Editorials

Fresh signs of life in our downtown

YAY: MORE HOUSING

Hats off to developer Walker John, who converted a former state personnel building into 19 lofts along Franklin Street in downtown Olympia. He’s back with a proposal to construct a three-story, 36-apartment building on a parking lot that is part of the same city block.

With units of 476 to 1,040 square feet renting for $800 to just over $1,100, it’s another piece of a long-awaited market-rate housing revival in the city core.

The downtown still has troubles with crime, but there is real promise ahead.

BOO: LEGISLATURE

Our Washington state lawmakers deserve a scolding for having let their budget talks threaten a state government shutdown that would have started Wednesday. Senate Republicans and House Democrats cut a deal to raise revenue and fund schools and state agencies.

But in a sign they wanted to win political points more than find solutions, state Republicans launched a television ad blaming Gov. Jay Inslee for the impasse, which was as much the result of GOP recalcitrance on taxes as anything.

YAY: FUNDRAISING FREEZE

State law bars our lawmakers and statewide elected officials from raising campaign funds while in session, and a freeze on campaign fundraising starts 30 days before any regular legislative session convenes. Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, has an intriguing idea to curb the recent trend toward longer sessions.

Bill 6137 would not take effect until 2017 but it adds a one-day fundraising freeze for every day that lawmakers are in special session. Based on the roughly 60 days of extra time this year it would, if in effect now, add that time to next year’s session, penalizing incumbents in an election year.

BOO: FIREWORKS DANGER

Fireworks season is upon us again. That means fire risks are high — and the recent heat wave that dried our corner of the world has made it all the more acute.

Legal sales of safe-and-sane products began at booths Sunday, and the State Fire Marshall’s Office is reminding the public that a little personal responsibility goes a long ways. Details on what’s legal are available at wsp.wa.gov/fire/fireworks.htm.

More important than the legality this year is remembering what’s sensible.

YAY: OPEN SHARES FOOD

Major golf tournaments leave a lot of untouched food in their wake, but the Northwest is a paragon of avoiding waste. So we’re grateful but not surprised to learn that Pierce County’s Emergency Food Network took our regional ethic up a notch last week.

It found a way to take all of the first-rate fixings — and we’re talking about 70,000 pounds of fresh food including hams, steaks, eggs, burgers and chicken — from the U.S. Open that wrapped up June 21 in University Place. This was first time a group took all of the surplus from an Open. Excellent job.

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