The promise of a new year

In January, metabolism slows, serotonin dips. Dishwater skies grow light (or so says the calendar) as legislators migrate south to Olympia. In the post-election miasma, bird-dogging the political class becomes a drain, and the political class responds accordingly. Insularity is reason enough to double down, to spotlight best practices, and to call out those cynical politicos who maneuver personal agendas ahead of the public interest.

There are many dutiful folks, political, business and non-profit leaders, who merit emulating. Inspired souls restore our collective faith. They include all of the real heroes recognized earlier this month by the Snohomish County Red Cross. They include elected officials such as Washington’s retiring Secretary of State, Sam Reed, Snohomish County Auditor Carolyn Weikel, Sheriff John Lovick, Prosecutor Mark Roe and Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling. They include legislators as politically diverse as Norma Smith, Luis Moscoso, Kirk Pearson, and Hans Dunshee. Partisans, true, but partisans who take risks and respect the community.

Public service extends to teachers, firefighters, law enforcement and stay-at-home parents. The editorial page featured Viewpoints essays by Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Adam Cornell on adoption and the Greater Everett Community Foundation’s Maddy Metzger-Utt on the value of non-profits. By example, each exhibits the gift of unassuming service.

A standout public servant, Everett City Councilmember Drew Nielsen was killed in a rafting accident in May. His legacy of braiding creativity, hard work and political courage should inspire Snohomish County lawmakers headed for a grim 2013 session.

In 2013, the editorial page will needle state issues such as higher-ed funding, the Washington Voting Rights Act, and sunsetting tax giveaways that bleed state coffers. We’ll pick a local legislator’s bill and track its course through the committee labyrinth, a state version of Ric Redman’s “The Dance of Legislation.” And like the kids’ game telephone, the final product may not, sadly, resemble the original.

Editorials trumpet brainstorms, but space limits often proscribe in-depth analysis. To address the need for more meat, we’ll continue to experiment with serialized editorials. This week we’ll run part seven in our series, “The coal-train reaction.” After the Newtown horror, we put together a four-parter on gun violence. Serialized topics in 2013 will include a vision for Everett’s waterfront as well as human trafficking and human rights in Western Washington. We’ll also launch a new blog and tap another editorial voice to join columnist Sid Schwab who started last month.

Reader letters remain the soul of the editorial page. In a new season of dishwater skies, we hope for more reader suggestions, more good news than bad, and more neck-extending leaders with farsighted ideas and the integrity and finesse to see them to fruition.

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