Long arm of the law
Thumbs up to Operation Scattergun II for making Eastern Washington a safer place.
Police agencies in the Tri-Cities and other jurisdictions, the state Department of Corrections, U.S. marshals and the Pacific Northwest Violent Crimes Task Force, tracked down fugitives in Yakima, Spokane and the Tri-Cities earlier this month.
The sweep resulted in 232 felony arrests, including the apprehension of more than 80 wanted fugitives in the Tri-Cities.
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Sex offenders and other violent criminals were especially targeted. We're confident the police action will result in fewer crimes and safer streets.
Service above self
Thumbs up to Tri-City Rotarians for bringing their district conference to the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
Members from 60 clubs attended the five-day conference, creating a windfall for businesses catering to travelers. They also managed to raise money to support the fight against polio.
The highlight of the conference was a visit from Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee of Vapi, Gujarat, India.
It's an unusual honor. The Rotary's top dignitary plans to visit only one other district conference out of 538 districts worldwide.
"This is something district governors wish for, but I'm the lucky one getting him here," said District Governor Rampur S. Viswanath.
We suspect luck had little to do with it. More likely, the responsibility lies in a lot of hard work by Viswanath and other Tri-City Rotarians.
Knuckle under, buckle up
Thumbs down to the knuckleheads who drive without a seat belt after dark, apparently motivated by the goofy notion they're less likely to get ticketed for the infraction.
For starters, it doesn't work. In fact, the emphasis on night-time infractions might make a citation more likely.
More importantly, avoiding a ticket is a weak argument for buckling up. Avoiding a head-first trip through the windshield is a much better reason to fasten the seat belt.
During the most recent Night Time "Click it or Ticket" campaign, May 21 to June 3, officers in Benton and Franklin counties wrote 133 tickets for seat-belt violations.
It's cost-effective on one hand because seat-belt enforcement is a proven way to reduce injuries to drivers and their passengers.
But we wouldn't have to use tax money on extra police patrols for seat-belt campaigns if people simply complied with the law. There has to be a better use for our resources.
How much is enough?
Thumbs down to the state Legislature for failing to pass a bill that would have made health insurance companies more accountable.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has been pushing lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow the commissioner's office to consider the size of insurers' surpluses when deciding whether to approve rate increases.
Eleven states, including Oregon, give their insurance commissioners that authority, Kreidler told The Associated Press.
The cost of individual health policies in Washington more than doubled between 2005 and 2011, Kreidler said.
Meanwhile, Premera Blue Cross and Regence BlueShield have each collected surpluses of more than $1 billion.
The two giant nonprofit insurance companies say that money is needed to protect them from unforeseen expenses.
Maybe, but they ought to be required to demonstrate that reserves that large are in the best interest of consumers before getting state approval to raise rates again.