Authors Posts by TJ Martinell

TJ Martinell

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TJ Martinell has five-plus years of news reporting experience, and has worked as an SEO specialist. He is a graduate of Eastern Washington University.
Lower Snake River Dams At Storm's Eye

Lower Snake River Dams At Storm’s Eye

Three federal agencies are preparing a new environmental impact statement (EIS) intended to protect threatened salmon and steelhead, and it could result in a recommendation to breach, or decommission, the four...
EPA Mandate On Washington State Water Quality Faces Possible Challenges

EPA Mandate On Washington State Water Quality Faces Possible Challenges

It would cost about $7.4 billion total for every city in the Puget Sound region to upgrade their wastewater treatment plants to the best available technology, according to a projection by...

Stage Set For Two State Budget Battles

The Washington legislature already faces a projected $2.6 billion deficit for the 2019-21 biennial budget, as it digs in this coming January to fashion...
Fresh Start Eyed On Bi-State Bridge Fix

Fresh Start Eyed On Bi-State Bridge Fix

The proposal for a new bi-state bridge connecting Washington and Oregon went down in flames of acrimony two years ago. The Columbia River Crossing...

Bottom-Up Rumblings On Washington Taxes

Turning heads statewide recently was the unanimous decision by the seven-member City of Spokane Valley to enact a new hurdle for that body to...

Making K-12 Investments Count, In Washington

Washington has pumped $5 billion more into K-12 basic education since the State Supreme Court's 2012 McCleary ruling mandated that lawmakers step up. The state's biennial K-12 operating funding has grown from $13.4 billion to...
Free Markets Versus Intervention: Murray, Vance Square Off In First Debate

Free Markets Versus Intervention: Murray, Vance Square Off In First Debate

In a debate hosted by Gonzaga University this week, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Republican challenger Chris Vance promoted distinct visions of how to grow...
Tax-Happy Washington State Supreme Court Called Out On K-12 Education Funding

Tax-Happy Washington State Supreme Court Called Out On K-12 Education Funding

State Rep. Matt Manweller (R-13) is reading the tea leaves on court-mandated hikes in the state's share of K-12 basic education funding, and he’s...
Will Washington Reign In Rule-makers?

Will Washington Rein In Rule-makers?

Lawmakers come and go, but unelected rule-makers are forever. Or so it seems. Decisions and actions of agencies and regulatory bodies in Washington state...
Bryant, Inslee Differ On Education, Taxes, and Carbon Cap Rule

Bryant, Inslee Differ On Education, Taxes, and Carbon Cap Rule

In a debate hosted by Seattle University this week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Bill Bryant outlined disparate visions for the...
Franz Shifts Message On State Timber Sales

Franz Shifts On State Timber Sales

In a debate hosted by the Association of Washington Business at Suncadia last week between the general election contestants for Washington Public Land Commissioner, Democrat...
A Fresh Start For Washington's Watchdog

A Fresh Start For Washington’s Watchdog

Whoever is elected, the troubled State Auditor’s Office (SAO) will get a fresh start in 2017. The two candidates to take over the embattled...

Washington Exporters Renew Push To Expand Global Trade, Via TPP

Prospects for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the U.S. and 11 other nations remain uncertain. According to The Hill, Congress is unlikely to consider...

Public Pension Reform: A Work In Progress

Washington has eight public pension systems for employees of state and local governments, and 15 plans within those systems. According to the latest numbers...

Different Visions For Public Lands Chief

As head of the Washington state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Public Lands Commissioner oversees 2.1 million acres of forested state trust lands....
Getting A Leg Up On Income Inequality

Getting A Leg Up On Income Inequality

A key aim of Initiative 1433 to raise the Washington state minimum wage, and a theme accentuated by Governor Jay Inslee in his 2016...
New Approach To Wildfires Brewing

New Approach To Wildfires Brewing

Despite a state of emergency declared in response to recent Washington wildfires, the season so far has been much kinder than the last two,...
A Fishy Standard For Washington State Water Quality, But It Could Be Even Worse

