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February 12, 2013 at 6:57am

Approve school improvement and safety upgrades in Tacoma and Puyallup

Photo courtesy of Renew Our Commitment - Yes on Prop 1/Facebook

Today, citizens of Tacoma and Puyallup will vote on $500 and $279.6 million school bonds, respectively, which seeks to renovate crumbling schools. Taxpayers would pay for the improvements with property taxes - about $58 a year for the 31-year payback in Tacoma and roughly $14.42 a month for every $200,000 of assessed value in Puyallup. If passed, the Tacoma School District will renovate 14 worn-out schools. In Puyallup, the money will be used to move kids out of portables, give them access to technology and expand or repair 11 schools.

The litany of problems facing our children and teachers every day is unbelievable: Leaky roofs, malfunctioning air conditioning, crumbling walls, wires hanging from the ceiling, poor lighting, classrooms that are too small, rats running through the ceiling and horrendous restrooms.

How do kids learn? How do teachers teach? It's been proven in study after study that poor conditions like these lead to kids underperforming academically, high absenteeism and a higher dropout rate.

It seems like a no-brainer. The repairs and improvements would create jobs and bolster the local economy and it's so obviously the responsible thing to do. Better schools will only raise property values, which will benefit even those homeowners who chose not to deal with dirty diapers. There are so many reasons why the two city capital improvement bond issues are a good idea. It's one of those rare opportunities where everyone can win - most importantly the children who so desperately need to make education a priority.

Voters have until 8 p.m. today to return their ballots to county drop boxes, or mailed ballots must have today's postmark.

Say yes to the future of our children and our cities.

LINK: Tacoma School District Prop 1 FAQ

LINK: Puyallup School District Bond Information

November 8, 2012 at 12:07pm

Update: Proposition 1 ballot results

Last night as the Weekly Volcano went to press, Proposition 1 - the measure that would raises sales tax within Pierce Transit's boundaries by three-tenths of 1 percent - was still too close to call. If passed, the Pierce Transit board says it will increase service hours from 419,000 to 515,000 by 2017 and restore special event service, such as Puyallup Fair routes, which were cut last year when voters said no to increased funding.

Pierce Transit riders are clutching the bus handrails. A no vote most likely means no night and no weekend service, and a slashing to some daily routes. To those with disabilities, reduced bus service means a loss of jobs.

"As an organization we do not have the resources or infrastructure to provide transportation. There is no viable alternative for people," says Ken Gibson, executive director of TACID, the agency that promotes the independence of individuals with disabilities. "The Pierce County Coordinated Transportation Coalition is working on these issues, but it is extremely complex and expensive - this is a core reason why it isn't provided for privately. It is expensive and seen as a public good rather than a profitable enterprise."

This morning, Seattle Weekly staff writer Matt Driscoll, a public transit rider, posted an update on SW's Daily Weekly blog.

With the fate of Pierce County's bus service literally hanging in the balance, Gig Harbor City Council and Pierce Transit Board of Commissioners member Derek Young said somberly Tuesday night that he remained hopeful later voting returns would save Pierce Transit's Prop 1 from the demise it seemed headed for. Initial returns showed the three-tenths of one percent sales tax hike in Pierce Transit's boundary area failing, albeit it by a slim margin.

"There's still a path to victory," Young said Wednesday morning. "The gap narrowed a bit last night, but we need some big movement from tonight's results."

Wednesday evening brought a movement. And then a slight retreat.

Results released at 4:40 p.m. provided the glimmer of hope transit proponents had been waiting for. Though Prop 1 still trailed, the deficit was down to 735 votes. Young told me Pierce Transit officials estimated 110,000 Pierce Transit district ballots were yet to be counted at that point.

If things continued to trend in Prop 1's direction, this meant enough ballots remained for the proposition to make up the difference and take the lead.

To read Driscoll's full post on Prop 1, click here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO GRAB A SEAT: "I believe that concerned citizens need to attend the Pierce Transit Board meetings and have their voice heard by the officials making the decisions," says Gibson.  "The next PT Board meeting is Nov 19 at 4 p.m. at the Pierce Transit Headquarters in Lakewood."  

April 20, 2012 at 1:06pm

Pat McCarthy to launch 2012 campaign with party at LeMay Museum

PIERCE COUNTY EXECUTIVE PAT MCCARTHY: When not campaigning for re-election, she appears in daffodil parades.


Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy wants a little of that Jack Connelly campaign gala hoopla action, and by hoopla action we mean the LeMay - America's Car Museum. The shiny classic cars, the giant arching wooden beams and big-ass windows overlooking downtown Tacoma - the LeMay Museum feels grand. And a grand feeling could lead to endorsements and money for McCarthy's re-election campaign, which kicks off Thursday, April 26 at said museum.

"The site of this event is perfect. The LeMay Car Museum is the latest example of the great things that are happening in Pierce County," states McCarthy in a press release. McCarthy was an early supporter of the museum with dreams of thousands of visitors, all wanting to eat, drink, shop and spend the night during visits.

