Inside Opinion

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

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Feb. 2008

Feb.
29th

Maybe it’s legal, but it stinks

That’s gist of a barb Tacoma City Councilman Mike Lonergan fired at Pierce County Councilmen Calvin Goings and Tim Farrell this afternoon.


Remember that Lonergan is running as an independent for county executive. So is Democrat Goings. A peeved Lonergan asked Susan Long, the County Council staff attorney, about the legality of a county-paid mailer Goings and Farrell sent advertising an ethics forum they held Wednesday in Tacoma.


The pair are pushing a proposed county ethics code that has twice been postponed. The County Council may vote on it Tuesday. Here’s Lonergan’s statement on the reply from Long:


Read more »

Feb.
29th

Parents of the world, unite!

Today on the opinion page, we knocked legislation that would unionize day care center workers. The bill would essentially help the state’s largest union enroll 10,000 new members and enlist the state in collecting union dues. In turn, the union would have more money to spend on election campaigns, presumably Democrats’. If it weren’t all legal, it would look a lot like money-laundering.

But I digress. The reason for this post is to point out that the day care bill isn’t the worst of the Legislature’s proposed union giveaways. A bill now in the Senate would also unionize foster parents.

Parenting is hard work indeed, but does a union have a place negotiating the terms of what essentially is substitute parenthood? Don’t we think more of foster parents’ contributions to the lives of beleaguered kids than to label them state workers?

With some foster parents beginning to voice those concerns, the Senate Human Services and Corrections committee last night stripped the bill of the bargaining component. But the legislation could still be in play.

Here’s an argument for letting the bill die from a foster parent who just happens to also be vice president for research at the conservative Washington Policy Center.

By Paul Guppy

It starts with a phone call. “Can you take a child this weekend?” “Do you have space for a little girl?” “We have two boys who need home.” These are the kinds of calls foster parents receive, often with little notice.

Read more »

Feb.
29th

A Senate slap at Sonntag

On his Washington Policy Center blog, Jason Mercier alerts us to a surprise move in the state Senate that would esssentially be a slap at state Auditor Brian Sonntag for his handling of performance audits.


Senate Bill 6450, earlier thought to be dead this session, was revived under a suspension of rules. It would force the auditor to reimburse school districts for costs associated with performance audits.


As Mercier notes, Sonntag strongly objects and contends the audits save local governments far more than they cost.


Even though Sonntag is a Democrat, many Democratic legislators

Read more »

Feb.
28th

Willie Sutton guarding the bank? Maybe not

The teacher’s union president might not be the first person who’d come to mind if you were looking for someone to bargain with the union on behalf of the public. So we asked Interim Superintendent Art Jarvis why he appointed Gayle Elijah – the president of the Tacoma Education Association – as a director of human resources for the Tacoma School District.


Why also asked him how her classroom work qualified her for the specialized administrative work of human resources.


Jarvis had a reasonable answer for both questions.


“Her integrity is respected by everybody within the district

Read more »

Feb.
28th

Dickering in the dark

Here’s one way lawmakers in Olympia contrive to do public business out of the public eye. This appeared in a roundup of legislative action on education-related issues sent to school directors around the state.


This afternoon, the full Senate also adopted the Senate version of the 2008 Supplemental Capital Construction Budget. The Capital Budget was adopted with no dissenting votes. Negotiations on a final, compromise Operating Budget and a compromise Capital Budget are expected to begin at any time. It is unclear when, or if, a formal "Conference Committee" will be appointed to negotiate the budgets; however, it is likely

Read more »

Feb.
28th

Friday editorials: Hope for Morgan Bridge?

Editorial lineup for Friday:


1. A revised cost estimate bolsters hopes for restoring Tacoma’s historic Murray Morgan Bridge, but it’s too soon to celebrate. There’s a lot more we need to know before restoration can be deemed feasible.


2. Democratic legislators may do a favor for a politically powerful labor union by allowing day care workers collective bargaining rights. Our view: Don’t.


Want to sit in on our daily 9 a.m. editorial board meeting? Email cheryl.tucker@thenewstribune.com to make a date.

Feb.
28th

Referendum targets county partner benefits

Pierce County’s new domestic partner benefits might be an issue in county executive and council races this fall – if opponents can get a referendum on the ballot.

Tacoma City Councilman Mike Lonergan and Pierce County Councilman Roger Bush have aligned themselves with an effort to repeal the domestic partner benefits the County Council approved in December.

Lonergan is running as an independent for county executive. Bush was one of three County Council Republicans who voted against the benefits. The measure passed when Republican Councilman Shawn Bunney, who is also running for county executive, sided with three council Democrats.

And one of those Democrats is Calvin Goings, who is yet another candidate for executive. Pierce County Auditor Pat McCarthy is also in the race; as a staunch Democrat, she would presumably be considered a supporter of domestic partner benefits.

A conservative group called CornerStone Foundation of Washington held a fundraising dinner at the Tacoma Elks Club earlier this month to back a referendum forcing a public vote on the benefits issue.
.
The invitation listed Lonergan and Bush as “supporting members” of the group. Others included state Reps. Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, and Jim McCune, R-Graham; former GOP state representatives Lois McMahan and Grant Pelesky, and Ron Emmons, pastor of Orting Christian Church and former Orting police chief and city councilman.

The event speaker was Ken Hutcherson, a Kirkland pastor and former Seahawks player who attracted wide attention in 2005 for threatening to organize a national boycott against Microsoft if it supported state legislation banning discrimination against gays.

The invitation lists the repeal measure as Referendum 20076-15. I’m awaiting word from the auditor’s office on who filed it and how many signatures are needed to get it on the ballot.

This might complicate the executive’s race for both Bunney and Lonergan. Republicans who feel strongly about the benefits issue might gravitate toward Lonergan. But Lonergan could blur his independent stance if he lines up with Republicans on a contentious social issue.

Update: Lonergan comments

Read more »

Feb.
28th

George Will fans, rejoice!

Maybe it’s ironic that we’re bringing syndicated columnist George Will back to our pages just when another sesquipedalian conservative wordsmith, William F. Buckley Jr., has just written his life’s final chapter.



But connoisseurs of elegant (if often arch) prose will be pleased to find Will’s column in the opinion section Friday. While there’s no doubting Will’s brilliance, we had tired of his highbrow Oxfordian tone last year and decided to try younger conservative Jonah Goldberg instead.


Goldberg, in my view, turned out to be a bigger

Read more »