Judge Elections 2016

I’m taking a hiatus from publishing creatively to address my Utah registered voters. While those of us who refuse to vote for Trump may lose anyway (let’s be real, Utah is not voting for anyone other than Trump) I’ve decided to walk you through the rest of the ballot. We can make our votes count on a local level, and I may not currently reside in the country but my family does and I care to know who presides over them.

So, let’s start with the judges up for re-election. For Juvenile Court we have Suchada Bazzelle and F. Richards Smith. I will not be voting for Suchada, because she has made several questionable decisions – one of which ultimately resulted in a teen suicide.

In the district courts we have no choice for District 1. For District 2 we are looking at Michael G. Allphin (who has ordered jails to stop seizing inmate money with no justification – “account sweeps”), Glen R. Dawson who has done nothing especially notable (although his colleagues and the people who evaluate him say he’s great, he just sometimes rocks in his chair during hearings) and Ernest W. Jones served as a prosecutor in SLC for 20 years before he put on his robes. He doesn’t always follow the rules. Apparently he cares when adults sell minors tobacco. I probably won’t be casting a vote for him.

In District 4, we are looking at Barry Lawrence who has been involved in all the same-sex marriage hubub, although exactly how is never clear. Then there is Jarold D. McDade who headed the Grunwald trial and gave a father custody of a wanted child his ex-wife put up for adoption without consent. There is also David Mortensen who sentenced the father of the 5 Browns with 10 years to life for the ongoing sexual abuse of his own daughters.

In District 7, there is George M. Harmond who has been awarded for his pro bono work but also did this (a UDOT death related case). We also have Douglas B. Thomas who in 2014 put a guy in jail for a year, three years probation, and a 1,500 fine for killing another person while driving drunk. Personally, I think that was a little lenient of him. Otherwise, he seems to pretty ordinary.

Finally, in District 8 we meet Samuel P. Chiara who wants to appear impartial but also mandated a pit bull be sentenced to death. Negative 10 points for that guy. As far as Keith E. Eddington, he has yet to do something so controversial or strange that it makes the news. Probably a good sign. Right?

So, that’s it for judges. I’ll do a few more of these so people know what is actually going on in their communities.

Episodic Memoir: Episode 7

I was ten. It was September.

The funny thing about mikans is that they ripen in the winter. The prime picking season is from September to December. My fifth grade class got to go on a field trip to pick as many mikans as we could. We had to pay by the bag, but no one said we had to pay for the mikans we ate while picking.

I ate five. Blake threw at least three at me. I tried to throw some at him, too, but he was high up in a tree. He knew where the best mikans were! That afternoon, I pet a wild squirrel. I thought I was magical, but then Blake told me that people fed the wild squirrels all the time, and he just wanted to steal my mikans.

In fact, I don’t remember taking any mikans home that day….

Episodic Memoir: Episode 6

Up until that moment, I didn’t have a defined concept of race, ethnicity, or citizenship. I lived in Japan, didn’t that make me Japanese? Japan was my home. I rode the trains. I ate ramen and beef bowl with chopsticks. I took my shoes off when I came into the house. I would bow when I met new people and I never crossed the street without raising my hand way up high so the cars wouldn’t run me over.

I wore my kimono proudly. I did traditional Japanese dances and sang Kimigayo with as much vigor as I sang The Star Spangled Banner. I even understood the difference between Valentine’s Day and White Day.

I spun in the warm, heavy, angled summer rains that made it impossible to see further than 6 inches from my nose. I laid on the floor during earthquakes to feel the earth roll beneath my back. I anticipated the turning of the Japanese Maple leaves in the fall.

I showered in the thousands of cherry blossom petals that fell when the spring winds blew; I wore them like I wear my own skin.

Episodic Memoir: Episode 5

It was February. We got Japan’s second biggest snow fall on record. School was cancelled, so I got to spend the morning building an igloo with my younger brother. It was the saddest, ugliest igloo anyone ever made. We didn’t actually know how to build an igloo, so we just built a mound of snow, and then dug a hole into it. The snow was two feet deep, and we were four feet tall. It was perfectly sized for us.

The older neighbor boys invited us to have a snowball war. They built snow forts with holes in the walls to store snowballs.  Back then, snowballs didn’t hurt when they hit you – even if they hit you in the face.

After we won the war, we all decided to go sledding down the hill behind our homes. We didn’t care about the rock ditch at the bottom. Back then, rocks didn’t hurt when they hit you, either.

Episodic Memoir: Episode 4

9 years old. August. Being the early bird I was, I was awake at 6 am which seemed like the perfect time to clean my precious hamster’s cage.

To be responsible, I cleaned his cage outside. My mom didn’t like it if I left his bedding on the porch, so I walked into the yard, just in case I spilled.

A huge high-rise towered over my house. I looked at that high-rise a lot. I knew it had a haunted elevator shaft, and that my friend Ed lived on the third floor. I did not know that people could stand on the roof of the high-rise. I never thought that someone would jump off of it.

Until someone did.

His scream is a sound I would never forget. He landed head first, dented the pavement. How would I hide that from Mom? I didn’t say anything. Someone else called 911.

I spilled some hamster bedding on the porch.

**not part of the memoir, just a separate note: we were later informed that this particular soldier had recently returned home from deployment to find his wife  pregnant with another man’s child. The photo is the actual high rise from which he jumped, which you can see now has fencing around the top as a preventive measure. 

Episodic Memoir: Episode 2

The kid in the hotel lobby was nice until he explained to me that his family was staying in the Pink Palace while my family was staying in the Cockroach Hotel. His family had their own bathrooms.

Mine had to share a community bathroom.

We only had to live there for a few weeks. I never saw a cockroach.