My Two Cents: More year-end (local) awards

Last week I presented my very own year-end awards for the most spectacular boneheaded plays of 2003. This week, I do pretty much the same thing, with a focus on local issues and personalities. Here are this year’s winners, or losers, depending on your point of view:

BAD HIRE AWARD: While hindsight is 20/20, this award goes to former City Manager Ray Corpuz, who chose Tacoma police officer David Brame to be the chief of police. While Corpuz cannot be blamed for Brame’s killing of his wife and suicide, Brame was given the top cop job in spite of a series of red flags that should have prevented him from even becoming a police officer, let alone chief.

OVER-USED CATCHPHRASE AWARD: Congratulations to Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma for saying, “Are we on a roll or what in Tacoma?” at just about every groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting event this year.

SEATTLE WANNABE AWARD: This award goes to all the hoopla surrounding the possibility of having a 400-foot spire as part of the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center that is currently under construction. Doesn’t that big city to the north already have a tall, pointy building as part of its well-known skyline?

GRANDSTANDING RESOLUTION AWARD: This honor goes to the Tacoma City Council, which voted earlier this month on a symbolic resolution making the city a “Civil Liberties Safe Zone.” This is just a fancy way of saying a majority of the City Council doesn’t like the Patriot Act, which is perceived by some as a great threat to our civil liberties. (That’s what I keep hearing. What I don’t hear are any actual examples.)

SLIPPERY SLOPE AWARD: Even as the debate is still hot in Pierce County over the new smoking ban in bars and bowling alleys, a group of legislators and public-health advocates wins this award for wanting a statewide indoor smoking ban. It’s only a matter of time before the state attempts to ban smoking in private vehicles and private homes, in order to protect children. Just wait. (Keep in mind this is the same state that passed a seat belt law in 1986 promising it would never become a primary offense, which it did this year.)

“My Two Cents” is a weekly column where the author – who is still in shock over not getting any hate mail for last week’s column, as well as the fact that the Seattle Seahawks made it into the playoffs – gets in his two cents worth in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts.