State of the City: “More Than Potholes… Deep Repairs…”

On February 25 Mayor Strickland gave her State of the City Address for 2015. Following up on last year's "Tacoma 2.0" theme, the Mayor's theme this year was "Tacoma Rising;" a nod to the fact that while things are looking up, there's still work to be done. Strickland challenged all Tacomans to "do the heavy lifting" needed; to put the greater community good above our own individual needs.

The Mayor covered a lot of ground in her 30 minute speech - a lot of the points we expect from the State of the City - positioning Tacoma as rising, but with room for improvement: Unemployment is dropping, but still higher that in Seattle. Graduation rates have seen significant increases, but our schools can do more to prepare Tacoma's young people. The City has invested in infrastructure improvements, but there is still a lot to do, particularly when it comes to the condition of Tacoma's roads.

This last point has gotten the most attention out of the Mayor's speech, thanks to a new proposal she introduced to address the serious need to fix Tacoma's failing roads.

"I'm not going to call it 'potholes,' because our streets need deep repair."

The Mayor promised that her new proposal would touch every street in Tacoma in some way. Streets rated "excellent" or "good" will get routine maintenance and crack seal. Streets rated "fair" will get chip seal and surface treatments. Streets rated "failed" or "poor" will get a new street, grind and overlay. And Tacoma's remaining gravel roads will get a "two on two overlay." 

The plan will cost $500 million over 10 years. Full details on funding mechanisms are yet to be announced, but the Mayor did say that it will cost roughly $15 per household per month over those 10 years. That's no small price tag, but, Strickland observed, "these streets aren't going to fix themselves, and we can't close libraries, fire stations, or police departments to pay for the repairs" needed after decades of neglect.

Street repairs weren't the only issue the Mayor highlighted in this year's speech. We heard about support for veterans, programs aimed at global connections, Tacoma's innovative schools, the City's equity and empowerment initiative, plans for appealing to visitors during the US Open and beyond, and a goal of making Tacoma the country's most digitally literate city.

We heard about a Tacoma that is evolving, improving, rising. Mayor Strickland called on everyone to roll up their sleeves and contribute to the work needed to keep it going in that direction.

"Let's go out there and make 2015 one of the best years ever."

Are you ready?

Watch the full 2015 State of the City Address now on YouTube:

 


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Comments

thackerspeedRegistered

“And I say to you, ladies and gentlemen, the solution to Tacoma’s problem today is the SAME SOLUTION to any problem of any city at any place and at any time: MO MONEY!”

March 4, 2015 at 9:34 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 4

JDHasty

The City has “responded” to my PDR with a phony baloney cobbled together “pavement assessment” that is totally useless,  Here is what I have to say bach to the City: 

Gee, I would be interested in what level of confidence the City of Tacoma put in a single stand alone pavement assessment done ~ a half decade earlier as the sole basis for these 2010/2011 predictions which are described as being used to “simulate deterioration based upon the pavement management life cycle?” 

“In 2006/2007, the City of Tacoma collected pavement condition data in order to inventory and assess the condition of its streets. The data in the following sheets is not new data resulting from a pavement condition survey, but is the 2006/2007 data that has been aged (in 2010/2011) using computer models that simulate deterioration based upon the pavement management life cycle.”

What “computer models” would those be? 

To predict future pavement condition with any degree of accuracy demands that one look at the deterioration curve of that street segment A curve relies on (is defined by) three or more points.  The the very least I one would need to consider at least a couple pavement assessments in order to make any kind of reasonably accurate prediction at all.  Would I not? 

There is also no “computer model” that I am aware of that models asphalt or Portland cement concrete streets that are not being maintained at a certain level that Tacoma admits is well above the level at which Tacoma had been providing leading up to the 2006 data being collected. It is accepted knowledge that the computer models that simulate deterioration become totally unreliable when pavement is having “maintenance deferred” and/or was already not structurally sound at the time the last assessment was done.  On pavement that is not structurally sound the next cement mixer, fire truck or buss can and will cause total failure of the pavement.

What happened to the Pavement Assessment & Report that residents who attended Prop 1 outreach sessions were promised was in the works in 2013?

Please respond

March 4, 2015 at 9:51 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 4

JDHasty

“The Mayor promised that her new proposal would touch every street in Tacoma in some way. Streets rated “excellent” or “good” will get routine maintenance and crack seal. Streets rated “fair” will get chip seal and surface treatments. Streets rated “failed” or “poor” will get a new street, grind and overlay. And Tacoma’s remaining gravel roads will get a “two on two overlay.””


Streets rated “fair” will get chip seal and surface treatments.

Chip seals:
When NOT to Use!
-  Structurally deficient pavements
-  Cracks >1/4 in width unless sealed
-  Large number of potholes
-  Rutting >1/2 in
-  Ride quality needs significant improvement

This list above describes pavement chip seal is NOT to be used on.  Pavement in ““fair” condition has an OCI between 58 & 74. 

Here is link to a well put together webpage that has an easy to follow discussion in it: http://dpw.lacounty.gov/gmed/lacroads/Pm.aspx

 

March 4, 2015 at 11:24 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 4

Jesse

Maybe you should try to get on an appropriate committee for your passion here.  Sounds like they could use a hand and maybe both parties could learn a few things while you’re at it.
All in all, I bet they haven’t budgeted the money for a yearly pavement assessment because they don’t currently have the money to do anything about the conditions they find.

