"Our elections are too important to allow illegal votes."

The whole truth is nothing but a concealed weapon

Editor, The Times:

President Bush's attorney, Dan Bartlett, says U.S. Attorney General Gonzales is a "stand-up guy." Really?

Gonzales' office first characterized the firing of eight federally appointed state attorneys general as due to poor performance ["Gonzales: 'Mistakes' made in firings," Times page one, March 13]. Such characterization has been shown to be deceitful.

It has also been shown that the president himself and his senior adviser, Karl Rove, were referring complaints about several of the prosecutors to Gonzales ["Rove funneled Justice complaints," News, March 12].

President Bush allowed himself and his staff to apply political influence as a basis for the firing of the appointed prosecutors and then let the Justice Department perpetuate the deceit that the firings were for poor performance.

Yes, Gonzales serves at the pleasure of President Bush, so it must be that President Bush is a similar kind of "stand-up guy." Both Bush and Gonzales have my vote of NO confidence.

— Bob Skorodinsky, Bellingham

The case in chief

Exhibit A, McKay: Proof of negligence from 2004 investigation

U.S. Attorney John McKay of the Seattle office should have been fired for nonperformance ["McKay 'stunned' by report on Bush," News, March 13].

In the 2004 election, unregistered people voted, people voted twice, dead people voted, people were registered to vote where they don't live.

There was evidence of all of this. Did McKay investigate? No, he didn't. Why? Because there wasn't enough evidence? How did he know if he didn't investigate?

McKay should have been fired earlier, so a new prosecutor could look into the known cases of voter fraud.

Our elections are too important to allow illegal votes.

— Ron Hebron, Lake Forest Park

Framed another way

Can the White House expect anybody to believe it fired the eight U.S. attorneys because they did not aggressively prosecute suspected election fraud?

No, the investigation has already shown that the dismissals in this sordid affair were because these U.S. attorneys would not follow White House dictates.

The explanation for the firings is especially ironic considering the Bush legal maneuvering in the 2000 presidential election.

Our region was personally struck by this power play when we lost U.S. Attorney John McKay. He lost his job because he refused to bow down to the political demands of the Evergreen Foundation, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, and the whole sordid crew that makes up the Republican Party in Washington who wanted him to bring suit in the Dino Rossi/Christine Gregoire gubernatorial election, despite the insufficient grounds for such a lawsuit.

What makes their complaining about McKay really sad is that they themselves had a chance to prove the allegation of voter fraud in their high-profile lawsuit. In leading up to the trial, they had all the right to discovery to make their case, and failed miserably.

These recent firings are solely about political power, which is the only thing the Bush White House cares about.

The questions remain: How many U.S. attorneys remain in power because they did bow down to political pressure, and which other legitimate investigations were stopped?

— Neal Friedman, Seattle

Calling the kettle to the stand

Talk about a tempest in a teapot. U.S. attorneys are political appointees and, like all such appointees, serve at the pleasure of the president.

Where was the outrage when President Clinton did the same thing [firing U.S. attorneys] shortly after taking office in early 1993? Of course, he was more thorough. Attorney General Janet Reno fired all of the U.S. attorneys, not just eight of the 93.

But, what is most informative about this episode is the hypocrisy of the Democrats. Congress has launched an investigation, complete with public hearings, charges that the firings were politically motivated, and calls for the resignation of the attorney general.

The Democrats still controlled the House in 1993, but there was no outcry when President Clinton fired all of the attorneys. Do you suppose there were a few competent attorneys in that group, too — perhaps the U.S. attorney in Arkansas who was investigating Whitewater?

But this house-cleaning was sold as "business as usual" and within the range of presidential prerogatives.

There is a quotation attributed to Harry Truman, which seems particularly apt at this time: "There is nothing new in the world, except for the history you have forgotten."

— John Prueitt, Seattle

In exchange for immunity

I have heard a number of right-wing pundits represent the U.S. attorney firings as nothing out of the ordinary. We as a society should not tolerate such half-truths.

