Opinion

Let's remove the cloud over strategic alliance | Editor's Note

The end is in sight (I hope) for the ongoing challenge to the strategic alliance between UW Medicine and Public Hospital District No. 1.

As I’ve written before, maybe it’s good public policy to resolve this matter at the highest possible legal level. That’s certainly the Washington Supreme Court.

The hospital district board Monday night on a typical 3-2 vote decided to appeal a King County Superior Court judge’s decision that the commission in 2011 had the authority to enter into the alliance with the University of Washington to improve and expand health care in South King County.

Of course, he also said his was not the last word on the matter.

The state’s highest court doesn’t take every case that’s sent its way. But those that make it to Olympia offer the court a chance to determine the constitutionality of a law that’s any way in doubt.

The challenge came after the election of Dr. Paul Joos, who joined the two commissioners who originally voted against forming the alliance – Anthony Hemstad and Dr. Aaron Heide. They’ve spent the last year trying to prove that the alliance strips the commission of its legislatively imposed authority.

In their quest, they’ve spent thousands of tax dollars in legal fees to take their case to court and created a distraction that isn’t helping the implementation of the strategic alliance.

And, as I’ve written before, voters at election time get to decide whether their elected leaders have spent their tax dollars wisely.

If the court opts not to hear the case, then Joos, Hemstad and Heide need to let this matter drop and get on with the important work of implementing the alliance.

But still a possibility is the Supreme Court will decide to hear the case. At a minimum, the lawyers who wrote the agreement and interpreted the laws authorizing it will have some explaining to do.

I am not a lawyer, but I am of the opinion that those who vetted the agreement are smart people.

Happy New Year, 737

I’ve spent a lifetime with more than a passing interest in the fortunes of the Boeing Co. I’ve never worked for Boeing, but family members have. There are thousands of people in the Puget Sound region just like me.

So it’s always heartening when Boeing reports good news, especially related to the Renton-built 737. It was another record year for the 737, with a promise of more highlights to come.

The factory is humming and the City of Renton is working closely with Boeing to  make the necessary infrastructure improvements to ramp up 737 production.

That’s the kind of public and private cooperation that we need to encourage, one that creates family wage jobs and not just some big paychecks for a small percentage of executives.

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