March 12, 2013
Teen criminals’ privacy vs. your right to know
Your state representatives don’t think you need to know if your neighborhood teen has been molesting other kids. If you have a burglar in your midst and he/she is under 18, then you don’t need to know that either, even if it’s someone your son or daughter is dating.
In 1977, the Legislature moved the juvenile justice system into the superior and district courts, in the interest of access to justice, as called for in the state constitution. Now, it wants to limit access to juvenile criminal records and court records in general, ostensibly because the Internet has created unintended uses for those records.
Last week, Substitute House Bill 1651 passed the House, 97-0. Was no one paying attention to its ramifications?
March 5, 2013
Proposed car taxes aren’t the way
There is a need for more funding for the county’s road network. Potholes need to be filled, lanes need to be restriped, new facilities need to be constructed, and transit — meaning bus routes and rail lines — need to be expanded and maintained.
A bill working its way through the Legislature is not the answer. House Bill 1959 would allow the county to impose a tax of up to 1.5 percent of the value of a vehicle. It could be imposed either by a vote of the County Council or through a countywide vote. The majority of the money, 60 percent, would go to capital improvements for transit. The remaining 40 percent would be distributed to the county and the cities for roads.
If the tax is adopted, the owner of a new car would have to pay the 1.5 percent tax based on 85 percent of the car’s suggested sales price. For a $40,000 car, that means $510 per year. The number would drop as the car depreciates.
There are so many problems with this it’s hard to know where to start.
February 26, 2013
Accept it — the bag ban is here
On Friday, the Issaquah ban on most retail plastic bags begins. Like it or not, prepare to bring your own reusable bags, or pay a nickel per paper bag. An ad in this paper offers a coupon for a free reusable bag.
The plastic bag ban was adopted last June by the Issaquah City Council, following in the footsteps of Seattle and other cities, including Edmonds and Mukilteo. Concern for the environment was the prime motivator behind the initiative, led by then-City Councilman Mark Mullet, now the state senator for the 5th Legislative District.
According to the city’s website, plastic bags are made from nonrenewable resources and do not biodegrade in the environment. An estimated 2 billion disposable plastic bags are used annually in Washington state, and less than 5 percent are recovered for recycling.
February 19, 2013
Leave divorce wait time alone
One bill winding its way through the Legislature would increase the divorce waiting time from 90 days to one year after filing with the courts. The thought that a longer wait time would help a marriage is foolish.
Divorce is, to say the least, unpleasant. Even when there are no children involved, the hurt feelings, financial untangling and emotional stress can be devastating. When there are children involved, the household animosity should not be prolonged.
Sen. Don Benton’s bill is aimed at reducing the number of divorces. But Benton’s idea, to increase the waiting time, is misguided. Benton’s bill seems to assume that adults get divorces on the spur of the moment, that if they would just stop and think things through for a bit longer, they’d stay together.
February 12, 2013
I-90 toll targets Eastside drivers
When tolling on the Evergreen Floating Bridge was first considered, this newspaper believed it should extend to the Interstate 90 bridge as well, to generate funds for the bridge at a quicker pace and to keep the cost down for any one group of commuters.
However, two years have passed and the notion of extending tolling on I-90 feels more like the Eastside is being picked on.
If Seattle commuters and visitors are asked to help pay for a new bridge, shouldn’t it extend to all, including those coming and going along the Interstate 5 corridor and state Highway 99?
February 5, 2013
Separating education is not a budget solution
Last week, the state House of Representatives split along party lines on a proposal to create a separate budget for K-12 education funding. If approved, the education budget would need to have been funded before the state could look at its other obligations.
It’s just not that simple.
House Republicans said their proposal to split the budget was meant to address the state Supreme Court’s 2012 decision that the Legislature wasn’t funding education properly. That might be more believable if they hadn’t been pushing the measure every year since 2006.
January 29, 2013
Good reasons to attend health fair
Save the date! The annual Issaquah/Sammamish Health & Safety Fair has a whole lot of reasons why you and your family should plan to attend, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Pickering Barn.
Perhaps you’ve been meaning to get your family more prepared for emergencies. There is still time this year for a big winter storm to knock out power for days on end. Will you be ready?
The Issaquah Citizen Corps Council, Issaquah Medical Corps and the city of Issaquah will be at the fair with timely information to help you get started.
January 22, 2013
Advertiser support has mattered for 113 years
On Jan. 18, The Issaquah Press marked its 113th birthday. Electricity came to Issaquah that same year!
It was Jan. 18, 1900, when the first issue of the then-named Issaquah Independent was published, beginning a long legacy of connecting the community, even back when the population was a few hundred hops growers, loggers, miners and dairy farmers — and their families. The big news then was about who traveled to Seattle by stage coach, who was in the town jail, City Council and school news, club meetings and church socials.
January 15, 2013
Gun buyback is worthwhile plan
Seattle and King County leaders last week introduced a plan for a gun-buyback program. If you don’t want a gun you happen to have, bring it to a parking lot under Interstate 5 in Seattle. (Guys, did you have to pick such a shady-sounding location?) In exchange, you will receive a $100 gift card, or $200 if the firearm is an assault weapon — no questions asked.
Officials have collected about $100,000, largely in donations, to fund the effort.
Groups on both sides of the gun control debate slammed the plan. They say it would not result in a substantial amount of guns being taken off the street. It will not lower the crime rate, and the bad guys are not going to turn in their weapons for a fraction of their cost.
They’re right, as far as they go.
January 8, 2013
Use caution in seeking open records changes
Reporters can be pesky — annoying even, particularly when trying to get information out of government entities.
Reporters file requests for information under the state’s open records law more often than Joe Citizen, as they do their job on your behalf. Forgive us if reporters tend to be more sensitive to possible changes to those laws, particularly changes that might dam up the river of information.
Cities across the state are lobbying the Legislature to make changes to open records laws that could make public records — your records — harder to get.