Inside Opinion

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

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: illegal structures


Do-it-yourselfers: Don’t try this at home

Today’s editorial about Pierce County’s building amnesty program described some of the safety hazards the county is finding in its search for unpermitted structures. Unfortunately, space didn’t allow us to publish photos that show those hazards. But we have them.

I emailed Chuck Kleeberg, director of Pierce County Planning and Land Services, to say essentially: Sure, we’ve all heard of the shoddy deck that killed the PLU student back in 2001, but what else have you got?

Here’s what he came up on the spot.

This photo came to me with a note that said: “See the safety concerns?” Uh, yeah. Kleeberg dubbed them traps for the tipsy.

Read more »


Pierce County permit violators have it coming

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Want a sure-fire way to not get caught by Pierce County officials looking for buildings constructed without a permit?

Don’t construct a building without a permit.

Pierce County building officials are once again catching undue flack for a program that uses aerial photographs to find building-permit scofflaws.

County council members describe the program as “troubling.” KOMO commentator Ken Schram tried to stoke outrage Wednesday with a Schrammie and an entreaty to Pierce County to “put away the spy camera.”

The fuss is overblown. As regulatory enforcement initiatives go, this one is about as unobtrusive and forgiving as they get in the 21st century.

It is not the invasion of privacy that some critics claim. The county’s aerial photograps – taken for flood-planning purposes – are relatively unsophisticated. Anyone with an Internet connection can get a better and closer view of their neighbor’s property than Pierce County planners can.

Read more »


Illegal structures pose safety, fairness problems

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Big Brother would be offended to know he’s getting credit for something as innocuous and low-tech as Pierce County’s project to find building-permit scofflaws.

The county’s planning department is using aerial photographs to identify structures built between 2005 and 2008 without a permit. Owners are contacted and asked to participate in the county’s amnesty program, which waives penalties.

Big Brother, this ain’t.

Read more »