Inside Opinion

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

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Category: Behind the scenes

Jan.
9th

Frequent contributor John Earl passes away

John Earl
John Earl

I was saddened to learn today – via a Peninsula Gateway obituary – that former reader columnist John Earl died last week. Our condolences to his wife Kathy and family.

Earl was one of our columnists in 2008. He was also a frequent letter writer and contributor to the newsroom’s BackTalk feature. He was very active in the Gig Harbor community, having served on the Peninsula School Board and the South Kitsap Parks Commission.

He was an opinionated guy, and his arguments were always cogent and respectful. His columns were thoughtful, usually humorous and always well-written, rarely needing an editor’s touch. He was fun to talk to, too.

His obituary fittingly concludes: “John will always be remembered for his loving heart, infectious smile, sense of humor and his love of wrestling.”

What a loss. Earl was only 51.

Here are some snippets from his reader columns: Read more »

Jan.
7th

Save Eatonville’s Roxy Theater

In today’s editorial, I mention a “crowd-funding” campaign to save Eatonville’s Roxy Theater. The owner is trying to raise $20,000 toward the $70,000 cost of converting to digital projection.

So far the online campaign hasn’t gotten much steam. As of Friday, only $1,040 had been raised. The deadline is Jan. 14.

If you’re interested, here’s the Kickstarter.com site. Eatonville’s Dispatch has an article on the status of the overall campaign; to read it, click here.

Jan.
4th

The voters guide statement you’ll only read here

UPDATE: This posting now also includes the “against” statement drafted by Ken Miller.

Robert Hill, currently residing at the Pierce County Jail, was 12 minutes late submitting this statement opposing the Tacoma School District’s proposed $500 million bond measure on the Feb. 12 ballot. So the voters pamphlet will only have a statement in support of the measure. See the news article here.

Don’t get me wrong: I fully support Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson’s decision not to accept the statement. Rules are rules, and if the rules are stretched 12 minutes for one statement, why not 12 hours? Couldn’t the other side sue the county if it were to break its rules?

In a Friday editorial, we criticize the way statement writers are selected in Pierce County: by the governing body that is putting a funding measure on the ballot. How aggressive will a school district or transit agency really be to seek out people to write a cogent “against” statement? We think the process needs to be refined to either have a less biased party make the selection or require the governing body to do more to solicit statement writers.

Anyway, here’s Hill’s unedited statement, which he emailed to our office on New Year’s Eve. It’s not all that great, but I’ve certainly seen worse statements in voters pamphlets. And credit Hill for at least being willing to take on the task that others were unwilling to do. Read more »

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

Read more »

Dec.
22nd

Parents plead for journalist son’s release

On Sunday we’re running a piece about missing journalist Austin Tice, written by Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli and Anders Gyllenhaal, vice president for news at McClatchy Newspapers. Tice’s parents have written this open letter to their son’s captors.

By Marc Tice and Debra Tice

HOUSTON — Our family is longing for the safe return of our cherished son and beloved brother Austin, who was taken captive while working as a journalist in Syria.

So many things have happened in the more than 18 weeks he has been missing. We missed him terribly at the family gathering for the feast of Thanksgiving. We are a close-knit family, sharing so many memories and traditions. Now, as we prepare for the joyful celebration of Christmas, we desperately want our family to be whole. Our hearts are heavy to think his chair may once again be empty at our family table; we dread missing his great storytelling and contagious laugh. Read more »

Dec.
14th

Cy Sun of Pacific: Not a talkative guy

Here’s the journalistic rule: If you’re going to write something that might reflect badly on someone, you call him. You get his side of the story.

I was going to write about the crazy doings in Pacific, all of which seem to revolve around Mayor Cy Sun’s management style. See today’s editorial.

So I called him Thursday to get his take on, among other things, the likelihood that the little city may actually cease to exist in a few more weeks if he doesn’t step down. I wanted to know his thoughts about the news coverage and all

Read more »

Dec.
13th

‘Meth mouth': Not a pretty sight

Today’s editorial on meth addiction was a natural for me to write because of an experience I had about four years ago.

I had just come out of a store in a Lakewood strip mall and had opened my car door to get in, when I heard someone behind me saying something. I turned around and almost gasped out loud.

Standing there was a woman – I can’t even estimate her age – with straggly hair, a face covered with sores and the worst teeth I’ve ever seen. She asked if I could spare some money.

I think I

Read more »

Dec.
10th

A coup in the Senate, but not a ‘blood purge’

The big story of the day is the “bipartisan” coup in the state Senate. Two Democrats joined the Republicans to give them 25-24 control of the Legislature’s upper house. They’re calling it the “Majority Coalition Caucus.”

Two architects of that takeover – Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, and Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville – dropped by Monday afternoon to brief the editorial board on the move that will install Tom as Senate majority leader. (We’ll have an editorial in the print edition Tuesday; a sneak preview has already been posted on this blog.) The other Democratic defector, Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, will

Read more »