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The Madera Tribune

Letters: Candidate criticized for use of word

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webmaster | 05/30/12

I’m a judge of the Madera County Superior Court. On May 23, Madera Superior Court judges were called “subversives” by judicial candidate Brian Austin in The Madera Tribune because some were appointed by governors rather than first elected to office. The dictionary says that “subversives” completely destroy and overthrow that which they attack. What does such an accusation say about Mr. Austin?

Attorneys and judges who run for judicial office are required to conduct ourselves according to canons of judicial ethics. Those ethics are placed upon attorneys, too, because if you tell people that you are qualified to be a judge then you must act like one. We must always maintain the integrity of the courts. The disparaging attacks commonly used in other types of campaigns are inappropriate in judicial races, whether directly or by allies.

Judges swear oaths to uphold our Constitutions. Mr. Austin criticizes the state Constitution for requiring governors to appoint judges who must then stand for election. Mr. Austin does not disclose that he asked Gov. Schwarzenegger to appoint him to a judgeship. Was the process “subversive” when he applied for a judgeship? Or did it become “subversive” when the governor repeatedly passed over Mr. Austin?

Let’s review this “subversive” process. Judicial applicants fill out 60-page applications. Judicial candidates fill out one page regarding their qualifications.

The judicial applicant’s education, employment, ethical and criminal history, if any, the cases litigated, and samples of written work are reviewed. At least 75 judges, lawyers, and others who know or know of the judicial applicant are contacted. This is done by the governor’s office and by the independent Judicial Nominations Evaluation Commission.

Mr. Austin states that this incredibly thorough and reliable separation of the wheat from the chaff reflects “political favoritism.” However, three of our judges were appointed by three governors from the “other party.” Perhaps those governors were “subversives,” too?

Finally, Mr. Austin says that “these subverted incumbents … endorse each other in the effort to maintain the positions obtained without election.” No, sir. We endorse Judge Joseph Soldani for the same reasons he is endorsed by the district attorney, the sheriff, police chiefs, rank-and-file law enforcement officers, and members of the Board of Supervisors and city councils: Joseph is an honest man who is doing an outstanding job as a judge of the Madera County Superior Court.

If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.

Hon. Charles A. Wieland,
Judge, Madera County Superior Court

Kathy Robertson, a fine teacher

I could say,
“In years to come
When I am old and gray....”
But, come to think of it
I’m already that way.
So, let me begin this poem
Another way to honor the educator
We are gathered here to honor today

Kathy Robertson is the epitome
Of what a teacher can and should be.
To have been able to serve with Kathy
For even one school year has been a great honor for me.

But all of you
Know this far better than I do.
A dedicated teacher brings
What Kathy has brought
And a true educator teaches
The way Kathy has taught.

When I think of all the contributions
Kathy Robertson has made to our educational community,
I am sure I speak for us all
When I say, “Thank You, Kathy!”

May you enjoy in retirement
All the pursuits and blessings you deserve
As just reward and compensation
For the 39 years you have served.

On behalf of the thousands of lives you have touched
Over the past many years,
Let us raise our glass — each of us
And give our friend and colleague — Mrs. Kathy Robertson —
Three cheers!

Hip! Hip! Hurrah!
Hip! Hip! Hurrah!
Hip! Hip! Hurrah!

Brian Donald O’Donovan,

Memorial holiday loses its meaning

I am either a real old man or something is wrong with my memory. When did we start celebrating holidays like Memorial Day just so we could have three days off all of the time?

I spent 23 years in the U.S. military and do not ever remember getting three days off, and the same goes for working in the U.S. Postal Service for another 20 years. Now, my son is trying to tell me that the holiday was changed many years ago just so the people could have another three-day weekend. I always thought that we celebrated this Memorial Day to honor all of the servicemen and women who died for this wonderful country of ours.

I do not need a personal reply, Mr. Doud, as I read your articles in The Tribune every day that I get it. I get The Tribune and the Fresno Bee delivered to my home every day, although sometimes it is pretty late getting to my home. Thanks for all of the articles and information that you publish in your article, and the rest of the paper also.

David D. Smith,


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