Sewage treatment failure – is local government getting the basics right?

Given the Pacific Northwest’s reputation, if you told people around the country that our region’s largest sewage treatment plant is easily paralyzed by large rainfalls – well, they’d probably find that funny. A “catastrophic event” at King County’s West Point sewage treatment plant within Discovery Park last February resulted in “235 million gallons of untreated […]

Government takes people’s stuff without a conviction or even charges. That’s wrong

You can say this about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions: He doesn’t mind swimming against the tide. That can be an admirable trait, depending on the issue. Increasing the use of civil asset forfeiture (CAF) is the wrong issue. Sessions announced this week that he is undoing the modest CAF reforms put in place by […]

“Morally repugnant”? No, it’s simply what rural families need

Too many Washington families are caught in a judicial and bureaucratic limbo thanks to the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. The case is about so much more than water – it’s about, as Madilynne Clark of the Washington Policy Center wrote, “two of the most fundamental necessities – homes and livelihoods.” The court’s decision has […]

Logic prevails: Legislators go with a levy swap

After all that – the years of court hearings, legislative debates, campaign promises and contempt fines – the Legislature’s main McCleary solution is (drumroll please): A levy swap. Hey, that sounds familiar. Not that the ultimate budget package had anything to do with the 2012 campaign. Legislators chose the property tax swap because there is […]

Local shipbuilder’s woes show absurdity of Jones Act

Do you love old buildings? The details and craftsmanship from years past can be impressive, but conditions vary widely. Buildings that are well-maintained and updated can stand for centuries, but some are so old and creaky that they’re beyond saving. Laws are like that too. A law’s foundation can last a long time, if legislators […]

Legislature’s procrastinating reflects the reality of negotiating

Well, it’s really happening again: the Legislature is now in a third overtime session while lawmakers wrangle over a state budget deal. The prospect of a government shutdown is looming once more. If a budget deal isn’t in place by July 1, many state government functions will screech to a halt. Most still expect legislators […]

Behind the Evergreen story: “equity justification” for new hires

I’ve touched already on some of the “silliness” taking place at Olympia’s The Evergreen State College. I use that term because of the lack of intellectual seriousness undergirding much of the turmoil on campus. But the results of that silliness are nothing to laugh at. While yelling, phoned threats, and roving students armed with bats […]

Teachers unions in districts with unusually high pay are feeling nervous

The local teachers union in Everett is threatening to strike. It’s unfortunate to see this type of threat being raised once again, because it really is the kids who lose out when their instructional year is interrupted for picketing. The reason here may not be obvious, because Everett teachers are some of the best-paid in […]

Evergreen mob shows even minor dissent will get you ostracized

It’s tempting to dismiss some of the more outlandish movements that take hold on college campuses. Most, after all, have no staying power and soon peter out. They deserve our attention all the same. Ideas can outlast the moment, take root, and gain acceptance over time. The American norms we take for granted, including support […]

That’s not right: McCleary isn’t a menu to pick and choose from

Many cheered in 2012 when the state Supreme Court issued its K-12 funding ruling in the McCleary case. Today, some of the groups that hailed it at the time seem to be suffering from selective amnesia. The McCleary decision is a three-legged stool, but that message has been lost. The court ruled that K-12 funding […]