Editorial: A look back at 2021 through an editorial lens

By the Herald Editorial Board

While we may have wanted a break, no one will dismiss 2021 as a year of downturn; not nationally, not in Washington State, and not in Snohomish County.

Here’s a look back at the past year through the prism of the opinions of the Herald Editorial Board, with some updates as well.

Jan. 7: “Trump and his mob dishonored the nation”: Regarding the insurgency on the United States Capitol that interrupted congressional certification of the November elections. “Trump and his supporters – those who do not silently back down from him – will claim that the storming of Capitol Hill and the danger put on police, officials and employees was not Trump’s fault but the actions of supporters.” too zealous. Yet Trump and those members of Congress who have been interrupted in the midst of their political theater are responsible. … The reputation of Trump and those who have expressed their support for the illicit challenge will now bear the stain of having suborned this riot.

Update: The prosecution of those arrested in the attack continues, as does an investigation by a bipartisan congressional committee.

January 29: “Leave firearms out of protests, public spaces”: noting the unstable mix of public protests and firearms, state legislation, Senate Bill 5038, attempted to ban the open carrying of firearms at large public gatherings and on the grounds of the State Capitol. “Some gun owners – and did so during the hearing – will profess only good intentions, insisting that they do not pose a threat to others. In almost all cases, it is; gun owners are law abiding and careful. But that intention can be difficult to discern when someone is holding a weapon designed for military use and has been abused in numerous mass shootings. “

Update: Senate Bill 5028 has been passed by the Legislative Assembly and enacted.

March 7: “Everett should wait for ‘no-sit, no-lie’ ordinance”: Responding to complaints from homeless people sitting under an I-5 overpass near the Everett Gospel Mission, Everett City Council considered an ordinance prohibiting people from sitting or lying on sidewalks in certain areas of the city. “At first glance, the proposed ordinance would appear to depart from the recent realization among local governments that they cannot ‘stop their way out’ of homelessness issues and the problems associated with it. Everett, for example, has been a leader in efforts such as integrating social workers into police patrols to link homeless people, addiction treatment and mental health needs to services. which respond better to these ailments. It is a much better option than the costly and unproductive cycle of arrest, jail and release on the streets.

Update: The ordinance has been passed but its effective date has been delayed to allow the city’s pallet shelter program to open to increase shelter possibilities. The establishment of additional pallet shelters at Everett is under development.

the 17th of March: “Purdue, family should not get any profit from OxyContin”: Regarding a settlement offer in a lawsuit against the drug company and its owners over the highly addictive opioid, the plaintiffs were divided among those who said they would agree to a $ 10 billion settlement and those, such as Washington State Attorney General, who rejected the deal. “Digging deeper into the terms should embitter anyone on the matter even more. Purdue is reportedly paying just $ 500 million upfront of $ 750 million to settle hundreds of thousands of personal injury claims, with most receiving an average of around $ 5,600, a sum that cannot be considered fair compensation for families and individuals. Most of the $ 10 billion would flow over a decade, and about $ 4 billion would not be in cash – sent to local governments to fund opioid control and rehabilitation efforts – but would be in distribution of supplies at reduced cost of drugs used in response to overdoses and in opioid recovery.

Update: State Attorneys General, including Washington AG Bob Ferguson, and other plaintiffs appealed in September, and a United States District Court judge this month overturned the settlement that would have protected Purdue’s Sackler family from future lawsuits.

March 31: “Vigilance, masks still needed in the covid marathon”: at the end of March, only about 16% of the population was fully vaccinated, yet a new variant, the delta, had arrived in the United States “Our shared covid fatigue and the good news trickling in can conspire against us, causing us to let our guard down and creating an opening for a dreaded fourth wave of infections. After hitting the wall, we now need to find the resolution to complete the marathon. “

Update: Almost 62% of people eligible for covid vaccination in the US are fully vaccinated ”67% in Washington state; but a new variant, omicron, has overtaken delta. The marathon continues.

