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Friday, June 20th

Letters On Superior Court Election

Shame On You Gaylord

To the Editor:

Shame on you Randy Gaylord. After your latest mailing, how dare you call
yourself ethical and honest. Not only will I not vote for you for Superior
Court Judge, I will not vote for you for any office. Ever. This is not the
conduct I would expect a potential judge to display! This piece of total
smear literature only shows your desperation to garner votes in any way
you can. Your lack of ethics and a total lack of judgment is made
blazingly clear.

Someone else please run for Prosecuting Attorney the next time around.
Otherwise I will be voting for Gus.

Lisa Henderson
San Juan Island
Judge Hall Supports Linde

To the Editor:

As a recently retired Superior Court judge and new resident of San Juan County, I write to give my strong support to Judge John Linde in Tuesday’s primary election.

Judge Linde was appointed by Governor Gregoire following an intensive screening process. I have had occasion to discuss the Governor’s screening with a number of her judicial appointees, and I know that she and her staff left essentially nothing to chance.

The judges she appointed in King County prior to my retirement were outstandingly qualified, as is Judge Linde. Frankly, this governor’s screening went far beyond my own screening for my appointment twelve years ago by then-Governor Mike Lowry.

I have also had the privilege of getting to know Judge Linde and discussing with him his approach to the difficult work of a trial judge. I know he understands and lives the major tenets of this job impartiality, the appearance of fairness, the ability to truly hear all parties, and hard work. I was particularly impressed with Judge Linde’s attitude toward his juvenile court work, which is a vital part of the superior court’s job in this county.

After seeing Judge Linde’s opponent’s recent campaign mailer, I must point out that the work of a trial judge bears essentially no resemblance to that of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and any speculation regarding what justices a trial court judge “matches” lends no useful information to a voter in this important election. I also note that Superior Court judges are extremely reluctant to order sanctions based on Civil Rule 11, and when they do it, they mean it.

One final point: partisan politics has absolutely no place in a judicial election in Washington, and not just because its injection is absolutely forbidden by the rules of judicial ethics. In one of my last trials before my retirement, one of the important things about the life of the plaintiff was that person’s political party volunteer work. I wondered, during that trial, just how the person’s loved ones might have felt if they had had to worry about how a judge’s own stated party preference would affect his or her impartiality. Judge Linde has been scrupulous in observing this rule, as have almost all judges in recent elections.

The truly important thing to know about a Superior Court Judge is not what that judge personally believes, but whether he has the temperament, honesty, and self-knowledge to put his beliefs aside while making rulings that profoundly affect the lives of the people who appear before him. I am firmly convinced that Judge John Linde has that ability, and I urge his election on August 19th.

Judge Glenna Hall (Retired)
San Juan Island
Gaylord Is A Good Friend

To the Editor:

“I would like to formally convey my support for Randall K. Gaylord for. When we, in the State Legislature, created the new Superior Court position for San Juan County it was my hope a person with the experience and even hand of Randy Gaylord would step forward for the position . He is a good friend that I have always found to be trustworthy, intelligent and fair minded. The breadth of legal and civic experience he would bring to the position is truly impressive. Beyond that, I know that his dedication to the community and profession would greatly serve the residents of the San Juan Islands.”

Jeff Morris
House of Representatives
What You Don't Know About Evans & the Linde-Gaylord Controversy

To the Editor:

When I was reading San Juan publications last week, I came upon a bizarre attack on John Linde by Tom Evans (no relation to John Evans -Ed.), which is only understandable when you consider the source.

Since 1979 I have represented a full spectrum of land use clients in San Juan County and had considerable experience with Linde as opposing counsel and co-counsel. Linde is a careful, thoughtful and talented lawyer. Evans’ attacks are straw men, immediately blown over when one looks behind his assertions.

It should also be known that Evans some years ago launched a series of vindictive and meritless lawsuits against various Orcas Island residents. A group of lawyers, including Linde, rose to the defense. Ultimately, under pressure, Evans agreed to drop all the suits and published an open letter of apology to the citizens of the County for his bullying behavior.

Apparently last week was Evans’ attempted “payback” time for Linde’s successful protection of Orcas residents. That’s why I say “consider the source.” By any objective measure, Linde is a fine candidate for reelection.


Peter L. Buck
Buck Law Group
Gaylord Pushes Attorney Hodgkin Off Fence

To the Editor:

As an attorney who might practice before the judge elected to serve our County, I had decided not to write a letter about the judicial race. But the disgusting and disgraceful “Seven Reasons” campaign literature distributed by Randy Gaylord has pushed me off the fence.

This flyer claims to give seven reasons to vote for Gaylord. In fact, it gives two overwhelming reasons to vote for Linde.

Gaylord shows that a) he is fundamentally dishonest, and b) he is the sort of politician who will do anything, even stooping to negative campaigning and dishonest comparisons, to try to win an election.

Randy Gaylord has shown that he has little if any regard for truth, that he is not merely marginally but fundamentally dishonest. He hides behind half-truths and outright inventions.

First of all, Gaylord brings negative campaigning into a nonpartisan election, which is hardly showing judicial temperament, besides hardly being the high standard of conduct our county should expect of its judges. With no basis in fact, trying to appeal purely to emotion, Gaylord tries to paint Linde as equivalent to Bush appointee John Roberts. This is merely the smarmy political tactic of trying to tie your opponent to an unpopular figure who has nothing whatsoever to do with a local judicial race.

Gaylord then claims, again with no factual basis at all, that he is more like Sandra Day L’Connor, trying to pretend that she would endorse his unethical and disgraceful tactics, which she most decidedly would not.

This is purely an attempt to appeal to emotion over reason, which is a very, very bad philosophy for a judge to demonstrate.

Second, he contends that a reason to vote for him is Ethics. This is absurd. I have known both John Linde and Randy Gaylord in the legal community for many years, and I can unequivocally state that for ethics, Linde rides rings around Gaylord.

Gaylord cites an admonishment (the lowest form of censure) that Judge Linde received years ago for misplacing a file. Misplacing a file has nothing to do with legal ethics, but was an organizational error.

