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Birders spot politicos

Post by David Seago on Oct. 30, 2007 at 5:24 pm with No Comments »
October 30, 2007 5:24 pm

The Tahoma Audubon’s Early Bird Gets the Worm breakfast fundraiser this morning nearly drew a quorum of the Pierce County Council.

Council members Shawn Bunney, Dick Muri, Calvin Goings and Terry Lee were on hand. I didn’t spot any others, so it apparently wasn’t an illegal meeting. The environmental vote apparently counts for something around here. I don’t think the electeds came for the packets of bird seed and candy worms that graced the tables.

Update: Oops. Four members do count as a County Council quorum. I guess if the members all sat at separate tables they’re off the hook. I hope. (Ace TNT columnist Peter Callaghan further sets me straight about this; click “read more” to see his note).

Bunney informed me that the council will give the Pierce County Alliance a full hearing on its controversial Prometa drug treatment progam at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 14. Last week we citicized the council for yanking funding for the program without giving the Alliance a chance to defend it. (Editorial).

We expect to publish an oped piece from the alliance on Sunday. Reporters in the newsroom are taking a deeper look at the program’s disputed success rate but it won’t appear right away.

In other council news, Councilman Calvin Goings (D-Puyallup) showered praise on fellow Councilman Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom. Muri’s strong stand on a transfer of development rights (TDR) proposal resulted, Goings said, in 5-0 committee approval Monday.

Backers of the proposal, which would allow developers to buy development rights from farmland owners in return for greater project density elsewhere, told me Councilman Roger Bush groused about it but ended up voting for it.

The vote was a setback for the Master Builders Association of Pierce County, which recently began lobbying for a voluntary approach. Backers are optimistic but wary of potential weakening amendments when the measure hits the full council.

From newsroom columnist Peter Callaghan, former TNT political reporter:

It is a myth that the open meetings law considers a meeting to have occurred

anytime a majority is at the same event.

The statute (42.30.070) specifically says that a meeting occurs when

“action” is taken.

“It shall not be a violation of the requirements of this chapter for a

majority of the members of the governing body to travel together or gather

for purposes other than a regular meeting as these terms are used in this

chapter, PROVIDED, That they take no action as defined in this chapter.”

The AG’s written advice on this section says: “The OPMA expressly permits

the members of the governing body to travel together or engage in other

activity, such as attending social functions, so long as they do not take


Taking notice
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