Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: May 2010

May
27th

Rossi will give Murray a run for her $6 million

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Dino Rossi’s entry into Washington’s U.S. Senate race bodes well – for voters, if not his party.

Rossi may have but a slim chance of beating Sen. Patty Murray, but he’s the only Republican in the hunt with any chance of besting Murray.

Neither of the other Republican frontrunners, former NFL player Clint Didier and state Sen. Don Benton, are much of a threat to a three-term incumbent with a $6 million war chest. Rossi, with his statewide name recognition and electoral history, will force Murray to defend her record.

Rossi’s showing will depend partly on how the two-time gubernatorial candidate makes the transition from state politician to national hopeful.

Read more »

May
26th

The bill comes due for unsustainable spending

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The Great Recession has brought a painful reckoning to local governments that seem almost hard-wired for constant spending increases. King County is a spectacular example.

Year after year, the county executive and County Council have routinely adopted budgets exceeding the rate of inflation. With the recession now crimping tax revenues, the bill has come due.

County officials say they’re staring at a $60 million shortfall next year and another shortfall on the same order the following year.

Executive Dow Constantine and Sheriff Sue Rahr are warning that major layoffs of deputies and other criminal justice personnel will be necessary if voters don’t approve a tax increase, which the Republicans on the County Council have so far refused to put on the ballot.

Shades of Pierce Transit, which has been saying it may cut more than half its bus service without new taxes.
This isn’t a suddenly blooming 2010 problem. Even more than Pierce Transit, King County has spent years enthusiastically digging itself into this pit.
Read more »

May
26th

Puyallup City Council doesn’t need term limits

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

It’s about time the Puyallup City Council debated imposing term limits – if for no other reason than to give the idea a full hearing before shelving it.

Council members have unsuccessfully tried to broach the question of term limits twice in the last two years. Each time, the debate was checked before it began.

Now it appears the council may be warming to the idea. On Tuesday, council members asked city staff to prepare a resolution authorizing an advisory vote in November. The council – which has the final say on term limits since Puyallup residents don’t have the power of initiative or referendum – will consider placing the measure on the ballot at a future meeting.

Term limits do guarantee turnover in elected offices. But whether that turnover or the mechanism by which it is achieved is always a good thing depends on who’s doing the judging.

Read more »

May
26th

Stocking up on the hard stuff at Costco

Costco isn’t just supporting Initiative 1100 to get the state out of the liquor store business, reports the Associated Press. It will be actively gathering signatures at tables set up outside its 26 stores in the state. Costco employees who are registered voters will staff the tables, inviting customers to sign initiative petitions.

With the kind of foot traffic the average Costco gets, I suspect the required number of signatures (242,000) will be gathered in about 27 minutes.

If voters approve the initiative, Costco would be able to sell hard liquor along with the wine and beer it

Read more »

May
25th

Hilltop Crips deserve the conspiracy charges

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Thomas Felnagle is a fine judge, but we devoutly hope he’s wrong about using conspiracy charges against street gangs.

The Pierce County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that prosecutors cannot target members of the Hilltop Crips solely on the basis of their alleged affiliation with the violent gang; any prosecutions must tie defendants to specific criminal acts they personally participated in.

As it happens, his ruling may not have much effect on the cases against three dozen suspected Crips who’ve been rounded up since February by a task force of local, state and federal law enforcement officers. That’s because there was such an abundance of crimes to charge: shootings, robberies, assaults, burglaries – more than 50 felonies in all. Read more »

May
25th

Ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ will be worth the wait

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The most fervent proponents of lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military worry a new compromise in Congress amounts to a whole lot of hurry up and wait.

But that is precisely the deal’s appeal.

The proposal strikes a delicate balance between setting a clear direction for military policy while honoring the Pentagon’s need for deliberate implementation. Legislation that gives the military breathing room is more likely to succeed than a summary congressional edict.

The White House and a small group of lawmakers struck the deal Monday. Their suggested compromise would repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy – but the repeal would take effect only once the president and military leaders certified that it would not harm troop readiness, recruiting or retention.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave the legislation his endorsement, however grudgingly.

Read more »

May
25th

Politicians’ right to lie

The very good FactCheck.org website gets to the truth behind issues and what public officials say about them. It also answers questions in its weekly mailbag feature. It recently got this plaintive e-mail from a Yakima man:

Week after week you expose the lies and distortions being propagated by our politicians. What is so depressing is that this behavior continues nonetheless, week after week.

I think that it should be a felony for a politician (or anyone else for that matter) to deliberately mislead and lie to the American voter. If a lie in a campaign ad isn’t deliberate, I don’t know what is. But in the name of “freedom of speech” politicians are allowed to twist, distort and outright lie with impunity. And it will continue if there are no negative consequences. The reality is that sometimes people win BECAUSE OF their lies and distortions (e.g. remember the Swift Boat campaign?). Read more »