Political Buzz

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Category: Suburbs

April
25th

Supreme Court: Recall effort against Pacific mayor Cy Sun can proceed

The state Supreme Court, in an opinion issued this morning, has found that a recall effort against Pacific Mayor Cy Sun is legally sufficient to move ahead.

Donald Thomson filed a so-called “statement of charges” against Sun in August 2012. Thomson cited a number of instances of alleged misconduct he contends makes Sun unfit for office. King County Superior Court Judge Laura Inveen found two of those charges sufficient to be put before voters:

* That Sun used the city’s police department as his personal investigative force.

* That he jeopardized the city’s liability insurance coverage by not filling vacant department

Read more »

June
23rd

UPDATE: Pierce County districting committee – and council members – wait for THE map

All of the maps produced so far by Pierce County districting committee “master” Steven Garrett have been works in progress.

At least four times the geographer hired to produce new county council districts based on the 2010 Census has drawn maps that both redivide the county’s nearly 800,000 people and keep communities with common interests together. Each map in the sequence has been in response to concerns raised by the five-member committee or residents who attended a series of public hearings around the county.

But now, it’s for real. By June 28 Garrett must submit THE map. It is that map that triggers a two-week period in which the committee can amend it or approve it. But it takes four votes to amend it and three to approve it. If the committee does neither, the map is deemed approved and will govern county elections for the next decade – baring a successful legal challenge.

The committee isn’t scheduled to meet again until July 12, the evening before its deadline to act.

So what will that map look like? Based on Wednesday evening’s second-to-last meeting of the committee, that is the fundamental question. There was no consensus for changes so the final version may well look a lot like Garrett’s most-recent map – known as Map D. And if that is the case, then Republicans are likely to be unhappy with the final result.

Map D for Pierce County Districting

Two incumbent Republicans on the council are not in their current districts in Map D. Seventh District Councilmember Stan Flemming, who lives in University Place, would be in District 6 under the most-recent iteration. The Gig Harbor peninsula would once again become partnered with West and North Tacoma, a pairing that occurred after the seven-member council was created in 1981, after the first redistricting in 1982 and again after the 1990 Census. Read more »

June
21st

Pierce County districting links: maps, history and past blog posts

I write a bit today about the ongoing redistricting of Pierce County’s seven council districts (the charter uses the term “districting” even if it actually RE-districting).

Since the story is best told with maps, here is a link to the most-recent map as well as some previous versions.

Also, here are links to previous Political Buzz posts on the topic.

June 17 – Pierce Districting Committee gets Map D:

June 12 – Redistricting maps carve up Pierce County in different ways.

June 8 – Latest iteration of Pierce County district lines posted

May 27 –

Read more »

June
17th

Pierce Districting Committee gets Map D: Proposed 7th District puts much of Tacoma with Gig Harbor peninsula

Now it’s all about University Place.

The fourth formal iteration of new Pierce County council districts was presented Thursday night to the appointed Districting Committee. And depending on who was speaking, it is either the best plan presented so far or a shotgun marriage between urban and suburban areas.

Leading the opposition was Pierce County Councilman Stan Flemming who found out after he arrived at the Gig Harbor City Hall meeting that he would no longer live in his current district, No. 7.

“The map has been redesigned at the expense of the people of the 7th District,” Flemming told the committee. “This map addresses all of the concerns of the citizens of the other districts and has completely ignored the concerns of the people of the 7th District.”

Not only did Flemming object to U Place being in the 6th with Lakewood, he argued that Fircrest has nothing in common with Tacoma and should not be in 4th with South and east Tacoma.

Map D for Pierce County Districting

Steven Garrett, the geographer hired as the committee’s districting master, said he must include about 40,000 on the west side of the Narrows to make up a district. His choice is to go north into Tacoma or south into University Place. Since there is some precedent for the district to combine the peninsula with Tacoma and because that allowed the other fixes he was asked to make, he followed that path. Read more »

May
19th

Who are highest paid employees in Puyallup and Lakewood?

The latest 2010 updates in our SoundInfo searchable public employee pay databases are two mid-sized cities: Lakewood and Puyallup.

(Search data for Lakewood here.)
(Search data for Puyallup here.)

Some observations from a quick sort and averaging of the numbers.

In Lakewood:

• City Manager Andrew Neiditz was the top-paid employee at $164,491, followed by court security police Sgt. John Fraser at $160,178 and community police Sgt. Mark Eakes at $128,088.

• Sixteen out of the top 25 paid employees were in the police department, mostly officers and sergeants making over their base rate of pay. Six-figure pay for rank-and-file officers isn’t uncommon – we’re finding that local cities and counties routinely rely on overtime in their public safety operations.

• Forty-one out of 300-some employees in the database made $100,000 or more. (Thirty-one of those were in the police department.)

• City Council members were paid $8,400, while Mayor Doug Richardson received $10,800

• Average salaries for other job titles: police officer – all types ($88,215), office assistant ($30,252), human resources analyst ($65,253), maintenance worker II ($53,691), code enforcement officer ($56,333), senior planner ($75,934).

In Puyallup:

• The top paid employee was police patrol Sgt. Robert Thompson at $150,781, followed by City Manager Ralph Dannenberg at $150,153

• City Council members made $13,700 while Deputy Mayor Tamara Brouillet made $14,400 and Mayor Kathy Turner made $15,600.

• Pay for some other job titles: corrections officer ($64,526), court clerk ($48,328), fleet services mechanic 2 ($61,840), librarian 1 ($44,780), parks maintenance worker 2 ($52,958), police patrol officer ($95,398).

• Forty-two out of 300 some employees made $100,000 or more last year.

To see a list of the top paid employees for each city, read on.
Read more »

Nov.
2nd

Write-ins are off the charts in Roach-Richardson race

If you want a barometer for how voters feel about the choices given to them in a political race, look no further than the percentage of write-in votes.

By that measure, the Pam Roach v. Matt Richardson race for state Senate in East Pierce County is blowing the doors off the competition.

Five percent of people who cast votes in Senate District 21 wrote in somebody else’s name, based on early Pierce County returns. That’s 821 people.

It apparently won’t disrupt incumbent Roach’s march to another term. With 64 percent of the vote in her favor early Tuesday night, she

Read more »

Feb.
9th

Mute swan bills die quietly

A Gig Harbor homeowners association will have to keep waiting to replace a mute swan that used to live on its private lake.

A bill to ease restrictions on the trafficking of mute swans died in committee Friday, leaving members of the Sylvia Lake homeowners association in Gig Harbor with no legal way to buy a new bird.

Since 1991, the birds have been deemed “deleterious exotic wildlife” in Washington because wildlife officials say they can damage wetlands and become aggressive with people and animals.

Homeowners at Sylvia Lake kept two of the birds on their lake to ward off

Read more »

Jan.
29th

Ron Weigelt of Bonney Lake announces state Senate campaign in 31st District

Former Buckley city councilman Ron Weigelt said today he’ll run for the 31st District Senate seat now held by Pam Roach.

Weigelt, a Democrat, is a human resources manager for the Seattle and King County health department.

The Seattle native now lives in Bonney Lake with his wife Jane Barsi.

“Having been born and raised here in Washington, I have experienced and observed a great deal. I want to apply that knowledge and those experiences to face the future on our own terms: self-reliant, independent, and with optimism,” Weigelt said.

Weigelt spent 12 years in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of captain before leaving the service in 1992. He also has worked as a labor negotiator for King County and the Office and Professional Employees International Union.

Here’s his announcement statement: Read more »