Vote.

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Yes, it is that time of year. With all the yard signs, mailings and political ads flooding our streets, mailboxes and minds we find ourselves in systems overload. My husband and I have been in elected office for several years and yet we still refer to this time of year as “crazy season.” It can be so much that there is a temptation to just check out. But, PLEASE, don’t let that happen to you. I received a newsletter a while ago and would like to share an excerpt: “The League of Women Voters has been advocating for voting rights for 100 years. We have made progress, but there are still many people who for many reasons don't vote. Did you know that in 2016 there were more eligible voters…
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COVID-19 impacts on behavioral health

Health
A few years ago, the County Council established the Mobile Community Intervention Response Team to address a high number of calls to 911 that needed assistance, but not by traditional first responders like law enforcement or fire and rescue personnel. The program pairs a behavioral health professional from Comprehensive Life Resources (CLR), with a sheriff’s deputy or someone within emergency medical services. Together the team refers and connects people experiencing mental illness, substance abuse or other unmet medical needs with therapeutic outreach services. Prior to this program, many of these people ended up in jail or emergency rooms – all costly interventions that often resulted in repeat calls for service once individuals were released. Recently, the Council’s Human Service Committee received a report about the impact of COVID-19 on the…
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Concerns about work release plans

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The Legislature has authorized creating 200 beds for work release between June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Fifty of these beds will be allocated to Pierce County during this period. This action is not COVID-related but is intended to fill a need for inmates to transition out of prison in a way that reduces the chance of re-offending. But, COVID social distancing has inhibited the ability for me and my colleagues to do the kind of community outreach needed to ensure that you are informed and have input. I believe in being transparent with our public in these matters. So much so that I wrote a letter to the Governor, signed by the Executive and all Councilmembers, that expresses our concerns. In the letter, we encouraged the Governor to…
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The vote for behavioral health funding

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It has been a week since the Pierce County Council failed to pass an ordinance to help fund services for behavior health. Now that my anger and frustration have settled, I am able to share with you some of my thoughts that I expressed the night of the vote. In 2005, the State Legislature authorized Counties’ legislative authority to pass a one tenth of 1% on sales and use tax to fund behavior health and therapeutic courts. If the tax would have passed last week, we would have realized about $13.1 million annually for Pierce County. Twenty-five jurisdictions have passed this tax in our State, every county this side of the Cascades, both big and small, Republican and Democratic led. Their leaders saw the need, acknowledged the ability to raise…
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Your behavioral health is worth a penny

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“Deja vu all over again,” an expression many of us have heard and used. According to Psychology Today, "Déjà Vu" is a common intuitive experience that has happened to many of us. The expression is derived from the French, meaning "already seen." When it occurs, it seems to spark our memory of a place we have already been, a person we have already seen, or an act we have already done. An act we have already done couldn’t be more accurate at this current point in time. In 2016, the County Council voted to pass a one-tenth of 1% sales and use tax for mental illness and substance use disorders. It failed on a vote of 4 in favor and 3 against. You may have noticed that is a majority…
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It’s Recovery Month!

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The month of September is recognized as National Recovery Month. The Pierce County Human Services Director Heather Moss, provided valuable information in her blog about resources available in Pierce County to address behavioral health crisis and recovery. This is such important information, that I wanted to be sure to share her blog, which you can find here and includes links to services.
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The Strategic Alliance wants your input!

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To help understand current domestic violence service delivery and access in Pierce County, the County and City have launched an exploratory process to improve data collection and information-sharing, more strategically align funding priorities and identify innovative approaches to serving diverse clients throughout Pierce County. As part of the outreach process, community members, people who have experienced domestic violence, family and friends of victims and domestic violence service providers can take a survey to provide feedback about the current services available in the community. Click here to take the survey For more information on the Strategic Alliance visit www.piercecountywa.gov/strategicalliance.
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The Birth to 25 Advisory Board Needs You!

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This past April, the Pierce County Council passed Ordinance 2019-6 which established a 19-member Birth to 25 Advisory Board (B-25 Board) for Infant, Child, Youth, and Young Adult Development. The B-25 Board shall propose to the County Executive and County Council a long-range plan with policy, systems, and environmental change recommendations to ensure the successful development of infants, children, youth and young adults ages Birth to 25. The B-25 Board will also consider recommendations for seriously disabled up to age 25. The proposed long-range plan and policy recommendations shall consider and leverage current research, innovative and promising programs, as well as proven, evidence-based development strategies likely to be effective in Pierce County. The B-25 Board will sunset December 31, 2021 and all 19 appointed members will serve until the sunset date. As part of…
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Chambers Creek Regional Park- Central Meadow Study

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Pierce County Parks and Recreation is conducting a feasibility study for an event stage in the Central Meadow at Chambers Creek Regional Park. Mark your calendars for the final open house for the feasibility study: Tuesday, August 6. Based on community feedback, Pierce County Parks and Recreation be presenting the preliminary results of the Stage Study and the findings from the analysis of traffic and parking management strategies. Open House Tuesday, August 6 6-8 p.m. Environmental Services Building 9850 - 64th St. W., University Place, WA 98467 For more information about this project and outreach please visit the Chambers Regional Park- Central Meadow Study. The Chambers Creek Regional Park - Central Meadow Stage Study is not a component of the proposed Chambers Bay resort development.
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Making Investments in Affordable Housing

Making Investments in Affordable Housing

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Those of us in local government often look to the state for assistance in providing services to our residents. Counties have limited capacity to raise money for needs such as police, courts, jail, prosecutions, indigent defense, juvenile court, senior services, veteran services, roads, sewers, storm water runoff, parks, housing and homelessness services, and much more. People are being priced out of renting or buying a home, and it is becoming very apparent that affordable housing is a major concern for all our communities. The state has stepped-up by-passing SHB 1406 and has given those of us in local government a tool to help with the affordable housing crisis we face. All of us pay a sales and use tax on items we purchase with exception on food products. A portion…
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