Executive Dammeier builds where none has gone before, or should

Over the course of time the Pierce County has been under the control of Executive Bruce Dammeier, the building and devastation of ecological resources has been incredible. In his early years, with a Republican majority on the County Council, he proposed the City of Pierce, an area bounded by 112th Street on the north, 176th Street on the south, Pacific Avenue on the west and Meridian on the east. The proposal included high rise apartments with stores on their main floors on each of these major roads. The intent was to pack in living areas in the unincorporated part of the county. once again, the proposal did not include a budget to build the necessary infrastructure from schools and fire department support to sidewalks and wider roadways.

Then, there was a development on 208th Street in the Frederickson area that was originally supposed to be a lumber mill. The mill failed to materialize, but permits were redirected to construct a neighborhood of warehouses in a former cow pasture where migratory birds used to land by the thousands. The small stream that drained forested wetlands south of the parcel to Clover Creek and its underground water supply was subjected to a bulldozer. Scraped flat, it was replaced by an underground pipe to a retention pond in an opposite corner of the development. A gigantic warehouse now sits on top of 10 feet of fill dirt where the stream used to flow.

The middle of Pierce County sits on a sole source aquifer. There are Federal regulations regarding construction, infiltration and damage to these areas. Somewhere along the way, players such as Dammeier and former State Senator Steve O’Ban who is currently acting as Executive Counsel and the former Executive Council who was also the former Mayor of the City of Lakewood have not only denuded or sidestepped regulations regarding sole source aquifers, they also seems to have had a neutralizing effect on the Washington State Department of Ecology, who should be watching over and putting a halt to much of this devastation.

Apparently, there are many unfilled positions in the Washington DOE, causing them to have little to no time to deal with watching over the rot in Pierce County’s ecological conservation. A glimpse at Clover Creek either side of the Brookdale development of the former golf course shows a major creek with branches that used to feed it from both north and south, and it was totally dry from July into December. Dry, parched, nothing wet in the creek bed at all from the Brookdale development to where Spanaway Creek flows in from the Tule Lake area. Of course, back in Lakewood, there was water, so what’s the problem, right?

Letters between members of the Clover Chambers Watershed Council show a group of experienced creek watchers are livid. But, the Council itself is denuded by its structure. The Council is run by employees of the Pierce County Surface Water Management Department, and the employees will not let the Council member speak out on “political” or controversial issues. Issues like, there is no creek anymore. Or why, planning is allowing variances that wave laws about setbacks for water bodies so certain types of developments can be allowed where they really should not be built. Ask any neighbor if the entire Brookdale development should have been approved. A good flood in the next few years will be a clue.

According to online sources, Bruce Dammeier attended Curtis High School in University Place, graduated from the US Naval Academy with a bachelors in Ocean Engineering, and has a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Washington. He was a Civil Engineer Corps office with the Navy. He lives in Puyallup where he was on the school board for several years and ran a printing business the family owned. He was also a developer, but that does not show in his resume. At the time he was elected to Executive, he had four different development businesses listed with the state, there is now only one.

The purpose for this story? I am issuing a warning and I am critically serious. In 2024, this County Executive, handsome and sweet as he may appear, and he does seem like a really nice guy when you meet him, please, look deeper. During his time in office, much damage had occurred to the ecology of Pierce County’s outer reaches. Please, please, don’t let him ever be governor. There is a solid chance he could and would ruin the entire state. Bye by orca, goodbye.

Our Sole Source Aquifer and the Hirst Decision

As a master watershed steward focused on protecting our groundwater resources and sole source aquifer, I also favor the Hirst ruling.  The first rule in development is whether or not there is enough aquifer water to support that new development for all of the years each house (and factory, and apartment building) stands.  Far more concern for apartment buildings and the huge amount of water withdrawal per acre they create.

