Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: UWT

March
25th

Preserve park honoring one of Tacoma’s civic leaders

Raindrops collect on the fencing around Don Pugnetti Park March 12. The owner, the Washington State Department of Transportation, is looking for buyers. (Staff file photo)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Green space is at a premium in downtown Tacoma, with few places where downtown workers and students can sit out on a nice day and maybe eat a sack lunch in the sunshine.

One of those few places – at South 21st Street and Pacific Avenue – is in danger of being lost forever. Don Pugnetti Park has been a little oasis of green for 25 years, dating to construction of Interstate 705. But now it’s fenced off with chain link and tagged with “No trespassing” signs. The barrier also blocks access to a century-old railroad monument.

Owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation, the pocket park was an Occupy Tacoma tent city for four months. The Occupiers are gone, but now WSDOT suddenly wants to shed the park for “liability” reasons and is seeking buyers. Maintaining the park isn’t an issue; a private company takes care of that as part of a deal to operate a nearby parking lot. Read more »

Nov.
30th

Big-picture planning good for Tacoma, good for business

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Ask business people what single thing would make them more inclined to expand, develop or invest – and in the process create more jobs. Many likely would respond: certainty.

For instance, if they could be certain that the property they’re interested in had already undergone traffic and environmental review, that would make it a more attractive prospect. The money they would otherwise have spent doing their own review could be plowed into the project, making it more economically feasible.

That’s the rationale behind the new way of handling development in Tacoma’s south downtown area encompassing the Dome and Brewery districts, the University of Washington Tacoma and part of the Foss Waterway. The city is keen to develop the area, especially given its proximity to rail, bus routes and the interstate.
Read more »

June
2nd

The South Sound has a big stake in Emmert’s successor

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

If ever an institution needed to get it right in picking its next leader, the University of Washington does now.
The UW will soon be losing Mark Emmert, its best president in decades. There’s a lot at stake in his replacement, for the state as a whole and also for the South Sound.

Whoever takes his place will walk into a crisis. The Legislature has long been lukewarm about funding higher education, and the recession has given lawmakers ample justification to carve deeply into the UW’s muscle and bone. The threat is becoming existential.

Over the last three years, the Legislature has raised tuition while cutting its support for Washington’s flagship university by a full third. Students are writing bigger checks for skinnier course offerings, larger classes and fewer labs. For the first time, they now pay more than half the cost of their educations – a sharp erosion of a public university’s mission to offer affordable diplomas to those who can’t afford private school tuition.

The best solution, given the scarcity of funding, is to allow the UW and other public colleges to set their own tuition rates – requiring the affluent to pay full freight and offering generous financial aid to students who need it. But lawmakers have refused to cede control of tuition, preferring to impose across-the-board increases on rich and poor alike.
Read more »