Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Survival of Your Small Biz

Learn tips on how to protect your business and be ready for economic recovery at this free workshop event sponsored by the public-private advisory board that hosts the Governor's Industrial Safety & Health Conference.

Survival Strategies for Small Business Owners Workshop
When: Wednesday, October 7th , 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Where: Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, 98402

Agenda items:
  • Keys to success in any economic times - Eric Hahn, Vice President, General Plastics Manufacturing Co.
  • Keep your "A-Team" together/Prepare to staff up fast for the recovery - Bonnie Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, CJC HR & Business Liaisons, LLC
  • Workplace Safety and profitability are partners - Herb Maxey, CSP, ALCM, Senior Loss Control Consultant, Farmers Insurance Group

Extra benefits:

  • Business owners/managers attending the workshop are invited to tour the safety and health trade show that accompanies the conference--at no charge
  • The conference features drop-in assistance at the Small Business Resource Center, where business owners can get connected to a local business advisor and get answers about workplace safety, workers' compensation, professional licensing, unemployment insurance and business taxes

Register for the Free Workshop

Governor's Safety and Health Conference website

Debate in University Place Today

The University Place-Fircrest Division of the Chamber is hosting a forum between the city council candidates in University Place on September 30, 2009 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Curtis High School Auditorium.

The forum will feature a debate from 6:30 pm to approximately 8:00 pm followed by a reception to allow one-on-one interaction between the candidates and attendees.

We had requested potential questions of our blog readers and wish to thank those that responded. See you tonight!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chamber Finds End of the Road

The Tacoma Delegation (shown preparing room setup) at the annual Alaska State Chamber of Commerce (ASCC) Conference and Trade Show.

50 is a special number this year for Alaskans who celebrate their 50th year of statehood. Also celebrating were ASCC members at their 50th annual meeting and trade show.

Tacoma, which has sponsored a Tacoma Breakfast and has a 24-year continuous run of commemorative mugs featuring cities in Alaska, chose the conference site, Homer AK, for the 2009 design.

More importantly to our Chamber members is the work during the bulk of the ASCC conference as these Tacoma delegates demonstrated our community's commitment to the Alaska market, gained new knowledge about the issues and challenges in Alaska and reinforced among Alaskans our commitment to the economic partnership we enjoy.

Fircrest Candidates Debate/Forum 2009

The University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber held a candidate forum for Fircrest City Council candidates on September 23 at the Fircrest Recreation Center. This forum was a 1-hour candidates’ debate followed by a 1-hour reception.

The forum aimed to educate and inform the community about the candidates and their positions on the important issues concerning our economy, our infrastructure and our ability to build a “climate” that keeps and creates businesses with good paying jobs.

Many topics were covered including the benefits of not having a B&O tax. This is an advantage Fircrest has when recruiting businesses to the area. Another topic covered was the deterioration of the sewer infrastructure, where the candidates disagreed on the methods of fund-raising to replace it. Suggestions included raising taxes, dipping into the city’s rainy day funds and applying for federal grants.

Hearing the candidate’s perspectives on these issues was of primary importance. It allowed audience members to understand the specific approaches each of them would take if elected to the Fircrest City Council.

View photos from the event here.

Do you have a question for the candidates?

You have an opportunity to have a question asked of the candidates running for office in University Place.

The University Place-Fircrest Division of the Chamber is hosting a forum between the city council candidates in University Place on September 30, 2009 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Curtis High School Auditorium.

The forum will feature a debate from 6:30 pm to approximately 8:00 pm followed by a reception to allow one-on-one interaction between the candidates and attendees.

If you would like to have a question asked of the candidates, please submit it to Chelsea Levy at Because this is a forum focused on business, we would prefer questions related to the local economy, business climate and economic development. We do not guarantee the question will be asked, but if it is good and we have enough time, we will ask it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chamber Positions on Ballot Issues

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Board of Directors voted today to take the following positions on upcoming ballot measures and urges all chamber members and business people to vote:

- No on I-1033
- No on Prop 1
- No on Prop 2
- Yes on Prop 3

More details below:

No on I-1033: This initiative, if passed, would “limit growth of certain state, county and city revenue to annual inflation and population growth, not including voter-approved revenue increases. Revenue collected above the limit would reduce property tax levies."