While it is true that the Clinton administration appointed all new U.S. attorneys in 1993, the current firings involved prior Bush appointees.

Furthermore, the Bush administration and Republican-controlled Congress ensured a statutory change as part of the re-authorization of the USA Patriot Act. The change enabled Bush to appoint "interim" U.S. attorneys indefinitely and thus circumvent Senate confirmation.

Thereafter, the administration fired these U.S. attorneys, who ignored Republican pressure to prosecute unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.

It is not as if these U.S. attorneys were politically motivated to protect Democrats. They were all Bush appointees to begin with.

One question I would like to ask members of the last Congress is why the amendment removing the 120-day limit on interim appointments was even necessary. Could it be because Republicans wanted to allow this administration to make politically motivated U.S.-attorney appointments without accountability to one of the other two branches of government?

Unfortunately, I think I already know the answer to that.

— Jesse Hart, Seattle

Willful blindness defense

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez admits that "mistakes were made" in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys ["Gonzales: 'Mistakes' made in firings," News, March 14]. The biggest mistake he made was in not covering up the political reasons for the firings — and I'm sure he's really really sorry for that!

He says he was "not involved" in memos or discussions about what was going on because he is like a chief executive who delegates responsibility. Any junior-level manager knows that delegation always requires follow-up to ensure a satisfactory result; otherwise, it is not delegation, it is abdication, and not acceptable in most corporations. As a management trainer, I always taught, "If you don't follow-up, you foul up."

Once again, a crony of George W. Bush has failed in an appointed position for which he was not qualified; at least nobody died this time. You did a "heckuva job," Alberto!

— Paula Joneli, Des Moines

A big no-no

Leaving it all blank

So, our politicians said they will work together on a new solution to replacing the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct ["Viaduct? Tunnel? Voters say no and no" [page one, March 14, and "Gregoire: Let's get this started," page one, March 15]. They plan to delay the decision on what to replace it with, but to begin work on preparing for replacement

This is positive news. To see them finally work together is good, but why did they have to spend $1 million on a vote?

So in the end, this again reinforces the idea that these are incompetent leaders with egos to match.

It also reinforces the notion that Seattle may be home to some of the most stupid voters in the world. From the monorail ($300 million down a hole) to this ($1 million) useless no-result vote, why are Seattle voters so stupid?

Because in all this, there is no outrage over the waste of taxpayers' dollars and they keep voting these yahoos in.

A yes vote on the monorail was a count of stupid people in Seattle and now, by voting in such a useless election, we get another count of stupid people.

So the only thing we got for $301 million is that we know how many stupid people live in Seattle.

— Scott Leach, Seattle

Passing the gas station

I want to congratulate the voters of Seattle for their no-no vote on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. I don't think it was a waste. It accomplished at least two good things.

First, it advanced the cause of mass transit, the intelligent enhancement of which will solve a big part of the traffic problem.

Second, it gave a well-earned black eye to your arrogant, coercive, bullying mayor.

I'd like to think there was another factor in play here, only faintly mentioned in the debates: the realization by many Seattle voters that, with the looming end of oil, there won't always be 100,000 motor vehicles competing for space on that stretch of your waterfront. Other ways will be found to move people and goods.

I've never found the viaduct so ugly as I read other people do, even when viewing it from the ferry boats. I've only driven it once, and won't drive it again if I can avoid it, not because of the danger of the structure, but because of the crazy other drivers on it.

If I could make the choice, I'd choose to repair it, and wait for the laws of economics to solve the traffic problem. The oil is going to be gone.

— Norman Marsh, Darrington

Votes on the turnpike

Regarding the recent viaduct/tunnel votes, cannot the mayor or the governor have the election officials recount the votes until one turns out positive? I'm sure in the process, many lost ballots will be discovered.

— Charles Broughton, Walla Walla