In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Top two primary upheld yet again;Democrats try to punish Costco

Published:

 

Cheers: To a court decision that upholds Washington’s top two primary. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week upheld the constitutionality of the primary, which has been as wildly popular with voters as it has been doggedly opposed by the state’s major political parties. Savvy voters recall that those political parties started all of the this anyway.

For decades, Washington’s primary was open, meaning that voters got a ballot that listed all candidates and were free to vote their choice: perhaps a Republican for the state Senate and a Democrat for the House. The parties would much rather force voters to declare their loyalty to one party, then be forced to vote a ballot with only that party’s candidates on it.

The parties had that blanket primary thrown out, but then the state came up with an even better law: Vote for whomever you like, and the top two candidates advance to the general election, no matter what their party affiliation. That set up another round of lawsuits, all of which the parties lost.

They even appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2008 sided 7-2 with the state. That should have ended it, but in the era of limitless money for partisan politics, it sparked yet another round of challenges based on how the state is applying the new primary. Now that the parties have lost again, both at trial and on appeal, they should stop and realize that voters like what we have now.

Jeers: To three Democratic legislators who, in a fit of pique, filed a bill that would punish Costco for supporting Initiative 1183, which privatizes liquor sales.

State Reps. Sam Hunt of Olympia, Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo and John McCoy of Tulalip filed House Bill 2426, which would deny a liquor sales license to “any membership organization that requires members to be at least 18 years of age.”

In other words, Costco, which contributed $18 million to pro-1183 advertising.

While that was a lot of money, it’s worth noting that voters approved the initiative by a large margin, and, as The Seattle Times notes, Costco’s ads were among the more honest ones in what was a heated and nasty campaign. Perhaps these legislators could find something else to do, like address the state’s huge financial problems.

Cheers: To more awareness of the danger posed by radon. January is National Radon Action Month. Long-term exposure to radon has been linked to lung cancer — it’s the second-leading cause of that disease, after smoking — and it is found naturally in the soil in Clark County and in Eastern Washington.

That means it is also found in local basements and crawl spaces. The gas is odorless and colorless. But you don’t need to live in a tent to be safe.

A simple monitor can detect radon levels, and, if the levels are too high, increasing ventilation can greatly lessen the hazard. For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/radon.

Cheers: To more Washingtonians being educated at the University of Washington.

The state’s largest university came under fire last year when it turned down extremely well-qualified Washington scholars at the same time it accepted more out-of-state students because they paid higher tuition.

This year, UW will admit at least 300 more residents to its freshman class, partly due to legislative goading.