Gabriel Galanda's article about the recent Supreme Court race between Steven Gonzalez and Bruce Danielson leads with a personal attack against Danielson ("Off-Color Judicial Elections," October). Danielson's transgression? He put his name in the race, didn't campaign and got votes.
What law did Danielson break? What ethical rule did he violate? The answer, of course, is none. Yet the article subjects him to a vicious attack on the front of this paper.
Gonzalez, who ran a vigorous campaign, got 60% of the votes to win the election. Gonzalez, a former King County judge, did not do as well in Eastern and Central Washington. Galanda surmises that this was due to Danielson's "good" last name, specifically a European surname versus a Latino surname. Galanda posits that there was racial and/or ethnic prejudice.
Candidates who run well in Western Washington do not necessarily run well in Eastern Washington. Take, for example, my father, Fred Dore, a "white guy." When he ran statewide for attorney general and later for the Supreme Court, Eastern Washington was always a challenge. Why? Because he was a Democrat from Western Washington. For this reason, his literature always made the point that my mother was from Walla Walla.
I, personally, thought that Gonzalez was more qualified than Danielson, so I voted for Gonzalez. But the State would not have let Danielson run if he had not met the statutory qualifications. He was qualified as a matter of law. His ballot statement was also well written and presented a clear contrast to Gonzalez, both in terms of philosophy and the risk of special interests.
Galanda concludes by suggesting that judges should not be elected by the popular vote. This is something to think about. But appointments and nominating committees have their own perils to judicial independence.