Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A 92 Year Old Mother

Many aspects of the recently concluded campaign will stay with me forever and here is an example.

While walking back to my office after what I thought was a very good radio interview, a 92 year old lady called me. I used my cell phone as the campaign telephone and voters called me to find out what I thought about certain issues. Most callers were surprised that I answered my own phone; but I was happy they called and happy to talk to them.

The calls usually started out this way, "I am a voter trying to decide who to vote for and wanted to ask you a few questions." Today's call started the same way.

She said, "Do you favor the death penalty?"

This is a question that I prefer not to answer because in Washington the death penalty is well supported by the voters, and I am personally morally and philosophically opposed to capital punishment. I believe we diminish our humanity when we choose death, and when we make choices we should choose life.

I told the caller, "Ma'am the death penalty is the law of this state and it is clearly consitutional."

She said, "But you haven't answered my question." And I could tell that this 92 year old lady was not going to let me off easy.

So I replied, "But my personal opinion is totally irrelevant because my job as a judge would be to apply the law and Constitution as written by others and not impose my personal opinions as to what the law ought to be."

She said, "Well why are there so many people on death row who have not yet been executed, this is unacceptable!" Seeing an escape door, I said, "You can probably blame the federal judges for that."

With the more conservative callers, like this lady, I would emphasize my Marine Corps experience, and I mentioned it to her when she said she wanted to know more about me.

She said, "I had seven children." I said, "That is terrific, we have two."

She said, "One of my sons was a Marine, and he was 19 years old in 1968 when he was killed in Vietnam." And then she began to cry.

So there I am standing on a sunny street in Seattle, proud of my radio appearance and happy to get this lady's call, when her grief over what happened to her 40 years ago suddenly poured into my ear and directly to my heart.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Let the Sun Shine In!

Seattle attorney Hugh Spitzer wants to know where the candidates for the Supreme Court stand on opening up the Supreme Court's rule making process to more tranparency, and I say "let the sun shine in!"

Mr. Spitzer's article in today's Seattle Post Intelligencer (August 13, 2008) reveals that, alone among our branches of government, the Supreme Court makes rules that impact the courts and the executive and, therefore, the people of Washington, behind closed doors. No good reason exists to treat the Supreme Court's rule making process any differently than the other branches of government.

The Canons allow a judicial candidate to advocate improvements to the administration of justice, and if I am elected I will do what I can to open up the Court's rule making process to greater transparency.

In her 6 years on the bench it is notable that Justice Fairhurst has done nothing about this issue. A lack of leadership on this issue would be consistent with her record of keeping public records secret. The voters can change that on August 19.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Endorsements

Those who have endorsed my candidacy for a seat on the Washington Supreme Court include:

  • The Seattle Times, which is the largest newspaper in Washington,
  • The Retired Firefighters of Washington,
  • The Seattle Police Officers Guild,
  • The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators,
  • The Liability Reform Coalition,
  • Washington Arms Collectors,
  • The Snohomish County Farm Bureau,
  • People from all walks of life, like Ralph Cutter -- a Native American and retired Teamsters truck driver whose health insurer sued him to recover over $70,000 in health care payments made to his deceased wife's doctors for medical bills before she died of cancer, public school teacher Ellis Reyes, Seattle orthopedic and plastic surgeon Dr. Alfred Blue, MD, JD, civil engineer Bruce Dodds, P.E., Spokane business executive John Sage, radio host Kirby Wilbur, radio host and reporter John Carlson, and lawyers all over the state.

The Seattle Times said: “we believe he is the best candidate to protect the rights of the people.”

Even those who endorsed my opponent praised my qualifications and capabilities.

For example, the Tri-City Herald said: “the entire board agrees Bond would add a scholarly and forceful dynamic to the court.”

The Yakima Herald Republic said: “we found Bond to be a credible candidate, certainly no extremist.”

The Seattle Post Intelligencer said: “we were impressed.”

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Protecting Children

This guest post was written by public school teacher Ellis Reyes, whom I thank for stating the problem from a teacher's point of view.

Apparently basic rights also include protecting predatory teachers from having their criminal behaviors disclosed to the public. In yesterday's decision, Justice Fairhurst voted to conceal the names of teachers accused of molesting children unless they were found guilty of sexual misconduct or some form of disciplinary action was taken. While I am acutely sensitive to the possibility of false accusations against teachers, I find Justice Fairhurst's decision faulty on several counts.

First of all, if a teacher is accused of such behavior, he or she is placed immediately on administrative leave. When that occurs, everyone in the community knows that something is going on and the rumor mill kicks into high gear. The teacher is then and forever persona non grata in that district and to assume otherwise is just naive.

Second, in the world of tenured employment and tight district budgets, isn't it simply easier for a district to ask a teacher to leave quietly than to embark upon an investigation that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and turn up nothing? What then? The teacher gets a job in a neighboring district and continues his/her repulsive behavior until the process repeats itself; for thirty years. No sexual misconduct was ever proven and no formal disciplinary action taken so this predator is able to fly beneath the radar for an entire career. As the parent of two young children, this bothers me a great deal.

Finally, as public employees, and particularly as employees placed in positions in which we work directly with children, I believe that the greater good is served by aggressively protecting the children. As a direct extension, teachers' workplace behavior should be a matter of public record. I don't even think it's negotiable. These types of issues should not be investigated behind the scenes. They should be as transparent as possible. If someone is accused, the public should know. If they are vindicated, then the public should know, along with the circumstances surrounding the investigation. If someone was not able to be prosecuted due to a lack of evidence, that is significantly different than someone who is actually innocent and was investigated because a student lied.

Do teachers and other public employees have privacy rights? Absolutely. But do we have a greater obligation to protect students from predators with teaching certificates? I think so.