Posts tagged: Bryan Whitaker
Is it too much to ask that people who hurl political epithets during campaign season at least get them right?
OK, that was a stupid question. It probably is. But still…
In an e-mail to constituents last week, Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple described whom he is endorsing for various city elected positions this year, and how he’s voting on several ballot measures. No big deal. Apple has the same right as everyone else, and has no less right to an opinion by being elected to the council.
At least one reader e-mailed his objections, questioning whether Apple was out of line for his endorsement of judicial candidate Bryan Whitaker – not for anything nice he said about Whitaker but for a label he hung on opponent, Municipal Judge Tracy Staab.
The reader suggested it was libelous, which it probably isn’t on its face. It’s a political term in the midst of a campaign, and political speech is among the most protected by the courts.Being legally protected, however, doesn’t make it correct…
The state Supreme Court’s ruling that district court judges had the right to hear City of Spokane cases is a big relief for the folks at City Hall. But it has a little boost for one of the municipal court judges face election this November, also.
Judge Tracy Staab has drawn criticism from some quarters for not being a city resident. That’s didn’t faze the mayor or the City Council when she was appointed, but it recently drew crticism from the Spokane County Republican Party.
High court ruling reiterates the legislative standard that a judge doesn’t have to be from the city limits, but only city voters get to elect them:
“From its inception, the statutory scheme governing municipal departments provided specific procedures by which they could be staffed with judges … The statute did not limit who was eligible to be appointed or elected, but only city voters could vote for municipal judges.”
The debate over Municipal Court Judge Tracy Staab’s residency isn’t going away.
A memo circulated with local GOP leaders indicates that Spokane City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin, who is active in the party, has questioned the party’s decision to oppose Staab’s candidacy.
Party leaders formally opposed Staab’s attempt to retain her judgeship in the November election because she lives outside the city. Spokane Municipal Court judges rule only on cases from within city limits, but state law allows the judges to live outside the borders – as long as they live in the same county.