Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: July 2012

July
31st

Law shouldn’t protect those who profit from teen sex slaves

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Lawyers for Backpage.com seem confident that the latest lawsuit against the website – which is known for its sex-sale ads – won’t get very far.

Maybe. But there’s something to be said for making a business that profits from human trafficking defend itself in court. Backpage.com – which is owned by Village Voice Media – makes about $2 million every month on online sex-sale ads, but every time it is forced to hire lawyers, its dirty business becomes a little more public and a little less profitable.

The latest lawsuit against Backpage.com was filed Friday in Pierce County Superior Court by three girls. Two of the runaways were 13 years old and the third was 15 when they were trafficked on the website, complete with revealing photos. The youngest was advertised as an $80 “special.” Subsequently, they were forced to have sex with scores of men, but the only ones to make any money on the transactions were their pimp and Backpage.com.
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July
31st

A baby boomer betrays his generation (Gen X & Millennials take note)

This from the former executive editor of The New York Times.

THE ENTITLED GENERATION

By BILL KELLER
The New York Times

If you were born before 1946 or after 1964, you are free to go. Kindly close the door on your way out. I need a private moment with my fellow baby boomers.

So. I imagine you’re all feeling a little unappreciated these days. We seem to have entered one of our periodic seasons of boomer-bashing.

In rapid Op-Ed succession, we children of the postwar demographic bulge have been blamed for turning religion into an indulgent free-for-all, for

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July
30th

Washington’s political map must be drawn in public

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

T o come up with something more partisan than Washington’s new voting districts, you’d have to splice together the platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties.

The boundaries of the state’s new legislative and congressional districts are precisely crafted to keep incumbents in office and look after the interests of the two big parties. The Washington State Redistricting Commission and its staff even calibrated the map to protect officeholders from prominent citizens who might run against them.

One problem. As Peter Callaghan reported in Sunday’s News Tribune, the whole process was a blatant and shameless assault on Washington’s open public meetings act.
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July
29th

The Kalakala saga descends from oddity to absurdity


In May, Kalakala owner Steve Rodrigues accessed a makeshift gangplank to the ferry moored along Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway. (Dean J. Koepfler / Staff photographer)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

The owner of the Kalakala is suing Tacoma businessman Karl Anderson for causing him mental anguish? File that under “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Eight years ago, Anderson took pity on Steve Rodrigues, the owner of the 1935 art-deco ferry who had lost moorage first in Seattle and then in Neah Bay. Anderson offered Rodrigues space on a site he owned on Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway, figuring that would give him time to put together a plan for saving the decrepit ferry.

But no plan ever emerged. The ferry just kept deteriorating to the point that it was in danger of breaking free of its moorings and damaging docks and other vessels, perhaps even blocking the much-used industrial waterway. Read more »

July
28th

Charter schools: Not a cure-all, but a sign of health

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Other education reforms are more urgent than charter schools. Washington could have a fantastic public school system without them.

But we don’t have a fantastic system, and one of the reasons is a reactionary K-12 establishment that can be counted on to resist efforts to bring rigorous standards and greater accountability to public education.

Charter schools aren’t a magic cure for all that ails the schools, but the fact that they are prohibited here –­ while allowed in the vast majority of other states – is another symptom of the backwardness of “progressive” Washington.

Initiative 1240, which would legalize charters in Washington for the first time, has just officially qualified for the ballot. The usual suspects are lining up against it, notably the Washington Education Association – which tore into the measure like a pit bull the moment it got traction.

The WEA’s mother organization, the National Education Association, takes a more nuanced position on charter schools. Here’s a line from its position paper:

“NEA believes that charter schools and other nontraditional public school options have the potential to facilitate education reforms and develop new and creative teaching methods that can be replicated in traditional public schools for the benefit of all children.”
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July
27th

Lots of options this weekend

Wow….a lot is going on this weekend. It’s hard to choose what to do.

Let’s see, on my radar are Ethnic Fest Saturday and Sunday at Wright Park, the Moveable Feast food truck rodeo Sunday at Cheney Stadium (I’m headed straight to the Where Ya At Matt truck) and the Steilacoom Salmon Bake on Sunday.

I think I can swing all three. Plus it looks like the weather will cooperate.

Get out there and enjoy some of these great community activities. The rain will be here before you know it.

July
26th

Best of luck in London to our South Sound Olympians


Adrienne Martelli

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

We do love Olympic action here in Puget Sound country. Whether the Olympic Games are held in Australia, China or Athens, the Seattle-Tacoma TV market generates ratings considerably higher than the national average.

Many of us especially look forward to cheering on our South Sound athletes. Several are on the 530-member U.S. team at the London Summer Olympics, which officially gets under way with today’s opening ceremony. Athletes with local ties include:

• Nathan Adrian, 23, of Bremerton. The 6-foot-6 swimmer finished first in the

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July
26th

Is medical marijuana making us sick? (A psychiatrist’s view)

MANY CLAIMS ABOUT POT’S BENEFICIAL EFFECTS JUST DON’T HOLD UP

By David Sack

The Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, the culmination of years of controversy over the sale of pot here. Meanwhile, in Oakland, a federal crackdown closed the nation’s largest dispensary amid protests and demonstrations. But authorities rarely seem to address the real issue about marijuana in California: Is it good medicine?

Some proponents of medical marijuana argue that pot is “natural” and therefore better, or at least no worse, than legally prescribed drugs, which may be addictive and may carry dangerous side effects. But natural is not the standard for whether a drug is safe and effective.

Marijuana advocates also say that physicians who warn against marijuana merely want to push prescriptions. But just because some doctors practice bad medicine with legal drugs doesn’t make marijuana good medicine. In most cases, it isn’t.

Anyone who wants to get a medical marijuana card knows there are unscrupulous doctors who will give you a recommendation with few questions asked. Without doubt, medical marijuana hands a get-out-of-jail-free card to people who just want to get high. Those who get a card and indulge in the infrequent use of marijuana will probably experience few problems. But the situation is different with chronic marijuana use.

Marijuana acts on cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These receptors, which are the most prevalent in the nervous system, influence just about every bodily function, including memory, attention, disposition, arousal, motivation, perception, appetite and sleep.

Many chronic marijuana users insist that marijuana is not addictive the way alcohol and other drugs are. However, neuroscience, animal studies, clinical reports of withdrawal in humans and epidemiology all show that marijuana is potentially addictive.
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