Our Voice: Thumbs up to Make-A-Wish, thumbs down to paying fines with taxpayer dollars

Sticking to the light side

Thumbs up to To the Make-A-Wish Foundation for helping kids with life-threatening illnesses realize their dreams.

The organization grants a wish every 38 minutes, so it's a bit of an injustice to highlight just one. But 5-year-old Landon Jonson of Pasco and family are on our minds today because they're scheduled to leave for Disneyland this week, thanks to Make-A-Wish.

Wishes come in three categories -- I want to go, I want to be and I want to meet.

Landon's wish covers all three. In addition to the Disneyland trip, the avid Star Wars fan recently also had the opportunity to be a Jedi warrior and to meet Darth Vader.

Darth Vader -- played by Make-A-Wish volunteer Gregory Sullivan of Richland -- strode through the Jonsons' front door on one recent Saturday, to challenge Landon and his twin, Logan, to a duel.

Thumbs up to everyone who played a role in creating some special memories for the Jonson family.

Robbing Peter

To the Environmental Protection Agency for fining the Department of Energy $115,000 for past asbestos management issues at Hanford.

"DOE and its contractors completed asbestos demolition and management activities in accordance with the regulations as we understood them at the time," DOE said in a statement. "DOE has since revised its processes and training to ensure all known remaining asbestos sites are properly managed and fully compliant."

Some of the violations appear serious, and some punitive action may be warranted. But the focus ought to be on helping DOE live up to its promise to be fully compliant.

Shifting taxpayer money from one federal agency to another seems like a pointless exercise and may even divert money from cleanup work.

Red herring

To the Grocery Manufacturers Association for allegedly violating campaign-disclosure laws by concealing the identities of donors to its effort to defeat Initiative 522, which would label genetically engineered foods.

Or to state Attorney General Bob Ferguson for filing an unwarranted lawsuit against the association, accusing it of failing to meet state requirements to disclose its donors.

We're not sure which way to lean. Who deserves the thumbs down depends on the outcome of the lawsuit. Right now, nothing has been proved, but Ferguson presumably has some strong evidence to act. In any case, the issue has created a sideshow for an already complex issue.

Whether I-522 is a good initiative is a separate issue from the alleged campaign violations. But the question of whether proponents of the measure are hiding the identity of some big backers is certain to sway voters regardless of the validity of arguments for and against the measure.

That's a shame. This is an important enough measure to rise or fall on its merits.