This issue began due to the out of control development approved by people who have no training, degrees or knowledge of the laws that protect our water supply, nor in how to evaluate the impact of high density expansion in the unincorporated UGA where federal law forbids importation of outside sources of water.  We face that in this county all the time.  Recently, I had to yet again request that EPA confirm to Pierce County that the TPCHD has no authority over our SSA, and has no authority to approve continued high-density development where foreign sources of water (Green River) would be used.  Whether they like it or not, the TPCHD does in fact not have authority over the SSA.  They applied for the designation, but once it was granted and listed on the Federal Register, it became the child of EPA.  They also proved their inefficiency of protecting the SSA when they began approving importation of Tacoma water into our UGA.  They of all departments must know this is not allowed, yet they pretend they have that authority, and the planning dept. approves based on this erroneous pretense.

This must stop, as they simply do not have that authority.  I have established this firmly with this county already, and EPA has confirmed this to the county as well.

This is a very important issue in addressing city level development in our unincorporated UGA.  Already we have lost over 50% of our recharge capability.  Pushing development farther out into our unincorporated UGA will be very negative to our only source and supply of clean drinking water.  High-density development causes less recharge, more impervious surfaces (remember that even clearing land creates 100% impervious surfaces), much greater contamination danger and far more people taking water from the aquifer.  We have no way to assure the recharge from the remaining land will be enough to support our populace.  A situation of great concern, to be sure.  No science has been used in approving all of this new population withdrawing from the SSA without science based protected recharge being part of the equation.

It’s like a snake eating its tail.  Around and around, but never a solution.  We MUST protect our water!  We also MUST protect the water supply to our creeks, ponds and streams, therefore our rivers that they flow into.

It goes back to my oft repeated statement…..How can so many otherwise intelligent people be so STUPID???

Greed knows no bounds!

Cindy Beckett, Master Watershed Steward
no water – no life
The health of the people depends directly on the health of their watershed

The Spanaway Post Office shortchanges it’s community

Pierce Prairie Post


Monday evening, I left my day job in Tacoma at the usual time, 5:30 p.m. I managed to have luck with traffic stops and signals and reached the Spanaway Post office in time to check my Post Office Box. Since I had been on vacation last week, it was important to see what had been waiting for me.10653360_10203697509532766_5249197979315828932_n

I reached the door of the Post Office at 6:10 p.m. and pushed. The door was locked! Now I know full well, the Post Office advertises it is open until 6:15 p.m. Historically, I have also had conversations with at least three of the past Spanaway Post Masters about the practice of closing early. I really don’t care for the excuses that they can lock up that early. Shift work is something many of us do, you can too.

The South Hill and Graham Post Offices allow 24 hour a day access to…

View original post 382 more words

The tax code is rigged

From Sentaor Elizabeth Warren’s Campaign

Huge corporations hire armies of lawyers and lobbyists to create, expand, and protect every last corporate loophole.

That’s how we end up with a tax code that makes teachers and bus drivers and small business owners pay, but that allows some huge American corporations to make billions of dollars and not pay a single dime in taxes.

Simply put, the tax code is rigged.

Apparently, even this rigged game doesn’t go far enough for some corporations. Those companies are taking advantage of a new move: a loophole that allows them to maintain all their operations in America, but claim foreign citizenship so they can cut their US taxes even further.

That means American companies can hire a bunch of lawyers and Wall Street bankers, fill out some paperwork, and dodge their US taxes.

Tax lawyers call this process a “corporate inversion.” But don’t let that bland name fool you – these companies are renouncing their American citizenship, turning their backs on this country, simply to boost their profits.

If a person did that, we’d call them a freeloader and insist that they pay their fair share. And that’s exactly what our tax laws do for people who renounce their American citizenship. But when corporations do it, they don’t suffer any consequences at all.

Forget whether corporations are people – in this corner of the tax code, we’re treating corporations better than people.

That’s not right. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Senator Levin and more than a dozen of our Democratic colleagues to introduce the Stop Corporate Inversions Act. The bill is simple: it allows American corporations to renounce their citizenship only if they truly give up control of their company to a foreign corporation and truly move their operations overseas.

Sign up now to show your support for the Stop Corporate Inversions Act. Let’s make giant corporations pay their fair share.

In Massachusetts and across the country, we invest in public education to produce millions of skilled workers. We invest in infrastructure, in our roads and bridges and ports, making it easier for our companies to move products to market. We invest in scientific and medical research, giving our companies access to the most innovative and cutting-edge technologies.

