Tacoma City Council Meeting - February 11, 2014

A motion was made and adopted to add a resolution relating to the distribution of those little orange bags of advertisements by The News Tribune. The addition of this item moved public comment on the issue from Citizens' Forum at the end of the meeting to Public Comment at the beginning.



Resolution No. 38840 A resolution authorizing the execution of an Interlocal Agreement with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, in the amount of $20,000, for supporting services related to the Tacoma School District No. 10 Truancy Initiative Program through March 31, 2014. [Kelly Crouch, Contract and Program Auditor; Tansy Hayward, Director, Neighborhood and Community Services]

Resolution No. 38841 A resolution accepting a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security, in the amount of $3,446,180; accepting and depositing said sum into the Fire Miscellaneous Special Revenue Fund, to pay the salary and benefit costs of 20 firefighters for two years. [Roger Edington, Assistant Chief; James Duggan, Chief, Tacoma Fire]

This resolution allows Tacoma Fire Department to accept a federal grant to hire frontline firefighters. Tacoma was previously awarded this grant in 2010 and 2011. The $1.5 million 2010 grant filled positions vacated by attrition, whereas the $7.7 million 2011 grant went to retain firefighter positions subject to layoff. This most recent grant will be more like the 2010 grant, in that it will go to hire new firefighters to fill positions vacated by attrition. The hires will still keep the department within the number of positions called for in the current biennium budget, only filling existing vacancies. If existing firefighters are laid off during the two year grant cycle, Tacoma would forfeit the entire grant.



Public comment this week was entirely dominated by citizen outrage over The News Tribune's distribution of advertising packets throughout Tacoma. The orange bags have been found on sidewalks, streets, and yards, in what one commenter called a "carpet bomb" delivery method. One of the main concerns expressed by the citizens who spoke was the impact of the bags on neighborhood liveability and safety, when they pile up in front of homes. One commenter cited Jane Jacobs "broken window" theory that blight and neglect encourage crime, and others pointed out that that the accumulation of the bags tell criminals where vacant homes are. The other main concern from commenters was the impact of the plastic bags on the environment; that when littered in the streets, the bags will ultimately find their way to the Puget Sound. Commenters asked that the TNT be held accountable to the same standards as other citizens, and be made to stop this "brazen act of corporate warfare on our neighborhoods." 




Resolution No. 38842 A resolution appointing City Council members to various national, state, regional, and local committees, boards, and commissions, including the Council’s six standing committees, for the year 2014. [Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

The appointments were made; thanks to all for serving.



Resolution No. 38843 A resolution awarding a contract to U.S. Bank National Association ND, as the service provider for the City of Tacoma’s VISA Procurement and ePayables Card Program, for an initial six-year term, plus the option to renew for one additional two-year term - Washington State WSCA Contract No. 00612. [JoAleen Ainslie, Procurement Card Program Manager; Kathy Katterhagen, Procurement and Payables Division Manager, Finance]

The resolution was adopted without comment.


Resolution No. 38844 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Inc., in the amount of $354,180, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $1,148,440, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, to increase the contract for additional consultant and design modification services during construction of the Dewatering Facility Upgrade Project - Specification No. CT12-0001F. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Science and Engineering Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

Councilmember Boe recused himself from discussion and voting on the item in order to avoid the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest. The resolution was adopted without further comment.



Resolution No. 38845 A resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement with Pierce Transit, in the amount of $397,804.32, budgeted from the General Fund, to purchase One Regional Card for All (ORCA) Business Cards as part of the City’s Commute Trip Reduction Program for 2014. [Joy. St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The City's commute trip reduction program provides access for City employees to transit in the region, including bus, light rail, vanshares, etc. Each participating employee signs a terms of use agreement, and receives the ORCA card for use commuting to and from work, and travelling to meetings and other work-related events around the region. The program began in 1996 as a way to conserve fuel, roads, and parking, and continues, with additional benefits to air quality and other environmental factors.


Resolution No. 38846 A resolution reconfirming the appointment of T.C. Broadnax as the City Manager and authorizing the execution of an employment agreement for the period of February 13, 2014, through February 12, 2016. [Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

In a recent review the City Manager performed well, receiving ratings of meeting or exceeding expectations, with particular high marks in areas of budget and finance, and engaging the community about priorities.


