YAY: 64-BRAND BAN
The Washington State Liquor Control Board agreed last week to ban sales of 64 brands of high-alcoholic drinks in an area of downtown Olympia, starting May 7. This expands on nine brands prohibited since early 2014. Our hope, and the city’s too, is the ban discourages public drunkenness, litter and disorderly conduct by ending easy access to high-alcohol drinks. This “alcohol impact area” policy needs to be watched and measured to justify its continued use.
BOO: TARDINESS AT VA
Veterans Administration facilities in Seattle and at American Lake in Lakewood are meeting goals to schedule timely doctor visits for patients. But federal data analyzed by The Associated Press showed centers in Chehalis, Walla Walla and Vancouver are still falling well short of a 30-day goal for getting people in for care. Nationally the data revealed little improvement over the past year for waits of 30 to 90 days; the number of those taking longer doubled. That’s unacceptable.
YAY: KASEY KELLER
Kasey Keller, the former Seattle Sounders FC and U.S. national team goalkeeper, has been elected along with Sounders coach Sigi Schmid to the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Keller grew up in Thurston County and attended the University of Portland before going on to a storied career that included World Cup appearances in 1990, 1998, 2002 and 2006.
BOO: GUN CHECK FLAW
The teen who killed four Marysville-Pilchuck High School students then himself last October never should have had access to the firearm he used. But a breakdown in reporting court findings from tribes to federal and state databases led to a failure in transferring information about a domestic violence protection order issued by Tulalip Tribal Court against the father, Raymond Lee Fryberg Jr. The information, if put into the criminal database, would have turned up in a background check and kept the father from buying it. Critics say state and federal governments have failed to create a system letting tribes easily enter data, and some don’t do it. The Justice Department plans an August conference to find a way to fix this.
YAY: HIGH TECH JOBS
The tech-jobs boom has been real in the Northwest, particularly around the economic hub of central Puget Sound. A Seattle Times story said earlier this year that a report by the Washington Technology Industry Association, state Department of Commerce and a research firm counts 238,900 tech jobs in information technology, communications and other industries in 2013. The jobs generated $22 billion in payroll, a significant contribution to the regional economy.
YAY: ISTHMUS DEMO
At long last, one of Olympia’s great eyesores is going away. Crews began demolishing the first of two vacant city-owned structures – formerly the Housing Authority of Thurston County building – on the isthmus area between Capitol Lake and West Bay, and work should end April 17. The other structure, a doctor’s clinic-turned-county health department, comes down in the summer. This is progress.