When five Republican candidates for governor of Washington aired their campaign views Tuesday in Spokane, one of the issues they addressed was whether teenage murderers should face the death penalty.
All five said yes.
The candidates’ appearance occurred as a Spokane County 16-year-old was going to trial on two counts each of murder and attempted murder.
If that case were merely an aberration, the question of executing teenagers would not have surfaced as a gubernatorial campaign issue. But the fact that it did shows how high juvenile violence ranks as a public concern.
What do “Bagpipes” readers think is the best way to deal with youngsters who commit serious crimes, including murder?
The not-so-easy installment plan
When and if Kaiser Aluminum Corp. gets back the $5.14 million it has overpaid in Spokane County property taxes since 1990, should something be done to protect the various taxing districts - such as the Mead and East Valley school districts - against severe budget hits?
“I work at Kaiser Mead and also have children in the local school system,” said Vance Trieschmann of Spokane. “When I read about the overcharge last week, I had a quick thought. It did not seem fair to ask the districts to refund that money even though Kaiser is owed it. My thought was to reduce the future tax bill to return the money in a similar period of time, say five years.”
On the other hand, Basil Hartley of St. John, Wash., said, “The fair thing is give them (Kaiser) back the damn money.”
Most readers who responded saw it Trieschmann’s way, however.
Andrea Keith of Spokane, for instance, suggested “a credit on future taxes, spread out over the next 20 years or so, kind of like a mortgage. That might spread out the burden, but it wouldn’t have a huge impact on the schools and would give Kaiser its money back. After all, it took a while for Kaiser to pay the extra.”
“Whatever Kaiser’s tax base might be for the next few years,” said Dave Mallery of Post Falls, “say they got taxed $5 million a year, whatever money would go to the schools or those people they have to pay back, Kaiser gets to keep it. That way, Kaiser pays less tax and the school districts can absorb a smaller amount per year vs. a million dollars at one time, which, of course, they can’t do.”
, DataTimes MEMO: “Bagpipes” appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. To respond, call Cityline at 458-8800, category 9881, from a Touch-Tone phone; or send a fax to 459-5098 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can leave Doug Floyd a message at 459-5577, extension 5466.