Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: Sep. 2010

Sep.
30th

JBLM traffic puts a costly strain on the South Sound

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord troops back from Iraq or Afghanistan might think they’ve left a war zone only to face an army of road warriors on Interstate 5.

What once was a 40-minute commute between Tacoma and Olympia on most days to somewhat longer if an accident created backups has now become much longer – mainly because of thousands of additional personnel at JBLM. It’s not unusual anymore for the trip between Tacoma and Olympia to take 90 minutes or more.

For South Sound commuters heading north on I-5, HOV lanes provide an incentive to ditch their vehicles and take the bus or carpool. Not so south of Tacoma. Without HOV lanes, buses and carpools get trapped in the same interminable gridlock as single-occupant vehicles.

JBLM is taking one welcome step in response to the traffic: On Monday it will open a new entrance on Mounts Road from 5 to 8 a.m. so that northbound I-5 traffic going to the base in the morning can opt to exit before piling up at the main entrance. Read more »

Sep.
30th

The horror, the horror

Hate to get all literary now, but these allegations of murder and dismemberment in Afghanistan and Iraq follow a distinctly familiar script:

Westerner ventures into backward land on civilizing mission (or profiteering mission – take your pick). Westerner progressively loses moral compass. Corrupted by power and dark impulses, Westerner winds up more savage than natives.

The book is Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” Or if you prefer the cinematic version, Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” Or any number of real-world clashes between predatory European colonial powers and dark-skinned people.

The Taliban-enabled 9/11 attacks being still vivid in my mind,

Read more »

Sep.
29th

Hurst, Bunney and, yes, Roach in the 31st district

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Voters in the 31st Legislative District – which straddles Pierce and King counties and includes the cities of Sumner, Bonney Lake and Auburn – are an unpredictable lot. Just look at how they voted in the August primary.

Somehow, given a field of four candidates for state Senate, 31st district voters opted to send the two candidates with the most baggage to the Nov. 2 general election.

They shunned police officer Raymond Bunk and former Buckley City Councilman Ron Weigelt, going instead for embattled Republican incumbent Pam Roach of Auburn and Matt Richardson, another Republican and a member of the Sumner City Council. He has been slammed with allegations of personal, sexual, professional and ethical misconduct.

Given that choice, The News Tribune editorial board recommends voting for Roach and hoping that she spends the next four years building bridges – not burning more of them. Richardson is not an option.
Read more »

Sep.
29th

Memo to Patty Murray: You misquoted me

For the record: I never asked Dino Rossi if if he thought Boeing workers should have a level playing field.

Patty Murray’s campaign has been making hay for more than a week now about Rossi’s response to a question I posed during the Senate candidates’ joint appearance at The News Tribune last week.

I have resisted weighing in until now. I have my own theories why Rossi answered the way he did, but it’s not for me to try to explain his answer. Only he knows what he was thinking.

But last night, I caught Murray’s new ad that includes footage of our endorsement interview – and puts words in my mouth.

Read more »

Sep.
29th

The Brady Campaign vs. Rossi: Who’s got the gun politics right?

Here’s an interesting take from the other side of the continent on Washington’s attitude toward guns. I personally don’t see much evidence that most Washingtonians are anxious to restrict firearms. If so, our laws don’t reflect the fact. “Assault rifle” bans go nowhere, even when Democrats own the Legislature.

The claim that Rossi would “allow the carrying of loaded, concealed handguns in Washington state by people legally barred from possessing guns in Washington, if they are able to carry elsewhere” is mystifying.

I don’t know of any other state with a more liberal policy on concealed weapons than Washington. Our law requires that applicants be issued concealed-carry permits if they are 21 years old and pass a background check. If there’s a state that lets people carry concealed firearms after flunking background checks, I want to know about it so I can avoid the place.

U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE DINO ROSSI
WANTS MORE GUNS, INCLUDING ASSAULT WEAPONS,
IN MORE PLACES

Washington, D.C. – Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate for the United States Senate from Washington has taken stands on gun violence prevention that are outside the mainstream of Washington voters by aligning himself with extreme gun views.

Like Tea Party candidates for federal office, such as Sharon Angle in Nevada, who suggests “Second Amendment solutions” to our nation’s problems, and Joe Miller in Alaska who thinks residents ought to be able to loaded carry guns in Wal-Mart, Rossi wants more guns in more places for more people. He even favors weakening the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), our nation’s top law enforcement agency on guns.
Read more »

Sep.
28th

Julie Anderson for Pierce County auditor – again

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Pierce County voters can be forgiven for spotting Julie Anderson’s name on the November ballot and possibly wondering, “Didn’t we just elect her?”

Anderson is running for county auditor again a year after she first won the office by beating the incumbent-by-appointment, Jan Shabro.

The Pierce County Council appointed Shabro in early 2009 after predecessor Pat McCarthy’s election to county executive created a vacancy in the auditor’s office.

Anderson, a former Tacoma city councilwoman, won the 2009 special election and is now vying for her first full term. The News Tribune editorial board endorsed her in 2009 and does so again this year.

Read more »

Sep.
28th

For the 2nd district: Jim McCune, Tom Campbell

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Voters in the 2nd Legislative District face a curious pair of choices in November: in House Position 1, down-home vs. down-home; in House Position 2, sophistication vs. sophistication.

The Position 1 candidates, Republican state Rep. Jim McCune and Democrat Marilyn Rasmussen, seem almost the embodiment of this largely rural district, which covers south Pierce County and parts of Thurston County. McCune is a commercial fisherman; Rasmussen – a former lawmaker – is a farmer.

Both are good-natured, unassuming, salt-of-the-earth individuals who reflect the district’s character and values. Rasmussen has a lengthy and

Read more »

Sep.
28th

Cost of Tacoma pay raises: $11 million and counting

An addendum to my post last week about the City of Tacoma figuring the costs of new union contracts: The city got back to me yesterday with more numbers.

These are the contracts that were negotiated last year. It appears it was good to go first: Four bargaining units representing 172 employees negotiated contracts with new salary schedules that boosted pay in many cases an average of 13 percent.

The total cost of pay raises for those four bargaining units: $1 million in 2009 and $1 million again this year. That brings us to a total of nine

Read more »