One County

In the late ‘80s a few elected officials, the City of Tacoma Police Chief and the Pierce County Sheriff got together to talk about crime and the growing concerns with gang activity. They knew that law enforcement had to be part of the solution, but they also knew there could not be a cop on every corner. What could be done to make our streets safe? And from that question the Safe Streets Campaign was born and they still continue to work with communities today to help them figure out ways to help themselves. Recently, I went to a Safe Streets meeting in Spanaway, an area the Pierce County Council hears a lot of concerns about from citizens in that area. Concerns include land use issues, property crimes and like…
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Sometimes It’s Not Easy

About this time last year I wrote a column about youth homelessness called “Like a Rolling Stone.” Once again the County recently did a homeless count and even though some of the numbers are a little better (very little) we still are concerned about those people without a permanent home or even a shelter over their heads. For two years, I have been working to open a drop in center and shelter for young adults, 18-24. This age group is separate from others in their reasoning for homelessness. Some have aged out of foster care. But more often, these young adults have experienced traumas that have forced them out of their homes and onto the streets. All of them are moving into the challenges adulthood without the support, resources or…
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“Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.”

It’s that time of the year again that we all look forward to… taxes. Certainly not the death part. Can you hear the bit of sarcasm?  More pages of quotes about taxes exist than pages in the help booklet that comes with the 1040 EZ Form (a 52 page booklet). Most of the quotes are not favorable. After all, no one likes to pay taxes, I get that! Mike Lonergan, Pierce County Assessor Treasurer, and the County’s “Tax Man” met with the Council to talk about the County’s property tax assessments and I would like to share some of what I heard. [caption id="attachment_12034" align="alignleft" width="384"]2017 Ad Valorem (voter approved) Taxes click here to view image[/caption]There is good news and bad news. In the cities that I represent, Fircrest, University Place,…
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Meetings, meetings, and more meetings…

When you’ve had a ‘work meeting marathon day’, I am sure some of you have thought, “If I didn’t have so many meetings, I would actually be able to get work done.” I often hope to be able to start digging into my work load, but then I think, “Wait, this meeting is my work!”   Let me explain my train of thought a bit further. The county council has three standing committees in addition to the weekly council meeting, and I serve on two of them: Public Safety, Human Services, and Budget Committee and the Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee. The other committee is the Community Development Committee. Additionally, we have two ad hoc committees, Human Services and Budget. I chair the Ad Hoc Human Services Committee. There are…
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Get to know Connie Ladenburg

I have been writing about what we are doing at the County Council. It occurred to me that maybe I should share with you who I am. I came to political office somewhat reluctantly. My husband John, at 33 was elected to office. My involvement in “politics” at the time was working on his campaigns and eventually managing a number of his runs for office throughout his career as an elected official. But what really kept me busy was raising our five children. Through penny pinching I was able to be a stay-at-home mom. It was a full time job. I was busy with the care, games, interests and the school activities of five kids. In addition to the cooking, cleaning and THE LAUNDRY! A lot of laundry. As the…
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District 4 and the State of the County

This past Wednesday, the Pierce County Executive gave his State of the County Address. He has often said he wants to have a closer relationship with the council and that was evident in his comments the other day. I was happy to hear that his priorities align with those of the council, which we prioritized at our council retreat earlier this year. Council priorities were influenced by public input, and what we, as members have heard from our constituency. It is evident the executive is also hearing the same things. All of equal importance and many a priority of mine for some time. Let’s start with behavioral health. Many of us on the council have been working at finding solutions to address behavioral health. Back in December, a one tenth…
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Groundhog’s Day

Sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in the movie, “Groundhog Day”. He wakes up every day and it is the same as the day before. Just in case you didn’t hear, the council voted on a one tenth of one percent sales tax for behavioral health last December. It failed on a vote of 4-3, four supporting the increase and three against it. Sounds contradictory, but we need a super majority of five to pass a tax. So that is why we continue to see so many with behavior health conditions wandering and living on our streets. So the council is back to looking how we can address the needs of behavioral health in Pierce County. There have been a lot of meetings and a lot of research in the…
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We Are All Facing Similar Challenges

It's sunny in Washington...D.C., that is! I am just finishing up five days at the National Association of County Officials (NACo) Conference. I serve on the Community Economic and Workforce Development Policy Committee for NACo and represent Pierce County’s needs and concerns to this committee. I attend these conferences because I am not the kind of person that thinks that I know all the answers to the problems and concerns facing us today. This conference allows me to hear from other county council officials across our country. There are over 3000 counties in the United States. I am surprised to hear so many concerns similar to those that we are dealing with in Pierce County. Many are concerned with public health, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the loss of Medicaid…
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YouTube, Press Releases and Blogs…Oh My!

We have been talking a lot lately here at the Pierce County Council about communications. Most of us are old school so we like newsletters. Now we are moving into the 21st century, so I will be using different forms to communicate with you such as PCTV, YouTube, press releases, my web page and drum roll please…BLOGS! So here I am, writing my first ever blog. My hope is that this blog will provide insight into council activities, whether it be public meetings or behind the scenes activities. Let’s start with our council retreat. In the past, we have focused on items that we plan to work on like Comprehensive Plan Update, Shoreline Master Plan or funding for more sheriff deputies. This retreat was different. Since we have a new…
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