"Higher ed to the higgest bidder" sounds like a platitude, a talking point to provoke a restive middle class. A proposed 16 percent tuition hike at the University of Washington throws the fervid slogan into the truism rank. So what can students do other than stew and hunt for a secord or third part-time job? Birddog the university's budget and question the most student-accessible provost in 30 years, Ana Mari Cauce.
"Cutting the budget turned out to be much harder than the students anticipated," the Seattle Times' Katherine Long writes. "In the end, they voted in favor of a proposal to increase tuition by 15 percent, not 16 percent — a difference of about $100 a year per in-state undergraduate. [Charles Plummer, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate] and undergraduate student President Conor McLean will make a presentation to the regents Thursday arguing in favor of the smaller increase."
Student activists learned that Provost Cauce and other administrators have apparently done their due diligence. The onus falls on the political class and getting blood from an anemic state budget. As Long writes, "Twenty years ago, the state picked up 70 percent of the cost of a UW education. Today, the state pays 30 percent. Students, or their families, pay 70 percent."
A political set-to over garbage is too metaphor-rich, an unmerited gift from the angel Mark Twain. But the angel Twain, in collusion with the apostate Christopher Hitchens, continues to deliver, especially when it comes to Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. For the mostly sober, conscientious members of the Snohmish County Council, however, the impasse is no joke.
"The county's $20-million-per year arrangement with Allied Waste is set to expire in May 2013. All five County Council members have said they want to open up that work to competition from other companies, which would likely include Allied as well as industry giant Waste Management," the Herald's Noah Haglund writes. "Council members have criticized Reardon's office, however, for failing to adequately prepare, and for rushing things at the last minute."
The Seattle Times editorial board can be parochial and even dogmatic (for example, it recently weighed in to encourage the State Supreme Court to reverse Judge Bruce Heller's ruling invalidating I-1053, the education-hindering two-thirds tax law.) So, the ed board merits a big hat tip when it wades into a burning issue and sides with the better angels. What kindles more emotion than the nexus of immigration and human rights?
"The U.S. Forest Service is right to stop people suspected of illegal activity on federal land. But on the Olympic Peninsula, the practice of calling in Border Patrol agents during stops of Latinos smacks of discrimination," The Seattle Times editorial board opines. "Forest Service officers use the Border Patrol for language-interpretation services — agents are required to speak Spanish — and security backup. It isn't unusual or wrong for federal agencies to help each other, especially since just three Forest Service officers are responsible for the peninsula's 600,000 acres of national forest. But Forest Service officers' habit of calling in Border Patrol agents only for stops involving Spanish-speaking people was 'merely an excuse to target Latino individuals for immigration enforcement,' said Joe Leonard Jr., assistant secretary for civil rights of the Department of Agriculture."
An ethical dilemma in journalism is if or when to give demagogues a platform. Given that all judgments are qualitative, the question often revolves around how high an incident registers on the outrage meter. For example, the fanatics at Westboro Baptist Church plan to demostrate at the funeral of Gloria Leonidas, the final victim of Ian Stawicki's murder spree last week. The Stranger's Dominic Holden manages a thoughtful balance.
"A group is planning a counter-demonstration called, 'Shield families & friends from Westboro Church outside Racer Cafe Victim Funeral.' Anyone planning to attend the counter-demonstration should bear in mind that the Phelps clan may enjoy baiting counter-protesters into physical confrontations. If you go, don't give Westboro Baptist Church what it wants. Don't give them the confrontation they want. Don't assist them in disrupting the funeral of Gloria Leonidas," Holden writes. "Just turn your backs on them."
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