Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Milton

Oct.
18th

Our endorsements in Pierce County Council races

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

At least three faces on the Pierce County Council will change after the Nov. 6 election, but the political makeup of the council is likely to remain roughly the same with Republicans outnumbering Democrats. The only question is whether the GOP majority is 5 to 2 or 4 to 3.

• The District 2 race won’t affect that equation; it’s between two Republicans – incumbent Joyce McDonald, a former state representative from Puyallup, and Jeffery Hogan, the mayor of Edgewood. The district also includes Sumner, Milton and Northeast Tacoma.

Hogan’s main issue with McDonald has been her strong support for creating a flood control district that could levy a small countywide tax aimed at preventing and mitigating flood damage. Given the vulnerability of so much of the district to a catastrophic flood, her position makes sense.

Hogan could be a viable candidate for this position in four years, when McDonald term-limits out. But for now, district voters should stick with the incumbent (they gave her 68 percent of the vote in the primary). She works hard for their concerns and deserves a second term.

Here are our endorsements in the other council races – all open seats:

Read more »

Oct.
15th

Our endorsements in 30th and 31st district House races

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Four state House seats are up for grabs Nov. 6 in the 30th and 31st legislative districts.

The districts have geography and politics in common. Both include parts of King and Pierce counties, and both are swing districts that send Democrats and Republicans to the Legislature.

The 30th District’s population center is Federal Way in South King County and includes a small chunk of northern Pierce County. The 31st includes Auburn, Enumclaw, Edgewood, Bonney Lake, Buckley and Sumner.

Here are our endorsements:

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July
18th

Our endorsements in 30th Legislative District races

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

The 30th Legislative District – which includes Federal Way in King County and a small piece of Pierce County – is a true swing district, with its two state House seats held by a Democrat and a Republican.

Voters there tend to favor centrists, rarely electing ultra-liberal Democrats or hard-right Republicans. The Aug. 7 primary gives them the opportunity to select finalists for the open Position 1 seat (Democratic incumbent Mark Miloscia is running for state auditor) and a challenger for Position 2 Republican incumbent Katrina Asay. The top two vote-getters in each race will move on to the Nov. 6 general election.

Position 1: Two Democrats and three Republicans are squaring off for the open seat. Although it’s possible that two candidates from one party could advance, it’s likelier that the Nov. 6 final will see a Democrat facing off against a Republican. Read more »

June
12th

Many courts need a refresher on open records rights

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
Location seems to be a key factor in determining whether citizens can successfully obtain public records they’re entitled to by state law.

At least that what News Tribune reporter Sean  Robinson discovered when he requested public documents regarding cases adjudicated in 22 district and municipal courts in the South Sound.
The cases were routine ones that Robinson knew should be made available under state open records law – for free. He asked for the documents as a private citizen to see how the courts’ staffs would respond.

Those responses were all over the map. Hats off to the ones that provided the requested documents in timely fashion: Pierce County District Court and municipal courts in Tacoma, Puyallup, Federal Way, Olympia, Gig Harbor, Buckley and Fife.
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May
30th

Bizarre logic wins the case against helmets in Milton

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Let’s get this straight: Milton must let bicyclists and skateboarders endanger themselves because they might sue the city if they hurt themselves?

We’ll have to let the trial attorneys explain that pretzel of logic; we sure can’t figure it out.

The Milton City Council last week repealed its 12-year-old ordinance requiring skateboarders and other rolling daredevils to wear helmets at the Milltown Commons Skatepark, a popular attraction for area skaters.

City officials cited two reasons for ditching the ordinance. Blame the state for one of them; blame the bizarre quirks of litigation for the other.

And maybe throw in some blame for the City of Milton, too – for an overabundance of timidity.

The town’s leaders cite the State of Washington’s failure to require helmets as a reason the city shouldn’t require them, either.

But the state is negligent about many things; it’s not necessarily a great role model for cities and counties. Washington ought to have a statewide helmet law, given that taxpayers usually wind up on the hook for the medical expenses when an unhelmeted skater or bicyclist accidentally substitutes his cranium for his brakes.
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July
19th

Fire district levies merit voters’ support Aug. 17

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Tax dollars support a multitude of public services, but none is more important than the emergency interventions of of local fire departments. When fires, heart attacks and car crashes threaten lives, speedy and professional responses are essential.

On Aug. 17, voters in four Pierce County fire districts will be asked to reaffirm their support for that response. Three districts’ ballot measures are simply renewals of existing levies to maintain current service levels; a fourth would increase a property owner’s tax in order to expand service. All deserve voter approval. Read more »

June
16th

Justice Department fights Milton: Guess who wins

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Milton is a tiny, tax-poor city in considerable financial distress. It has to be one of the worst places in the nation to test the nuclear arsenal of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The ADA is an important federal law with a noble purpose: giving people with physical or mental impairments full access to the mainstream of life, including employment and public accommodations. The U.S. Justice Department has broad power to enforce it in the public and private sectors.

Milton’s Triangle Park has now run afoul of the ADA and the legal dreadnought on the Potomac; the outcome isn’t wrong, just pathetic. Settling a long-running complaint over lack of disability-access to the park’s restroom, the city has – among other things – agreed to build a new, more accessible public toilet at a possible cost of $350,000.

The complication here is municipal destitution. Milton doesn’t have much in the way of retail to generate sales taxes, and anti-tax initiatives have prevented its property tax revenues from keeping pace with inflation.

The city operates with Spartan frugality, but its $5 million operating budget is still slipping into the red. It projects a $4.79 million deficit by 2015, and it is slashing services painfully – even eliminating police and fire department positions.
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