Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: June 2011


City should stand its ground on bad billboards

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Clear Channel Outdoor demands the City of Tacoma decide the future of billboards by Aug. 15. City leaders should oblige the company and not drag out the city’s moratorium on billboards any longer than necessary.

There’s no reason to hesitate if the City Council’s response to Clear Channel is the right one: Come get your 193 illegal billboards and cancel any plans to erect digital signs within city limits.

The message from Tacoma residents has been clear. They want as few billboards in the city as possible – and if Clear Channel wants to sue, that’s a fight the taxpayers are willing to have.

Read more »


Years of torture on state Route 16 about to end

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

This weekend, nine years after the Legislature passed a gas tax to help pay for highway projects across the state, South Sound drivers will get a dramatic reminder of the wisdom of that investment.

Road crews will start rearranging highway barriers, blasting the roadway clean and laying new striping late Saturday so that traffic can begin flowing from Interstate 5 to state Route 16 in a brand new way.

Nothing this big has happened for Tacoma-area commuters since the first crossing of the second Tacoma Narrows bridge in 2007.

Read more »


Congress should finish the job of defunding Big Corn

Corn will be processed into ethanol. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Doubts about corn ethanol are finally translating into votes in Congress.
The U.S. Senate last week voted 73-27 to repeal a $5 billion tax credit for refiners who blend ethanol into their gasoline.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the $5 billion to return to the public purse. The measure was an amendment to a bill that’s doomed in the Senate, but the lopsided approval margin shows that Republicans and Democrats alike are getting fed up with a particularly appalling form of corporate welfare.

Presidential candidates and Corn Belt politicians want to stay on the good side of heartland agribusiness; their solicitude has resulted in astounding subsidies that industry doesn’t need and the nation can’t afford.

There’s the $5 billion we lose on the 45-cent-a-gallon tax credits for refiners. There’s also a 54-cent tariff on imported biofuels, which effectively prevents Brazil for selling us ethanol it refines from sugar cane, a cheaper source than corn. The Senate voted last week to kill that turkey as well. Read more »


Columnist is leaving – sort of

I have some good news and bad news about one of our six community columnists, Gillian Van Cooney, whose work appears every Monday on the editorial page.

First the bad news: We’re losing her to San Diego. Her husband Mark, general manager of the Hotel Murano, has a new job there. So the family and assorted pets will be heading south later this month.

The good news: She’s agreed to keep writing for us through this rotation of columnists. We figured that she tends to write on subjects that are universal rather than local-centric – screaming kids on

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State commission should look into Fife fiasco

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Fife could have done other cities a favor by reporting the misconduct of two police officers to the state, so that it could determine if their behavior warranted decertification.

Instead, those officers are eligible to be hired by other cities because Fife officials decided that the behavior didn’t meet conditions for losing their state certification.

We beg to disagree; many civilians likely would consider the officers’ conduct grossly unbecoming someone charged with protecting and serving the community. To wit: Read more »


Rules fall short of a Public Records Act for courts

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Judges, for all the accountability they demand of others, are gallingly immune from scrutiny themselves.

Their rulings may be public, but how judges conduct themselves off the bench is a matter of some mystery. As recently as 2009, the state Supreme Court reaffirmed – in a case out of Federal Way – that judicial administrative records are exempt from the state Public Records Act.

The Board for Judicial Administration has purportedly set out to change that. Proposed rules, released for comment last week, would establish the first ground rules for public access to the behind-the-scenes operations of courts.

Good objective, but the suggested rules fall short of meeting it in several ways.

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Protect threatened salmon, not plentiful sea lions

Sea lion chows down on a salmon near Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

California sea lions are enjoying their ninth annual sushi bar at the Bonneville Dam, gorging on thousands of endangered Columbia River salmon. Time to close the restaurant.

Only absurd legalities – most recently a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court decision – have allowed several dozen sea lions to turn the waters below the dam into a salmon slaughterhouse.

Bonneville – 140 miles upstream of the Pacific Ocean – is not part of the lions’ natural habitat. They are interlopers, an invasive species, and should be treated as such.

Beginning in the 1980s, a few of them began pushing up the river from the sea. Some of the bolder ones eventually discovered that large numbers of migrating salmon congregate just below the dam, preparing to enter the fish ladders and fight their way to their ancestral spawning beds.
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A father’s whistle turns Costco shopper into a heap

Father’s Day can make some of us feel like wayward children.

When it makes its yearly splash, I try not to get too syrupy about the man who raised me and my six siblings.

You may have noticed me, and others like me, courageously making a bee-line past the card section of Top Foods about this time of year, brave troopers that we are,

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