March 4, 2015 at 11:42 am / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0

JDHasty

“They” have pissed every dollar they can get their hands on away.  If the truth be known.  “They” have absolutely no interest in our infrastructure, “they” are interested in a new funding mechanism for discretionary capital projects.  “They” were hoping to hoodwink the residents into giving them unconstrained dollars to piss away while our existing infrastructure slides into the abyss.

March 4, 2015 at 1:29 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 5

Jesse

Tacoma is lucky to have Mayor Strickland.  She has seemingly fixed many ills of Tacoma’s schools, almost funded streetcar completely, landed a fill-in for Russell, numerous infrastructure projects, and worked to land the biggest skyscraper built in Tacoma since the early 1980’s.  If she can crack the code for a path toward beautiful and functional infrastructure in Tacoma, she’ll go down as one of Tacoma’s finest Mayors. 

BTW, the news said Expedia is leaving Bellevue and considering Tacoma or Seattle.  Go get em’ Madam Mayor!!

March 4, 2015 at 11:52 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 4

JDHasty

It depends on your address.  If you live amongst the freeloaders in the particular District of Tacoma that is receiving far more back in tax revenues than they put in - of course you think that the future is coming up roses.  As for those who are footing the bill for this - not so much. 

Now herhonner wants additional unconstrained dollars.  That is a non-starter. 

I shared this with people in the field and a couple asked me:  what is a “two on two overlay?”.  When I said the City of Tacoma’s Mayor is proposing to go in and throw down two inches of crushed rock and then put two inches of asphalt over that they damn near died laughing. 

I have been maligned and ridiculed for daring to compare Tacoma’s model to the Detroit model, but it is what it is and those who make sport of me for pointing it out know that I am absolutely correct.

March 4, 2015 at 4:01 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

6 | 5

Downtown Citizen

Jesse, I worked for a major employer in downtown Tacoma and when it came to converting the parking garage into Pacific Plaza the mayor wanted nothing to do with it. And for the grand opening of Pacific Plaza and Projecting Drop (the art installation) she was over an hour late so the ceremony’s were held up waiting for her and her little dog. She did not fix the ills of Tacoma Schools - Tacoma Schools did, she did not fund a streetcar because it came before her term, and she did not fill the Russell building because State Farm dealt with the broker, not the City.  She also did not want to be involved in choosing a new director for the Tacoma Dome, and did not want to pass a ruling to repair sidewalks and underground vaults in the city including the ones at Broadway Plaza. She is rude and inconsiderate to other council members and the public, and very demanding of her own staff. Please rethink what you listed as her accomplishments.

March 5, 2015 at 8:21 am / Reply / Quote and reply

7 | 0

JDHasty

That is consistent with my experience.  She was incredibly rude and condescending toward those who attended Prop 1 outreach events.

March 5, 2015 at 8:53 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 2

Jesse

Just trying to interject some positivity. 

When you have massive amounts of responsibility as the Mayor does, it is impossible to be personally involved in everything.  Her efforts have to me multiplied through others.  What she has been involved in (or not) is not something somebody on the blogosphere can be sure of.

March 5, 2015 at 12:41 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 3

The Man

Let’s play a game of “Spot the Shill.” Oh, this was too easy…

March 6, 2015 at 1:36 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 2

Jesse

I don’t know the Mayor and I don’t work for any government agency or program.  I am sorry that someone attempting to be positive and encouraging confuses you.

March 8, 2015 at 12:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Tim Smith

Don’t forget all of her non-work on the largest and most lucrative privately owned and operated prison in the Pacific NW. With a new 10 year contract worth over $650 million, she has done nothing to extract the economic benefit promised when the City helped locate it here.

March 8, 2015 at 7:17 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Paolo

The city is on its way up. Period. That isn’t without missteps, but we unquestionably have momentum in places it matters, such as business and education.

March 4, 2015 at 12:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 3

JDHasty

You are delusional, up implies moving towards a sound fiscal footing.  Have you checked the City’s bond rating recently.

March 5, 2015 at 11:36 am / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 3

JohnShermanRegistered

So the “Mayor did say that it will cost roughly $15 per household per month over those 10 years. . . .”, but did the Mayor forget to tell Tacoma about Tacoma utility(s) ratepayers fees increase proposed: Let’s not forget to add the City of Tacoma taxes added on top of the utility services rate increases money collected. Tacoma City Ordinance No. 28286 Electric rates up 3% in April and Tacoma City Ordinance No. 28285 water rates increased 4% year 2015 and again 4% year 2016?

 

March 4, 2015 at 3:09 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 1

JDHasty

John,

I have used Tacoma’s reported number of lane miles and multiplied that by the cost/lane mile of full depth structural overlay on every street in Tacoma and it totals about half of what she is asking for. 

Given, I am using 2009 figures, but in case you missed it the price of oil is way down since 2009.  That is what drives cost.

I have told people that people with inside connections have warned me this was coming, but I had underestimated the brazenness of the money grab. 

I also had taked City staff at their word when they said that a comprehensive pavement assessment was being done in 2013.  I expected that it would have taken a few liberties - but what the City coughed up is, in a word, ludicrous. 

Furthermore to grind and overlay asphalt on a street that has failed is so ghetto that it elicited howls of laughter amongst professionals I shared that with. 

