To the Editor:

Responding to your editorial of August 24th on “The Matt Manweller Dilemma,” you’re right: Whatever we feel about what happened, his firing at Central is out of our hands. The university has acted, Manweller has responded, and barring a settlement the matter will be decided in court. The issue for us is whether he should be reelected to the state legislature.

You imply that the answer is “maybe not” because voters in Kittitas County had “higher concerns” about him than the rest of the district in the primary election. O.K., but the reason may not have been the investigation, and anyway, the district covers three counties and runs nearly 200 miles east to west. Local support is important, but representing that district means more than pleasing us. As it is, we’ve hardly been abused. Manweller has brought money for the Ellensburg train depot and the Clymer Museum among other local projects.

You also question whether he’ll be able to “champion” CWU after his firing. His relations with the university will probably be cooler, but they’ve hardly been warm and fuzzy so far. He’s been at odds with the CWU administration for the past six years, yet he’s still brought money for the campus capital budget and promoted the university in Olympia. I suspect he’ll continue to do that because higher education is important to him, it’s been his profession for 25 years, and he knows that the university is a key economic asset to the district.

Finally, you wonder if his firing and the reasons for it will reflect badly on our image with the rest of the state. That’s a concern because, sadly, his reputation is damaged no matter how his lawsuit comes out. It would be nice if people read the charges against him and his responses to them, but many will not: They’ll base their judgments on hearsay and media reports, concluding that where there’s smoke there must be fire.

But if you ask what it says about us to return a man like that to Olympia, my reply would be: It says we believe a person is innocent until proven guilty, and that allegations are not proof no matter how plausible they appear. It says we believe in making choices free of public hype and political pressure. That, I believe, is good for our image, not bad.

Corwin King

Ellensburg

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