YAY: New Jail discussions
Another calendar year has passed and the new Thurston County jail still sits empty. But there is good news: this newspaper has reported that the County Commission and Sheriff John Snaza resumed talks in hopes of finding a compromise. We hope new commissioner Bud Blake can help his colleagues see the wisdom of finding extra funds for the sheriff, and that Snaza reciprocates by opening the jail based on trust that commissioners will provide additional funds for ongoing operations and unexpected expenses.
BOO: Olympia Council’s confusion
One of the secrets of getting money from the state Legislature for capital projects is having unified community support for an achievable goal. And it helps to get ducks lined up early, which the Olympia City Council appears to have done with an earlier request for help building a bulkhead at Percival Landing and other projects. But in a mystery move that transpired after the Legislature began its session, the council found itself arguing Tuesday night whether to ask lawmakers for even more money – and to reshape its request. No harm in changing one’s mind, but to buy a building that may not be for sale?
YAY: In-state job growth
The state Employment Security Department reported last week that Washington added 82,900 jobs in 2014. Of that, 73,400 were in the private sector and a not insignificant 9,500 were in the public sector. The year-over-year increase measured in December was the largest since 1997. On the down side, the state’s jobless rate ticked up to 6.3 percent from a few months ago, but even that figure remained below the 6.7 percent rate in December 2013.
BOO: ‘Ag-gag’ bill
A few Eastern Washington lawmakers friendly to the agriculture industry thought they had a good idea for protecting their patrons from unwanted, illegal intrusions on their farms. Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax and sponsor of House Bill 1104, wanted to extend protections against intruders that he figured a homeowner might have. Critics point out this “ag-gag” bill, modeled on one under legal challenge in Idaho, is aimed at stopping unauthorized videotaping that has brought to light inhumane and illegal working conditions. If sabotage or trespass are the concerns, there already are laws on the books against such acts.
YAY: Kalakala’s farewell
It was sad to see it go, but in the end the rusting, neglected ferry Kalakala had no home or future. Its final voyage last week took it from Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway to a graving dock not far away on the Blair Waterway. Businessman Karl Anderson, who had bought the aged hulk, ultimately provided it with a dignified end – including a blessing – before its unique Art Deco features are cut apart as scrap.