Of an apparent heart attack. This is from his bio at the county:
Within the State of Washington, Norm has led legislative efforts which culminated in the passage of a number of critical bills, including restoration and expansion of the crime victim compensation system, and establishment of our state’s presumptive sentencing system (the Sentencing Reform Act), which has brought uniformity and certainty to the state’s criminal justice system.
In 1989, Norm was selected to chair the Governor’s Task Force on Community Protection after several outrageous crimes were committed by repeat predatory sex offenders. The Task Force recommendations became law, and Washington’s laws regarding registration, notification, and civil commitment of sex offenders have become national models.
Norm helped strengthen laws in 1994 aimed at juveniles who carry firearms without adult supervision. He also worked to pass the Becca Bill in 1995, which has re-enforced the state’s truancy laws and established expectations for dealing with runaway children. In 1997, Norm was a leader in the 1997 Juvenile Justice Act, which provides an improved framework to intervene in the life of a troubled youth.
Maleng was, to my knowledge, the only Republican who ever got his start in the office of Senator Warren Magnuson (D-WA). He was always more moderate than the GOP of the state, and caused controversy when he declined to seek the death penalty against Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer.
Whenever I heard him speak, I got the sense that he was a decent guy.
I first had the opportunity to meet Norm Maleng when we both were working to defeat I-892, Tim Eyman’s slot machine initiative. I attended a couple meetings of a rather broad and bizarre coalition (for example, me sitting next to Jeff Kemp) and came away impressed with the way Maleng ran the proceedings. He struck me as kinda grandfatherly. I liked him.
To be honest, I don’t remember if I voted for him or not in his various races, but this was one Republican whose victories I never lost any sleep over. I hope his fellow Republicans appreciate what a huge loss this is to their own party.
On a more personal note, 68 is just too damn young. My heart felt condolences to his family.
I always voted for him. I wish the Republicans had fielded more candidates like him.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Maleng was known as a lawyer’s lawyer. That’s the highest accolade a lawyer can earn from his peers.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Richardson Not Afraid to Criticize His Own Party
“By David Postman
“Seattle Times chief political reporter
“Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson said in Seattle on Thursday that fellow party leaders in Congress are wrong to abandon a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and wrong about an immigration bill that he said would split up families.
” …[H]e said … Democratic congressional leaders are taking the wrong approach to Iraq. He said that with timetables for withdrawal now out of the equation, Congress should instead vote to ‘de-authorize’ the war, essentially repealing the Iraq war authorization. …
“Several times in his speech and in answers to reporters’ questions, Richardson expressed his unhappiness with congressional leaders. ‘I’m not in a good mood on this because I love my party, he said in response to a question from state party Chairman Dwight Pelz. …
“He said some in Congress are ‘worried about being called weak. But people want this war to end. This is what is singularly dividing this country more than anything.’ …
“On immigration, Richardson said he couldn’t support a bill like the one Senate Democrats propose that includes a guest-worker program with no labor protections for those workers. Temporary workers should have health-care benefits, a right to join unions and the protection of worker-safety laws, he said.
“Richardson also doesn’t like the provision that would require illegal immigrants now working in the United States to go back to their home countries and obtain a visa before being able to return here legally. That would split up families, he said. …
“Jeff Smith, a veteran Democratic Party activist and former party executive director who attended the event, said that support from the outside-Seattle crowd is a big part of Richardson’s appeal. ‘He plays well, very well, in Eastern Washington and not just with Hispanics,’ Smith said. ‘To all those people who are looking for a Democrat they can feel good about voting for, he’s really the best candidate.’ …
“Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, attended, too, and said she backs Richardson. Prentice said that on his first day as president, Richardson could change the direction of the country more than any other candidate.”
Quoted under Fair Use; for complete story and/or copyright info see http://tinyurl.com/2acy36
Norm Maleng was one of the kindest, most genuine men I have ever known. He will be greatly missed.
Broadway Joe spews:
Growing up a fourth-generation Dem, I never heard much of anything good about Republicans from my parents or grandparents as I grew up. But they respected Norm Maleng. I guess you could consider that praise.
My deepest respects and sympathies go out to his family.
