Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: Jan. 2008

Jan.
30th

Like Obama or McCain? Keep it to yourself

Reader Mike Hondorp has an unusual request, aired this letter to the editor that we’re publishing in the print TNT Thursday morning. Here’s a sneak preview and a response I sent to Mike. Chime in and let us know what you think.


No More Political Preference Letters—Please!


Now that we have entered the political campaign season for national, state and local offices, I am dismayed to see that The News Tribune is printing letters to the Editor that reflect reader’s support for particular candidates. While I enjoy reading input from individuals about the issues and concerns of the

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Jan.
30th

Goal: $90 million to boost communities

Felix Flannigan, director of Tacoma’s Martin Luther King Jr. Housing Development Association, came in for an editorial board Tuesday with some financial types to announce the launch of a so-called "double-bottom line" real estate development fund.


The association has created a nonprofit subsidiary called Sound Community Initiatives, which Flannigan serves as president and CEO. CSI selected the Kennedy Wilson Fund Management Group of Los Angeles, which plans to raise as much as $90 million to invest in low- and middle-income areas in Pierce, King, Snohomish, Kitsap and Thurston counties.


Larry Kopp, a former Citicorp

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Jan.
30th

Thursday editorials: Perplexing case of “pagan Catholic”

The case of the McNeil Island prison chaplain who took leave rather than serve an inmate who claims to be both Catholic and pagan presents First Amendment conundrum. The priest shouldn’t be forced to violate his religious conscience, but the inmate, in the custody of the state, also – apparently – has a First Amendment right to practice his hybrid religion, which requires the involvement of a priest. Who knows what the answer is? Prison authorities have to see if some kind of practical accomodation can be made.


The Pierce County Housing Authority’s record of handling complaints at the

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Jan.
30th

Clash of the Kennedys

Caroline and Ted Kennedy have been making headlines this week for throwing their support to Democratic hopeful Barack Obama, but Robert Kennedy’s kids beg to differ. In a less noticed endorsement, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kerry Kennedy backed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.


The family disagreement has played out on op-ed pages on both coasts. Caroline’s piece was published Sunday by The New York Times and the Kennedy cousins had their say in The Los Angeles Times.


Their arguments fall along now-predictable lines. Caroline writes, “(Obama) has built a movement that is

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Jan.
29th

County ethics code stalls again

An effort to revise the Pierce County ethics code is stuck in “Park.”

Word from council chambers is that the council will once again postpone action on ethics code changes that were tabled in December for “further study.”

Councilmen Tim Farrell and Calvin Goings, both Democrats, were frustrated by a raft of new proposed amendments that appeared today with no previous review.
Councilman Roger Bush, R-Graham, who wants the code to take a much different approach that the version proposed by Farrell and Goings, urged taking more time to study the latest amendments.

It looks to me like the ethics code is caught up in election-year politics. (See our Sunday editorial). Both Goings, D-Puyallup, and Councilman Shawn Bunney, R-Lake Tapps, are running for county executive. I suspect Republicans don’t want Goings to be able to claim credit for a stronger ethics code. (see response from Councilman Roger Bush, R-Graham) below.)

Which leads me to another thought: Perhaps a wiser and less partisan approach would have been to appoint a reputable, broadbased and independent citizen panel to review the code and propose changes. Maybe it will take a citizen initiative to get the job done right.

County Councilman Roger Bush responds

I want to let you know that I believe that you have misunderstood what took place today regarding the proposed Ethics ordinance discussions.

First, in your third paragraph, you state that Farrell and Goings, “both Democrats, were frustrated by a raft of new proposed amendments that appeared today with no previous review.” This would lead readers to a false conclusion. Specifically, out of the four amendments, three were sponsored by Mr. Goings. Three other draft documents were included in the packet for discussion that have not as yet received sponsors (they were there for informational and discussion purposes…one from the Prosecutors, one from the Ethics Commissioners, and one from the Auditor.)

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Jan.
29th

Why do we have so many pagans in the pen?

The ed board talked this morning about today’s Page One story on the McNeil Island prison chaplain who’s conflicted about serving an inmate who claims to be both pagan and Catholic.


We debated the First Amendment issues involved and plan an editorial later this week. But we were also intrigued by the chart giving a breakdown on the religions claimed by state prisoners.


Why are there more pagans than Catholics in the state prisons? Is Washington a hotbed for pagans? Are Catholics on the wane here? Do the rankings simply mean that pagans are more likely

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Jan.
29th

Wednesday editorials: Green-light Puyallup bandstand

The Alcohol Impact Area designation sought for Tacoma’s East Side and South End would be the state’s larget, but the communities have a rock-solid case for it. The state Liquor Control Board should approve this tool to fight public drunkenness.


The Puyallup City Council would be foolish to stymie plans for a bandstand in Pioneer Park, especially given the Rotary club’s promise to put up $50,000 for it.


About our editorials:

If you have comments or questions about these topics, please email them to david.seago@thenewstribune.com. Editorials represent the consensus view of The News Tribune’s editorial

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Jan.
29th

He’s guilty, set him free

We were shocked by a a number of details in The Seattle Times’ investigative series on criminal activities by members of the Rose Bowl-winning 2000 Husky football team. See today’s editorial.


One was King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng’s decision not to charge tight end Jerramy Stevens with the rape of a 19-year-old in a Greek Row alley.


Athletic director Barbara Hedges took that decision as an “exoneration” of Stevens, but it’s hard to believe anyone is that naive about the criminal justice system. Prosecutors decline to prosecute wrongdoers for any number of reasons, including tight

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