Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: King County

July
16th

Our choices for Federal Way City Council and School Board

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Federal Way voters have some superb candidates for their City Council and School Board on the Aug. 6 primary ballot. The top two vote-getters in each race will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

The City Council races are for two seats currently filled by candidates who were appointed in January and now are seeking election in their own right.

In Position 2, the appointee is Kelly Maloney, a marketing executive with good ideas for improving the city’s image and bringing in more investment. She’s pushing to lure a private four-year

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July
5th

Check out online voter resources and get educated

Ballots will be mailed out in two weeks for the Aug. 7 primary, so it’s time to buckle down and start doing your homework on the candidates.

The News Tribune’s online primary election guide is a great resource for researching South Sound races. You can generate a sample ballot or just click on “65 races” or “217 candidates” to look at campaigns you’re particularly interested in. One nice feature is that you can click on two candidates’ photos and up pops a side-by-side comparison of their backgrounds, qualifications and answers to questions posed by our newsroom political team.

If you’d like to hear from the statewide candidates in their own words, the secretary’s of state’s office and TVW have collaborated on an online video voters’ guide. Read more »

Feb.
20th

What’s not to like about Seattle arena proposal?


An arena to host an NBA franchise has been proposed for the area at the bottom right of the photo, just south of the Safeco Field parking garage in Seattle’s Sodo district. (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Dean Rutz)

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Basketball fans have every right to be excited about a new proposal for bringing an NBA team back to Seattle, which lost the Sonics to Oklahoma City in 2008.

An arena site has been purchased. A rich Seattle native and other investors are willing to put up $290 million of their own money toward building an 18,000-seat facility, and they’re offering to pay for any cost overruns or revenue shortfalls. The remainder of the $500 million cost would be paid by team rent and taxes generated by the arena. The investment team would buy an NBA team and recruit an NHL team.

Taxpayers wouldn’t be asked to come up with a dime for any of it. And the NBA team would pay to play in KeyArena for the two years it would take to build the new facility just south of the Safeco Field parking garage.

What’s not to like?
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 »

June
30th

How many lattes is that new tax?

Here’s a case of deja vu.

The Seattle Times’ editorial about the proposed $20 car-tab tax in King County to fund its Metro bus agency sounds a lot like what we were saying earlier this year when Pierce Transit sought a sales tax increase.

We editorialized in January that PT hadn’t done enough to keep salaries and benefits under control during the recession. And we worried that the tax – which would max out the agency’s taxing authority – would have been a permanent one.

Pierce Transit’s tax went down to defeat, and if the Seattle Times’ editorial is any indication, a new tax for transit in King County won’t be popular there either.

Here’s the editorial. I particularly like the “latte” reference toward the end. Public officials seeking a new tax or increase to an existing one are always framing it like, “It’s the cost of one latte per month.” As the Times notes, those lattes can add up.

King County Metro needs overhaul, not a tax to cover past unsustainable decisions

KING County Executive Dow Constantine proposes an annual $20 car-tab tax to prevent cuts in bus service. The tax, another county official suggested, is only worth the price of five lattes and will last for two years.

We are not convinced. Read more »

May
26th

The bill comes due for unsustainable spending

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

The Great Recession has brought a painful reckoning to local governments that seem almost hard-wired for constant spending increases. King County is a spectacular example.

Year after year, the county executive and County Council have routinely adopted budgets exceeding the rate of inflation. With the recession now crimping tax revenues, the bill has come due.

County officials say they’re staring at a $60 million shortfall next year and another shortfall on the same order the following year.

Executive Dow Constantine and Sheriff Sue Rahr are warning that major layoffs of deputies and other criminal justice personnel will be necessary if voters don’t approve a tax increase, which the Republicans on the County Council have so far refused to put on the ballot.

Shades of Pierce Transit, which has been saying it may cut more than half its bus service without new taxes.
This isn’t a suddenly blooming 2010 problem. Even more than Pierce Transit, King County has spent years enthusiastically digging itself into this pit.
Read more »

Sep.
4th

Liars, damned liars and politicians

Let this serve as a warning to any political candidate who might be tempted to play fast and loose with the truth in the heat of battle: The Public Disclosure Commission may not be able to get you, but you’re not beyond the reach of the courts.

A jury in King County decided this week that King County Council member Jane Hague defamed an opponent’s chief supporter in 2007. The suit stems from a campaign mailer sent to more than 20,000 homes that described a supporter of opponent Richard Pope as someone who “tops law enforcement’s list with

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