I don’t want to speak ill of the man, but the Becca Bill and sex-offender notifications are some pretty bad laws.
Richard Pope spews:
My condolences to the Maleng family on their sudden loss. I hope Norm finds himself reunited tonight with his daughter Karen, who died in that very tragic snow sledding accident 18 years ago when she was only 12.
FricknFrack, Seattle spews:
I always voted for him because he seemed like a fair man who tried to make the justice system work as well as possible. Larger than life, it’s hard to believe that he has passed away at such an early point in his life. My sympathies also to his family and friends.
Mike Snyder spews:
Thanks for post and comments from all who are regretting this sudden, shocking news.
Am sure that Mr. Maleng wouldn’t object to those who respectfully disagree with some (or even most) of his public actions. That’s what debate and democratcy and accountability are all about. Personally, I took issue with some of his acts and stands, but I ALWAYS had confidence in the way he tried to do his job – which was one of the toughest.
Worst I ever heard said about him, was that he wasn’t a very good politican . . . which doesn’t explain why he was elected to eight terms! Or perhaps it does.
Interesting that some of the nicest tributes to Norm Maleng so far are from DEFENSE attorneys. Now, when your allies praise you, that’s good. But when your opponent’s praise you, that’s VERY good.
Norm Maleng was a good man and a great Washingtonian.
My impression of Maleng has always been that he was a man of integrity, and there are precious few people that I have thought of that way over the years. I think his loss will be felt throughout the region in many ways, not the least of which is that someone is going to have to replace him at his job, and that someone almost certainly will not be able to fill Mr. Maleng’s shoes.
A sad day for us all. We have lost a good and competent man.
That’s it – it’s official – the last decent Publican is now dead. The rest, are worthless.
He was, to my early morning recollection, the only Republican I have ever voted for.
Condolences to his family.
he was way cool on medical marijuana- and well linked to the gay community – and gay staffers of which there are many
one of a kind
I think Maleng sought the death penalty way less often than he could have and also less often than the Pierce or Snohomish County prosecutor did. That’s another reason why I voted for him and another reason to mourn his passing.
It would have been nice for him to have served out his term in order to retire and go fishing. My own father is going to be 67 in just a few months, 68 seems too young indeed.
I was in high school when he was first elected, and in college when his daughter died; I don’t have a good memory of anyone else holding this office. I voted for him because of his integrity. Reading the comments over at the PI this morning, it seems like he was a genuinely decent person, as well. I know a lot of competent, principled, and dedicated people in public service, but it seems less common for elected offices. Mr. Maleng was the exception that proves the rule. This is a loss for everyone in King County.
Say, I was wondering who gets to fill his now vacant position as the prosecutor for King County? Is it going to be a deputy moving up, special election, appointment by Simms and/or the County Council?
My condolences go out to the Maleng family. Losing a father and husband at 68 is too soon.
Mike Barer spews:
Norm Maleng was a decent Republican, I still believe that he was wrong to not seek the death penalty in the case of Naveen Haq.
John Barelli spews:
Mr. Maleng was a person that showed us that party lables are less important than integrity, character and honesty.
Apparently King County voters agree with that assessment, as in the last election, Mr. Maleng won with over 96% of the vote in a strongly Democratic county.
I’m not willing to believe that Mr. Maleng was the last honorable person in the Republican party. In fact, I know that there are others, and hope that they step up as he did to address the values that the Republicans claim to support.
For the Maleng family, my condolences on your loss. His death was a loss for us all.
Thanks John boy for never missing a chance to suck Publican cock.
Mike Barer spews:
Norm’s career was launched working for Senator Warren Magnuson. When Republicans like Slade Gorton veered to the far right, Norm stayed in the mainstream.
blathering michael spews:
Maleng withstood holy hell from his fellow R’s and talk radio snipers for his decision to plea out Ridgway. It was based on the humanity, not of Ridgway, but on that of the victims, their families, and solving murder cases. Doubt there are more Republicans around here like him- we’ll have to get us a Democrat next time…
18 I’m with you 100% on that, John. There are definitely other Republicans out there with brains and integrity. I’ve always thought one of our jobs is to get them to stand up and be counted.
