No winner or loser today, just a bonafide jolt: King County Council member Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, will officially put his name in the running for attorney general next week, PubliCola hears. Ferguson would be the first person to declare for the seat now held by Republican Rob McKenna, who's expected to run for governor.

Ferguson's county council colleague, Republican Reagan Dunn, is also expected to run.

Ferguson will be a formidable opponent anyone who takes him on. In his first race for office in 2003, he was a door-knocking machine, defeating a 20-year-incumbent, council member Cynthia Sullivan. Forced to run again two years later because the council was cut from 13 members to nine, he beat another incumbent, Carolyn Edmonds, in the primary. (He went on to defeat a Republican challenger with 74 percent of the vote). Dunn has been on the council since 2005.

Their impending showdown to be the state's top cop could help account for two law-and-order bills filed recently at the council. The first, filed by Dunn last week, would express the council's support for a controversial state legislation protecting victims of sexual crimes from having to face defendants directly in court. The ACLU and defense attorneys oppose the bill because they say it violates a defendant's constitutional right to face his or her accuser in court. State Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Kirkland)—a pot-reform liberal who often pushes tough-on-crime legislation to balance out his image—proposed the bill after a woman threatened to jump from the King County Courthouse rather than answer questions from the man she had accused of molesting her, who was representing himself in court.

“This young woman's trauma is a great example of why we must become more sensitive to the victims of sexual crimes,” Dunn said in a statement. “Simple revisions to court rules could go a long way to protecting the well being of victims.  At the same time, more victims might feel comfortable coming forward and reporting attacks.”



The second county council proposal, filed just a week after Dunn's by Ferguson, would use part of a $1.5 million reserve fund to pay for criminal prosecutions in the King County Prosecutor's office. "Public safety is my number-one concern," Ferguson said in his own statement. “Without action ... judges may be forced to release dangerous felons awaiting trial into the community because speedy trial requirements are not met. Victims will suffer as cases go unfiled. Defendants may lose access to certain treatment options designed to keep them from becoming repeat offenders."



Neither Dunn's nor Ferguson's proposal has been queued up on any council committee's agenda.
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