America is a great place to do business because of the investments we have made together. We invest together to make America a place where any kid will have a chance to come up with an idea and turn it into the next great American company.

The companies that are pursuing these corporate inversions know all of this. That’s why they are not actually leaving America behind. They just don’t want to pay for it.

Sign up now to show your support for the Stop Corporate Inversions Act to close the loopholes for giant corporations..

Our achievements aren’t magic. They didn’t simply happen on their own or through dumb luck. America works – our government works – our democracy works – because we all pitch in and do our part to build the things that none of us can build alone. The things that give everyone a chance to succeed.

We’ve had enough of rich corporations taking whatever they want and expecting everyone else to pick up the pieces. The time for freeloading is over.

Thank you for being a part of this,


P.S. As of this morning, we have 992,932 Facebook fans fighting to level the playing field for working families. Can you help us reach a million? If you haven’t already done so, please “like” our page or ask your friends to be the ones that push us over the top. Thanks!

Is Journalism a crime?

This is a letter from Rep. Alan Grayson containing information on a blogger/journalist who has been reporting on the NSA spying activities:

For several months, journalist Glenn Greenwald has reeled off one blockbuster article after another concerning the National Security Agency’s pervasive domestic and international electronic spying programs. For instance, Greenwald broke the story that the NSA receives a report on every single telephone call that anyone makes in America. This has incited the spying industrial complex and its allies to launch vicious attacks against Greenwald. For instance in June, on Fox News, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) called for Greenwald’s criminal prosecution. Luckily for Greenwald, although he is an American citizen, he lives in Brazil, and the newspaper that circulated his reports is based in England.

Congressman Alan Grayson, wanting to learn more about the scope of domestic spying, has invited Greenwald to provide a briefing to Congress in Washington, D.C. Given the threats to prosecute him, Greenwald has been reluctant to do so in person. So one month ago, Congressman Grayson sent a letter to Attorney General Holder, asking whether the AG would prosecute Greenwald if Greenwald came to D.C. to testify. Yesterday, we learned the answer. First, we’ll show you Congessman Grayson’s letter, and then we’ll share the AG’s response:
October 10, 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

My office has been in contact with Glenn Greenwald, a journalist for The Guardian, who has reported on previously undisclosed data-collection methods and privacy breaches by the National Security Agency. His reports have been based on information that he received from whistleblowers in his capacity as a journalist, not from personal knowledge. I asked Mr. Greenwald to meet in Washington, D.C. with me and my staff as part of my official duties. He is reluctant to do so, because he fears detention, and potentially prosecution, by the Department of Justice or other U.S. authorities.

Mr. Greenwald, a United States citizen currently living in Brazil, has been publicly attacked by Members of Congress such as Representative Peter King, who on multiple occasions has called for his arrest merely because of his reporting as a journalist on the NSA. The Chairs of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers, have appeared to echo this threat, as have prominent foreign-policy commentators such as Alan Dershowitz and Marc Thiessen.

Moreover, activists and persons connected with this summer’s revelations about our country’s surveillance programs have already experienced government encounters that smack of intimidation. Mr. Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was detained for nine hours at London Heathrow Airport in August by U.K. law enforcement officials invoking the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act. Baraa Shiban, a Yemeni anti-drone activist, was similarly detained at London Gatwick on September 24th and repeatedly questioned about his political work and opinions. Our own government, as detailed in documents reported by Mr. Greenwald, portrays political opposition to drone attacks and similar activism as part of “propaganda campaigns” by America’s “adversaries.” Therefore, Mr. Greenwald is concerned about similar difficulties should he return here.

I regard this as regrettable, because: (1) the commission of journalism is not a crime; (2) on the contrary, it is protected explicitly under the First Amendment; and (3) Mr. Greenwald’s reports regarding these subjects have, in fact, informed me, other Members of Congress, and the general public of serious, pervasive violations of law and constitutional rights committed by agents of the government. Bearing in mind that Mr. Greenwald is a citizen of the United States, please let me know: (1) whether the Department of Justice intends to bring charges against Mr. Greenwald, and (2) should Mr. Greenwald seek to enter the United States, whether the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, or any other office of the federal government intends to detain, question, arrest, or prosecute Mr. Greenwald, or to monitor or interfere in any way with his entry into or movement within the United States.


