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Talk among yourselves: Will proposed new Pierce County Council lines give Tacoma control?

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on June 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm with 7 Comments »
June 30, 2011 2:23 pm

That’s been one of the threads in comments and in testimony before the Pierce County Districting Committee – since four of the seven districts have some Tacoma residents inside, that allows the city to dominate.

I asked Districting Master Steven Garrett for the numbers. Here are the Tacoma percentages in each of the districts in his final plan:

Distinct 7: 47,079 = 42.4%
District 6: 0
District 5: 61,521 = 54.3%
District 4: 72,667 = 65.6%
District 3: 0
District 2: 16,879 = 14.6%
District 1: 0

So, does that allow Tacoma residents to decide who wins in the 2nd, the 4th, the 5th and the 7th? Would that allow a city of just under 200,000 to control a county of just under 800,000?

Here’s what one commenter to the committee wrote: “A ‘Final’ Map has been submitted by the Master Mapmaker for filing. While closing the variances from MAP D, it still gerrymanders to give the Most Urban area of the County, City of Tacoma, parts of 4 Council Districts when they cannot fill two full districts. To accomplish the power grab they have now taken Suburban UP and Fircrest into District 4 which frees up urban Northwest Tacoma to be added to suburban and rural District 7.”

And one resident told the committee June 22 that the mayor of Tacoma would become the defacto county executive because her endorsement would be necessary to win the four districts with pieces of Tacoma.

Just to kick things off, I’m not sure a resident of Northeast Tacoma would ever win the Puyallup Valley dominated 2nd. And while a Tacoma person would have a chance in the new 7th, a Tacoma candidate never won the district in the 21 years Tacoma and Gig Harbor were linked. Each time ( Jake Bujacich, Paul Cyr, Karen Biskey) the candidate from the peninsula won.

The committee meets July 12 to decide whether to amend the plan, which takes four of five votes, or adopt in with three votes. If three votes can’t be found to pass it, it becomes law anyway.

For a closer look at the official Districting Committee map released this morning here’s a link to an image file.

Or you can click on the map below to enlarge…

Final Pierce County Redistricting Map
Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. Tacomalover says:

    I think Peter summed up the question – NO

    4 was always Tacoma and so the same is with 5. NE Tacoma is not even a concern. That person will come from Puyallup always.

    7 is the only fix. I call it a fix because 7 looks as it did for 21 years before the 2002 map.

    If you look at census data UP and Firecrest actually correlate in demographics, economics and other factors to the rest of 4th than it ever did or claimed it did with Gig Harbor.

  2. Tacoma_Bourne says:


  3. jimkingjr says:

    Wrong question. Should be “Will these final new Pierce County Council lines give Democrats control?” But any debate is academic- the fix is in, but was well-hidden until it was too late. Let’s watch for Garrett’s reward…

  4. The Clear View says:

    jimkingjr………….you are on target!! The result and numbers surely point to helping a “D”. 226,000 residents in the current two “safe” D seats for a 200,000 resident city–Tacoma……..but now maybe control on three or four seats. Well done Mr. Garrett. mission accomplished!!!!

  5. samanthamarten says:

    I am not sure if Tacoma has gained or lost political control. If you consider the recent Pierce Transit vote as an indicator it suggests a power shift away from Tacoma into the “burbs”.

  6. papasan says:

    Interesting that Dist. 7 is 47% Tacoma, but just try to get someone from Tacoma elected. I’m sick of being represented by someone from “the Harbor” than neither knows, nor cares about issues pertaining to my neighborhood. Just because it was run that way in the past, doesn’t mean that it was run EFFECTIVELY for North and West Tacomans.

  7. papasan says:

    I didn’t hear any of you “R”‘s out there voicing complaints when the Council was mostly your guys. What’s wrong, that shoe on the other foot getting a bit TIGHT??? Go join Sarah for a cuppa tea and quit gripping.

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