself so I’m not sure what the reference is to other County Councilmembers.

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