Alan Grayson
Member of Congress

Congressman Grayson’s letter prompted the Washington Post to ask AG Holder these questions. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported on the answers:

[Attorney General] Holder indicated that the Justice Department is not planning to prosecute former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who received documents from Snowden and has written a series of articles based on the leaked material. Greenwald, an American citizen who lives in Brazil, has said he is reluctant to come to the United States because he fears detention and possible prosecution.

“Unless information that has not come to my attention is presented to me, what I have indicated in my testimony before Congress is that any journalist who’s engaged in true journalistic activities is not going to be prosecuted by this Justice Department,” Holder said.

“I certainly don’t agree with what Greenwald has done,” Holder said. “In some ways, he blurs the line between advocate and journalist. But on the basis of what I know now, I’m not sure there is a basis for prosecution of Greenwald.”

So there you have it – thanks in part to Congressman Grayson’s inquiry, we know what is on AG Eric Holder’s mind if journalist Glenn Greenwald comes to the United States to inform Congress about domestic spying. Congressman Grayson’s view on this is simple: investigative journalism is not a crime.

The postscript for this episode is Greenwald’s response to Holder’s statement, also from the Washington Post report:

Greenwald said he welcomed the statement but remains cautious. “That this question is even on people’s minds is a rather grim reflection of the Obama administration’s record on press freedoms,” he said in an e-mail. “It is a positive step that the Attorney General expressly recognizes that journalism is not and should not be a crime in the United States, but given this administration’s poor record on press freedoms, I’ll consult with my counsel on whether one can or should rely on such caveat-riddled oral assertions about the government’s intentions.”

One way or another, Congressman Grayson will continue to seek Greenwald’s testimony regarding the scope of domestic spying, so that Congress and the American People can hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

It should be Elk Plain when the zip codes changes

Pierce Prairie Post

By Marianne Lincoln

ELK PLAIN, WA — Spanaway currently has two post office buildings. A request has been made from Joint Base Lewis McChord to the Postmaster General in Washington D.C. to give “Bethel Station” it’s own zip code. The reason has to do with the number of gates to the military base being based on the number of zip codes along its boundaries.DSC_8381

I am certain with all the problems with traffic getting into and out of JBLM, there would be a sigh of relief to know there could be another route into the base. But locally, we have a problem as well. The second branch office in Spanaway was misnamed when it was opened. It should be named for the community, not the nearby shopping center.

So I am asking EVERYONE to pick up their pen or email now! Write to the Postmaster General in Washington D.C. and…

View original post 184 more words

Whistleblowing for safety – what would you do?

By Marianne Lincoln
Story out recently: OSHA Weaknesses Force Workers to Choose: Report Safety Violations, or Keep Their Jobs?
The mission of the “pro-business” lobby is to save companies money by not having to “fix” the details that make workers safer. We need legislators and Congress people who will take heed to make this work. Unfortunately in this Tea party world of stripping the government of its money and powers, it won’t happen.
When I was a kid in the 1960’s, there was a growing tendency to use the taunt… “tattletale.” Even then, I was concerned that this would be a problem with my generation. Exacerbated by the ‘60’s drug generation, where there is a definite code of silence, it is now too pervasive that people should shut up and put up with it. This is not good because it leads to great opportunities to abuse people.
Where are truth, integrity and dignity? It would seem most businesses would rather run advertisements to persuade you rather than stand up and be counted by their fairness and integrity.
This is precisely why we need the whistleblowers and the protections in the law both Constitutionally and in other code.
Most people who know me understand that if I see a problem, I take up the issue. Very often, when pointed out, things get fixed. Occasionally, pointing out a problem will make your removal the “fix.” On these occasions the world needs the brave souls called investigative reporters. Many newspapers these days are so beholden to their advertisers, they won’t step out a cover the story in depth either. The large newspaper syndicates often put a grid lock on getting to the core of the problem, or they ignore the elephant in the room.
On rare occasions the brave soul emerges and does the right thing in spite of the risk because he/she believes in the greater good. They take a lot of heat, risk and bad press. Some have been forced to leave their communities. Some are even forced to leave their country. The measure of their worth is the value of the information they brought to light.
Mandela spent 27 years in prison for standing up for what he thought was right. When he finally was release, what he started had finally taken place and he has humbly glowed in that light.
The ultimate test of a soul is being in one of these situations. What would you do?

