The Law

The timing was suspicious. On Friday afternoon, July 2, details were released about a settlement between the state attorney general's office, headed by leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire, and former employee Janet Capps. Announcing the end of a long, messy, embarrassing problem at the start of a three-day weekend ensured it would be front-page news on Saturday—but front-page news no one would notice. The Capps case revolved around who was responsible when the AG's office missed a deadline for appealing the verdict of a record $17.8 million personal-injury verdict against the state. Capps says the AG's office forced her to resign and tried to make her the scapegoat. Last week, the state agreed to pay Capps $195,000 in damages and $100,000 in attorney's fees, gave her a new $50,000 a year job ($20,000 a year less than her previous salary) with the state Office of Archaeology and Historical Preservation (huh?), and released a vague statement saying of the missed appeal: "A number of factors contributed to this error." Suzanne Thomas, Capps' attorney, says this is a clear win for her client resulting from the state's case falling apart. Anne Bremner, the private attorney representing the state, says Capps had to settle for roughly $300,000 of the $3 million she was seeking because the plaintiff's case was so weak. Plus, Bremner adds, the state saved a bundle in attorney's fees by settling. In other words, after four years, numerous investigations, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses, the public still doesn't know why the attorney general's office missed the appeal deadline on a $17.8 million verdict. The only thing the two sides agree on is that the timing of the announcement was coincidence, driven by the court calendar, and was not intended to bury the news. The case was to go to trial Wednesday, July 7. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.


Should Dave Ross be discussing federal politics on the radio? The top-rated KIRO-AM talk-show host and Mercer Island resident, who is running for Congress in the 8th District, was freely discussing John Kerry's choice of John Edwards for running mate on Tuesday, July 6, and it didn't seem right. Ross is staying on the air until July 23, when he officially files for the primary ballot, and he has been steering clear of discussing his own race against fellow Democrats Alex Alben and Heidi Behrens-Benedict. Fine. But Kerry and Edwards could provide coattails in November, should Ross survive the primary, and no matter how carefully Ross tries to be neutral in discussing them or anyone else at the national level, he's talking about politics in which he aspires to play a role. Ross is going to be a terrific candidate, but Alben has a right to be peeved about his misuse of a 50,000-watt soapbox. CHUCK TAYLOR


"If we embraced the world instead of trying to rule the world, people wouldn't get out of bed wanting to bomb Americans."—Travel maven and occasional Edmonds resident Rick Steves (The New York Times Magazine, Sunday, July 4)

" . . . [J]ust off the coast of Seattle."—Bill Clinton, describing the location of Blake Island State Park, site of a 1993 APEC ministerial meeting, in his book My Life (2004)

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