Tacoma City Council Meeting - October 14, 2014


October 16, 2014 was proclaimed as Conflict Resolution Day. The Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution has been mediating and settling a wide range of disputes for 20 years now. The Center has an 80% settlement rate, with a 90% self-compliance rate, saving jurisdictions and taxpayers money on disputes that otherwise would have gone to court. The Center celebrates its 20th anniversary with a breakfast this Thursday, October 16.



No comment.



A motion was considered and adopted, authorizing the City’s full and final settlement of all claims against the City by Ronald Nielsen, Claim No. 14804, upon payment by the City in the amount of $40,586.08.



Resolution No. 39027 A resolution awarding a contract to Polar Service Centers, in the amount of $284,488, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, to purchase one truck tank and tanker trailer to haul biosolids required to produce TAGRO products - Specification No. GF14-0372F. [Daniel C. Thompson, PhD, Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

Resolution No. 39028 A resolution awarding a contract to Right! Systems, Inc., in the amount of $367,176, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Information Systems Fund, to purchase data center equipment for connectivity to the City’s corporate network - Washington State Contract 01114. [Linda D. Trehuba, IT Supervisor; Jack Kelanic, Director, Information Technology]

Resolution No. 39029 A resolution awarding a contract to 3MD Inc. dba Denali Advanced Integration, in the amount of $2,210,803.60, including sales tax, plus a $50,000 contingency, for a cumulative amount of $2,260,803.60, budgeted from the Information Systems Fund, to purchase hardware, software, software licensing and professional services to implement a butt and converged infrastructure solution - Specification No. IT14-0402F. [Kipling Morris, IT Supervisor; Jack Kelanic, Director, Information Technology]

All three purchase resolutions were adopted without comment.



Ordinance No. 28246 An ordinance amending the Comprehensive Plan, as amended, by adding a new element to be known as the North Downtown Subarea Plan. [Ian Munce, Special Assistant to the Director; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services] 

Councilmember Boe thanked everyone involved in the process, both at the City and from the public. Up next for a subarea plan is the Tacoma Mall area. 


Ordinance No. 28247 An ordinance amending Chapter 13.06A of the Municipal Code, to adjust the boundary of the Reduced Parking Area in downtown Tacoma. [Ian Munce, Special Assistant to the Director; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

The ordinance was adopted without further comment.



This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the surplus and proposed conveyance of approximately 3.2 acres of property located on Hood Canal in Mason County to the Skokomish Tribe in exchange for perpetual hatchery rights.[Gloria Fletcher, Senior Real Estate Officer; Ted Coates, Power Superintendent] 

Tacoma Power has no foreseeable need for the property, which will be conveyed to the adjacent landowner, the Skokomish Tribe, in exchange for permission for Tacoma Power to operate its fish hatchery on a portion of Tribe lands. The tribe has agreed to the deal, and no one came forward to comment.


This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the surplus and negotiated sale of approximately 20 acres of real property located in the Green River Watershed to the United States of America, Army Corp of Engineers, for $142,300. [Gloria Fletcher, Senior Real Estate Officer; Linda McCrea, Water Superintendent]

The property has been permitted for use by the Corps for operation of the Howard Hansen Dam. Tacoma Water has no foreseeable use for the property, and no one came forward to comment on the sale.



This was a big night for public comment, and jobs were the hot topic, in one way or another.

A few commenters spoke regarding the City of Tacoma’s proposed deal with Yareton Investment for a new hotel project to support the Convention Center. Representatives of Pierce County Labor Council and others pushed for a “labor peace agreement” to be included in the terms of any sale and development agreement. Such an agreement, commenters said, would reduce the risk of labor issues, protecting the City’s investment in the project.

The largest showing by far came from supporters of the $15 an hour minimum wage movement. Nearly 30 individual speakers spoke in favor of the $15 now campaign. Comments focused on the impacts of higher and lower wages on individuals and families, with speakers calling on the Council to enact a higher minimum wage for moral and pragmatic reasons – because it’s the right thing to do for citizens of Tacoma, and because lower wage workers will put their money back into the local economy if they have it. No one should work full time and be in poverty, commenters said.

Several speakers also said that a higher minimum wage is the direction the city and the country are going, and that Tacoma should be on board. “It is easier to ride a horse in the direction it is going,” one commenter said, and described that direction as toward a $15 minimum wage.

One commenter drew a connection between the issues of a labor agreement for the new hotel and the push for a $15 minimum wage, pointing to a moral imperative for the City in both instances. When the City provides incentives to attract businesses, he said, it puts the City in an ethical position of establishing requirements to meet the public interest, in this case, that the jobs created meet basic standards of a living wage, and a right to organize. For workers without organized representation, he said, the basic standards still should apply, and the rest of us have the imperative to set standards to protect those people. As a society we have already set many standards that weren’t always in place – the eight hour work day, and prohibitions on child labor, to name a couple. We set these minimums as a recognition that there are certain standards which we as a society should uphold.

Several speakers also mentioned an exemption for small businesses and/or a tiered or phased-in approach to the increase. Based on the turnout and the passion in the room last night, we’re pretty sure you’ll be hearing more about this issue in the near future.

We also heard from two local lawyers arguing for caution in the proposal to bring a law school to UWT. Both pointed to the saturated market for lawyers, and challenges in finding employment, asking that if they City plans to invest $100,000 in the effort to bring the law school to Tacoma, that plans include a way to help prepare graduates for the tight job market.

A few of the comments were not jobs-related. One commenter asked the Council to continue to invest in bicycle infrastructure, and to set goals for decreased car trips in Tacoma. Three commenters spoke about a speeding problem on their street, expressing frustration that they had been unable to get sufficient help to curb the problem. Two other commenters, both of whom we’ve seen regularly at these forums, spoke, although we’re honestly not sure how to summarize the comments from either.



Councilmember Boe had several items to share.

  • The Tacoma Film Festival continues through this Thursday, with live action, documentary and animated short and feature films from the Pacific Northwest and all over the world. Details at TacomaFilmFestival.com.
  • Thursday, October 16, is free museum day at Museum of Glass, the Children’s Museum, Washington State History Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum.
  • Broadway Farmers’ Market continues on Thursdays through the end of the month.
  • Proctor Farmers market continues on Saturday mornings through December.
  • Tacoma Arts Month continues with tons of great events through October 31.
  • Metal Urge is a celebration of the metal arts at multiple locations, both traditional and non-traditional, including the Metal Urge Free Community Festival in Tollefson Plaza this Sunday, October 19, between noon and 3.

Councilmember Ibsen reminded us of a couple things happening this week.

  • This weekend is Zoo Boo at the Point Defiance Zoo. It’s a weekend of family-friendly, seasonal activities.
  • This is Domestic Violence Action Month with events going on around Tacoma and Pierce County to raise awareness and take action to end domestic violence. Learn more at www.ywcapiercecounty.org.

Mayor Strickland and Deputy Mayor Woodards were absent.


For more on the items on the agenda see our City Business Preview for the week.

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