Letters to the Editor

Many appreciate contributions of immigrants | Federal Way Letters to the Editor

It’s time to appreciate immigrants

Lately this paper has published a spate of harsh words about immigrants, especially by Marjorie Seavers (“Learn English or go back to Mexico,” letters to the editor, June 11).

I would just like to say that there are many people in Federal Way who do appreciate the contributions immigrants have made, and continue to make, to our community. We appreciate the hard work they do, sometimes working for minimum wage or below.

We appreciate the fact that they came here for the same reason our forebears came here — to achieve a better life for their families, especially their children. We understand that they are doing their best to learn English, but that it is not easy to learn a foreign language, especially as an adult. This is even more of a challenge when one is working long hours and may well lack the time and resources to take language classes.

We understand that in America’s history, it is always the “second generation” that can readily master English. For “first generation” immigrants, it is always a goal, but a difficult one, imperfectly realized. We remember that when we have traveled to other countries, we have often been dependent upon those in other countries who knew our language — a good thing, since Americans are woefully ignorant of other languages.

We know that it is unfair to scapegoat immigrants and to blame them for problems with our society, especially our economy. We also appreciate the immigrants who have served in our military and have even given their lives for this country. We believe that what unites this country is not a monochromatic culture, but a shared belief in the U.S. Constitution and its commitment to justice and equality. While we in the U.S. — both immigrants and non-immigrants — don’t all share the same faith, we all share a common belief in the Golden Rule and in being good neighbors. Let’s keep building on that.

In the meantime, let’s acknowledge all the ways that immigrants are making our community wiser, stronger and a whole lot more interesting.

Jo Clark,

Federal Way

Bush’s follies cost us dearly

I’m surprised at how easy it is for certain people to take cheap shots at Cindy Sheehan.

Cindy Sheehan sacrificed a son to President George W. Bush’s never-ending invasion and occupation of Iraq. I wonder what someone like Don Payne (letters to the editor, June 28) has given up to support Bush’s policies.

Furthermore, I am honored to be compared to Cindy Sheehan. I wouldn’t have the gumption to stand up for what America stands for in the Texas sun for days to remind George W. Bush and the nation of what has been sacrificed on behalf of his policies. I wouldn’t have acted in such a civilized way if something comparable happened to someone in my family. I am not at all that forgiving.

There is one other point that makes me very angry.

The trillions and trillions of dollars in debt that Bush’s Iraq policies have piled up for my children, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren to pay off.

Since Mr. Payne is so fervent in his Bush support, let him and his pay off the mounting costs of Bush’s folly. I and mine wish to hold on to our resources to save this nation from a wastrel spendthrift, to save our nation from the wrong-headed policies that leave it prey to terrorism.

Pay up, Mr. Payne, for Bush’s follies — and don’t make my descendants pay for failed policies we in my family have never endorsed.

Karen Hedwig Backman,

Federal Way

Judge reminds readers about legal battles

In 2003, then-city manager David Moseley removed then-Federal Way Municipal Court Judge David Tracy from office for one week.

Article IV, Section 31 of the Washington State Constitution, however, makes it clear that only the judicial branch of government can remove a judge from office for any period of time. An independent judiciary can only exist in practice as well as in theory if judges fight to maintain their independence from other branches of government.

Judge Tracy quietly accepted Moseley’s decision, while I will not quietly accept any decision by city government that encroaches on the independence of the judiciary.

This year, two investigations were conducted into working conditions at the court. State law, specifically GR 29(f)(5)(b), sets forth that working conditions at the court are the responsibility of the court and cannot be delegated to the legislative or executive branches of government.

Consequently, it is the court’s position that an investigative report about working conditions at the court that was authorized by the court belongs to the court and is subject to the disclosure rules that govern courts.

The disclosure rules that govern courts were established by a voter-passed initiative and are different than the disclosure rules (also established by voter-passed initiative) that govern the executive branch of government.

Twenty years ago, former King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng recognized the dangers (before the establishment of GR 29) of having the executive branch of government assume they had authority to investigate working conditions at courts, and turned over any such investigative reports in his possession to the appropriate departments of the judiciary. I will certainly comply with the disclosure rules that govern courts, but do not recognize that either referenced report is the property of the executive branch of government and is subject to the disclosure rules that govern that branch of government.

Court pleadings suggest that one of the referenced reports has favorable things to say about me, and one of the reports may have untrue and unflattering things to say about me.

Political columnist Bob Roegner wrote in your publication that I am fighting the release of an unfavorable report in order to improve my chances for re-election. The fact is I am also fighting the release of the report that has flattering things to say about me, and even if an unflattering report is released to the media, I will continue to fight the release of even a flattering report about me.

The issue is not about politics. It is about protecting the independence of the judiciary. The fact former Judge Colleen Hartl has retained an employment lawyer and has requested reports and other information about our court — along with her provocative disclosures to the national television tabloid “Inside Edition” — has convinced me it is not in the court’s interest to release any report about the court until there no longer exists a realistic threat of a nuisance suit.

While I am not willing to compromise on the issue of judicial independence, I am willing to compromise on the issue of legal fees.

The city manager’s office and the court are entitled to legal representation under the city code. The city attorney, however, was disqualified by county Judge Kim Prochnau in representing the city manager or the court in this matter. The city manager and the court, therefore, obtained outside counsel. I offered to personally pay for the court’s legal fees in exchange for the city manager taking the same position on my request for injunctive relief — as the city manager took with Colleen Hartl’s request for injunctive relief.

The city manager rejected this offer and the city manager’s office sued me for $36,000. The city manager’s office lost this lawsuit, but is appealing this decision. I would have preferred to have resolved the issue of fees without the involvement of the courts, but it was the city manager’s office that decided this issue was best resolved by the courts.

Fortunately, since 2006, the court has continued to generate substantially more revenue and operate substantially under budget and has provided great value for the taxpayers.

Judge Michael Morgan,

Federal Way Municipal Court

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