August 04, 2007
On Down the Ballot
It's a lower profile race but voters with their primary ballots in hand do have their choice of three candidates running for the open position of Snohomish County Clerk. I'm voting for Ron Leford. The Everett Herald supports him too. For what it's worth, I also agree with their overall ranking of the three candidates.
As a side note, while it can be easy to dismiss editorial endorsements, especially those following expected patterns (e.g., the P-I endorsing Democrats), I think they have a lot more weight in races like this. Such editorials on down ballot races are often the most many voters will read about the candidates in question short of the voter pamphlet statements.
Posted by Eric Earling at August 04, 2007
10:51 AM | Email This
1. Does the County Clerk office need to be elected??? Does the county clerk make policy, or only carry it out? Please give us your reasons for your endorsement (I don't read any local newspapers, only the Wall Street Journal).
Thanks from Everett.
Does the County Clerk need to be elected? Not really. It's in the County Charter that way right now though a reasonable case can be made the position shouldn't be elected.
We actually considered that question during the Charter Review Commission's meeting last year. The evidence is pretty clear, however, that the public prefers to elect its own officials so we didn't pursue the issue.
That being said, Ledford is the most qualified of the candidates and has an impressive list of bipartisan endorsements. He's an easy choice in my view.
The choice sure isn't Kraski. Currently the DV and Domestic law Facilitator guru.
Sat in her lobby the other day. A guy had an out of control girlfriend living in his house. So bad, he even left the house, with her in it trashing it and him paying the mortgage.
As I expected, a GUY couldn't get them to do a DV RO, just offered him a personal restraining order.
Don't want a clerk who doesn't serve 49% of mankind in an even handed manner, nosireebob.
Ledford is a bureaucrat who has been running the place while Pam Daniels has been out playing politician, and doing some actual good works, too.
Watch for her to run for something soon, but vote for Ron Ledford, the lesser of the evils.
SnoCo bureaucrats beware, at least some of the sheeples are watching, and will call you out.
I've come to know Ron Ledford a bit since he's been running, and I'm impressed. Like Tom Greene over in the Sheriff's race, Ledford is clearly, by far, the most qualified candidate in the race, and he has my vote.
I have nothing against Kraski; I've met her and she seems like a nice person, and I have no reason to think she wouldn't do a reasonably good job, but I also have no reason to think she could do nearly as good a job as Ledford could.
5. Here, here! I too will speak on behalf of Mr. Ledford. It has been many years since I have seen a candidate whose experience makes him (or her) more qualified for a position. Equally impressive is the fact that Ron has so many supporters from across the political spectrum (see endorsements at www.ledford4clerk.com/).
Considering the problems in the office and the fact that the staff (i.e. Kraski and Ledford) couldn't do anything, why not bring in another that knows Reardon and knows where the bodies are from an elected standpoint?
Kraski and Ledford don't seem to bring anything to the table except they are employees. Dantini, on the other hand, knows and has worked with the pols, including the budget people.
Ledford's "I am going to camp out in the Executive's office till it gets done" doesn't ring effective to me. He could have helped his new union sets up teams of people that sit in the Exec's office until the Exec. acted. Instead, he did what?
Nyah, I don't think I will vote for the insiders, as in the Clerk's office.
swatter: what problems in the office are you referring to? And ... Dantini, are you kidding me? We want someone who actually knows how to run the clerk's office. The primary job of that office is "customer service," being able to make sure that people who come into the office get what they need as correctly and as quickly as possible: you really want someone who will have to keep saying "I'll get back to you after I look into that" instead of someone who will say "sure, here you go" without hesitation?
I don't get this at all. You're saying we should put in a Democratic partisan who knows nothing about the office instead of a proven, effective administrator who knows as much about running that place as anyone else.
Are we reading the same article? It talked about low morale caused by the lack of a contract after the clerk's employees (i.e. Kraski and Ledford) changed unions. Then, the only problem is that the new union can't get a contract signed.
Doesn't sound effective to me.
You need an outsider that knows the ropes in the budget process to get this problem licked.
