Inside Opinion

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

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Archives: March 2008

March
31st

UWT historian honored

One of our oped contributors has snagged a nice honor for his scholarly work on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Michael Honey, a UWT history professor who has contributed several articles on Martin Luther King Jr. for our opinion pages, has received the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians.


The award is given annually for “the best book on any aspect of of the struggle for civl rights in the United States.” Honey was recognized for “Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign.”

March
31st

Our fraying safety net

Chuck Kleeberg has two missions: One is running Pierce County’s planning department; the other is chairing the board of his church’s free neighborhood health clinic.


Our earlier posting about the difficulties facing Community Health Care prompted this note from Kleeberg. Trinity Presbyterian is located near Sixth and Division near Tacoma’s Hilltop community.


There are two volunteer-staffed, free medical clinics that operate in Tacoma. Neighborhood Clinic is affiliated with St. Leo’s and sees about 2,000 patients per year (2 nights a week with 2 docs). Trinity Neighborhood Clinic is affiliated with Trinity Presbyterian and sees about 500

Read more »

March
31st

Rise of the ‘rock star’ school superintendent

That’s the headline on an interesting article in today’s Christian Science Monitor that looks at the new breed of school superintendents and what lengths some struggling school districts are willing to go to in order to hire them.


The article cited an astonishing number – that 20 percent of school districts are actively looking for a superintendent. That seems really high to me; if true, maybe it’s partly a reflection of the baby boomer retirement wave we’re seeing in other public sector jobs like police and state government.


One of the most successful “rock star”

Read more »

March
31st

Washington No. 1 – with an asterisk

You may have seen this story, headlined “Food stamps’ use soars,” from The New York Times in the TNT today, or spotted it elsewhere.


Unless you saw the chart that accompanied the article in the print version of the Times, though, you didn’t discover that Washington by far experienced the greatest increase in food stamp use last year.


The number of recipients in Washington grew 25.6 percent from December 2006 to December 2007, the chart indicates. But there’s an asterisk that denotes “Temporary increase in response to natural disaster.”


So that must be due

Read more »

March
31st

Social critic Kunstler to speak here

And now for a word from some folks who like to argue about urban design and planning in Tacoma. One of the most diverse event sponsorships I’ve ever seen, and a great opportunity to discuss how to make a pretty good town even better.


Local Life Tacoma and Exit133 have partnered to bring James Howard Kunstler, urban planning advocate, social critic, journalist and novelist, to Tacoma on April 23, 7:00pm, at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts’ Theatre on the Square.


This event is sponsored by Veritas Mortgage, Embellish Salon, the University of Washington Tacoma Urban

Read more »

March
31st

A blow to communty health services

Just heard some bad news from one of our favorite – and most needed – community organizations. It’s not what you want to hear when we’re heading into economic recession when more families will be facing hard times.


Community Health Care, which runs medical and dental clinics for low-income and uninsured people in Pierce County, is cutting services and staff due to financial problems.


CHC plans to lay off 11 employees, transfer four others and eliminate 15 vacant positions. It will also close a children’s dental clinic at 1102 S. I St. in Tacoma. Two other dental

Read more »

March
30th

End of the course for the math WASL

A legislative uprising against the state’s math 10th grade WASL requirement finally drove a stake through the test’s heart last week, when the governor signed a bill to replace it with end-of-course exams. See today’s editorial.


Problem solved? No way.


Anyone who thinks the WASL vs. EOC choice is an obvious one should check out this January report to the state Board of Education. (Click on “full report” under End of Course Assessment Final Report.)


In the comparison on page 3, EOCs come out well ahead in several categories – such as “assessing students near

Read more »

March
29th

Update on a “clean coal” dream

In September, I wrote an Insight cover article about a University Place entrepreneur, Bob Divers, who hopes to develop a revolutionary $2.2 billion "clean" coal-fueled power plant near Wallula in Walla Walla County.


The project has hit a couple snags, but nothing fatal. Here’s an update:


Hopes for the power plant depend on the outcome of test drilling to prove that liquid CO2 injected thousands of feet deep in basalt formations will mineralize, becoming a solid safely trapped in the earth.


Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland were to supervise the test

Read more »