King County Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen made it clear early in the recall hearing today that she was not going to rule on the issue immediately. Paperwork on the case was being filed as late as this morning. She felt she had not studied all the material enough to reach a decision, but she could have held the hearing today and issued her decision in the next few days rather grant the formal hearing continuance requested by Mayor Sun.
The first procedural issue to address was the motion for a continuance (where the hearing is delayed to a later date). The mayor's attorney laid out his case supporting a delay.
Among his reasons:
- He had no idea he was representing Mayor Sun in this issue until last Friday when a reporter asked him about it. After the reporter's question, the attorney called Sun and confirmed he was on the job for both the writ hearing yesterday and today's recall hearing.
- Despite Mayor Sun knowing about this hearing since August 27th and the state law requirement that this hearing be held within 15 days of filing (which would have been September 20th), Sun had not had time to prepare his case.
- There is no longer any rush for this action, since "the person acting as the city attorney" had stated at the writ hearing yesterday that once the writ of mandate was signed by the judge, the city's insurance would not be canceled (a statement that was never made).
- The process is supposed to give deference to the citizen's right to recall elected officials from office. Another delay is contrary to that deference.
- The recall attorney had quickly, without even checking with his client, already granted a continuance so that the mayor could attend the reunion with his fellow veterans because the reason was so important.
- The issue of losing insurance is very relevant. No employees can continue working the moment that coverage is dropped. The fact that the city loses insurance on December 31st is one of the certainties in this timeline. Anything else is speculation.
- Getting this issue on the ballot before December 31st is a vital piece of showing the insurance carrier that the citizens of Pacific are doing everything they can to address the insurance carriers valid concerns.
- Every day counts. Any delay adds to the citizens already immense burden to get this issue out for a vote in time.
|Recall attorney Jeff Helsdon being interviewed by Gary Horcher, KIRO TV News, in the King County Courthouse lobby.|