Daily News editorial

Love Overwhelming: The Cowlitz County commissioners recently purchased the building Love Overwhelming (LO) operates from. With the county intending to use the building for other purposes, LO finds itself in need of new space. Where should LO go? What should the process be for finding a new LO location?

We wrote an editorial about a month ago about where LO should go. LO had been considering leasing space from the Shekinah Christian Center on Third Avenue in Longview, but public outcry appeared to nullify any prospective deal. LO Executive Director Chuck Hendrickson said about the Shekinah Center deal, “We listened and heard the concerns of the business owners that were represented at the forums. Ultimately, we felt that at this time it’s not going to work out.”

Since the Shekinah Center deal went south, TDN has been getting phone calls about possible other locations LO is negotiating with. We’ve diligently tried to track down each lead, but keep coming up with nothing. We asked Commissioner Dennis Weber whether he knew of any location LO was negotiating a lease for and he did not.

With LO being such a controversial entity, which is funded with taxpayer dollars, shouldn’t the public know where it might end up? Our calls to LO Director Chuck Hendrickson repeatedly go unanswered, so when will the public find out where the new LO location will be?

Reportedly, LO is asking the county for more tax dollars to fund the operation. We’d like to see the commissioners work with LO to make the transition to a new location more of a public process. Some argue that LO is a private entity and therefore doesn’t need to let anyone know where the new location might be – we disagree. Remember, LO is funded with taxpayer money, not private dollars.

More to come on this.

Homeless veterans: It’s hard to imagine serving your country in the armed forces then ending up homeless, but unfortunately, it happens. Last week, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said the Housing Authority of Southwest Washington will receive over $22,000 dollars of housing vouchers to help get veterans off the streets and into housing.

According to the Veterans Administration, over 21 million Americans are veterans of the armed forces and the state of Washington has about 600,000 residents who are veterans. Helping those who have served is the right thing to do and we’re glad to see them get help.

State fines growing: The state of Washington owes another $7.5 million in fines. This time the state is being fined for not giving people arrested for crimes a mental competency exam in a timely manner. This has been an ongoing problem for years and resulted in a 2014 lawsuit against the state by Disability Rights Washington (DRW) and the American Civil Liberties Union. U.S District Court Judge Marsha Pechman ruled the state was violating the constitutional rights of people by holding them in jail for weeks, or months, without providing a mental competency evaluation.

Now 18 months later, the state is still violating citizens’ rights by not providing a mental competency evaluation in a timely fashion. David Carlson of DRW said, “I didn’t expect to see changes overnight, but it has been a year and a half and we still have people waiting far, far too long.”

This situation should bring public ire towards state government. Our fellow citizens are spending weeks and months in jail, their civil rights violated, and yet the state continues to drag their feet. We have a saying at TDN when speaking about projects or problems – it’s not about activity, it’s about results. And in this case, whatever activity Gov. Inslee has talked about or put in place doesn’t seem to be working.

Marathon baseball games: Major League Baseball’s fan base has declined throughout the years. The steroid era reduced the baseball fan base more than anything, followed by the marathon ball games. So a few years ago, Major League Baseball (MLB) took on a big problem – reducing the amount of time to play a game, as some MLB games seemed to go on forever. Relatively small changes were made; things like not allowing a batter out of the batter’s box after each pitch, and the time it took to play games dropped under 3 hours.

Last season, the average time to play a game crept back up to 3 hours and 4 minutes. The problem seem to stem from an excessive number of coaching visits to the pitcher’s mound, close plays subject to replay challenges that took way too long and the generally slow pace of play.

From a fan perspective. you’ve got to really love a sport to sit down and watch a game lasting over 3 hours. And many close games can easily last three and half to four hours. You can see a great movie in two hours. Major League Soccer games last about two hours. So what should be done?

Reducing the number of innings in a game seems like a non-starter. Some suggest limiting the number of visits to the pitchers mound or limiting the number of pitching changes in an inning. Other want more of a “shot clock” approach where pitchers get 10 or 20 seconds to throw each pitch. Others say the replay challenges need to be limited in the amount of time taken.

Whatever new rules MLB puts into place might make the games a little shorter. But let’s face it, a 9-inning baseball game takes time. The basic transition at the top and bottom of each inning of one team taking the field while another exits takes what, 5 minutes? In a 9-inning game that means fans are watching players run on and off the field and warm up for about 45 minutes a game.

What we hope doesn’t happen is the implementation of new rules to shorten the length of games that change the fundamental game. Baseball is rich in history and tradition, while some of those traditions may make games longer, they are what make baseball the great game that it is – even if we don’t watch it anymore.

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