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A recall that targets the right official: Dale Washam

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Nov. 20, 2010 at 4:30 pm with 6 Comments »
November 19, 2010 3:34 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Dale Washam, Pierce County’s embarrassment of an assessor-treasurer, apparently thinks of one thing night and day: getting someone – anyone – to prosecute his predecessor, Ken Madsen.

At this point, it’s abundantly clear that Washam is not capable of dropping this poisonous obsession, which long ago spilled over into the abusive treatment of his staff and illegal retaliation against employees who complained.

It’s also abundantly clear he is one very expensive public official. His abuses of office have already run up a six-figure tab for taxpayers, and employees he has mistreated will likely be collecting settlements mounting well into the seven figures.

The man simply must be stopped before he does more damage, because – bank on it – he will do more damage.

A resignation would be the honorable course, but Washam appears utterly incapable of finding any culpability in himself. The rolling disaster his administration has become is all the fault of others – especially the vast conspiracy frustrating his crusade to destroy Madsen.

The one way to dislodge Washam from office anytime soon is by recall. We encourage the citizens of Pierce County to assist the recall campaign launched by Robin Farris of Puyallup; she’s enlisting volunteers at

Those interested in preserving county services and keeping deputies on the roads should help her pry his costly, angry obsessions out of the county budget.

Speaking of recalls, the far-flung Madsen cabal recently acquired a new conspirator: King County Superior Court Judge James Cayce.

Cayce on Tuesday threw out a Washam-inspired recall attempt against Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, who’d been insufficiently eager to get Madsen imprisoned for relying on computer-modeled assessments.

Five years ago, Washam tried to have Madsen recalled for dispensing with physical inspections; a Thurston County court threw out the recall on the grounds that there was a “legally cognizable justification” for using statistical methods. Like others, Lindquist isn’t clear on how a violation that can’t trigger so much as a petition drive can trigger a prison sentence.

The “frivolous” – that was Cayce’s word – attempt to recall Lindquist was initiated by Washam’s deputy, Alberto Ugas. Strange coincidence: 800,000 people in Pierce County, and the one who spots Lindquist’s supposed misconduct happens to be Washam’s confidant and comrade-in-arms.

Will Ugas appeal? By law, Lindquist must be defended with county funds – so ring up another bill on the public’s dime unless a judge sticks Ugas with the legal expenses.

Like so many things emanating from Washam’s office, the attack on Lindquist was eerie, irrational and disconnected from reality. Farris’ recall effort is anything but.

Washam Recall in court Monday
A hearing to determine whether the recall effort against Dale Washam can go forward will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday in Judge Susan Serko’s courtroom, County-City Building, downtown Tacoma.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. It appears that there is no limit to the amount of vitriol the Trib will heap on one person when it has a political disagreement. I think this has passed the line of decency and now borders on being an emotional outburst. If this editorial was a comment, I’d report it for being abusive and incivil.

    I have warned the Tribune already in these threads that it is probably going to get sued by Mrs. Washam. Since this editorial is soliciting public support for a recall against Washam, has it occurred to anyone on your staff that it is inherently political and therefore morally qualifies as an in-kind political contribution and maybe a legal one. You could call Kirby Wilbur and ask him to tell you all about the First Amendment being insufficient to protect KVI a few years ago.

    The recall will fail. It is highly likely that it will never get to the gathering signatures stage. Washam has done nothing that qualifies as misfeasance or malfeasance in office.

    It is totally hypocritical for the Trib to have already decided that the workplace lawsuit is meritorious (which means big bucks to be paid by Pierce County) while claiming to care about how much Washam is allegedly costing Pierce County.

    Also, you might consider telling your readers why you have no problem tainting the jury pool with this rather vicious series of articles.

    Maybe it isn’t about money at all. Maybe it’s personal. Or maybe it IS about money – the extra property taxes that the Trib has to pay when the assessments are done properly.

  2. comment_tayter says:

    Mr. Washam, er, I mean, pgroup…

    There are loads of people out there more than ready to sign a recall petition, and see you, er, I mean Dale Washam, recalled.

  3. Nope, I’m not Washam. Care to respond to anything I’ve posted?

  4. olympicmtn says:

    One word: Cathy Pearsall Stipek.
    TNT: Dead silence.

    One Word: Mark French
    TNT: Dead silence

    One word: David Brame
    TNT editor: Dead silence

    The TNT buried it’s credibility years ago.

  5. olympicmtn, I’m not sure what you’re referring to because I can recall quite a bit of coverage of all three of those former public officials.

  6. uncletom says:

    Well, now that the TNT has totally POed Dale and Albert, both will probably cancel their subscriptions to the Trib. That will lower the total subscribers to 5 or 6. What started this vendeta anyway? Shouldn’t a newspaper print the facts? I sat in one of the meetings that Walsam had as a concerned citizen. I feel he had no agenda except the truth. He did not want Madsens head on a platter, Just an investigation into wrongdoing. What is everyone afraid of? As an outsider, I heard Dale and his staff give facts to allow me to make an informed opinion. At this same meeting, I happened to sit next to Sean Robinson fron the TNT. In my first meeting opinion, Sean has anger issues that need to be delt with. He is however a very good writer. Too bad his articles are so one sided

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