Chamber New Tacoma Awards Recognize Outstanding Contributions to Downtown Tacoma

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber has announced the nominees for its New Tacoma Awards. The awards recognize businesses, organizations, and individuals who make an outstanding contribution to downtown Tacoma.

Nominations were submitted by the community and recipients selected by a committee. Recipients in all five categories will be recognized at a Chamber luncheon on Friday, July 11, 2014 at the Pacific Grill Events Center.

It's quite a list - who are your picks?


The Ghilarducci Award recognizing successful new development, renovation or beautification:

Community Health Care’s New Regional Health Center
Foss Waterway Seaport’s Rehabilitation
HHJ’s Rehabilitation of the Rector’s Building
Tacoma Post Office Building Rehabilitation
UWT Section of Prairie Line Trail


The Popham Award recognizing the individual that has done the most to build community spirit:

Dion Thomas of Gallery of Ambition
JD Elquist of The Elquists
Justin Mayfield of Downtown Block Party
Rusty George of Rusty George Creative


The Public Places Award recognizing the best activation of a public park, open space or right-of-way:

Alchemy Skate’s Go Skate Tacoma Day
City of Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue Streetscape
Downtown On the Go’s Walk Tacoma


The Schoenfeld Award recognizing exemplary performance and pizazz as a retailer or restaurateur:

Anthem Coffee
Creative Forces Gifts & Sundries
Endless Prints
Handlebar Cycling Studio
Harmon Brewing
Moss + Mineral
Savor Creperie


The Union Station Award recognizing organizations, companies or individuals that have built or sustained momentum for revitalization:

Children’s Museum of Tacoma
Downtown Merchants Group
Milt Tremblay of UWT


View past recipients and register for the luncheon at

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Tim Smith

I see they forgot The Chief Brame Award for the company, organization or individual that has done the most to trash Tacoma’s image in state, national, and international media. This year’s winner (for the 8th year running) is The GEO Group, Inc owner and operator of the Northwest Detention Center and the starting point of a wave of protests and hunger strikes that went global over the failed immigration policies of the USA.

From Time:

July 4, 2014 at 3:24 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I see they forgot The Chief Brame Award for the company, organization or individual that has done the most to trash Tacoma’s image in state, national, and international media.

I would nominate The American Leadership Forum [ALF] for that award.  Nine times out of ten when Tacoma has made the national news it has been coverage of some scandal and I cannot recall a single time over the last fiften or so years that a single one of these scandals has not involved at least one ALF Senior Fellow.  Given the very small number of ALF Senior Fellows that is quite an accomplishment and I believe deserving of recognition.  The problem seems to be that since the senior editorial staff at most all of the local media are also ALF Senior Fellows this component of the story just never quite makes it to the population at large. 

July 5, 2014 at 6:27 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I loved ALF that was such a great show in the early 90’s.

July 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

@JDHasty DO you think that there is enough connectivity between ALF, City of Tacoma and Pierce County governments and the local media for a RICO case?

July 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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What I firmly believe is that The ALF functions in the same capacity as did Tamany Hall under Boss Tweed. 

Public policy is conceived of therein, it is debated among Senior Fellows (including a quorum of Council members) both face to face and in online chat rooms, votes are traded and whipped up and the outcome is decided - all before the public even has an inkling that the subject is on the table for discussion. 

Potential candidates for public office are also identified and vetted from within, suported financially and campaigned for through boots on the ground foot soldiering.  Senior Fellows go on closed retreats and all but swear a blood oath to one another. 

The ALF opperates in the shadows.  Participation is by invitation of existing Senior Fellows only and an omertà exists that one is expected to uphold if one is to become a Senior Fellow.  The founder is a new age woo woo and ex lawyer who hand picked the original Senior Fellows, who in turn hand pick, vet and vote each year on who from the community gets a seat at the table where all decisions regarding local policy are decided. 

July 6, 2014 at 8:24 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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If you or I attend a public meeting we will more likely than not not see these Senior Fellows in attendance, there is no need and they understand that public outreach in Tacoma/Pierce is for show.  Senior Fellows don’t take advantage of the “public comment” periods at council meetings where time available to comment is strictly controlled, and why would they, they have our elected officials and senior City and county staff on speed dial and you had better believe that when they tell senior staff to jump they had better make like a frog, and pronto.  Elected officials also know who butters their bread and act accordingly. 

Local “non-profits” are totally infested with them as well and if the heads of these entities wish to see government monies come their way they had better deliver when it comes time to support fellow ALF Senior Fellows maneuverings. 

It is all very VERY incestuous and it is the common thread woven throughout the fabric that our local government is cut from.  The federal government came in after the Brame incidents and identified the fact that Tacoma/Pierce politics are controlled by a cabal of insiders, but to the best of my knowledge, even though the feds recognized this as unhealthy, they never actually followed through and identified the commonality that members of this cabal share. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are people who are not Senior Fellows who have influence that only Senior Fellows enjoy, but they are not free lancers by any stretch of the imagination.  The Felix’s, Baarsma’s etc are “in” without being in.  Like the mob, The ALF needs associates, who are outside but not really “outside” the organization. 

There are ~235 Senior Fellows, but The ALF sphere probably numbers about five thousand individuals who totally control all political decisions in Tacoma\Pierce.

July 6, 2014 at 8:54 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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