Opinion

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Community policing

Thumbs up to Sunnyside authorities for redefining the term "community policing."

In this case, the city used its annexation authority to literally expand the community's borders to encircle a nearby trouble spot.

As a result, a house known for gang activity stands empty after years of drive-by shootings, the Yakima Herald-Republic recently reported.

The one-two punch that brought peace to the neighborhood was as simple as it was creative. First annex the property into the city, then send in the code enforcement officers.

Inspectors found broken rafters, sloping floors, cracked ceilings and 21 bullet holes that could affect wiring, reasons enough to declare the house uninhabitable.

Clouded vision

Thumbs down to Google's futuristic glasses for making technology even more intrusive and dangerous.

Fortunately, the product is still in the development stages, but if Google has its way, your teenager will soon be able to feign attention while texting her friends.

At least now, the telltale glance at her lap and subtle arm movements signal the fact that she's tapping out messages under the dinner table.

Once the Google glasses hit the market, she'll be able to look you in the eye while ignoring you. Whether she's reading her BFF's urgent status update displayed on the rim of her glasses will be anyone's guess.

The effect this technology will have on teenage driving skills? We don't even want to go there.

Bad timing

Thumbs down to Western Washington University in Bellingham for granting faculty pay raises while an economic recession continues to rock state finances.

Administrators at the school approved salary increases of 5.25 percent this school year and 4.25 percent each of the next two years. Stipends for department heads were increased 15 percent.

Those are big raises even in good times, and Washington's public universities remain a long way from good times.

No wonder the presidents of Washington State University and the University of Washington were the first in line to complain about the raises. They had to freeze salaries for most of their faculty members.

WWU makes a good argument. Average salaries at the school -- ranging from $37,409 for lecturers up to $65,355 for associate professors -- are all lower than the average pay for a high school teacher in the Bellingham School District, who earns an average salary of $66,468, Western President Bruce Shepard told The Associated Press.

It's tough not to sympathize with WWU's struggle to hire and retain qualified professors.

But we're more sympathetic to the school's students and their parents, who just saw their tuition at Western increase by 16 percent.

We wonder how many people writing the checks received a 5.25 percent raise this year.

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