Our Endorsements for Local Races: K. Paul Stahl for Judge and Yes for the Library Levy

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This turned out to be a much more contentious subject for us, and we were unable to come up with endorsements in the local contested Democratic primaries. That certainly speaks to the quality of the people running in those races.

On two other local issues, however, we did find broad agreement, and are happy to announce our support for K. Paul Stahl for District Court Judge and a ‘Yes’ vote for the Lewis and Clark Library levy.

District Court Judge: K. Paul Stahl

Campaigning for judicial positions is tricky business. Unlike other races, it’s hard for the candidates to speak directly about their opponents, discuss specific decisions, or campaign in the traditional sense. As a result, the campaigns often seem personality-driven and about who can raise the most money, rather than who will be the best person for the job. In this case, with a group of six qualified candidates, it’s even more difficult for a voter to make an informed choice.

For us, the decision to endorse K. Paul Stahl comes down to two important facts: he has been an incredibly active member of our community, both in the legal profession and community service, and because he offers a vision to bring the Court in line with the demands of the 21st century. Stahl promises to establish a mental health court, drug court, a Pro Se Docket for those in poverty, and perhaps most importantly, a court that operates beyond regular hours, to help those who must work and are unable to attend to meet their legal obligations.

Those are precisely the kind of reforms the court needs, and the vision our next District Judge should have. These kind of reforms are critical to ensure that our justice system provides actual justice, and solutions that benefit the community as a whole. It’s small gestures like offering to work outside of traditional hours that demonstrate the kind of public servant K.Paul Stahl will be: one more interested in treating all people with respect than preserving somewhat dated notions about the court.

One of Stahl’s opponents, Steve Frankino, illustrated the difference when asked about after hours courts, saying, “he thinks the court should be held in high esteem and people should have to make arrangements.” We’d certainly rather have a judge more interested in giving everyone access to the justice system without fearing of losing her job than one who wants to maintain the “esteem” of the court.

We enthusiastically endorse K. Paul Stahl, the most visionary candidate in a crowded field of qualified candidates.

Library Levy:

Access to books and other materials is good. The library is an inexpensive investment in education, and passage of this levy will still mean a reduction in the average property owner’s tax bill. Sounds more than fair to us.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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