Opinion

Voters bless scaled-back Tenino levy

YAY: TENINO SCHOOLS

A second try and a smaller request made all the difference for Tenino School District last week. A 57.6 percent majority of voters approved a $7.95 million capital-projects levy Tuesday to pay for roof work, science labs and computers, play equipment, security equipment and other upgrades. District voters had rejected a much larger bond requiring 60 percent approval last year. Yelm schools were not so lucky: A $53.8 million construction bond was rejected, forcing supporters to regroup.

BOO: FIRST CHARTER SCHOOL

First Place Scholars, the state’s first charter school, is now under investigation by a state commission. Already on probation for staffing and special-education shortcomings, the school is getting scrutiny for the way it spent start-up money; other financial questions have been raised at the Seattle campus, the Seattle Times reported. This is not a good start for an educational experiment that uses public funds.

YAY: GUN SAFETY

A recent safe gun storage event in Fife drew hundreds of people and led to the giveaway of 350 gun lock-boxes and trigger locks. Demand was strong. Two children’s hospitals, Mary Bridge and Seattle Children’s, event that helps responsible gun owners do the right thing and improves community safety one home at a time.

BOO: UW DEFECTION

Michael Young, president of the University of Washington, is leaving Seattle for Texas A&M soon. He was credited with improving UW finances and helping launch a business-incubator called Startup Hall, as well as raising record amounts of private money for the school. But he goes to a larger school with an $11 billion endowment, almost four times the UW’s.

YAY: EAGLES’ NEW LOOK

The old Eagles Club building is looking a whole lot better after new paint job, windows upgrades and other ongoing interior repairs. The work, helped by $8,000 raised by volunteers, has visibly spruced up the 88-year-old landmark east of Olympia’s downtown.

BOO: NO SNOW

Rain and higher than normal temperatures are messing with snow pack levels at regional ski resorts. It’s not as if we’re getting frequent blue skies to go with it. Snow accumulations are running less than half of historic norms, making this a crummy year for skiers and boarders and reducing stream runoff we’ll need later in the year. Conditions are such that some areas may set record lows for snowfall.

YAY: TRANSPORTATION PROPOSAL

Republicans in the state Senate offered up a $15 billion gas-tax plan last week that phases in an 11.7-cent tax per gallon of fuel over three years starting July 1. It’s only a proposal, and imperfect in the way it deals with transit and potentially takes money from the state general fund. But it shows new effort after last year’s Senate failure. The proposal has some bipartisan support. Importantly, it pays to widen Interstate 5 at the traffic choke point along Joint Base Lewis McChord and to complete State Route 167 into Tacoma.

BOO: RASH OF BURGLARIES

Olympia police are still looking into a spate of 26 commercial burglaries reported last month. The crime wave was offset by a sharp drop in residential break-ins. What is driving the crimes – which don’t appear to share a common pattern – is not so clear to police, who are hoping to catch sight of suspects on security footage.

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