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Tag: Tacoma Mayor


Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland: A budding TV star?

As I reported here last week, Tacoma’s new mayor, Marilyn Strickland, was in the nation’s capital last week to attend her first gathering of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Marilyn Strickland

Strickland was among about 200 head cheeses from cities across the nation to join in the group’s regular yearly trek to D.C., where she heard from a long list of illustrious speakers, including Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The highlight of the three-day conference was a trip to the White House, where President Barack Obama addressed all of the mayors about his administration’s plans to work collaboratively with American cities to stimulate the economy and create new jobs.

After meeting the president, a select group of prominent mayors headed to the White House lawn outside of the West Wing for a press conference, during which they made their case for cities getting a bigger cut of federal recovery dollars being distributed to the states.

Carried live on C-SPAN, the press conference featured such prominent mayors as Ray Nagin of New Orleans, Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter and Joseph Riley, the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina for 34 years.

Also seen in the group — none other than Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of the `City of Destiny’ for all of three weeks at the time.

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Tacoma Mayor in D.C. to meet with Obama, other top feds

In Washington DC this week for her first meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Marilyn Strickland will join nearly 200 other mayors of American cities in a meeting today with President Barack Obama.

Marilyn Strickland

“She has been invited to the White House, where the President and his Cabinet are going to speak with them,” Randy Lewis, the City of Tacoma’s government relations officer, told me in a phone call from Washington D.C. today. “All of the mayors who registered and showed up are going.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, a nonpartisan organization of chief elected officials for cities with populations more than 30,000, holds an Annual Meeting at a different U.S. city and a Winter Meeting at the nation’s capital each year.

As this year’s three-day winter conference was loaded with “high level speakers,” such as Michelle Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Lewis said, Strickland’s schedule in DC is focused on attending conference sessions. She didn’t have an opportunity during this trip to schedule meetings with members of Washington’s Congressional delegation, he said.

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Tonight on KBTC: Q & A with Tacoma’s mayor-elect

Weeks after a planned interview with her was abruptly canceled by the Tacoma public television station,  City Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland will be the featured guest tonight at 7:30 p.m. on KBTC’s new community issues show, Northwest Now.

David Hinman, the station’s general manager, will interview Strickland about her coming agenda for the city when she moves to the mayor’s office in January. The public is encouraged to call or email the show with any questions (phone: 253.680.7777;  email: Northwestnow@KBTC.org).

The KBTC interview tonight with Strickland comes after the station last month nixed a planned interview of Tacoma’s mayoral

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Tacoma mayor’s race: Strickland prepares agenda, Merritt prepares a new campaign

Even before this evening’s ballot counts showed Marilyn Strickland expanding her lead over Jim Merritt yet again (tonight she gained 10 votes, putting her up by 1,100), both candidates recently detailed to me their plans for the aftermath of what’s now Strickland’s inevitable victory.

Marilyn Strickland
Marilyn Strickland

Today, Strickland told me of an impressive priorities’ list she’ll take with her to the mayor’s office that includes a number of economic and education initiatives.

Among other things, Strickland said she’ll seek to reduce Tacoma’s B&O taxes; look to grow the city as a science-technology hub; enhance marketing of the city as an urban college town; and appoint a mayoral task force on education to seek ways to garner more public education dollars and improve student achievement in the classroom.

“I have big plans,” Strickland said.

Meanwhile, Merritt told me during a lengthy phone call on Sunday that while he hasn’t formally conceded the race, he is under no delusions that he’ll win.

(Merritt, by the way, said he doesn’t understand the concept of concessions. “I don’t understand conceding or not conceding,” he said. “If you count the votes and it seems like there’s absolutely no question, then it’s a done deal. But I like to play the game out. That’s my competitive nature.”)

Jim Merritt
Jim Merritt

While Merritt said he expects to congratulate Strickland in the coming days (Strickland told me as of Monday afternoon, she had yet to receive his call), he’ll also undertake a new campaign: Winning an appointment to fill one of two council seats soon to be vacated in the coming weeks.
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Tacoma Mayor: Strickland’s lead widens, Merritt’s chances fade

Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland’s lead widened further in the latest ballot counts today in the race for Tacoma mayor.

She’s now up by 723 votes — that’s 354 more (almost double) her 369-vote margin from yesterday. Her lead is now 2.54 percentage points with 28,415 total votes counted.

Jim Merritt‘s chances of turning the tide appear to be fading, even though there are still likely thousands of votes to be counted.  In 2005, there were 39,000 ballots counted in the mayor’s race, meaning there could still be 10,000 votes or so to be counted in this year’s race.

But if, in

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Tacoma mayoral candidates talk about latest ballot results

Councilwoman Marilyn Strickland expressed cautious optimism this evening after learning she’d widened her lead over architect Jim Merritt.

“It’s great news,” Strickland told me a few minutes ago. “From what I understand, there are still about 10,000 votes to be counted. We remain optimistic, but this is obviously great news.”

Strickland’s lead grew by 252 after the Thursday evening ballot drop.  In all, she now leads by 369 votes — or nearly 1.6 percent of total ballots cast.

“It’s better to be on the side of building a lead than to be playing catch-up,” Strickland said.  “But with still 10,000

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Tacoma mayor’s race: Strickland’s lead widens by 252 votes

In the tight race for Tacoma mayor, City Coucilwoman Marilyn Strickland‘s lead over architect Jim Merritt grew by 252 votes in the latest ballot counts reported Thursday evening.

Strickland’s advantage now stands at 369 votes — more than 1.5 percent of total ballots cast — with more than 23,500 votes counted.  Thursday’s ballot drop included more than 3,400 new votes added to the total.

There are still likely thousands of votes remaining to be counted, based on recent city elections. In the last mayor’s race in 2005, more than 39,000 votes were counted.

The Pierce County Auditor’s Office expects to

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Lawyers: Law cited in illegal mailer doesn’t apply to candidates, but …

If you needed any further proof that a law cited in an illegal mailer distributed late last week in the Tacoma mayor’s race doesn’t apply to candidate Jim Merritt (as the mailer claims it does), two lawyers — including the attorney representing the development at the heart of the issue — told me separately today that it does not.

“Of course, it doesn’t apply to someone who hasn’t been elected,” said Aaron Laing, who represents Northshore Investors, LLC.

scales of justice“It doesn’t mean anything until you’re elected,” added David Bricklin, a noted Seattle land use attorney, who is not involved in the matter.

But Laing added that doesn’t mean Merritt isn’t putting the city at risk of a lawsuit if he — or any other would-be or current city council member — doesn’t properly follow other relevant laws when ultimately voting on the land-use issue.

“We reserve the right to challenge any council member or would-be council-member who would ignore due process rights or property rights when making a decision,”  Laing said.
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