Meanwhile Gaylord omits a sanction (a significantly higher form of censure) that he was given for a clear ethical violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct (the ethics rules of the profession). This error was significant enough to cause the judge to issue not only a sanction but a financial penalty. That is serious ethical bad stuff.

Gaylord also doesn’t note that he has brought partisan politics into the election, in direct violation of the Judicial code of ethics. Once again, showing that he will do anything, even making statements that are clearly unethical, to try to win an election.

This attempt to paint himself as more ethical than John Linde is so dishonest that it almost takes the breath away. Do we really want to elect a judge who has this little concern for both honesty and ethical behavior?
If you believe that dishonesty, disregard for facts, and unethical behavior are the standards you want sitting on the San Juan County judicial bench, go ahead and vote for Gaylord. But if you ever are bought into court and find that you are treated wrongly from the bench, you will have nobody but yourself to blame.

If you want a capable, ethical, proven, and honest judge, Linde is your only choice.
Those are the facts. The choice is yours.

Christopher Hodgkin
Law Offices of Christopher Hodgkin
Friday Harbor, Washington
Eglick Speaks Out On Gaylord Matter

To the Editor:

In thirty years of practicing land use law, I have at various times sued San Juan County, advised the County, and represented numerous parties in between.

Recently, media in San Juan County have reported on a matter involving County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord and myself that took place ten years ago. I did not agree with the spin on the matter, but was going to leave it at that.

However, a letter was published last week from another lawyer attacking John Linde and suggesting that Randy Gaylord has no significant baggage. That’s unfair.

As reported, about ten years ago, in a case in which my clients were challenging a County land use decision, I made a motion asking Judge Alan Hancock to sanction (punish) Mr. Gaylord under Civil Rule 11.

To put it in layman’s terms, when a court sanctions under CR 11, it is saying that there was no basis for what the attorney did. I asked for sanctions because Mr. Gaylord reneged on a binding written agreement, causing my client to incur substantial expense.

When Judge Hancock heard the matter, he confirmed unmistakably that CR 11 had been violated. In fact, a court reporter was present and took down word for word Judge Hancock’s ruling. Mr. Gaylord subsequently sent me a check for several thousand dollars. Contrary to the spin I have read recently, the money was not paid to be “nice” in the face of unreasonable demands. It was paid because it had to be.

Peter J. Eglick
Eglick Kiker Whited PLLC
Gaylord Shows Poor "Judgement" (sic)

To the Editor:

In a small community such as ours, I believe that it showed poor "judgement" for a local attorney to seek the position of Superior Court Judge, when another local attorney had already sold a long standing, deeply rooted law practice to make such a commitment to our community prior to elections.

I believe that this is especially the case, when the level of qualification and the depth of support from distinguished peers including our Govener is so evident. It is unsettling and poor form.

Sam & Jane Buck
San Juan Island
Linde Is An Effective Judge

To the Editor:

John Linde is one of the finest men I have ever met. And, at my age, I have met a lot of people. John is a stalwart gentleman who always seems unflappable. Just the characteristics of an effective judge.

My first introduction to John was through our homeowners association. The Board, of which I was a member, had a sticky situation that could have led to difficulties. We consulted with John and he was able to work with the parties involved to resolve all problems quickly and with no bitter aftereffects. My impressions were that John listened carefully and provided sound and unbiased advice based on the documentation of our neighborhood CC&Rs. I was also impressed with his judgment and his maturity.

As I grew to know John, I found that he was a person to look up to and to admire. If you asked his opinion, that is what you got. What you hear from John are the facts and not a bunch of fluff intended to make people feel good.

Last winter, Governor Gregoire conducted an extensive evaluation of the possible candidates for the appointment of the first Superior Court Judge for San Juan County. After this extensive evaluation and personal interviews, she selected John Linde for this position. His appointment started in January of this year. She still feels that John is the best man for the job and that he should be retained. She is currently the Honorary Chair of the Committee to Retain Judge Linde.

John is a very open person. If you have any questions about him or his background, I would imagine that he would like you to contact him directly.

We are fortunate to have a man of John’s character in this election. Please join me in voting to retain John Linde as our Superior Court Judge.

Dave Vandaveer
San Juan Island
Hertel Supports Gaylord

To the Editor:

I am writing to support Randy Gaylord for the position of Superior Court judge in San Juan County. I have known Randy for almost 20 years in both personal and public life. In my dealings with him, I have always been impressed with his understanding of the law, his community, and his care in dealing with people.

In the early 90’s a moped rental group started renting jetski’s off of Port property without the Port’s consent. As a commissioner for the Port, I urged my fellow commissioners to refuse the jetski’s a location on port property as an inappropriate business for the San Juan’s. The jetski owners then asked permission to use the County Park. At the county commissioners request, it was Randy who carefully crafted the language of the current jetski ban and who also successfully defended it in court.

In 2004 I was elected to the board of Freeholders for San Juan County. As county District Attorney, Randy was our advisor as we debated the shape of county government. His sound legal advice and his understanding of our community were crucial to the eventual overwhelming passage of the Home Rule charter.

Randy’s years of experience as a prosecutor are also a mark in his favor. His work protecting the citizens of this county is the type of background I want to see on the bench. A judge is unbiased but his personal experience on the prosecution side of criminal law I believe will help to keep our community safer. Please join me in voting for Randy Gaylord for judge.

Greg Hertel
San Juan Island
Who Is Most Qualified For Superior Court Judge ??

To the Editor:

For me this is an absolute “no brainer”. Judge John Linde already has 35 years experience as a practicing lawyer which includes 21 years as a District Court Judge.

He was appointed by the Governor as our first Superior Court Judge and the Governor is Honorary Chair of Judge Linde’s campaign committee (that alone should tell you something). The Governor’s General Counsel endorses Judge Linde and in addition to this, which should by itself be all you need to know to vote for John, over 30 Western Washington Superior Court Judges have endorsed him and 2 Clerks of our Courts. These Clerks are on the front line and in the trenches every day and are the people that really know what is going on.

Randy Gaylord has been a reasonably competent Prosecuting Attorney for San Juan County. He has a sharp legal mind but has made, in my opinion, a few glaring mistakes of judgment lately.

