The news out of The Seattle Times is that a reduction in force will be far less ugly than it could have been. Ninety-nine Times employees expressed interest in a voluntary severance package, enough that there will be no forced layoffs of other employees, including suburban bureau reporters who had been slated for the heave-ho had enough people not volunteered to be laid off in return for extended salary and benefits. The Times' goal was to get as many as 110 people out the door, to eat away at about half of 2004's $12 million loss. Among those leaving the paper are Deputy Metro Editor John Saul, Foreign and National Editor Jim Mallery, and Mary Rothschild, an assistant Metro editor. Times spokesperson Kerry Coughlin wouldn't confirm identities of other newsroom personnel who'll be leaving the paper, most of them by early April. Do more job cuts loom at the financially strapped Times? "We can't make any guarantees, but it's our hope that we won't need to have any further reductions," says Coughlin. PHILIP DAWDY
A Washington State Bar hearing officer has recommended a two-month suspension for suburban municipal-court prosecutor Margita Dornay, who was found to have been less than honest on the witness stand in a child-custody case. The disciplinary action grew out of an affair Dornay had with King County Sheriff's Deputy David Hick, who gave Dornay an array of gifts that included a horse and a loaded gun and convinced her he was a dangerous mafioso during their yearlong relationship. (See "Trials and Tribulations," Sept. 18, 2002.) Dornay, who once wrote Hick a note stating, "I love you . . . oh my god . . . I lust you," said Hick grew possessive and violent. She eventually obtained a restraining order against him, forcing Hick to turn in his gun and thereby lose his sheriff's department job. Dornay, married, represented an Issaquah law firm that contracted to prosecute traffic and criminal cases in Kirkland, Tukwila, Kenmore, and Shoreline. The state bar this month found that Dornay misled a Snohomish County court when she testified on behalf of Hick in a child-custody hearing, insisting he was "a very devoted, gentle" father. The bar cited mitigating factors pressuring Dornay, calling her "traumatized and afraid" due to Hick's actions, such as his holding a gun to his head and threatening to kill himself if Dornay left him. The restraining order and firearm prohibition against Hick, incidentally, expires this month, leaving him free to reapply for his sheriff's job. RICK ANDERSON
"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past 10 years, about 600 people—including me—would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."
—Hunter S. Thompson, 1937–2005
For more on Hunter S. Thompson and his legacy, see Mossback and Gonzo Legacy.