Bright spots

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

♦ The week’s bright­est spot hap­pened Tues­day when the last group of the 12-mem­ber “Wild Boars” soc­cer team and their coach were safely brought out of the Tham Luang cave in Thai­land. The saga of the 13 trapped deep in­side a flooded cave gripped the en­tire globe for weeks. Our thanks and ad­mi­ra­tion go out to the hun­dreds of res­cuers from around the world who worked to free the young boys. Great things hap­pen when we work to­gether.

♦ In a smaller bless­ing, there were only mi­nor in­juries when a bus from the new Pulse rapid tran­sit line on Broad Street col­lided with a pickup truck near North Allen Street. The new bus line, from Rock­etts Land­ing to Wil­low Lawn, is an ad­mirable and am­bi­tious ef­fort to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove RVA’s pub­lic tran­sit op­tions. Count us among the many root­ing for noth­ing but suc­cess for the $65 mil­lion in­vest­ment. Pulse’s in­fra­struc­ture has changed the traf­fic flow and ap­pear­ance of much of Broad Street, so it’s not sur­pris­ing that driv­ers may be a bit con­fused. Ac­ci­dents will hap­pen. But GRTC, which op­er­ates Pulse, has a fun­da­men­tal duty to en­sure the safety of ev­ery­one along the route. One mi­nor in­ci­dent is not a cri­sis. Still, we en­cour­age con­stant vig­i­lance, es­pe­cially in these early stages, from both the au­thor­i­ties and the driv­ing pub­lic.

♦ It’s a great shame that every va­cancy on the United States Supreme Court launches a de facto ref­er­en­dum on Roe v. Wade. Abor­tion is not the only is­sue that comes be­fore the court, nor even nec­es­sar­ily the most con­se­quen­tial. And yet it inevitably poi­sons the con­fir­ma­tion process and has done so for decades. Is there a bet­ter re­minder that — ex­cept in rare in­stances such as Brown v. Board of Ed­u­ca­tion of Topeka — it is far health­ier to al­low the elected branches of our gov­ern­ment to en­act laws that im­pose dras­tic change on the lives of nearly all Amer­i­cans than to have them im­posed by the ju­di­ciary? The give and take of po­lit­i­cal de­bate and leg­isla­tive com­pro­mise usu­ally cre­ates laws that re­flect the wis­dom of the peo­ple rather than the pref­er­ences of a few fal­li­ble judges — in other words, laws that last with­out in­cit­ing un­ceas­ing ide­o­log­i­cal con­flict.

♦ Are they nuts? South­west Air­lines — fa­mous for its cheer­ful flight at­ten­dants, brightly colored air­planes, and con­sis­tent abil­ity to turn a profit even when most air­lines can’t — has dis­pensed with a lit­tle treat long associated with the fru­gal com­pany. South­west an­nounced on Tues­day that as of Aug. 1, it will no longer be serv­ing peanuts in its cab­ins. It’s an un­der­stand­able change that re­spects the sen­si­tiv­ity of pas­sen­gers who are al­ler­gic to salty goobers. Still, we’ll miss no longer be­ing able to fly South­west “for peanuts,” as its mar­keters of­ten pro­claimed. Some­how, fly­ing “for pretzels” just doesn’t sound as up­lift­ing.

♦ More good homes are on the way. The Good­wyn at Union Hill, a 52-apart­ment af­ford­able hous­ing com­plex be­ing ren­o­vated by Rich­mond’s Bet­ter Hous­ing Coal­tion, is mak­ing progress. The coali­tion just re­leased an up­date, not­ing that work on the for­mer Ci­tadel of Hope build­ing is un­der­way “and the bright re­sults stand in sharp con­trast to the dark, burned-out shell it once was.” The pro­ject at 2230 Ven­able Street in the Church Hill area is ex­pected to be­gin pre-leas­ing ac­tiv­i­ties this summer, with the first res­i­dents mov­ing in this fall. When com­plete, the coali­tion re­ports, The Good­wyn’s five build­ings will con­tain homes for fam­i­lies with an­nual house­hold in­come be­tween $25,000 and $40,000. The pro­ject is just the lat­est in the coali­tion’s con­tin­u­ing work to build a bet­ter RVA.

♦ A thriv­ing econ­omy and climb­ing wages have given most Amer­i­cans a wel­come boost in fam­ily in­comes. But economists say the nearly 10-year eco­nomic ex­pan­sion could be threat­ened by high gaso­line prices. Ac­cord­ing to The Wall Street Jour­nal, on Mon­day, driv­ers paid an av­er­age of $2.86 a gal­lon — the high­est prices since 2014. In Cal­i­for­nia, gaso­line prices have hit more than $3.60 a gal­lon thanks to the state’s higher taxes and stricter en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions. To date, Amer­i­cans seem un­fazed by the higher prices. They proved that when 47 mil­lion mo­torists hit the road on July 4 — prob­a­bly the busiest travel day in U.S. his­tory.

The give and take of po­lit­i­cal de­bate and leg­isla­tive com­pro­mise usu­ally cre­ates laws that re­flect the wis­dom of the peo­ple rather than the pref­er­ences of a few fal­li­ble judges — in other words, laws that last with­out in­cit­ing un­ceas­ing ide­o­log­i­cal con­flict.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ris­ing gas prices haven’t dis­cour­aged the leg­endary American mo­torist, seen here in force on San Fran­cisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.

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