Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Dick Muri

June
2nd

Farewell, Sen. Carrell; hello (we hope) to Sen. Muri

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Few Pierce County lawmakers have grown as much in office as state Sen. Mike Carrell of Lakewood.

His death Wednesday deprived his 28th Legislative District of a distinguished legislator — and also deprived the Republican Party of a vote it needed to retain control of the Senate.

Carrell might not have been so widely missed in Olympia in the 1990s, after he was first elected to the House of Representatives. He charged into office as a hard-edged ideologue chiefly known for leading a campaign to reduce fathers’ child support obligations. He could be abrasive in dealing with people he disagreed with.

Even then, though, he proved capable of winning passage of a landmark law, the Becca Bill. Named after a 13-year-old runaway girl found beaten to death in Spokane, the law expanded the power of courts and parents to detain and rescue youths on a self-destructive trajectory.

The Becca Bill also transformed the state’s truancy policies, requiring fast intervention when students started to skip classes without excuses. It became the foundation of many different efforts to save minors from the streets. The law’s tough love was a big improvement on permissive 1970s policies that had bestowed upon kids the freedom to jump off cliffs.

By the time Carrell was appointed to the Senate in 2004, the hard edges were softening. Most notably, he collaborated with then-Sen. Debbie Regala — a Tacoma Democrat — to fix the way the state Department of Corrections released felons from prison.

Their “fair share” bill helped protect Pierce County from the state’s penchant for dumping ex-cons here — a practice that saddled the county with an intolerably high crime rate. The legislation also provided more assistance to those released inmates to help them transition to life outside prison.
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Oct.
9th

For Congress: Kilmer, Smith, Reichert and Heck

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The greater South Sound region is a nexus of four of Washington’s 10 congressional districts, which translates into generous representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and a quartet of choices on election days.

This year, two of those choices – in the 8th and 9th districts – are slam dunks. The other two – in the 6th and 10th – are tougher. Our take:
The 6th District – which embraces the Olympic Peninsula and slips a finger across the Narrows into Tacoma – was represented for decades by Norm
Dicks, a legislative giant now headed for retirement.

Competing to replace him are state Sen. Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor and businessman Bill Driscoll of Tacoma. Either would be a capable member of Congress.

Driscoll, a member of the extended Weyerhaeuser clan, has shown an impressive sense of duty as a Marine Corps officer. Kilmer is vice president of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County; he has effectively served in the Legislature since 2005.

Kilmer has already demonstrated, in office, an uncommon understanding of trade, business taxation, smart regulation, job-creation and other fundamentals of economic growth – which is certainly something the United States needs at the moment.

The 8th District, which once covered East Pierce and King counties, was extended deep into Central Washington last year by the state redistricting commission.

Dave Reichert, a Republican, has tenaciously hung onto to this swing district for six years despite ferocious Democratic challenges.

He’s an even better fit for the new, more conservative 8th, and his extensive experience in public life gives him a decisive edge over this year’s challenger, Karen Porterfield of Issaquah.
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Aug.
20th

So, Republicans are endorsing . . . a Republican?

Just got a press release from Mainstream Republicans of Washington and Slade Gorton announcing that they are endorsing Republican Dick Muri for the 10th Congressional District seat.

Um . . . who else would they endorse? Democrat Denny Heck?

I’ll go out on a limb and guess they’ll also be endorsing Bill Driscoll in the 6th and Dave Reichert in the 8th.

Aug.
8th

Too few primary voters, but they made good choices

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Sure, the Olympics are a distraction, many of us are on vacation and the weather’s been so sunny that perhaps it’s thrown Northwesterners for a loop. But does that explain the lower-than-expected turnout in Tuesday’s primary?

Going to an all-mail election statewide was supposed to boost turnout. After all, there’s no excuse for failing to vote when the ballot is right there on the dining room table.

Unless a whole lot of voters waited until the very last minute to return their ballots, it’s looking like turnout won’t reach the 46 percent that Secretary of State Sam Reed had predicted. That makes it hard to decipher what the results indicate about voter sentiment and what they portend for the Nov. 6 general election. Because this is a presidential election year, turnout is likely to be more than double what it was in the primary, possibly around 85 percent.
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July
14th

Our primary endorsements for the U.S. House

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

The U.S. House of Representatives may be the most partisan room in the Western Hemisphere, yet Washington voters pick their candidates for it with a nonpartisan primary. It’s one of the state’s many political incongruities.

The top two vote-getters in August – regardless of party – will proceed to the November election. But despite the top two system, most Washingtonians align with either the Republican or Democratic Party, and they’re looking for candidates who reflect their views and have a fighting chance in the general election.

That’s why, except in the 9th Congressional District, we endorse a candidate from each party for the South Sound’s House seats.

• 6th District (Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Olympic Peninsula)

A rush of candidates is seeking to replace Norm Dicks, who is resigning from this seat after a long and distinguished congressional career.
His anointed successor – broadly supported by the Democratic establishment – is state Sen. Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor. The Democrats know who they want, and we won’t second-guess them.

On the other side is a slew of Republicans. The strongest among them are Bill Driscoll, Doug Cloud and Jesse Young. Cloud and Young are principled, determined candidates who’ve hungered for this seat for a long time.
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Oct.
11th

For Congress: Re-elect Dicks, Reichert and Smith

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

This is one of those “throw the bums out” years. But the South Sound’s three U.S. representatives aren’t bums, and it would be dumb to throw them out.

In fact, the region could lose much of its influence in Congress if Norm Dicks of the 6th Congressional District, Dave Reichert of the 8th and Adam Smith of the 9th lost their jobs.

In terms of raw clout, Dicks is the mightiest of the three – one of the mightiest in the country, for that matter. His 34 years in the House and parliamentary skills have landed him in positions of enormous power in the House Appropriations Committee: chairman of the defense subcommittee and vice-chair of the interior subcommittee.

As such, he has helped secure Washington’s share of the federal budget, steering countless appropriations toward the state and the 6th District, which covers the Olympic Peninsula, University Place and parts of Tacoma and Lakewood. Federal funding of the cleanup of Puget Sound, for example, has multiplied many times over on his watch. Dicks is also one of Congress’ leading authorities on defense and military policy, which makes him an ideal advocate for Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
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Aug.
12th

The county councilman’s newsletter that looks like a newsletter

Best I can tell, Dick Muri is the only other Pierce County Council member besides Shawn Bunney who has put out a newsletter this year. What a coincidence: Muri, too, is running for higher office.

But Muri’s not incurred the scrutiny of the Public Disclosure Commission like Bunney has. The probable reason (other than he’s not the guy running against Cathy Dahlquist)? His newsletter looks like a newsletter – “good, honest, government boring,” as Councilman Tim Farrell would say.

I emailed Muri, whose issued his newsletter before the June candidate filing week, to ask

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July
10th

Our picks for Congress in the 6th, 8th and 9th districts

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Anti-incumbent fever is fueling crowded congressional races across the country. The South Sound is not bucking the trend.

A slew of candidates is out to unseat battle-tested incumbents in Pierce County’s three congressional districts. This reflects a national pattern: Across America, a record-breaking number of congressional challengers who have entered this year’s midterm election.

The Pierce County races depart from the national script in one way: It’s Republican Dave Reichert, not his two Democratic colleagues, who faces the heaviest competition from the opposite party. Nationwide, the opposite is true: There are almost twice as many GOP challengers as Democrats.

Some challengers are taking on truly vulnerable officeholders. Others are hoping to catch a gargantuan wave of voter outrage.

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