Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: 9/11


A new kind of terrorism on American soil

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Anyone who thinks the war on terror is something less than a war should take a better look at the images out of Boston on Monday.

Innocent runners and spectators — not soldiers — deliberately targeted. An 8-year-old among the dead; many survivors gravely injured. Limbs blown off. Streams of blood on the pavement.

Most sobering of all is the certainty that many rejoiced at the carnage. Hatred of the United States — of the entire West — is endemic in parts of the world. Some in this country share the sentiment. Read more »


Lakewood’s losses are Pierce County’s gains

Doug Richardson
Doug Richardson

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The 12 candidates who have applied to fill a vacancy on the Lakewood City Council are an impressive lot. Most have had either previous elective office experience or have served in some other civic capacity, such as on a citizens advisory committee.

It will be a tough choice for the council, which plans to make the appointment Feb. 4. That person will have the very tall order of replacing Doug Richardson, the longest-serving council member and one of the most respected leaders in Lakewood, Pierce County’s second-largest city.

Richardson – who was mayor in 2004-2005 and again from 2008 to the present – is the last of the original council members who led Lakewood since shortly before it was incorporated in February 1996. During those 17 years, the city formed its own police department, began improvements to the blighted Tillicum area and provided good levels of service while keeping tax rates relatively low.
Read more »


Military can catalog World War I bombs but not medals?

This editorial, which will appear in Monday’s print edition, is an expanded version of an earlier blog posting.

For the last six years, Lt. Col. Jenns Robertson has been compiling a database listing every bomb the Air Force has dropped since World War I.

Sounds like a monumental mission, right? For World War II alone, he had to scan an estimated 10,000 pages of bombing reports.

Yet the Pentagon has long said that it would be too hard for it to compile another database – one listing medals given to service members. Such an online database would allow the media and individuals to verify claims many people falsely make regarding decorations they supposedly received.
Read more »


KISS principle prevailed in Washington’s elections

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

In the middle of the hardest economy most of us have known, the citizens of Pierce County on Tuesday approved a new tax. A sales tax, no less, to pay for better 911 system.

OK, it wasn’t a big tax – just an extra penny on a $10 purchase. But it wouldn’t have had a meatball’s chance in a pack of Rottweilers if citizens hadn’t been persuaded they were getting value for their money.

In this case, the value was considerable:

A unified countywide dispatch system to replace the balkanized hodgepodge of agencies that now handle emergency calls. A 21st-century digital radio system to replace aging and obsolete technology. Police, firefighters and dispatchers who can locate and talk to each other across Pierce County in a seamless communications system.

Proponents were selling something easy to understand – public safety – and voters bought it.

Like the election results or lump them – and we lump some of them – Washingtonians were persuaded by clarity when they filled out their ballots.
Read more »


Ballot measures: Look who wants to buy your vote

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Ballot measures account for most of the action in this off-year election, including gargantuan media battles over a couple of them.

Voters beware: All three initiatives on the state ballot have something in common – each got nearly all of its funding from a single source. A summary of our past recommendations:

Initiative 1183

Commercial fortunes are at stake with I-1183, which would privatize the sale of hard liquor in Washington. It promises immense profits to Costco, which has broken state spending records promoting it.

On the other side, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America – representing business profiting from the status quo – is funding a ferocious opposition.

Also in the mix are unions out to protect the employees of state liquor stores who could lose their jobs if Costco has its way with the electorate.

Amid the flurry of confusing ads, it’s easy to overlook the fundamental issue: Should the sale of liquor be tightly controlled or greatly expanded under a profit-driven model? We’re swayed by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control, which has concluded that privatization increases the abuse of alcohol and the social problems it fuels.

Initiative 1163

This measure is the handiwork of a single union, the Service Employees International Union, which is again exploiting the plight of elderly and disabled to advance its interests.
Read more »


Proposition 1: A seamless, modern 911 system

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Suggestion: Read the article below, written by the Pierce County sheriff and a leader of the county’s fire commissioners.

Done? Now you know why The News Tribune’s editorial board is endorsing Proposition 1, which would enact a tenth-of-one-percent sales tax to create a seamless, countywide, all-digital 911 dispatch system. This would add a penny to a $10 purchase.

Proposition 1 would fix two big, interrelated problems that have long plagued the county’s police officers and firefighters – and the citizens who depend on them.

Problem One is the county’s fragmented, patchwork system of dispatch agencies. Many counties have one or two dispatch centers that handle all emergency calls: This creates greater efficiencies and economies, with modern GPS and digital mapping technologies letting dispatchers rapidly direct first responders to emergencies.

But turf wars among agencies and local jurisdictions have saddled Pierce County with an antiquated multiplicity of agencies and centers. Four separate “primary call centers” handle 911 calls, which in turn relay all fire and emergency medical calls to two additional centers run by fire departments.

Problem One led to Problem Two. Over the years, the fragmented agencies have bought different kinds of radio equipment – mostly analog systems that are now obsolete – that don’t always talk to each other and sometimes (in dead spots) don’t talk at all. Below, Paul Pastor and Larry Nelson spell out some of the tragic and near-tragic consequences.
Read more »


U.S. troops have borne the burden of 9/11’s aftermath

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

From our corner of the United States, the reach of 9/11 can be measured quite literally – in miles.

Washington lies 2,400 miles from New York City. But television and the Internet annihilated that distance on the day of the attack.

Like people in New Jersey or Connecticut – or London or Tokyo – Washingtonians watched in mounting horror as jetliners were deliberately flown into the twin towers. We saw the New Yorkers jumping to their deaths, the skyscrapers collapsing, the desperate survivors fleeing floods of billowing ash down city streets.

Later, the pathos of countless photographs posted on walls, pleading for news of missing loved ones. Funerals with empty caskets. Thousands of children who’d lost parents. Immense ruins burning apocalyptically for months.

After the attacks came 7,000 more miles – the distance between Washington state and Afghanistan.
Read more »


Give citizens the decision on emergency dispatch tax

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

A new tax to fix Pierce County’s fragmented 911 system could prove a tough sell this November – but let’s allow the voters to decide whether to buy it.

Right now, the County Council is split on whether to put the proposed tenth-of-a-percent sales tax on the ballot. The toughest opposition has come from council members Joyce McDonald and Dan Roach, who represent East Pierce County.

The dispute largely revolves around Puyallup, which has spent $8.5 million improving its emergency dispatch system. Its leaders say the city shouldn’t be forced to pay twice, for their own investment and for the technology of a consolidated county system. They’re also fretting about the fate of the 25 employees who work at Puyallup’s emergency communications center.
Read more »