County shouldn’t have to lose Bart

  • Evan Smith<br>Enterprise
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 12:02pm

The news that Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart may become U.S. marshal for Western Washington is good news for Bart but bad news for the County.

Bart rose through county law-enforcement ranks, then 12 years ago won election as sheriff. Term limits prevent him from seeking a fourth term. He sought to run for county executive, but fell short at fundraising.

Now, he may leave the county he has served so well to become a federal lawman. His situation is like former County Auditor Bob Terwilliger, who took an administrative position with the Superior Court because he also couldn’t run for a fourth term.

Term limits keep voters from returning the same people year after year. But has King County suffered because it has elected prosecutor Norm Maleng to six terms?

The position that Bart might get is an appointed one, as are all law-enforcement positions at the federal, state and city levels. Why, then, do we elect county sheriffs and subject some to term limits?

Another State ship?

By the time you read this, Washington may have two State ships.

At the end of the session, the Legislature passed a bill declaring the Mary Washington of Aberdeen as the official State ship. The bill went to the governor for her signature during the week.

I’ve complained about the proliferation of State symbols, but this one may be the worst.

That’s because Washington already has a State ship. A container ship called the President Washington got that designation 24 years ago.

Save the Sonics without taxes

The Legislature didn’t support a new arena for the Sonics basketball team.

The Legislature could have given King County the right to extend the taxes that pay for the Mariners and Seahawks stadiums.

The taxes are still paying for these stadiums; so the money wouldn’t be available for a Sonics arena for several years.

The County council probably would have put the taxes to a public vote, a vote that would have probably failed. So, the Legislature saved the County the cost of running a ballot measure.

Does this mean that the team will leave for Oklahoma? I still hope not.

First, Seattle should hold the team to the last three years of its lease. This might buy time for the owners of New Orleans Hornets, now playing in Oklahoma City, to decide that they can’t go back to New Orleans. It might also give time for another owner to buy the Sonics.

Then, someone should form a non-profit basketball arena foundation. People could make tax-deductible donations to the foundation, which would build the arena for the team.

Evan Smith is the Enterprise Forum editor. Send comments to

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