Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: May 2010


Initiatives: Many are filed, but few are sane

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Initiatives. Pity the state that lacks the political entertainment.

A few of this year’s bumper crop of ballot measures have gotten all the media, including Tim Eyman’s anti-tax measures, and proposals to create an income tax and legalize marijuana.

Also Initiative 1069, the brainchild of Orting’s James E. Vaughn, which would “require the Seal of the State of Washington to be changed to depict a vignette of a tapeworm dressed in a three- piece suit attached to the lower intestine of a taxpayer shown as the central figure.”

But those are just the beginning. Dozens and dozens of initiatives – an all-time record – have been registered with the secretary of state’s office this year. Some of the high points (or low points, if you prefer):
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Step up to childhood nutrition funding, Congress

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Summer is fast approaching, and for too many children that means not only a break from schoolwork but also from regular meals.

When school lets out, thousands of Pierce County children who qualify for free or reduced-cost breakfasts and lunch will miss out out on what for many of them may be the most nutritious meals they get.

Some places they hang out at will provide some food. But many such sites find the federal red tape so overwhelming that they’re discouraged from providing subsidized summer meals even though they’d be the ideal places to offer them.

Streamlining the application process for obtaining funding for summer meals is one goal for anti-hunger advocates as they work toward congressional re-authorization and updating of the federal Child Nutrition Act in coming weeks. It’s a goal the state’s delegation should support. Read more »


We remember and honor our South Sound heroes

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

On this Memorial Day, we honor the men and women of our nation’s military who died in their nation’s service. The graves of those who fell in long-ago wars and conflicts will be decorated with flags and flowers, and services will be held on military installations and in cemeteries.

For many of our South Sound neighbors, this Memorial Day takes on entirely new meaning, for they will be mourning a loved one killed in Iraq or Afghanistan within the last year.

The nation lost a soldier, but they lost a son, a daughter, a father, a spouse, a brother, a sister, a grandfather. Our loss is abstract; theirs is all too real and highly personal.
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The watchdog that didn’t bark

Shame on us.

I’ve scoured our past elections endorsements and failed to find any real warning to the voters how big a catastrophe Dale Washam would be as Pierce County auditor.

Most citizens probably pay no attention to our endorsements, which is fine. But some do. If we had shared what we knew about Washam’s obsessiveness and anger problems, it’s possible he might not sneaked in under the radar in a crowded ranked-choice ballot and wound up in charge of a major department of county government.

The fact is, we – like many others – were blindsided by Washam’s

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Et tu Floyd?

Landis’ statements may be just one more fluttering attempt to derail the Armstrong juggernaut, but his spot on Armstrong’s team undoubtedly provided him with access to the alleged refrigerator filled with bags of clean blood.


A harsh light on Dale Washam’s stewardship

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Exhibit A in how not to run a public agency is the 54-page report detailing Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam’s abuse of authority, waste of public money and violations of county and state laws.

But don’t just take our word for it. Read some of what Washam’s employees and their union representative told an outside investigator:

“Staff is fearful; he shakes his fingers at them.”

“Most are feeling that it is a hostile workplace.”

“… everyone appears demoralized. You can hear a pin drop.”

“People cannot sleep, and they are anxious about their job security and finding a new job. … it is disheartening to be referred to as criminal and having committed fraud.”

“Dale Washam flaunts being untouchable.”

“… the office is slowly grinding to a stop.”

“The PI issue is just too much for Dale Washam to let go; someone has to pay and someone has to be responsible for it.”

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Nude beaches? In sub-arctic Seattle?

If you can believe an interactive website set up by Mayor Mike McGinn, the top priorities of Seattleites, in this order, are:

• More light rail.

• Legalizing pot.

• Opening nude beaches.

It’s a wholly unscientific, self-selected poll representing a small fraction of Seattle’s population. Which is a good thing, because I’d hate to think Seattleites in general were more concerned about restrictions on skinny-dipping and dope-smoking than about homelessness (Priority 25) or public safety (Priority 31). They can’t be that wacky … can they?

Tacoma doesn’t have a similar website. If it had one, some priorities

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Bum raps for Shelton’s wood-biomass project

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Green power looks attractive at a distance, sometimes less so close up. A good example is the environmentally benign wind farm that ruins the view when it’s built on a nearby ridge.

Another example is the biomass plant now proposed for Shelton. A joint venture of Duke Energy and a French partner, it would cost $250 million and produce enough electricity for an estimated 40,000 homes. The feedstock would be stumps, branches and other debris from logging operations in the area.

Some Mason County residents – it’s not clear how many – oppose the plan. Others welcome the several hundred jobs the project would bring to the economically distressed county.

The NIMBY – “not in my back yard” – syndrome is at work here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s easy for outsiders to dismiss the concerns of people who’d find themselves living in the shadow of a big new industrial plant. If most citizens in the Shelton area are genuinely up in arms about the project, great weight ought to be given to their feelings.

That said, some of the critics are making dubious claims about the plant’s effects.
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