Tacoma City Council Meeting - January 7, 2014

Before the regular meeting, there was some business to take care of.


Joe Lopez was sworn in to take Anders Ibsen's place representing Council District 1 for up to one year by the City Clerk.

Joe Lonergan was sworn in by the clerk to another term representing Council District 5.

Robert Thoms was sworn in by Judge Stan Rumbaugh to his first full term representing Council District 2.

Victoria Woodards was sworn in to another term as At Large representative on the Council by “dad” and former Tacoma Mayor Harold Moss.

Judge Frank Cuthbertson swore in Marty Campbell to serve another term representing Council District 4, and Marilyn Strickland to another term as Mayor of Tacoma.

Welcome to the next four years (or one for Councilmember Lopez – at least for now…). Let's make it count.



Resolution No. 38815 A resolution approving the final plat for the “Hawks Pointe” project, an 8-lot residential subdivision located at 1418 East 64th Street.(Benjamin Ryan Communities; File No. PLT2013-40000203255). [Dustin Lawrence, Associate Planner; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]



Our only commenter this week was former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma, thanking the Council for the chance to serve (again) on the Charter Review Commission, and promising to work hard on the important work of refining Tacoma's governing document in the coming months.



Resolution No. 38811 A resolution electing Council Member Victoria Woodards as Deputy Mayor to serve a one-year term through December 31, 2014. [Mayor Strickland]

One more swearing in, and thanks to Councilmember Campbell for his service as Deputy Mayor in 2013. Deputy Mayor Woodards pointed out that for the first time in Tacoma's history we will see two African American women on the dais as Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Resolution No. 38812 A resolution appointing the following individuals to the 2014 Charter Review Committee to serve until such time as the final reports and recommendations are made on or prior to May 6, 2014: Bill Baarsma, Chair; Theresa Baker, Gary Brackett, Mabel Edmonds, Tim Farrell, Eric Hahn, Charles Horne, Justin Leighton, Mark Martinez, James Merritt, John Messina, Kenneth Miller, Patricia Talton, Catherine Ushka, and Justin Van Dyk. [Mayor Strickland and Council Member Lonergan]

There was broad interest in the commission, which will review, refine, and fine-tune the Charter of the City of Tacoma to make it the best possible document to govern the operations of the government of our city. The individuals being appointed come from all five districts and a variety of perspectives. Each councilmember nominated one individual, and the six remaining slots were filled from community applicants, selected out of an interview process.



Resolution No. 38813 A resolution awarding a contract to Specialized Pavement Marking, Inc., in the amount of $1,079,974.75, sales tax not applicable, plus a 15 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $1,241,970.96, budgeted from the Streets Special Revenue Fund, to improve signage and paint markings at various locations within the City - Specification No. PW13-0520F. [Chris Larson, P.E., Engineering Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E.,Director, Public Works Department]

The majority of the funding for this project comes from a state grant to improve the safety of streets and intersections in Tacoma. The intersections getting upgrades were selected based on a list of those ith the highest number of reported collisions. Up to 120 intersections, distributed across all five council districts, will get pavement markings and signage improvements. Pavement markings will include lane markings, turn arrows, stop bars, and crosswalks, but crosswalks will only be replaced where they already exist - no new crosswalks will be installed.



Resolution No. 38814 A resolution authorizing the execution of an agreement with the Tacoma-Pierce County Humane Society, in the amount of $429,450, budgeted from the General Fund, for animal shelter, licensing, and related services through December 31, 2014. [Shawn Gustason, Captain; Don Ramsdell, Chief, Tacoma Police Department]

This is the annual renewal of the City's contract with the Humane Society. The only real change here is that the price per animal increased slightly due to inflation, but the number of animals brought in to shelters decreased. That decrease suggests that efforts to reduce the number of strays in Tacoma are having an impact.

Resolution No. 38816 A resolution authorizing the execution of a five-year lease agreement with Western Washington Railroad, LLC, in the amount of $50,000 per year, for rail operations of approximately 20 miles of railroad right-of-way from Maytown in Thurston County to just south of Chehalis in Lewis County. [Dylan Harrison, Real Estate Officer; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works Department]

The five-year lease follows a trial lease that began in 2012, and comes with requirements that Western Washington Railroad maintain the 20 miles of rail and right-of-way and carry insurance.

