Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Chris Gregoire

Feb.
12th

A historic day for Washington state and civil rights

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

With Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature, Washington today becomes the seventh state to recognize gay marriage. It’s a historic day for same-sex couples seeking equal treatment under the law for their relationships.

But they shouldn’t rush out and order invitations and wedding cake; it’s unlikely they can start getting married anytime soon. Opponents have vowed to place at least one measure on the November ballot to overturn the legislation that passed the state Legislature last week largely along party lines.

Referendum backers only need to gather 120,557 signature to get on the ballot; an initiative requires 241,153. If signature-gathering falls short, same-sex marriages could start taking place in June. Otherwise, the outcome of the November election would be the deciding factor.
Read more »

Jan.
5th

It’s time to extend rights of marriage to same-sex couples

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

State lawmakers will have a lot on their plates Monday when they return to Olympia and address the budget shortfall as well as Thursday’s state supreme court ruling on education funding.

But they should also take the opportunity this session to pass landmark legislation proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire and expand the legal rights of marriage to homosexual couples.

Gregoire is proposing that the Legislature legalize same-sex marriage, which would make Washington the seventh state to allow such unions after Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The District of Columbia also allows same-sex marriage.

It is the right thing to do. Read more »

Dec.
13th

Coal in the stocking for a do-nothing Legislature

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

It turns out this Washington has its own version of the other Washington’s spectacularly indecisive supercommittee. We call ours the Legislature.

The congressional supercommittee, you will recall, failed to make the hard decisions on tax increases and spending cuts the nation needs to escape the fate of Greece. Partisan gridlock was blamed.

In Olympia, though, there is no partisan gridlock. The governor is a Democrat. The state House of Representatives and the Senate are run by Democrats.

They’ve all known since September that the 2011-2013 budget had a $2 billion crater in it. Despite meeting in special session since Thanksgiving weekend, though, lawmakers haven’t come up with any real solutions and plan to leave town without one. Read more »

Dec.
1st

Pot versus medicinal cannabinoids: A big difference

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

If only the question of “medical marijuana” were as simple as Gov. Chris Gregoire makes it sound.

She and Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island petitioned the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday to knock marijuana down from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug. Her press release said the move “will allow its use for treatment – prescribed by doctors and filled by pharmacists.”

Not quite. Before drugs can be legally prescribed, they must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which must first determine that they are both effective and safe. Moving marijuana to Schedule 2 would make research easier, but it won’t put the plant into pharmacies without the FDA’s approval.
Read more »

Sep.
28th

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 »

Sep.
24th

Thank Chris Gregoire for ending Tacoma’s pointless strike

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

An old conspiracy theory holds that the Washington Education Association – the state teachers union – targets a school district every so often and urges its local union affiliate to stage a bruising strike.

The resulting school closure is as much a display of raw power – a cautionary tale for other districts and the Legislature – as it is a quarrel over the terms of a contract.

We’ve never seen proof, but the strike in Tacoma certainly doesn’t weaken the theory.

The final contract agreement – forcefully brokered by Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday – was no great coup for either the Tacoma Education Association or the school district.

The 2011 Legislature had ordained a 1.9 percent cut in teacher compensation, and it eliminated funding earmarked for holding down class size. In the end, the TEA – which had sought reductions in class sizes – more or less hung on to the status quo, though it gave up a training day that translated into a .5 percent pay cut.

The real flash point was the district’s insistence that administrators be allowed more discretion over which schools teachers are assigned. The union insisted on a traditional system that emphasized seniority.
Read more »

Aug.
7th

WSDOT’s secrecy undercuts its own tunnel plans

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

The state Department of Transportation really does want to build a deep-bore tunnel to replace the crumbling Alaskan Way Viaduct, right?

Why in the world, then, are transportation officials giving tunnel opponents campaign fodder by denying their request for public records?

Late last week, the group behind an Aug. 16 referendum on the tunnel went to court, supposedly to force the state to produce the latest version of the tunnel financing plan.

State officials had earlier denied the document request, invoking the “deliberative process” exemption to the public records law because the financing plan is currently being reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration.
Read more »

June
11th

The right way to win Boeing jobs for Washington state

A 737 is worked on at the Boeing Co. assembly facility in Renton. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Quick quiz: Which event this week has the most potential to create aerospace jobs in Washington?

A) The National Labor Relations Board hearing in Seattle on whether Boeing violated labor law when it decided to locate its second production line for the 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina.

B) Congressional Republicans’ counter proceeding, “Unionization Through Regulation: The NLRB’s Holding Pattern on Free Enterprise,” to be staged in North Charleston, home of said Dreamliner plant.

C) A Washington state trade delegation’s trip to Europe to woo aerospace suppliers who could play a pivotal role in determining where Boeing builds the successor to its 737 plane.
Read more »