Cancer Rates In Pierce County Higher than around the state

The Port of Tacoma and the City of Tacoma promised to work together, along with citizens, regarding land use at the Port. This promise was floated out during the methanol debacle in the spring of 2016. The elected officials failed to follow up and since, the POT has yet to do anything with the property once leased by the foreign corporation that intended (and many believe still do) to build the largest methanol refinery in the world, in the heart of Tacoma, at the taxpayer cleaned up Kaiser Aluminum location.

The citizens showed up in mass, like never before in Tacoma’s history. In the shadow of Seattle, Tacoma came alive and filled meeting rooms and even the convention center until public pressure burst the balloon on the ill-fated plan for a highly toxic and polluting refinery the electeds wanted.

Since last April, nearly a year later, there has been not one single move forward for land use planning at the POT.

However, the City and POT are working covertly to bring in more dirty industries that will suck dry Tacoma’s precious fresh water supply while only worsening public health in our area. Methanol, LNG, coal trains, gravel pits – where are the sustainable energy businesses, or at the very least ones that are known to be less polluting?

Cancer rates here high enough already.

It is time for the POT, the City and the people work together about the best use for all that vacant land at the Port.

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Citizen initiative attack saga continues

AG v Port et al

The citizen initiative attack saga continues.

Just 13 days before Christmas, On December 12, 2016, Judge Culpepper granted the Port, the Chamber and the EDB their wish, a dismissal in the court case filed by the Attorney General’s Office in the lawsuit charging them with for violating election campaign laws.

On January 25, 2017 the Washington State Attorney General‘s Office filed an appeal of Judge Culpepper’s decision in Case No 16-2-10303-6 (State of WA v Port et al.). This case involves the Port’s use of public funds to block two water protection citizen initiatives in 2016 that Save Tacoma Water sponsored. Here is a link to the filings on the Pierce County Superior Court’s web site: https://is.gd/4PS1Gw

Kudos to Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson for standing up for the people’s right to petition their government without government financed campaigns.

At the start of the hearing in December, Arthur West, the person who filed the Citizen Action Letter in July, 2016, spoke with the judge about intervening in the case because he wanted to be sure the state argued the fact that the Port had conducted a full fledged campaign against STW including talking points and meetings with the News Tribune Editorial Board. A public records request found the email exchanges between the Port and the City. Judge Culpepper denied the request.

On December 19, 2016, Arthur West filed another Citizen Action Letter regarding his motion to intervene. The 45 day clock is ticking and will soon run out, so an update is due soon.

During the court hearing in December, the two sides argued over whether a public agency like the Port, can use public funds (money spent on the lawsuit against STW that tossed off the ballot our water protection initiatives) and public facilities. The State argued the Port, Chamber and EDB needed to disclose their activities with the Public Disclosure Commission.

The political power brokers’ lead attorney, representing the Chamber, argued that filing a lawsuit was part of the Port’s normal activities and was not campaigning and therefore no need to disclose with the PDC. The attorneys for the EDB and Chamber sang the same song.

The tune stuck with the judge and after just 20 minutes in his chamber, he re-entered the courtroom and presented the political power brokers their early Christmas gift, a dismissal.

The judge listened to arguments about when a political campaign starts. The PDC law is very clear. STW had to file reports within two weeks of any campaign activity, which included our petitioning activity that began in January of 2016. The PDC clearly wants the public to know what is going on with citizen initiative campaigns and who or what organizations are funding the sponsors and the opponents of issues headed to the ballot. Fair enough. Citizens do that all the time. But now, with this ruling, a single judge (who is about to retire) has now given the green light to all public agencies to use taxpayer funds to sue citizen groups and not tell anyone! Wow, just when we thought things could not get worse, they did.  At the very end of the court hearing the taxpayers came under yet another attack.

After the judge gave his gift dismissal ruling, Carolyn Lake, attorney for the POT (Port of Tacoma) popped up like a Jack-in-the Box asking the judge to pay for the legal fees and costs involved with the AG’s lawsuit against them and the other defendants.

Judge Culpepper is all primed for his next go round with his friends tomorrow morning. The POT and their rich powerful friends want the taxpayers to pay their legal fees again. Does anyone besides me, think their legal bills will be padded?

Please attend the court hearing if you can. It is important that other people witness this amazing, unprecedented attack on the initiative process. If the judge gives the POT, EDB and the Chamber their legal fees, that means our tax dollars will be used yet again to pay attorneys’ fees.

