Addressing misinformation in Okanogan County
Letter to the Editor
Last updated 9/7/2016 at 10:47am
Two letters attacking our Superior Court judges and commissioner candidate Chris Branch appeared in the Omak Chronicle recently. Citizens county-wide, including Districts 2 and 3, will be choosing between Branch and Sheilah Kennedy in the November general election, so this misinformation must be addressed.
James Miller criticizes Chris Branch for accepting campaign contributions from outside the county, specifically from a family that has owned and operated a large cattle ranch in the Tunk valley family for 30 years and are family-oriented. He lumps them in with “greenies, capitalist U.N. zombies, and bong lovers,” erroneously accusing their daughter of being Administrator of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, an organization that helps fund local swimming pools and other recreation.
The Sorianos, along with the growing number of other second hom owners in our county who benefit our tax base and economy and are registered to vote here, deserve to support any candidate they choose without harassment. Branch’s growing support exists not because of contributions from second homeowners, but because he is highly qualified, committed to transparency and fairness in government, and has supported the economy (including agriculture).
Regarding the Superior Court Judges’ lawsuit against our county commissioners, Miller erroneously accuses respected judges Culp and Rawson of suing the commissioners to achieve the goal of getting their “friend” a higher salary and of serving “the powers of darkness.”
In actuality, the commissioners had agreed ahead of time to the right of our judges to negotiate an employment agreement with the administrator of Juvenile Court because he had agreed to take on the normally full-time job of Superior Court Administrator in addition to his existing job.
But once the employment agreement had been negotiated, the commissioners refused to pay the administrator! Our judges appropriately and courageously accused the commissioners of interfering with the operation of the court, violating the Washington State Constitution, and violating the separation of powers so important to our democracy and our county.
I hope Ms. Kennedy will put an end to such unsavory rhetoric and gross misinformation from her supporters.