Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Costco


Downtown grocery should be supported, not picketed

Picketers were out in front of Tacoma City Grocer in January. They’re still picketing the nonunion store on Pacific Avenue. (Peter Haley/Staff photographer)

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The grocery workers’ union is picking the wrong fight with its almost yearlong action against the only full-service supermarket in Tacoma’s downtown core.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 367 says its picketers – many of whom are paid – are educating the public. But they rarely hand out fliers anymore or interact with people entering the nonunion Tacoma City Grocer. So it appears the real reason for the picketing is to discourage shoppers by forcing them to cross a picket line.

Tacoma is known to be supportive of organized labor, so it’s likely that the pickets have succeeded in driving away some business. What if that results in the store closing its doors? How many friends will the union make if it drives out the only grocer willing to take a risk on downtown Tacoma? The owner says his store isn’t profitable yet; how much longer will he hold on?  Read more »


Liquor privatization: Another negative consequence

After liquor sales were privatized June 1, a lot of people complained about the often higher prices, which incorporated new taxes required under voter-approved Initiative 1183. Others said the increase was well worth the greater convenience of more locations selling liquor virtually around the clock.

But one point hardly anyone is talking about is how privatization has narrowed choice and made it much harder to locate more obscure items.

For instance, before privatization went into effect, I was looking for a liqueur called Creme de Violette after reading an article about a famous old cocktail using it. The state liquor store I usually patronized didn’t carry it, but the clerk looked it up for me in the state database and said another store not far away carried it. He even offered to call over and have it held for me. Read more »


Liquor prices didn’t drop? That shouldn’t be a surprise

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Many shoppers checking out the prices of liquor stocked at supermarkets and other outlets seem to be confused. They don’t understand why they’re paying at least as much for most items as before privatization took effect on Friday and, in some cases, more.

Presumably at least some of those shoppers helped pass Initiative 1183 last November to privatize liquor sales. Even though that initiative was written and promoted at high cost by Costco – which spent more than $22 million getting it passed – many folks seem to think the higher costs were imposed by “the state” or “the Legislature,” even “the governor.”

No, the voters are responsible for those higher costs. That’s what they voted for when they marked “yes” on I-1183. Read more »


Liquor superstore coming to Tacoma?

Costco might come to rue the day it spent millions to privatize liquor sales. It looks like it will have spirited competition from a liquor superstore called Total Wine, which is planning several locations in Washington according to an Associated Press story.

Anyone who’s gone to Arizona to watch Mariners spring practice might be familiar with Total Wine, which has a location a short distance from the Peoria sports complex.

I was in the area in October for a wedding and popped into Total Wine. It’s a pretty amazing place, with lots of advertised specials and a

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We’re better off without I-1183’s liquor privatization

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

A year ago, the editorial board of The News Tribune endorsed a measure that would have privatized the sale of liquor in Washington. We all make mistakes.

We endorsed last year’s Initiative 1100 because it was clearly better than a competing privatization scheme, Initiative 1105. By a split decision, we also concluded that selling liquor simply wasn’t a core function of state government.

That was philosophy. We’ve since been swayed by practical reality. The reality is that dramatically expanding access to distilled spirits – which this year’s Initiative 1183 would do – is bound to have social costs that outweigh the benefits of privatization.

We’re also not enamored by the spectacle of a single company, Costco, attempting to purchase an election and buy a state policy that would pump untold millions into its bottom line.

I-1183 is tailored to favor large-volume buyers of wholesale whiskey, rum, etc. The initiative’s value to Costco – one of the kings of volume purchasing – is such that the company has so far invested more than $22 million in the campaign to pass it. This constitutes nearly all of the money behind I-1183.
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Bellevue billionaire buys himself an Eyman initiative

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Whatever voters think about Initiative 1125’s attack on highway and bridge tolls, they should know this: The measure might not exist but for the bankroll of a Bellevue developer who hopes to kill a voter-approved transit plan.

Kemper Freeman Jr., the force behind Bellevue Square and much of the rest of downtown Bellevue, has given more than $1 million to the campaign run by professional opportunist Tim Eyman.

A full 86 percent of the contributions to Eyman’s I-1125 coffers came from Freeman’s company, Kemper Holdings. Without that money, Eyman might not have been able to hire the paid signature gatherers who qualified the measure for the November ballot. Read more »


Would they call it Potco?

The Associated Press is reporting that supporters of Initiative 1068 – which would legalize the cultivation, sale, possession and use of marijuana – are having trouble getting the necessary 241,000 petition signatures before the July 2 ballot deadline. They were counting on financial help to pay for signature gatherers from the Service Employees International Union, but that hasn’t materialized.

I think the weed backers missed a bet. They should have teamed up with Costco, which is using its own employees as signature gatherers at its stores for an initiative to get the state out of the liquor business. Convince

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Stocking up on the hard stuff at Costco

Costco isn’t just supporting Initiative 1100 to get the state out of the liquor store business, reports the Associated Press. It will be actively gathering signatures at tables set up outside its 26 stores in the state. Costco employees who are registered voters will staff the tables, inviting customers to sign initiative petitions.

With the kind of foot traffic the average Costco gets, I suspect the required number of signatures (242,000) will be gathered in about 27 minutes.

If voters approve the initiative, Costco would be able to sell hard liquor along with the wine and beer it

Read more »