Monday, July 13, 2020
July 13, 2020

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Cheers & Jeers: Win for Inslee, shame on Shea

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To the rule of law. A federal judge has upheld Gov. Jay Inslee’s authority to issue stay-at-home orders and enforce a system for reopening businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. “It is not the court’s role to second-guess reasoned public-health decisions of other branches of government,” U.S. Judge Thomas Rice wrote in refusing to issue a temporary restraining order sought by a Lake Chelan water park.

Various lawsuits challenging the governor’s powers have raised legitimate questions; a stable system of government depends upon checks and balances. But the court was right to uphold the governor’s authority in a time of crisis.

Jeers: To a lost cause. State Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, is not seeking reelection but he continues to pursue divisions in the state — literally. Shea long has advocated for splitting Eastern Washington from the rest of the state to create a 51st state called Liberty. “We want to put it on the ballot for this November in every county in Eastern Washington,” Shea, who has been accused of domestic terrorism in a report from the House of Representatives, said at a recent rally in Idaho. According to The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review, the rally was attended by Vancouver’s Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer.

Shea, who has distributed a manifesto called “The Biblical Basis for War,” might be unaware that creating a new state would require approval from existing legislatures and from Congress. Yet he continues to sow division in an absurd quest.

Cheers: To the housing market. During a time of economic distress, any good news is worthy of cheers. So it is notable that Clark County’s housing market experience a sharp rebound in May, with listings and sales nearing typical numbers. “Considering the circumstances, new sales activity was very good,” one local broker said.

The housing market often is both an indicator and a driver of the overall economy, and a long-term downturn can have devastating effects. Meanwhile, home prices remain strong — another indication that the economy will rebound as the region emerges from the coronavirus.

Jeers: To a bee heist. A Washington man has been arrested for allegedly stealing beehives from as many as 30 victims spread across five states. After a beekeeper in Lincoln County reported a theft, authorities set up a sting (sorry) that nabbed the suspect.

While we can’t say whether bee theft is a common crime, it reportedly can be lucrative. Officials say the stolen bees could be worth more than $200,000, and “beekeeper chop shops” apparently are common. The Washington man is suspected of thefts in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, indicating that he has been as busy as an, um, er, industrious insect.

Cheers: To an outside investigation. Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik has wisely asked an outside prosecuting attorney’s office to examine the shooting of William Abbe. Abbe was fatally shot April 28 by Vancouver police, and citizen groups have pushed for oversight of the investigation.

“We need to be introspective and listen to the public right now,” Golik said this week. “It would be an important step to take for these cases to ensure everyone has complete confidence in the process.” Actually, it is important for police and prosecutors to listen to the public at all times, but Golik’s point is well-taken. With police facing scrutiny throughout the country, restoring the public’s confidence and improving transparency is imperative.

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