Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Gig Harbor

June
10th

Thumbs up for anti-distracted driving patrols

Recent emphasis patrols in the South Sound region ticketed more drivers for texting than did similar patrols in 2012. (LM Otero, The Associated Press)
Recent emphasis patrols in the South Sound region ticketed more drivers for texting than did similar patrols in 2012. (LM Otero, The Associated Press)

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The figures are in from last month’s distracted driver emphasis patrols, and the verdict is: Plenty of us are, indeed, driving distracted.

During the week of May 20, patrols in many communities statewide focused on pulling over drivers who were illegally using handheld cellphones or texting. They nabbed 1,448, compared with 1,059 in 2012 — a 36 percent increase. If drivers are at all intimidated by the prospect of a $124 ticket, it’s not showing.

Here’s a hero of the emphasis patrols: the Gig Harbor police officer who single-handedly ticketed 101 of the 139 drivers the department caught using their cellphones.

Another shout-out to the Puyallup Police Department, which employed a tag-team approach on busy Meridian Avenue. One officer on the street served as a spotter, alerting another to make the stop and issue the ticket. In the first two days of the department’s three-day emphasis patrol, 79 tickets were issued for texting or talking on handheld phones. Read more »

April
23rd

Tragedy led to positive public changes

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Ten years ago Friday, the South Sound was stunned by news that Tacoma’s police chief had fatally shot his estranged wife and then himself – with their two young children nearby.

The tragedy was an intensely personal one for the families of Crystal Judson and David Brame, leaving two children orphans and loved ones distraught. But it was also a very public crime, taking place in a Gig Harbor parking lot and involving a high-ranking police officer.

It touched off weeks of investigation and soul-searching by city officials and police seeking the answers to two overarching questions: Read more »

Jan.
9th

Frequent contributor John Earl passes away

John Earl
John Earl

I was saddened to learn today – via a Peninsula Gateway obituary – that former reader columnist John Earl died last week. Our condolences to his wife Kathy and family.

Earl was one of our columnists in 2008. He was also a frequent letter writer and contributor to the newsroom’s BackTalk feature. He was very active in the Gig Harbor community, having served on the Peninsula School Board and the South Kitsap Parks Commission.

He was an opinionated guy, and his arguments were always cogent and respectful. His columns were thoughtful, usually humorous and always well-written, rarely needing an editor’s touch. He was fun to talk to, too.

His obituary fittingly concludes: “John will always be remembered for his loving heart, infectious smile, sense of humor and his love of wrestling.”

What a loss. Earl was only 51.

Here are some snippets from his reader columns: Read more »

June
12th

Many courts need a refresher on open records rights

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
Location seems to be a key factor in determining whether citizens can successfully obtain public records they’re entitled to by state law.

At least that what News Tribune reporter Sean  Robinson discovered when he requested public documents regarding cases adjudicated in 22 district and municipal courts in the South Sound.
The cases were routine ones that Robinson knew should be made available under state open records law – for free. He asked for the documents as a private citizen to see how the courts’ staffs would respond.

Those responses were all over the map. Hats off to the ones that provided the requested documents in timely fashion: Pierce County District Court and municipal courts in Tacoma, Puyallup, Federal Way, Olympia, Gig Harbor, Buckley and Fife.
Read more »

April
8th

Vote yes on 3 out of 4 measures on the April 17 ballot

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Voters in Eatonville, Auburn, Gig Harbor and Federal Way should have received their ballots by now for the April 17 special election. They’re being asked to fund school operations, roads, and fire and emergency service.

The News Tribune supports all of the ballot measures except the one for Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One. That one would increase the current levy payment by 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation – and make the increase permanent.

Like most local service providers, the Gig Harbor department has felt the pain of reduced property tax revenues during the recession. But voters should be wary of an attempt to solve a short-term revenue problem with a permanent tax increase. Read more »

Oct.
24th

Jill Guernsey for Gig Harbor Council

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Gig Harbor must be doing something right. There’s so little unrest in the city that only one of the three city council seats up for grabs this year is contested.

Come Nov. 8, Ken Malich will be coronated in Position 5 and Michael Perrow in Position 6; neither has an opponent.

The sole race is for Position 4; it pits deputy prosecutor Jill Guernsey against Bob Frisbie, a consulting engineer and waterfront marina owner. Both are well-qualified, and either would bring valuable experience to the council.

Frisbie has already served two terms

Read more »

Aug.
21st

Pierce County and cities should seek consistent fireworks laws

"Safe-and-sane" fireworks were on sale at a Thurston County stand in 2010. (Staff file photo)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Pierce County Councilman Dick Muri recently summed up what’s wrong with the county’s lax fireworks law:

“It’s not Independence Week that I know of,” he said, referring to the fact that residents of the unincorporated county can legally set off “safe and sane” fireworks for 11 hours daily during the eight days between June 28 and July 5. Muri is part of a County Council committee exploring whether to reduce the hours and days fireworks can be set off or to ban them outright.

If shooting off fireworks truly is an expression of patriotic fervor, celebrating July Fourth’s role in the nation’s history, why allow it more than a week before Independence Day? Or the day after?

“We could maybe at least keep the carnage down to one day,” Muri sensibly suggests.

That would be more in keeping with neighboring counties. Fireworks are limited to July 4 in unincorporated King County and to July 3 and 4 in Thurston.
Read more »

July
21st

Re-elect Sen. Derek Kilmer in the 26th district

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The August primary isn’t exactly a gold rush in the 26th Legislative District, which runs through the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas north into Bremerton.

Both House positions have attracted only two candidates each, so those races will be decided in November. The Senate race is a three-way affair with Democratic state Sen. Derek Kilmer facing two challengers: Republican Marty McClendon and Kristine Danielson of Port Orchard, who claims no party affiliation.

Since this is a partisan office and Danielson is neither fish nor fowl, McClendon is the more credible alternative

Read more »