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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, Amazon.com and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Editorial Comment: And when the newspapers die. . . .

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Swink wins county attorney nod, 4-3

By Gideon Oakes

February 11, 2009 | LOGAN -- "Experience" was the buzzword of the night at the Cache County Council's regular meeting Tuesday, where James Swink won the council's appointment as county attorney by a vote of 4-3.

Swink's opponent, attorney Joe Chambers, touted in a five-minute speech nearly 30 years of experience in civil and criminal proceedings as his top qualification for the job.

"Anyone who says experience does not matter or count is just not being realistic," Chambers said. "Simply stated, there is an 18-year experience difference between us."

In his own speech, Swink rebutted the implication that he was less experienced by quoting something his father told him as a teenager.

"He always said it's not how old the vehicle is, it's the number of miles on the chassis," Swink said. "In response to my experience, I've not had the number of years of experience, but what I do have is a lot more miles on the chassis, and the experience that counts."

After listening to the prepared speeches, the council had a 20-minute question and answer period with the candidates before voting unanimously to enter executive session.

During the question period, Chambers told the council his administration would advise on legal issues, but not interject opinion into matters of public policy.

Both men expressed similar feelings regarding plea bargaining, saying there is simply not enough money in the budget to take every charge to trial.

When asked if they would pursue the office again in 2010 when the current term expires, each candidate indicated they would.

After emerging from a 40-minute executive session, members of the council took a few moments to share their feelings with the crowd regarding the upcoming vote.

Councilman Cory Yeates expressed dissatisfaction with the process whereby the Republican Central Committee voted to recommend Chambers last week.

"The charge of the party is not to recommend a particular candidate," Yeates said. "They are to forward three names on to the legislative body for consideration, and then from those three an appointee would be chosen."

Councilman Gordon Zilles disagreed with Yeates on the matter, saying he was happy to see the delegates be able to express their opinion and have their voice heard by voting on the matter.

"I don't care if you endorse anyone, but it's obvious you can see how the vote went," Zilles said. "Then it comes to the county council to do what we're supposed to do and vote on the county attorney."

Councilman Jon White was the first to speak in favor of a specific candidate, putting a plug in for Chambers' extensive experience.

Zilles spoke again, this time to endorse Chambers. He told the council that with the resignation of George Daines, the county attorney's office lacks experience in civil law, a gap which would best be filled by Chambers.

Councilwoman Kathy Robison endorsed Swink for his quality record of interaction with other government agencies. She added that she had no problem with Swink's "supposed lack of experience."

Councilman Brian Chambers went on record to say he was pleased with the amount of public dialogue the contest had generated.

Council Chairman H. Craig Petersen said he was swayed by the outstanding support from Swink's peers.

Councilman Craig "W" Buttars told the council he had arrived at the meeting not knowing for whom he would vote, but after hearing the dialogue with the candidates he decided to vote for Chambers.

After discussion was ended, Councilman Chambers made a motion to have Swink continue acting as county attorney. Petersen, Robison, Yeates and Chambers voted yea, while Zilles, White and Buttars voted nay.

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