A Fishy Standard For Washington State Water Quality, But It Could Be Even Worse

The Washington Department of Ecology last week approved new state fish consumption and water quality standards that critics say are too onerous and based on...
Two GOP Finalists For Treasurer Differ On Approaches To State's $20.6B Debt

Two GOP Finalists For Treasurer Differ On Approaches To State’s $20.6B Debt

According to a report this year by outgoing State Treasurer James McIntire, Washington had $20.6 billion in debt at the end of December, 2015,...
I-405 Tolling Performance Strong, But Regional Growth Raises Capacity Concerns

I-405 Tolling Gets High Marks Again; More Lanes Are Eyed To Handle Growth

Drivers on I-405 east of Seattle are getting to their destinations faster nine months after a new express lane tolling system was added. However,...
Washington Should Steer Lightly As Driverless Cars Inch Toward Mainstream

Washington Should Steer Lightly As Driverless Cars Inch Toward Mainstream

Like other states, Washington will be confronted with a big question in coming years: how its surface transportation infrastructure will be transformed by driverless...
Pierce Schools Take Aim At Growth Rule

Pierce Schools Take Aim At Growth Rule

Five school districts have filed a lawsuit against Pierce County to get around a state Growth Management Hearings Board ruling. They say it deprives...
Heading For A Cage Match On Local Control Of Teacher Salaries

Heading For A Cage Match On Local Control Of Teacher Salaries

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn has filed a lawsuit he hopes will spur the legislature to assume financial responsibility for basic...
Debt Hawks, Income Tax Advocate, Others Vie For Washington State Treasurer

Debt Hawks, Income Tax Advocate, Others Vie For Washington State Treasurer

In Washington, state debt is $20.6 billion. As of January, it had grown just three percent over the last two years but a year before,...
Wildfires Can Also Scorch Tourism, But Washington Communities Are Battling Back

Wildfires Can Also Scorch Tourism, But Washington Communities Are Battling Back

Damage to homes and communities from Washington wildfires in 2014 and 2015 has been dramatic. Along with rebuilding lives and buildings, reclaiming scorched land,...
Senate Ups Ante On Combating Forest Fires

Senate Ups Ante On Combating Forest Fires

Washington’s private forest landowners want healthier federal forest lands to help confront the growing severity of wildfire seasons. A quarter of the 8.1 million...
Salmon Fishing Season Delay Takes An Economic Toll In Puget Sound Region

Salmon Fishing Season Delay Takes An Economic Toll In Puget Sound Region

Puget Sound’s recreational salmon fishing season is expected to open at the end of this week, after a nearly two-month delay caused by a...
Sound Transit 3 Changes Spark New Debate

Sound Transit 3 Changes Spark New Debate

The Sound Transit Board has unanimously approved revisions to its proposed ST3 expansion plan, shortening construction timelines for several light rail projects based on...
More Logging In Washington State Could Help Restore Forest Health, Say Experts

More Logging In Washington State Could Help Restore Forest Health, Say Experts

Increased timber harvesting is one way the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and United States Forest Service might improve forest health after two...
Who Do You Trust To Run Elections?

Who Do You Trust To Run Elections?

The race for a seemingly sleepy office in Washington state is threatening to turn into a war of words, and has drawn the interest...
Puget Sound Fishing Dispute May Be Settled For Now, But Concerns Linger

Puget Sound Fishing Dispute May Be Settled For Now, But Concerns Linger

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and local tribal leaders have reached an agreement on how they will share the salmon harvest...

Cities, Counties Want Fine-Tuned Rules For Legal Pot Shops And Grow Ops

Persistent community concerns across Washington about recreational marijuana stores and growers may help drive changes to existing state and local regulations. One state lawmaker...
Towns Rebuilding After Wildfires, As State Mulls Prevention, Preparedness

Towns Rebuilding After Wildfires; State Aims To Improve Prevention, Response

In 2014 the Carlton Complex wildfire burned 150 homes in and around the city of Pateros in Okanogan County. The largest wildfire in state...
'Contra Krugman' Panelist Takes On 'Economic Myths Of The 2016 Election'

Economic Myths Of The 2016 Campaign Season Get A Smackdown In Seattle

One claim you’re likely to hear during this year’s presidential election cycle is that the U.S. doesn’t spend enough on helping out the poor,...
Redefining Transit: What Works, What Doesn’t?

