Inside Opinion

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

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Agencies reacted the right way to sex offender audit

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

For years now the state has maintained a registry of sex offenders and where they live. But apparently no one thought to match that registry against the addresses of those who provide child care or foster care.

That was an unfortunate oversight, because a new state audit reveals that sometimes those addresses do overlap.

The audit, which began about 18 months ago, found 28 instances of registered sex offenders living in child care or foster care settings since 2002. In 24 of the cases, the care provider had concealed the offender’s presence from social service oversight.
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Don’t waste state funds on predators’ ‘blank check’ defense

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

As state lawmakers grapple with how to close a $1 billion-plus budget gap, one place they’ve been looking for savings is the Special Commitment Center for violent sex predators on McNeil Island.

Some legislators want to save money by moving the SCC to a mainland site, cutting out the extra expense involved with ferrying to and from the island. But no community is clamoring to host 284 dangerous sex predators, and even if an existing facility could be found it likely would require expensive renovation and security upgrades.

A recent Seattle Times series suggests another strategy: Target the wasteful, uncontrolled legal costs associated with sex offenders either trying to avoid civil commitment to the SCC or to be released if they’re already there.
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A test of humanity for Washington’s Legislature

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

The impact of Washington’s looming $2 billion shortfall is coming into focus, and it is ugly indeed.

Prepping for an emergency legislative budgeting session in November, Gov. Chris Gregoire has asked her department chiefs to tell her what a 10 percent loss of funding would mean for the people their agencies serve.

Susan Dreyfus, secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services, released three scenarios this week. The first scenario includes cuts backed by some kind of logic, however tenuous.

Example: Eliminating beds for 150 patients at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, including people with dementia, traumatic brain injury and histories of violent behavior. Read more »


Warn the neighbors, please, when a ‘son of Satan’ escapes

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Not to second-guess state officials . . . well, maybe this once.

When a psychiatric patient calls himself “the son of Satan,” and the Department of Corrections considers him “delusional, paranoid and dangerous,” it should occur to authorities that the public might want to know he’s escaped from Western State Hospital.

Perhaps people would like to see a photo of the fellow on TV or online so that if they spot him, they could call police and take precautions – especially when their kids play in a park or go to school within a stone’s throw of the psychiatric hospital. If they signed up for emergency alerts, an escape like this is the sort of thing they might appreciate being told about.

Those people, and ones who live in the Lakewood/Steilacoom neighborhoods near Western State or shop at the Albertson’s down the street might be somewhat miffed if they were to hear about Satan Jr.’s escape a few days afterward.

Oh, wait. That’s exactly what happened. Read more »