I-1000: Death with Dignity not assisted suicide

  • Tue Oct 21st, 2008 5:30pm

By Evan Smith Enterprise forum editor

Proponents of Initiative 1000 call it Death with Dignity. Opponents call it assisted suicide.

It would allow mentally competent, terminally ill patients to get medicine to end their own lives.

I’ve finally decided to join the Death with Dignity side.

I can’t imagine choosing the option for myself, but I’m willing to give it to those few who choose it.

I emphasize the word “few” because in Oregon, the one state that has such a law, the number of people who get prescriptions for lethal medicines is small, and the number who actually use them to end their lives is even smaller.

That tells me that few people would end their lives, but some would find comfort in knowing that they have the option.

We hear scare stories of abuses, but Oregon’s experience doesn’t show it.

If we find abuses here, we can easily amend the law.

Sound Transit Prop. 1: Where’s the support?

Voters at a forum last week asked candidates about light rail.

Every candidate who answered — whether running for the Legislature or statewide office, Republican or Democrat — spoke against light rail.

I also hear skepticism from people who don’t trust Sound Transit to produce it in a timely, economical way.

We are behind metropolitan areas everywhere in developing rail transit. We should have built something in the 1960s. We should have built the monorail a few years ago. Eventually we’ll build something, maybe even light rail. But this year, I’m afraid that the public mood is against it.

The year of Obama-Rossi voters

You’ve may have seen yards with signs for both “Obama for president” and “Rossi for governor.” At the same time, polls show Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama with a big lead over Republican John McCain in the state and Republican Dino Rossi running even with Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire, and the Seattle Times has endorsed Democrat Obama for president but Republican Rossi for governor.

Why all this ticket splitting? Yes, that’s the Washington tradition. But the real reason is that voters want change because they are unhappy over economic conditions.

They may also feel that Rossi, who lost four years ago by a tiny margin only after two recounts and a court challenge, deserves a chance.

When Republican Rossi almost won the ‘04 governors’ race, the state supported the Democratic candidate for president and elected a Democratic U.S. senator and six Democratic U.S. representatives.

Washingtonians again are likely to support Democrats for president, Congress and the state Legislature, but this might be the year we elect a Republican governor.

Two strong candidates for state treasurer

Either candidate for state treasurer would be good for the state. Retiring Democratic Treasurer Mike Murphy has endorsed his longtime deputy, Republican Allan Martin. Democrat Jim McIntire has been an economist and chairman of the state House finance committee.

Evan Smith is the Enterprise Forum editor. Send comments to entopinion@heraldnet.com.