Inside Opinion

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

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Category: Editorial outtakes


Baseball and black Americans disconnecting

In backgrounding my editorial today on Ken Griffey Jr.’s retirement, I came across an interesting article about the decline of black American players in major league baseball.

It’s written by J.C. Bradbury, an economics professor and author of “The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed.” He discusses several possible reasons, ranging from lack of community support in the way of sports clubs and ballfields to the rising number of out-of-wedlock births among black Americans. Although he doesn’t come out strongly supporting one or another reason, he discounts the notion that black athletes who might otherwise play baseball are turning

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Peninsula’s not sabotaging Race to the Top

The Peninsula school people are on board with Race to the Top, they want us to know.

Gov. Chris Gregoire came by yesterday to ask for help appealing to local school districts to endorse the state’s application for $250 million in Race to the Top money. That would be Washington’s share of a $4 billion-plus pool the Department of Education is awarding to states that are serious about school reform.

We saw no reason not to help. Our editorial.

The governor cited some South Sound districts – Peninsula among them – that hadn’t signed on. But Peninsula Superintendent Terry

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State workers stick around despite claims of low pay

A new state pay survey prompts the question: Are low salaries prompting workers to flee state government?

The answer is no. According to the Department of Personnel, turnover in fiscal year 2009 (July 2008 to June 2009) was 7.1 percent. Less than half were resignations.

The turnover rate has declined in the last few years, no doubt mirroring the inclinations of workers everywhere to hang on to jobs they might have left in better economic times. But even in FY 2007 – before the recession really walloped the nation – turnover in state employment was only 7.8

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Do-it-yourselfers: Don’t try this at home

Today’s editorial about Pierce County’s building amnesty program described some of the safety hazards the county is finding in its search for unpermitted structures. Unfortunately, space didn’t allow us to publish photos that show those hazards. But we have them.

I emailed Chuck Kleeberg, director of Pierce County Planning and Land Services, to say essentially: Sure, we’ve all heard of the shoddy deck that killed the PLU student back in 2001, but what else have you got?

Here’s what he came up on the spot.

This photo came to me with a note that said: “See the safety concerns?” Uh, yeah. Kleeberg dubbed them traps for the tipsy.

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Assessor-treasurer’s office making progress on inspections

Employee relations aside, how is the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer’s office doing on completing the physical inspections of properties that went undone under the previous administration?

Pretty well, according to Rangel S. Cavazos at the state Department of Revenue, who responded to the department’s latest progress report earlier this week:

I am pleased to inform you that we see adequate progress by your office in completing the revaluation requirements that are outlined in your current revaluation plan for Pierce County.

Revenue notes that the county had physically inspected 23 percent of the required inspections at

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The large – and growing gap – between private and public sector benefits

Our editorial yesterday on the Pierce County payroll made reference to the recession’s effect on the standing of private sector workers relative to their public sector counterparts.

The gap shows up most prominently in the area of worker benefits. Michael Mandel, a former BusinessWeek chief economist, took a look recently at some Bureau of Labor Statistics data. His findings not only dispute the age-old idea that state and local government employees are paid less than private sector workers, they also reveal a growing gulf in health care and retirement benefits.

Somewhere in 2004, the world changed, and

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A glimpse into the mindset of an anarchist

We aren’t the only ones who think the Olympia protest-cum-riot earlier this month was a debacle. The anarchists who staged the demonstration are apparently not happy with the results – and not just because three-fourths of them ended up behind bars.

Someone who claims to be one of the “State Street 29″ dissected the protest at an online clearinghouse for anarchist news. The upshot of the post: The rampage was a failure because it caused some damage but didn’t wreak total havoc.

If the purpose of the march had been to localize the maximum amount of damage

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The short shelf life of initiatives

Leave it to Tim Eyman – a guy who devotes his life to convincing voters and donors that changing state law via the ballot box is a good idea – to point out that citizen initiatives really don’t have much staying power. Eyman sent this transcript of yesterday’s press conference on Initiative 1077, which we commented on here.

Bryan Johnson, KOMO TV asks: “Does anyone have to fear soon this (income tax threshold) will creep to above $150,000, and then above $100,000, and then everybody pays?”

Bill Gates Sr. responds: “Uhh, the, the initiative provides that the rates

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