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Opinion Northwest

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

November 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM

A sweet and long-awaited homecoming for Kenneth Bae

This photo of Kenneth Bae greeting his mother, Myunghee Bae, speaks a million words.

Kenneth Bae, who had been held in North Korea since 2012, greets his mother Myunghee Bae after arriving, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., after they were freed during a top-secret mission by James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Kenneth Bae greets his mother Myunghee Bae after arriving Nov. 8 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

On the first anniversary of her son’s arrest on Nov. 3, 2012, the elder Bae wrote a Seattle Times guest column outlining her anguish over his imprisonment. Considering reports he had been hospitalized at least twice for health problems, Bae appeared robust Saturday night as he stepped off the plane at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

How sweet to witness this peaceful outcome for the Bae family. Imagine what these last two years have been like for them; not knowing when, whether and in what condition their loved one would be released by arguably the most unpredictable and secretive regime in the world.

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Comments | Topics: diplomacy, kenneth bae, north korea

November 10, 2014 at 6:06 AM

Helping Latino parents help their kids

Corrected version In the south Seattle neighborhood of White Center, parents, many Spanish-speaking, are learning how to teach their children years before they enter the classroom. A trend of training parents to be better first teachers for their infants and toddlers is gaining momentum nationwide in the push to improve early education. But, that type of training is…

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Comments | Topics: early education, latinos, parents

November 7, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Gov. Inslee should have revealed ‘no’ vote on Initiative 1351 sooner

Leaders shouldn’t be afraid to influence their constituents – that’s part of the job. I’m disappointed to hear that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee voted against Initiative 1351, but didn’t reveal his preference until after the election.

Supporters of I-1351 billed the law to limit class sizes and for Washington schools to hire 25,000 new workers, about a third of which would be teachers. If it passes — and it’s too close to call right now — the law could add a $4.7 billion burden on the state budget over the next four years.

“I did have concerns about financing, so I did not support it,” Inslee said in a post-election interview with TVW.

Gov. Jay Inslee.

Gov. Jay Inslee.

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November 6, 2014 at 12:12 PM

More community action necessary to save women’s health services in South King County

The race to find enough funding to keep the Auburn Public Health Clinic open just got a nice boost from local funders, but it’s not enough to prevent closure in January.

(Photo by Thanh Tan/The Seattle Times)

On Wednesday, Nov. 5, King County Executive Dow Constantine held a news conference at Auburn City Hall to announce those organizations that have stepped up to help Public Health — Seattle & King County keep the Auburn Public Health Center open. (Photo by Thanh Tan/The Seattle Times)

More cities, nonprofits and businesses still need to step up to help thousands of South King County’s most vulnerable women maintain access to family-planning services, as well as support programs for mothers and newborns.

On Wednesday, King County Executive Dow Constantine and other county leaders announced a coalition has come forward and pledged between $550,000 to about $700,000 total to help Public Health — Seattle & King County offset a revised shortfall of about $1.6 million to keep the only standalone family-planning clinic (and its two satellite offices) accessible.

Here’s the key date for the community to act: Nov. 17. On that day, the Metropolitan King County Council is set to vote on the budget for the next two years. A blueprint will be revealed about a week before.

The more funds can be identified before then, the less likely the county will have to consider peeling off resources from other critical service areas.

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Comments | Topics: birth control, king county, public health

November 4, 2014 at 8:22 PM

Updates from Seattle Times Opinion writers out on the town on election night

ORIGINAL POST 8:22 p.m.:

Hope everyone got their ballots in on time, as the 8 p.m. deadline just passed and ballots should be released here shortly.

Here are live results (50 to 60 percent of the final vote will be reflected tonight, according to the Secretary of State), and news columnist Danny Westneat is live-blogging about the results as they come in.

Opinion writer Thanh Tan is

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Comments | Topics: 2014, election, I-594

November 4, 2014 at 7:15 AM

About those car break-ins…

My colleague Danny Westneat touched a live wire with his first-hand column about the police’s blasé response to property crime; it had triple the readership of any other story in Seattle Times website and 550 comments (and counting). Property crime is out of control. Washington has the third-highest property crime rate in the U.S. That makes…

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November 4, 2014 at 6:25 AM

What if both Washington state gun initiatives pass?

gun cartoon

The likelihood that the conflicting gun initiatives on Tuesday’s ballot both will pass has lessened amid a barrage of advertising in the closing weeks of the campaign. The percentage of voters who said they’d vote for Initiative 591 and Initiative 594 both fell from 32 percent in July to 22 percent in October.

I have no idea what those voters are thinking. The measures are fundamentally conflicting. Initiative 594 expands background checks. Initiative 591 restricts broader background checks, deferring to federal standards.

But the latest KCTS9 Washington Poll, led by the University of Washington’s Matt Barreto, shows that both measures still could pass. I-594 is in stronger position in the Washington Poll (64 percent say they’re certain, likely, or leaning toward a yes vote) and the Elway Poll (60 percent).

I-591 fell to 39 percent in the latest Elway Poll. But in the Washington Poll, the support and opposition to I-591 is more closely split: 45.4 percent certain-likely-leaning toward yes versus 43.4 percent certain-likely-leaning toward no. The undecided vote is 8.8 percent.

What would happen if both pass? There is no precedent, no landmark case law on this.

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November 3, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Save women’s health, maternity support services in South King County

Dariia Leavitt, 25, is just one among thousands of clients watching closely to see if the Auburn Public Health Clinic remains open next January.

Dariia Leavitt signed up as a maternity support services client in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Dariia Leavitt)

Dariia Leavitt signed up as a maternity support services client at the Auburn Public Health Clinic in 2011. Today, she goes to the clinic for family planning services. (Photo courtesy of Dariia Leavitt)

Her story helps to make the case for why last Friday’s Seattle Times editorial called on elected officials, health providers and women’s health advocates to find about $1.7 million as soon as possible to keep the site open. Without that money or partners, the county will have to close a vulnerable section of South King County’s only standalone family planning clinic in January.

Leavitt first sought help three years ago after her daughter, Eve, was born. At the time, Leavitt had just arrived from the Ukraine, could not drive and spoke little English. After her mother-in-law learned about the Auburn clinic, Leavitt initially signed up as a client for Maternity Support Services (MSS). Thanks to this state program administered by King County, nurses conducted home visits to check on the baby’s health, offered Leavitt tips for better breastfeeding and answered her questions about being a first-time mother.

“It meant a lot to me,” Leavitt said earlier this month in one of the clinic’s meeting rooms, as Eve slept in her arms. The baby “got help when she needed it. We didn’t have to wait until I had insurance or could drive a car, and I didn’t have to borrow any money from anybody because I could afford paying the bill myself.

And even if I didn’t have the money at that time, I could pay the next time,” she added. “You can’t do that at regular clinics. It really helped me. I didn’t have to get a credit card.”

About 10,700 clients in the Auburn area — including women, teens, children and infants — rely on Public Health’s nurses and staff to learn parenting skills and access supplemental nutrition programs.

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Comments | Topics: auburn, birth control, king county

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