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Correspondence

Ron Sims

People call me up and say they want to beat me to a pulp.  I am, they tell me, a lowlife muckraker, and obviously a racist to boot.  Some of my closest friends express doubts about my sanity.  An apparently well-subscribed website appears to be devoted to my downfall and calls for my books to be banned, so that I can no longer make a “fat living” (sic) by peddling my odious political views in such works as Imran Khan: The Cricketer, the Celebrity, the Politician and Masters of Mystery: The Strange Friendship of Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.

What have I done?  I have tried to find out more about Ron Sims, the deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development and previously the long-running chief executive of King County, Washington, where I live.  Sims (an African-American) stirs strong emotions in these parts.  Experts will be chewing, and gnashing, over his legacy for years to come.  Was he a sort of cross between Mother Teresa and Robin Hood, as his supporters claim, or just another facile rabble-rouser whose personal wealth largely insulated him from the consequences of his own social-engineering schemes?  Opinionated, vain, shameless, intellectually agile, personable and articulate, duplicitous and shrewd, by at least some measures brilliant, Sims may be the nation’s most polarizing politician after Barack Obama.

Born in 1948 in Spokane, Washington, Sims...

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