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Want Justice Reform?  Vote for James Erb.

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• In Elections,

​First, I offer no thoughts on any of the 28 candidates for United States senator running against Maria Cantwell. She will win in November. The other people are polishing their political resumes, nothing more.

Second, the county prosecutor position will be determined in the November 6 general election. This August 7 primary election is a state legislature mandated straw poll paid for by taxpayers to benefit the Republican and Democratic parties. Still, with just two candidates running for county prosecuting attorney, it is important we show ourselves that we can elect James Erb. If he shows well, he can draw political money and endorsements to help him win in November; sad but true.

James Erb
James Erb

I have tried to determine if the current assistant prosecuting attorney, Eric Richey, could provide us with true jail and justice system reform. We know James Erb will do so. After talking to many people, including Richey, it is obvious to me that he cannot provide real reform. I think he is a well meaning and decent person, but he is trapped inside the system McEachran built during 43 years in office and Richey has been part of that system for 25 years. It is a corrupt machine that railroads the vulnerable off to jail. It is the reason we citizens of Whatcom County turned down the hundred million dollar jail bond issue twice - the second time by 100 times the margin of the first time. We want jail and justice reform. We are conservative and liberal. James Erb is our hope. Erb is the outsider who can reform the county prosecutors office. Give him your support in the primary. And again in November.

If you live in the 42nd District and are liberal, you have a choice between Pinky Vargas or Tim Ballew. If you are a conservative and do not like Doug Ericksen’s sly methods of operation, you have a good choice in Pinky Vargas. She is smart and very determined. She has the courage to go against the powerful - as she is now doing by defying one or two powerful county Democratic political operatives. She refused to do their bidding so they asked Tim Ballew to run and promised him their support. Gentle readers, that is corruption at a basic, human level. No names, as their attorneys have been sending out libel lawsuit warnings to others, empty and absurd warnings, but still requiring lawyering up. It is a rotten business.

Pinky Vargas will do a good job representing Whatcom County in Olympia for both conservatives and liberals. Much better than Ericksen. Vargas is a hard worker who is upfront and open with people. Her challenge will be to make it through the primary and get more ballots than Ballew. Tim Ballew and his supporters know he cannot win against Ericksen but they are running him to polish his political resume. With Vargas in the general election, we have the best chance of removing Ericksen and getting a representative who knows how to relate to conservatives as well as liberals.

The 40th District legislative seat has four liberal candidates running in a district that has been gerrymandered to elect a Democrat. I am voting for Tom Pasma, who is more qualified than any of the other three in terms of knowing the district, the issues, the needs, and the concerns of the people. But the money is flowing to Rud Browne and Alex Ramel. Browne was barely reelected last November to a 4 year term on the County Council and then decided to run for another office. This is blatant political ambition, not a desire to serve his constituents. Alex Ramel has never run for political office before and would be a mouse at a cat convention in Olympia. He is depending on anti-oil and environmental contributors to get him elected. Environmental issues are a top priority but we need representation on several important issues. He will be ineffective. Browne or Pasma are far better prepared to deal with the fat cats and political forces down there. The fourth liberal candidate is Debra Lekanoff, a leader of the Swinomish Tribe. She is well qualified and a vote for her would be well placed as her chances are as good as Tom’s.

For Congress, I wish we could replace Rick Larsen. But our election system has him locked in and we voters are not able to unlock it. Still, I will vote for Stonewall Jackson Bird of the Green Party. With him in the general election campaign, Larsen would have to actually answer questions from people. Larsen is the poster child of the empty suit, the PR professional in office. We need Rank Choice Voting in order to actually elect someone who can represent us. Larsen represents Boeing and the military industrial complex and big corporate money. Not us. I’m voting for Stoney Bird.

Those are the candidate races I think need our attention in the primary election. The rest are pretty much predetermined and we can focus on the general election for those decisions. Hopefully, we can get James Erb over 50% of the votes in the primary to show we want change. And with luck, we can get Pinky Vargas and Tom Pasma into the general election.

About John Servais

Columnist • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Robert Leib

Jul 27, 2018

To me and my family, James Erb is the only choice.  My opinion is that Dave McEchran is the axis of evil in this county and he has built such a disgusting system around him that the only way to change it is to remove him.  Well he is doing us all a favor by finally retiring and voting for Eric Richey is just a vote to carry on with the status quo.  We need some serious changes and a dismantling of the current system that Dave McEchran so painstakenly built around him. 

I am sure that many of his prosecutors are breathing a sigh of relief by not having do the cruel things that Dave McEchran had them do to defendants.  We really have some high hopes that James Erb is not only going to dismantle Dave’s axis of evil and inevitably save the taxpayers a lot of money by not needing to build more cages to house all of these people that shouldn’t be in jail in the first place.

Please vote in November and when you vote, please vote for James Erb.

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