What big name band will be performing during the campaign party?

"In the interest of raising money to spend on the campaign, we're not planning a live band, though there will be music, said Kathryn McCarthy, Pat's campaign manager.

Several hundred civic leaders representing public safety, business, labor, natural resource conservation, and cities and towns throughout the region are scheduled to attend.

In regards to Pat's second-term priorities, Kathryn listed a few:

Economic development

Growing the aerospace industry in Pierce County (we have 80+ Boeing suppliers here, and we'd like to see them grow)

Hosting a successful U.S. Open - the first in the Northwest - and getting into the USGA's regular rotation of courses (once a decade or so). This event will result in $150 million+ in spending in Pierce County.


Securing state and federal funds to keep making transportation improvements on I-5 and other major road systems, and improving mass transit options from Sound Transit and Pierce Transit.

Public Safety

Build a South Sound 911 emergency communications system that makes every resident and business safer.

Open Space

Keep partnering with groups like Forterra and others to preserve forests, shorelines, open space and farmland.

McCarthy won a four-way race for County Executive in 2008 after serving six years as Pierce County Auditor and 12 years on the Tacoma School Board. She and her husband, Superior Court Judge John McCarthy, have four adult children and five grandchildren.

To RSVP for the event, go to www.reelectpatmccarthy.com or call 253.414.1798.

Filed under: Elections, Politics, Tacoma,

April 4, 2012 at 7:57am

MORNING SPEW: Countrywide flood tax, The Grand's daily deals, The Beatles - The Next Generation ...

CATS DON'T LIKE WATERMELON: Fact. Photo courtesy of funnycatsite.com


Pierce County Council: It voted in a countywide tax to pay for projects ranging from rebuilding levees to buying up flood-prone properties. (News Tribune)

It's Official: State health officials say whooping cough has reached epidemic levels in Washington. (News Tribune)

The Grand Cinema: The Tacoma independent film house starts its 15th anniversary run with deals every day. (Weekly Volcano)

Dallas Area: It was hit by huge tornadoes. (CNN)

Presidential Election: Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican nomination on Tuesday, and found himself in his first direct engagement with President Obama. (The New York Times)

Late Night On CBS: David Letterman and Craig Ferguson are still in. (Yahoo)

The Beatles - The Next Generation: James McCartney (Paul's son), Sean Lennon (John's son), Dhani Harrison (George's son) and Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) are considering forming a band. (USA Today)

Mansome: Will Arnett and Jason Bateman offer amusing stories and observations about male bathroom secrets. (USA Today)

The Vanity Project Project: Listening to the Corey Feldman prog-rock album. (The AWL)

Cats Vs. Watermelon: It's a century old battle. (Buzzfeed)

You Knew It Was Coming: @FatBettyFrancis. (Twitter)

Only One More Month!

April 3, 2012 at 7:24am

MORNING SPEW: Yay Tacoma schools, ugliest buildings, Lindsay Lohan's face morph ...

SIS BUILDING IN VUAXHALL, LONDON: Ugly. Photo courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk


Tacoma Dome: It's being summitted. (News Tribune)

Lakewood City Council: It cares about its street. (Lakewood Patch)

School Improvement Grant Vs. Tacoma: Tacoma School District is doing better than most. (News Tribune)

White House Vs. F.D.A.: The Obama administration has often been more cautious on regulatory issues than the F.D.A. (The New York Times)

James Murdoch: Son of media magnate Rupert Murdoch is expected to step down as chairman of BSkyB. (CNN)

Romney Aims For Primary Hat-trick Win: Romney all but ignored his Republican rivals to attack Democratic President Obama, accusing him of "crushing dreams" with a "government-centered society." (BBC)

What Don Draper Could Have Seen: Photos of the Rolling Stones at Forest Hills Stadium in 1966. (Gothamist)

The Daily Show: It will report from the Democratic National Convention. (Deadline)

Jack White: He's released a new song ... via balloons. (Pitchfork)

Divorce Expo: New York was introduced to ii, married it and kicked it out of the house. (Time)

The World's Ugliest Buildings: Are you sure? (Telegraph)


March 29, 2012 at 11:28am

Councilmembers endorse Rep. Jeannie Darneille


If a press release could smile, the release Weekly Volcano World Headquarters just received would be smiling corner to corner. The campaign for Rep. Jeannie Darneille (D) from the 27th Legislative District announced a good chunk of the Tacoma City Council is in her camp for her State Senate run.

Here's the release:

Rep. Jeannie Darneille's campaign for State Senate (27th LD) received a number of key local endorsements this week including Tacoma City Councilmembers David Boe, Victoria Woodards, and Anders Ibsen. The three join Councilmembers Ryan Mello and Lauren Walker as well as Mayor Marilyn Strickland in endorsing Darneille, earning her the support of the majority of the City Council.


