Tacoma water sent out a letter in August of 2015, asking residents to help meet the goal of reducing water usage by 10% . The letter states, “we can save 1 billion gallons of much needed water.”
The residents were asked to let their lawns go dormant and to reach out to family and friends to do the same.
The letter ends by saying, “the drought is among the worst we’ve ever experienced. Let’s work together to conserve our water supply.”
This letter was sent out just one month after the making of an infamous video showing elected officials, including Mayor Strickland and Gov. Inslee, giving PR-like comments supporting the methanol refinery that would have used 10-14 million gallons of fresh water per day.
Note the amount of water needed – this is the original estimate of water needed before the citizen outcry. Then, with just a stroke of the pen, Northwest Innovation Works reduced the usage to 10.4 million gallons per day, without any explanation about how that would occur.
The methanol plant proposal was a wake up call and a blessing in disguise. Now, with the Water Protection Petitions, we will be prepared for the next super-huge fresh water user that wants our discounted water rates, while residents continue to subsidize business use of our water.
What? You say, did I read that right? Yes you did. Super-huge water users get discounted rates. As an example, US Oil & Refinery Co. uses 0.62 million gallon of water a day at a discounted rate much less than what residents pay. Surely, the oil refinery is making plenty of money and can afford to pay the same rate for fresh water as residents. But perhaps that is another initiative for another time.
Mayor Baarsma, one of Save Tacoma Water’s endorsers, stands outside Jason Lee Sunday afternoon collecting signatures on the Water Protection Petitions. The line to get into the 27th District Democrat’s meeting was more than three blocks long. The 27th District D’s are very supportive and volunteers continually were thanked for their time. Many in line took envelopes with petitions inside with the intent of collecting more signatures for Save Tacoma Water.
Another endorser, Sen. Jeannie Darnielle, was there as well and took the time to explain the issue to Rep. Laurie Jinkins, who is seen signing one of the petitions below. Michael Lefreniere, Save Tacoma Water spokesman, is the volunteer getting Rep. Jinkin’s signature.
Kudos to all the STW volunteers who showed up with just a day’s notice to be there. Thank you Mayor Baarsma for knowing there would be tons of people who support the cause and would want to sign at the meeting. We collected lots of signatures! Thanks to all – another good day in a string of good days of petitioning. We are having fun now! If you haven’t joined in the fun yet, call Donna and get involved (253) 209-7988.
Nothing and something.
The nothing is that they are identical laws. Tacoma Initiative 6 is an ordinance, and when it’s on the November 2016 ballot and passes by the vote of the people it can’t be repealed by the city council for two years. After that, though, the city council can take unilateral action to undo the people’s will.
Charter Amendment 5 would be a change to our charter, and charter changes can only be done by the vote of the people – either to add something in or take it out. Also, charter amendments can only be on the ballot in odd-numbered years when the people propose the changes.
Our water can’t wait to be protected until 2017, so the ordinance – Tacoma Initiative 6 – is headed to the November 2016 ballot, and if adopted would hold the line until Charter Amendment 5 can be put in place by a vote of the people in November 2017.
Volunteers out collecting signatures on Amendment 5 and Initiative 6 are running into people who say they already signed the petition. When pressed, it appears people are confused about signing an online petition.
As the definition above shows, a petition is a tool of the people.
Online petitions are plentiful and are great public relations tools. However, signing an online petition is not the same as signing a legally sufficient petition like the ones Save Tacoma Water have out circulating around Tacoma. These petitions will require a public vote and approval by the people for Super Huge Fresh Water User applicants to be issued a water service permit, if all other application requirements are met.
So if you are one of the many people that have signed an online petition because you want to stop the methanol plant, please contact the Save Tacoma Water campaign and we will mail you a petition, that is the fastest and easiest way to make sure your signature is included on these Water Protection Petitions.
Many people have signed the Water Protection Petition already – but they have signed the blue one, most likely at their caucus meeting a couple of weeks ago or at the water front or the Proctor Farmers Market. At that time, Save Tacoma Water only had Charter Amendment 5 petitions available (the blue ones). This is our first week of signature collecting on Initiative 6, the ordinance version of Charter Amendment 5. Petitioners are carrying both petitions on one board and flipping them – when we run into one of our supporters that say they have signed already we ask them if they signed the green one – the ordinance that stops the methanol now, this year.
So, when you see one of the Citizen Lawmakers out volunteering collecting signatures, be sure to sign both petitions.
Charter Amendment 5 makes it permanent
Our Initiative 6 petitions (the green ones) just arrived a few days ago – be sure to sign both the green and the blue Water Protection petitions – they are exactly the same – one is an ordinance and one is a charter amendment.
An easy way to sign both of the petitions is to call Donna (253)209-7988 and she will mail a pair of them to you. This petition cannot be signed on line, it must be signed in person and submitted back to Save Tacoma Water. When we achieve the necessary number of signatures, we then must turn them into Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson for verification. Our deadline is June 15 – just nine weeks to go.
We need 4,700 signatures on the green petition and 9,000 signatures on the blue petition. We need more on the blue one because it is a charter change.
Thank you for your signature!
On the way to the weekly Save Tacoma Water meeting, the early morning light, back lit the steam flowing out of the stacks of WestRock, formerly known as the Simpson Tacoma Kraft paper mill. This plant is a Super User, meaning it uses more water than any other industry by 10 times – companies like these are in a class all of their own, yet Tacoma Public Utilities puts them in the same category, called Large Users. WestRock uses 15.52 million gallons of fresh water every day. The second company on the list of top 10 fresh water users is US Oil & Refining and that company uses 0.62 million gallons of fresh water each and every day.
The proposed methanol refinery, that has been paused, but we don’t believe that, should be classified as a Super User as the methanol refinery would use 14.4 million gallons each day if the water service permit were issued. That is where Save Tacoma Water stepped in with our Water Protection Petitions.
Petitions are circulating around our community right now. If you would like to sign one and have not run into one of our Citizen Lawmaking volunteers, please give us a call and we will be happy to mail the petitions to you. Just call Donna at (253) 209-7988 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.