Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: Jan. 2012


South Sounders share Federal Way’s transit frustration

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Some Federal Way-area officials are so unhappy with Sound Transit that they’re contemplating secession from the tri-county transportation agency. There’s no mechanism for such a move, but that’s not stopping them from talking about it.

Their pain is our pain – to a point.

Sound Transit has determined that sales tax revenues from the South King County sub-area have fallen so steeply that the agency must delay extension of light rail to Federal Way from 2023 to 2034 or later. That delay means that the next light rail leg – to Tacoma – will be delayed as well. Originally projected to be completed by 2029, it’s now looking like sometime in the 2040s.
Read more »


U.S. can’t afford to forfeit Canadian petroleum

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Here’s an unfortunate but inescapable reality: The world will burn petroleum for decades to come.

Modern industrial economies – in other words, the hopes and livelihoods of billions of people – are sustained by oil. Greener energy alternatives aren’t remotely close to supplanting it.

Until affordable renewables can be ramped up enough to replace petroleum, squeezing off the supply of crude would wreak economic distress of global proportions. By comparison, today’s hard times would look like the good old days.
Read more »


Support FPierce, Auburn and FWay school measures

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

It doesn’t take a financial genius to understand that there’s no better time than the present to get moving on construction projects: Interest rates are low, and contractors are eager for the work.

That might not be the case for long if the economy keeps improving and costs start rising. So it makes sense for three South Sound school districts to ask voters now to pay for major facility upgrades that can’t be put off any longer.

They make a good case for passing measures appearing on the Feb. 14 ballot, and The News Tribune supports all three. They are:

• Franklin Pierce School District – An article Thursday by The News Tribune’s Debbie Cafazzo outlines the badly needed improvements that would be funded by a five-year capital levy. Read more »


Kilmer’s plan: Ingenious job creation in hard times

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

A genuinely good idea tends to pop out from among the nondescript crowd of been-theres and done-thats. State Sen. Derek Kilmer’s proposal to create jobs without new taxes looks like that kind of idea.

The Gig Harbor Democrat – an economic development specialist who plays down his Oxford doctorate – knows that government best builds the economy by building infrastructure. Such things as sewers, water lines, highways, ports, schools – the necessary foundations of private businesses.

With tentative support from both Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature, Kilmer is proposing legislation that would – this gets complicated – finance major job-creating projects with bonds backed by tax revenues already flowing into two existing state funds.

The funds pay for major public works improvements and environmental protection projects. They are replenished with taxes collected from utilities, solid waste operations, and companies that market pesticides and other hazardous substances.

Kilmer would divert relatively small side streams from those incoming taxes to finance revenue bonds that would immediately raise hundreds of millions of dollars for projects already planned but not yet funded.

Port improvements and short-line railroads that could expand state exports, for example, or restoration of polluted Tideflats land that companies would love to move into.
The idea would simultaneously deal with multiple issues:

• Unemployment and recession. The construction work would create temporary jobs; more important, the completed infrastructure would help spawn private investment and permanent jobs.
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Liquor superstore coming to Tacoma?

Costco might come to rue the day it spent millions to privatize liquor sales. It looks like it will have spirited competition from a liquor superstore called Total Wine, which is planning several locations in Washington according to an Associated Press story.

Anyone who’s gone to Arizona to watch Mariners spring practice might be familiar with Total Wine, which has a location a short distance from the Peoria sports complex.

I was in the area in October for a wedding and popped into Total Wine. It’s a pretty amazing place, with lots of advertised specials and a

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Voters must backfill local school districts’ funding gap

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

As the Washington Supreme Court pointed out earlier this month, the state is failing in its “paramount duty” to amply fund education. The court ordered the state Legislature to figure out how to resolve that situation.

By 2018.

It’s possible – though not probable – that lawmakers will come up with some new revenue source that provides everything local school districts need to educate children. Until that happy day, schools still need to repair and upgrade buildings, buy textbooks and computers, provide bus service, train staff and do a lot of other things that the money they get from the state doesn’t fully cover.
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The hunt must go on for Teekah and other lost children

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

If there’s one thing worse than the death of a child, it’s the disappearance of a child.

Monday marked the 13th anniversary of the vanishing of 2-year-old Teekah Lewis of Tacoma. Bill Clinton was still president when she went missing. The bowling alley on Center Street where she vanished has since been razed.

She was a toddler then; she would be a high-schooler today. And she is still missing. Read more »


Gambling expansion: Still a losing political bet for state

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

One of the most irresponsible ideas kicking around the 2012 Legislature is the Republican proposal to pack local card rooms across the state with thousands of slot machines.
What Washington really needs is less casino gambling, not more.

A new Washington State University survey provides a timely reality check for those who think commercial gaming is a harmless industry that promises a free lunch to needy governments.

Commissioned by the state Gambling Commission, the scientifically designed survey suggested that:

• About 88 percent of Washington’s population doesn’t want to see gambling expanded

Read more »