Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: John Ladenburg

April
10th

Stop outrageous lawsuits against crime victims

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

It’s bad enough that Larry Shandola gunned down Paula Henry’s husband, Robert, in a Tacoma parking lot, then tormented her for five years as authorities sought enough evidence to get him convicted in 2001.

But now, as he serves a 31-year sentence for the 1995 killing, Shandola has found a way to keep on hurting Henry. He’s suing her, two of her friends and a victim’s advocate for $100,000 each, alleging that they violated his privacy rights and inflicted emotional distress.

The lawsuit is outrageous, but it’s accomplishing exactly what Shandola probably hopes it would do: allow him to continue inflicting pain and suffering from behind prison walls. Read more »

July
7th

For the Washington Supreme Court: Gonzalez, Owens, Ladenburg

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

The judiciary is the quietest branch of government. That can make it tough for voters to size up candidates for crucially important positions on the bench.

In Washington, D.C., most people probably wouldn’t recognize Chief Justice John Roberts walking by on the sidewalk. That’s doubly or triply true of members of Washington’s Supreme Court, whose doings are little noticed except when rare landmark decisions – like the January ruling on public school funding – hit the news.

Voters face three choices for the high court in the Aug. 7 election. It’s a little misleading to call this a primary, because primaries lead to runoffs – yet any one of these three contests could be decided in August.

Under judicial election laws, a Supreme Court candidate who wins a majority in the primary takes home the gold. The “primary” then amounts to the final. Serious voters will want to look at these races closely.

We hope they’ll look particularly closely at the contest for Position 8, which pits Justice Steve Gonzalez against Bruce Danielson.

Gonzalez, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year by Gov. Chris Gregoire, is superbly qualified. A graduate of Berkeley School of Law, he has been a prosecutor for the City of Seattle and the U.S. Justice Department. He served on the King County Superior Court for 10 years before his appointment.

Danielson is not remotely a match.

In this case, the endorsements say it all. Roughly 250 judges across the state support Gonzalez, including current and retired Supreme Court justices, superior and district court judges, magistrates and court commissioners.

Tellingly, at least 10 Kitsap County judges have lent their names to Gonzalez’s campaign. Danielson practices law in Kitsap County and has unsuccessfully run for the bench there. The county’s judges presumably know him well. Enough said.

In the race for Position 2, 12-year incumbent Susan Owens faces challenges from Douglas McQuaid and Scott Stafne, who practice in Seattle and Arlington, respectively.
Read more »

June
22nd

Impressive Supreme Court candidates

The editorial board is on the home stretch with our candidate interviews for endorsements. In the remaining days, we’ll be focusing on state Supreme Court and Pierce County Superior Court races.

Today we talked with the four candidates hoping to replace retiring Justice Tom Chambers on the state Supreme Court: former Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, former Justice Richard Sanders, King County Superior Court Judge Bruce Hilyer and Bainbridge Island attorney Sheryl Gordon McCloud.

There was a lot of legal and cerebral firepower in the room, and we were impressed with the cases they made for themselves. We haven’t talked

Read more »

Jan.
4th

Despite losses, Chambers Bay worth the investment

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

So much in golf depends on timing. And Chambers Bay golf course’s was off big time.

The upscale links-style course began operation in 2007 – also the year when the worst economic recession since the Great Depression began. Nationwide, many golf courses made significantly less income when people cut back on discretionary spending. Many courses went into foreclosure or closed.

The experts say the recession officially ended in July 2009. Even so, PGA PerformanceTrak reports that the number of rounds played in 2010 was down 10.4 percent from 2009.

Those figures help explain why Chambers Bay has yet to get into the black financially. Final 2010 figures aren’t in yet, but the course was $700,000 in the red by the end of September. And it could be a few more years before it breaks even, much less turns a profit.

The course is owned by Pierce County, and like other public facilities receives subsidies if it’s not self-sustaining. Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway, for instance, gets just under $1 million a year in county funding despite the fact that it charges for ice skating, tennis and recreational programs. Read more »