This is a money grab, plain and simple, and that is all it is.

March 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 4

JohnShermanRegistered

It does make one wonder, where does all the money go that is grabbed?

Let’s look at current taxes (2013) “Utility Tax This tax is similar to the gross receipts business and occupation tax except it is imposed on utility businesses. The business activities affected by this tax are telephone, cellular, gas, electric, water, sewerage, drainage, cable, and garbage. The rates are as follows: A. Power 6% B. Cable 8% C. Water and Rail Systems 8% D. Solid Waste 8% E. Sale of Electricity or Natural Gas 6%. . . .” City of Tacoma Tax & License, City of Tacoma (Tax & License Division Jan. 2013), http://bit.ly/1FZ4WrT.

Therefore as the City increases Ratepayers rates the City just gets more utility tax collection money. It’s is almost like a conflict-of-interest situation between City of Tacoma City Council and Tacoma Municipal Public Utilities—-since Tacoma City Council approves Ratepayers utility rates; as a result, utility rates increased allows the City of Tacoma to collect more utility tax money revenue?

Is this a similar “money grab, plain and simple, . . .”?

March 4, 2015 at 5:26 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 3

JDHasty

Well part of the money went toward funding luxury condos that cost north of a quarter million dollars per unit (Hillside Terrace) under the guise of providing housing for a vulnerable population.  This is a disservice to the community, especially those who need that housing but are not among the very few who actually get to move in. 

Everywhere you look in Tacoma there is spending from the public treasury that is wasteful and/or directed toward the benefit of the favored few.

March 5, 2015 at 5:32 am / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 3

JDHasty

And just in case Jesse wants to know:  Yes I am accusing everyone involved in the decisions leading up to spending limited public dollar that are used to house families in need temporarily and spending those dollars on luxury condo units costing north of a quarter million dollars/unit of being self-serving and having absolutely no regard for either the tax paying public those dollars are extracted from or for the families who are in need.

March 5, 2015 at 5:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 3

Jesse

Is E133 now a conspiracy blog like the New Takhoman or The News Tribune?  I miss the days of talking about ideas on here.  *sigh*

March 4, 2015 at 7:26 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

6 | 3

thackerspeedRegistered

Okay Jesse, let’s kick around some ideas. The video of the address records more than a couple of audacious moments, but at least two which at best could be dismissed as high drama.

It is often the case with regards to formal speeches and informal discourse, that the parties involved in an exchange seldom remember the content offered at the midpoint of a communication. It is the content at the beginning, and at the end which is usually remembered.

Assuming that is true, how should one interpret the Mayor’s event beginning with war drums?

Secondly, the address concluded with “I am your Mayor.” Post speech was followed by a display of soldiers at the ready.

That is a simple description of the facts of the address. On what basis of interpretation may one draw a sound conclusion?

March 4, 2015 at 9:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 2

ApitbullnamedPlug

Wait wait wait.  Are you calling the Lincoln drum line “war drums” and the color guard “soldiers at the ready?”  What, you think Strickland is about to impose martial law and declare herself dictator for life? 

You must be a clown because that is hilarious.

March 6, 2015 at 11:45 am / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0

thackerspeedRegistered

Has there ever been or is there now such a thing as militancy among minorities and women?

March 6, 2015 at 8:59 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 3

JDHasty

The only thing you miss is that there is today there is actually a dialog going on that includes voices that question how public money is programmed and budgeted and spent.  You pine for the good ol’ days when it was spend, spend, spend being discussed in an echo chamber.

March 5, 2015 at 5:37 am / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 3

Jesse

No.  I’ve been against plenty of things.  Thanks.

March 5, 2015 at 7:07 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

You actually want to go there do you? 

Well you can call it a conspiracy or you can call it a poached egg on toast, irrespective of what you call it it Tacoma’s Mayor went before the public pleading poverty and introducing a push towards a half BILLION dollars in unconstrained new revenues that would be put under the purview of the City’s Public Works Director to budget and program as he and the Council see fit. 

This same Public Works Director who has got where he is today by going through each and every City maintenance shop’s budgets, line by line, looking for money to peel away and spend on discretionary capital projects that Council members have shown a preferential option for funding above maintenance and preservation of existing infrastructure.

Make no mistake about it, this and past City Councils are responsible for practically none of our available transportation revenues being budgeted toward maintenance and preservation and Kurtis Kingsolver was their “go to guy” whenever they were looking to fund one of their “pet projects.”  He is where he is because of this dynamic.  Furthermore, in 2013 he told residents who took time out of their busy lives to attend Prop 1 public outreach sessions that Tacoma was in the process of doing a current pavement assessment.  It is absolutely impossible for any city even a quarter the size of Tacoma to manage it’s pavement without doing a regular pavement assessment.  Our City Manager, through our Public Works Director HAD AN OBLIGATION to keep Council informed of the status of our pavement infrastructure.  Professional malpractice is not to strong a word to attach to the failure on the part of these two highly paid City staffers, as well as their predecessors,  to keep the City Council informed and to advise them on what the options were/are. 

The Mayor has no clue how many dollars in deterioration to City infrastructure this foolish and shortsighted practice has left the taxpayers to clean up, but she went before the world (or at least those who coughed up $50 to hear her) and asked for half a BILLION dollars in new revenues.  I, as a taxpaying property owner, have a financial interest in taking a close look at what is being proposed in order to decide whether or not this is legitimate.  I cannot read the Mayor, Public Works Director and City Council’s minds, but their past actions certainly do infer many things. 

