For those people who don't think their votes count, consider the number of individuals and groups who are trying to influence or supress it.

It used to be that we received campaign materials from candidates, sometimes sent right from their very own dining room tables. We'd get stuff from their campaign committees, which is pretty much the same thing in my mind. Every now and then we'd get a card from a political party.


I don't understand people who do not vote in elections.

The first time I voted was a major event in my life. The law had just changed so that 18-year-olds could vote. Instead of having to wait until I was 21, I could, instead, participate in the election of a president. It was exciting. It was empowering.

I don't think I've missed voting in many elections since that long ago event in 1976.


When it comes to political advertising these days, the entry of political action committees into the campaign wars has pretty much guaranteed that no blow is too low. Until recently, however, the mud-slinging has been focused primarily on statewide and national races. Now, it's oozing into our backyards.

The relationship between candidates and PACs is interesting. On one hand, the candidate can point to the offensive literature and say "I didn't have anything to do with that. It was the PAC!" And sometimes that is quite true.


There is a little trick that magicians use to make their illusions successful. It's called misdirection. Basically, the magician uses some tactic to pull your attention away from where the "magic" is really happening -- waves a scarf, calls upon a scantily-clad assistant, sets off a couple minor explosions. You see what you're supposed to see, and not anything that will break the illusion that is being created on stage.

Magicians, it seems, are not the only ones who use misdirection in their work, and the results are not always so entertaining.


Zillions of sociological and psychological studies have been done on the "Us vs. Them" mentality -- its benefits, its dangers, how it develops. The potential for evil and dangerous behaviors to grow from such a mentality is so great that people need to do some brutal fact-checking on themselves every now and then.


Planting trees has become an international movement. Who doesn't realize the massive impact trees have on everything from the economy to the climate? In a world that is slowly realizing that the earth's resources are not finite, trees are the poster children for the green movement.

So why the fuss over spending $2,500 to plant some trees in a Bellevue park?


You know that saying, "When the only thing you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."? I love that saying, because it reminds me not to get lost in any particular perception of what is going on around me.

I enjoyed law school and the practice of law because it was absolutely critical that you be able to see all sides of a case. You had to know not only your position, but everyone else's as well, if only to illuminate the weaknesses in your own case.


After spending countless hours this summer installing a fence, a small group of volunteers recently saw the light at the end of said fence, and it was an amazing experience.

Contrary to what I would have expected, putting up a chain link fence is not so hard. It is a lot of work, and it can be a bit tedious, but it's one of those things that just needs to be done when you're building a dog park.


The new buzz word in the Bellevue borough hall is "unenforceable." Council is being chastised for adopting laws, rules and regulations that are "unenforceable."

Apparently "unenforceable," at least among some Bellevue officials, means 100 percent of the people who violate the law can't be caught and punished.

It is a somewhat creative definition of the word, given that no law exists anywhere, at any time, that is always followed or all violators of which are caught.