The virtuous path – WE have a dream

Pierce Prairie Post

Editorial, by Marianne (Scott) Lincoln

In August 1963, I was only 6 years old and about to enter first grade at Central Avenue Elementary. I do not remember Dr. King giving his famous I Have a Dream speech, but I do remember a conversation my mother had at Mrs. Brown’s house next door. That conversation was likely inspired by events taking place that year.

Pearl Brown was 93 years old. She was born in 1870 in the south, but only lived there until she was 10. She ended up in Tacoma around 1910 and she ran a boarding house that catered to the Pullman Porters from the Northern Pacific Railroad. She was a woman of African-American descent with her own business. She retired in the 1940’s and bought her house in Summit on Canyon Road. She lived to be 101.

Mrs. Brown was in the hospitality business and well-trained to…

View original post 841 more words

Note to Post Office: it’s Elk Plain, not Bethel Station

HBC Map 2There is a rumor in the community that the U.S. Postal Service has been asked to split Spanaway into two zip codes. The second Post Office is currently called Bethel Station. If it becomes its own zip code, it needs to correctly reflect the historical name of the community, Elk Plain.
In the 1840’s the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) started a farming business in Pierce County called the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. When the area became Washington State, there was a map made that reflected the area HBC claimed for the company. Eventually, Pierce County and Washington Territory paid HBC for the land and it was released for settlement. The map refers to the area around Bethel High School and the corner at 224th and the Mountain Highway as Elk Plain. The Indians historically referred to it as ElkPlain also, due to the large grassy plain and the herds of elk that inhabited it.
For a brief time, due to the railroad, the whistle stop for the area was also called Loveland. A historian in the grange, Chester Thompson, caught the switcheroo.
When the Postal Service created the new postal station in the mid-1990’s, they simply plucked the name from the shopping center and school district. Ruth Bethel may have helped create the school district while she was the state school superintendent, but her previous experience was in Roy, not Elk Plain. The community identifies itself with the name Elk Plain. It is the name form the Grange, the local elementary and the former community café.
We need to contact the U.S. Postal Service, Senators Murray and Cantwell and the local Congressman, Denny Heck and let them know the name needs to be corrected when the new zip code is issued. Get out your pens.

Council should amend election year proposal or leave to Charter Review

Open letter to the Pierce County Council Members,

I am writing to comment on the changing of elections for County seats from even to odd years. Although I was at the last meeting, you continued the issue, so I did not comment. I am making these comments as election advice, with a smattering of humor to make a point from the view of an average person at the polls.

I have experience with campaigning. I understand the pile-on impact of a Presidential year with a US Senate election and governor is a tough time to get attention, votes, money or interest at all in a lower level race. Resources such as volunteers are also spread thin. I understand the reason you would want to make this change. Having just been involved in the 2012 election. I truly understand.

BUT – and this is a very big BUT. There are two major flaws I see in your consideration of this change.

1) It looks bad for the County Council making a Charter change that benefits themselves among others. I feel very strongly about this. You really should leave this up to the Charter Review Committee. Getting someone to present the idea is not that difficult and the Charter Review is only a couple years away.

2) When and if this change is made, it should create the staggering years by making the term 3 years, not 5. Once again, you have the appearance of making things better for yourselves rather than making it appear the change is enough worth it to take a shorter term, thus giving away something rather than taking a bigger helping. For this my tongue-in-cheek sound here: [snork, snork, piggies at the trough] You need to avoid that impression.

If you want to make this change and get the votes, back off a little on what you get in the deal. Better yet, wait for Charter Review to acknowledge it.

Marianne Lincoln

Editor, Pierce Prairie Post