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Opinion Northwest

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

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.

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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.

Ramsey

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.

Martin

Jonathan Martin

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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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April 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Interactive: Where do your federal taxes go?

William Brown / Op Art

William Brown / Op Art

Happy Tax Day.

Did you get a refund this year? Or were you like me and surprised you did not withhold quite enough in 2013 to avoid having Uncle Sam shake you down for a bit — or maybe a lot — more?

For many, Tax Day is a mindless ritual. We get that refund and spend it, forgetting it was our money all along. But admit it: When some citizens are forced to pay more by April 15, all those headlines about waste and fraud in government programs become a little more relevant. Even the most bleeding-heart liberals might think twice about where their dollars are going, and whether that money is being spent wisely.

No matter your feelings about this day, check out the taxpayer-receipt interactive below from the White House. Input your

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0 Comments | More in Interactives | Topics: federal government, tax day, taxpayers

April 14, 2014 at 6:21 AM

Forum: The gender pay gap is real. Have you been affected?

The wage gap between men and women is pervasive. Whether the national average difference is 77 percent, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families, or 84 percent, according to the Pew Research Center, male employees still have an advantage.

That’s just wrong. Women deserve equal pay for doing the same work as their male peers and an equal shot at climbing up the success ladder.

The gap has closed over the years, but as Pew notes in the video below, progress is slowing down. Take a look:

Have you personally experienced pay inequities in your career? What do you think is the cause of this? Do you have ideas for solutions to close the gap? Scroll down to the form at the end of this post and tell us.

First, take a look at Saturday’s Seattle Times editorial supporting the city’s efforts to close inequities within its own ranks. The narrative is a familiar one. Many lower-wage jobs tend to be held by women, while most of the higher-paying jobs and leadership positions are held by men.

The same trends apply nationwide. The current system limits upward mobility, but there’s hope for change as employers start to analyze the root causes of pay inequity, women continue to outpace men in earning college degrees and bosses allow more flexible hours.

Alas, many of us demand changes now and lament the reasons why inequities persist in this post-”Mad Men” world.

Here’s a few reasons, culled from various news reports:

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0 Comments | Topics: city of seattle, discrimination, gap

April 11, 2014 at 6:30 AM

U.S. Sen. Murray wants answers about oil-train safety

Corrected version Shipping crude oil by rail has resulted in horrific accidents that claimed lives and devastated communities. Concerns about the safety of crude oil shipments are escalating  along with the predicted number of trains headed across Washington. The Washington State Legislature had a chance to help protect Washington residents, and let local communities prepare for the…

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April 10, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Three newspapers: Appoint an Eastern Washington justice, Gov. Jay Inslee

With the retirement of state Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson for health reasons, Gov. Jay Inslee will have the opportunity to appoint a justice to the nine-member panel. The Spokesman-Review and the Yakima Herald-Republic have joined The Seattle Times in encouraging the governor to look East of the Cascades for his choice. Johnson has been a…

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0 Comments | Topics: Jay Inslee, law, Washington State Supreme Court

April 10, 2014 at 6:23 AM

A ride-service fan’s doubts about uberX, Lyft and Sidecar petition

Within the last couple weeks, I’ve used taxicabs, Lyft and uberX. The drivers were all nice, the prices comparable, the cars clean. This consumer is convinced the increased competition in Seattle has helped to improve service quality. There’s room in Seattle for many transportation options.

So why are the ride-service companies taking advantage of their popularity and scaring people into thinking they’re going to be put out of business? The three have formed a coalition to circulate a petition to repeal the Seattle City Council’s new regulations, which include insurance requirements, driver training and a limit on each network to 150 drivers at any given time.

If the referendum passes, the new law would be suspended until voters have their say. In a March 28 press release, coalition spokesman Brad Harwood says, “The ordinance passed by the City Council would severely limit transportation options for Seattle residents and visitors alike by making it extremely difficult if not impossible for services like Lyft, Sidecar and uberX to continue serving the city.”

Screen shot of Craigslist ad for drivers posted by uberX on April 8.

Screen shot of Craigslist ad for drivers posted by uberX on April 8.

Again, I’m a fan of these services. But it’s hard to believe that they’re going anywhere when Lyft has been posting ads looking for drivers on Facebook. Sidecar posts ads on Craigslist. UberX, too. (See the photo to the left.)

The council’s cap does seem arbitrary and unfairly protects the taxi industry. But the other provisions passed by the council last month are important for consumer safety in this burgeoning market. Why rock the boat when the council has already told the companies they would be willing to revisit the limits? Seems to me Lyft, uberX and Sidecar should be sharing more of their data with the council and cooperating to develop commonsense regulations, not vilifying their entire effort to ensure safety.

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0 Comments | Topics: lyft, ride-service, ridesharing

April 9, 2014 at 6:25 AM

Should a new Seattle waterfront include a Viaduct park?

The airbrushed sketches for a glittering new Seattle waterfront lack rain, authenticity (as Crosscut’s Knute Berger notes) and maybe (as the Times’ Danny Westneat joked) a few Disney princesses. They also lack any hint of the Alaskan Way Viaduct that has dominated the waterfront for 60 years. That’s why my ears perked when Seattle…

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0 Comments | Topics: alaskan way viaduct, parks, Seattle waterfront

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