Matt Driscoll

He was a poor student. He builds bad snowmen. Today, Matt Driscoll answers your mail.

Tales of the Driscoll family snowman prompted some readers to take pity on TNT columnist Matt Driscoll.
Tales of the Driscoll family snowman prompted some readers to take pity on TNT columnist Matt Driscoll.

It’s time, once again, for my monthly, “You rip, I respond,” column.

You know how it works: Folks write or call, and I respond. Then hilarity and an occasional expletive ensues.

I hope you enjoy.

My Dad worked for The News Tribune for over 40 years — even starting his career downtown on St. Helens Street. … I have so many memories of wandering through the ‘old’ News Tribune building before the large remodel and addition on State Street. I loved going to the basement and being mesmerized when the presses were running. It was fascinating to be up close to the forklifts buzzing about with the giant rolls of paper, feeling the power of the presses, and the noise while standing right next to them. Memories I won’t forget. — Jennifer

Hi, Jennifer.

Thanks for the note and for sharing your memories. I know you’re not alone.

I received a number of similar emails in response to coverage of The News Tribune’s final press run in Tacoma — which I was grateful to be a part of, along with reporters Sue Kidd and Debbie Cockrell, editorial assistant Mary Anderson and photographers and videographers Drew Perine, Peter Haley and Joshua Bessex.

My small part in that endeavor involved being on hand for the final press run and talking to the press workers responsible for putting out the print paper. It was an emotional experience for all involved. A number of retired old-timers showed up. Folks brought their kids in. Plenty of laughs, hugs and tears were shared.

From my perspective, The News Tribune’s Editor and Vice President of News Dale Phelps summed things up appropriately for the video we produced.

“As somebody who has been in this business for a long time, there’s a bit of nostalgia to the idea that you have the printing press in your building,” Phelps said. “I think from a newsroom point of view, there’s kind of the conceit that we are the newspaper. But when you think about it, to get from your notebook to someone’s front door takes a lot of people in between.”

It really does. And while it was a difficult assignment, I was honored to have the opportunity to give some of those people a voice in our coverage.

To shay. … I am an avid climber actually climbed 20 mountains last year and I could really care less about a bunch a winey (sic?) dumb (expletive deleted) leftists or the government shutdown. — Chris

To shay?

Touché.

Also, congrats on your climbing. Very impressive.

I read your article about Puyallup this morning, and it’s apparent that, as usual, you didn’t do much homework. This movement within Puyallup is really nothing more than a cry for help. Puyallup is being overrun by vagrants, and city hall is just sitting on its hands. Unresponsive government is at fault here. … Many of us are more than tired of the filth, theft, and violence that these tweakers bring to our community, but too many in city hall are like you — blinded to reality by your “progressive” ideology. — David

Thanks, David.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time I’ve been accused of not doing much homework (or any homework, really). And there’s even a Puyallup connection to go with that!

As anyone familiar with my Puyallup High School transcript is unfortunately aware, I wasn’t exactly a great student during my high school days. This youthful indiscretion led me to spending five years working in a lumberyard — which, looking back, was actually an important, formative experience that served me well — and eventually to The Evergreen State College (which was definitely an experience).

Since this year’s “You rip, I respond” mandate involves finding common ground and fostering civil dialogue, I’ll start with one area where we agree:

There are legitimate reasons why folks might be inclined to question the leadership provided by Puyallup’s current city manager. Most notably, the city’s ill-conceived and misguided attempt to fight the public disclosure of former City Councilman Steve Vermillion’s emails. That was an incredibly costly train wreck that should make any citizen angry.

All of that said, the city’s response to the regional homelessness crisis — or lack of response, really — falls almost entirely on the City Council, and specifically on a delusional, vocal cohort led by Jim Kastama.

Responding to such a crisis requires real vision, a willingness to fully understand the problem and its components, and — finally — the leadership to make tough decisions on tough problems.

Instead, Kastama and too many of his colleagues on the council have done the exact opposite. They’ve vilified people experiencing homelessness and any organization attempting to help, stifled potential solutions to practical problems under the guise that they “condone” homelessness and passed new zoning regulations that make it next to impossible for service providers to do the kinds of things that might actually make the situation better.

So, yes, government is at fault here. Your target’s just on the wrong people.

How cool would it be if all Pierce County jurisdictions followed Sandusky, Ohio’s lead and switched our paid day off from Columbus Day to Election Day? — Hunter

Thanks for reaching out, Hunter.

First, let me go on record as saying I support days off. Especially paid days off. Always have, always will. Never waffled.

Generally speaking, I agree with you. It would absolutely be cool.

That said, if the goal is to increase voter participation and democratic engagement — which was part of the motivation in Sandusky — then I’m not sure it would make a huge difference in Pierce County. All-mail voting has essentially done away with the long lines and nearly all the hassle — aside from small things like filling in the bubbles correctly and finding a stamp — so I think the return on investment, so to speak, would be minimal.

An even better idea? Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, then give people a paid day off on Election Day, too — just to be awesome.

I vote “yes” on all of the above.

I was surprised you were not able to figure out a way to blame Trump for the lack of e-bike ridership. — Ken

I tried, Ken. I really tried.

Something didn’t go well with your snowman. Perhaps you didn’t have the right kind of snow! Don’t blame your daughter! Good luck with the rest of the snow days. I would come and bring the bourbon if I could but I am also stuck! — Ovidio

You make a couple good points, Ovidio.

It was wrong of me to blame my daughter — in writing, no less — for the failure of our Snowmageddon snowman. She’s a child. It wasn’t her fault. It was probably mine.

Or it was defective snow. Yeah, on second thought, it was totally the snow.

On the bourbon front, I’m happy to report that a fellow snowbound reader came through. I returned home from the office Monday evening to find that a small bottle of Wild Turkey had been left with my wife. She said the bourbon-bearer’s name was “Bobby” — or something similar.

So, Bobby, if you’re out there: Please know I appreciate it, and the bourbon definitely helped.

I’m now contemplating including a call for booze in all my columns.

Matt Driscoll is a reporter and The News Tribune’s metro news columnist. A McClatchy President’s Award winner, Driscoll lives in Central Tacoma with his wife and three children. He’s passionate about the City of Destiny and strives to tell stories that might otherwise go untold.

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