Politics, Culture, and Religion

Politics

The surprise announcement that U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn of Bellevue will not seek re-election in her Eastside congressional district means there will be a crowded GOP primary, and Republicans fear the nominee could be state Sen. Pam Roach of Auburn. If too many mainstream conservatives from the 8th District enter the race, they would divide support and allow Roach, the more-conservative, pistol-packing mama from South King County, to win the nomination. Among the other possible candidates: KVI-AM host John Carlson, state Sen. Luke Esser of Bellevue, state Sen. Cheryl Pflug of Maple Valley, King County Council member David Irons Jr. of Sammamish, and King County Republican Chair Pat Herbold. Roach would leave the GOP more vulnerable to a strong Democratic challenger, like state Rep. Laura Ruderman of Kirkland or KCPQ-TV broadcaster Tony Ventrella. The solution the GOP is praying for? King County Sheriff Dave Reichert, whose candidacy would dissuade a lot of Republicans, including Roach. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

Culture

Now more than 90 percent complete, the city's new Central Library, that exceedingly special and abnormal structure on Fourth Avenue between Spring and Madison streets, was opened for a media-only preview on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Deborah Jacobs, the city librarian, and Sam Miller, project manager for LMN Architects, led a pack of press through partially completed floors that overlook sweeping, angular open spaces and the "Books Spiral," a gently winding, continuous space spanning four floors in which the majority of the library's collection will be housed. Highly conceptual yet logical and intuitive, the significance of the new library is both in the obvious—the fantastically crooked and open glass exterior—and in the details: The elevator displays not just the floor number but Dewey decimal decades. Opening day: May 23. LAURA CASSIDY

Religion

A recent Associated Press accounting puts the Catholic sex-abuse toll at 177 victims, 64 priests, and $14.3 million in legal settlements in Washington, with some cases going back 50 years and new cases still being filed. Grown men still weep at their dark memories of priestly assault, and others cannot survive them: Jefrey Anthony Alfieri, 43, for one, shot himself with a silver .357 magnum sitting in his Ford Taurus with the engine running outside Holy Family Catholic Church in Kirkland on Feb. 17, 2003. His note said: "To Whom It May Concern, sorry you have to see this mess. This is a suicide." The note, unpublished until now, indicated he had battled depression for 30 years and had recently sued the church and Father Gerald Moffat, who allegedly molested him. (Moffat and the church deny the claim.) Alfieri decided to finally cure his pain by returning to the place where he said it began, parking in front of Holy Family Kids Club. He was found by five children. Moffat, on leave, isn't among the church's more serious alleged offenders. The most relentless appears to have been Father James McGreal, who the Seattle archdiocese admits was known within the church as a pedophile for 40 years. The archdiocese says the now-retired priest assaulted fewer than 20 victims, but court records say he admitted to molesting "hundreds." That's what we mean about the toll. Not even God seems to know. RICK ANDERSON

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