One thing is for sure, the only winners in the case are the attorneys cashing their checks for legal fees that are undermining the citizens right to vote. They should all be ashamed of themselves not racing to the bank to cash their checks.

Kate Martin wrote this report for the News Tribune http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article120992953.html

Make a comment on this story, or the one she will most likely be writing for the TNT regarding Friday’s hearing. The online report should show up Friday afternoon sometime and in the Saturday print edition.

Let the people vote!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Background~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In August, the AGO filed the lawsuit in response to a Citizen Action letter filed by Olympia resident and long time activist Arthur West. The State Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) filed a case in Pierce County Superior Court alleging campaign finance violations by Port of Tacoma officials, the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County (“the EDB”), and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce (“the Chamber”).

The complaint alleges that Port officials violated RCW 42.17A.555 by using public funds and facilities to litigate against two ballot propositions promoted by Save Tacoma Water. The AGO alleges that the POT, EDB and the Chamber violated RCW 42.17A.255 by failing to disclose independent expenditures they made opposing the propositions in the same lawsuit.

For those who cannot make the court hearing, we will send out an email later to report what happened.

~~~~~~~~~~~

More information about this case go to our FaceBook page to download documents:  https://is.gd/8h0zqY … A copy of the Washington State Attorney General’s complaint against the Port of Tacoma can be found here: https://is.gd/8h0zqY … The Port’s Motion to Dismiss is here: https://is.gd/uXbwpO

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AG’s Campaign Finance lawsuit against Port of Tacoma et al

Attorneys during the court hearing on Dec. 14, 2016.

Just 11 days before Christmas, On December 13, Judge Culpepper granted the Port, the Chamber and the EDB their wish, a dismissal in the court case filed by the Attorney General’s Office.

At the start of the hearing, Arthur West, the person who filed the Citizen Action Letter last July, spoke with the judge about intervening in the case because he wanted to be sure the state argued the fact that the Port had conducted a full fledged campaign against STW including talking points and meetings with the News Tribune Editorial Board. A public records request found the email exchanges between the Port and the City. Judge Culpepper denied the request.

Two days after the court date, Arthur West filed another Citizen Action Letter pointing out the campaign the Port the others participated in. A public records request revealed the documents in email exchanges. The 45 day time clock for action by the Public Disclosure Commission is ticking and is about to run out.

STW is keeping an eye on this very important development in this case.
During court arguments in December, the two sides argued over whether a public agency like the Port, can use public funds (money spent on the lawsuit against STW that tossed off the ballot our water protection initiatives) and public facilities. The State argued the Port, Chamber and EDB needed to disclose their activities with the Public Disclosure Commission.

The political power brokers’ lead attorney, representing the Chamber, argued that filing a lawsuit was part of the Port’s normal activities and was not campaigning and therefore no need to disclose with the PDC. The attorneys for the EDB and Chamber sang the same song.

The tune stuck a chord with the judge and after just 20 minutes in his chamber, he re-entered the courtroom and presented the political power brokers their early Christmas gift, a dismissal.

The judge listened to arguments about when a political campaign starts. The PDC law is very clear. STW had to file reports within two weeks of any campaign activity, which included our petitioning activity that began in January of 2016. The PDC clearly wants the public to know what is going on with citizen initiative campaigns and who or what organizations are funding the sponsors and the opponents of issues headed to the ballot. Fair enough. Citizens do that all the time. But now, with this ruling, a single judge (who retired a month after this ruling) has now given the green light to all public agencies to use taxpayer funds to sue citizen groups and not tell anyone! Wow, just when we thought things could not get worse, they did.  At the very end of the court hearing the taxpayers came under yet another attack.

After the judge gave his gift dismissal ruling, Carolyn Lake, attorney for the POT (Port of Tacoma) popped up like a Jack-in-the Box asking the judge to pay for the legal fees and costs involved with the AG’s lawsuit against them and the other defendants.

Judge Culpepper is all primed for his next go round with his friends in motions requesting more than $140,000 in legal fees. The POT and their rich powerful friends want the taxpayers to pay their legal fees again. Does anyone besides me, think their legal bills will be padded?

A small group of dedicated people witnessed this amazing, unprecedented attack on the initiative process on Friday late afternoon, when most people had taken the day off early to celebrate the Christmas Holiday week-end. If, correction, when the judge gives the POT, EDB and the Chamber their legal fees, that will mean our tax dollars will be used yet again to pay attorneys’ fees to prevent voters from voting on protecting our water.

