Inside Opinion

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Tag: Pierce County assessor-treasurer


Open the throttle on the Washam recall campaign

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Thanks to the Washington Supreme Court, Pierce County is now only 65,500 signatures and one election away from recalling its disastrously incompetent assessor-treasurer, Dale Washam.

The court on Thursday unanimously approved the recall petition filed by Robin Farris of Puyallup, which Washam had attempted to tie up in a court challenge characteristically obsessed with minutiae.

The right to recall elected officials is embedded in the state constitution; it would be a meaningless right if targeted officeholders were permitted to delay and obstruct legitimate efforts to unseat them. The speed with which the justices rendered their judgment shows they understand that a recall delayed can quickly turn into a recall denied.

The petition against Washam is as well-grounded and necessary as the state has seen in decades. He’s been a one-man wrecking ball since the day he took office and began pursuing an obsessive, vindictive and foolish campaign to put his predecessor, Ken Madsen, in prison.
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Recall drives Washam’s crusade over the edge of sanity

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Alberto Ugas insists the recall was all his idea.

His boss, Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam, did not put him up to taking on Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. Nope, Ugas is acting purely as a private citizen in calling for Lindquist’s ouster from office.

A private citizen, that is, with enough passion for proper property assessment procedures to compile a 624-page petition accusing a public official of lacking the same fervor.

Uh-huh. Ugas and Washam must take Pierce County voters for fools if they believe they can pass off a recall as anything but the latest attempt to advance Washam’s age-old grudge against his predecessor.

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A harsh light on Dale Washam’s stewardship

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Exhibit A in how not to run a public agency is the 54-page report detailing Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam’s abuse of authority, waste of public money and violations of county and state laws.

But don’t just take our word for it. Read some of what Washam’s employees and their union representative told an outside investigator:

“Staff is fearful; he shakes his fingers at them.”

“Most are feeling that it is a hostile workplace.”

“… everyone appears demoralized. You can hear a pin drop.”

“People cannot sleep, and they are anxious about their job security and finding a new job. … it is disheartening to be referred to as criminal and having committed fraud.”

“Dale Washam flaunts being untouchable.”

“… the office is slowly grinding to a stop.”

“The PI issue is just too much for Dale Washam to let go; someone has to pay and someone has to be responsible for it.”

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Washam’s vendetta leaves county exposed

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Dale Washam sees vindication where he ought to feel rebuke.

The Pierce County assessor-treasurer claims that a new report detailing why a predecessor failed to visually inspect properties as required validates his call for a criminal investigation.

What Washam seems to miss, in calling attention to the evidence against former assessor-treasurer Ken Madsen, is the finger pointed directly at himself.

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Illegal structures pose safety, fairness problems

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Big Brother would be offended to know he’s getting credit for something as innocuous and low-tech as Pierce County’s project to find building-permit scofflaws.

The county’s planning department is using aerial photographs to identify structures built between 2005 and 2008 without a permit. Owners are contacted and asked to participate in the county’s amnesty program, which waives penalties.

Big Brother, this ain’t.

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Washam’s troubles are a public concern

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Vengeance will be Dale Washam’s, or so it would appear from the details of a union complaint alleging unfair work practices.

Teamsters Local Union 117 contends that the Pierce County assessor-treasurer is interfering with and retaliating for employees’ participation in union activities, and is refusing to bargain changes in pay and working conditions.

Washam certainly wouldn’t be the first boss to run afoul of labor laws. But there’s more to the union’s complaint than a public official not paying due deference to organized labor. This is not even just an outsider shaking up the status quo.

The union’s 66-page statement of facts painstakingly documents deteriorating working conditions in an office run by a public official who is obsessively pursuing an old vendetta.

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