Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: Jan. 2009

Jan.
31st

How much voltage is in this stimulus bill?

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

America’s children and unborn grandchildren are on a spending spree. Congress – as it shapes a stupendously expensive stimulus bill – is doing the actual buying.

Because that package will be billed to our children’s credit cards in the form of national debt, we owe it to them to shop judiciously.

So far, that’s not happening. The $819 billion measure that emerged from the House of Representatives last week would be far less expensive if it were stripped down to those provisions that might actually help jump-start the U.S. economy.

The bill has other provisions – including long-term infrastructure investment – that may well deserve passage on their own merits. But the package as passed is anything but focused on the immediate crisis.

A hypothetical example of pure stimulus would be to give all Americans debit cards whose balances would have to be spent within six months – or else forfeited. If $300 billion were distributed this way, roughly $1,000 would be put at the disposal of each person in this country. And it would be spent; virtually all of it would be injected into the economy.

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Jan.
31st

The High-Def Stimulus Package (or How TV Can Save the Economy)

Everybody has an idea about what the stimulus package now being debated in Congress should and should not include.

My colleague, Pat O’Callahan, has written an editorial about the issue for Sunday in which we suggest stimulative action that will get almost immediate results. And that means putting money directly into our hot little hands.

Not money exactly. It should be something like loaded VISA cards – maybe $500 to anyone who filed a tax return last year. And give the card an expiration date: say, three months from time of issue. Talk about motivation.

Now, here’s why I call it the High-Def Stimulus Package.

Say you’ve had your eye on one of those spiffy high-def TV sets . . . you know, the ones that take up half the living room wall. You’re worried about the economy and have been hoarding your shekels. But now you’ve got $500 burning a hole in your wallet. And you HAVE to use it or lose it.

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Jan.
30th

For Sunday, Monday: Stimulus spree, Fort Lewis lifestyle center

Sunday: America’s children and unborn grandchildren are on a spending spree. Since we’re the ones doing the actually buying – in a stimulus package that will be billed to their credit cards – we owe it to them to shop judiciously.


Monday: It’s easy to see why some Lakewood city officials are upset about a $90 million shopping and restaurant center planned for Fort Lewis. The development is simply beyond what is needed – even with the projected increase in personnel expected in coming years.


If you have comments or questions about these topics, please email them to

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Jan.
30th

Dave Upthegrove: He’s not a nerd

State Rep. Dave Upthegrove took exception with our editorial this morning calling his bill to prohibit the UW from giving special exceptions to athletes during enrollment cutbacks a “revenge of the nerds” moment.

Let the record reflect that Upthegrove himself was a student athlete. And that college film class in which he was forced to make do with outdated equipment? Just an elective.

He also took issue with our description of his bill. He’s concerned that we made it sound like his legislation would apply retroactively to the students granted admission to UW’s spring quarter. It would not. We were using this year’s students as a case study for what might be the consequences of such a bill.

On 1/30/09 1:15 AM, “Upthegrove, Rep. Dave” wrote:

Hi Kim,

I appreciate your interest in my legislation, and am excited to see a public debate.

I know your editorial has been published, so my communication is too late, but I wanted to let you know a couple quick things about me and my motivations for the legislation. I was a two-sport varsity letterman in High School and still play in an organized weekly basketball league, and am a sports fan. I took a film class in school to fulfill some elective requirement, and used video equipment as one of several examples when pressed by the Seattle Times reporter.

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Jan.
30th

Football is too American for WWU administrators and faculty

In the early 1970s, a University of Montana group called the "Radical Student Coalition" was mighty proud of the fact it orchestrated student defunding the Montana Grizzly football team. "Heavy" and "Far out!" "Off the Pig(skin)!" "No more dollars for gratuitous acts of violence in Vietnam-era Missoula!"

Of course, Montana Grizzly football continued; the UM administration continued to fund the program, and a saner generation soon restored student funding. The Montana Griz became a NCAA 1-A powerhouse, with huge alumni support.

But kneejerk liberal anti-Footballism did not die out. My favorite liberal folktale is that, on Superbowl Sunday, acts of domestic violence against women increase exponentially. This fabrication still shows up as “fact” in leftist blogs and rants. Maybe they even teach about it in Evergreen State College Women’s Studies courses.

"Soccer good, football bad."

Now it appears the Radical Student Coalition has grown up, and some of them are running Western Washington University! Good grief. Cut the WWU Viking football program? A century-long WWU tradition? Say it ain’t so!

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Jan.
29th

Olympia, don’t mess with UW admissions

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

A state lawmaker upset about the University of Washington’s special treatment of student-athletes should back off his bill.

Rep. Dave Upthegrove appears to be having a Revenge of the Nerds moment.

The Des Moines Democrat was the kid in school who watched "Citizen Kane" on a surplused film projector while football players reviewed game footage on big-screen televisions.

And it’s stuck in his craw ever since. When the University of Washington announced that it was closing its doors to new students this spring – athletes excepted – Upthegrove decided enough was enough.

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Jan.
29th

Tolling I-90 bridge: It’s a matter of fairness

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Lake Washington commuters ought to shoulder a hefty share of a new Highway 520 bridge.

It’s official: The Federal Highway Administration will go for tolls on the I-90 bridge over Lake Washington if the Legislature goes for them.

So go for the tolls, Legislature. It’s a matter of fundamental fairness to Washingtonians who live outside the neighborhood of Seattle and Bellevue.

The fairness works like this:

The Highway 520 bridge over Lake Washington must be replaced, at a projected cost of at least $4.6 billion and perhaps as much as $6.6 billion. Also, Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way viaduct with a tunnel, which will also cost more than $4 billion. Together, these projects look likely to suck the funding out of highway improvements across the state – including high- priority jobs in the South Sound.

The more state tax revenues are spent on the Highway 520 bridge and the tunnel, the less will be available for improvements in the rest of the state. So the Legislature should adopt any reasonable measures that promise to contain the cost of those projects.

Measures like tolls on the I-90 bridge.

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