Resolution No. 38847 A resolution directing the City Manager to confer with all relevant City departments, and engage with the leadership of The News Tribune to address and seek resolution to the concerns expressed by the citizens of Tacoma regarding distribution of advertising circulars, and report back to the City Council on the status of such discussions.

This resolution was added to the agenda in response to citizen complaints about the TNT's distribution tactics. The advertising bundles in the orange plastic bags that have sparked so much antipathy in the community are intended to be delivered to residences of non-subscribers in areas targeted by advertisers, so not every neighborhood is getting them. Subscribers to the TNT get the same ads included with their delivered papers. 

The resolution directs the City Manager to work with the TNT to figure out a way that the bundles can land on porches or otherwise closer to the doorsteps for which it is intended. Mayor Strickland commented that she's sure there is a way to work with the newspaper to keep Tacoma safe, clean, and attractive, while allowing them to make business decisions to preserve a daily paper in Tacoma.

Councilmember Mello reiterated that he's sure The News Tribune wants to be a good community partner. Mello named three areas that need to be addressed: opt-out needs to work, papers showing up at vacant addresses need to be addressed, and the indiscriminate tossing of papers into gutters, lawns, sidewalks, etc needs to stop.

Councilmember Boe shared the opt-out option offered by the TNT: In theory non-subscribers can opt-out by emailing customerservice@thenewstribune.com or calling 800-289-8711.



Ordinance No. 28204 An ordinance amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation for the new classification of Electrician, represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 483, Tacoma Power Unit. [Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The ordinance would create a new negotiated classification, which Tacoma Water and Tacoma Power managers anticipate would allow work currently done by outside contractors to be brought in house, allowing for potential increased efficiencies. The ordinance is scheduled for a final vote next week.



With the addition of the TNT resolution to the regular agenda, comment on that was moved to the regular public comment period, so we only heard from a handful of commenters at Citizens' Forum. Our most regular recent commenter was back with his ongoing saga of complaint against various public officials and organizations...

A couple commenters from the Proctor neighborhood spoke on their concerns relating to the impact of the mixed-use development planned for 28th and Proctor. The concerns cited center around the size and density of the development, and its impact on traffic and parking in the neighborhood. Both commenters expressed concern that the six-story building would not fit with the character of the existing neighborhood, although it is zoned as a mixed-use center. Both requested a more extensive traffic study be performed.

Kristina Walker from Downtown on the Go spoke on behalf of that organization's Bike Committee and Velofemmes, thanking the Council for their continued support for multimodal transportation options that include bikes, and asking for their help in supporting the creation of bicycle infrastructure. Walker explained that Downtown On the Go has a goal of increasing the number of people riding their bikes (and not driving their cars), but that the safety of Tacoma's roadways for cyclists is a major obstacle. DOTG's goal is a modes 1% increase in the number of downtown commuters riding bikes this year. 



Councilmember Boe invited everyone to join in Winter Sing, a free event at King's Books from Puget Sound Revels this Wednesday, February 12, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The event will be family friendly, and open to everyone. Sound sheets and light beverages will be provided. Boe also reiterated the contact information for attempting to opt out of the TNT advertising packets: customerservice@thenewstribune.com or 800-289-8711.

Councilmember Ibsen thanked everyone for their support, saying that it's good to be back, although he wishes it was under better circumstances. Ibsen also shared that there will be a ribbon cutting for the new BECU location in his district. The branch formerly located at the Westgate Safeway will be moving to Highland Hills near 6th and Pearl, and reopening bigger and better than before.

Mayor Strickland reminded everyone of the special election on Tacoma Schools propositions 1 and 2 for the operations and maintenance, and technology improvements in Tacoma's schools, taking place yesterday, with polls set to close at 8 p.m. The Mayor also invited everyone to the Asia Pacific Cultural Center's new year's celebration this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Tacoma Dome. 


For more on the items on this week's agenda, see our City Business Preview for the week.

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Peter PeterRegistered

The TNT’s article  about the orange bags ends with the City Manager’s salary? How is that relevant? If that’s what they consider to be a serious look at the issue, the neighborhoods and city need to double down and go get them.

February 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

what about the issue of the bags being the same color as the broncos orange?  Why do you hate the people so much TNT?

February 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

Wow, that orange baggie “crisis” provided nice political cover for the council to move hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the city treasury.

Nicely done Tacoma activists!

February 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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