Most recently, Randy advised the County Council to bring a lawsuit against the individual that filed the first Referendum allowed under our new Home Rule Charter. This lawsuit was eventually dropped by the Council, but cost this citizen thousands of dollars and sends an onerous message to the rest of us if we should think about using Initiative and Referendum in the future. Randy made a mistake.

The Gas Tax Initiative suit that San Juan County was a party to and we lost was another big mistake. The amount of money that this cost the taxpayers is still unknown. To Randy’s credit, he successfully beat the Jet Ski industry in getting Jet Ski’s banned in San Juan County waters.

The bottom line is which candidate is most QUALIFIED? It is still a “No Brainer”. VOTE to Retain Judge John O. Linde. My wife and I are.

Ray Bigler
Julie Palmer
San Juan Island
Why I Support Judge Linde

To the Editor:

I would like to tell you why I feel that Judge John Linde should be our continuing Superior Court Judge.

I first met Judge Linde some 15 years ago when my husband and I lived on Orcas Island and had the occasion to come before him asking for a restraining order against our neighbors.

To begin with, the neighbors were/are very good people who, at the time, misunderstood property rights. They were very insistent on demanding some of our property rights which we rightfully refused. This culminated in a confrontation at a local market with the neighbor’s husband getting in my husband’s face while pushing him and yelling.

We filed for the restraining order; the court date came and the four of us sat in the courtroom to tell our stories.

When it was all done Judge Linde looked at them, and us, and said that he was NOT going to grant the restraining order …this time. However, if it ever happened again he would.

I saw that judgment equal to King Solomon’s. Judge Linde saved some misinformed, but otherwise valued, community members from the notoriety of having a restraining order placed against them and it gave my husband and I the future peace and quiet we deserved on our property.

I laud his thought process and am thankful that Judge Linde is willing to serve this county in the capacity of our Superior Court Judge.

Barbara Capron
Friday Harbor
Abusive Prosecution

To the Editor:

Every Voter has a duty to read the State Supreme Court decision in SAN JUAN COUNTY ET AL. , Respondents , v. NO NEW GAS TAX , a Washington Political Action Committee , ET AL. , Appellants . [No. 77966-0. En Banc.] June 8, 2006. Decided April 26, 2007.

In its April ruling, the state’s high court reinstated the Appellants civil rights complaint against the municipalities. This case has been reassigned to Judge Gary Tabor and trial has been scheduled for April 20, 2009 and the Appellants will be seeking triple damages against San Juan County.

The Voters should note this unanimous decision and particularly a concurring opinion written by the Honorable Justice Johnson that I quote in part.

“J.M. JOHNSON, J. (concurring)-"Today we are confronted with an example of abusive prosecution by several local governments. San Juan County and the cities of Seattle, Auburn, and Kent (hereinafter Municipalities) determined to file a legal action ostensibly for disclosure of radio time spent discussing a proposed initiative. This litigation was actually for the purpose of restricting or silencing political opponents and was quickly dismissed after the filing deadline for the initiative. The disregard for core freedoms of speech and association in this case, and resulting interference with these constitutional rights, is described in the majority”. …. “Granting NNGT complete reasonable attorney fees and trial costs is appropriate and required here. This may serve to deter future state actors from using their authority to act similarly to deprive individuals of constitutional rights of speech (or initiative)”….

Three individuals that brought this disgrace to San Juan County and its Citizens are on your primary ballet, they are Kevin Ranker, Alan Lichter, and Randall Gaylord. Whether you agree or disagree with Initiative 912 (NO NEW GAS TAX) you have a moral duty to vote against these three individuals so they can not use their authority to act similarly again.

Bill Wright
Friday Harbor WA 98250
Choose experience


As a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, I have had the opportunity over the years to observe our Superior Court justices in action. I was dismayed when I heard that we would lose Alan Hancock and Vickie Churchill because in comparing them to the judges my counterparts across the state faced in their courtrooms, I realized how very fortunate we have been to share these judges with Island County.

My anxiety was considerably relieved when the governor appointed John Linde. I had seen his thoughtful and reasoned work on the District Court bench and as an occasional pro tem substitute judge in Superior Court. Like every judge, Linde makes some rulings that I don’t agree with but he always gives clear reasoning for each ruling and treats all in his court with care and respect.

I am pleased to join my heroes Vickie Churchill and Alan Hancock in endorsing John Linde to be the first elected San Juan Superior Court Judge.

Jan Osborn
San Juan Island
Attorney Impressed With John Linde

To the Editor:

I recently had occasion to represent a client in a civil case which ultimately had to be resolved through a jury trial that occurred in March of this year in Coupeville. I was particularly nervous about this trial in that it was to be conducted on, what was for me as a veteran attorney in Bellingham, unfamiliar turf and because I had never appeared before Judge John Linde who had been assigned to the case.

By the time the trial was completed, I was thoroughly impressed with Judge Linde. Throughout the trial it was clear that he had gone the “extra mile” to conduct his own independent legal research on some of the difficult issues which arose. In addition, he did not hesitate to articulate the legal rationale for his rulings. I believe that the willingness of a judge to share his thought process with the parties to a lawsuit is immensely helpful to the litigants and has a tendency to reduce the number of often costly and time consuming appeals.

In addition, Judge Linde treated the proceedings with the respect they deserved. He maintained a serious demeanor throughout the trial although he did so in a manner that was not overbearing, arrogant or rude. To the contrary, he demonstrated considerable patience in listening to opposing arguments from the attorneys, and often asked critical questions, demonstrating that he fully understood the issues at hand and the arguments being presented.
In summary, Judge Linde conducted this particular trial with highly focused attention and the utmost impartiality - the two most essential components of a judicial system in which citizens can have confidence. In addition, in my observation, the parties, their respective attorneys and the jurors were all treated with absolute respect and courtesy. If this case is indicative of how Judge Linde typically conducts court proceedings, then it is clear that citizens of San Juan County would be well served by retaining him as their Superior Court judge.

Jeffrey A. Thigpen
Attorney at Law
No Mud Slinging In Our County Please


There were two letters concerning the upcoming election for our Superior Court Judge in the July 9th issue of the Sounder. One which commented favorably about our Prosecutor Randy Gaylord, the other was a mean-spirited attack on our Superior Court Judge John Linde. The former is the appropriate way citizens should express their opinion and support for any candidate running for elected office. The latter was nothing but character assassination and an attempt to interject partisanship in a non-partisan election.