It is the taxpayers who are eventually going to pay the bill for cleaning up this mess and I intend to make certain that when the day of reckoning is finally upon us that not one thin damn dime is available to be siphoned off by these incompetents and grifters to be spent on pet projects.   

March 5, 2015 at 8:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 3

Jesse

Again, financial details of the proposal have yet to be released.  I’ll hold my judgement for it until then.

March 5, 2015 at 12:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 1

JDHasty

Without an accurate current pavement assessment there can be no work plan.  Without a work plan there is nothing to consider.

March 5, 2015 at 12:36 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

5 | 2

Jesse

Without money, there is no need for a current pavenent assessment.  Chicken or egg anyone?

March 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 1

JDHasty

Without a current pavement assessment there is no estimate of the revenues needed to address the problem.

March 5, 2015 at 2:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 3

JDHasty

They funded this: http://www.exit133.com/articles/view/draft-transportation-master-plan-ready-for-more-public-input

Does this mean they have funding to implement it?  Hell no.  And what is more, funding this is what the Mayor was after when she went looking for a half-billion bucks in new revenues.

March 16, 2015 at 8:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Xeno

Well the ideas were sort of discussed earlier.  This secondary posting by Exit133 attracts the long term trolls that have been spouting the same things since Prop 1.  The Mayor is an easy target and probably none of the people here sit on a City Commission or go to City Council to actually voice their opinions.  Unilateral dissention is easy.  Tacoma is full of arm chair critics and conspiracy theorists and unfortunately they’ve been attracted to this site.  The New Takhoman hasn’t been updated in months and those people are unfortunately spilling over here more frequently.

March 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 1

JDHasty

Does the City of Tacoma have a recent pavement assessment or does it not?  If not, exactly how does the dollar amount the Mayor is asking for relate to valid need?  Is the Mayor asking for unconstrained dollars or is the Mayor asking for dollars that are 100% legally constrained re: what they can be spent on? 

In Prop 1 the dollars were totally unconstrained and could be spent on any project that was tangentially related to transportation.  When called on this the City tried to hoodwink the public into accepting some nebulous language crafted by the City Attorney as placing legally binding constraints on the money.  I cannot read the Mayor, Public Works Director and City Council’s minds, but their past actions certainly do infer many things. 

Unfortunately for the cause of those freeloading tax dodgers in their tax abated condo the gold rush is over and the bum’s rush is about to begin.  There is a crisis in Tacoma.  Everyone agrees on that.  The difference is that those who live outside of downtown see our existing pavement infrastructure crumbling from beneath us as a crisis and those who live in the downtown redevelopment zone recognize as a crisis the fact that Tacoma is tapped out, there is no longer any source of dollars that can be tapped to continue pouring money into funding discretionary capital projects. 

March 5, 2015 at 2:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 3

Xeno

I know the City wants to do a pavement assessment that is current, but it is unfunded.  Would such a proposal include your pavement assessment?  All signs point to yes.

March 5, 2015 at 3:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 1

JDHasty

You know that.  Really? 

When has “the City”  ever wanted for anything that has gone unfunded?

Without a pavement assessment there is no report, and without a report there is no work plan.  Without a work plan there is nothing to vote on. 

It really is as simple as that.

March 6, 2015 at 6:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 3

JDHasty

To the best of my knowledge Measurement Research Corp did the last City of Tacoma pavement analysis.  Included in the deliverable was this:
RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Objectives…....................................................................................................................... 
Analysis of Alternative Annual MR&R Budgets and Repair Strategies…................................
Recommendations .............................................................................................................. 
Discussion of Results ............................................

If not MRC, whoever did it they included this discussion.  This discussion is meaningless without a comprehensive pavement assessment to base it on.  Included under the heading Analysis of Alternative Annual MR&R Budgets and Repair Strategies would be a scenario that gives a projected Overall Condition Index at future time frames.  This is what I suspect Tacoma used to come up with their latest pavement rating numbers. 

There is a huge problem with doing things that way:  pavement in well maintained condition follows a predictable curve for a few years but once allowed to deteriorate it becomes very much less predictable.  Like I said earlier, one cement mixer or other heavy vehicle that places heavy point loads can make a huge difference on marginal pavement and combine a lack of maintenance with damage that allows water to penetrate to the sub base and a stretch of roadway that was in good condition can deteriorate all the way to poor in a single year. 

Basically, Tacoma has absolutely no data to quantify the extent of the damage and therefore has no idea of what it will take to deliberately and systematically achieve any goal.  The City is totally unable at this point to budget how much of each year’s requested $50M towards preservation and maintaining existing and how much to budget toward rebuilding failed streets.

The City doesn’t have the slightest clue whether $500M is even in the ball park.  No one in the world could come up with any meaningful number without current data to base their estimate on. 

To say that the City could not find funds to do a pavement assessment when they have found funds for every conceivable study is laughable.  Actually, ludicrous would be a better word to describe it as, laughable implies that their is some humor to be found here and I can assure you there is not a damn thing that is one bit funny about either the situation our pavement is in or in the Mayor’s proposal. 

