Friday
October 20, 2006
SGN.org
Volume 34
Issue 42
 
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Sunday, Jan 26, 2020

 

 



 
Letters
JUDICIAL RACES

Dear SGN,
In last week's edition of the SGN community activist Janice Van Cleve wrote an excellent letter telling us why we should vote to re-elect Justice Susan Owens to the Washington State Supreme Court. I agree with everything that Janice told us and I enthusiastically second her recommendations.

There is another reason for members of the LGBTQ community, as well as the broader population, to vote for Justice Owens. That reason is her opponent, Senator Stephen L Johnson. A quick look at his voting record in the legislature will tell you that he definitely is NOT a friend of the LGBTQ community. The quick and simple is his repeated and consistent votes against LGBT rights. Compare that record to the minority opinion authored by Justice Owens in the Anderson vs. King County case (aka the same-sex marriage case) and it is obvious which candidate is our friend (Owens) and which is an opponent to our equality (Johnson).

If that isn't enough, maybe you've seen or heard the political ads that are being broadcast by each candidate. While Owens' ads do point out the Johnson is highly partisan and has no judicial experience, they mostly focus on Owens' positive points and record, including her 25 years on the bench.

On the other side are the Johnson ads that say very little about his background but, use the bulk of their time attacking Owens. What's the problem Senator Johnson, are you so ashamed of your record that you don't want to share it with us? You claim that you work well with members from both sides of the political aisle, Democrats as well as Republicans, but you fail to name a single one. I've asked some of the Democratic legislators that I know, and not a one of them can name a Democrat that has a good relationship with Johnson.

It is better stated in a letter published October 12th in the Tacoma New Tribune, signed by former Justices Phil Talmadge, Faith Ireland, Charles Z Smith and Robert F. Utter, when they said, "Owens is a sound legal scholar who writes well-crafted opinions. She respects the Constitution and the other branches of government. Her long experience on the bench contrasts the very limited courtroom experience of her opponent."

Absentee ballots were mailed on October 18. If you are an absentee voter you should have your ballot by the time you read this. Whether you vote by mail or go to the polls on November 7th, it is important that you vote all the way down the ballot. In this case it is particularly important that you vote to RE-ELECT JUSTICE SUSAN OWENS to position 2 on our State Supreme Court.

Sincerely,
Bill Dubay

COME OUT, COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE

Dear SGN,
Just this year we had two politicians come out of the closet under less than favorable conditions. I am referring to the late Jim West, formerly mayor of Spokane, and more recently Representative Mark Foley of Florida, who resigned from Congress.

Each were Republicans towing the Republican line while denying they were Gay to their constituents. Only when they were caught with their pants down did they then admit being Gay.

Having grown up in America, I understand perfectly well the pressure to stay in the closet. But what I don't understand is taking an active role in passing legislation or supporting positions that deny basic civil rights for any minority, Gay or straight.

I really believe that our society, because of its inability to deal with sex in a mature manner, indeed invites all kinds of problems which would otherwise not exist to the extent it does today.

Get with it folks. We need to move on to deal with poverty, homelessness, lack of health care, e-coli outbreaks, and never ending wars which are costing us 8 billion dollars a month.

Sincerely,
George Whitaker

To the Editor:

Evangelical opposition to gay and lesbian judges presiding over gay civil rights cases is disingenuous, specious, and bigoted. Should African-American Supreme Court justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas have recused themselves from African-American civil rights cases?

What about female justices Sandra Day O'Conner and Ruth Bader Ginsburg?

Should they have recused themselves from female civil rights cases?

Should Jewish justices Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer recuse themselves from jewish civil rights cases?

Also, there are five Catholic justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Should they be required to recuse themselves from abortion rights cases, because the Vatican's edict declares abortion murder?

Somehow, I think evangelicals would look the other way, hoping these five justices would rule based on theology, rather than secular law. Just who is kidding who?!

Sincerely yours,

Steven L. Kendall

Re-elect Justice Susan Owens

Dear SGN Readers:

In last week's edition of the SGN community activist Janice Van Cleve wrote an excellent letter telling us why we should vote to re-elect Justice Susan Owens to the Washington State Supreme Court. I agree with everything that Janice told us and I enthusiastically second her recommendations.

There is another reason for members of the LGBTQ community, as well as the broader population, to vote for Justice Owens. That reason is her opponent, Senator Stephen L Johnson. A quick look at his voting record in the legislature will tell you that he definitely is NOT a friend of the LGBTQ community. The quick and simple is his repeated and consistent votes against LGBT rights. Compare that record to the minority opinion authored by Justice Owens in the Anderson vs. King County case (aka the same-sex marriage case) and it is obvious which candidate is our friend (Owens) and which is an opponent to our equality (Johnson).

If that isn't enough, maybe you've seen or heard the political ads that are being broadcast by each candidate. While Owens' ads do point out the Johnson is highly partisan and has no judicial experience, they mostly focus on Owens positive points and record, including her 25 years on the bench.

