Editorial: The Times recommends to elect Kimi Kondo and Damon Shadid to Seattle Municipal Court
Keep Kimi Kondo and add Damon Shadid to Seattle Municipal Court.
Seattle Times Editorial
ALTHOUGH the Seattle Municipal Court handles the city’s minor legal violations, the judges’ decisions still bear significantly on the parties involved.
Presiding Judge Kimi Kondo and attorney Damon Shadid understand that, placing community concerns at the center of their campaigns. They should be elected to the bench.
Kondo’s 24 years on the court, former community activism and guardianship of the court as presiding judge are evident when she talks about the need to replace an ancient computer system; to implement a new on-call system to make judges available at all times to issue warrants; and to increase training protocols for police dealing with people suffering from mental illness.
Kondo received “exceptionally well qualified” marks in the King County Bar Association ratings. And as presiding judge, she is pointedly concerned about the unprecedented influence Citizens for Judicial Excellence — a 4-year-old political action committee — is having in judicial races through sizable donations.
Her challenger, attorney Jon Zimmerman, has represented clients in municipal, district and superior courts, and has nearly three years of experience as a pro tem judge.
But Zimmerman, who received a “not qualified” grade from the bar association, does not make the case to replace Kondo.
Shadid has worked diligently in criminal and immigration law since coming to Seattle in 2005. He will bring a social justice and community focus that should reinvigorate the municipal judiciary. And Shadid’s strong ethics — he returned a $1,900 contribution from Citizens for Judicial Excellence — would be a welcome addition.
His opponent, 25-year court veteran Judge Fred Bonner, still appears competent, but seems to lack the commitment the position deserves. Bonner’s disappointing attendance record and admitted past ethical violations — including admonishment by the state Judicial Conduct Commission — provide further evidence that he should be replaced.
To retain forward-thinking leadership and add stronger community focus, voters should elect Kondo and Shadid as Seattle Municipal Court judges.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, Blanca Torres, Robert J. Vickers, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).