Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: Jan. 2013

Jan.
31st

Open government needs a vigilant champion

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

When it comes to being as open with citizens as required by state law, government doesn’t always get it right.

One thing it is doing right: employing a person whose sole job is to increase openness whenever possible. That’s the open-government ombudsman in the state Attorney General’s Office, a post created in 2005 by former Attorney General Rob McKenna and held since 2007 by Tim Ford.

In 2008, the position was a casualty of budget cuts and became part time. New Attorney General Bob Ferguson ought to preserve it and return it to full-time status as soon as feasible.
Read more »

Jan.
31st

Power outage created huge traffic snarl in Lakewood

I was one of the many drivers who got caught in the huge traffic snarl caused by the fairly widespread Lakewood power outage Wednesday. Read our story here.

The intersections at Orchard and Bridgeport along South 72nd-74th Street (it changes names, a Lakewood thing, I think) were virtually at a standstill because the signal lights were out. At rush hour, when the outage occurred, both intersections are heavily congested with two lanes of traffic in both directions, as well as turn lanes.

At least drivers were slowly getting through the Bridgeport intersection, thanks to a firefighter directing traffic. The

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Jan.
30th

Portmann won’t have enough company behind bars

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Score one for the people who lost their homes, the shareholders who lost their money and the hundreds of millions who suffered as a result of the financial meltdown of 2007.

Shawn Portmann, once one of the nation’s top mortgage lenders, landed in prison Monday for criminal mortgage practices. His short career epitomizes the naked greed and slick dealing that wrought incalculable harm on this country.

Portmann is atypical in one respect, though: Unlike nearly everyone else who created, sold or repackaged fraudulent home loans, he’s actually behind bars. Read more »

Jan.
30th

McKenna on why he lost

Erik Smith has an interesting interview with Rob McKenna on the Washington State Wire, dissecting the former attorney general’s thoughts on why he lost the gubernatorial race to Democrat Jay Inslee in November. Read it here.

McKenna points to the lack of success all but one Republican had in getting elected statewide in Washington and cites growing partisan polarization and being hurt by the national party’s image problems. Even though he had most newspaper endorsements (including The News Tribune’s) and carried 47 of the state’s 49 a majority of the state’s legislative districts, he couldn’t overcome the overwhelmingly Democratic

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Jan.
29th

Traffic cameras can be crime-busters

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Seattle police think a red-light camera might have helped catch whoever killed 21-year-old Nicole Westbrook in a drive-by shooting last spring. They figured someone who has that much disregard for human life might also disregard traffic lights, and the camera might have captured a license plate number.

But state law prohibits access to those cameras for anything other than issuing a traffic citation, so Westbrook’s killer is still at large.

That should change. Society’s interest in identifying killers far outweighs protecting the privacy of a red-light runner’s license plate number – on a public street at that.
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Jan.
29th

It’s warmer here than in Peoria, Ariz.

At least for the moment.

My home page gives me the current temp in Tacoma and in Peoria (where my brother and dreams of Mariner spring training live). It doesn’t happen very often, but every now and then it’s warmer here than there. Right now it’s 46 degrees here and 45 there, but it’s supposed to get up to 55 there today and only 48 here.

By the way, spring training in Peoria starts Feb. 22. Here’s the schedule.

Jan.
28th

Immigration reform finally gets a political opening

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The political ice jam that’s been blocking immigration reform may have broken at last.

On Monday, key Republican senators joined key Democratic senators in announcing a plan for dealing with America’s long-festering illegal immigration problem.

The endorsement of Marco Rubio of Florida is especially promising: At the moment, at least, he’s the Republican Party’s strongest presidential prospect for 2016, and he carries considerable weight in the party.

The sound you don’t hear (so far) is a chorus of firebrands shouting “No amnesty!” or “What part of illegal do you not understand?” Mantras like that have helped kill past efforts to legalize the millions of undocumented immigrants who are firmly rooted in the United States and aren’t going away.

Many of them have broken no law since entering the country and have children who are U.S. citizens. Some American farmers – especially Washington orchardists – can’t get their crops harvested without illegal labor.

There’s no conceivable scenario under which as many as 11 million illegal immigrants could be forced out of the country. But the status quo is intolerable. The only solution lies in letting the honest majority of them emerge from the shadows – without creating a grand incentive for further illegal immigration.
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Jan.
27th

Puyallup students make the case for bond passage

We editorialize Monday in support of Puyallup School District’s Feb. 12 bond measure. It’s badly needed and would, among other things, help get rid of about 90 portables by replacing or rebuilding four elementary schools and adding classrooms to all three comprehensive high schools.

Students at those high schools – Rogers, Puyallup and Emerald Ridge – are fierce cross-town competitors. But several of them teamed up for a video, “Follow the apple,” in which they give practical, personal reasons for passing the bond measure from students’ point of view. To watch it on YouTube, click here.