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: Ken Blair

Oct.
20th

Don’t just blame the recession for the port’s NYK bust

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Leaders of the Port of Tacoma, including Executive Director Tim Farrell, have blamed the global recession for the failure of the massive NYK terminal project. The story turns out to be far more complicated – and far less flattering for the port.

Kelly Kearsley’s postmortem in Sunday’s News Tribune details major miscalculations that threatened a fiasco even in the absence of the abrupt decline in maritime shipping.

The project – which included building a terminal for NYK Line and overhauling much of the east side of the Blair Waterway – was estimated at $800 million when announced in 2007. The estimates grew by 50 percent, to $1.2 billion, before the whole thing was called off.

The port wound up sinking $190 million into the deal. Most of that money wasn’t wasted: $146 million was spent on real estate that will probably come in handy at some point.
Read more »

Oct.
15th

Super says he doesn’t have it out for candidate

Tom Seigel, superintendent at Bethel School District, gave me a call this morning to correct what he thinks are some misperceptions that he is meddling in a school board race. Seigel was responding to a post I did earlier this week about school board candidate Marianne Lincoln’s difficulties with the Pierce County auditor’s office.

Seigel says he became involved in the mess because Lincoln asked him for a map of her director district. He drove out to the address listed on her candidate filing to deliver the information. No one was home at the time, so he left the information. Later, Lincoln’s sister, who lives at that address, called Seigel’s office to report that Lincoln had moved out.

“At that point, I called (Auditor) Jan Shabro and told her, ‘We have a situation here, a potential fraud.” Lincoln ended up withdrawing and then refiled with a different address, which Seigel said is a vacant lot. He again contacted Shabro to let her know what he found. (Lincoln has since switched her registration again to a place she is leasing in the district).

Seigel took exception to my description of his “curious interest” in this case. “I have a legal responsibility and an ethical obligation to report when a crime or fraud is being committed,” he said, mentioning the mandatory reporting requirements the district has in cases of suspected child abuse.

Read more »