Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Pam Roach


A coup in the Senate, but not a ‘blood purge’

The big story of the day is the “bipartisan” coup in the state Senate. Two Democrats joined the Republicans to give them 25-24 control of the Legislature’s upper house. They’re calling it the “Majority Coalition Caucus.”

Two architects of that takeover – Sens. Rodney Tom, D-Bellevue, and Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville – dropped by Monday afternoon to brief the editorial board on the move that will install Tom as Senate majority leader. (We’ll have an editorial in the print edition Tuesday; a sneak preview has already been posted on this blog.) The other Democratic defector, Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, will

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The smelly restoration of Pam Roach

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

While we’re talking about the state Senate, let’s note some real hypocrisy in that chamber: the matter of Sen. Pam Roach.

Roach had been expelled from the GOP Caucus in 2010 for years of screaming at, intimidating and otherwise abusing staff members. Her luck turned six weeks ago, when Republican senators moved to wrest the budget-writing process out of Democratic hands.

As part of their maneuvering, they welcomed Roach back. She took that to mean she’d have access to the staff again.

One of her past targets, attorney Mike Hoover, took it

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Keep public notices in newspapers, not buried online

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

If you have a spare moment, look at today’s classified ads, specifically a category called “Legals.”

In recent days, that category has informed the public of actions being taken by the Bethel School District; the state of Washington; Pierce County; a local fire protection district; the cities of Sumner, Lakewood and Tacoma; and many other jurisdictions. The information is also published on the newspaper’s website.

But legislation introduced in both houses of the Legislature could make that a thing of the past. Now required to post public notices in local newspapers, jurisdictions would be allowed to post them on their own websites – which would require the public to search each site individually for information they need.

While the legislation is now limited to cities and counties, it likely would just be the first step. State agencies and local bodies such as ports, fire and school districts, and utilities surely would demand equal treatment.

Public notice, at that point, will not be very public at all. Citizens who want to know what local and state government is doing will have to go on website safaris to uncover information ranging from meeting announcements and liquor licenses to property foreclosures. Read more »


Hurst, Bunney and, yes, Roach in the 31st district

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Voters in the 31st Legislative District – which straddles Pierce and King counties and includes the cities of Sumner, Bonney Lake and Auburn – are an unpredictable lot. Just look at how they voted in the August primary.

Somehow, given a field of four candidates for state Senate, 31st district voters opted to send the two candidates with the most baggage to the Nov. 2 general election.

They shunned police officer Raymond Bunk and former Buckley City Councilman Ron Weigelt, going instead for embattled Republican incumbent Pam Roach of Auburn and Matt Richardson, another Republican and a member of the Sumner City Council. He has been slammed with allegations of personal, sexual, professional and ethical misconduct.

Given that choice, The News Tribune editorial board recommends voting for Roach and hoping that she spends the next four years building bridges – not burning more of them. Richardson is not an option.
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Roach v. Richardson v. Bunk? If only

The reconstituted Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial board has weighed in on a race that’s flummoxed many editorial writers, not to mention voters: the 31st district contest between state Sen. Pam Roach and Sumner City Councilman Matt Richardson.

Calling the race a choice of “Vulgarity vs. Obscenity,” the P-I board says it couldn’t bring itself to endorse either of “these seriously flawed candidates.” Instead, the editorial board suggests, voters should write in the name of Raymond Bunk, a Democrat who was eliminated in the primary election.

Bunk, a Federal Way police officer, is an excellent choice; we endorsed him

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Democrats endorsing Pam Roach? Yes, hell has frozen over

First we had Republican Steve Vermillion endorsing Democratic incumbent state Rep. Dawn Morrell over Republican Hans Zeiger in the 25th district. (Read about it here.) Now three of the 31st district’s most prominent Democrats are endorsing a Republican for state Senate – and Pam Roach at that.

It’s not that they like Roach all that much; in fact, they call their decision to endorse her a “painful” one. It’s just that they really don’t like her Republican opponent, Sumner City Councilman Matt Richardson.

Richardson has been in the news lately for questionable use of city e-mail

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Sumner councilman’s e-mails show poor judgment

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Matt Richardson was apparently aware that messages written on the City of Sumner’s e-mail system are public records – aware enough that the city councilman devised a code for communicating certain information.

“… conversations about business are good here,” he wrote in 2008 to a city volunteer. “Personal things like meeting me at the Seattle Westin room 1708 on May 10 at 3, could be broken down to SWR1708-5/10-3.”

Richardson wasn’t as clever as he’d hoped: He detailed his plan to evade public disclosure in a public document.

The Sumner councilman’s bumbling, brazen attempt at obfuscation is now among the e-mail messages being reviewed by the state auditor’s office for possible ethical violations. Sumner’s code of ethics bans the use of city property for “personal convenience or profit.”

The e-mails were brought to the auditor’s attention by Chris Clifford, a supporter of state Sen. Pam Roach, whose re-election Richardson is challenging.

Clifford alleges the emails detail an extramarital dalliance between Richardson and the city volunteer.

Perhaps, perhaps not. Richardson claims the two are just friends and liked to joke about their “affair.” The only two people who probably know the truth are Richardson and the woman.

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Our choices in 31st Legislative District races

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

One quirk of Washington’s “top two” primary is that both candidates who advance to the Nov. 2 ballot in a given race may be from the same party.

That’s exactly the outcome The News Tribune editorial board is recommending in two races in the 31st Legislative District, which straddles Pierce and King counties and includes Bonney Lake, Sumner, Auburn, Buckley, Enumclaw and Edgewood.

• In the state Senate race, either of the two Democrats running against controversial incumbent Pam Roach would be an improvement on a lawmaker who’s been sanctioned by her own Senate Republican colleagues.
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