 

 

March 5, 2015 at 6:42 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

6 | 3

Terry

Yeah, sometimes I get the feeling that the Mayor and the City already have a plan for the whole *fix the roads* project and are just stalling trying to come up with a sales pitch to dupe the voters. What streets are going be be fixed? How much is it going to cost? Where is the money going to come from? If the City has no answers, why are we even talking about this?

I hate these sales pitches with no details. And no matter what the details are, I doubt is has any chance of passing anyhow.

March 6, 2015 at 9:40 am / Reply / Quote and reply

4 | 0

JDHasty

Terry,

It is more of a scheme than a plan.  It is a scheme to set up the mother of all slush-funds. 

The very first step, even before going looking for funding, is to have a Comprehensive Pavement Assessment and Ten-Year Maintenance and Rehabilitation Plan done.  The Ten-Year Maintenance and Rehabilitation Plan part is what the Mayor is asking taxpayers to fund, but it does not exist. 

When this document was requested during the Prop 1 campaign, Mike Gent and Kurtis Kingsolver both promised that this was being done and would be delivered in 2014. 

I am really not inclined to be the least bit sympathetic to any excuses, there are none.  The City of Tacoma has received far more than enough from either our share of State Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax or from the recently enacted twenty-dollar car tabs to have funded a Comprehensive Pavement Assessment and Ten-Year Maintenance and Rehabilitation Plan. 

This really isn’t rocket science. 

Taxpayers are being asked to fork over a half-BILLION dollars without the person making the request having even fundamental knowledge of what it will be spent on.  Really, this does shed a lot of light on how far out of touch with reality the Mayor is:  “Streets rated “fair” will get chip seal and surface treatments.” 

Chip seals:
When NOT to Use!
-  Structurally deficient pavements
-  Cracks >1/4 in width unless sealed
-  Large number of potholes
-  Rutting >1/2 in
-  Ride quality needs significant improvement

The emphasis is in the original and this admonition was cut and pasted right off the Asphalt Institute webpage.  It is repeated on practically every State DOT webpage as well. 

Terry, what if your home suffered a water damage incident that ruined not only the hardwood and underlayment but the particle board sub-floor as well.  Suppose that while you are living in a motel your insurance adjuster, instead of paying someone to actually repair the damage, “fixed” the problem but instead of removing and replacing the sub-floor he paid them to take down the high spots and then cover it up with new underlayment and hardwood?  That is what chip seal or surface treatment applied to a street in “fair” condition represents.  The former will look good, but will only last until the unscrupulous adjuster skips town, that is what it is intended to do.  In the case of the latter it will look good to the unsuspecting public, but will only last until the current crop of unscrupulous politicians are out of office, that is what thin coating a street in poor condition is intended to do.

March 6, 2015 at 12:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 3

JDHasty

I meant to say: that is what thin coating a street in fair condition is intended to do

March 6, 2015 at 12:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 3

JDHasty

We have to pass it, before we know what is in it? No sir, that simply is not going to fly. 

I am going to say unequivocally that we have to pass a vote on a package that will address this pavement issue.  Hopefully that will put to rest the spurious claims which have been brought up in the last two campaigns and keep the argument that I am “anti-tax” off the table.

In praise of everyone who has chosen to argue this issue with me this time around, that canard has not been brought up.

I understand the gravity of the situation, perhaps better than 99+% of the population.  I also have an understanding of exactly what the work plan entails.  What I have no clue about is the extent of the deterioration, in dollar value, and anybody who tells you they do is blowing smoke up your skirt.  Nobody, and I mean NOBODY can even provide a ballpark figure without a comprehensive pavement assessment and ten year MR&R plan.

I am also going to say that our current Public Works Director is not the right man for the job.  He has absolutely NO experience in what a major pavement restoration, preservation and maintenance program entails and what is more has shown an cavalier attitude toward the value of preservation, and maintenance of our existing infrastructure that is shortsighted and reckless in the extreme.

I know pretty well what needs to be done and know what the work plan will look like once we have a work plan.  What I cannot help you out with is the specifics. 

I keep going back to the pavement assessment and report that is derived from the data.  That is where we must start, BEFORE we even discuss funding options in any way.  This is going to allow us to define our objective and then give us an outline of how we are going to achieve that objective. 

The report we receive will give us a number of multi-year pavement maintenance, rehabilitation and reconstruction (MR&R) plans to consider and chose between.  Each will have as a goal an overall condition index (OCI) rating associated with it at the end of the plan’s term.  Some may have multiple OCI ratings associated with different classes of roadway.  That is OK to consider as well, they will prefer a higher post plan rating for different classes of roadway.  Some will prefer certain classes of roadway be “front loaded” in the time line and others may not.  We probably would want to consider those in order that our arterial and collector network be given preference over residential streets.  Think about it and this makes sense, if drivers prefer arterials and collectors it means less traffic on your residential street and furthermore the cost to rebuild an arterial is astronomical.

So let’s say that at the end of the plan we have a target OCI of 80 for arterials and 60 for residential streets.  That may be better for Tacoman’s than having a target OCI of 65 citywide.  I am just throwing these numbers out for the sake of discussion and let me make one thing clear this could be what you experience when you drive the streets of Bellevue.  Bellevue’s arterials are in great shape and most of their residential streets are in good shape.  Something many, if not most, Tacoma residents would be thrilled to have in front of their homes.   

