LIBRARY BOARD ASKS VOTERS TO RESTORE LEVY
The Pierce County Library System’s Board of Trustees is asking voters to restore its levy. At the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, July 11, the Board passed a resolution that would put the restored levy on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
The restored levy, also known as a levy lid lift, would maintain services including convenient open hours at 20 locations and online library resources; 1.5 million books, e-books, movies and other materials; staff to support growth and learning with thousands of classes and events; computers, Wi-Fi and technology offerings; as well as community connector services such as public meeting rooms and community events and forums.
Without the restored levy, the Library System would need to further eliminate and reduce services including the hours libraries are open; the number of books, movies and other materials; and close two to three of its 18 full-service libraries.
Since 2009 to manage its budget, the Library System has eliminated, reduced, streamlined or did not offer needed services and deferred maintenance totaling $20 million.
The restored levy is needed primarily because costs to operate and maintain library services and libraries are increasing at a faster and higher rate than revenues. By state law, local governments, including Pierce County Library, are limited to no more than an increase of 1 percent in property taxes plus property taxes from new construction each year.
The only other time the Library asked voters to restore its levy funding was in 2006. Voters approved that levy, which the Library System projected would meet service needs for up to six years. The Library has stretched that funding for 12 years now. Since then, the population in the Library’s service area has grown by 16 percent, and at the same time the number of people with Pierce County Library cards grew by 63 percent.
At the June Board meeting a Community Advisory Committee that had analyzed the Library’s funding and input from the public, recommended that the Board ask voters to restore the Library’s funding to its full authorized amount of 50 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value. Without a levy lid lift, the Library’s 2019 levy is projected to be 41.5 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
Please contact Pierce County Library System to be part of a “for” or “against” Committee for the Library System’s restoration levy. The Pierce County Auditor’s Office requires jurisdictions with a measure in the local voters’ pamphlet to seek and appoint members to “for” and “against” committees. Contact Petra McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating on either committee, by Friday, July 27, 5 p.m. Provide your name, e-mail address and phone number.
LICENSE SUSPENSION ISSUED FOR REFINED CANNABINOIDS
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has issued an emergency marijuana producer license suspension for Refined Cannabinoids, located at 3303 S. 35th Street in Tacoma. The suspension is effective for 180 days beginning July 13, 2018 until Jan. 9, 2019. During that time the WSLCB will seek permanent revocation of the license. This is the first time an emergency suspension has been served on a marijuana licensee.
Acting on a complaint, WSLCB enforcement conducted a premise check at the licensed location and observed numerous and substantial violations including full rooms of untagged plants, clones and finished product. Traceability tags allow officers to track marijuana throughout the system. They also assist in monitoring for things like tax compliance, diversion and product recalls.
During the course of the inspection officers discovered and seized 2,569 marijuana plants, 1,216 marijuana plant clones, 375.8 lbs. of frozen marijuana flower stored in 11 freezer chests, 3,423 0.5-gram marijuana cigarettes, and 97.5 lbs. of bulk marijuana flower without the requisite traceability identifiers. In addition to the untracked product officers also uncovered evidence that the licensee had been diverting product from the licensed business.
Due to the severity of these violations and the high risk of diversion should the business remain open the Board issued the emergency suspension. Officers seized all remaining product at the location. Seized wet marijuana material, including plants, clones, trimmings, and flower will be destroyed. All shelf-stable, non-perishable marijuana material, product and derivatives seized will be held pending revocation of license, after which it will also be destroyed.
“Traceability is a core component of Washington’s system and essential for licensee compliance,” said Justin Nordhorn, WSLCB chief of enforcement. “If our licensees fail to track their product they put their license in jeopardy.”
Emergency suspensions represent an extraordinary exercise of the state’s power and the WSLCB is mandated to ensure that an emergency suspension is reasonable, justifiable and legal in every way. The WSLCB issued one emergency suspension in 2017 and two in 2018.
PUGET SOUND TO ESTABLISH CENTER FOR SPEECH AND EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY
The University of Puget Sound will soon establish the Center for Speech and Effective Advocacy. Supported by a $250,000 grant from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the center will provide a wide variety of opportunities for Puget Sound students and faculty members to gain greater confidence and experience in oral argumentation, advocacy, and persuasion.
“Our times demand strong abilities to communicate effectively across differences of belief and to teach argumentation skills courageously,” said Puget Sound Provost Kristine Bartanen. “We thank The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations for the financial support that will make the center possible.”
The new center will serve both curricular and cocurricular needs and provide a collaboration space for a wide variety of campus classes and groups whose work requires compelling public speaking and communication.
“This center will help our faculty teach argumentation, public advocacy, and persuasion, and to make sure that all students who graduate from Puget Sound have those skills,” said communication studies professor Susan Owen.
“The idea is that the center will become something that is always tied to public engagement, the public political sphere, and thoughtful, deliberative advocacy,” continued Owen.
Similar to the university’s Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching, which utilizes a crew of student writing advisors and subject tutors, a core element of the Center for Speech and Effective Advocacy will be a team of student mentors who will help their peers write and rehearse speeches. A central focus of the center will be helping students learn to translate written content and academic or professional jargon into language better suited for oral delivery.
“For example, students in health sciences could consider their roles as communicators with patients,” explained Bianca Wolf, associate professor of communication studies. “They need to understand that role and be aware of the need to translate technical information into understandable language that will help patients better understand their situation and their options.”
The Center for Speech and Effective Advocacy will complement the work of Puget Sound’s first-year seminars in scholarly inquiry, writing center, and other academic programs and initiatives that support students in expanding their ability to organize and communicate information and ideas. Among the center’s other likely campus partners will be the university’s experiential learning department, as well as its three major civic engagement projects – the Race and Pedagogy Institute, Sound Policy Institute, and Freedom Education Project Puget Sound.
“Puget Sound students engage with the world from a place of justice and advocacy,” said Renee Houston, professor of communication studies and associate dean for experiential learning and civic scholarship.
“By connecting with faculty members in meaningful, community-based partnerships, and with effective advocacy skills offered through the new center, Puget Sound students will have the opportunity to advance their knowledge and become effective and responsible change agents in a dynamic world.”
The Center for Speech and Effective Advocacy will begin serving the campus community by spring 2019.
COUNTY COUNCIL PASSES FAMILY-WAGE JOBS CREDIT PROGRAM
The Pierce County Council voted unanimously to pass the Family-Wage Jobs Credit Program Ordinance 2018-51s, which aims to increase the number of higher paying jobs in unincorporated Pierce County, attract new businesses, enhance economic activity and expand the county tax base.
Employers making payments for construction fees and permits, who demonstrate they have created five or more new permanent family-wage jobs with a salary of $52,197 or more, will receive a one-time rebate of $275 per job created.
“Pierce County continues to be an outstanding place to start and grow a business,” said Vice-Chair Dan Roach. “With this ordinance in place, we can highlight and incentivize all that our county continues to offer businesses.”
The program will take effect Jan. 1, 2019 and sunsets on Dec. 31, 2025.
For more information on the budget please visit piercecountywa.org/council.