Editorials

Facing charges, Kelley should resign

BOO: TROY KELLEY

A federal indictment issued Thursday against state Auditor Troy Kelley leaves the Democrat with few friends and even fewer choices. He needs to step down, handing over his agency to a caretaker, and not merely take a leave of absence, as he proposes.

Kelley insists he’s innocent of charges of filing false tax returns and obstruction — which is possible — but we thought a formal leave was appropriate before charges were filed.

It’s telling that Gov. Jay Inslee, Treasurer Jim McIntire, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson — all Democrats — now want Kelley to resign. The office needs the public’s trust; to keep it he must step down and avoid the distractions that a criminal trial and defense will generate.

YAY: WELCOME CENTER

Olympia is getting a Downtown Welcome Center, courtesy of the Downtown Ambassadors Program. This is another of many welcome developments as the city tries to inject new life into its downtown. A grand opening is planned Friday at the storefront site on the corner of Franklin Street and Fourth Avenue, an area that has a reputation for nuisance crimes. Pamphlets and literature about the downtown will be provided to visitors, and there’s talk about providing “theater escorts” to guide visitors between theatrical venues and their cars.

BOO: THE BLOB

Scientists at the University of Washington have identified a vast expanse of warm water off the Pacific Coast that they describe as “The Blob.” Its origins and significance remain a topic of debate, and some caution against linking it to global warming. But it’s seen as part of the larger weather patterns causing low snow pack in our region, drought in California and blizzards in New England. It’s a reminder that our dynamic weather systems still have their secrets.

YAY: GREGOIRE FELLOWS

Former governor and attorney general Chris Gregoire has teamed up with the University of Washington’s School of Law to create a Gregoire Fellows program meant to boost diversity in the legal profession. Designed by law school Dean Kellye Testy and Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith, it will help nine minority law students by providing mentorship from Gregoire, scholarships, summer fellowships at law firms and help preparing for bar exams. This is a great idea.

BOO: TOXIC RANGE EXPOSURES

Lead contained in ammunition is causing environmental and public health problems at firing ranges across the country. Shooters are exposed to unsafe levels of toxins. A Seattle Times report last week said the federal Transportation Security Agency and Bureau of Prisons inexplicably signed valuable contracts at two Washington gun ranges where agency staffers could train – even after state safety inspectors had identified hazards. President Barack Obama signed an order on fair pay and safe workplaces that takes effect in 2016 and requires contractors to disclose such past safety violations. But it has a loophole, affecting only contracts worth $500,000 or more. This needs fixing.

YAY: TALKING TRASH

A new class at Thurston Community Television teaches youths how to use a television studio and get certified to operate TCTV’s cameras. But it comes with a bonus: The “Let’s Talk Trash” program also explores the cost and environmental impacts of wasting food. Thurston County Solid Waste and Lacey Parks and Recreation teamed up to sponsor the class.

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