March 14, 2012 at 7:51am

MORNING SPEW: Tacoma Council's new plan, new "Star Wars" film, today's French cat video ...

Burger King: It's tapping into its inner Irish.


Scandal County: Pierce County Council crosses its fingers and rubs rabbit feet in hopes Assessor-Treasure Dale Washam resigns. (News Tribune)

While You Were Watching MythBusters: Tacoma City Council came up with a plan to pay for mental health and substance-abuse programs. (News Tribune)

GOP Presidential Race: Rick Santorum owns the Alabama and Mississippi. (CNN)

Today In Resigning Financial Leaders: Executive Director Greg Smith probably won't have his picture hanging on the walls of Goldman Sachs. (The New York Times)

New Star Wars film: Topher Grace edits Stars Wars Episodes I through III into one film. (Slashfilm)

The Shins' New Album: You can stream Port of Morrow on iTunes. (Paste Magazine)

Speaking Of Streaming: Jack White has a new song. (Twenty Four Bit)

Green King: Burger King to offer free fries and green ketsup on St. Patrick's Day. (Huffington Post)

Helpful Tip Of The Day: What to do when the elevator starts a free-fall. (The New York Times)

Today's French Cat Video

March 7, 2012 at 7:15am

MORNING SPEW: Russell Building woes, Super Morrissey Bros., Twitter vs. Lady Gaga

LADY GAGA: She rules the 140 character world.


Russell Building: Will it be bought at a discount and cheapen downtown Tacoma? (News Tribune)

Pierce County Council: Its still in charge of its salaries. (News Tribune)

Syd's Boot: Pacific Avenue's giant boot has walked off. (News Tribune)

Holy Rosary School Students: They're not talking. (King5)

Super Tuesday: Romney can't light his cigar with burning thousand dollar bills yet. (CNN)

We Have No Idea What This Means, But Exciting!: US scientists report seeing tentative evidence of the Higgs boson, at a mass similar to the hints seen at the Large Hadron Collider. (BBC)

Twitter: Lady Gaga wins! (Yahoo)

Young Anakin Skywalker: Not a happy Jedi. (Black Book)

Bill & Ted 3: Dude! (Den Of Geek)

Super Morrissey Bros.: The Smiths meet Nintendo (but does Super Mario roll around on the ground?) (Rolling Stone)

There Goes The Neighborhood: It is the Lollipop House, the Lollipop House, the Lollipop House. (Fubiz)

Could You Use A Little Of This Today?

March 5, 2012 at 7:28am

MORNING SPEW: Tacoma vs. kidnappers, Pierce County vs. water, "Game of Thrones" vs. "The Simpsons" ...

White Bread: Over the past 100 years, few foods have been as revered and reviled.


Tomorrow Morning: The commute will suck. (News Tribune)

Tacoma Vs. Kidnappers: The Tacoma Police will have a special team and a special plan. (News Tribune)

Something To Think About On This Rainy Morning: A report says Pierce County river levees and flood control structures are not good. (News Tribune)

Putin, Um, Wins?: Foul play reported as Vladimir Putin looks set to return to the Russian presidency four years after he was forced out by term limits. (CNN)

Super Tuesday: Looks as if the Republican Party will rally around Mitt Romney. (The New York Times)

Syria: Syrians fleeing Homs accuse security forces of committing atrocities, including summary executions. (BBC)

What Would Great-Grandma Eat?: White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf. (The Chronicle)

Playing With Infinity of Rikers Island: Math reduces pretty things like the moon to ugly things like orbital periods. Yet a concise equation can reveal the magic of pure thought. (Prospect)

Ballboy's Worst Nightmare: A gallery filled with bouncing tennis balls. (Flavorwire)

Game Of Thrones Vs. The Simpsons: An awesome opening parody. (Laughing Squid)

Lindsay Lohan on SNL: What the critics are saying. (Hollywood Reporter)

And Finally: Pop culture icons who are also occasional nudists. (Flavorwire)

February 29, 2012 at 10:44am

Putting the "mock" in democracy

Capitol Steps: The group obviously subscribes to the theory that politicians and diapers have one thing in common ??" they should be changed regularly.


Almost exactly a year ago the Washington D.C. comedy troupe Capitol Steps descended on Olympia and the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, bringing with it a full bag of political humor and clever song parodies about things that rhyme with Scalia.

Major laughs ensued.

Thursday, March 8, the Steps return to our state capital, no doubt full of new material thanks to a whole year of new inspirations - from the seemingly endless Republican presidential candidate debates to the many sweater vests of Rick Santorum.

Last year the Capitol Steps' press secretary, Bill Hurd, told the Volcano, "The thing that rubs off on you here is that you're not supposed to take it as seriously as some people do. It's a very nice thing."

A year later that's likely still as true for the folks who make the Steps tick as it is the audience.

[Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, March 8, 7:30 p.m., $11-$42, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia, 360.753.8586]

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