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: Puyallup Tribe of Indians

Dec.
27th

Norm Dicks: Embodiment of a better Congress


Congressman Norm Dicks

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

To understand what Washington will lose when Norm Dicks leaves Congress five days from now, you have to meet the man.

He comes across as a latter-day Teddy Roosevelt: beefy and bombastic; exuberant, gregarious and dominating; funny, friendly and full of stories. Though he talks nonstop, he’s no bore: The ideas just come too fast.

After about 10 minutes, you realize Dicks is not merely a consummate politician, but also a man of rare intelligence and insatiable curiosity. Once he’s on one of his favorite subjects – stealth aircraft, for example, or Puget Sound cleanup – you start to wonder if anyone else knows as much as this guy.

At 72, he still looks and talks like an irrepressible ex-Husky linebacker, which he is. On the issues he follows, he’s also a formidable intellectual with a dazzling grasp of technical detail and broad context.

Many of the tributes now being paid to Dicks amount to inventories of the projects and funding he brought home to Washington and the 6th Congressional District during his 36 years in office.

None of those lists is complete, though, because he’s done so much. Here is a sampling: Read more »

March
3rd

Norm Dicks, congressman and patriot extraordinaire

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

With Norm Dicks, there are no six degrees of separation. If you live in the South Sound, you’ve been touched directly by his work in Congress.

Dicks’ decision to not run for re-election this year isn’t welcome news, but it’s not a shocker, either. He is 71 and has held his seat in the House of Representatives going on 36 years. All good things must end, and Dicks’ long run in Congress has been a decidedly good thing for this region.

The worst that can be said about the exuberant Bremerton Democrat is that he is an old-fashioned pork-barreler who has brought home the bacon to his state and his beloved Sixth District. But that’s another way of saying he has been very adept at looking out for his constituents.

The “pork” he delivered has stood the test of time. For example, he engineered funding for Interstate 705 – the Tacoma Spur – which extended the reach of Interstate 5 to the heart of Tacoma and the city’s waterfront.

Dicks was the prime mover behind the restoration of crumbling Union Station into a stunning rotunda hung with Chihuly glass. He secured federal grants for other urban redevelopment projects, all of which helped kick-start the dramatic revival of downtown Tacoma in the 1990s.

He was a key player in the historic land claims settlement with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the creation of the bypass highway around the Tideflats, breakthroughs that greatly expanded the capacity and potential of the Port of Tacoma.

He accelerated the cleanup of Commencement Bay. He was behind countless improvements at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and helped bring the Air Force’s C-17 transports there – a move that enhanced the base’s strategic importance at the time when military installations were being closed and downsized across the country.

Many of Dicks’ individual accomplishments would have been enough – all by themselves – to crown the career of any House member. For example, he – along with Sen. Henry Jackson – turned Madigan Army Medical Center into a reality.
Read more »

Sep.
2nd

Red wolves’ spiffy new digs

Now that my nieces are all grown up, I don’t get to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium as much as I used to. In fact, the last time I went was in 2004, when the zoo opened its Sumatran tiger exhibit.

So I was pleasantly surprised Wednesday at the opening of Red Wolf Woods, the lovely new exhibit for the zoo’s mated pair of red wolves, Ocean Blue and Graham, and three other animals. The landscaping at the zoo seems lusher than I remember – with welcome signage on the plants. I was able to swing over to the Asian Forest Sanctuary and see the incredibly cute new tiger cubs, Bima and Mali, as they romped around and nursed on mother Jaya. If you haven’t seen them yet, go soon. They’re getting big fast.

Back at Red Wolf Woods, the mated pair in the new 7-acre exhibit seemed to be enjoying themselves, loping gracefully all around the natural setting, which includes a flowing stream, trees and grassy knolls. The crowd that came to see them at the opening didn’t seem to intimidate the pair, which exhibited playful behavior that looked a lot like courtship. That’s good news for zookeepers, who hope the pair will have a litter this spring. Read more »