Thumbs up/thumbs down

July 30, 2012 

Thumbs down to the hypocrisy among outspoken members of Congress who blasted Mitt Romney for refusing to release more than two years of his personal tax returns when they won't release their tax records either.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid in particular have been harsh in their criticism of Romney, but these two leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives are among hundreds of congressional officials from both parties who have refused to show their tax records as well.

Just 17 out of 535 senators and representatives released their most recent tax forms or provided some documentation about their taxes in response to a request from McClatchy Newspapers.

Romney, at least, released his 2010 tax return and 2011 estimates and said he plans to release his 2011 tax report when it is complete.

That's more than most members of Congress are willing to do. Yet Romney is the one berated for not providing tax returns from years past.

Those in Congress vote on tax issues all the time and the public has as much right to know if they stand to benefit from new tax laws as they do a presidential candidate.

Pelosi and Reid both said Romney's refusal to release more of his tax returns makes him unfit for the presidency. Until they are also willing to release their own personal tax records, they have no credibility and no right to point fingers.

Pasco park rangers

Thumbs down to those people who can't behave themselves in Pasco's parks. An increase in problems over the last few years has prompted the city to create three new park ranger positions to handle everything from littering, to loose dogs and driving where it isn't allowed.

While we could have given Pasco a thumbs up for its response to the problem, the overriding issue is that it's a shame people can't follow the rules. If they did, the park ranger jobs wouldn't be necessary and Pasco could spend its money elsewhere.

Instead, the park rangers will patrol the city parks and teach people what is allowed and what isn't. The infractions are too minor to involve the police, but disturbing enough that someone has to monitor the situation.

The new park rangers won't carry weapons, but they will have the authority to write tickets to those who don't listen or who don't think rules apply to them.

It's too bad such strong action is necessary just to keep the parks pleasant for everyone.

Richland's new vit company

Thumbs up to another new business arriving in Richland. Kurion, a company which develops and markets technology to stabilize nuclear and hazardous waste, is consolidating its vitrification work in Richland. The company has moved millions of dollars of equipment from its plant in Rolla, Mo., as it merges operations at its new facility on Stevens Drive.

Kurion officials hope its modular vitrification system will have applications to treat Hanford's radioactive tank waste.

New business always is a good thing for the community, and a business that can add another piece to handling the waste stream from Hanford is even better.

Wine storage center

Thumbs up to the plan by Railex to build a $20 million wine storage facility near Wallula. The new building should be able to hold 10 times more wine from Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the largest wine producer in the Northwest.

Providing the ability to store and distribute more wine is essential if the industry is to continue to grow. In this time of economic downturn, this is especially welcome news.

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