Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: 2012

Dec.
31st

Our hopes and wishes for a brighter new year

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Shake up that Etch A Sketch. A new year dawns – and so does hope that the world can move beyond the blunders, disappointments and nasty predicaments of 2012.
Some of our hopes for 2013:

• The drawdown of U.S. troops – including Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers – continues on course in Afghanistan. The bleeding ends.

• The Seahawks win the Super Bowl in February.

• Gov. Jay Inslee proves better at finding money for public schools than his campaign rhetoric suggested.

• Washington’s pot smokers obey the law that legalized marijuana – especially the parts about licensed sales, and keeping the drug out of sight and away from minors.

• Randy Dorn, the state superintendent of public schools, gives up the idea of suing the voters to stop charter schools.

• Lawmakers figure out that they can’t keep starving higher education without squeezing Washington’s economic future.

• The state figures out how to fund the extension of Highway 167 from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma, and the construction of the cross-base highway from Frederickson to Interstate 5.

• Tacoma’s municipal unions join T.C. Broadnax’s effort to control city spending and preserve public services.

• Republicans start treating climate change as a scientific issue, not a partisan sledgehammer.

• After getting booted by the voters, former Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam fades into deserved obscurity.

• Afghans and Americans see unmistakable justice done for the appalling massacre of 16 Afghan villagers in March.

• Police solve the disappearance of Susan Powell, whose husband, Josh, murdered their two small boys and killed himself in February.
Read more »

Dec.
31st

In the crystal ball for 2013 . . .

Anyone have any predictions for 2013?

Here are some from Washington Post writers, including columnists whose work appears in The News Tribune: Michael Gerson, Eugene Robinson and Robert J. Samuelson. Some prognostications are more serious than others.

One example, from Alexandra Petri: “YOLO” will disappear from the nation’s vocabulary. People will breathe a short-lived sigh of relief, before the word “moist” suddenly enjoys an inexplicable resurgence. After 2012’s Lincoln mania, Chester A. Arthur will enjoy a box office hot streak. Mutton-chops will come back in.

Here’s mine: The state Legislature will go into extra session. (I think that’s a

Read more »

Dec.
30th

A banner year for same-sex couples and pot smokers

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

2012 was the year that Washington voters made history on the national stage.

This state became the first in the nation to allow same-sex marriages by virtue of voter approval, not through legislative or judicial action. And – for better or worse – voters made Washington one of two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana (Colorado is the other).

The Nov. 6 approval of Referendum 74 was an important step forward for civil rights and has galvanized proponents of same-sex marriage in other states. Passage affirms that a majority of this state’s voters believe homosexuals should have the same right to marry the one they love as heterosexuals – with all the benefits and responsibilities that go along with that right, at least at the state level.
Read more »

Dec.
29th

The best of people, the worst of people, in 2012

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Like every year before it, 2012 brought out the good and evil in human nature. The theme never changes, just the particulars.

The generosity of strangers sometimes seems boundless. After Jacoby Miles, a 15-year-old gymnast, was paralyzed in a practice accident, supporters raised more than $150,000 on her behalf and began an overhaul of her South Hill home to accommodate her disability.

An elderly bus monitor, Karen Klein, experienced a similar shower of generosity last summer after several boys on her bus were caught on video viciously tormenting her for more than 10 minutes.

When the video went viral, more than $700,000 in donations poured in. The bullying couldn’t be undone, but roughly 32,000 Americans wanted at least monetary justice. In a corresponding display of generosity, Klein has since been donating the money to an anti-bullying initiative.

If only bullying were the worst 2012 had to offer.

The year has been marked by shocking attacks on helpless children. In Pierce County, the worst came 11 months ago, when Josh Powell set himself and his 5-year-old and 7-year-old sons ablaze in a Graham-area house. That completed the destruction of an entire family; the boys’ mother had disappeared earlier. There was no one left to console with gifts or other assistance.

Two weeks ago, in an even less comprehensible crime, a mentally disturbed 20-year-old gunned down 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
Why the children?

Last March, a U.S. soldier reportedly perpetuated a similar massacre in Afghanistan, killing 16 Afghan villagers, at least nine of them children. That distant atrocity struck painfully close to home: A Bonney Lake man, Sgt. Robert Bales, was charged with the murders. The criminal proceedings at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are being followed throughout the world.
Read more »

Dec.
29th

Adults’ flu shot can protect children, too

News that three people in Western Washington have died from a severe, aggressive influenza strain – including a Pierce County child – reinforces advice from health officials: Get your flu shot.

Even if you get it now, the shot will take two weeks to become fully effective, so there’s no time to waste.

You may think you don’t need one; you’re strong and healthy and could tough out a case of flu. But what about any children you come in contact with? The shot is not recommended for infants under 6 months. It’s safe for those over 6 months, but

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Dec.
28th

Death of a president? Not so fast

It didn’t look good Thursday for former President George H.W. Bush. News reports had him in intensive care with his family gathering and not talking to the media.

As per usual practice when a notable person might be near death, news organizations had their prepared obituaries ready. (Macabre, I know.) McClatchy’s Washington bureau sent out a wire message that its obit was “ready to move when the 41st president dies.” We were monitoring the updates on the theory that if Bush died, we’d want to write an editorial to appear Sunday or Monday.

Being ready to go with coverage of

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Dec.
27th

Norm Dicks: Embodiment of a better Congress

Congressman Norm Dicks

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

To understand what Washington will lose when Norm Dicks leaves Congress five days from now, you have to meet the man.

He comes across as a latter-day Teddy Roosevelt: beefy and bombastic; exuberant, gregarious and dominating; funny, friendly and full of stories. Though he talks nonstop, he’s no bore: The ideas just come too fast.

After about 10 minutes, you realize Dicks is not merely a consummate politician, but also a man of rare intelligence and insatiable curiosity. Once he’s on one of his favorite subjects – stealth aircraft, for example, or Puget Sound cleanup – you start to wonder if anyone else knows as much as this guy.

At 72, he still looks and talks like an irrepressible ex-Husky linebacker, which he is. On the issues he follows, he’s also a formidable intellectual with a dazzling grasp of technical detail and broad context.

Many of the tributes now being paid to Dicks amount to inventories of the projects and funding he brought home to Washington and the 6th Congressional District during his 36 years in office.

None of those lists is complete, though, because he’s done so much. Here is a sampling: Read more »

Dec.
26th

Mental health court could cut jail costs

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

In the aftermath of the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., most of the focus has been on guns – and how easy it is for disturbed individuals to obtain them. But that tragedy – as well as earlier mass killings – have also shone a light on weaknesses in mental health treatment in the United States.

In the South Sound, high-profile tragedies in the past few months have revealed the difficulties in getting help for troubled family members: the murder of Rob Meline of Tacoma, allegedly by his mentally ill son, as well as the shooting incident in a store near Wauna. A woman whose family had tried to get mental health treatment for her has been charged with killing David Long and injuring two other men.

Too often, mental illness in this country is something that is “treated” behind bars rather than in therapeutic settings. A 2006 Department of Justice study found that 64 percent of jail inmates and 56 percent of state prison inmates have mental health issues. Mentally ill inmates cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $9 billion a year.
Read more »