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McCarthy for executive; O’Brien for assessor-treasurer

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on Oct. 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm with No Comments »
October 8, 2012 4:28 pm

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

As Lincoln might have said, you can fool 10.7 percent of the people all of the time. At least in Pierce County.

In the August primary, that’s how much of the electorate wanted to give Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam another four years in office. Another four years to break the law, abuse the staff and run up seven-figure legal losses for the taxpayers.

The nightmare in the assessor-treasurer’s office is almost at an end, thanks to the other 89.3 percent. They booted Washam and narrowed the remaining field of candidates to Billie O’Brien and Mike Lonergan, either of whom would be a trade up from worse-than-awful to pretty good.

We endorse O’Brien, as we did in the primary, but don’t want to give short shrift to Lonergan.

He ran an organization with 65 employees, the Tacoma Rescue Mission, for 12 years. He’s also had substantial experience in public life, having served on the Tacoma City Council for eight years.

O’Brien doesn’t have the political experience. What she does have, in abundance, is an understanding of the office she is running for.

She’s worked in it for many years and knows the two sides of the operation – tax collections and property assessment – inside and out.

She’s worked as an appraiser, a supervisor and administrator. She is now administrative manager, the No. 3 position in the agency.
She’ll be able to step smoothly into the office and quickly begin repairing the damage done by its reckless and incompetent incumbent.

* * *
Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy has drawn only token opposition after her first four-year term. She’s been doing fine; she knows how to surround herself with competent people. But it’s a shame Republicans failed to offer a strong alternative.

Her challenger, a corrections officer in the Pierce County Jail, is backed by no party and has no experience in public office. We appreciate the fact that Bruce Minker has given voters a choice, but we’ll stick with the incumbent.

Read previous endorsement editorials at

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