Vitriolic political statements are disheartening. Such accusations and comments are why voters become disillusioned about politics and citizen candidates ponder the personal price of running for office. I expected better from the voters of San Juan County. The mudslinging typical of state and national politics not only fails to inform, it demeans our democratic process and, in my opinion, has no place in our local contests.

As to the “mistake” made by our governor, she interviewed both candidates, sought advice from members of the judiciary and legal profession, looked into the qualifications of both men, and chose John Linde to be our first Superior Court Judge. By choosing the most qualified person Governor Gregoire exercised leadership and judgment, certainly not the usual party politics. How refreshing.

San Olson
Lopez Island
Retain Judge Linde


I am writing to encourage you to vote to retain Judge John O. Linde as Superior Court Judge.

Governor Gregoire made a thorough examination of the candidates and obviously chose the most qualified for the position. I hope you will do the same.

Prior to working for the County, I worked at the Linde Law Firm. It was a pleasure to work for Mr. Linde then and I am proud to be working with him today. I respect and trust his abilities. Judge Linde has the knowledge, the patience to listen well and make a decision based on the laws that govern our Court.

I hope you will follow the Governor’s choice and mine and vote for Judge John Linde on August 19th.

Joan P. White
San Juan County Clerk
You're Invited to Vote for Gaylord

To the Editor

I would like to invite you to join me in voting for Randy Gaylord for Superior Court Judge.

On the Fourth of July I had the opportunity to walk in our parade in support of Randy. Since then, I have had various people ask me why I am supporting Randy. For me the bottom line is that Randy is both a great listener and caring person.

I have personally known Randy for the past few years. I have found him to be a very compassionate man and leader, thoughtful, intelligent and highly qualified to be a Superior Court Judge. Often times when I have met Randy walking down the streets he has always taken the time to talk to me, asking about work and family - really listening to what I have to say. From observing his successes in his role as County Prosecuting Attorney, I would say that his understanding and comprehension of the law is very impressive and very well rounded. His dedication to public service is just another example of his caring for others attitude and I believe that being a Superior Court Judge is about caring. Caring for the law and caring for the people.

Randy's legal experience is not to be taken lightly. Being our County Prosecuting Attorney has widened and expanded his qualifications to be Superior Court Judge. I would encourage you to visit and learn more about Randy's experience and about who he is as a person. I urge you to vote for Randy for Superior Court Judge.


Clark Gilbert
Friday Harbor
Linde Is Uniquely & Exceptionally Qualified

To the Editor

I am writing to express my support for John Linde in the election for Superior Court Judge for San Juan County.

John is currently serving as Superior Court Judge, having been appointed to that position by Governor Christine Gregoire after extensive investigation of the two applicants who applied for the appointment. Now it is time for the citizens of San Juan County to participate in an historic election -the very first election of a Superior Court Judge in the newly created San Juan County Judicial District.

Indeed, Governor Gregoire was so impressed with Judge Linde that she is acting as his honorary campaign chair for this election.

I believe Judge Linde’s experience and background make him uniquely and exceptionally qualified to serve as Superior Court Judge. He has been in private practice in San Juan County since 1972 and is regarded in the legal community as one of the best attorneys in the county. He served as San Juan County’s District Court Judge for 21 years and prior to being appointed as Superior Court Judge had extensive experience as a Superior Court Commissioner.

I have observed Judge Linde in the courtroom and he has always demonstrated respect and compassion for those appearing before him, while applying the laws consistently and fairly. John demonstrated the same qualities of respect and compassion in his private law practice along with a superior knowledge of the law. He is a skilled and extremely competent attorney and is an excellent judge.

I would urge the voters of San Juan County to join me in voting to retain John Linde as Superior Court Judge.

Chris Kenady
Orcas Island
Reasons To Vote For Judge Linde


When you cast your vote for Superior Court judge, I urge you to vote to retain Judge John Linde. There are many reasons to vote for Judge Linde. I offer three for your consideration.

1. At the time that Governor Gregoire filled the newly created judgeship for San Juan County, she gave careful thought before she chose John Linde over other candidates, including Judge Linde’s current opponent She had more information concerning each applicant than any of us could possibly have. Since nothing has changed between the appointment and now, her decision still stands as the best choice, namely Judge Linde.

2. Judges hold a non-political office. We expect our judges will make their decisions as neutrally and fairly as possible without regard to political consequences. That is why we speak of an independent judiciary. By challenging a judge for no reason other than someone wants his or her job, we make it much more difficult for that judge to avoid taking the popular or political views into consideration when making tough decisions. Therefore, challenges should be reserved for situations of malfeasance. That is most assuredly not the case with Judge Linde.

3. Judges are called upon daily to make instantaneous rulings on evidentiary and procedural issues during the course of a trial. The more in-court trial experience an attorney has before assuming the role of a judge, the better equipped he or she is to make the correct or appropriate ruling. Judge Linde had substantial trial court experience over his 35 years as a lawyer before Governor Gregoire appointed him to the bench.

In making these comments, I do not mean to denigrate Judge Linde’s opponent. Rather I want to emphasize why voters should be sure to vote for Judge Linde.

Fritz Kraetzer
Orcas Island
Retain Gaylord and Linde


Randy Gaylord has served our community well for many years as Prosecuting
Attorney. John Linde has served as Judge for more than 20 years with
integrity and impartiality. Why in the world would anyone want to change
this? Retain Randy as Prosecutor! Vote John Linde for Judge!

Gordy Petersen
San Juan Island
Linde Endorsed By 30 Judges

My husband, Bob, and I are voting for John Linde to retain his position as Superior Court Judge of San Juan County. Our reasons are many. For purposes of brevity, however, one reason stands out: he has 21 years experience as a judge and is endorsed as the only qualified candidate by over 30 sitting judges from through out western Washington.

