Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Werth knows land-use law

Judge Robert Elgee was appointed, not elected. This is the first year that we have the opportunity to choose our district judge, and I believe the right choice is Doug Werth. It seems obvious there is an issue when prosecutors disqualify Judge Elgee from so many important cases.

It's also disconcerting to me that a judge might be hearing a case in which the defense attorney(s) overtly supported his candidacy. Doug understands the importance of maintaining independence, and has not courted attorney endorsements in his bid to be our judge.

My 10-year friendship with Doug has shown him to be an extremely smart, ethical and compassionate human being. He is a skilled and adept attorney with a deep understanding of both law and legal process. His 25 years of legal experience will result in "right" rulings that are less likely to incur the financial and emotional expense of being appealed and overruled, which seems to be a pattern with the current judge.

One of the most valuable assets our community has is our land—how we use it and protect it and how we treat those who own and develop it. Many of the "rules" imposed by politicians have been taken to court. I would like a judge in place who has the breadth of knowledge to analyze the complex relationship between landowners' rights and legitimate (legal) provisions to protect our community. Several of Elgee's rulings in this regard have been appealed and overturned due to his inadequate knowledge of land-use regulations.

Doug's six years on Blaine County's P&Z are the sort of background that is needed for quicker and more final resolutions of such disputes.

Andrea Jenson


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