Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: Oct. 2008


Dan Evans: No fan of “initiatives for hire” – especially not I-985

For those with the tenacity to plough through it (and reach the delightful anecdote at the end – but no cheating!), this is former Gov. Dan Evans sweeping analysis of what he calls “initiatives for hire.”

Short take: “These initiatives of the past decade have left us with a chaotic tax system and obligations for spending we cannot meet. Tax and budget-oriented initiatives are often poorly written, fail to anticipate unintended consequences, and mislead voters.”

It’s the (slightly edited) text of a speech he gave today at the South Everett Rotary and sent to us afterward. Bottom line: Pleeeease don’t vote for Initiative 985.

Today is Halloween, and four days from now is our general election. I’m not sure which is the scariest. We can all vote for our favorite candidates with relative confidence, but it is the initiatives which trouble me.

Initiatives are an important safety valve for citizens. But all initiatives have consequences, many of them not considered when we vote.

When a bill is presented to the Legislature, it is considered within the context of history, the state’s budget, and future impact on the state. Hearings are held, amendments made, arguments given, lobbyists heard, first in one House and then the other. After this tedious trial, a successful bill faces a governor’s scrutiny and possible veto.

In contrast, an initiative requires no scrutiny other than that of the author. They are usually single-purpose efforts which ignore history, distort public budgets and wreak havoc on the future.

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Liberal anxiety? Not for Doonesbury

Liberals all around the country are flocking to therapists to ease their fears that the polls will all be wrong and the next president will be named McCain.

So reports The New York Times, with only a slight hint of tongue in cheek. Self-medication with good Scotch would be less expensive and about as useful, if you ask me.

Anyhow, Garry Trudeau, author of the Doonesbury comic strip, is saying the hell with it. His strip for Nov. 5 assumes an Obama victory. (Update: Having a West Coast time advantage over East Coast newspapers, the

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One doctor’s quarrel with assisted suicide

We’re occasionally posting longer election-related pieces here that we don’t have the space to print as opeds (without being unfair to everyone who wants a political oped in).

This one’s from a retired doctor, Sharon Quick of Bonney Lake, who worries that I-1000 will alter the doctor-patient relationship. Her specialty was pediatric anesthesiology, pain management and critical care

The idea that patient choice is a valid argument for Initiative 1000 (I-1000) reflects a misunderstanding of the extensive ramifications of legalizing assisted suicide for patients, their families, doctors, and society.

Terminally ill patients and their families have grief work to do together. With advances in symptom management, pain can be largely controlled and fears can be addressed so that reconciliation and emotional growth can occur. Powerful experiences may happen when least expected, sometimes creating lifetime memories.

It is not in a patient’s best interest to cut short this time of grief, not only for his/her own well-being, but in consideration of the profound emotional effects that can devastate family left behind. Witnessing suicide sends a tragic message to children about how to handle suffering.

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Just got this in my inbox from a campaign volunteer:

I have just returned from helping a campaign I believe in most heartedly.

I was at a large well traveled intersection with another supporter, holding signs identifying the candidate and waving. I was standing there to not only identify the candidate but to also show support.

Everyone has the right to think and vote as they wish and not pay any attention to sign waivers but they should not go out of their way to splash those wavers. One dismisses those drivers who show their

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Beware collateral damage in credit card crunch

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Borrowers who use plastic responsibly shouldn’t suffer blows to their credit scores because banks are scrambling to limit losses.

Welcome to the U.S. Financial Crisis: Credit Card Edition.

Banks, already battered by bad mortgages, are now bracing for more bad news as squeezed consumers default on their credit cards. They are pulling back on new credit offers and putting stricter limits on existing accounts.

Tighter reins on the supply of plastic money are long overdue. But as banks pull back, responsible borrowers deserve some shelter from the fallout.

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The ‘war over Christmas’

The following editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

State opened itself up
to dueling Capitol displays

By allowing one religious display, the state now must accommodate other groups’ expressions of their faith – or lack thereof.

One "silly season" – the political one – is almost over. But the next one – the so-called "war over Christmas" that seems to erupt every year – has already begun.

The battleground:
the state Capitol in Olympia.
Weapons: a nativity scene and a sign erected by an atheist organization.

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Friday editorials: Credit card crisis; Christmas wars

Here comes the credit card crisis. It’s hard to blame lenders for pulling back, what with Americans’ credit card debt topping the Wall Street bailout in sheer size. But regulators and lawmakers need to make sure that creditworthy consumers are held harmless.

The Christmas wars have begun again with a tussle over a creche and an atheist manifesto planned for the state Capitol. Can’t we all just get along?

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


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