Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: April 2012


On cue: Bemoan the bankers’ snub of marijuana merchants

For wounded innocence, the medical marijuana industry brooks no rivals.

In this Seattle Times story, the people who run marijuana dispensaries complain that Washington financial institutions have grown leery of handling their money, reducing them to operating on cash. Banks = bad guys.

It seems the state’s banks are obsessing about a triviality, the fact that selling marijuana is, well, kind of against the law. Against federal law, state law, every law in sight. Seattle and Tacoma may not be interested in enforcing the law, but there’s those nasty feds. Maintaining accounts for pot merchants could get the Justice

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A special place for families opens in South Tacoma

Metro Parks' STAR Center is open in South Tacoma. (Russ Carmack/Courtesy of Metro Parks Tacoma)

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The era of tight budgets and declining revenues has had at least one positive side effect: It’s forced many public agencies to rethink their old fiefdom mentalities and focus on how they can partner to provide services in economical ways that don’t overlap.

That kind of new thinking is on display in spades at the South End Recreational Adventure Campus, which includes a Boys & Girls Club Topping Hope Center, Gray Middle School, Metro Parks ballfields and the park district’s shiny new STAR Center, which opens for public use today.  (A community open house will be held May 19.)

The STAR Center – STAR stands for South Tacoma Activity and Recreation – is a $16 million facility on South 66th Street that replaces the South Park and Manitou community centers. It’s designed to complement the recreational and educational programming provided by the Tacoma School District and the Boys & Girls Club. Read more »


America: From educational leader to underachiever

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

One of the strangest political utterances this year was Rick Santorum’s claim that it was snobbery – on the part of Barack Obama – to encourage all American students to continue their educations after high school.

America’s problem is not an excess of higher education. Just the opposite.

Today’s young Americans are increasingly less likely to earn diplomas than their parents; in fact, we will soon see the first generation that is less educated than the generation before it.

Why worry about this? The Wall Street Journal on Thursday described the real-life

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Convention center puts Tacoma finances in even deeper hole

This editorial appears in Sunday’s print edition.

Three years ago, the manager of Tacoma’s convention center was so concerned about the facility’s financial condition that he wondered whether he should start preparing to shut it down.

Today, the situation is still grim. Besides presenting a huge budget problem for city officials, it’s become the subject of an investigation by the State Auditor’s Office.

A report today by News Tribune business reporter C.R. Roberts homes in on how the $80 million Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center sank into its financial morass. Although it was never expected to break even – that’s rare among such facilities – it’s not earning nearly as much through bookings as early supporters had projected. And its two other main funding sources – from the hotel-motel tax and a cut of the state sales tax – decreased during the recession. Read more »


Coming Sunday: 5 reasons why Obama will be re-elected

On the opinion page Sunday, scholar and author Aaron David Miller argues that Democrats shouldn’t be too worried about Barack Obama’s chances in November. If history holds true, the president will get a second term.

Also on Sunday:

• Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. looks back 20 years to the deadliest riots in America in the 20th century – those that set Los Angeles on fire after the verdict in the Rodney King case.

• Michael Endicott, a Buckley man who served as a Secret Service agent in the 1970s and ’80s, weighs in on the scandal surrounding the agency today.


Woman to woman in Afghanistan’s villages

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

The battles, the bombings and the arguments over Afghanistan’s future often overshadow the country’s most threatened population: women.

Some soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord have been forging ties with female villagers who are normally almost invisible to outsiders. As reported from Afghanistan by The News Tribune’s Adam Ashton, “female engagement teams” fielded by Lewis-McChord battalions are serving as liaisons between the U.S. military and Afghan women.

Among them are Sgt. 1st Class Laurie Eggleston of University Place and Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Wages of Yelm, who manage the effort on behalf of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

The teams help the Army connect with Afghan women, one on one, as part of its mission to defeat the Taliban. In the process, the villagers see American women who are confident and educated, women who aren’t guarded around the clock by males. Eggleston and Wages embody the expansive opportunities available to most Western girls and women.

Given Afghanistan’s traditional culture, the females of that country’s rural villages may never enjoy the same range of opportunity. But let’s hope they wind up better off than they were before the Taliban were driven from power in 2001.

They could hardly be worse off. The Taliban may have achieved an all-time low in the subjugation of females. They drove women from most professions, forbade them from leaving their houses without male escorts, whipped them if they didn’t conceal themselves from head to foot in public; deprived them of medical care; and shot them in front of crowds if they were accused of adultery.
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Same-sex marriage ballot fight makes for double puzzle

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

This year’s political argument over same-sex marriage is already divisive; it shouldn’t have to be confusing to boot.

Confusion has been arising from the two signature-gathering campaigns to overturn the Legislature’s legalization of same-sex marriage. Some citizens aren’t clear on what cause they’re be advancing by signing or not signing the petitions.

The short take: A signature on either petition helps subject marriage equality to a popular vote this November. That’s something you want to do if you oppose same-sex marriage or believe the decision belongs to the electorate.

The “decline to sign” counter-campaign seeks to secure same-sex marriage by preventing the threatened repeal from reaching the ballot. Yet an election would produce the best possible outcome if the new marriage law survived it: For the first time, same-sex marriage would have been directly ratified by voters rather than enacted by legislatures or imposed by courts. The law’s legitimacy would be beyond dispute.

Why two measures? Because there are two separate groups working to undo the Legislature’s measure, Senate Bill 6239.

One group is resorting to the referendum process, which lets voters affirm or reject a new law (referendum campaigns are always hostile to the law in question). Referendum 74 would repeal SB 6239, preserving the traditional requirement that a husband be male and a wife female.
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The sports cartoon fading into history

A recent Drew Litton cartoon

Readers who enjoy our Cartoonists Sketchpad on Saturday or the online cartoon slideshow are familiar with sports cartoonist Drew Litton’s work. He’s one of only two remaining cartoonists who focus on sports issues for major daily newspapers, writes The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir in a recent article.

I use Litton a lot in the Saturday sketchpad just because he’s so different from the other cartoonists and because I rarely get to use his work during the week on the editorial pages. And, I’ll confess, it’s a sneaky way to get readers who usually just read the sports pages to take a look at the editorial page, too.

Here’s Sandomir’s article on sports cartoonists. Read more »