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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

April 24, 2014 at 6:02 AM

Poll: Do you want Aereo to expand to Seattle?

Aereo’s brush this week with the Supreme Court of the United States is just the latest example of how technology continues to disrupt the status quo. (For background on what happened, read The Associated Press’ news report)

In this photo illustration,, a web service that provides television shows online, is shown on an MacBook Air, on April 22, 2014 in New York City. Aereo is going head-to-head against ABC, a major television network, in a court case being heard by the Supreme Court. (Photo Illustration by Andrew Burton/Getty Images), a web service that provides television shows online, is shown on an MacBook Air, on April 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo Illustration by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

In this case, you have a bunch of broadcasters (led by ABC) who want the justices to shut down Aereo to preserve their business models. Understandable. The start-up charges its subscribers a fee, then provides access to over-the air television programming that is very expensive (for the networks) to produce. Aereo doesn’t pay retransmission fees.

No, what Aereo is doing is probably not right. But it’s innovative, and you can’t fault the company for responding to consumer demands for television that can be viewed on computers and doesn’t cost a fortune every month.

When disruption occurs, it seems regulators are always pressured to crack down on the offenders.


0 Comments | Topics: aereo, supreme court, television

April 23, 2014 at 6:36 AM

A Nevada cattle rancher rustles up a Western land grab

Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy received a strong show of support this past weekend from lawmakers and county commissioners from nine western states, including Washington, the Associated Press reported. Bundy is the fellow the Bureau of Land Management has determined to be an aggressive freeloader, who has used federal grazing land for decades without paying fees. A…


0 Comments | Topics: blm, bureau of land management, cattle rancher

April 22, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Bullitt Center’s sustainable vision shines on Earth Day

What a delight to see the Bullitt Center’s vision for a sustainable future coming true.

In a press release to the media on Tuesday, spokesman Brad Kahn announced the center used 75 percent less energy compared to other new buildings required to meet city code. Within the same 12-month period, solar panels on the roof generated 252,560 kWh of renewable energy.

Before the building opened to the public last year, CEO and Earth Day Founder Denis Hayes gave me a tour of the 50,000 square-foot project World Architecture News dubbed the “greenest commercial building in the world.” I blogged about the sneak peek for Opinion Northwest, wrote an editorial notebook and posted several photos from my Instagram feed, which can be viewed below.

On this Earth Day, Hayes issued a refreshingly bold statement: “After seeing how the Bullitt Center performed in its first year, I’m certain we will be net positive energy, not just net zero. If we can do this in cloudy Seattle, owners in other cities should be embarrassed if they don’t achieve zero net energy.”

Bravo to the city of Seattle for


0 Comments | Topics: bullitt center, denis hayes, earth day

April 22, 2014 at 6:09 AM

At long last, Washington lawmakers draw the line on tuition

State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane.

State Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane.

You have to love what just went down at Central Washington University. Administrators offered a demonstration of college-and-university-level thinking when they figured out a way to raise tuition, even though a tuition freeze is in effect.

Then angry legislators jumped up and down and made a few screeching noises, and that was the end of that. The smart guys lost. But the even smarter ones won, and it represents a most-welcome sea-change in the Legislature’s thinking.


0 Comments | Topics: central washington university, college, higher education

April 21, 2014 at 6:02 AM

A classy no-thank-you from Ross Hunter

State Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

State Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

As the cauldron bubbles in the 48th Legislative District, at least we can say one thing – Ross Hunter won’t be stirring the pot. The House Appropriations chairman says he’s running for reelection this year, and not for the Senate seat that is being vacated by fellow Medina Democrat Rodney Tom.

Indeed, Hunter has a mighty classy way of saying no-thank-you. With all the nastiness and bad feeling that seems to be swirling about the Senate race right now, his Facebook post Thursday was probably one of the few bits of niceness likely to break out in the 48th District between now and November.



April 19, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Reader submissions on the Bicycle Master Plan: How would it work to make cyclists pay?

Donna Grethen / Op Art

Donna Grethen / Op Art

The Seattle City Council approved a Bicycle Master Plan this week. The city would need to find about $20 million a year for 20 years to pay for it, editorial columnist Jonathan Martin wrote in an Opinion Northwest blog post Wednesday. How could the city raise the money?

Here are seven ideas submitted by readers, posted in the Northwest Voices blog. Add your voice to the conversation in the comments section or submit a letter to

Pay a registration fee

The state currently registers all motor vehicles, trailers and vessels. Why not bikes?

Where I grew up, we had to pay a registration fee when we purchased a bike. The retailer put a sticker on my bike with a registration number.

So let’s start with requiring a special registration fee (based on value) on all adult-sized bikes, new or used, sold by a licensed retailer in Seattle or King County. The retailer would collect the fee and submit it with the purchase info, including name, address, etc., to the state Department of Transportation.

Current owners, those who purchase from private parties or over the Internet have one year to register their bikes or face being fined.

Dick LaPorte, Seattle

Licensing wouldn’t be practical

Again with “how can we stick it to those bicyclists?” Jonathan Martin said it himself: It’s been tried elsewhere and failed.

So since it’s failed elsewhere, let’s try it here? What would happen: Another level of bureaucracy would be created, which would, no doubt, cost more to set up and maintain than it would ever generate in revenues.

And to whom would we


0 Comments | Topics: Bicycle Master Plan, Bicycling, Jonathan Martin

April 18, 2014 at 6:40 AM

Turn the Missouri man free

No jail time for a clerical error. Missouri, the Show Me State, is not showing me much with its stubborn insistence that a man overlooked by criminal justice bureaucrats should spend 13 years in jail for embarrassing them. Maybe all those folks in Missouri should be mindful of the state motto: “The welfare of the people…


0 Comments | Topics: cornealious anderson, corrections, missouri

April 17, 2014 at 6:25 AM

An almost-united front on the fish-consumption issue

Gov. Jay Inslee.

Gov. Jay Inslee.

Looks like newspapers across the state are chiming in on the fish-consumption issue, and nearly all of them see the same danger The Seattle Times observed in an editorial last week.

They say Washington industry and local governments could face a devastating problem when the administration of Gov. Jay Inslee finally announces its position on that rather odd-sounding question, how much fish do Washington residents eat? If the state does what federal regulators want, it would mean water-quality standards so tough no technology could meet them, and require the expenditure of billions of dollars to remove infinitesimal and undetectable amounts of contamination. A decision, in the form of a proposed rule from the state Department of Ecology, is expected sometime in the next few weeks.



April 17, 2014 at 6:13 AM

Seattle Times editorial writers win Sigma Delta Chi award for marijuana editorials

Congratulations to Seattle Times editorial writer Jonathan Martin and retired writer Bruce Ramsey for winning the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Editorial Writing for large newspapers.


Bruce Ramsey

The winning entry comprised a series of editorials about Washington state’s marijuana legalization process that Ramsey and Martin wrote in 2013. Among them was an editorial calling out Washington’s congressional delegation for not taking a lead in efforts to amend federal law to accommodate the experiment unfolding in our state and Colorado. They also implored Attorney General Eric Holder to stand down on possible federal prosecution and urged reforms that would allow federally insured banks to serve marijuana enterprises legal in our state.


Jonathan Martin



April 16, 2014 at 6:45 AM

Build icebreakers to protect U.S. interests in the Arctic

Republicans in Congress are toting extra heavy campaign baggage as they head into the 2014 election season, and look beyond to 2016. They have virtually no legislative achievements or profile beyond being an impediment. In its desperate attempt to find bipartisan issues to help tout a constructive role, the GOP should embrace modernizing the U.S. icebreaker fleet…



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