On the other side are the Johnson ads that say very little about his background but, use the bulk of their time attacking Owens. What's the problem Senator Johnson, are you so ashamed of your record that you don't want to share it with us? You claim that you work well with members from both sides of the political aisle, Democrats as well as Republicans, but you fail to name a single one. I've asked some of the Democratic legislators that I know, and not a one of them can name a Democrat that has a good relationship with Johnson.

It is better stated in a letter published October 12th in the Tacoma New Tribune, signed by former Justices Phil Talmadge, Faith Ireland, Charles Z Smith and Robert F. Utter, when they said, "Owens is a sound legal scholar who writes well-crafted opinions. She respects the Constitution and the other branches of government. Her long experience on the bench contrasts the very limited courtroom experience of her opponent."

Absentee ballots were mailed on October 18. If you are an absentee voter you should have your ballot by the time you read this. Whether you vote by mail or go to the polls on November 7th, it is important that you vote all the way down the ballot. In this case it is particularly important that you vote to RE-ELECT JUSTICE SUSAN OWENS to position 2 on our State Supreme Court.

Bill Dubay

Liquor Inspector Harasses Thumper's Just Before Closing?

The following letter was sent to the Washington State Liquor Control Board after a disturbing site visit by one of its inspectors at Thumper's restaurant two days before their closing after twenty-two years of being in business.

October 20, 2006

Dear WSLCB Leadership:

It is with grave concern I write you today expressing my distress regarding a site visitation by one of your inspectors.

On October 19, 2006 the WSLCB inspector responsible for Thumpers Restaurant located at 1500 E. Madison in Seattle (a well known gay restaurant and bar) entered the establishment and proceeded to outline every criterion imaginable that the owners must follow regarding their imminent closing scheduled for October 21, 2006. The inspector rudely and unceremoniously informed employees and management that he would be watching for any infractions, would issue fines, and even threatened early closure if he suspected as such.

In the nearly twenty-two years that Thumper's has been in operation they have never had so much as a warning from WSLCB, let alone any infractions. As an example of the respect warranted the owners of Thumper's, King County Executive Ron Sims, and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels both issued Proclamations noting the good works and community leadership the owners of Thumper's have demonstrated over the years. And, today, October 20th was proclaimed by Executive Sims as Thumper's Restaurant Day. With such recognition and with a spotless record with WSLCB, what then, was the impetus for such a display of control? Is this rude and unwarranted behavior standard procedure at a bar's closing which has been a good and responsible community establishment for so many years? Or, is there instead disparate treatment regarding this establishment, its good owners, and its patrons? I must say, as a former Human Rights Commissioner that worked closely with the Seattle City Council and the Mayor on such issues, the actions displayed by this inspector have a nasty overtone of targeting a gay owned establishment, and the clientele it caters to.

If indeed Thumper's is not being targeted, please explain why Thumper s, after twenty-two years of a perfect record with WSLCB, was treated in such a rude manner. It is appropriate for an inspector to stop in and inform the establishment he had heard of their pending last days of business, and give them information about the procedural requirements regarding their final days of operations. However, it is not appropriate to make veiled threats of fines and closure with no history of violations to support such scrutiny.

Although, the concerns expressed in this letter will be posthumously viewed in regard to business at Thumper's, I would hope that if inappropriate behavior and/or discrimination is being perpetrated by one of your inspectors, you would insist that it cease immediately.

As a proud citizen of this great state, I would hope that representatives from our State agencies would perform their jobs with dignity and respect. From all accounts, in this case, that did not happen. I, and others both gay and straight that cherished this model of community business await an explanation.

Sincerely, Stanley E. Brownlow, MA

Thumpers closing/harassment

Dear Editor,

I was very pleased to see you ran a nice article on the history of Thumpers Restaurant and its closing this weekend after more than 21 years. Additionally, Both King County Executive Ron Sims and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels wrote official Proclamations praising the restaurant, and its two owners, for their outstanding community service and fundraising over the years. I also learned that Thumpers has a blameless record with no violations or warnings from liquor authorities over its history.

Imagine, then, how angered and saddened I was to learn that on Thursday, October 19, Thumpers received a visit from the Washington State Liquor Board Inspector who apparently threatened the restaurant with fines, increased scrutiny, and even closure during their last two days of business! There was no probable cause to warrant these threats. There had been neither previous violations nor any current violations. Is this policy of inspection consistently and uniformly applied to all restaurants with an imminent closing. I don't believe it is. Why is this restaurant being targeted for unusual scrutiny and/or harassment? Is it because it is a gay establishment?

I and many others within the LGBT community urge our elected leaders to inquire with the Liquor Board as to why Thumpers would be subjected to such unwarranted treatment days before closing its doors permanently, and to ask the questions I have posed above.

The two men who have owned and operated Thumpers do not deserve to have their final weekend of goodbyes with this cloud hanging over them.

Jeff Bates

Seattle, WA
   

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