Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: May 2007

May
30th

We’ve been ‘turfed’

The latest letter-writing campaigns flooding the letters to the editor e-mail are from supporters of economic sanctions against Sudan and those backing the Matthew Shepard Act, congressional legislation that would expand the definition of hate crimes to include those targeting people because of gender, sexual identity or disability.

Unfortunately, we might not run any of them. They’re "turf," letters usually written by an organization and picked up by supporters across the country to send to their local newspapers.

Oh, sometimes the writer tacks on an original sentence or two to give the illusion that the letter is original. But too many of the paragraphs are identical. And we only run original letters (although every now and then one slips by).

Here’s the part of the letters that is pretty much constant:

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May
30th

Thursday editorials: WSH safety; gas gouging

Western State Hospital must protect its workers while minimizing restraints on patients. It’s a tall order, but others have done it. Fortunately, current administration appears to be serious about staff safety. Among other measures, it is giving workers far more training in subduing and calming aggressive patients. And it has clarified that restraints can still be used when necessary to prevent injuries.


Bills against gas gouging are congressional feel-good legislation; they don’t address what’s really driving up the price of gas: world demand, geopolitics and the status of refineries. And passing anti-gouging legislation does nothing to get Americans

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May
30th

Chaplain’s story strikes a chord

The article on the cover of Sunday’s Insight section by reserve chaplain Norris Burkes drew a warm response. I wasn’t surprised. Here are several emails Burkes received from TNT readers. Does anybody have a good answer for the woman who wants to write supportive letters to soldiers in Iraq?

Hi. I just read the story about your son traveling home from Marine Boot Camp in today’s Tacoma News Tribune and enjoyed it very much. I was at MCRD San Deigo this past Monday touring the Marine Corps Martial Arts facility and it brought back fond memories from my boot camp experience back in 1968. Please tell your son I also appreciate his service and tell your daughter thanks for standing up against a White House Administration that is quite guilty of abusing our men and women in uniform.

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May
29th

Western State follow-up

We had already put our editorial pages for Wednesday to bed when I received this note from Jim Stevenson, a spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services. It concerns the nws articles Sunday and Monday by TNT reporter Alex Otto on safety problems at Western State Hospital.


Hi, David. Just wanted to say that Steve (Williams) and I felt Alex did a fair job overall of portraying the situation at Western State and its ongoing efforts to grapple with the patient and worker safety issues. See our follow-up editorial here on Wednesday morning

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May
29th

Cindy Sheehan bows out of the fight

cindy2

The wires are reporting today that controversial war protester Cindy Sheehan is "resigning" as the public face of opposition to the war in Iraq.


Find the full text of her resignation statement here. See the reaction of fellow antiwar mom Tina Richards here. Richards penned a Memorial Day article with similar sentiments, blaming Democrats for not doing enough to end the war in Iraq.


Sheehan excerpt:


The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I

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May
29th

Guys, booties are OK

Want to read a funny legal opinion about an excitable state senator, white carpets and the merits of booties for corrections officers? Check out a newly issued opinion dismissing an ethics complaint filed against – who else? – state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn.

The opinion apparently isn’t online yet, but you can get the full text from Legislative Ethics Board Chairman Wayne Ehlers (a former House speaker from Pierce County) by clicking on "Read more" below.

In a nutshell, Roach, famous for her hairtrigger temper, blew her stack last year when a couple of corrections officers on an official inspection at her home refused to take off their shoes. Roach has white carpets and is very protective of them, evidently.

The officers were there on business involving Roach’s son, Stephen, who had been convicted and imprisoned for selling Oxycontin. After the confrontation, Roach wasted no time phoning the head of the state Corrections Department, Harold Clarke, to complain about the officer’s attitude.

The complaint accused Roach of misusing her position as a legislator to influence handling of her son’s case. Ehlers concluded corrections officials "may have based their decisions, in part at least, on their desire to avoid conflict with a state legislator." But there was no evidence that Roach acted improperly, he ruled.

Here’s the best part of the ruling:

Clarke states he listened to Respondent’s complaints over the phone but said little. He later delegated the question whether booties were a viable option for DOC to an assistant. It appears from the investigation that the use of booties is now an option for DOC personnel.

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May
27th

LeMay decision time nears

The LeMay Car Museum‘s option on a site near the Tacoma Dome expires in August. That means we’ll soon find out what the museum’s backers can actually deliver.


My prediction: Better lower expectations.


I gather that instead of an exhibition building where visitors can admire hundreds of vintage cars collected by Parkland’s late Harold LeMay, there may be an education facility and what amounts to a storage garage for the cars. The only public display facility would be an outdoor "showfield" where collectors and car clubs could show off their four-wheeled treasures.


Tacoma City Manager

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May
25th

Patty Murray calls

Washington’s U.S. Sen. Patty Murray called Thursday afternoon, just before the Senate vote on the supplemental budget that ended the Democrats’ impasse with the president over war funding.


Murray wanted to explain why she intended to vote for the measure, which passed 80 to 14. The bill had already cleared the House. Murray said she still believes “we need to change the mission in Iraq,” but the bill was necessary to assure funding and support for the troops.


I asked if she was feeling heat from Democratic constituents who want to force a quick U.S.

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