Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: tacoma public utilities

April
17th

TACOMA: Keep Click and upgrade service

I am a software engineer who relies on reliable internet for my work. Having recently moved back to Tacoma from Bellevue, I was really looking forward to returning to the Click network. But now Tacoma Public Utilities is considering leasing that unique asset right from under us.

Wave Broadband obviously wants to capture the long-term value of the fiber-optic system that was bought and paid for by the people of Tacoma.  And why shouldn’t they?  As Amazon and the tech sector continue to grow and as prices climb in King County, Tacoma’s investment in Click creates fertile ground for tech startups and branch

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April
13th

TACOMA: Maybe TPU is Click’s problem

Re: “Future of Click worthy of wider, more civil discussion” (Matt Driscoll column, 4-12).

In 1997, Tacoma created the Click network, a public service offering both Internet and cable, because we were tired of inferior service from a for-profit cable company. It was a good idea then, and it’s a good idea now.

Having laid miles of fiber-optic cable, our investment has paid off, and many Comcast customers desperately wish they get could get Click. So why is current Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) management trying to privatize our Click network?

For one, it is easier to manage electric and water delivery that

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April
13th

TACOMA: Keep Click for the public good

We, the residents of Tacoma, have an opportunity for a new direction with our own Click network: Let’s provide free basic cable Internet service to all Tacoma Public Utilities customers.

We already have the infrastructure, so what’s stopping us?  We can be the most connected city, the City of Destiny.

Let’s return to free TV. Why are Click customers unnecessarily paying retransmission fees to broadcasters like KING, KIRO and KOMO?

Click can install locally produced antennas for customers at no charge if the broadcasters refuse to participate in a new free cable system. Or we can remove broadcasters from our basic package

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Oct.
29th

TACOMA: High-paid TPU managers need better oversight

Looking on the Tacoma Public Utilities website, “accountability” is one of its core values. So why then, are some TPU managers and corporate lobbyists so opposed to more transparency and subverting Tacoma Charter Amendment 6?

While watching city budget discussions, I was surprised to learn that TPU has nearly twice as many managers making six figures compared to other city departments. Our utility rates keep going up while the only people who seem to benefit are those at the top making $320,000 plus car allowances with huge contributions to their pensions.

Our elected officials should have the opportunity to weigh

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Feb.
19th

TACOMA: Resist putting utilities under council control

John Ladenburg (letter, 2-13) and Bill Baarsma (letter, 2-13) raised different criticisms of The News Tribune’s editorial, “Coming soon: Raid on Tacoma utilities” (2-11).

Ladenburg suggested that an autonomous utility is dangerous due to its history of expansionist policies and hiding issues from the Tacoma City Council.

During the energy crisis of 2000-2001, Tacoma Public Utilities needed to significantly raise rates to prevent insolvency. Under the city charter, rate increases proposed by the utility board need the approval of the City Council.

As a member of the City Council during that period, approving the 50 percent increase

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Feb.
12th

TACOMA: Charter review will be an open process

I was surprised and disappointed by the tone taken in the editorial concerning Tacoma’s mandated charter review process (TNT, 2-11). In point of fact, the Charter Review Committee has not yet taken formal testimony concerning the status of the city’s six utilities (the three under the independent board and the three within the general government).

Committee member Ken Miller and I met with Utilities Director Bill Gaines and his deputy, Bob Mack, at Gaines’ invitation and with the concurrence of the full committee. The four of us had a thoughtful two-hour conversation over the current and future state of

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Feb.
11th

TACOMA: Citizens need to control public utilities

Re: “Coming soon: Raid on Tacoma utilities” (editorial, 2-11).

The editorial supporting keeping Tacoma Public Utilities out of the control of the City Council is wrong.

First, the city was not saved by the Utility Board from the 2000-2001 utility crises, because the City Council has to approve the utility rates, which they did.

Second, you forget that the utility almost bankrupted Tacoma in the 1980s. Expansionist policies of the utility got us heavily involved in the Washington Public Power Supply System, later known as “Whoops.” This disaster involved our investment in nuclear power plants that were “badly needed.”

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Dec.
2nd

TACOMA: Consider divesting public utility

Re: “Panel draws dismal picture of Tacoma’s fiscal future” (TNT, 12-1).

One thing that was not mentioned in the article that could have a positive impact on the city’s budget and its overall operation is divestiture of its public utility. By divestiture, I mean spin Tacoma Public Utilities off as a public utility district (PUD), of which there are many in the state.

Granted, it would probably be the most controversial and difficult change that the city may ever face, but nevertheless, one that would resolve two longstanding issues and have a positive impact on the city’s finances.

As

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