I want to see a viable, relevant Republican Party at the end of this particular test of the American Experiment. We sometimes find fault with our two-party system, but living under a single one would be worse, whichever one it turned out to be.
proud leftist spews:
Maleng also took hell from the partisan nutjobs in his party (a category which fairly characterizes about 95% of all practicing Republicans nowadays) for not pursuing their frivolous charges of electoral fraud here in King County in the 2004 election. He actually, as a lawyer, recognized the ethical prohibition against pursuing frivolous claims. He was a fine man. I wish there were more Republican politicians like him.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@17 Any prosecutor has to weigh a number of factors before seeking the death penalty. Not only is it difficult to get (every juror must vote for death), but execution typically takes 15-20 years, it costs more taxpayer money to execute someone than to imprison them, the vast majority of death sentences are never carried out anyway, and last but not least, life without parole is in many ways a harsher penalty than death.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@22 I want to see a new center-conservative party at the end of this particular experiment in totalitarian government. The GOP is beyond redemption and not worth saving. The only thing it’s good for is as a toxic landfill for the people who currently populate it.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Don’t get me wrong — we need the Republican Party. We have to put those people somewhere. We simply don’t want them to occupy any public office anywhere, ever again.
YOS LIB BRO spews:
I VOTED FOR NORM MALENG EVERY TIME HE WAS UP FOR ELECTION. ONE OF THE VERY FEW REPUBLICANS I HAVE SUPPORTED.
I WAS GOING TO STOP SUPPORTING HIM OVER THE SOTELO FLAP BUT I DON’T REGRET VOTING FOR HIM IN THE PAST. I SALUTE HIS EXEMPLARY SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITIES OF KING COUNTY.
MY CONDOLENCES TO HIS FAMILY.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Roger Rabbit Votes Against Regional Transportation Package
I see in today’s fishwrapper that the regional transportation board is proposing putting $23 billion of transit and highway spending on the backs of retirees and low income workers. They want to raise the sales tax to 9.5% and add $80 per 10k of valuation to vehicle tabs. This would add hundreds of dollars in new taxes to the average household’s annual tax bill. Some of us just can’t afford it. When it takes food and medicine off the table, you have to vote “no.”
One of the FEW good R’s.
Roger @ 28,
You’re sounding like an anti-tax guy there, partner. Are you renouncing your neo-socialist “progressive” beliefs?
John Barelli spews:
Ah, Mr. Minion. As always, courteous and polite. Please give my regards to Mr. Esser. Should Mr. Esser choose to read this blog, I will attest here and now to your diligent and tireless efforts to alienate reasonable people from the Democratic party, and bring them over to the Republicans.
Mr. Maleng was, to my understanding, a member of the “Mainstream Republicans”, which is a group dedicated to moving the Republican party back to its “small government, fiscal responsibility” platform.
They are not well liked by the current Republican party leadership and many in the Republican party consider them to be much more of a threat to their power than the Democrats. In wading through the muck over at unSP, I noticed several posters that said as much, and had little good to say about Mr. Maleng. (In his defense, Mr. Sharansky has actually banned one of the most egregious offenders from the right. It appears that even he has limits.)
I agree with you that the Republicans have definitely moved from the small government, fiscally conservative party to the “let’s-meddle-in-everyone’s-affairs-and-spend-like-drunken-sailors” party. Bush and the boys and girls walked into this Iraq mess without a plan on how to get out, and without realizing that what it takes to “win” is horrendous. Maybe too horrendous for Americans to put up with. He’s floundering.
He’s one of the greatest men to have lived and served. I know him more personally, however. He was my great uncle. Without his and his wife’s support I would never have made it to be a junior at UW. His presence will be greatly missed in mine and my family member’s hearts.
68 is far too young to pass away.
John Barelli spews:
Yes, and a number of Republicans (too few) have begun to stand up to the party leaders and point out that very problem.
Mr. Maleng was active in that group, as is Sam Reed and Mike McKay (former US Prosecutor and brother of John McKay). There are others as well that, for whatever reason, do not feel comfortable leaving the Republican party, but are unhappy with its current direction.