While this may appear favorable, the Chamber is opposing the measure for several reasons. The formula it is based upon is rudimentary and non-responsive to real time issues. It does not allow government to respond to upturns in the economy -- which means when business needs more infrastructure, the government will be held back by an arbitary formula. It also limits the ability of our elected officials to govern. More information at

No on Prop 1 & 2: These measures would move current county elections to odd-years, costing the county more since election expenses would not be shared with the federal and state governments, which have ballot issues on even-years.

Yes on Prop 3: This ballot measure would eliminate the unpopular voting system known as Ranked Choice Voting. The system also requires the county to spend more money on the printing of specialized ballots each time this system is used.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shoreline Update Restarts Again

Circumstances have repeatedly delayed the update of the City of Tacoma’s Shoreline regulations. But a meeting last Thursday night reviewed the progress to date, the schedule for draft review and adoption, outline and structure of the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), as well as proposed Environment Designations for shoreline areas and proposed Shoreline District boundary revisions.

Draft documents have been posted to the City’s website.

Staff, consultants and attending citizens and industry experts were stalwart in their determination to wade through the complex and comprehensive information. The PowerPoint is now posted.

In addition to determining what regulatory updates may impact you, if you own, live or work within 115 feet of high water, there are proposed changes all along the shoreline from Day’s Island to Dash Point. (Other jurisdictions have shoreline regs too.)

Of the numerous changes, new boundaries and other staff suggestions, the only suggested zone boundary change from the private sector (profit or non-profit), the Chamber’s suggestion to include all the Foss Industrial peninsula west of E. 11th Street, was NOT included.

The Chamber’s suggested boundary had the effect of including the defined area in with like development in the port-industrial area and removing artificial constraints to retention or expansion of industry.

Since this process has been so delayed, the Chamber will be contacting those businesses impacted by this suggested shoreline regulatory zone to determine if local desires still support this proposed amendment to what is still called an Interim Regulation.

UPDATE: 09-09-25 "Elitist Vision"

Yesterday, The News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan wrote about the "elitist vision" of those who see "no room for 'dirty, polluting' industry" in our community. He was referencing a panel discussion sponsored by Conversations RE: Tacoma.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Primary Update

Turnout was low for this year’s August primary. The total returned ballots for the primary were only 19% of the total registered voters in our county. While the August primary (the primary used to be held in September) allows candidates more time to engage in communicating with voters, the new primary months appears to have cut down on the number of voters participating, which is likely due to the season (vacation, etc.).

Despite the low turnout, the fields for several positions throughout Pierce County were narrowed down as a result of the primary. In the Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 1 race with its field of three candidates, only two remain. Incumbent Connie Bacon handily won with over 56% of the vote followed by Bill Casper, who only garnered 29% of the vote.

In the council races, the contenders were cut down. Lakewood Council Position 2 was whittled down to Mike Brandstetter (46%) and Connie Coleman Lacadie (39%). The Milton Mayor’s race will down to Katrina Asay (42%) and Leonard Sanderson (34%).

Three of the Puyallup seats were narrowed down. In Puyallup Council District 1 Position 2 Tony Aho (45%) and incumbent George Dill (48%) will face off in November; Puyallup Council District 2 Position 2 will have Rick Hansen (49%) and Christopher Taylor (38%); and Puyallup Council District 3 Position 2 will have John Alexander (53%) and Kent Boyle (31%).

In the Tacoma Council Position #4, representing the Eastside of Tacoma, Marty Campbell won with 57% of the vote followed by Roxanne Murphy with 24%. In Tacoma Council Position #5, the seat representing the South End of Tacoma, Joe Lonergan (42%) and Beckie Summers Kirby (37%) will face off in the general election.

In other races, University Place narrowed one of its contests for University Place Council Position 1 to Javier Figueroa (44%) and Linda Bird (37%) and the Tacoma School District #10 Position 2 was cut down from six candidates to Jerry Thorpe (26.85%) and Catherine Ushka-Hall (26.48%) in a very close race.

