The Tahoma Audubon Society hates the Cross Base HIghway. Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg is the highway’s biggest advocate.
They had a bitter fight about including it in the (ultimately doomed) Roads & Transit ballot package last fall. So why is the group giving Ladenburg a community service award at its annual banquet Feb. 22? Tahoma Audubon Executive Director Bryan Flint explains:
Thanks for asking. Despite our disagreements on the cross-base highway, our members feel that John Ladenburg is the most environmentally minded county executive Pierce County has had.
Some of the accomplishments include: purchasing of floodplain for salmon habitat and flood control, championing low impact development, a county wide tree protection ordinance, championing the bonding of conservation futures so that we could buy larger pieces of habitat, and pushing for farm protections. The executive was willing to stand up to the development community on key issues in the Directions package, that now does a better job of protecting streams, wetlands and natural areas.
When it came time to hire a new parks director, Ladenburg listened to our concerns and even let the conservation community interview the top candidates and give input. His ultimate decision replaced an all-ball-fields-all-the-time director with one who truly values the natural parks and their potential. Even his controversial golf course, if it pans out financially, will fund an environmental learning center.
We have not always agreed with the Executive but believe in giving credit where credit is dues and applaud the work he has done to protect the environment. At his inauguration speech to begin his second term over 50% of his speech was given to environmental accomplishments and goals for the future. I hope that his two terms will be seen for that important work. It truly is a legacy that can outlast any man-made accomplishments.