That's why John Linde is our choice this August 19th.
Susan Wingate
San Juan Island
Enthusiastically Wholeheartedly Support Judge Linde

Dear Editor:

I supported John Linde for Superior Court Judge in the Governor’s appointment process. I wrote a letter of support and met with Richard Mitchell, General Counsel to the Governor, when he came to Friday Harbor to interview local citizens as a part of the appointment process. That process included interviews before 4-5 minority lawyer associations, interviews of 30-40 local citizens, and interviews with both the Governor’s General Counsel and the Governor. We know the outcome of that process. I continue to enthusiastically wholeheartedly support Judge Linde in this, the County’s first election of a Superior Court Judge.

First, John was an elected District Court Judge for five terms in a small county where contention is a way of life. If he had acted in any way other than honestly, he would never have been elected five times.

Second, he has demonstrated a passion for objectivity, listening to both sides, rendering decisions which follow the law and not a personal judicial philosophy.

Third, despite his experience, he has retained a life-long commitment to learn more. He has attended Washington Judicial College. His life has been one of constant work to improve, to know more, to be the best that he can be.

Personally that is what I want in a judge. I hope that you will join me, the Governor and her General Counsel, 30 judges in the north Sound region, the two judges who served as Superior Court Judges for San Juan County previously and support John Linde for judge.

Also, please remember to vote in the August election -there will be no general election for this position.

Ralph Hahn
San Juan Island
Linde a Judge For 21 yrs


As always, Lee Sturdivant is an entertaining read.

Actually, we get to make a choice concerning who should be a judge in many elections.

Basing one's decision on what one knows about the candidates' careers seems sensible to me.

Both candidates have been in private practice; one for a limited time in multiple firms in multiple places, one for over three decades in San Juan County.

Both candidates have been in public service in San Juan County; one for 14 years as an attorney, one for 21 years as a judge.

Who is more qualified? Hmmm, you be the judge.

Chris Clarke
Friday Harbor
Gaylord Works For Public Interest


How do we pick a judge? It is such a serious choice -not one we get to make very often.

Both of our candidates for superior court judge are well-educated lawyers; both have approval from various bar associations; both are known for working in support of young people in their local communities.

For me, the decision comes down to looking at how they have spent their careers. Randy Gaylord has worked for 14 years as a publicly elected county prosecuting attorney. Always, always, working in the public interest.

Randy did an excellent job making sure this county was the first one in the country to keep jet skis away from our shorelines. He has worked tirelessly to uphold our land use rules; to help us maintain the openness and natural beauty we so value here on the islands.

His opponent has worked just as tirelessly in the interest of private developers; to repeatedly challenge land use laws, always seeking that wedge to interpret the rules in favor of the private client. Of course we need both types of attorneys, but I would rather vote for a judge who has spent his career working primarily in the public interest. I will vote for Gaylord.

Lee Sturdivant
Friday Harbor
Judgeship to be Decided August 19


It is important to note that the Primary Election on August 19, not the General Election in November, will determine who will be our Superior Court Judge for the next four years.

One year ago, both candidates for our county’s Superior Court Judgeship competed in an extensive interview and vetting process conducted by Governor Gregoire and her staff. It was after this process that the Governor chose to appoint John Linde over his competitor. Not only has John the respect of the Governor, he is endorsed by former San Juan County Judges Hancock and Churchill, San Juan County District Court Judge Stewart Andrew, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander, and numerous Judges from across the state.

Just as the Governor decided, Judge Linde’s experience qualifies him hands down for this position. Judge Linde was elected five times, served 21 years as the County’s District Court Judge, conducted approximately 100 jury trials, and has practiced law in the County for 35 years. John’s impeccable integrity, standards of ethics and fair-mindedness have earned him the trust and respect of the citizens of San Juan County

It is for these reasons that we are confirming the Governor’s decision by voting to Retain Judge John Linde on August 19.

Jane and Dave Cable
San Juan Island
Judges Support Judge Linde


One thing I find glaringly obvious in the early stages of the contest for superior court judge, is the overwhelming support Judge John Linde is receiving from the judicial community.

Judges ranging from the chief justice of the state supreme court to over 30 superior court judges from throughout western Washington are encouraging the voters of San Juan county to retain our quality incumbent. These endorsements are not given lightly and speak volumes of the respect and reputation Judge Linde has among his peers in the judicial system.

In addition, the two clerks of our courts have endorsed Judge Linde’s election. These two women are on the front lines of the judicial system on a daily basis and are extraordinarily will qualified to pass judgment on who should sit on our superior court bench. That person is Judge John Linde.

Judge Linde sold his 35 year law practice in January to dedicate his time to our superior court. I urge all of you to vote to retain the one individual who has the respect of those who are truly in a position to know who is the qualified candidate for superior court judge.

Even Governor Christine Gregoire has agreed to become the Honorary Chair of Judge Linde’s campaign.

David Moorhouse
San Juan Island

Honored to Support Judge Linde

Dear Editor:

January 1, 2008 was an auspicious day as it marked the beginning of John O. Linde’s appointment by Governor Gregoire as San Juan County Superior Court Judge. The depth of John’s professional and personal experience was a critical factor in his appointment.

We need a man of John’s caliber to continue to represent us as our Superior Court judge. Indeed when Judge Alan Hancock received the news of John’s appointment he recognized the wisdom and the thought that went into the governor’s choice as he said, “The people of San Juan County deserve the very best and John is the very best.”

I’m honored to be part of the team who recognize how fortunate we are to have Judge Linde as our San Juan County Superior Court Judge and urge you to make August 19th another auspicious day with the news that Judge Linde has been retained and will continue the excellent service and dedicated work that he began in January.

Check out his website - and when you mark your ballot think LINDE for his -
L - legal and judicial experience and his ability to listen
I - integrity and impartiality
N- name - it’s one you can trust
D- dedication and dependability
E- ethics, enthusiasm, excellence

Please join me in adding your name and vote to the long list of supporters who are pleased to work to make Judge Churchill’s prediction a reality as upon learning of Judge Linde’s appointment in January, she said, “ John Linde is an excellent choice for the historic occasion, the 1st judge of San Juan Superior Court. John will serve the citizens of San Juan County with honor and distinction for many years to come.”

Carolyn Haugen
Member of the Retain Judge Linde Committee

The Governor Picked The Right Person

Dear Editor:

I would like to voice my support for retaining John Linde as superior court judge. Judge Linde and I have lived here for about the same amount of time. Judge Linde and I come from distinctly different sides of the political arena. With all this history I am absolutely comfortable that Judge Linde is the best choice by a substantial margin.

