Inside Opinion

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

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Archives: May 2007

May
31st

Tim Farrell on cross-base

And the hits keep on coming! Now we have Pierce County Councilman Tim Farrell, D-Tacoma, explaining why he would have voted for the new RTID plan dropping the cross-base highway from a regional roads-and-transit plan. Farrell emailed this message from Russia, where he’s traveling. His alternate, County Councilman Calvin Goings, D-Puyallup, voted against the new plan.

I support Shawn’s (Bunney) compromise plan that is being offered at Thursday’s meeting. This plan allows for key elements of the Cross Base Highway to be built now, leaving the more contentious section that actually crosses Fort Lewis to be resolved in the future.
This is a difficult choice for me. I have campaigned on supporting the Cross-Base Highway in the past and I still believe that some variation of this highway needs to be built in the very near future. I freely admit that there are environmental problems with the proposed Cross Base Highway design, but I am convinced that we can overcome those problems.

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May
31st

Roger Bush on cross-base plan

Pierce County Councilman Roger Bush called up today to correct a May 15 blog posting that said he backed a plan to dump the cross-base highway from a regional “Roads & Transit” proposal. He continues to be a supporter of the project, he said.


He noted that he has yet to see any details of a new proposal that drops the project. When it comes time to take a County Council vote on the package, “I’ll make my decision on what’s best for the constituents in my district,” he said.


The previous posting was based on these comments

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May
31st

Ladenburg vows a veto

Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg just issued this statement castigating the decision to drop the cross base highway from a regional “Roads & Transit” package going to voters. I have no details on the RTID executive committee vote today, but evidently Pierce County Councilman Calvin Goings voted against the plan.


Goings was serving as an alternate for fellow Councilman Tim Farrell, who is vacationing abroad. Farrell supports the new proposal. The full RTID planning committee votes on the plan June 8, then it goes to the Pierce, King and Snohomish county councils.


I am sorry to hear

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May
31st

Yet another way to vote

Peter Callaghan’s column and our editorial earlier this week pointed out some of the complications of switching to ranked choice voting for countywide races in Pierce County. This prompted a suggestion from an online reader in San Francisco, which uses RCV in municipal elections.

Instant Runoff Voting (or rather its simplified form, ambiguously named “Ranked Choice Voting”) has barely hit the scene in Pierce County, and already the ensuing headaches are rearing their heads.

One is reminded of Scotland’s recent election fiasco upon rolling out IRV, in which 1 out of every 10 ballots was ruled invalid. San Francisco had a similar experience, seeing a seven fold increase in their rate of ballot spoilage. This pervasive trend is due to IRV’s inherent complexity. This is ironic, because far superior election methods exist which are actually much simpler.

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May
31st

Cross base fight continues

The backstage maneuvering over Pierce County’s proposed cross-base highway has been fast and furious all week long. A key vote by the Regional Transportation Investment District executive committee is scheduled today.

The committee will decide whether to drop the controversial highway project from the regional “Roads & Transit” package heading for the November ballot in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. As the news side has reported, County Executive John Ladenburg adamantly wants the highway, but County Councilman Shawn Bunney favors dropping it to head off environmental opposition to the whole package.

Meanwhile, here’s one argument that surfaced today from inside the county planning department:

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May
31st

Friday’s editorials

We think commanders at Fort Lewis should do everything they can to maintain the practice of holding individual memorial servicess for Fort Lewis men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re going to consult with Lakewood’s Bill Harrison, retired Army general who once commanded Fort Lewis to see if he agrees with the Fort brass’s decision to switch to once-a-month services. His view will carry a lot of weight with us.

Update: Harrison tells us he supports the policy change. Among other things, it will make it easier for families to attend the on-base ceremonies. Often they are

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May
31st

Jail is wrong place for mentally ill

Pierce County Prosecutor Gerry Horne offers this comment on Alex Otto’s Sunday and Monday TNT articles about Western State Hospital staffers being injured by mental patients. He makes a good point.


Excellent articles by the Tribune’s Otto and follow-up editorial.

However, one editorial comment may lack insight.


“Many of the attacks occur in the hospital’s forensics admissions

wards. . . . .”


“One forensics unit in Alabama, the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical

Facility
has succeeded in cutting its use of restraints without a

corresponding rise in attacks,

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May
31st

A real head scratcher

We hear a lot of interesting conspiracy theories here at The News Tribune. But this one takes the cake.

According to a letter writer on Vashon Island, Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg supports the cross-base highway project because he wants McChord Air Force Base shut down! It’s all part of Ladenburg’s ingenious plot to build support for a gubernatorial campaign.

Yeah, being responsible for McChord getting shut down should make him a shoo-in for governor.

Anyway, here’s the letter. Needless to say, it won’t run in the print edition.

After reading of the Nisqually tribe’s interest in acquiring part of Fort Lewis, and of the return of the Fort to Pierce County if any of it should ever be closed, the reasons for the importance of the cross-base highway project to John Ladenburg finally became clear to me.

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