Inside Opinion

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

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Category: Touché


A comeback to our school levy editorial

David Groves, a state Labor Council spokesman and author of many an entertaining rant, emailed me this response to our editorial today about the passage of school levies.

Your editorial today fails to explain/consider why school levies passed so overwhelmingly this year as opposed to past years. Supporters ALWAYS remind folks that maintenance and operations levies don’t raise taxes. Why is this year any different? I can’t find one single M&O levy that failed in the entire state, can you? Has that ever happened?! I can identify several that failed to get 50% two years ago — when state coffers were flush and 51% of us were supporting I-960 – that passed this year with 60%! I don’t think there has ever been a levy election so successful for schools. EVER. So what’s changed?!

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Labor has thing or two to say about workers’ comp editorial

The Washington State Labor Council is firing back after our editorial on workers’ compensation today. No surprise there. We backed changes in the insurance program for injured workers, changes that labor adamantly opposes.

I’ll let most of the WSLC’s response speak for itself. But there are two charges that I can’t let go unanswered. The first:

We see corporate lobbying groups and certain politicians criss-crossing the state to tell business owners they are getting a raw deal, that the government doesn’t care about them, and the grass is greener across the state line. (Those politicians are having a

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Gov’s budget writer tiring of the second-guessing

Victor Moore, the governor’s budget writer, is frustrated with all the Monday-morning quarterbacking of his negotiations with state employee unions last year. “There’s a lot of 20/20 hindsight going on,” he says.

Moore, director of the state Office of Financial Management, called today in response to yesterday’s post detailing the Republicans’ charge that the governor (and, by extension, Moore) had put the Legislature in a bind by signing new contracts with state workers last year. The GOP argues that the collective bargaining law would have allowed the state to set its own terms and conditions of state employee had the governor let the contracts lapse.

Moore disputes that. He says he can’t stonewall the unions. He’s required to bargain in good faith and argues that the state would probably be in court right now trying to fight an unfair labor practice lawsuit had he done differently.

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Much ado about nothing in Lakewood, transit blogger says

Ben Schiendelman of the Seattle Transit Blog (which does a great job of tracking transit issues up and down I-5 despite its name) has a counterpoint to our Wednesday editorial about Amtrak trains running through Lakewood.

Schiendelman laments that the state Department of Transportation’s outreach efforts have done little to stem opposition that has emerged in Lakewood. He says calling these trains “high-speed” is a misnomer and notes that passenger trains already run up to 79 mph through Sumner, Puyallup, Kent and Auburn without incident. Schiendelman points out that the crossings will be much quicker with shorter

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Super says he doesn’t have it out for candidate

Tom Seigel, superintendent at Bethel School District, gave me a call this morning to correct what he thinks are some misperceptions that he is meddling in a school board race. Seigel was responding to a post I did earlier this week about school board candidate Marianne Lincoln’s difficulties with the Pierce County auditor’s office.

Seigel says he became involved in the mess because Lincoln asked him for a map of her director district. He drove out to the address listed on her candidate filing to deliver the information. No one was home at the time, so he left the information. Later, Lincoln’s sister, who lives at that address, called Seigel’s office to report that Lincoln had moved out.

“At that point, I called (Auditor) Jan Shabro and told her, ‘We have a situation here, a potential fraud.” Lincoln ended up withdrawing and then refiled with a different address, which Seigel said is a vacant lot. He again contacted Shabro to let her know what he found. (Lincoln has since switched her registration again to a place she is leasing in the district).

Seigel took exception to my description of his “curious interest” in this case. “I have a legal responsibility and an ethical obligation to report when a crime or fraud is being committed,” he said, mentioning the mandatory reporting requirements the district has in cases of suspected child abuse.

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