August 23, 2016
Meeting was called to order at 7:30am. Rich Erickson led the flag salute.
Guests: Vince Cipriano, Rich Erickson, Jessica Hernandez, Claudia Huston, Butch Hoare, Lucy Higgs, Alyce Barton, Grant Meiner and Ahlburg family.
Andrew May moved and Edna Petersen seconded acceptance of the minutes for August 16. Motion carried.
Brian Coughenour and Dave Neupert, candidates for the Superior Court Judge Position 2, discussed their reasons for running and plans for the position if they win.
Dave Neupert, past KONP news director, said that position had opened his eyes and piqued his interest to local issues and problems. He has been an attorney in private practice, and a Clallam-Jefferson Public Defense Officer. He would like to institute a Vetera’s Court for those who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan and soon fid themselves leading the life of a criminal. He sid money from the Hargrove Funds could be used to finance it. he would like to reduce th time it takes to resolve cases.
Brian Coughenour, an attorney for almost 40 years and a Tribal Judge, was appointed to the present position by Governor Inslee after Judge George Wood retired. Brian believes his high standing with the bar, his work in family court and over 400 hours of judicial training are some of the reasons he is qualified for the position.
Dave feels his experience as Judge Pro-Tem, and President of the Pro Bono Program have increased his qualifications.
Both had different ideas and opinions on the importance of Bar Polls.
Brian said the County’s Drug Court is one of the best and most respected in the State. Sometimes time is skewed as to the amount of time to bring a case to fruition.
Q & A Period
Jon Fager: What do you do when not a judge?
BC: Ranch, ski, enjoy Mariner games and officiate at weddings. He is proud of all his work to save Sol Duc Springs.
DN: Active on Board of Behavioral Health, Habitat for Humanity and United Way.
Andrew May: What book(s) are you reading now?
DN: Robert Carroll’s set on Lyndon Baines Johnson.
BC: A biography on Willie Mays.
Edna Petersen: How do you feel about Social Media in the Court Room and the effect it might have on the judges? the jurors?
BC: Does not like phones or cameras in the Court Room. Proceedings and sentences are not fair to the victims. Public might have the right to see proceedings but it can be too dangerous for the victims.
DN: Do not allow it in.
Kaj Ahlburg: McCleary Decisions? Should one branch be able to tell another one what to do?
BC: Does not want to answer at this stage. Comments on Supreme Court have to go with the decision.
DN: McCleary was a novel doing and what State Constitution says it has to do. The Supreme Court was the one to take it upon itself to make the decision, but it was within its authority.
Jim McEntire: Constitution v Decisions. What would you do when you can’t go back to find an answer?
DN: Look at what courts have done in the past, start close to State and work from there. Prevents judges from making up the law or deciding what they want the law to be. Call other judges.
BC: Look at past cases, analyze facts, listen to both sides, make a decision and then move onto the next case.
Bill Feeley: Feelings on gun control and Second Amendment?
BC: Not an appropriate question for him to answer now. Look at life experience and history, and make a choice.
DN: The Sentence Reform Act and violations to it.
Butch Hoare: How are Hargrove Funds to be used?
DN: Tax mental health services to pay for drug court. No reason could not be used for veterans. County Court Budget: $1.36 million to pay for salaries and benefits. $300,000 is available for indigents and family court.
BC: Hargrove should be saved for Juvenile Court before they have a chance to become a hardened criminal. Veteran’s Court is not the best use of those funds.
Tanya Knight from Peninsula College talked about the new IT program available there.
Marc Abshire said Chamber After Hours would be this Thursday at Peninsula College from 5-7pm.
Peggy mentioned that Historical Society is having its Annual Garage Sale at the old Lincoln School, 8th & C. Thursday 4pm – 6pm for members only, following two Friday’s and Saturday’s from 8am – 2pm.
Kaj reported on PA Forward and a new website for tourism and events and attractions in the area. VisitPortAngeles.com. Chamber is working on a Strategic Plan.
Luke Robbins said NOLA (North Olympic Legislative Action) is working to have groups and agencies work together as one voice in Olympia.
Edna Petersen mentioned that an Inspirational/Motivational Speaker, at least to Russell Wilson of the Seahawks, will be in the area on October 18. Sponsors are still needed from some of the sessions.
Next weeks’ speakers are Ron Richard and Randy Johnson, candidates for the Clallam County Commissioners Position 2.
Meeting adjourned at 8:46am.