Cross-posted at The View from the Left
Last night, I e-mailed each of the candidates seeking the appointment to Bob Macleod's seat on the Thurston County Commission, regarding this article in the Olympian
about the reduction in force of courthouse security in the county. This is what I asked each of them to respond to and I told them that I'd be posting responses on my blog.
In light of the article, I'd like to ask you the following:
I understand the budget is in dire straits, but do you think that it is appropriate to cut the security at the courts at this time? What would you do if you were a Commissioner to rectify the situation, or what would you have done instead? And if you feel this was an appropriate budget decision, please give me your rationale for why you believe that the right decision was made.
Thus far, Karen Valenzuela, Russ Lehman and Mary Moore have responded. Below are their responses, cut and pasted from the e-mails they sent me, in the order they were sent.
This situation is troubling on a number of levels. After the horrifying incident between the inmate and security guard in the Courthouse elevator in 2005, and subsequently hearing a County Commissioner more or less lay blame on the rest of us for that because we didn't approve the enormous jail bond in 2004, it's hard not to wonder what the County is thinking. On the other hand, as the budget process works, millions of seemingly little budget decisions are made in the context of a much bigger picture, and without knowing the trade-offs, this particular decision is hard to evaluate.