Resolution No. 38817 A resolution authorizing the execution of a Collective Bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 483, Custodial and Building Maintenance Unit, which consists of approximately 29 budgeted, full-time positions assigned to General Government and Tacoma Public Utilities, retroactive to January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2015. [Mike Brock, Labor Negotiator; Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The resolution was adopted without Council comment.

A motion was made to add a new Resolution No. 38818 to the agenda. The new resolution covers a purchase and sale agreement and restrictive covenant relating to Swan Creek Library in the amount $120,000 to Advanced Technology Construction Co. for the operation of a licensed construction company business office.

The Swan Creek Library closed its doors back in 2011, and in 2012 the City issued the first RFP in what would be a protracted process of trying to sell the property. The first couple RFPs got no response, despite the lowering of the original $400,000 asking price. Finally a bidder came forward. That offer was accepted, but the bidder was unable to secure financing, and the property didn't sell. A new purchaser has been identified, offering $120,000 for the property, where they plan to operate an office for construction operations. Hopefully this one sticks.

ATC is a minority and veteran-owned construction company, with a high percentage of veterans among its 49 employees. The company does much of its work for the Navy, Coast Guard, and Department of Veteran Affairs. Of the $120,000 sale price, 5% will go back to the CDBG fund, and the broker will need to be reimbursed. The remaining sale proceeds of $106,800 will go back to the general fund. The Library board has requested that those funds go back to the maintenance of other library properties.



Ordinance No. 28196 An ordinance adopting the Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Improvement Program Amended 2013-2014 and 2015-2020. [Jennifer Kammerzell, Senior Engineer; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

The ordinance was adopted without further Council comment.



Ordinance No. 28197 An ordinance amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation for employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 483, Custodial and Building Maintenance Unit, which consists of approximately 29 budgeted, full-time positions; Tacoma Firefighters Union, Local 31, which consists of approximately 351 budgeted, full-time positions; and the United Transportation Union, Switch Crew Unit, which consists of approximately 32 budgeted, full-time positions, retroactive to January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014. [Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

This ordinance covers changes to pay and compensation for employees represented by three different unions, including the IBEW agreement from this week's resolution. The Tacoma Fire Department employee agreement was originally adopted in 2011, and the third agreement was originally adopted way back in 2005.


Ordinance No. 28198 An ordinance amending Chapter 2.02 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Building Code, by reenacting Section 2.02.1000, to be known and designated as “Earthquake Recording Instrumentation.” [Sue Coffman, Principal Engineer; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

In June of 2013 the section in question was inadvertently rescinded when building code amendments were being adopted. This ordinance will reinstate the section with no changes, allowing the City to spend the funds collected. The section dropped only affected expenditures, as collections of the fee in question are covered in another section. So money was coming in, but can't be spent until the section is reenacted.


Ordinance No. 28199 An ordinance amending the non-exclusive telecommunications franchise agreement granted to Zayo Group, LLC, by Ordinance No. 28124, dated January 29, 2013, to construct, operate, and repair a telecommunications system throughout the city; clarifying certain provisions, terms and conditions of the franchise, and making such grant apply to both underground and above-ground use of City right-of-way where applicable. [Jeff Lueders, Cable Communications and Franchise Services Manager; T.C. Broadnax, City Manager, City Manager’s Office]

This ordinance would amend the agreement with Zayo Group adopted last year. The original agreement only allowed for underground work, but it turns out that Zayo will need to place some structures above ground. While they were at it, the City clarified the defininition of "gross receipts" as it appears in the contract. Councilmember Lonergan asked staff to report back on whether the above-ground work will have any impact on traffic.




Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee – Councilmember Woodards reported on issues covered by the committee.

  • Heard an update from Tacoma Police Department on their recent accreditation, valid for 3 years
  • Also heard from TPD on the proposed contract with the Pierce County Humane Society adopted this evening
  • Received an update from Tacoma Fire Department on the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan approved at the December 17 Council meeting.

At its next meeting the committee will conduct interviews for the City's Human Rights and Human Svcs commissions. It will also hear and consider approval of the 2013 year end report and do planning work for 2014.

