Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Initiative 1

Nov.
9th

KISS principle prevailed in Washington’s elections

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

In the middle of the hardest economy most of us have known, the citizens of Pierce County on Tuesday approved a new tax. A sales tax, no less, to pay for better 911 system.

OK, it wasn’t a big tax – just an extra penny on a $10 purchase. But it wouldn’t have had a meatball’s chance in a pack of Rottweilers if citizens hadn’t been persuaded they were getting value for their money.

In this case, the value was considerable:

A unified countywide dispatch system to replace the balkanized hodgepodge of agencies that now handle emergency calls. A 21st-century digital radio system to replace aging and obsolete technology. Police, firefighters and dispatchers who can locate and talk to each other across Pierce County in a seamless communications system.

Proponents were selling something easy to understand – public safety – and voters bought it.

Like the election results or lump them – and we lump some of them – Washingtonians were persuaded by clarity when they filled out their ballots.
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Oct.
13th

Tacoma’s Initiative 1: An invitation to endorse pot

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Is Tacoma – a city with more cannabis dispensaries than pharmacies – really out to jail seriously ill patients whose doctors have recommended marijuana use?

That’s the contention of the people behind Initiative 1, a measure that would order the city’s police to make marijuana offenses their “lowest enforcement priority.” Their chief argument is that people with cancer, multiple sclerosis and AIDS stand to be prosecuted and see their homes confiscated – although not even the hard-nosed U.S. Justice Department has shown the least interest in doing so.

The overwrought claims about the sick being persecuted point to the difficulty of identifying a practical – as opposed to a political – purpose for this initiative. If the city or county ever prosecuted a dying cancer patient or wasting AIDS patient for using medical marijuana, it would be – and should be – a scandal.

In reality, the police don’t waste much time pursuing adults for possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. A minor marijuana charge is commonly a byproduct of a serious bust – as when a crack dealer gets caught with some weed in his pocket.

As far as we can tell, Initiative 1 would pretty much tell the police to do what they’re already doing.
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