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May 18, 2007

Judge clears way for next step in port recall

Posted by David Postman at 4:53 PM

Superior Court Judge Charles Mertel ruled today that the sponsor of a recall petition against Port Commission President Pat Davis can start collecting signatures. Josh Feit has the news of Chris Clifford's victory in the latest turn in controversy over former Port CEO Mick Dinsmore's contract buy-out:

The judge even changed some of Clifford's language, making it more damning. The judge, for example, added the word "knowingly" into the accusation that Davis entered into a pay out contract with Dinsmore.

Clifford needs 150,000 signatures, which won't be easy. And an appeal to the state Supreme Court would be the likely next move for Davis' attorney, Suzanne Thomas.

Feit has taken to calling Clifford "good government activist Chris Clifford." He's certainly active. Even a cursory search of his gadflying ways is exhausting to read. Since the 1990s he has run unsuccessfully for city, county and state offices about a half dozen times. He's a former law student, former GOP state legislative staffer. He's recently been involved in a Valley annexation fight, and previously a critic of the King County elections office, objected to a homeless encampment, sued to get a fellow Republican off the ballot to help his longtime ally Sen. Pam Roach, fought the location for a state home for sex offenders, fought what he said was Seattle officials' unfair treatment of some local bars, opposed closed city meetings following the Mardi Gras riots, filed an unsuccessful federal suit claiming city police conspired to close his downtown club because it catered to blacks, pushed for pipeline safety, was hailed as a "fiery bar owner" by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, promoted an unsuccessful initiative to create a one-strike-you're out sex offense law, filed lawsuits that delayed Boeing's redevelopment of the old Longacres site and that tried to stop the Seahawks from moving.

He was the subject of a profile in the Times in 1993 where he was blamed/credited for "almost single-handedly thwarting the state's most powerful company and its high-paid Seattle lawyers." He was described as a lifetime NRA members, former seimi-pro football player, lover of wildlife, had Chinese pheasants as pets, was a licensed falconer and "once had a bloodhound he used on volunteer missions for local police agencies."

Clifford loves politics and would still like to run for office but sees himself as unelectable: "I'm too outspoken and too blunt."

And, I'd add, too busy.

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