Judge Linde has demonstrated expertise in the management skills necessary to operation of his "Department". All of his years in private practice and continuous re-election as District Court Judge provide ample demonstration of his managerial skill. This management skill and understanding of the law will not lead him to propose costly and illegal venue adventures such as those proposed by his opponent.

In the course of my residence here I have had quite a few occasions to use the services of the legal industry. I have used a variety of counsel in these situations. I have yet to meet a legal professional who does not speak very respectfully of Judge Linde's professional management of the District Court.

Law and Justice expenses in San Juan County are almost a runaway expense. We desperately need Judge Linde's managerial expertise to keep these costs down as much as possible while still providing quality in this most essential service of our governance structure.

Our Governor, being the ex Attorney General, has all of the qualifications to do a quality job of selecting San Juan County's first Superior Court Judge. There is a reason why Governor Gregoire chose Judge Linde. I'm proud to support Judge Linde and to urge all of you to do your homework as you make this most important decision.

Superior Court is the primary venue where the disputes of society get their hearing and resolution. Judges are the embodiment of the third leg of the governance tripod that provides the system of law that allows our orderly society to exist. We must make the absolute best choice and that choice is Judge John Linde.

I am proud to volunteer on his committee!

Thank You,
Jim Slocomb
Friday Harbor


Thursday, June 5th

Letters On Fireworks Ban

Friday Harbor

To the Honorable San Juan County Council

I wish thank you for this opportunity to speak. My name is Don Burkhart. Who am I? Nobody really, just a concerned citizen of this great county in which we all live. I am also however, the organizer, sponsor (some might say rabble-rouser), of Fireworks Unrestricted LLC.

As you know, our referendum to place ordinance 28-2008, commonly known as “The Fireworks Ban” enacted by this body last June, was recently certified by the County Auditor . It is in that capacity, and with the support garnered by no less than 15% of the registered votes cast in the 2004 general election that I presume to address you today. I humbly ask that you grant me your attention and tolerance, in this, minute 14 of my recently-acquired fame.

I first wish to acknowledge the difficulty of the job that you folks hold. We the people elect you to represent us, to do our day-to-day business as best you can, and to lay down policy and framework with foresight that hopefully provides for our collective future in an ever-growing, ever-changing situation. I am certain that you do not hear this enough: Thank you. Thank you for all the hard work you do.

In our referendum effort over the past couple of months, I’ve been at the County Fair, the American Legion pancake breakfasts, and lopsided football games. I’ve lurked the streets and street fairs of Friday Harbor, Eastsound, and Lopez Village. As well, I’ve walked the gravel trails of Blakely, Center, Decatur, and other of the so-called non-ferry-served islands. I’m sure that, as folks like you who must campaign for election, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say that at times it was sheer drudgery. But much to my surprise, that was not the rule, but the exception. I have been fortunate along the way to meet a lot of good people. These are the citizens who collectively comprise the backbone of our great island society. There are bankers, lawyers, no Indian Chiefs that I know of, carpenters, fishermen, firemen, and aid workers. There’s been artists, barbers, insurance agents, cooks, and many a retired folk. I dare say that if one was to examine closely the names on the petitions that we gathered, you’d find they span a wide cross-section of our County. And with all the respect to the Council that I can possible offer, the nearly singular question these folks posed was, “What the heck do those jokers in Friday Harbor think they are doing?” Like I said, your job is hard, not for the faint-of heart or thin-skinned.

I can report to you that the people of San Juan County are frustrated with their government. They are confused by its direction. They are a little, if not a lot, angry. And it pretty much all boils down to this one feeling, and that quite simply is, they are tired of being told what they cannot do. Whether it is guest houses or rainwater, whales or fireworks, the perception is that our freedoms are being systematically chipped away at. It is then salt in the wound when the perpetrator is the very people we thought we elected to protect them.

The obvious action of any legislative body for any situation is to “make a law”. I submit to you that this is akin to the societal malady we long ago identified on Blakely, that of “putting up a sign”. Making a law or posting a sign gives the maker the feeling of satisfaction that they have “done something”. But have they? Not really. The landscape is littered with laws (and signs). I am certain that each one of you view every day a dozen signs as you drive to and from your work. Can you honestly recall what even ¼ of them say? Signs and laws are the quite the same. Their purpose and intent gets lost in the clutter of each addition. We have enough laws, too many really, already.

Take personal fireworks as an example. By State law, for many years, it has been illegal to ignite anything that explodes and nearly everything that flies. When you talk with the citizenry about fireworks, what are the objections you hear? Folks worry of the danger of those flying things, and dislike (as do their pets) the noise of explosions. These concerns are not unwarranted. To address this, what does the Council do? Do they resolve to enforce the laws that already exist? No, instead they pass an ordinance banning those fireworks that neither fly nor explode. They post a sign, pat themselves on the back for having done something, and another American freedom is summarily snuffed. And so I implore you the Council to look very carefully at what it is you are doing. The phrase “there ought to be a law” is nearly obsolete, because there is almost always already a law! Don’t clutter the landscape with even more un-enforced ones. Use what you already have on the books, to their maximum utility, before you consider adding to the clutter. And move deliberately and with great prudence when considering additions to the clutter, knowing that each diminishes the whole of what is already at your disposal.

Especially egregious in the US is any law that contains the word “ban”. Another popular aphorism for this is the fabled “zero-tolerance policy”. These are the ridiculous rules that have me teaching my children to hide their needed ibuprofen when they go to school, slipping into a dark corner to take their legitimate medicine, lest they be expelled for drug use. These laws are based in the presumption that we are not thinking people, that we are not capable of lending judgment to a given situation. In doing so they strip us of the dignity of making an informed decision about what is reasonable and what is not. I have yet to meet the person who takes well to being stripped of their dignity. It is humiliating to be treated as though we cannot be trusted to take reasonable action. And yet, this approach seems to have taken over the land. Are there those whose decisions are unsound in the eyes of society? Yes. But that is the price of what we call freedom. It is part and parcel with the concept, and simply must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. “Freedom is not free”, so goes a popular saying. Those who claim that it is possible, while denying all persons the opportunity of making an individual informed judgment, know not what the term means. Freedom is a very personal thing.