So can you agree with me that having a realistic work plan to reach a clearly defined cost estimate and objective is job one?  If not, then don’t just give me a thumbs down - articulate on why you disagree with me. 

Once that has been achieved then, and not before then, we can consider a “funding mechanism.”  I have come out and said that the $500M cost impresses me as high, but this was based on a crude calculation I did that multiplied lane miles based on the cost of full depth structural overlay as reported to CRAB in 2009.  I may be way of and the actual cost of achieving our target OCI rating or ratings may be higher than $500M.  If that is the case then what?  Do we settle for less or do we consider a fifteen year work plan and put that to a vote?  I want to vote yes on a plan that has as it’s objective a clearly defined goal and not some nebulous conceptual vision such as the mayor presented.  I simply will vote hell no on a vision without a clearly defined goal that has a deliberate and systematic work plan to achieve that goal.  I want these monies to be 100% LEGALLY constrained and targeted in a way that no other revenues Tacoma has ever seen have or I will actively oppose any vote.  That is where I stand.         

 

March 6, 2015 at 9:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 2

JDHasty

What always comes up is:  you are just a curmudgeon and you have no plan.  If you don’t support the Mayor’s plan, let’s hear your plan.

You have heard my plan, such as it is.  I have nothing to base any further plan on until I know the extent of the deterioration and what it will cost to address that and a number of options of what our goal could be based on various levels of funding over various numbers of years.  My plan is to figure out where we stand and then consider where various levels of funding will put us in future years.  Is that fair?  Can you at least allow me the courtesy to consider a valid professional opinion of what my dollars will be spent on before I am asked to vote to take money out of my family’s budget and spend them?

I can be impertinent, don’t take it personal.  I can also be condescending, don’t take that personal either.  I argue my point in a style that humors me, but that does not mean I am not being serious or taking you seriously.  My objective is to get you to box me in with fact that I have to think about in order to respond.  If I am provoked I can give back as well as I get though.  If I don’t think you are as serious about the subject as I am I also tend to be the provocateur.  Don’t take that personal.  Just box me in, if you can, and give me something of substance to consider.

I keep saying that I cannot read other person’s mind, but their actions certainly do infer certain things.  Looking at the situation we are in today (imminent financial ruin), no one can say with a straight face that our incoming transportation revenues have been programmed and budgeted responsibly.  Imminent financial ruin is a real concern today and don’t let anyone tell you different.  The deterioration of our pavement is increasing in dollar value at a rate that is more that doubling every year now.  This is also impacting the utilities buried beneath our streets at an alarming rate.  This is a crisis.  To use the vernacular we are past being on a sustainable trajectory.  Crisis is upon us and the one good that came from the Mayor’s $50/head speech is that it opened a dialog. 

I have chosen this forum to have a meaningful dialog in and some see that as “trolling.”  Ask yourself this question: do you want to have a meaningful dialog with a person with the education and experience to add insight and knowledge that will result in a proposition that can be put on the ballot and pass or do you prefer to waste your time discussing hypotheticals in an echo chamber?

I am going to be blunt.  Any Mayor who was sent out in front of the public, that could include even a single person with the specific knowledge to discredit her proposition (chip sealing roadway in fair condition when our own State DOT says chip seal is NOT [emphasis theirs] applicable to asphalt roadway in fair condition) , by a City staffer has been set up. 

I am a known commodity and that staffer had to have prior knowledge that I would deconstruct every word in every sentence she uttered on this subject and respond to it in a public forum.  This leads me to believe that the crisis is even worse that we are being told.  It leads me to believe that there is chaos within the Public Works hierarchy. 

What else could possibly induce a Director to send the most public official in the City out to stand behind a microphone with her “skirt down around her ankles?”  Tell me if you have any other explanation. 

What we are witnessing impresses me as a “melt down,” a “train wreck in slow motion,” within the Public Works department, and the City had better get a handle on that as well. 

       

March 6, 2015 at 10:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 4

JDHasty

What always comes up is:  you are just a curmudgeon and you have no plan.  If you don’t support the Mayor’s plan, let’s hear your plan.

You have heard my plan, such as it is.  I have nothing to base any further plan on until I know the extent of the deterioration and what it will cost to address that and a number of options of what our goal could be based on various levels of funding over various numbers of years.  My plan is to figure out where we stand and then consider where various levels of funding will put us in future years.  Is that fair?  Can you at least allow me the courtesy to consider a valid professional opinion of what my dollars will be spent on before I am asked to vote to take money out of my family’s budget and spend them?

I can be impertinent, don’t take it personal.  I can also be condescending, don’t take that personal either.  I argue my point in a style that humors me, but that does not mean I am not being serious or taking you seriously.  My objective is to get you to box me in with fact that I have to think about in order to respond.  If I am provoked I can give back as well as I get though.  If I don’t think you are as serious about the subject as I am I also tend to be the provocateur.  Don’t take that personal.  Just box me in, if you can, and give me something of substance to consider.

I keep saying that I cannot read other person’s mind, but their actions certainly do infer certain things.  Looking at the situation we are in today (imminent financial ruin), no one can say with a straight face that our incoming transportation revenues have been programmed and budgeted responsibly.  Imminent financial ruin is a real concern today and don’t let anyone tell you different.  The deterioration of our pavement is increasing in dollar value at a rate that is more that doubling every year now.  This is also impacting the utilities buried beneath our streets at an alarming rate.  This is a crisis.  To use the vernacular we are past being on a sustainable trajectory.  Crisis is upon us and the one good that came from the Mayor’s $50/head speech is that it opened a dialog. 