Partisan County Treasurer? That is another position that should be nonpartisan. The fact there is a "partisan" running for clerk doesn't mean anything. The clerk's position is about paperwork. I don't see a person's affiliation has anything to do with it.
To give you a good idea of where I am coming from, I have been against an elected auditor for King County, was for the initiative to have a vote and am coming around to the idea an elected auditor is needed in King County.
As someone who knows the Clerk's Office, I can tell you that Ron is not a part of the union. He is exempt employee as Chief Deputy. He is also barred by his position from taking any part in resolving the union issue of the office without Pam's permisson.
On one of your other comments the Clerk is far more than a 'paper pusher'
For example, they are responsible for all criminal collections. And you might ask why experience matters? Well, only Ron has developed a collections program which has been national recognized for collecting 3 times as much in criminal fines as national standards.
Considering I personally know of questable use of funds in Dantini's current office (you will hear about this in the press soon), and Kraski's departments habit for misplacing things there is only 1 candidate for me.
Good comments, Donaldson. Why wouldn't Pam want to resolve the problem? I can't believe the in-house people, if they are as good as advertised, couldn't stop this abhorrent situation (no contract) from continuing. Seem to me, as responsible people, they would have done something.
Again, my personal quirk is to speak my mind and resolve problems. Even if it means it stops my promotions, which is the stance I adopted when I worked at the State (and it did but I have zero regrets).
What did they do in their high ranking positions?
Seems like every election cycle Dantini has enemies who bring stuff up. I hope the "hit" piece is more than a smear. I hope it is more than the mistake the office made in issuing tax statements before all the special purpose districts reported in.
Collections? That is a good thing by Ledford, but Dantini certainly has the experience of the staffer, Ledford, to continue the good work? And his staff?
I can't really say why Pam has not worked harder to resolve the labor issue in her office. I am aware that part of this could be based on her relationship with council 2.
In my talks with Mr. Ledford I have seen the passion in his eyes when he talks about resolving this matter. I think Dantini's relationship with the executive will only result in less of a chance of resolving the labor issue since both are in the pocket of council 2 just like Pam.
With Ron's 27 years of experience in the field I have a hard time recognizing Dantini as a more qualified candidate.
And I think it would be better for me to not speak more of the use of funds issue in Dantini's office until the AG's office has a chance to make their position known.
I don't know which side of the clerk's dispute I agree with since this was the first I heard of it.
swatter: I misunderstood what you meant: yes, I don't attribute the problems you refer to Ledford. I think Ledford is the best person to help resolve the labor problem, since he best understands all the issues and the people. He is not very directly involved right now, since he is not running the office (yet!), as Donaldson points out, he is not in the union.
You said Ledford doesn't bring much to the table except for being an employee, but no, he's been the second-in-command for awhile now, essentially already running things to a significant degree. Despite your claim, Ledford knows the budget process. He has handled more big county budgets than Dantini has.
As Donaldson pointed out, he's made huge strides in collecting damages, and in working to make the County Clerk more responsive and able to handle the needs of the public (such as making some services available online). Dantini doesn't even know what most of the problems are, let alone how they can be solved.
No, Dantini absolutely, unquestionably, does not have nearly the experience Ledford has, unless you mean Dantini can just rely on Ledford? But then why bother with Dantini in the first place? What does HE bring to the table?
The reason I mentioned "partisan" is because that's really all that Dantini has going for him: he's a Democrat, and he has name recognition. That's it. If he didn't have both of those, he wouldn't be running, because he's got nothing else. You're right that party affiliation has nothing to do with this, which is the point: since party is unimportant, why would anyone vote for Dantini?
Thanks for the comments, pudge. Even though I was pro-Dantini on this thread, it was only a tepid approval since I and many hundreds of thousands don't understand the working of the clerk's department. Donaldson made a strong case for Ledford that I will mull over.
