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Opinion Northwest

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

July 19, 2014 at 5:03 AM

Chat rewind: Is Amazon the bully or the hero?

Replay our Wednesday live chat discussing “Is Amazon the bully or the hero?” in the contract dispute with publisher Hachette Book Group. Want to find out more about what’s going on in this battle of the titans? Check out our guest columns featuring opposing views from authors Frank Schaeffer, who says Amazon has liberated him from publishers,…

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Comments | More in Live chats | Topics: Amazon, live chat

July 18, 2014 at 6:03 AM

Legal representation for unaccompanied minors at border

The humanitarian and refugee crisis involving migrant children now extends far beyond the border states.

As of Friday morning, Joint Base Lewis-McChord remains on a federal shortlist of military bases that might become a host site for some of the more than 54,000 migrant children caught entering the U.S. illegally since October.

If they come to the local base, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services must follow through with its promise on Wednesday to provide appropriate resources to help these children remain safe as they await hearings to determine their legal status. (In a Thursday Opinion Northwest blog post, I argued that many of these children likely qualify for refugee or asylum status.)

Here’s something to keep in mind: the government could expedite the process by providing more legal representation for these children.

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Comments | Topics: border crisis, immigrant children, jblm

July 16, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Seattle Times editorial board recommendations for 2014 primary

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Corrected version

Voters this week are receiving their ballots in the mail for the Aug. 5 primary.

This summer, Seattle Times editorial board members are interviewing candidates in select races for state and federal office, and in pro and con campaigns in statewide and local initiatives. We have published most of our recommendations for the primary in races where more than two candidates appear on the ballot. We will continue interviews for the remaining races that will also be settled by the November ballot.

If you have questions about King County Elections, call 206-296-VOTE or go to kingcounty.gov/elections.

If you have questions about Snohomish County Elections, call 425-388-3444 or go to the Snohomish County Election division website.

For questions about Washington state elections, go to the Secretary of State election website.

Here are our recommendations for selected races in King and Snohomish counties and for ballot measures. And read Editorial Page Editor Kate Riley explain how these election endorsements are made.

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Comments | Topics: Aug. 5, election, king county

July 16, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Readers react to Seattle Park District measure

Corrected version A call-out last week for readers to tell us how they would fund Seattle’s expansive parks system so far has generated more than a dozen thoughtful responses. Highlights from some of those comments are featured below. The Seattle Times editorial board recently advocated voting against Proposition 1, known as the Seattle Park District measure on…

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Comments | Topics: august primary, election, metropolitan park district

July 15, 2014 at 6:45 AM

The Arctic as the 21st century Northwest Passage

The headline is how U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett., describes the role and challenges facing the United States in the climate change evolving Arctic. The North Pole is rich with mineral resources, and the looming shortcut for shipping is attracting lots of attention. The topic has even caught the attention of the National Journal, a distinguished…

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Comments | Topics: Arctic, coast guard, icebreakers

July 14, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Filets aren’t the issue in Inslee’s remarkable fish-consumption decision

Gov. Jay Inslee.

Gov. Jay Inslee.

How much fish do you eat? Twelve pounds a month? If you’re like most people, the answer isn’t anywhere close – one of the reasons Gov. Jay Inslee’s judgment call on a momentous water-quality issue last week struck so many people as absurd.

The governor decreed Wednesday that the state shall use a figure of 12 pounds a month as it calculates new water-quality standards – a big increase from the current half-pound a month. He will soon propose a rule to this effect. Of course the average Washington resident doesn’t eat 12 pounds a month. State officials have never bothered to determine an exact number, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tells us the national average is 14.4 pounds a year.

And the governor says people eat how much?

Believe it or not, Inslee’s decision is the most sensible pronouncement that has emerged to date from any government official during Washington’s long-running battle over fish consumption and water-quality standards. Count it among the top-ten most important state-government decisions of the last decade. Billions of dollars are riding on it, the possibility of costly pollution-control mandates that might sap the vitality of Washington industry, and sewage bills that might cost every homeowner $200 a month or more. Inslee found a clever way out, and while there are a thousand details that still might bollix things up, Washington ought to be grateful that the greenest governor turned out not to be so green as to bend to dictates that make no sense whatever.

What really ought to puzzle people is the fact that the state faces pressure from federal regulators and special-interest groups to adopt a “science-based” policy involving virtually no science at all.

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July 14, 2014 at 6:20 AM

What candidates really mean when they say “secure the border”

Interviewing Congressional candidates over the past two weeks, The Seattle Times editorial board kept a tally of vague but repetitive phrases. Top of the list: “secure the border first.” I asked candidate after candidate to define “secure,” and got more vacuous rhetoric. Why is that so hard? Because the candidates aren’t saying what they really think. Christopher Wilson,…

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Comments | Topics: border security, congress, illegal immigration

July 10, 2014 at 6:04 AM

A ‘no’ vote on Prop. 1 will not destroy Seattle parks

A bicyclist rides around the north end of Green Lake Park early on a fall morning. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

What happens if voters don’t pass Proposition 1 on the Aug. 5 ballot? Contrary to supporters’ claims, Seattle parks won’t be doomed. Citizens might even get a chance to vote on a better measure in a future election.

Parks enthusiasts (myself included) shouldn’t be bamboozled into thinking the formation of a metropolitan park district within city limits – operated and led by the Seattle City Council — is the only way to fix a daunting $270 million maintenance backlog.

As The Seattle Times makes clear in Wednesday’s editorial, parks definitely deserve some TLC. But the board joins the League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County and the pro-parks/anti-Prop. 1 citizen group Our Parks Forever in opposing the proposed taxing authority outlined in Prop. 1.

Preserving parks is critical to quality of life and public health. The mayor and council members are understandably eager to create dedicated parks funding and free up room in limited levy capacity for other worthy programs, such as universal preschool. But they have failed to make a case for a Seattle Park District that gives elected officials so much additional, unfettered power to tax and spend.

By rejecting Proposition 1, voters send a strong message to city leadership: We love parks, but return with a levy or alternate measure that prioritizes park needs, holds officials more accountable and preserves citizen participation.

Three questions to keep in mind before you check off that ballot:

1. If everyone loves parks and levies pass so easily, what’s the big deal with forming a metropolitan park district?

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Comments | Topics: august primary, metropolitan park district, prop 1

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