Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Election

Sep.
14th

Yard signs: Threats to marital bliss?

This time of year, a lot of people gripe about the election signs that seem to be planted just about everywhere. I personally am grateful to any candidate who restricts his or her signs to private property – after asking the homeowner for permission. So I was intrigued by the story I heard yesterday from a friend – let’s call him Vaughn.

Vaughn recently discovered a candidate’s sign in his yard. He looked up the candidate’s email address online and fired off a blistering missive:

Tonight at 6:45 pm I pulled out of my driveway and saw that

Read more »

July
31st

Roundup of our endorsements

The following are News Tribune editorial board endorsements in the Aug. 16 primary. An asterisk (*) denotes an incumbent. A double asterisk (**) denotes an incumbent by appointment. Names are listed alphabetically in dual endorsements.

To read the endorsement editorials, go here.

Tacoma City Council
District 1: Joe Atkinson

Tacoma School Board
Position 3: Dexter Gordon
Position 5: Karen Vialle

Puyallup City Council
At-large: Nicole Martineau and Steve Vermillion
District 1, Position 2: John Hopkins

Puyallup School Board
Position 2: Therese Ngo Pasquier

Sumner City Council
Position 4: Jon Swanson**

University Place

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Nov.
4th

Voters’ message: No taxes, no bail, no privatization

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Washington voters are an independent lot. There’s no way to put a party label on the way they voted on Tuesday’s ballot measures.

As they’ve demonstrated time and time again, they don’t like taxes and will repeal them, shrink them or prevent them almost every chance they get.

By approving Initiative 1053 almost two-to-one (as of Thursday), Washingtonians emphatically forbade the Legislature from enacting any new tax without either a two-thirds supermajority in both the House and Senate, or a vote of the people. The clear message: Don’t even think about squeezing more money out of us in the pit of this economic hell.

Initiative 1098 – the proposed income tax on high earners – got crushed by almost the same margin. Voters were rightly suspicious that the Legislature might spread that tax to lower income brackets in the next hard economy.

The fate of I-1098 will probably spook lawmakers away from the concept of a state income tax for another generation. If only voters had been offered a far better version: a constitutionally capped income tax that would reduce – not add to – the state’s excessive sales tax.

While they were at it, Washingtonians repealed the bottled water-and-soda tax the Legislature used to wire a balanced budget together in April. That means the state’s multi-billion-dollar fiscal crisis just got $272 million deeper.

Voters to Legislature: Deal with it.
Read more »

Nov.
3rd

Election 2010: A backlash, not a broad mandate

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Tuesday’s rout of congressional Democrats sent some strong messages, especially to President Obama. But the triumphant Republicans should be cautious about claiming a sweeping partisan mandate.

For Obama, the politically catastrophic loss of more than 60 Democrats in House seats was a whack on the head with a two-by-four. There is no way to pretty up those returns: On the whole, Americans are thoroughly fed up with the Democrats’ stewardship of the White House and both House and Senate.

Americans didn’t reflexively vote against all incumbents. They kept Republican incumbents and picked off Democrats, including senior lawmakers in what seemed like safe seats. The elections saw a surge in self-identified conservatives, who have always outnumbered liberals in this country and now appear to have widened that advantage.

Many fiscal conservatives and suspicious populists were alarmed by the federal government’s bailout loans to major banks, General Motors and Chrysler; by the huge and expensive stimulus bill of 2009, and by this year’s health care reform package.

The price tag – many hundreds of billions of dollars – made these bills easy targets.
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Nov.
1st

Your vote counts – especially in this election

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

If ever there were an election in which the vote of individual Washingtonians counted, it’s the one happening today.

The most obvious reason is right at the top of the ballot, where Republican Dino Rossi is asking voters for the job now held by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. Political analysts from coast to coast think this race could decide whether the Democratic Party – facing possibly catastrophic congressional losses – can cling to its control of the Senate by a finger-hold.

And the Senate contest appears excruciating close. Most recent polls have shown Murray ahead by a hair, a few have shown Rossi ahead by a hair, and it’s anyone’s guess how the late votes will break. Murray has exceeded expectations in the past, but Rossi in 2004 achieved a statistical tie running for governor against Chris Gregoire.

It’s easy to imagine this race turning on a few thousand ballots ­– or fewer. Given the stakes, a slight margin of Washington ballots could go a long way toward shaping the nation’s direction in coming years.

The fights for two or three of Washington’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives might also be decided by small margins. In the South Sound’s 9th District, a Republican tsunami could conceivably help Republican Dick Muri edge out U.S. Rep. Adam Smith of Tacoma, further eroding President Obama’s base of support in Congress.

While the Murray-Rossi race has sucked up most of the media oxygen in recent weeks, a monumental battle over the state Legislature will also be decided today. As in the congressional races, the Democrats are mostly playing defense. They’ve enjoyed comfortable majorities in both the House and Senate in recent years, but those majorities will almost certainly be whittled down.
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Oct.
29th

As goes the state, so goes the Senate?

In case you’ve been wondering why you’re seeing so many ads in the Senate race between Patty Murray vs. Dino Rossi, check out the new installment of Nate Silver’s Political Calculus, posted last night on The New York Times.

Silver’s math-intensive analysis shows that Washington is more likely than any other state to decide whether the Republicans take control of the Senate. (And you wondered what math majors do for a living.)

With polls pointing to an ultra-tight outcome, the same advice goes for both Democrats and Republicans: Get the ballot in.

Aug.
27th

The editorial board’s television debut

Every year, we invite proponents and opponents of ballot measures to our office to state their case. This year, TVW got in on the act, asking us if crews could shoot some of our sessions. We jumped at the chance to show you all a little bit of how we do our jobs.

Below, you’ll find the footage from our Tuesday sessions. The first is our interview of Initiative 1053’s backers and foes. Tim Eyman couldn’t make it, but the Association of Washington Business came instead to explain why voters should (again) require a two-thirds vote of the

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July
29th

South King voters should OK fire benefit charge

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Voters in the South King Fire & Rescue service area are being asked to go where few voters in this state have gone before: to approve something called a “benefit charge.”

This funding formula – one that isn’t based solely on the taxpayer’s property value – has been available to fire districts since the late 1980s but is in use in only a few, including Central Pierce Fire & Rescue.
The advantage of this diversified formula is that it provides more stable funding than one based solely on property values.

During the recession, with property tax collections plummeting, fire district funding took a hit. Assessed valuations in the Federal Way and Des Moines area served by the department dropped 14.6 percent, decreasing the fire district’s revenue by $3.7 million in 2010. Districts using a benefit charge for part of their funding have been better able to weather the downturn. Read more »