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Editorial: A look back at what was important during 2013

Today, the editorial board looks back with excerpts from editorials in 2013.

Jan. 12 On the prospect of legal challenges to voter-approved charter schools: “Unfortunately, more battles could be looming, because the state teachers union remains miffed, and the state schools chief isn’t satisfied with his non-role. They may be tempted to team up and take the initiative to court. We suggest they sit tight and give this idea a chance.”

March 7 On the Use of Force Commission’s recommendations for the Spokane Police Department: “The panel issued many recommendations, and some of the ones that stand out to us are: the use of body cameras to record police interactions with the public, giving the office of the ombudsman investigatory powers, forming a citizens advisory board for the ombudsman, pursuing accreditation for police practices, training to help officers de-escalate confrontations with the mentally ill, and increased transparency during collective bargaining.”

May 31 On charges being filed against Gail Gerlach, who shot and killed a man stealing his SUV: “We do support the charge. It wasn’t murder, but it does appear to be excessive.”

June 6 On the Coeur d’Alene City Council passing an ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation: “Thus, the Lake City struck another blow for human rights, just as it did with its resistance to the white supremacists who tried to turn this scenic enclave into their ugly bunker of hate.”

July 5 On Washington state’s first tuition freeze in 27 years: “To get an idea of just how long ago it was when tuition last went unchanged: Ronald Reagan was the president and Booth Gardner was the governor. … The hot movie was ‘Top Gun,’ which could be seen for $2.75.”

Aug. 9 On Spokane Mayor David Condon’s plan to hire 25 police officers: “The new police positions offer the opportunity to install a two-tier salary system in which new hires are brought in at wages that reflect local economic reality. This should be done with firefighters, too.”

Oct. 20 On the death of former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley: “Along with Montanan Mike Mansfield and Idaho’s Cecil Andrus, he was among a cluster of Northwest politicians of his time who exemplified public service of the highest order.”

Oct. 22 On Initiative 522 . “I-522 is a potentially good idea wrapped in very bad law-making. Labeling is already out there for consumers who want it and for producers who want to sell to them.”

Oct. 27 On the botched rollout of the health care exchanges: “The federal government created a mandate for uninsured people to purchase health insurance online, set up a virtual store and then failed to unlock the door for most customers. Is this any way to run the signature legislative achievement of President Barack Obama?”

Nov. 19 On the Senate proposal to fully fund completion of the North Spokane Corridor: “This is the exit strategy we have been looking for.”

Dec. 6 On the opening of the $80 million Washington State University Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building: “This is an investment that will pay dividends for generations.”


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Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.