Thursday, July 24, 2008

Letter to the Monroe Monitor

To the Editor of the Monroe Monitor:

Traci Hoenstine, a supporter of Fred Walser for Senate, made many claims in a long letter about Walser in the July 15, 2008 edition of the Monroe Monitor. Most of them were false or misleading. The facts tell a different story.

She claimed that Walser's crime was a mere "allegation." No. He was convicted. That he gave an Alford Plea does not change anything: it is a fact of law that Walser committed a crime, and was sentenced to one year in jail for it. If Walser's sentence for his crime had not been suspended, he'd be in jail right now, through the entire election and next legislative session. That Walser refuses to admit his obvious guilt is not a point in his favor.

And contrary to Hoenstine's claims, it is not simply Mayor Tolson that claims he was lied to. Walser lied to several other Sultan city officials and attorneys, to the Everett Police Department, to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Department, to the Washington State Police, and others, including, of course, the people of Sultan.

Walser knew full well that Caroline Pepperell inappropriately accessed Gayle Harvie in the ACCESS database -- as she had also done to others, hundreds of times, which Walser knew when he hired her -- and the very same day he was told and given the proof, by Detective Clinko of the Sheriff's Department, that she did it to Harvie, Walser and Pepperell magically produced a document that said she did not.

And it was this magic document that Walser used for over a year to lie to many people, telling them Pepperell did nothing wrong. It was only when he was faced with an investigation of himself that he somehow "remembered" the original document, which was sitting right in the file all along.

One could be excused for believing this was a simple mistake -- a sign of incompetence, but not malice -- but let us not forget that in the meantime, he violated his oath by refusing to take Pepperell off ACCESS during her investigation despite a direct order to do so; he filed a false sexual harassment complaint against Pepperell's proposed replacement; he tried to convince Sheriff Bart to obstruct the investigation. This is all a matter of public record, and they are not the acts of a man who simply made a "clerical error," as he has claimed. (The primary documents proving the case against Walser are on

If Walser has nothing to hide and Pepperell did nothing wrong, why did Walser refuse to even say whether he knew Pepperell, his longtime assistant, when he was deposed in the Harvie lawsuit a few weeks ago?

Hoenstine tries to throw out various logical fallacies to misdirect the readers by pointing at Walser being "gunned after" and saying "the City does it too." None of that matters, because even if entirely true, none of it justifies his crimes and misdeeds.

But as Hoenstine brought up the dismissed harassment complaint against Walser, it should be noted that Pepperell was Walser's alibi for that, which might explain why he has gone to such extraordinary lengths to violate the law and ethics and common sense to protect her.

Maybe some people do not believe Walser's persistent lies, coverups, and obstructions are "serious." Hoenstine doesn't. I believe she is in the minority.

Also, I should note that despite Walser's U.S. 2 Safety Coalition getting credit for U.S. 2 funding in the last legislative session, it was, actually, the work of our current 39th District legislators -- Dan Kristiansen, Kirk Pearson, and Walser's opponent, Val Stevens -- in highlighting the issue and fighting for funding that made the biggest difference. That Democrats in the Senate gave credit to an organization run by a Democratic candidate for Senate should come as no surprise, and doesn't actually mean anything, especially coming from Senator Haugen, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, who got $13m for an Amtrak station and $82m for congestion relief on a road, both in her own district, but could only find $14m for safety improvements on U.S. 2.

Last year Haugen actually said that U.S. 2 doesn't get safety funding because the voters of the 39th District voted against the gas tax, and voted for Republicans who opposed the gas tax. She is, literally, punishing the citizens with more death on U.S. 2 because she doesn't like how we voted. Haugen and the Democrats have been blocking U.S. 2 improvements out of political self-interest and vindictiveness.

Chris Nandor
Chair of Snohomish County 39th District Republicans

Monday, July 7, 2008

Walser Pleads the Fifth in Harvie Civil Suit

Gayle Harvie, the woman whose public records requests eventually led to former Sultan Police Chief Fred Walser's yearlong jail sentence last month, is suing Walser's former assistant, Carol Pepperell, whom Harvie believes poisoned her dogs.

Walser was deposed in that lawsuit on June 26, and he pled the Fifth Amendment to every single question that was asked, except for his name.

He would not say whether he has been desposed before (after saying he had), and he would not even say whether he knew Pepperell, his longtime assistant.

(He also wouldn't answer whether he has been accused of rape; this is related to a 2003 sexual harassment complaint that was filed and dismissed against him. It's believed that Pepperell was his alibi at the time, and that this might be the reason why he covered up her own misdeeds, leading to his conviction last month.)

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution permits people to not answer questions that could be self-incriminating. Walser has already been convicted for his crimes in the Pepperell case, so one wonders what he has to hide at this point. Did he do more that isn't on the record?

It his right to plead the Fifth. But that doesn't mean he should do it. Walser is running for state Senate, and most voters expect openness from their elected officials. He can't even say whether he actually knew his longtime assistant.

Is this the kind of openness we can expect from him in office?