Redefining Transit: What Works, What Doesn’t?

Public transit like light rail and bus lines are often promoted as ways to address traffic congestion in major metro regions including greater Seattle....
Sound Transit's Trail Of Broken Promises Casts Pall Over New $50 Billion Proposal

Sound Transit’s Trail Of Broken Promises Casts Pall Over New $50 Billion Proposal

Sound Transit is promoting its third big round of system-building as a regional transportation solution. Among other things, Sound Transit 3 (ST3) will provide...
What Makes Teachers Stay, Or Leave?

What Makes Teachers Stay, Or Leave?

How to improve teacher retention could be among the recommendations to the legislature for next year from Washington state's new Joint Education Funding Task...
Washington Braces For Wildfire Season

Washington Braces For Wildfire Season

Another wildfire season is coming to Washington state and $278 million in costs the last two summers add weight to inevitable concerns. How bad...
Bellevue Baking Up New Medical Pot Rules

Bellevue Baking New Medical Pot Rules

The city of Bellevue is not exactly known for medical marijuana. But City Hall is abuzz over possible medical cannabis cooperatives and research facilities....
State-Tribes Dispute Shuts Down Puget Sound Salmon Fishing Season, For Now

State-Tribes Dispute Shuts Down Puget Sound Salmon Fishing Season, For Now

The recreational salmon fishing season in Puget Sound could be grounded this year. For the first time in 32 years the Washington Department of...
Sound Transit 3 Blemishes Spotlighted

Sound Transit 3 Benefits Questioned

Sound Transit 3 envisions light rail as the agency's primary transportation mode in the Puget Sound region by 2050. Some policy experts and business...
State, Not EPA, Should Fine-Tune Fish Consumption Rule, Say Cities, Industry

State, Not EPA, Should Fine-Tune Fish Consumption Rule, Say Cities, Industry

Coming Soon: Lens looks into the "What’s Upstream" EPA lobbying controversy involving EPA funding of a Washington state lobbying campaign on water quality, targeting...
Shrouded in Secrecy: The Hidden World of Public Sector Labor Talks In Washington

Shrouded In Secrecy: Public Sector Labor Talks In Washington

Since 2002 in Washington state, public unions and the governor have negotiated in secrecy over state employee benefits and salaries as part of the...
Weed-Like Growth for Washington's Cannabis Industry

Weed-Like Growth for Washington’s Cannabis Industry

The recreational pot industry in Washington State is growing fast. It's expected to hit the one billion dollar-mark in sales for the 2016 fiscal...
Critics: Cancer Risk Rates Out Of Whack In Washington Fish Consumption Rule-Making

Critics: Cancer Risk Rates Out Of Whack In Washington Fish Consumption Rule-Making

The Washington Department of Ecology’s draft rule on water quality standards related to human health sets unrealistically stringent cancer risk rate protections geared to...
Right Time For Right To Work Could Be Coming To Washington State

Right Time For Right To Work Could Be Coming To Washington State

If the national trend is any indication Washington could eventually allow public and private sector employees a choice on whether to pay union dues....
Here's A Fish Story With A Twist

A Fish Story With A Twist

The Department of Ecology is working on a new proposed rule for water quality standards intended to protect eaters of locally caught fish. While...

Inslee’s 2016 Goals: How’d He Actually Do?

In his January 12 State of the State Address and proposed supplemental budget Washington Governor Jay Inslee outlined his agenda for the 2016 legislative...
Budget Set - Now Real Work Starts

Budget Set – Now Real Work Starts

After a 19-day special session the state legislature approved a supplemental operating budget that despite new spending preserves the four-year balanced budget and includes...
Experts: I-405 Tolling Performance Promising

Experts: I-405 Tolling Performance Promising

Aligning with traffic performance and financial data from Washington state, national experts suggest that the new express lanes tolling on I-405 east of Seattle...
Dear Prudence: The Budget Is In Play

Dear Prudence: The Budget Is In Play

Washington Senate fiscal watchdogs vow that any state supplemental budget, now likely to be resolved not until some point after Easter, will have to...
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