May 6: “Seeking Justice After George Floyd Murder”: Guilty verdict on Minneapolis cop in George Floyd’s death coincides with the passage of a list of laws relating to law enforcement reforms laws. Some of the reforms met with opposition from law enforcement and law enforcement, but State Representative John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, a former state patrol officer and Sheriff of Snohomish, defended the legislation. Lovick said he knew many law enforcement officers might get irritated at the extra scrutiny that would result from the legislation, but 99.9% know they are doing their job well and that it is is for those who don’t, ”he said. . “But every police chief I’ve spoken to wants accounts,” he said.

Update: Lovick, recently appointed to a vacant Senate position, and other lawmakers have pledged to consider legislative changes in the next session.

July 5: “Record heat and reminder of the need for climate action”: record temperatures in Washington State – including 109 degrees in Lynnwood – and in the Northwest have shown that we are not immune of the impacts of climate change. “As brief as the heat wave seems to have been – at least for western Washington – this blast furnace heat should now prompt us to reconsider our regional complacency with climate change and the belief that – aside from a gradual lowering of the sea level – we in the Northwest are shielded from its worst consequences.

September 1: “Crowd actions at school board meeting unacceptable”: Protests from those opposing state mandates for masks and vaccinations in public schools disrupted a meeting of the Marysville school board, including the rush of the podium and profane screams directed at board members and district officials. “Peaceful protests and even harsh criticism are some of the things that elected state officials are paid to face; school board members in most districts are unpaid and serve on a voluntary basis. While most school board members expect little thanks for their public service, they should not experience verbal abuse and threats of violence.

September 26: “Obtaining the Truth About Tulalip Boarding School”: a call from Deb Haaland, US Secretary of the Interior, to address the impact of the story of the removal of children from Native American families to Indian boarding schools between the civil war during the period and in the middle of the 20th century, renewed conversations between American tribal communities, including the Tulalip tribes. Among those who have helped uncover stories from this story is Deborah Parker. “Students were prohibited from speaking their tribal language or singing tribal songs they had learned or practicing tribal beliefs. The punishment was often brutal. “The idea is explosive in the mind. Incomprehensible, ”Parker said. “It makes this work incredibly difficult, it makes this work necessary, it makes it sincere; working for children who have been beaten, slapped and strangled. ‘ “

November 4: “Honor Wyman; make secretary of state non-partisan ”: The announcement that respected Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman had been hired by the Biden administration to fill a federal election security post, left Gov. Jay Inlsee to fill the post. sits until elections are held in 2022. It is also an opportunity to build voter confidence. “Although suggested by Republicans that state that he (must appoint a Republican) to continue the tradition of Republicans who have held the office since 1965, Inslee is not required to appoint another Republican to succeed Wyman. The governor is correct that the office – and no state office – is owned by a particular party. But in the future, the state legislature should remove any partisan pretext for the secretary of state by making the office a non-partisan position. “

Update: State Senator Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, was appointed to this post at the end of November. Hobbs intends to run in 2022. Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson has also announced her candidacy for the post and will run as non-partisan.

November 15: “County speeds up shift to electric vehicles”: Snohomish County Council passed bipartisan measure – a proposal from Republican Nate Nehring and Democrat Jared Mead – to use $ 2.2 million from the proceeds of the sale of county land to invest in electric vehicles for the departmental fleet. “Nehring and Mead expect the transition to generate significant savings for the county in terms of reduced fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, while helping the county meet its carbon footprint reduction targets. That Snohomish County was one of the state leaders in terms of such an effort was an added bonus, both said.

Dec. 13: “Put the County Tax for Affordable Housing to Voters”: a proposal to increase the sales tax in Snohomish County by 01. percentage point – 1 cent on a $ 10 purchase – to fund projects to tackle affordable housing, homelessness and related social services was reviewed by the departmental council. It is estimated that $ 116 million would be raised over the next five years and would be used to leverage additional state and federal funds for projects, dramatically increasing the availability of supportive housing and housing for those paying over $ 30. % of their income in rent or mortgage. . Republicans on the council called for an amendment to put the issue to a public vote. “The matter is easy to move forward with the speed required to approve the increase in sales tax and begin work to finance the construction of housing and the provision of necessary services … applications for funding programs through the taxpayer money.

Update: The county council approved the measure to increase the sales tax, but rejected the amendment to put its approval on the ballot.

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