Welcome step toward a cleaner Sound

YAY: Cleaner water

Gov. Jay Inslee cut the ribbon on the Port of Olympia’s new $11.5 million stormwater treatment plant, which will filter about 65 million gallons of stormwater annually before it pours into Budd Inlet. Inslee spoke the ugly truth about Puget Sound during the ceremony: Budd Inlet looks gorgeous and pristine, but underneath the surface it’s a sick ecosystem.

That’s why the new stormwater treatment plant is such a welcome step in the right direction.

YAY: Thurston teachers

Thirty-seven teachers working in Thurston County school districts were among the 946 teachers statewide who recently earned National Board Certification. It’s not an easy task, and the raised skill levels and new ideas benefit our children. Congrats to all.

OOPS: Olympia tax credit

The City of Olympia has offered a property tax exemption for multi-family housing in three targeted areas for so long that it seemed like a new idea to us when the City of Lacey recently jumped on board. The Olympia City Council provided a 10-year exemption from ad valorem property taxation back in August of 1997. They were so far ahead, we thought they were behind.

BOO: Misnomers

Now that Washington state Republicans have a clear majority in the state Senate – even without the politically androgynous Tim Sheldon – can we please stop calling them the Majority Coalition Caucus? It is no longer a coalition.

YAY: Killing contests ban

California became the first state to ban hunting contests that give out prizes for killing nongame animals, such as coyotes, beavers and bobcats. We’re shocked to discover that it’s legal to stage a tournament to kill wildlife, and give out prizes and trophies, and that thousands of animals are killed every year in contests all over the U.S.

There were five coyote derbies permitted in Washington last year by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. We hope our state will follow California’s lead.

BOO: Bill Cosby

More than 20 women have now accused the entertainment icon Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Although many of the women made their allegations years ago, Cosby’s guilt will never be affirmed in court because the statute of limitations on his crimes has expired. But the number of complaints that the star drugged and raped women, and Cosby’s creepy silence, speak for themselves.

BOO: Pastors blurring lines

Hundreds of religious leaders desecrated this nation’s separation of church and state during the midterm elections last month. A movement called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, sponsored by the Alliance Defending Freedom, encouraged ministers to openly endorse candidates from the pulpit, even handing out sample ballots that ticked off the recommended candidates. Many of them flaunted their actions by sending videos of their sermons to the Internal Revenue Service. A gun-shy IRS has not yet prosecuted anyone, but it should.

BOO: Cheating America

Reuters news service has reported that seven of the 30 largest U.S. companies paid less in federal taxes last year than they paid their chief executive officers. The list included Boeing.

HMM: The ick factor

As humankind searches for ways to be less wasteful and find new sources of energy, we might have to get over the ick factor. Consider: A British bus company operates a 40-seat Bio Bus, which is powered by decomposed garbage and human sewage. Back to the future!