The Chair of the Pierce County Mainstream Republicans (Gretchen Wilbert, former Gig Harbor Mayor) happens to be a friend of mine, and she’s a terrific lady.
We’ve had a few interesting discussions about politics, and while she is very reluctant to discuss internal Republican party problems with a rather vocal Democrat such as myself, we have discussed various issues and can often come to at least appreciate the other’s perspective.
While I often disagree even with the positions held by the Mainstream Republicans, they do seem to at least be willing to listen to reason, and the ones I’ve met personally seem like decent, honest folks.
Now, if they could only get control of their party back from the neo-cons.
Isn’t that a coincidence! My spouse went to high school with the lady who is the former head of the Pierce County Republicans. I know the lady, too, and we agree to disagree with a lot.
John Barelli spews:
Sometimes I have difficulty comparing the Republicans that I know personally with the current Republican leadership at both the state and federal level.
Part of that is that I generally don’t make friends with bigots, and I don’t count many captains of industry among my immediate circle of aquaintences.
A few of the Republicans I know personally are simply non-political to the extreme. Their parents were Republicans, they’ve always been Republicans, and they simply vote by looking for the R after the candidate’s name. They make approving noises about Faux News, but never actually watch it (or use any other source for news).
These are folks that buy the paper for the sports section, and throw the rest away. They complain about media bias, but never read the newspaper.
Others, like Mayor Wilbert, really believe in the “small government, fiscal responsibility” platform that the Republicans have given so much lip service to over the years. I can sympathize with them, and hope that their cause is not entirely lost.
Yeah, the Republicans have gone to far in the conservative direction just as the Democrats have gone too far in the liberal direction. I think that you’ll agree with me that many who comment here are very, very far left, just as many of those over at Stefan’s place are rabidly conservative. You, however, seem to be more or less a moderate and a bit of an outsider here. Like me, I suppose, only not as much. Of course, sometimes I do make comments for the sake of getting a reaction.
Norm Maleng was always a decent citizen and I think I voted for him, back when Dan Evans used to come buy books from me.
The tragedy of his daughter’s death snow-sledding struck us hard as parents, I had lived on Queen Anne, and kids sled all the time. It was more personal because our kid was the same age.
Too sad. My thoughts are with the family.
John Barelli spews:
Well, Libertarian, I’m a lot more partisan than I used to be. Six years of GWB and his crowd, along with a few thousand of my fellow service members being killed will do that to a fellow.
And I’m pretty well convinced that the folks that post furthest to the left are nothing of the kind. I do seriously believe that at least one of them is actually taking a page from the Karl Rove playbook and is deliberately trying to make us look like a bunch of blithering idiots powered by nothing other than hatred.
Overall, the Democrats really haven’t gone that far left. In fact, we’re probably a bit more to the right that we’ve been in years past, because the Republicans have worked so hard to purge moderates from their midst. Those folks often became independents, but some of them came to us.
After all, if you aren’t a major party member, you get almost no say in the selection of candidates. I’d like to see the Libertarians take over from the Republicans as the other major party, but as things stand today, the decision on who the Libertarian party is going to run for almost any office is an exercise in futility.
richard wintory spews:
not just norm maleng’s family or king county but truly our country has lost one of the finest, most courageous, compassionate prosecutors ever. I have been honored to serve with norm maleng on the board of the national district attorney’s association for over 15 years where the loss of his consistent call for civility and justice tempered with compassion will be keenly felt. all across america, as this sad news spreads, prosecutors inspired and influenced by norm send prayers of sympathy and gratitude to have known such a man.
richard wintory tucson, az
I have know the Maleng family for 22 years. His wife Judy tutored me in math years ago. I know Norm’s son Mark and knew their daughter Karen… he was a courageous man and took alot of bs when he took the road less traveled. He has done great things in the community and in King County’s justice system, despite that some may not have agreed whole-heartedly on all of the issues he stood for or cases he faced.
.. his loss is one for all of us, and I am deeply saddened to hear of his loss, especially as sudden as it was. my respects to Judy, and Mark during this difficult time.
*I know Norm is coming home to Karen now.
…. who will replace him now….