Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Election


This voter guide is supersized

If you’re like me, you get a little peeved by the variety of phone books that show up on the doorstep. I generally keep one and pitch the rest right into the recycling bin to cut down on the clutter.

Now consider the voter guide that comes in the mail prior to elections. What if it were the size and heft of a phone book?

That’s the case in San Francisco, where the voter guide this year will be more than 500 pages. (Read about it here.) Blame a referendum on the height of a waterfront luxury condo project

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Seeking power and fame? Filing week’s almost here

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

OK, that headline is a little deceptive. The offices that will be on the Aug. 6 primary and Nov. 6 general election ballots are, for the most part, the kind of local positions where people make the nuts-and-bolts decisions for cities, schools and other bodies.

If you’ve ever complained about local officials and said something like, “If it were up to me . . .,” this is the time to back up those words with action.

Filing week begins Monday (online or at the Pierce County auditor’s office kiosk) for the Aug.

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Political recruiters are looking for a few good women

Last year as election filing time neared, I bemoaned in a blog posting the scarcity of women candidates who had announced that they would be seeking statewide office. “Where are the female candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, public lands commissioner, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction?” I asked.

One notable exception: two women were running for secretary of state (Kim Wyman won).

This time of year is candidate-recruitment season, and a new article in The Atlantic might persuade more women to run. Writer Molly Ball says, “These days, political consultants take for granted that, all else being equal, women make more desirable candidates.”

Why? Women candidates are seen to embody the kind of change frustrated voters seek. And, consultants say, voters “tend to assume women are more trustworthy, less corruptible and more in touch with everyday concerns. In a white-male-dominated political system, women are seen as outsiders.”

So why don’t more women run? Citing Gallup researcher Deborah Jordan Brook, Ball writes: Read more »


Voters guide statement fiascos show change is needed

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Pierce County now has had back-to-back debacles over who writes the “against” statement that appears in the voters pamphlet.

Both involve a notorious local felon and publicity hound, Robert “The Traveler” Hill, and they reflect obvious flaws in how statement writers are selected.

In the first case, Hill applied to write the statement opposing last fall’s Pierce Transit tax measure. Only one other person applied, and he said he wouldn’t participate if he had to collaborate on the statement with Hill – a jail inmate who’s had widely publicized, bizarre run-ins with the law. The Pierce Transit board’s lawyer reportedly said that no candidate could be rejected unless there were at least four applicants.
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Here’s to four more years of Barack Obama

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

We’ll let the partisans cheer and groan; it’s time to settle down to the challenges the president will face in his hard-won second term.

Elected along with Obama is another Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Its leaders should be sobered by the return of their political nemesis to the White House – and by the defeat of hyper-conservative Republican candidates for the Senate.

The GOP brand is becoming a harder sell in the United States. That’s partly because its primary voters have purged some of its most appealing mainstream conservatives, partly because the entire party is letting itself be marginalized as an old guard of whites in a nation of expanding ethnic minorities.

Yet the Republicans are not going away, and conservatism is far from a spent force in American politics. There’s still that House majority, led by Speaker John Boehner, for Obama to reckon with.

We’d like to think that the election will clarify things. Republicans can no longer dream of denying the president a second term. Obama knows that the House stands athwart any legislative plans he’d like to pursue in his second term.

They’ll have to live with each other, and deal with each other, if they want to accomplish anything worthwhile for the American people.

America’s overriding problem – to which most other problems attach – is its financial health. The federal government’s immense deficits and the stunning national debt are grave threats to the country. Only Obama, Boehner and the people behind them can do something about it.
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At least tell us who’s behind those big-money hits

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

The first election campaign in the post-Citizens United era is nearing an end, and it won’t be quickly enough for most Americans.

They’ve been bombarded by billions of dollars worth of TV ads, most of them negative. That’s especially true in critical swing states. At least Washington residents can thank the fact that this state’s electoral votes for president are all but sewn up, sparing us the national ad onslaught plaguing battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Colorado.

Still, plenty of outside money – from the so-called super PACs, interest groups, unions, corporate donors and wealthy individuals – has poured into Washington to buy ads trying to influence statewide and congresssional races. How to tell which ones they are? Generally the tipoff is that they don’t end with a candidate saying, “I’m so-and-so, and I approved this message.”
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With sobered expectations, Obama for president

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Is the country better off than it was four years ago? We believe the answer is yes and that Barack Obama deserves re-election.

Four years ago, before Obama’s election, the United States was sliding into its deepest economic downturn since the 1930s. The economy is still in the doldrums, and the jobless rate remains far too high. But the financial system is not flirting with collapse, and few Americans wake up in fear of another Great Depression.

Presidents do not stage-manage the U.S. economy. If politicians of either party knew exactly how to deliver unbroken prosperity, they would have done it a long time ago. This is less of a science than economists like to admit, in part because there’s no second United States to serve as a control group.

Obama has played a very bad hand well. The maligned Troubled Asset Relief Program, the 2009 stimulus bill and such smaller measures as the Social Security payroll tax cut may well have kept the nation from falling off a cliff.

When the economy is sinking, deficit spending is not reckless – though failing to cut deficits after recovery would be monumentally irresponsible.

The deficit problem is less about either Obama or Mitt Romney than it is about their respective parties. Historically, Democrats have pandered to beneficiaries of middle-class entitlements; Republicans have pandered to hatred of taxes.

It seems obvious that, long-term, both parties will have to back down. Entitlements must be cut and taxes increased to chip away at America’s increasingly dangerous national debt.
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Smitherman, Boe, Walker, Mello for Tacoma City Council

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.


Four seats on the Tacoma City Council are up for election Nov. 8. Three are easy calls for the incumbents; the fourth – to fill the open District 1 seat – is a little tougher.

The race is between recently retired educator Karen Smitherman and Anders Ibsen, the office manager of his wife’s law practice. Both are smart, active in local Democratic politics and likely would vote very similarly on issues coming before the council.

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