One thing is for sure, the only winners in the case are the attorneys cashing their checks for legal fees that are undermining the citizens right to vote. They should all be ashamed of themselves not racing to the bank to cash their checks.

Kate Martin wrote this report for the News Tribune http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article120992953.html

Let the people vote!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Background~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In August, the AGO filed the lawsuit in response to a Citizen Action letter filed by Olympia resident and long time activist Arthur West. The State Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) filed a case in Pierce County Superior Court alleging campaign finance violations by Port of Tacoma officials, the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County (“the EDB”), and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce (“the Chamber”).

The complaint alleges that Port officials violated RCW 42.17A.555 by using public funds and facilities to litigate against two ballot propositions promoted by Save Tacoma Water. The AGO alleges that the POT, EDB and the Chamber violated RCW 42.17A.255 by failing to disclose independent expenditures they made opposing the propositions in the same lawsuit.


Save Tacoma Water  sent a letter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson asking the AG to include the City of Tacoma in the lawsuit filed against the Port of Tacoma et al for violating RCW 42.17A. A public records request submitted by STW revealed a six page document called Confidentiality and Common Interest Agreement between the City of Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma.

It was August 15, 2016 when the Washington State Attorney General filed the lawsuit against the Port of Tacoma, Tacoma/Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and the Pierce County Economic Development Board for using public funds and facilities against the Water Protection Petition – a citizen initiative sponsored by Save Tacoma Water. The News Release sent out by his office reads in part:

The complaint alleges that Port officials violated RCW 42.17A.555 by using public funds and facilities against two ballot propositions promoted by the group “Save Tacoma Water.” The AGO alleges that the EDB and the Chamber violated RCW 42.17A.255 by failing to disclose independent expenditures they made opposing the propositions in the same lawsuit.

Attorney General's Complaint

The AGO filed the lawsuit in response to a Citizen Action letter filed by Olympia resident and long time activist Arthur West. In 20 days the defendants must respond. Well, that hasn’t yet. Apparently the AG’s office has agreed to an extension for the response.

From the AGO News Release: “Washington’s campaign disclosure laws demand transparency and accountability,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “Washington elections, including the financial forces that drive them, will take place in the clear light of day.”

Arthur West files Citizen Action Letter with the PDC and the AG

Arthur West

Arthur West’s letter claimed public funds (Pierce County taxpayers), were being illegally used in the expenditures for the Port’s lawsuit against STW. On July 1, 2016, Judge Nevin tossed off the ballot the voters right to vote on whether a water permit should be issued to a water user needing more than a million gallons of fresh water a day. The AG complaint “piles on”, as it is known in the legal world (where charges are added to the original complaint) – adding the charge of use public facilities, which is a more serious offense. What is noteworthy is, the AG’s lawsuit names the Port of Tacoma Commissioners personally. Now the shoe is on the other foot as the Port’s lawsuit against STW personally named Donna Waters and Sherry Bockwinkel plus Jon and Jane Does 1-5 – in the power brokers attempt to intimidate all the leaders of the volunteer citizen group. A court date has not yet been set and no response as of this latest update.

AG-files-campaign-finance-complaint-against-Port-of-Tacoma-officials,-EDB,-Chamber-of-Commerce-_-Washington-State-WS

ag-complaint-p2-WS

Olympia income tax initiative likely to remain on November ballot

Olympia income tax initiative likely to remain on November ballot

The Olympian – SEPTEMBER 2, 2016

A group called Opportunity for Olympia collected thousands of signatures in support of a 1.5 percent tax on all household income above $200,000 within city limits to create a college tuition fund for Olympia high school graduates.

Once again Judge Jack Nevin interceded to remove a citizens’ initiative from the ballot.

However,

Court of Appeals Commissioner Aurora Bearse ruled Friday to stay — a legal term for “halt” — a portion of a decision by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Jack Nevin last month that would have kept the initiative off the ballot.

Port needs open process, not blanket prohibition

August 22, 2016 – Port needs open process, not blanket prohibition

Port Commissioner Connie Bacon proposed a future precedent for considering projects that revolve around natural resources or fossil fuels: The port would host at least three public meetings, and before any project advances, the public would be privy to timelines, financial impacts, and details about safety and facility operations.

In Tacoma, Washington, The People Attempt to Exercise Their Ballot Initiative Rights to Protect Their Water & Are Blocked by the Courts”


August 16, 2016 – “In Tacoma, Washington, The People Attempt to Exercise Their Ballot Initiative Rights to Protect Their Water & Are Blocked by the Courts”

