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Tag: Lauren Walker


In a campaign surprise, Tacoma Councilwoman Lauren Walker announces for open 27th District state House seat

This is the seat being given up by Rep. Jeannie Darneille who is running for the state Senate. And until today we thought it would be a battle between Tacoma City Councilman Jake Fey and Tacoma architect Jim Merritt.

But second-term councilman Lauren Walker jumped into the race today.

Lauren Walker

“We’ve seen too many cuts to our K-12 schools, our universities, and our safety net while we’ve ignored tax breaks that have outlived their usefulness,” she said in a press release. “Frankly, it’s time for bold leadership and I’m excited to get down there and get it done.”

Fey lost the race for Pos. 1 against Laurie Jinkins two years ago and serves with Walker on the Tacoma council. Merritt lost the Tacoma mayor’s race in 2009. Darneille is giving up her House seat to seek the state Senate seat that will be open with the retirement of Sen. Debbie Regala.

Walker is the executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Washington, a job she’s held for 15 years. She is a northwest native and has lived in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood since 1990.

Here is the text of the release: Read more »


Tacoma City Council sets moratorium on marijuana dispensaries, collective gardens

Sellers of medical marijuana aren’t legal in Tacoma, city lawyers contend.

Today the City Council temporarily banned them anyway.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland said the six-month moratorium she proposed and the council unanimously approved is merely a prelude to future regulation that she hopes will license legitimate sellers and allow them to operate.

The moratorium bans dispensaries as well as the so-called collective gardens that were legalized by the Legislature this year. The gardens are forbidden whether or not they are connected to a business.

The ban probably won’t have much effect on the dozens of existing storefront medical-marijuana providers in Tacoma. That’s because the city is already going through the legal process of trying to shut them down — while allowing them to remain open as their appeals proceed and the council thinks about how to regulate them.

Those that might have to worry are new operations that are not already embroiled in legal appeals with the city, or people who are thinking about opening such a business.

“If you do, we’re going to shut you down,” Strickland said.

But while a shutdown might start with sending a letter, it’s not clear what happens after that. Would police raid the place? City Manager Rey Arellano said he and his staff hasn’t yet decided on an enforcement strategy.

The moratorium leaves it to Arellano to enforce the law — “in a manner that will continue to preserve legal access to medical cannabis for qualifying patients.”

That means in effect that the city won’t take any new enforcement action against existing businesses, city staff and council members said. Read more »


Tacoma councilwoman won’t say when she learned of cop’s delay of Amber Alert

As we’ve reported in recent days,  nearly every member of Tacoma’s 2009 City Council has told The News Tribune they do not recall ever being informed two years ago that an Amber Alert for Zina Linnik was delayed in 2007 because an officer awakened by a call requesting he send out the alert instead fell back to sleep.

Every council member, that is, except Lauren Walker, who had not responded to the newspaper’s requests for comment for several days.

I finally spoke with Walker yesterday afternoon and again today.  I will get to her response a bit later in this post.

First, a little context: The council members’ recollections are important because City Manager Eric Anderson has recently said that both he and the council first learned of the detail about Officer Mark Fulghum‘s sleep-induced delay during an executive session in the summer of 2009. The meeting was held to discuss a potential legal claim from Linnik’s family.

That closed-door meeting took place at least 20 months before anyone from the city publicly acknowledged the true reason for the Amber Alert’s delay.  For nearly the past four years until that recent acknowledgment, the only public reasons given by Police Chief Don Ramsdell and Fulghum have been that the alert wasn’t sent out for 12 hours because police had to gather more case details before sending it.

Only after the TNT reported details about Fulghum garnered from recently filed court records did city officials acknowledge the truth.  The revelation quickly led to an admission and apology from Ramsdell, and an about-face by Anderson, who — along with the support of the current city council — initially had said no further action needed to be taken.

A few days after the TNT requested Fulghum’s pay records for the day he delayed the alert — records that show Fulghum was on “standby” duty at the time — Anderson announced he had reprimanded Ramsdell, would investigate Fulghum and seek an outside probe of the entire Linnik investigation.

While telling the newspaper about the new course of actions last Friday, Anderson also said he first learned about Fulghum’s involvement in the delayed alert during the ’09 executive session with council members.

But later, when asked one-by-one, seven members of the 2009 council could not recall ever being made privy to those details about Fulghum during the meeting.  Those with no recollection included former members Julie Anderson, Bill Baarsma, Connie Ladenburg and Mike Lonergan, and current members Jake Fey, Spiro Manthou and Marilyn Strickland. An eighth member from the ’09 council, Rick Talbert, said he missed that particular executive session.

That left Walker as the only member who hadn’t responded.

Yesterday afternoon, when I asked Walker for her comment in person following the council’s Committee of the Whole meeting,  she read for me this brief prepared statement:
Read more »


Tacoma City Council: Walker last incumbent to file for re-election

Tacoma City Councilwoman Lauren Walker has registered as a candidate for this year’s election, becoming the last eligible council incumbent to formally file for re-election.

Walker, a first-term councilwoman who holds the Position 3 seat representing Central Tacoma, filed her candidate’s registration to the state’s Public Disclosure Commission on April 14. She has also set up a campaign website, though state campaign finance records show she has yet to raise any funds.

On her campaign website, Walker, who is now serving as the city’s deputy mayor, describes herself as a longtime housing and health care advocate who has

Read more »