The Chamber will once again be engaging its members with candidates for office through a series of candidate forums. The Fircrest candidates forum will be held on September 23 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Fircrest Recreation Center. The University Place candidates forum will be held the following week on September 30 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Curtis High School auditorium.

Blog Author: Mike Weinman

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

City Council Candidates Talk Business

Local advocacy is an important component of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s mission. In fulfilling our commitment to assist in the election of business-minded public officials, the University Place-Fircrest Division of the Chamber will be hosting two forums for City Council candidates in University Place and Fircrest.

The events will consist of a moderated debate between the candidates on various business and community issues and a post-debate reception to allow audience members to engage in one-on-one dialog with the candidate. We encourage community members to submit their questions for the candidates prior to the debate. Email all questions to

Fircrest Candidates Forum
Wednesday, September 23rd, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Fircrest Recreation Center
Place: Fircrest Recreation Center 555 Contra Costa Ave. Fircrest 98466
Price: Complimentary – Open to the public
Info: Chelsea Levy, or 253.627.2175


University Place Candidates Forum
Wednesday, September 30th, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Curtis High School Auditorium
Place: Curtis High School 8425 40th St. W University Place 98466
Price: Complimentary – Open to the public
Info: Chelsea Levy, or 253.627.2175

Please note: These forums are intended for the education of the public on candidates’ views regarding issues impacting business. The forums are not meant to endorse or support particular candidates. All City Council candidates with opposition were invited, though not all candidates will choose to attend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Feds Tack on Regs/Water Swirls

The Chamber is serving the business community as a stakeholder on Tacoma Water's stakeholder group for the Water Treatment Decision. That issue was first presented to the stakeholders at their meeting Aug. 6.

Already, the community has been exposed to the issue through The News Tribune's feature article and their recent announcement of various community meetings.

Briefly, the issue is that the feds have added a federal regulation for public health about a "bug" commonly called "crypto." There are two options, as explained in the above links. One, UV treatment is - shall we say - less expensive that the other option, filtration. The UV option is estimated to cause water rate increases of 5-10% for several years. The filtration option is estimated to cause water rate increases of 15-20% for several years.

Complicating the choices are that another set of federal standards address issues like coliform contamination, turbidity, etc. If any one of these set of 12 standards is violated, the water utility will have to invest in the filtration treatment option.

The Chamber has asked Tacoma Water to determine if the costs of assuring the management of the set of 12 standards, with an acceptable level of risk, will be cheaper when combined with UV treatment to avoid the more expensive filtration option.

That cost information and risk assessment is due from Tacoma Water's consultant near the end of October. That information should help in adding some facts, instead of just cost estimates and professional treatment preferences, to the public policy decision on what's best for Tacoma's water customers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tacoma Fuzhou Trade Project

The Tacoma-Fuzhou Trade Project will represent Pierce County firms at a booth in the US Pavilion at the China International Fair for Investment & Trade to be held in Xiamen, China, September 8-11, 2009.

If your company is interested in having a flyer printed and displayed with a Chinese explanation at the booth, please contact Project Consultant Mike Fowler at mobile 206-795-6644. The estimated cost to be borne by participating companies is $150.00.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Biting the Bad Bug Back

Health officials are warning of widespread outbreak of the H1N1 virus known as swine flu this fall, with peak outbreak predicted to arrive before October.

Earlier this year, the Chamber posted guideline documents that business, individuals and families and other organizations could use in planning for businesses' operations if public health mandates kept employees or customers away.

As the business liaison to the state’s Emergency Management Division, the Association of Washington Business (AWB) is working to provide health officials and emergency responders with critical input from employers about how this influenza outbreak could affect business in our state. For example, do you have the information you need to keep your doors open? What information do you want or need on this issue?

Please take a moment to complete this brief online survey. Your comments and suggestions will be shared directly with officials working to prepare our state in advance of a major flu outbreak. Employer responses will go a long way to assist the Department of Health in understanding business needs at this point in the planning process.

The survey closes at noon, Thursday, Sept. 3.