Paul Cienfuegos’ August 16th, 2016 Commentary on KBOO Evening News.  Posted on Community Rights PDX.
Today I’m going to read some excerpts from a recent news story titled, “What happens in Tacoma when the people exercise their inalienable right to protect their water, and their democratic right to initiative?” The short answer to that question is – the corporate state strips those voting rights from The People. Here’s the story….


Water Warriors preparing for Memorial Day Petitioning

Water Warriors working hard to make the ballot. This is like a marathon and volunteers are hitting the wall with fatigue as they keep collecting signatures.

Water Warriors working hard to make the ballot. This is like a marathon and volunteers are hitting the wall with fatigue as they keep collecting signatures.

The weather is perfect for petitioning – we love the clouds and cool temperatures. Our June 15th deadline is approaching fast and we still need signatures on both petitions. We are getting close but we have to keep pushing as last week we did not hit our weekly goal – so this week we have to make those signatures up. We need 350 signatures on the green sheet and 500 signatures on the blue one this week. Now is the time to help make a difference and be part of a group of concerned citizens that want to protect our water now and for the future.

Billie Blattler – Dedicated Volunteer in for the Long Run

I grew up learning to take care of the property my parents owned. I helped to maintain the creek flowing on the boundary of our property on its way to Grays Harbor Bay. I dragged branches and debris out of the creek so that our property would not be flooded.   So that set the stage for everything else I would choose to do regarding water. I have read extensively about land and water reclamation and conservation around our country. I have spent a lot of time on and around Commencement Bay. So when I heard the words, “largest methanol plant in the world”, I knew it was the wrong thing for Commencement Bay, and I knew I had to get involved in helping to stop it. I had the knowledge and experience that made me confident to speak up.

When I learned about “Save Tacoma Water”, I was grateful to be able to join a group where I could contribute. This particular set of circumstances regarding NW Innovation Works – the application process, the petition process, and the seeming permissive attitude of our public officials toward NWIW – might set a standard that other companies would follow. It was all going to have a negative effect on Pierce County residents regarding taxes, utility fees, and air and water pollution. Commencement Bay is not the largest bay in the world, and Puget Sound is not the largest inland sea in the world. It narrows considerably on its route toward the south end of the Sound. The enormous container ships that were being planned would overwhelm all other shipping.

Although NWIW had asked for a larger quantity of fresh water per day, Tacoma’s public officials got the company to come down to 10.4 million gallons per day. They declined to consider using recycled water. There was a hint that after the permitting and construction process was over, the company would lobby to get more fresh water per day. Now, American Rivers, a conservation organization, has identified the Green River as “at risk”, and developing temperatures too warm for safety of animal and plant life in its waters. Measures will have to be taken to deal with this problem. The proposed methanol plant would cause warming.

We need to protect our precious fresh water source for the use of businesses, residents, and recreation. And we need to preserve it for future generations. In one way, this is a difficult decision to make, because it will involve hard work in planning, communication among groups, and cooperation. But in another way, it is an easy decision to make. Puget Sound is a very beautiful and precious water resource for our region. Clear, clean water is a gift to us given by us after the cleanup of Asarco, which we have all participated in. It is our duty to keep it that way. I am in for the long run.

Billie Blattler petitioning at mall

Near the food court at the Tacoma Mall, Billie volunteers at the table collecting signatures for the Water Protection Petitions.Volunteers will be there this holiday week-end on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you haven’t had a chance to sign the petitions yet, head to the Tacoma Mall and get your civic duty done.

 

Linda Fortune Volunteers because it is a “no brainer”

petitioning-Linda-Fortune

I signed with Tacoma Schools 49 years ago to come and work in one of the finest elementary counseling programs in the state. I was aghast when I first visited the community. Back then, the city was dismal, the politics were corrupt and the port smelled. To be honest, I was depressed thinking “What have I done?”

Slowly over time, with new leadership and public commitment, Tacoma has been on a trajectory of renewal. We have invested millions of tax payer’s dollars in cleaning up our city and port. Our city has become beautiful and healthier.

Coming to understand the toxic air pollution effects of the proposed methanol plant and experiencing the effects of global warming last year with our drought, I knew that I had to do something to help protect our beautiful city, Port, and pristine water supply. Knowing that clean water will be the global issue of this century and knowing that Tacoma’s water supply will be effected by global warming, it was a ‘no brainer.’ Save Tacoma Water provided an avenue to make a meaningful contribution. I want to live in a healthy and clean city that has the needed resources for its people.

sign 11x17 Yes to Protect