I have chosen this forum to have a meaningful dialog in and some see that as “trolling.”  Ask yourself this question: do you want to have a meaningful dialog with a person with the education and experience to add insight and knowledge that will result in a proposition that can be put on the ballot and pass or do you prefer to waste your time discussing hypotheticals in an echo chamber?

I am going to be blunt.  Any Mayor who was sent out in front of the public, that could include even a single person with the specific knowledge to discredit her proposition (chip sealing roadway in fair condition when our own State DOT says chip seal is NOT [emphasis theirs] applicable to asphalt roadway in fair condition) , by a City staffer has been set up. 

I am a known commodity and that staffer had to have prior knowledge that I would deconstruct every word in every sentence she uttered on this subject and respond to it in a public forum.  This leads me to believe that the crisis is even worse that we are being told.  It leads me to believe that there is chaos within the Public Works hierarchy. 

What else could possibly induce a Director to send the most public official in the City out to stand behind a microphone with her “skirt down around her ankles?”  Tell me if you have any other explanation. 

What we are witnessing impresses me as a “melt down,” a “train wreck in slow motion,” within the Public Works department, and the City had better get a handle on that as well.

March 6, 2015 at 10:52 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 3

Enough Already

tl;dr

March 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 0

JDHasty

OK silence.  So should we take from this that nobody should consider voting on an “open ended” funding proposition that has no objective target?  OK, I agree with that, but just to keep the dialog open…  what is your plan?  You are not comfortable defending the Mayor’s plan, that is fine with me, but do we just accept the status quo?  Put it out there. 

My plan is to commission a comprehensive pavement assessment and choose to put one of the recommendations up to a vote.  If you have a better suggestion, let’s kick it around.  It is obvious that you are not interested in considering what I suggest as reasonable.

Let’s consider your suggestion, or if you think the Mayor’s plan is great - let us hear how it will lead us to a defined objective. 

Or just sit down and shut up.

Those really are your only options if you want to participate in a discussion on this topic.

March 7, 2015 at 11:56 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 1

thackerspeedRegistered

JDHasty, your explanation of the situation is informative and persuasive. The scale and degree of roadwork needed forces the question: How much manpower is needed?

The infotainment offered from this media event is that the effect of Tacoma’s bureaucratic continuity sometimes results in government make-work programs. Is the Mayor asking the community to pay for a legacy project?

 

 

March 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

I answered you below instead of hitting reply

March 9, 2015 at 3:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 1

Xeno

While there is no real plan that has been presented thus far I’d anticipate this to be structured like a local improvement district tax levy, exactly what every other city in the state can authorize under thier taxation rules.  I don’t think you’re going to get reports and assessments that are binding to the referendum.  Those are the simple practicalities of what you can and can’t get away with on a referendum.  Tim Eyeman learned this the hard way.  I’m not saying I’m happy with that, but that’s the law. It will be as specific as Prop 1 with a different funding mechanisim.  You’re voting for taxes to be dropped into the Public Works budget, not a Transportation Reauthorization Bill.  No referendum can circumvent the transportation element and city TIP public process anyways.

March 9, 2015 at 2:07 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 1

JDHasty

The hell it cannot.  The State can go pound sand.  We can structure the vote any way we please, it is our money.  Unlike our money that has gone to Olympia or Washington DC and then come back with conditions placed on it it is for what we say it’s for.

March 9, 2015 at 2:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 2

JDHasty

“It will be as specific as Prop 1 with a different funding mechanism.”

Then nobody in their right mind should even consider it.  There are restrictions as to what can be put to a vote, but there is absolutely anything that says new monies have to “be dropped into the Public Works budget.”  If that were the case, I would say: then abolish the Public Works Department all together and contract our management of what is left of our existing infrastructure to private entities to maintain.  But that is not the case, and in saying that it does not mean that I have a bad word to say about the men and women who work among the rank and file in our Public Works Department.  They have done more with less than most people will ever be asked to do.  There is a leadership crisis in that department though and those in charge today will never be given a vote of confidence from me and allowed to get their hands on any new revenues.

March 9, 2015 at 3:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 2

Xeno

Then you’ll never be in favor of any initiative that appears on the ballot because thems the rules as per RCW limitations on City taxing authority and through the prevailing ordinances governed by the City Charter on initiatives.  Can’t just say on an initiative, we’ll we all voted in favor to completely suspend all of our existing laws & rules and fiat a plan to protect us from our own elected official’s greedy discretionary spending hand.  People like to think they can do whatever they want in a referendum, but they can’t.  It will be an ask for some mechanism for taxing authority in less than 75 words.  Those are the facts.  Don’t wish for a unicorn of a plan from the City in which it cannot legally deliver.

March 10, 2015 at 5:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

Nice try, but no cigar.  There can be a ballot initiative to implement a tax for a targeted purpose.  This money can be 100% legally constrained for use for a specific purpose.

March 10, 2015 at 6:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

Xeno

Yes it can, but only in 75 words on the ballot.  Nothing will be constrained to a plan you’d want the City to deliver on.  There will be no transportation bill/funded projects plan like you desire.

