A County Agency Provides Hope for Our Youth

Everyone knows that one of the primary roles of County government is to provide justice services. This includes, law enforcement, the jail, prosecutors, assigned council (public defenders) and the courts. What most people don’t think of in this system is juvenile courts. The County is responsible for providing justice services for our youth throughout all of Pierce County including the cities. The people in Pierce County should be especially proud of our Juvenile Court. They are considered a leader in juvenile justice and have been on the forefront of programs that make a difference to youth and their families. Like the adult courts, Juvenile Court, known locally as Remann Hall, has both a criminal unit and civil unit. A number of years ago, the local leaders in juvenile justice determined…
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Disappointment for Chambers Bay

I have to admit that I am very disappointed with most of the County Council. I have written before on the development at Chambers Bay. For those that may be first time readers or may have missed previous blogs here is a little background. It has been proposed to build a resort with a hotel/lodge, restaurant, clubhouse and space for events and conferences tucked into the hillside under the current restaurant. In order to get financing the developers want to be able to build extended-stay leased housing units. Extended stay is anything longer than 30 days. The developers have not told us how long these leases will be for - a month, a year, or year after year. Although it is not agreed upon, the developers have suggested to us…
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All Politics Are Local…?

As a County Councilmember I have the wonderful opportunity to write a column in the University Place Press. I often address local issues facing Pierce County and in this particular column I take a look at how the national political agenda impacts us locally. I also discuss how we as local elected officials position ourselves on the national stage. Click image to enlarge.
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Will townhomes be the new look on Chambers?

        The Pierce County Council is in the process of approving the Chambers Bay Master Plan for the next 10 years. There is language that will allow for “extended-stay housing” or multi-family residential housing on the Chambers Bay site of the park.  This is all part of a lodge/hotel development being built for tourists and conferences.  The developers plan at this time is to build 70 townhomes.  As the Pierce County Councilmember that represents the 4th District, home of Chambers Creek Properties and Chambers Bay, I felt it necessary to share this information with you.  I have been outspoken in my opposition to residential housing on this site.  My opposition to residential apartments at Chambers Bay continues because I believe that this is a public park and should…
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Excessive heat expected this week

Stay cool this week! Below are tips from the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management on how you can beat the heat. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an excessive heat warning for parts of the Puget Sound area this week. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80’s to lower 100’s on Tuesday through Sunday, and higher than normal temperatures may persist into next week. An excessive heat warning means that a prolonged period of unusually hot weather will occur, creating a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible. The Pierce County Department of Emergency Management reminds everyone to stay out of the heat as much as possible, keep hydrated, and to check on elderly relatives and neighbors during this time. We recommend you check on those…
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Regional Strategy for Economic Development

Grow local jobs for our local workers. For a number of months, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has been in the process of developing a regional strategy for economic development. The PSRC has committees to address growth management, transportation, and economic development. Each of these committees have representatives from King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County and Kitsap County to work on regional policies and approaches. The Pierce County Council has representatives on each of these committees and I have been chosen to serve on the economic development committee known as the Economic Development District (EDD) committee. There are a total of 6 members from various jurisdictions and organizations from Pierce County on the EDD committee. The draft of the strategy was released a few months ago and was met…
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Residential Side Sewer Conservation Loan Program

Residents in Pierce County don't always have $10,000-$15,000 laying around in their bank account to pay for an unexpected sewer repair! That is why I am so excited that Pierce County has launched a new loan program to help property owners repair or replace private side sewer lines. Below are details of the program and a link to additional information. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact my office or the sewer program at 253-798-4020.         Residential Side Sewer Conservation Loan Program Sewer problems are often caused by trouble in your side sewer line. If your side sewer needs repair or replacement, you may be eligible for a low-interest sewer conservation loan. Pierce County Planning and Public Works Sewer Division offers low-interest loans…
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Chambers Bay Beginnings

A number of years ago, when my husband John was County Executive, he came home and said, "You are not going to believe this!" He went on to tell me about the County's property on the west bluff of University Place that was under a long term lease to a gravel mine. There was also a 50 year Master Plan that did not include any near term improvements.  The land would have continued to be fenced off and not be accessible to the public and John was astounded that very little would have been happening on this land for that long. He took me out to the property and said that this land has to be returned to the people. With that statement the process started, first with the termination…
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Solving the Opioid Epidemic

Overdoses and deaths from the abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin have devastated countless families and communities across the country and created an opioid epidemic. Here are some national facts: In 2014, the latest year for which national data is available, nearly 30,000 individuals died from opioid overdose in the U.S. In 1991, health professionals wrote 76 million opioid prescriptions in the U.S. In 2011, they wrote 219 million! On an average day in the U.S. according to the Department of Health and Human Services, health care professionals dispense more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions. Overall, Americans consume up to 80 percent of the world’s prescription opioids. Each day 3,900 people initiate nonmedical use of prescription opioids for the first time because they are unable to get renewals on their prescriptions. Of…
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Making an Impact!

I currently serve as chair of the Human Services Ad Hoc Committee for the Pierce County Council. Also on the committee are Councilmembers Doug Richardson and Rick Talbert. The Pierce County Council hired the Human Services Research Institute (HRSI) last year to prepare a report that would identify behavioral health needs in Pierce County; catalog available behavioral health resources; determine behavioral health resource gaps; and provide recommendations for ensuring a comprehensive, cost-effective, and recovery oriented behavioral health system that meets the needs of Pierce County. The Human Services Ad Hoc Committee was created as a direct result of the HSRI report findings and the copious public testimony on behavioral health the council heard last fall. As a council we see the need and hear the cry for organized and thoughtful…
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