Saturday Thumbs

2012-09-08T00:45:00Z Saturday Thumbs Longview Daily News
September 08, 2012 12:45 am

Sept. 8 Daily News editorial

Thumbs up: A way with words and people

Former President Bill Clinton made a big impression with his speech at the Democratic National Convention this week; some say he outshone President Obama. Clinton's public speaking skills come as no surprise to people who lived in our area in 1996.

In February of '96, President Clinton visited Woodland, parts of which had been flooded by the Lewis River. Clinton patted people on the shoulder, exchanged jokes and listened to residents' flooding stories. Clad in shirtsleeves and cowboy boots, the president even walked through water being pumped out of one woman's basement. He made the Secret Service nervous when he climbed up on a fire truck to be more visible.

In September of that year, Clinton was back in Cowlitz County during a campaign tour. After his formal speech in front of R.A. Long High School, Clinton couldn't quit talking. As his campaign bus drove along Nichols Boulevard out of town, Clinton stood by the front door and gabbed on, a speaker broadcasting his words.

It's hard to match Clinton's natural affinity with regular folks. We doubt either Obama or Mitt Romney would do as well under similar circumstances.

Thumbs down: Our bad

We were working with some out-dated information when preparing Friday's editorial on the new arrangement in effect between the U.S. Postal Service and Valassis Direct Mail.

The Postal Rate Commission is now known as the Postal Regulatory Commission and consists of five members (all presidential appointees) who serve six-year terms. There was one vote cast against the Valassis contract, but four commission members voted in favor. While the commission member assigned to represent the general public also was critical of the agreement, that member does not have a vote and the "no" vote was cast by an appointed commission member.

Making mistakes like these is never our intent and admitting them in public is part of the price we pay for making them. We certainly continue to view the Valassis contract with USPS as a mistake, but will happily settle for seeing it reversed, with no public contrition required.

The version of the editorial appearing on will be corrected to rectify our oversights.

Thumbs down: Not the one

Even though State Rep. Troy Kelley, D-Tacoma, maintains he's innocent of any wrongdoing or improper conduct, he has a legal track record we find unbecoming a candidate for, of all positions, Washington State Auditor.

Kelley, who met with reporters this week, makes a reasonable case he's without culpability in a 2001 incident in Los Angeles that involved a former employer accusing him of stealing artwork from company offices. A 2009 case, also in civil rather than criminal court, was settled in 2011 with Kelley making an unspecified payment to settle up with the Old Republic Title Co., which was suing him over alleged financial improprieties.

Kelley said the title company was breaking out words like "fraudulent" and "shady" only to "extort" a large settlement.

It's all just a little bit too much for us, particularly since Kelley attempted (unsuccessfully) to have the court records sealed following the disposition of the Old Republic suit. Barring further revelations, we'll recommend voters bypass Kelley in favor of Republican James Watkins, whose campaign staff dug out the court records.

The State Auditor, as Julius Caesar once said of his wife, must be above suspicion.

Copyright 2016 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. John_C
    Report Abuse
    John_C - October 03, 2012 4:49 pm
    Of all the candidates running for state auditor, Watkins is obviously the best qualified for the job. Even retiring auditor, Brian Sonntag, has commented that Watkins is "especially well qualified" for the state auditor's office. When it's YOUR MONEY the state is spending, we need someone who is truly qualified, nonpartisan, and can be trusted to conduct himself in an honest and professional manner. Kelley's auditing experience is much less than Watkins and his personal and professional behavior is blemished by past allegations of fraudulent funds transfers, tampering of evidence, questionable business schemes, tax evasion, and hiding from creditors approximately $3.8 million by transferring the funds to new accounts. All politics aside, James Watkins is without a doubt the best choice for WA state auditor.
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