Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Seattle


New game plan needed to return Sonics to Seattle

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Seattle’s slam dunk turned into an airball Monday.

A group of buyers headed by billionaires Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer appeared to have a done deal to buy the Sacramento Kings and move the team to a site south of Safeco Field in Seattle. They thought so. So did Northwest fans. The team’s owners certainly did. Even a lot of people in Sacramento assumed the Kings were out the door after an earlier arena deal there fell through.

So what happened? Why did a panel of team owners recommend against allowing the sale of the Kings to buyers that would be one of the NBA’s best-financed ownership groups in a more desirable market?

Conspiracy theories abound: Read more »


Sacramento letter writers aren’t keen on keeping the Kings

I’ve come to view letters to the editor as a fairly good indicator of public opinion around election time. I can usually predict how ballot measures are going to turn out just by the number of letters we receive on each side.

If that’s the case, then folks in Sacramento either don’t really care whether the Kings basketball team relocates to Seattle or the folks who do care don’t write letters.

Checking out four recent letters to the Sacramento Bee inspired by news that a local deep-pockets “whale” had emerged in the bid to buy the team, only one supported efforts to keep the Kings in California’s capital city. And even she admitted to being “disenchanted” with the franchise.

Two writers focus on how the proposed new stadium deal would be a bad one for Sacramento. A third opponent of keeping the team just seems tired of the whole thing: Read more »


Lawmakers should intervene in rail dispute

Map shows Point Defiance Bypass route adjacent to I-5. (WSDOT)
Map shows Point Defiance Bypass route adjacent to I-5. (WSDOT)

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

A decision by the Federal Railroad Administration on the controversial Point Defiance Bypass is great for Amtrak. But it could be an economic blow to the future of several South Sound communities and add to the transportation nightmare thousands of commuters already face every day.

And it’s all to shave a few minutes off of Amtrak trains’ time between Seattle and Portland, and run a few more trains on that route. That’s an unacceptable tradeoff.

On Monday, the FRA gave the go-ahead to the $89 million bypass project that would reroute Amtrak trains from along the Puget Sound shoreline through South Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont. A three-year study found that the project – which would extend by 3.5 miles the rail line now used by the Sounder train to Lakewood – would not adversely affect the environment.

Perhaps, but sending high-speed trains down tracks that cross at-grade intersections would certainly lead to accidents, huge traffic disruptions and economic impacts, especially to Read more »


South Sound would reap few benefits from more coal trains

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

At first glance, a proposal to ship millions of more tons of coal through a Whatcom County terminal might not sound like something that should concern South Sound residents all that much. After all, trains already transport coal through Pierce County for shipment out of Seattle.

But the Whatcom County proposal would mean up to 18 additional trains per day rumbling through Western Washington, transporting coal from Montana and Wyoming for shipment to Asia. Those trains would add traffic to the rails that hug Puget Sound and create additional waits for motorists

Read more »


Hoop dreams get a boost from big-name investors

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

These are the times that try Northwest basketball fans’ souls. Four years after Seattle’s NBA team was moved to Oklahoma City, it’s playing for the championship.

Besides rooting for the Miami Heat, what are Sonics fans to do?

Well, they could always root for the guys hoping to bring another NBA team to town – which thousands of fans did last week at a big downtown rally.

The likeliest candidate is the Sacramento Kings, a franchise that is in the same kind of situation the Sonics were in before they moved: a dispute over a new downtown arena. (And yes, there’s no little irony that Seattle would be doing to another city what was done to it.)
Read more »


Outlaw politics got far too personal at McGinn’s home

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has had his goofy moments in office, but he’s done nothing to deserve having his windows shattered with rocks while his wife and children were home Tuesday night.

The timing of the vandalism – the evening after McGinn’s effective response to violent May Day demonstrations – suggests that the perps were soulmates of the thugs who hijacked the otherwise peaceful protests in downtown Seattle.

These black-clad “anarchists” are typically emotionally stunted bullies with anger issues; they haven’t a clue about the way change happens and public opinion works.

Read more »


Memo to Seattle: Cooperation runs both ways

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Ah, yes, cooperation. A favorite theme of Seattle leaders when it comes to the Port of Tacoma.

The port is suddenly poised for a massive expansion. On Thursday, the “Grand Alliance” – a consortium of three big shipping lines – announced plans to shift their cargoes to Washington United Terminals on the west side of the Blair Waterway.

NYK Lines, OOCL and Hapag-Lloyd may wind up moving as much as 400,000 cargo containers through Blair, a surge that will again make Tacoma the state’s leading seaport and bring Pierce County a slew of high-paying jobs.

Unfortunately, Tacoma’s gain is Seattle’s loss. The Grand Alliance now operates out of Terminal 18 at the Port of Seattle. Ships, cargo and jobs will simply be moving down the Sound a few miles.

The news has been greeted up north with barely controlled apoplexy. The Port of Seattle issued a statement pointing to its $1 billion investment in seaport infrastructure – which could wind up under-utilized – and the loss of livelihoods on its waterfront.

“We continue to call for a dialogue about how the two ports can cooperate in order to maximize return on taxpayer investment,” the statement continued.
Seattle Port Commissioner John Creighton described it as the latest round of a “race to the bottom” that is keeping his port from raising its rates and threatening the maintenance of its terminals.

In reality, it’s not a race to the bottom so much as a response to opportunity. Tacoma’s port has immense capacity inside the Blair. Washington Waterways Terminal, for example, sits on 102 acres; it offers six immense cranes and an on-dock rail yard for direct transfer of containers from ship to freight train.

Ideally, the port would be snagging shipping lines from, say, British Columbia. But these businesses own calculators, and they grab value where they find it. It’s a competitive world, even within the Puget Sound region.

Ask the Tacomans who are still feeling the aftershocks of Russell Investments’ move to Seattle two years ago.
Read more »


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.
Read more »