Off-issue, I would like to know more of the union issue. For example, my first question is whether the staff is comparing salaries of paralegal types or Microsoft types or my admin people when comparing equal salaries. That is, if money is the problem, which it certainly is. Or is AFSME upset the staff decertified and then told Reardon he better not approve any contract with a competitor union?
pudge, as much as I hate it, there is something about one elected going to another elected to hammer out a problem. There shouldn't be that deference to a fellow pol who has been there for several years.
I called a friend last night who works in the office (if you haven't realized, I too work for the county in another office). She tells me that the clerk's union attempted to join council 2, but AFSME blocked their request. Since no elected official in the county can obtain a council 2 endorsement without first having an AFSME endorsement there is strong pressure placed to prevent an agreement between the county and a non-AFSME unit.
With Dantini being a good council 2 boy, he won't do anything to resolve the matter. In fact he would be the least likely to act on behalf of the employees considering his strong ties to the establishment.
Not to mention Dantini would need to be at work in order to even take part. It is well known within county employees that he is never at work. In fact there is an inside joke in his own office (similar to where's Waldo). I have had 2 county councilmen tell me in past years that Dantini personally asked them how often he needed to come in to prevent being punished or not paid.
If you want to find dirt on Dantini, just ask a county employee. There is a clear reason he will finish 3rd among those working for you.
Are you predicting Dantini won't make the finals? I got literature from Kraski only. Unfortunately, with endorsements, you like some and despise others, so her literature didn't do it for me, except she got a few points for looks.
From your comments, it appears the clerk's office needs hands-on leadership while the Treasurer's office was self-running? I'll take your word.
By the same token and again off-topic, how much time does a Councilman have to work? I know someone who ran a very successful company a few years ago and ran for then County Commissioner and lost. He thought he could do both easily.
He says the same thing today.
18. I got mail from both Ledford & Kraski. Kraski's was a nice fold item and Ledford's had his comparison chart on it. I know neither raised enough money for county wide mailings so I must be the lucky target audience for both!
And actually, it was the wife who was addressed.
I suspect this is the Gregoire/Clinton MO for the next election. Girl Power!!! and all that.
20. Yeah it makes since if your Kraski to target women voters being the only 1 in the race. I know I heard Ledford's son talk about targeted mailings, but he never told me who. Based on the fact I got one I would think age was a factor. The opposite side of the comparison chart talks about Ledford as a veteran and an executive board member for senior services.
Where I used to live, I got a ton of them. I vote all the time so obviously, I was a target voter.
But now, I don't know. Last council election, I voted for the person with the only mailer I got. I figured the incumbent was resting on his laurels especially with the war chest that was accumulated. I didn't see where the money was being spent.
swatter: I have not addressed the things Donaldson has talked about regarding Dantini's failings, because I don't have firsthand knowledge of them and do not wish to contribute with spreading rumors. However, since you've turned this around to make it look like it might reflect poorly on Ledford (not sure what you meant there), I will address it a little bit.
No department is self-running. Someone has to run the Treasurer's department. If it isn't Dantini, it is someone else.
If Pam Daniels were not there as often as people say Dantini isn't there, Ledford could keep it running. Someone has to be there. And from what people say about Dantini, if he is elected, chances are Ledford WILL end up running the department anyway!
I have enjoyed checking in on this conversation over the past few days. I can tell you that Dad's campaign did send out targeted mailers this week, however, it would be unwise for me to talk online about any methods or strategies being used for an ongoing campaign.
If you would like to know more about the office, my father or his plans if elected please check out his website @ www.ledford4clerk.com His cell phone number is provided on the bottom of every page if you are still unclear about anything beyond that.
I can give you a small additional information on some issues previously mentioned:
*The collection program that Dad developed was a finalist for a national award from the National Center for State Courts, July 2007.
*Dad was originally hired by Pam for his ability to advance court record management into the 21st century through state-of-the-art space control and up-to-date methods for sharing records with other members of the law & justice segments of government.
Many people do not understand the challenge of managing space in the Clerk's office while still offering quick and efficient service to the public or other intergovernmental departments.
Mr. D, the comparison chart is also found on the website as well. Thank you for your support.