March 11, 2015 at 10:03 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

The money can absolutely be 100% constrained.  It also must be so constrained or the voters will never pass a tax measure.

This was never anything but a money grab on the part of Trickland and associates.  The sad thing is that while there is a real crisis here regarding our existing pavement infrastructure the “crisis” that Trickland is reacting to is that there is no longer any funding for pet projects. 

This move has been being bandied about at City Hall and it has been all about dressing up any new funding mechanism to look like it is dedicated to pavement maintenance, restoration and rehabilitation but leaving it available for any purpose the Council wants to spend it on.

March 12, 2015 at 5:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

The more I consider a request for $500M with absolutely no appreciation for the magnitude of even knowing what she is asking for money for…. the more it leaves me shaking my head in disbelief that anyone could be so brazen.

It had to be a trial balloon sent up just to see if the City might be able to bamboozle a voting majority into setting up a half-billion dollar slush fund. 

The pavement assessment and other preliminary work needed just to get to the point at which we have The Ten-Year Maintenance and Rehabilitation Plans to consider is mind boggling.  We will not, simply cannot be prepared to go to the voters this fall.  There just are not enough hours in a day and what is more there are not going to be meany consulting firms that are capable of dealing with a mess such as we live in and making heads and tails of the situation.

We have no reliable data and even after we have an assessment done we will only have a single set of points and will have to use theoretical curves instead of deterioration curves to project future deterioration from.  We have to be cognizant of that because just because we have decided to actually start rebuilding streets and restoring others the deterioration will continue on.  When we are presented withe MR&R Plans to consider and choose from they will have to have taken this into consideration, as well.

If I had to guess, I would put our OCI at something like 30.  What the Mayor was proposing i.e. chip sealing pavement that was in fair condition, would have meant that at the end of the period and after a half-billion dollars had been spent all of those roadways would have had an OCI <30 except those of them that had just received thin surface treatment at the very end of this project.  If you notice, the promise she was making was not that every street in Tacoma would be in better condition at the end of the effort, she only said every street would be touched. 

March 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

3 | 2

thackerspeedRegistered

“...there are not going to be meany consulting firms that are capable of dealing with a mess such as we live in and making heads and tails of the situation.”—JDHasty

The realm of alternative progressive politics is essentially traditional liberal orthodoxy with an ever-changing twist on the practice of identity politics—-the practice of organizing coalitions to compete for public resources and influence public policy.

Here in Tacoma, we are now again experiencing the discriminatory effects of radical politics; and we may never figure out the starting point or which Mayor’s “kitchen cabinet” of informal advisors assisted in the development of a roadwork public policy based on the principle of delayed gratification.

March 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 3

JDHasty

What we are dealing with are totally dysfunctional people in charge of programming and budgeting our transportation revenues.  They are no more trustworthy than gambling addicts and no one in their right mind would even considering handing a gambling addict relative $25,000 so that they could check themselves into a treatment center.  That would be no more rational than handing a cocaine addict $25,000 so that tomorrow they could check themselves into a treatment center,

Even in a vacuum it would not be prudent to trust these people who have been in charge or out City’s transportation revenues a half-billion dollars.  This is not a knowledge vacuum, we know precisely how we got to the point at which bankruptcy is a genuine concern and we know who is responsible for the malfeasance, if not outright graft.

March 9, 2015 at 8:46 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

2 | 1

thackerspeedRegistered

The administration(s) in question may have some of idea of how finance and markets relate to social justice. The key organizing principle for this administration, “cooperative values replace competitive values,” was noted by the Mayor directly as “put the greater good of the entire community ahead of our individual needs.” (minute 20:55 in the video).

A community is composed of many sectors, public and private. So which sectors in the entire community does the current administration favor to receive any inflow of cash? Watch the video. As the SOC2015 video shows, there is no opportunity gap for any citizen to contribute, no barriers to donate schoolchildren’s lunch money, and no limit to the amount of cash requested to finance this administrations’ version of social justice. One just needs to believe that government, as an object of loyalty, should replace the individual/family as the foundation of society.

I proposed earlier that the complex subject of roadwork public policy in Tacoma was based on the principle of delayed gratification. When the day of final justice arrives, when the check for $500 million dollars arrives at the doorstep of City Hall and the T.V. Tacoma cameras are poised to record the moment when the Mayor opens the front door, who ultimately will benefit from the citizen’s sacrifices?

 

March 9, 2015 at 11:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 1

JDHasty

Well according to the City of Tacoma Draft Transportation Master Plan

http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/PublicWorks/Engineering/TMP/Chapter_5.pdf

Tacoma is taking in more than enough “new revenue” to implement the Mayor’s proposal.  So why are politicians and appointed officials not spending this money on what residents identified as their #1 concern when they were polled in the lead up to the Prop 1 campaign?  I’ll tell you why, it is because these people have nothing but contempt for the people they are extracting these revenues from.  It’s on page 116 in case you want to validate this for yourself. 

ANNUAL AVERAGE AMOUNTS FROM EXISTING
REVENUE SOURCES

I. Transportation Benefit
District $ 62

March 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

0 | 0

JDHasty

That is in Million$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$  Sixty-two Million dollars in new revenue Annually and the Mayor has the unmitigated gall….

March 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

1 | 0

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