Thumbs up: Bear
Bear, a 2-year-old Patterdale terrier, could be a poster dog for microchips. The dog vanished from a Sacramento suburb on a Tuesday afternoon, yet was reunited with its California owner last Saturday after turning up more than 700 miles away, unharmed, here in Washington state. After Bear’s disappearance, his owner, Bryan Rapozo, had resigned himself to the belief that his dog was stolen and that he’d likely never see him again. Then came the call that Bear was in a shelter in Tacoma. Someone living near the shelter noticed the abandoned animal and dropped Bear off at the shelter. A microchip confirmed his identity. How the dog traveled more than 740 miles in two days is a mystery. Rapozo thinks someone snatched him, because his collar and tag were missing. The lesson for pet owners is to invest in microchips, which will help unite lost pets with their owners. Bear’s reunion with Rapozo last week is testimony to that.
Thumbs down: Conflict
Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland, didn’t help the relationship between lawmakers and the city of Olympia when he introduced Senate Bill 5830 to take away the city’s authority to regulate on-street parking in the south Capitol neighborhood. The parking issue is a time bomb that can be triggered with the slightest move. This community saw that years ago when some legislators threatened to move the capital out of Olympia and one city official responded with the notion of letting state government buildings burn should they catch fire. That’s how fragile the situation is between the city — which tries to regulate parking in the neighborhood so residents can get in and out of their homes — and state lawmakers who want to give their constituents parking opportunities when they come to the Capitol Campus for a legislative visit. The tug-of-war is best resolved through thoughtful negotiations, not by sponsoring punitive legislation. Delvin, a 17-year veteran of the Legislature, called his bill as a “shot across their bow” for the neighborhood. Is that really how lawmakers set sound public policy — by taking a shot across the bow of neighbors who only want what everyone else takes for granted — easy access to their homes? Let’s hope calmer heads prevail and this time bomb doesn’t explode anew.
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Thumbs up: Gov. Gregoire
When Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a stop-gap budget into law recently, she made a bold statement with her veto pen. She excised the portion of the 2009-11 supplemental budget that would have forced non-union state employees to take a pay cut three months sooner than their unionized counterparts. This editorial board has been sharply critical of the governor in the past when she awarded unionized workers a pay increase months ahead of the non-union workforce. She now deserves credit for refusing to go along with the Legislature’s unequal treatment of union and non-union workers. Had the governor not used her veto pen, 16,200 non-union workers would have been subjected to a 3 percent pay cut in April, May and June — three months before an across the board pay cut for all employees is set to take effect in July. “I have to treat my employees equally,” Gregoire said. Kudos to Gregoire for recognizing the need for equality in the state workforce.
Thumbs up: Community
The South Sound community rallied around Zachory and Amanda Beers when their beautiful 6-year-old daughter, Charley, died from complications from Group A strep infection on June 28, just a few days after completing kindergarten. The Beers family wanted to keep their daughter’s memory alive by creating “Charley’s Playground” at Julia Butler Hansen Elementary School. Community residents responded in style. Within six months the Beers’ family had $24,000 — enough money to nearly double the school’s playground area. Charley’s Playground was built for a fraction of its value – about $14,000 – thanks to the contributions from numerous companies and individuals. We salute the volunteers, business owners, donors and South Sound residents who made Charley’s Playground a reality. Amanda Beers said it wonderfully: “The outpouring from this community is what has kept (our) heads above water. The smallest of acts have given us hope.”