And referring to the case at hand, have we learned nothing from our history? To ban, to make unlawful without exception is to forfeit all control. The Great Experiment of 1920 is an acknowledged colossal failure, and an good example of where such things lead . Rum runners, speak-easies, and Elliot Ness proved that well enough. I would argue the same is true of our Federal government’s never-ending “war on drugs”. For some 30 years we have exerted an incredible effort to interdict the import and use of illicit drugs, yet the situation remains largely unchanged from the day of the program’s inception. Contrast that with the realization in 1933 that alcohol was going to be consumed, and the very studied decision to accept that fact, regulate its use, tax it for revenue, and allow what was going to happen in any event, to happen as safely as possible, with oversight and regulation.

Banning fireworks is yet another example of this bankrupt principle. When some kids do get hold of some fireworks, and let’s be honest, it is going to happen endlessly, will they go down to the beach in front of everybody to shoot them off, where it is arguably the safest venue to do so? No, they’re not stupid. People will see them there and they’ll get caught and in trouble. So instead, they’ll hike up into the forest where no one can see, and where paradoxically the activity poses the greatest danger to us all.

The fireworks referendum has been certified. The easy thing for you to do now is to simply let it go to ballot in November 2009. I am hear to plead with the Council to not let things get that far. To be blunt, this law is a lemon. It is bad legislation that does not deserve to proceed to that stage. I realize I can be accused of promoting a self-serving outcome by advocating this course of action, but I implore the Council to exercise the power granted you by the charter to instead cancel this ordinance. It is bad legislation, and absent some catastrophic fireworks-related event in the interim has, at best, a poor chance of passing muster with the voters. With a ballot date of November 2009, IF the ban passes, it will not be in place until July 2011. But if not, it’s back to the drawing board and the possibility that no regulation can (legally) be forthcoming until 2012 or beyond! And that’s a real big IF. I will tell you that we garnered the over 1,500 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot in the first 30 days of the statutory 120 days provided. While admittedly nothing is for certain, do we really want to bet the farm on this bad legislation? I say not. In my opinion it faces near-certain defeat. It is not worthy of the elapsed and lost time, and the endless churn of community debate and letters to the editor it will spawn that ultimately may see it fail in the final analysis. I’m sorry Council, but this is plain and simply a bad law. It’s a lemon. It’s a turkey. Don’t squander another moment of your or the voters’ time on it.

I mentioned earlier that I had grown in this process. I was guilty at first of taking my particular circumstance and extending it across the entire County. In the many discussions I’ve had since in the process of gathering signatures, my eyes have been opened to the situations of others that are often starkly different than ours on Blakely.

We are blessed with the insular situation of having no tourists, no outsiders, no non-residents. As such we have the unique ability to apply our own enforcement mechanisms, largely in the form of social pressure, to ensure that our own fireworks practices are conducted in the safest manner possible, meaning in effect always on the beach, and always pointed at the water. It has been interesting to receive stern lectures from various other-island folks during this process, about the fire danger that fireworks represent to them. On Blakely, nearly the entire island is forestland. There has always been an absolute prohibition on fire of any sort, right down to smoking, on the bulk of the island. Our young are taught from the time they are born to challenge anyone, even (gasp!) adults that they see violating this principle. That’s scary for a small child, yet we make them certain that they’ll be backed up by their parents and the community at such time as they choose to do so. That is the insular world in which we live on Blakely Island.

But I have been educated that the same situation does not prevail on other, more public (ferry-served) islands. People are rightfully and justifiably just as terrified of fires as we Blakely-ites are. But they do not have the same controlled situation as we enjoy . I heard horror stories from different residents of San Juan, Orcas, and others. The apocryphal one is of a family arriving on vacation, a station wagon full of fireworks, pitching their tent in a forested park, and then letting ‘er rip! I was horrified. This is not a situation that should be tolerated in any community. That sort of behavior threatens us all.

And yet this same parable illustrates the disconnect in the logic of one-size-fits-all legislation. The situation on each individual island can and does vary greatly. As a county of Islands, San Juan is unique, in that each island has socially developed, mostly in isolation and ignorance of the conditions and motivating factors on other islands. Each island, certainly the non-ferry-served ones, is a discreet entity in and of itself!. What is a problem on one does not necessarily translate to some or all of the others. So while the vacationing family wagon can easily put rubber to the roads of San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, or Shaw, it can never do so on so the other islands. That simply is not a problem for us, and thus we need no solution to it that restricts our own rights of peaceful enjoyment. One size most certainly does not fit all. If the residents of an island wants to ban fireworks, most certainly they should be able to. But just as certainly, they should not have the power of doing so to other islands that do not share their same circumstances.

Whenever the Fed of State comes calling on the County with some monolithic proposal, say for example the oft-floated idea of Federal Marine Sanctuary status, the clarion call of dissent always centers on the loss of local control. Yet while County government seems painfully sensitive to such issues when it’s on the receiving end, it is rather oblivious to the same principle when applied to the giving end. Those of us downstream of County government deserve the same consideration and critical thinking as that the County seeks of the larger entities upstream of it. In a nutshell, one size does not fit all, especially in this County comprised of loosely-knit island empires. County government is elected and paid for by all of its citizens. If those of us on a given island were to withhold our property tax payments, we would most certainly gain the County’s notice rather quickly. Why make it come to that? Why not instead seek to acknowledge and engage the diversity of interests that makeup the whole County? We are far more like the Bahamas than we are Mount Vernon or Everett or Seattle or even Whidbey or Bainbridge Island. It’s a unique situation we have, that poses great challenges for any governing body, and yet that body has been chartered and formed for the precise purpose of doing just that.

But back to the ordinance and referendum. I have an obligation to, if I may be so presumptuous to refer to them as such, our constituents. Our petition signers. The Fireworks Unrestricted campaign was run not so much on the love of fireworks, as it was on the principal that it is the people, the residents and voters of San Juan County that get to decide what we can and cannot do. It is an issue of voter’s rights, of being told by six people huddled in a room in Friday Harbor what they can and cannot do. I promised each and every petition signer in this process that they’d get to vote on the question. To decide for ourselves what we want to do about this. I am committed to fulfilling that promise to those who supported us, and so want to make it clear that this principle is indivisibly coupled with my urging for you to cancel the current ordinance.

