Letters to the editor: March 19, 2008

Anniversary of brother’s suicide

March 19 marks the eighth anniversary of the death of my brother John by suicide.

He was not alone. In 2000, over 800 people in the state of Washington took their own life. The statistics are startling; a suicide attempt is made every minute of every day. Every 16 minutes, someone dies from suicide. Suicide affects people of all age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is the fourth-leading cause of death among adults 18-65 and the third-leading cause of death among teens and young adults.

Yet people don’t want to talk about it. Amidst the war, the election, the economy and soaring gas prices, it is all too often forgotten that thousands are suffering from mental illness and depression.

Our veterans and active duty military, too, are suffering. My brother, like many other vets, received inadequate care at a VA hospital. Over the years, I have left flowers at John’s grave, but he is gone. What helps my healing is to work for more awareness about the problem of suicide and mental illness.

For the third time, I will be walking in the Out of the Darkness Suicide Awareness Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I walked in the inaugural walk in Washington, D.C., in 2004, in San Francisco in 2006, and this year it is right here in Seattle. We will be walking from dusk until dawn to bring the issue of suicide out of the darkness and into the light.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.

I walk for my brother John and all the others who could not find any other answer to their pain.

Catherine North, Federal Way

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Expressing an opinion about Boeing’s loss

I would like to thank M. Malaier for all of his knowledge about the Americans’ relationship with the French (“Going to hell in a pinko-hued handbasket,” letters to the editor, March 15).

But I would also like to correct his lack of interpretation that I have referred to France as “communists.” Unless M. Malaier has lived in the Seattle area since the 1940s, he wouldn’t know anything about the Boeing Co., unless he has worked for them. Sounds like a true liberal.

I come from a Boeing family.

What I send into the Federal Way Mirror is only my opinion, and since I am an American citizen, I have the right to express my opinions, just like M. Malaier does.

Pat Gee, Federal Way

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Not exactly a landslide

I read with interest the letter written by Jerry Vaughn (“Tortured arguments for strong mayor,” March 12).

His implication of letter writer Bill Pirkle being a member of Accountability Comes to Town (ACT) is untrue.

As far as a majority spoke (in the election for strong mayor) I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. Yes, Federal Way Works did win, but not by a landslide or a large majority.

I was one person out on the streets gathering signatures. Heard a lot of different stories as to why the people are dissatisfied with the way the city is being run at present.

One of the biggest reasons we lost the votes were the two people that spoke at the Jan. 16 debate were there to tout their own agenda. Nothing to do with what ACT was trying to accomplish.

On another note, Federal Way Mayor Jack Dovey, had a meeting March 8 at City Hall, which I attended.

One of the questions I asked was: How is the mayor appointed? Know what —that question still goes unanswered. And I have asked this same question quite a few times.

Mr. Vaughn, are you a wee bit upset that you didn’t win by a landslide?

Also, I would like to state that two politicians from our city joined the ranks against the people voting for our mayor.

State Representatives Skip Priest and Mark Miloscia — I would like to ask how they can ask the public to vote for them when they supported a movement to block voting for our mayor?

So when their term in office is up, I hope the people remember and think twice before voting for either one of them. I know they lost my vote.

Norma L. Blanchard, Federal Way

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Confidential commotion in the court

It is ironic that a different publication criticizes me for fighting to keep confidential a report labeled as “confidential” when that same publication would fight just as hard to keep confidential the identity of a confidential source.

It is also ironic that the law firm retained to argue this report should not be confidential sets forth on their Web site the societal value of public officials being able to keep communications from lawyers confidential.

At present, there are two reports about the Federal Way Municipal Court that each are titled “privileged and confidential” that each were drafted by lawyers.

Until certain issues are resolved, I think it is in the court’s best interest that neither of these reports be released to the public.

I know it would be fundamentally unfair for the city to release only one of the two reports requested by the media — yet absent a court order, our city government only intends to release one of these two reports.

I told your publication over one month ago that many recent decisions I have made in the workplace was based on information not yet available to the public.

I sought this information and was able to obtain that information based on some reasonable expectation of confidentiality.

Our court’s ability to identify workplace issues would be seriously compromised without the ability to treat some information as confidential.

The Commission of Judicial Conduct (CJC) oversees the conduct of judicial officers, and in their preamble, recognizes the importance of protecting the reputation of judges from false allegations as well as recognizes the public’s right to know about its elected judges.

The CJC does safeguard the public’s right to know about its judges, which is why I am convinced my decision to try to keep, at this time, some information confidential is in the best interest of our court and our community.

Judge Michael Morgan, Federal Way Municipal Court


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