What will we be talking about in 2014?

We know which stories were big in 2013, so now the question is: what will we be talking about in 2014?

A few stories we know will be talked about...

  • Monkeyshines - This is a given. We love Monkeyshines, and we love seeing what you all find, and 2014 will be no exception.
  • Charter Review - We've only just begun to hear about the charter review process. 15 citizens will make up this commission. Applications have been submitted, a list has been drawn up, and appointments to the committee are expected to be made next week. Then the real work begins...
  • City Budget - Discussions around the 2015-2016 biennium budget will get into full swing this year. Last time around there were tens of millions of dollars to be cut. This time the picture is slightly better. The Fiscal Sustainability Task Force has reviewed the City of Tacoma's financial situation, revenues, expenditures, etc; and come up with a list of recommendations for improving the City's finances. Those findings will be one part of the conversation.
  • Link Alternatives - It's only January 3, and already the discussion is heating up around choosing the specific streets for the future Tacoma Link light rail expansion from downtown to Stadium and Hilltop. Aside from a specific route, specific stops along the way, and the minor detail of funding the whole thing remain as questions. With that in mind, we're guessing this conversation will carry on for all of 2014 and beyond in some format.
  • Development - In 2013 we began to get the feeling that things were stirring again in the real estate market. Projects like Point Ruston started to see life, and new projects like The Proctor and The Henry came to our attention. Other properties have changed hands or at least been floated for proposals - the City owned blocks at 19th and Jefferson, the former MLKHDA property in Hilltop, the Tacoma Armory, and a significant chunk of the Stadium District, among others, all saw some action in 2013 that could lay groundwork for 2014 developments.
  • We also expect to see progress on a number of other projects, including the Tacoma Art Museum expansion, the Prairie Line Trail, the Hilltop Subarea Plan and EIS (formerly MLK Subarea Plan and EIS), and more.

We hope to hear more (good) news about financing allowing the McMenamins Elks project to move forward, and maybe some movement in the right direction on Old City Hall, but we're not holding our breath. And, of course, we're sure there will be a few surprises along the way. Then there's always the question of which new fast food restaurant will top the Chick-Fil-A and Sonic stories for the year...

Looking into your crystal ball, what do you see ahead for Tacoma in 2014?


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Comments

Fred Davie

What I see for 2014:

The city council will pay lip service to recommendations by both the City Manager and the Sustainability Task Force that spending be drawn down to pay for BASICS. Then they will begin funding pet projects and grants for non-profits just like before.

Here’s an example:

the council is getting ready to provide funding for a new state-of-the-art community center on the east side. This isn’t funding for a basic service, it’s just a feel good pet project.  Kids need something to keep them busy to be sure. Why can’t they crack open a book on introductory calculus and spend their time learning calculus? That wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. And it might provide an understanding of what it takes to get out of the intergenerational low income rut. Playing basketball…not so much.

January 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JDHasty

Last Summer and into the fall I attended north of a half-dozen public meetings in which the City Manager tied his credibility to Tacoma pursuing a new dynamic regarding how government in Tacoma prioritizes programming and budgeting of revenues. The City Manager even had a catchy little name for this, he called the City’s new direction Back To Basics.

Each and every one of the sitting Council members who attended this series of dog and pony shows sat in front of the City Manager grinning and nodding affirmatively at those who attended.

We are among the highest taxed residents of any jurisdiction in the State of Washington and don’t lose sight of the reason the City Manager was highlighting Back To Basics and Council members were nodding in approval: The City commissioned a poll and residents overwhelmingly told the people doing the polling that this is what they see as what should be the City of Tacoma’s highest priority.

It is obvious at this point that they were only mouthing these words because they thought saying them would help them to sell Prop 1 to voters. They were not serious about implementing what residents have called for and they were insincere when they payed lip service to “having listened to the public.” They were playing you for fools.

January 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Easterner

Fred,
Good idea, except the Library was CLOSED.
Money set aside for new Library - Moved to Hilltop
English as Second Language program - Moved to Hilltop
Boys And Girls Club - CLOSED/ kids bused to South Tacoma
Bose Family Investment Center - CLOSED
0 - number of higher learning campuses
0 - number of arts or cultural attractions
0 - number of Hospitals
1 - number of Starbucks ( highlight?)
McKinley Elemetary - CLOSED
Gault Middle School - CLOSED
Many Businesses- CLOSED
Rogers Elementary - SOLD
YMCA - To busy with projects 3 block from existing buildings
Parks - Far behind others in the City for amenties offered
Police services - CUT
Fire services - CUT
Bus services - CUT
Reliable Transit Access via LINK to Food, Jobs and Education: DENIED

I could go on, but you get the picture of the pure need for basic services that don’t exist on the Eastside.  I hope the City does invest in a community center on the Eastside and does not reapporiate the funds to another part of the City. Again.

January 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred Davie

Maybe you didn’t understand my comment. The city is BROKE and can’t afford to fund any new pet projects. The city manager and sustainability task force have recommended spending on BASICS ONLY.

January 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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RHTCCComedyfanRegistered

The city of Tacoma would have been fabulously rich if it had listened to the advise of Robert Hill and invested in Gold at the time no matter how nutty Robert Hill seems to appear to be.

January 5, 2014 at 12:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Easterner

Restoring the same basic services that others in the City have is not a ‘pet project’.

January 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

There is no community center in the north end. There is already a community center on the eastside. The side of town which DESERVES an investment is the north end.  I’m not advocating for a community center in the north end, I’m just providing a rebuttal to your argument.

January 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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JDHasty

Fred,
In the community he lives in my father and a few others had a vision of a new community center - my father went out into the community and solicited donations to fund the community center. He knocked on doors of individuals and businesses, they also held fund raisers and it took years of hard work but they funded the community center entirely through donations.
Tacoma is flat broke. There is no money for discretionary spending for the foreseeable future.

January 6, 2014 at 7:09 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Dan

I’d say you have a lot of good points.  No area is more lacking in basic services and investment than the East Side. 

The one area where I disagree with you is parks.  Stewart Heights has excellent amenities including an outdoor pool, which only two parks in Tacoma have.  McKinley park was refurbished a few years back by Metro Parks and the wetlands were recently improved by Sound Transit.  It has one of the City’s only off leash dog parks.  Another dog park is at Wapato Lake park which was recently refurbished and is quite beautiful.  Swan Creek Park has some of the best natural habitat in City limits, the only mountain bike course, and it is undergoing a master planned set of renovations valued at over $1million.  Portland Avenue park isn’t amazing, but it has more space than many parks in the north end: same with Lincoln. 

The East Side parks are the envy of the entire city.  Only the area on the doorstep of Point Defiance has it better.  If the underinvestment and poverty issues were not there, the East side would have a better quality of life than much of the North End due to the amazing open spaces you have.

January 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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PuyallupMomma

Monkeyshine!

January 6, 2014 at 10:42 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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