Mayor Strickland offered her congratulations to TPD on recently becoming the only certified Child Abduction Response Team in Washington, and one of only 19 certified nationally. Nice work TPD.

Councilmember Boe weighed in with words of either encouragement or warning for newly named Deputy Mayor Woodards. Either way, he shared some of the potential expectations of the job. When serving in the position of Deputy Mayor, Jake Fey was required to throw out the first pitch of a Tacoma Rainiers game in a season in which the Rainiers ultimately went to championships. As Deputy Mayor Lauren Walker took a stand on medical marijuana, and now look what's happened in our state. Joe Lonergan was called on to take a last minute "day trip" to China in his capacity as Deputy Mayor. Last but not least, Deputy Mayor Campbell threw down a challenge to a game of chess to the Seattle City Council - a challenge which they deferred, so it could still come back... Then there was the broomball championship win... So the bar is set pretty high. No pressure. And with that, Boe wished Woodards good luck, and presented her with a Deputy Mayor badge.

Councilmember Walker was absent from this week's meeting.

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

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Fred Davie

Library building estimated to be worth $400K is sold for $120K because the city decided to attach so many “progressive” conditions to the sale. That’s the destruction of capital to the tune of $280K. But the cavalier regard the council holds for the taxpayers is legendary and needs to be constantly reaffirmed so they were successful…in a sense. The city took a bath on the other library sale as well.

And what important social purpose was fulfilled? The business is owned by a minority and a veteran (it was reported) and a few of the workers are veterans.

January 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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“Of the $120,000 sale price, 5% will go back to the CDBG fund, and the broker will need to be reimbursed. The remaining sale proceeds of $106,800 will go back to the general fund. The Library board has requested that those funds go back to the maintenance of other library properties.”

Maybe some of the folks on the Library board assumed incorrectly that “pruning the branches would save the vine.”

January 9, 2014 at 9:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Was Walker anti-medical marijuana?

January 9, 2014 at 10:27 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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“Deputy Mayor Woodards pointed out that for the first time in Tacoma’s history we will see two African American women on the dais as Mayor and Deputy Mayor.”

The council voted unanimously that she said that.

January 9, 2014 at 1:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred Davie

Haha, good one thack. Maybe we’re the only ones to recognize that the Mayor is actually part Korean.

The incorrect racial description notwithstanding, the good citizens of Tacoma may be assured that even though this is the first time two completely or partially African American women have run the city council, there will be no interruption in the day-to-day city council exhibition of incompetence.

January 10, 2014 at 9:20 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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ding, ding, ding we have a winner!

January 10, 2014 at 10:40 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Although why must I even try to explain this to you I will anyways.  In America, mixed race African Americans are considered hypodescent from historical legislation and now the cultural norm.  While mixed race individuals like Native Americans were considered hyperdescent, in order to eliminate their recognition.  You may now take off your thinking cap and replace it with your tin foil one.


January 10, 2014 at 11:04 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred Davie

xeno, the historical perspective is that anyone with even a drop of African blood was considered a negro. American’s (in general) don’t ascribe to this belief any longer, but apparently it’s still important to you. So go ahead and call everybody who has a little African blood an African-American if that gives you some pleasure. But if you are going to race bait at least own it and don’t blame Wikipedia.

January 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Clearly I introduced this racebait.  Oh wait it was you!  But I laugh that you think that society is all kumbaya on race identity.  The Mayor is multi-ethnic and subscribes to multiple racial identities, which isn’t uncommon today, but people on the street would probably identify her as African America, the U.S. Census would identify her as such, if not multiple, ect.  But I knew I’d regret trying to educate the Tin Foil Hat Society, so that’s my fault.

January 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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In view of the new concentrated power comprised of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, what expectations should Tacoman’s have? I say that there’s a 50/50 chance that together they will fulfill their service to Tacoma according to the obligations of council duty.

We have heard from the City Attorney that a councilman has the legal right to take leave of absence beyond a year’s time for military service. There’s nothing to stop the Mayor or Deputy Mayor from leaving the council individually, or together, for service in the French Foreign Legion.

January 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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