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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Supporting our military in Pierce County

It should be no surprise to any of you that Pierce County has a lot of military and veterans living and working in our community. In fact, it is one of the top areas of retirement for people getting out of the military. Can you blame them? We have mountains, rivers, an ocean, big cities and small towns, theatres and museums, parks and trails. As a county, we try to be responsive to those that have served our country. If you have served, know someone who is currently serving or is a veteran, please read on and learn about benefits Pierce County offers to those in our military. The Pierce County Auditor’s Office has developed a brochure that highlights benefits that are available to the military through their office. Below…
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Summer is coming…no, really!

The past few days this week have been a teaser of what people in the Pacific Northwest have been waiting for…SUN. When we see the sun and feel a little bit of warmth we come out of our cocoons and try to soak up as much heat as we can because next week it may be cold and cloudy again. Some are adventurous enough to put on shorts and many will be hitting all the parks. We are a diverse county. We’re the only county in the continental United States that goes from sea level to the highest point. We have water sports and snow sports. We can hike on trails and kayak on rivers. And we have an abundant selection of recreational opportunities that our Pierce County Parks Department maintains,…
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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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A snapshot of our homeless count

A snapshot of our homeless count

This past January the county organized volunteers to go into our community to count the homeless. This calculation is not scientific, it’s a one-day snapshot that captures those who are homeless. I believe all of us have not only seen the homeless on our streets, but are also concerned about their living conditions. I know I am. Not only did our volunteers count 1,321 homeless, but the county wanted to know more about who they are, including why they are homeless, and where they came from, to help better plan how we should be responding in order to reduce the homeless population. Here are the some highlights of what we found: 39 percent are women, 14 percent are victims of domestic violence, 14 percent are households with children, and 6…
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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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