In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

An appointment that's thoroughly vetted and well-deserved; imagine that



Cheers: To Suzan L. Clark for her recent appointment as Superior Court judge. Unlike at least one other recent appointment in Clark County, this one was thoroughly vetted, and the appointee is eminently qualified. Clark has a more than a quarter of a century in Washington and Oregon in civil, criminal, prosecution, defense, appellate and family law. Also, she's the president of the Clark County Bar Association. "It's a humbling day," she said at Monday's appointment ceremony. "This process has been a long one and an interesting one."Here's yet another way in which this decision by Gov. Jay Inslee differs from at least one other recent local appointment: Citizens need only wait until November to express their opinions. That's when Clark will go before the voters.

Jeers: To Clark County Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke for making more than 200 citizens wait for almost four hours to offer their testimony at Tuesday night's meeting. The excuse given by the two commissioners for suddenly changing the order of the agenda was to allow county staff to deal with regular business and not have to stay for the entire meeting. But that excuse doesn't pass the smell test. Madore and Mielke knew the crowd was mostly hostile toward their appointment of state Sen. Don Benton to director of environmental services, and switching the order of the meeting smelled every bit like a delay tactic.

As one citizen testified, "Mission accomplished." Many of those who signed up to testify couldn't stay so long and chose to leave. And this, mind you, from two elected officials who often pontificate about the value of listening to the public. Meanwhile, the public is left to wonder: Even as long and as excruciating as that night was for Madore and Mielke, how worse might it have been if citizens actually had been allowed to testify as scheduled?

Cheers: To Mike Hope of Lake Stevens, the only legislator to attend a Wednesday signing by Gov. Jay Inslee of the only gun-related measure to pass the Legislature during this year's regular session. As reported by Jay Cornfield of The Herald in Everett, Hope was the prime sponsor of House Bill 1612. Cornfield wrote that this means "those convicted of certain felony firearm offenses or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any felony firearm offense will be required to register with a county's sheriff's department. That data will be punched into a statewide database maintained by the Washington State Patrol."

We wish the Legislature had done more in the regular session to reduce gun violence, but on such a controversial, emotional and hotly disputed issue, small victories must be claimed whenever possible.

Jeers: To petition organizers who have been trying to get Vancouver City Council to put the light-rail issue up to public vote. We hasten to add, this Jeer is not against having such a vote. The Columbian, in fact, has advocated a countywide advisory vote on light rail. But the petition organizers continue to be their own worst enemy with sloppy planning. At Tuesday night's council meeting, Vancouver Assistant City Attorney Linda Marousek listed no fewer than 15 ways in which the initiative fell outside the scope of the city's powers and would not be legally defensible. A well-organized approach would've seen this coming and, with the necessarily thorough legal preparation, this initiative effort could've regained some momentum. Now, though, it's back to Square One, or to the courts.

Cheers: To donors and Postal Service employees who we expect will make today's Letter Carriers Food Drive a rousing success. Remember to leave nonperishable food donations by your mailbox early this morning. A plastic, biodegradable food bag was inserted in The Columbian on various days this week, but any sturdy plastic or paper bag will do.