Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Olympia


Fluoridation: Where the real tax savings are

I was in my middle twenties before I knew what a cavity was. My friends had them; I almost felt left out.

I happened to have spent my early years in Madison, Wis., one of the first cities to have its water supply fluoridated.

Our editorial today argues for restoring Medicaid dental coverage for poor adults. That would cost the state something on the order of $30 million and the federal government more, since it would be paying for a further expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Total Medicaid dental in Washington could come in at something north of $90 million per biennium.

That cost might be pared in the future if all of Washington’s cities adopted fluoridation, which the U.S. Centers for Disease controls has called “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.” One study cited by the American Dental Association estimates that every $1 invested in fluoridation saves $38 worth of dentistry later.

Close to two-thirds of Washingtonians benefit from fluoridated drinking water, but a few bastions of enlightenment – including Olympia, Spokane and Bellingham – remain holdouts.
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Wyman, for a secretary of state all voters can trust

Kim Wyman

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

In a perfect world, the position of Washington’s secretary of state would be nonpartisan. That way, it would be harder to accuse the office holder – the state’s highest elections official – of playing party favorites.

But it is a partisan position. So the next best thing would be to elect someone who is not highly partisan and has a record of inspiring confidence in both Republicans and Democrats. Say, someone like Sam Reed – a Republican who has been elected three times in a state that doesn’t elect very many Republicans to statewide office.

But Reed is retiring. If voters want to replace him with someone who embraces his brand of nonpartisan professionalism, they should elect the candidate he is endorsing and who is following in his footsteps by first serving as Thurston County auditor: Kim Wyman. Read more »


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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Give Narrows tollpayers a break on project’s sales tax

UPDATE: The Legislature passed SSB6073 Thursday night. It now goes to the governor for her signature.

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Narrows Bridge commuters are footing the bill for building the second span and retrofitting the original one. But if state Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, has any say in it, they won’t also pay state sales tax on the project anytime soon.

Kilmer’s Substitute Senate Bill 6073, which passed the Senate on Monday, is now in the House and of this writing is still technically alive. It would further delay payment of the sales taxes involved with the bridge project. The first payment on those taxes – about $5.75 million a year over 10 years – comes due this year. With SSB 6073, Kilmer hopes to push that out another six years – at least.
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Dumb and dumber in Olympia

Let us devoutly hope that the bad blood in Olympia over vandalism doesn’t escalate into a petty tit-for-tat cycle of reprisal.

Some anonymous idiot Tuesday night broke several windows of the apartment of a self-described anarchist, Daniel Kyle Wilson. Two days earlier, The News Tribune and The Olympian newspaper had featured Wilson in a front-page article on anarchism.

Running with the story was a photograph of Wilson throwing a rock at a bank window during a 2008 May Day march in Olympia. The photographer was The Olympian’s Tony Overman, whose house was recently vandalized, apparently by fudge-brained radicals angered

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Mass transit to Olympia: Let’s start planning

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord has traffic. Sound Transit has trains. Can we talk?

It’s time Sound Transit and the Thurston County Commission started thinking about bringing regional bus and train service to Olympia.

Anyone who travels between Olympia and communities to the north knows that traffic between Lakewood and the state capital has become routinely hellish. It can take an hour to an hour and a half to make what used to be a fast drive. The congestion has been aggravated by population growth, much of it at Lewis-McChord, where the troops seem to get reinforced every time the Pentagon closes bases elsewhere.

JBLM is now poised to get bigger still, with an influx of about 14,000 additional soldiers and dependents.

As it happens, Interstate 5 shrinks from eight lanes to six not far from where Lewis-McChord begins to disgorge its traffic. That bottleneck will get a lot tighter when the base swells to 36,000 people. Add that to the existing traffic nightmare, and it’s clear the state must create new HOV lanes to connect the planned high-occupancy lanes in Tacoma to points south.

But mass transit is also a logical part of the solution. Those HOV lanes would do the most good if they were efficiently carrying Sound Transit’s express buses through the congestion.

Read more »


A glimpse into the mindset of an anarchist

We aren’t the only ones who think the Olympia protest-cum-riot earlier this month was a debacle. The anarchists who staged the demonstration are apparently not happy with the results – and not just because three-fourths of them ended up behind bars.

Someone who claims to be one of the “State Street 29″ dissected the protest at an online clearinghouse for anarchist news. The upshot of the post: The rampage was a failure because it caused some damage but didn’t wreak total havoc.

If the purpose of the march had been to localize the maximum amount of damage

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Protesting violence with violence? Senseless

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

The masked anarchists who attacked police officers and a newspaper photographer in Olympia this month say they were taking a principled stand against cop brutality.

Proving themselves common thugs and punks is more like it.

Consider this statement from a 22-year-old protester accused of kicking a cop in the groin and knee with her combat boot: “The last time an officer said I assaulted him, the charge got dismissed, no contest. My Mom has a lot of money, my friend.”

Margaret Belknap indeed got a lucky break after she was charged with assaulting a police officer during an antiwar protest in San Francisco last year. Officials dismissed the charges after she completed a diversion program.

The only lesson she seems to have learned was that mom’s bank account can buy a get-out-jail-free card. Belknap is now charged with two counts of felony assault. She is one of 29 rioters who were arrested April 8 after a downtown Olympia protest turned violent.

Read more »