Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Archives: April 2007

April
30th

MacDonald on MacDonald

When Doug MacDonald announced his retirement as transportation secretary Friday (see his science demonstration), it brought back memories of my interview with him a few months after he took the job in 2001.


A few tidbits:


He’s commonly regarded as a champion of pavement – and in fact got a lot of concrete poured in the last six years. But when he talked to me, he described cars as a “maybe delusionally short-term device.”


On the Department of Transportation as he found it then: “I’ve never seen a place so unprepared for public inquiry.”


On

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April
30th

Dobson v. Doonesbury

dob3Our letters to the editor e-mail regularly receives form letters, which we call "turf." The latest is one that’s going around in various incarnations to defend Focus on the Family head James Dobson (pictured) against a Garry Trudeau "Doonesbury" that ran April 15. Click here to see it.


The letter, cribbed verbatim from a link paid for by Focus on the Family, came in from a Spanaway writer we’ll just call "John."


We won’t run John’s letter in the print edition (and he goes on our unofficial "enemy’s list" for trying

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April
30th

Tuesday editorials

1. The Tacoma School Board should start over on its nonwritten performance evaluation of Charlie Milligan and do it right – in writing. The absention of two board members points to dysfunction on the board. Milligan’s lack of precise, measurable goals also reflects badly on the board, which clearly needs expert guidance.


2. Doug MacDonald did an extraordinary job of restoring the public’s faith in the state Department of Transportation; the defeat of Initiative 912 in 2005 was proof of that. Wish he was sticking around for the RTID battle.


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April
29th

Sorting out United Way giving

Our recent editorial about the United Way’s 2006 fundraising campaign went to press before I could get some questions answered about how 2006 compared to 2005’s campaign.


In 2005, United Way of Pierce County raised $12.2 million. Last year, it raised $13.7 million including a one-time $1.75 million match from Craig and Niki Ueland, the Russell Investment Group, George and Dion Russell, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Take the match away, and United Way actually raised less in 2006 than it did in 2005.


I asked Rick Allen, United Way president, about the apparent

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April
29th

The guv on the session

In Insight today, Dick Davis, vice president-communications for the Association of Washington Business, gave his take on the recently concluded legislative session.

Here’s another assessment, from someone closer to the process:

2007 Session Marked by Change and Results
By Gov. Chris Gregoire

The 2007 legislative session has adjourned and it will be remembered as one where we made responsible changes that families can count on, changes that will make Washington a better place to live and work.

Across the state, Washingtonians asked us to invest in and reform education. We are delivering.

Across the state, Washingtonians asked us to address our health care crisis. We are delivering.

Across the state, Washingtonians asked us to help create family-wage jobs. We are delivering.

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April
28th

Good eats in Lakewood

I was thrilled to see Ed Murrieta’s generally positive review Friday of the relatively new Tacoma Szechuan restaurant in Lakewood. (And WHY couldn’t they call it LAKEWOOD Szechuan? It’s not even close to the border with Tacoma.)

eatery


Several weeks ago I asked Ed if he’d eaten anywhere good lately. He said if I liked Chinese food – the real kind, not dumbed down for American palates – then I should try a restaurant he was going to review in a few weeks, Tacoma Szechuan. From the enthusiasm with which he recommended

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April
27th

Supreme speech

State Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson got feisty last week when the court unanimously demolished an attempt to muzzle anti-tax radio commentary.

Johnson.jpg


The case – see here for our editorial – involved two KVI talk radio hosts, John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur, who were on the airwaves touting an initiative to overturn the 2005 gas tax. A county and three cities sued to force the campaign to declare their commentary as in-kind donations, and a Thurston County court obligingly issued an injunction against the campaign.


Johnson and Justice Richard Sanders, who

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April
27th

Doug MacDonald leaving transportation post

We just got word from the governor’s office that Doug MacDonald, Washington’s transportation secretary, is leaving his job in July. Here’s his letter of resignation.DOUG MCDONALD.jpg


MacDonald, known for his frank talk and somewhat quirky personality, has been largely credited with returning credibility to the state Department of Transportation. The 62-year-old has been losing his eyesight for years due to diabetes, although there is no indication that’s the reason behind his departure. (His driver’s license expired last year because he couldn’t pass the vision test).


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