Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: University Place


Third Tacoma AIA seems like anti-inebriation overkill

NWS0220_TACCOUNCIL_pThis editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Tacoma’s two Alcohol Impact Areas – where merchants are prohibited from selling certain cheap, high-octane beverages – have had success in decreasing public drunkenness within their boundaries.

But the success is only partial if they’re just pushing that problem into other parts of the city.

That’s apparently what’s happened since formation of the Urban Core District in 2001 and the Lincoln District in 2008. Many of the chronic inebriates who can no longer buy their mind-numbing rotgut head north or west into neighborhoods that aren’t in either AIA. Alcohol-related police calls have risen there as have emergency medical calls – which often are for people who have passed out drunk.

The problem has residents in the North End and the West End now seeking approval for their own AIA.

Tough luck, South Tacoma and University Place. If the Tacoma City Council gives the go-ahead for its third and geographically largest AIA, and the state Liquor Control Board agrees to it, your neighborhoods will be next in line for the overflow – and the problems that go along with that, including increased panhandling, homeless camping and public intoxication. Read more »


Good Samaritans of the parking lot

I’m starting to believe in this whole karma thing.

Over the years, when I’ve witnessed an accident, I’ve made a point of giving my contact information to the party who was not at fault. In all three cases, the person’s insurance company contacted me for a statement.

On Saturday in University Place, I was on the receiving end of a little luck in the form of two good Samaritans. As I was putting my groceries into my car, they alerted me to the fact that it had just been sideswiped by the car that had pulled into the adjacent parking

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Tax abatement might be good move for UPlace

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

What’s better for University Place’s Town Center:

(a) A project that doesn’t get built, thus generating no tax revenue?

(b) Or a project that does get built and starts generating some tax revenue immediately and even more a few years down the road?

The answer to that question seems obvious. And it’s why the City Council should give serious consideration to providing tax abatement to a Tacoma-based developer currently building one mixed-use building at Town Center and hoping to build a second.
Read more »


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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‘University Place’ sans university: Hype with a pedigree

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

University Place may have the biggest bamboozle of a name in Washington. Love it or merely like it – some are proposing to change it to “Chambers Bay” – there’s no denying it’s a bit of a rogue.

The name suggests it’s a university town, but where’s the university? Late in the 19th century, the University of Puget Sound did contemplate erecting its ivy walls there.

The plan fell through – but the locals liked the beguiling ring of “University Place” and kept it.

Move there, and you don’t get a university, though you do get a fine school district. Trade up? Trade down? Either way, it’s bait and switch.

As far as place names go, it’s probably the biggest hoodwink in the state. Washington has other grandiose toponyms, but most of them have a germ of truth buried in them.

“Monte Cristo” – a ghost town in the depths of the North Cascades – actually did produce a fair amount of silver back in the day. On the Columbia River, “Plymouth” is short on Pilgrims, but there is a rock. On the Skykomish, prospectors did find a little gold at “Gold Bar.”

“University Place” may be unique in hyping what never was.

Though the name’s a rogue, it’s a lovable rogue with a long pedigree. Nothing is more American than luring homebuyers to out-of-the-way places with enticing labels.

It goes back to the Vikings. “Iceland” was an Old World name: blunt, descriptive, truth-in-labeling. Eric the Red – North America’s first real estate booster – found an even icier island to the west and called it “Greenland,” thus enticing adventurous Scandinavians to move there.
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Chambers Bay or University Place? Let’s talk about it

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

A new idea shouldn’t be tossed out just because it’s a new idea. The citizens of University Place ought to at least explore the merits of rechristening their city Chambers Bay.

Several city leaders floated the notion recently, and so far it hasn’t proven seaworthy. People tend to see their community and its name as an indivisible package deal. Call it something else, and it’s not quite the same place.

In this case, there’s a certain charm to a “University Place” that has no university. The city’s name dates to the late 1800s, when the founders of the University of Puget Sound decided to establish the school there – and then changed their minds.

The locals stuck with the name, which at least made the community sound as if it abounded in scholars.

“University Place” has a century of fond tradition on its side. Let’s consider the case for “Chambers Bay”:

The name is short, lovely and evokes images of a picturesque cove on Puget Sound. What’s more, University Place actually does have a picturesque cove on Puget Sound.

But the best argument for “Chambers Bay” is that people across the United States will recognize the name in a few years.
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Our endorsements in two 28th District legislative races

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Republicans have been trying to reclaim House seats in the 28th Legislative District since 2004, with no success. They think that redistricting – and an open seat – might help them do it this time around.

The 28th – which stretches from West Tacoma through University Place and Lakewood to DuPont – was redistricted to pick up some of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and surrounding communities. That could make the district slightly more Republican-leaning.

Troy Kelley, the three-term Democratic incumbent in House Position 1, is vacating the seat to run for state auditor. Two Republicans are hoping to replace him – attorney Steve O’Ban of Tacoma and real estate agent Ken Campbell of University Place. They’re running in the Aug. 7 primary against Democrat Eric Choiniere, a customer service representative and member of the University Place City Council.

Since the top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 6 general election, Choiniere – as the sole Democrat – is virtually assured of making it through. Campbell is a solid candidate, but we think O’Ban would be the stronger opponent against Choiniere.
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Our choices in three Pierce County Council races

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The Pierce County Council is getting a major makeover this year. Three of its seven members are term-limiting out at the end of this year, and a fourth is seeking re-election. So at least three new faces will be on the council come Jan. 1, 2013.

Of the four races, three will be on the Aug. 7 ballot, with the top two vote-getters in each contest going on to the Nov. 6 general election. The fourth race – District 6 (Lakewood, Steilacoom, Dupont) – has only two candidates, so it will be decided in the general election.

District 2 (Northeast Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Edgewood) – Incumbent Joyce McDonald, a Puyallup Republican and a former five-term state representative, is seeking a second term on the council. She should get it. The only woman on the county’s governing body, McDonald is a pragmatic consensus builder who knows the district well. She has played an important role in the county’s ability to weather the recession without drastic layoffs or cutting the public safety budget. Read more »