I again plead to you the Council to quickly and surely void ordinance 28-2008, and to then immediately engage in the development of new fireworks legislation the very real problems that we do have. This new, replacement ordinance would not ban, but rather regulate the use of fireworks in San Juan County. It would provide for designated areas on all islands, presumably beaches, where legal “safe and sane” fireworks are permitted to be set off. It would ensure some measure of island-wide safety in these areas, perhaps by providing a firefighting and medical presence during the evening hours of July 4th, as well as New Years. Along with this must be an educational effort to encourage the day-after clean-up by volunteers, to cleanse the beach of fireworks refuse and return it to its pristine condition for the other 363 days of the year. And lastly, this ordinance would provide for local control, by asking each individual island to define for itself its designated areas. A radical and new idea? Hardly. This same resident-designation process was used in 1975 when shorelines management was first introduced to San Juan County. The residents of each island were charged with the task of choosing their designations.

In closing, I note that it is in the power of the Council to refer measures to the ballot for an advisory vote. I propose that a fireworks ordinance be developed along the principles I have spoken on here today, and that it then be placed on the November 2009 ballot, instead of the current ordinance, for an advisory vote. I would propose that the Council very publicly commit to the voters that it will consider and treat the advisory vote as binding upon it, enacting the ordinance or not solely based on the outcome of this vote. Such a process would empower the voters of San Juan County to indicate to the Council what they want, and to exercise their reason and judgment on what constricts they choose to live under. And it engages them in the process, giving them “buy-in” to the results.

I wish to once again thank the Council for this opportunity to speak. And now my Andy Warhol 15 minutes are up, if not exceeded. It should then come as relief of us all in this room that I now return to my life as a run-of-the-mill citizen of Blakely Island and San Juan County.

Thank you.
Don Burkhart

REVISED "Sparklers & Civil Rights: Letter
(Editor's note: The following letter was sent in by Mr. Rosenfeld after his original letter [printed below this one] was challenged by Mr. Petersen as being unsupported by the facts. As a result, we received this revised letter that deletes comments on the content of Mr. Petersen's past columns) and includes this statement from Mr. Rosenfeld: I deleted the last sentence of the 1st paragraph over my misunderstanding of Gordy’s sarcastic style in one of his previous columns. My apology to Gordy.)

To the Editor,

Revised Response to Gordy’s FIREWORKS BAN Column:

Is it really more important to wrap yourself in the flag over the right to burn a sparkler one day a year, than be concerned with the assault on many of our basic civil rights these past 7 ½ years by the Bush Administration?

Many of the 4th of July fires I’ve been on here were caused by visitors. Even if we were responsible for our own kids, the problem would still be there. San Juan County joins many other, apparently unpatriotic Puget Sound counties, totally banning fireworks.

We have so much to lose. I’m reminded of one 4th of July fire on Mt. Dallas. We contacted the owner by cell phone to let him know we were protecting the house. He said, “Hell, with house, I can replace that! Save the trees!” We did.

Howard Howie Rosenfeld
Friday Harbor
ORIGINAL LETTER: Sparklers & Civil Rights

To the Editor,

Response to Gordy’s Fireworks Ban Column:

Is it really more important to wrap yourself in the flag over the right to burn a sparkler one day a year, than be concerned with the assault on many of our basic civil rights these past 7 ½ years by the Bush Administration? Which, if you check Gordy’s past columns, he not only supported the administration, he specifically supported the warrantless wiretaps!

Many of the 4th of July fires I’ve been on here were caused by visitors. Even if we were responsible for our own kids, the problem would still be there. San Juan County joins many other, apparently unpatriotic Puget Sound counties, totally banning fireworks.

We have so much to lose. I’m reminded of one 4th of July fire on Mt. Dallas. We contacted the owner by cell phone to let him know we were protecting the house. He said, “Hell, with house, I can replace that! Save the trees!” We did.

Howard Howie Rosenfeld
Friday Harbor
Booo on Firework Ban

My public safety peers and the County Council have made a disheartening decision to ban all fireworks. As a public safety employee, I am perplexed as to why this issue is at the forefront of public safety concerns. While I sympathize with the issues related to fireworks--unsightly garbage, distressed critters, occasional injuries and uncontrolled fire--I am unable to agree that banning them is the answer, and I am concerned that real issues are being ignored whilst this non-issue is being addressed.

As for priorities in public safety, of the thirteen deceased friends and family of mine, none were caused by fireworks. In order, vehicles, unhealthy lifestyle, cancer, alcohol/drug abuse, homicide, drowning and suicide (gun), were the killers in my circle"so far. I can only think of one time when a friend was injured by a firework and it was unarguably a really dumb mistake and only mentionable because of that. This leads me to ask a direct and serious question: Is our public safety administrators and County Council providing this policy for their own interests or for us, the people?

I will take the liberty (as you took mine) of pointing a few things out; First, be tolerant (July 4th is 1/365th of the year). Second, don’t be grumpy (I have little respect for those whose inner-child is all growed up). And third, if you are sincere about your concerns of noise and safety, lead by example and walk. Vehicles, boats and planes are far more detrimental to humanity than 2000 degree sparklers.

My fireworks days passed many years ago, but I have been looking forward to my five year old daughter’s delightful expression when I light her first fountain, hand her a burning sparkler or flee from an out of control spinner, and thus, passing on a tradition that was passed to me.

A firefighter for fountains,

Noel Monin
Friday Harbor

Reader Resents Fireworks Ban

To the Editor:

I am really going to resent it if I can't buy fireworks this Fourth of July. As long as I can walk into a store and buy cigarettes, alcohol, hand guns and drive a car all of which are more likely to hurt me than a sparkler, I am skeptical of the goal of making me safer through this ban.

Sure, if handled carelessly fireworks can hurt you but so can alcohol, handguns, and cars. I don't know that there is any safe way to use tobacco. So why choose this way to make our community safer. Maybe because the people who sell fireworks don't have the clout of the tobacco lobby?

Margaret Thorson
Waldron, WA


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