Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Puyallup


State commerce in the grip of the GOP

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

The job’s not done yet, lawmakers. Now it’s highway time.

It’s great that the Legislature’s Republicans and Democrats finally settled on a state operating budget that reportedly directs an additional $1 billion to schools. We’re looking forward to seeing the details, where the devil often resides.

But the passage of an operating budget was always a foregone conclusion, despite the months of bickering over its specific provisions. The Washington Constitution requires the Legislature to approve one.

A genuine accomplishment of this Legislature – that includes you, Republican senators – would be passage of a transportation budget to unplug bottlenecked corridors where the state’s freight and traffic are now getting slowly strangled.

The $10 billion package – approved Thursday by the House of Representatives – is of paramount importance to the state’s economy.

Only one Republican – Puyallup’s Hans Zeiger – had the guts to support it. Most other lawmakers in his party appear willing to kill it for one reason: The highway improvements require new tax revenue. These legislators chatter about massive reforms in the Department of Transportation and other near-term impossibilities, but it really comes down to evading a tax vote.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, roads and bridges don’t grow on trees. Santa Claus doesn’t lug them down the chimney. You’ve got to buy them.

If you don’t need them, that’s one thing. But Washington sorely needs strategic investment in its infrastructure – in Spokane, at Snoqualmie Pass, on Interstate 405 and other places where cargo and cars are getting halted for lack of road capacity.

State Route 167 is the poster child of lost economic opportunity. That highway passes from I-405 through Renton, Kent and Auburn – only to get guillotined at Puyallup. A mere six miles separate it from the Port of Tacoma and the I-5 corridor.
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Thumbs up for anti-distracted driving patrols

Recent emphasis patrols in the South Sound region ticketed more drivers for texting than did similar patrols in 2012. (LM Otero, The Associated Press)
Recent emphasis patrols in the South Sound region ticketed more drivers for texting than did similar patrols in 2012. (LM Otero, The Associated Press)

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

The figures are in from last month’s distracted driver emphasis patrols, and the verdict is: Plenty of us are, indeed, driving distracted.

During the week of May 20, patrols in many communities statewide focused on pulling over drivers who were illegally using handheld cellphones or texting. They nabbed 1,448, compared with 1,059 in 2012 — a 36 percent increase. If drivers are at all intimidated by the prospect of a $124 ticket, it’s not showing.

Here’s a hero of the emphasis patrols: the Gig Harbor police officer who single-handedly ticketed 101 of the 139 drivers the department caught using their cellphones.

Another shout-out to the Puyallup Police Department, which employed a tag-team approach on busy Meridian Avenue. One officer on the street served as a spotter, alerting another to make the stop and issue the ticket. In the first two days of the department’s three-day emphasis patrol, 79 tickets were issued for texting or talking on handheld phones. Read more »


Closure denied in the vanishing of Susan Powell

Susan Cox Powell disappeared in 2009. (Family photo)
Susan Cox Powell disappeared in 2009. (Family photo)

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Three-and-a-half years after it started, the most heart-wrenching missing person investigation in Pierce County’s history may have come to an end. And Susan Cox Powell’s remains have yet to be found.

The Puyallup mother’s mysterious disappearance in December 2009 was the beginning of a slowly unfolding horror show. The unimaginable climax followed a year ago February, when her husband, Josh, hatcheted and burned their two boys to death in a Graham-area rental house.

Josh Powell was the prime suspect all along, according to records just released by the Police Department in West Valley City, Utah. Susan disappeared in West Valley, and its detectives spent years searching for her body before finally calling it quits and closing the investigation Monday.

The released records held some surprises. Read more »


Spanaway’s on the state’s tourism map, but not Lakewood?

We got an email notice today that the Washington Tourism Alliance has released its 2013 official Washington State Visitors’ Guide. The new print guide is linked to, the official state tourism web site.

Just out of curiosity, I wanted to see what the state website had to say about Lakewood, where I live. Needless to say, I was underwhelmed.

Go to the website, click on Regions and Cities, then on Metro Seattle (which includes King, Pierce and Thurston counties). Then click on Lakewood, and up comes a map – which designates the city with just

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Portmann won’t have enough company behind bars

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Score one for the people who lost their homes, the shareholders who lost their money and the hundreds of millions who suffered as a result of the financial meltdown of 2007.

Shawn Portmann, once one of the nation’s top mortgage lenders, landed in prison Monday for criminal mortgage practices. His short career epitomizes the naked greed and slick dealing that wrought incalculable harm on this country.

Portmann is atypical in one respect, though: Unlike nearly everyone else who created, sold or repackaged fraudulent home loans, he’s actually behind bars. Read more »


Puyallup students make the case for bond passage

We editorialize Monday in support of Puyallup School District’s Feb. 12 bond measure. It’s badly needed and would, among other things, help get rid of about 90 portables by replacing or rebuilding four elementary schools and adding classrooms to all three comprehensive high schools.

Students at those high schools – Rogers, Puyallup and Emerald Ridge – are fierce cross-town competitors. But several of them teamed up for a video, “Follow the apple,” in which they give practical, personal reasons for passing the bond measure from students’ point of view. To watch it on YouTube, click here.


Portable-heavy Puyallup needs voters’ bond measure support

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

One reason many people move to Puyallup is because of its highly regarded schools, which boast high on-time graduation rates and innovative programs.

But Puyallup’s dirty little secret is that about one-fifth of its 20,000 students are consigned to spend all or part of their day in the district’s 220 portable classrooms, many of which are hidden behind schools and largely invisible to passers-by. Puyallup has more portables than any district in the state – even though it’s only the ninth largest.

Portables can be a useful way to deal with student population growth spurts. But they’re inefficient, costly and not meant to be part of a long-term solution. Portables cost more to heat, cool and maintain, and they have only about a fifth the life span of a school building. Many have no bathrooms, and security – a growing concern for many parents – is hard to provide in the sometimes far-flung campus “portable farms.”
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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:

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