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Report on the 2010 Washington State Democratic Convention

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I'm curious to learn more about Hoover's stance on taxation. He is a specialist in it, after all.

I chatted with Susan DelBene at her campaign's hospitality suite. She's running for US Congress in the 8th Congressional District. Her Republican opponent, Dave Reichert, twice defeated Democrat Darcy Burner in closely fought races. This year Reichert seems more vulnerable, since he made a huge gaffe. In an unguarded moment he admitted within earshot of a reporter that his Yes votes for environmental proposals don't reflect any inherent support for environmental issues. Rather he voted for environmental bills only to get re-elected.

Furthermore, DelBene seems sharp and confident: she was a VP at Microsoft, and she started several successful businesses, including When talking with Darcy Burner, I often got the impression that she was trying hard; DelBene seems more authentic and confident. Her minuses include the fact that, like Burner, she has held no public office; also, DelBene didn't vote in several elections. Her opponent will no doubt try to capitalize on that.

I asked Dwight Pelz, Party Chair of the Washington State Democrats, why Republicans seem to be so much better at working together than Democrats. At first Pelz said that the Republicans and Democrats are the same: humans often disagree and squabble. When I pointed out that Republicans vote together in blocs and that they're better at coming up with and marketing their talking points, Pelz gave some ground: "OK, the Republicans are 5% better at working together." After thinking about it for a moment, he went on: "The Democrats actually try to accomplish something, and that means they disagree about how to do it. The Republicans just want to prevent government from working, and that's easier to agree upon." It was a good line and I think it contains a considerable amount of truth.

A Korean American former mayor of Shoreline, Cindy Ruy discussed her conflicts with a conservative Democrat on the Shoreline City Council. Cindy said that Vietnamese and Korean Americans often tend to vote Republican, since they think that the Republicans will be more likely to oppose the Communism from which many of them fled. She said that it takes work to convince them that the Democrats will better server their interests.

Meeting with a sitting State Supreme Court Justice and two Supreme Court candidates

At one point, an elderly, distinguished looking gentleman wearing a business suit came into one of the hospitality suite parties.

On his lapel was a tag saying "Richard B. Sanders, Washington State Supreme Court Justice." This was obviously for real, and it almost made me burst out laughing. An image popped into my head of God appearing on earth wearing a badge "God, King of the Universe."

I mentioned my surprise to him: "Wow, I'm surprised that you advertise on your chest the fact that you're a Supreme Court Justice."

He replied, "Well, I have to run for office to get re-elected."

Later in the evening, at a different party, I met two slightly younger, but still distinguished-looking, gentleman. I asked why they were there, since they seemed official. They said that they're running for the state Supreme Court but that they weren't running against one another. (There's more than one position.) One of them handed me a flier and said he's running against Richard Sanders. The flier contains documentation about alleged judicial misconduct by Judge Sanders. The documentation is quite convincing, and I found the document online.

The document alleges that Sanders has ties to the conservative Building Industry Association of Washington, which is much hated by progressives and unions for its campaign contributions and lobbying. They tried to buy Supreme Court Justices in 2008 but were unsuccessful.

I also found WA Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders Authors Significant Gun Rights Ruling. It says, "The Washington State Supreme Court has issued a precedent-setting opinion in the case of State v. Christopher William Sieyes which holds that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights applies to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment."

I told Wiggins (the author of the document) and the other Supreme Court candidate that I thought that it would be better if judges were appointed by the governor and shielded from the political and fund-raising complications of running for office. They didn't seem to agree -- I guess they're glad for the chance to challenge Sanders -- though they mentioned that in California judges are appointed by the governor to twelve year terms, as it says here; that seems like a good compromise: not for life, but still stable and above the fray.

My last exchange about the Supreme Court was about pay. I said, "I bet you'd have to take a pay cut to become a Supreme Court Justice." One said, "Yes, and I have kids to send to college, but you don't become a justice to make money."

Paul Richmond's Perspective on Sanders

Attorney Paul Richmond (a progressive) posted a Facebook comment critical of the WA Dem's decision not to nominate Sanders to the Supreme Court. I showed him the information above and here's what he wrote in defense of Sanders:

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DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See and for my writing, my (more...)

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Between watching the convention on and rea... by John Howes on Monday, Jun 28, 2010 at 1:30:00 PM
Thanks, Don, for your thorough coverage of the Sta... by Bob Burr on Wednesday, Jul 7, 2010 at 1:31:06 AM