Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shorelines Update Before Joint Committees

Business and industry turned out aplenty for a joint Tacoma City Council committees (Economic Development and Environment & Public Works) meeting about the update of Tacoma’s Shoreline Master Program.

Spokesperson for the Chamber, its Chairman Toby Murray, comments here, outlined the objectives of the Chamber in the retention, expansion and diversification of businesses and industries in our community. He was joined in a small group presentation by individual businesses and organizations who expressed their specific variety of concerns and/or a preference for a collaborative and comprehensive approach to the shorelines update process.

Numerous speakers joined in the opportunity for speaking to Tacoma Councilmembers who comprise their committees, including representatives for the Foss Waterway Business Group, the Port of Tacoma and additional businesses and industries. The audio will be posted on this webpage 24 hours after the joint committees meeting (April 28, ending about 6:45 p.m.).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WPC's 8th Annual Health Care Conference

Washington Policy Center (WPC) will present their annual Health Care Conference on Friday, June 4, 7:30 am to 1:30 pm at the SeaTac Doubletree. The event will feature health care policy expert Professor Regina Herzlinger of the Harvard Business School and Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna.

The Attorney General will give an in-depth legal analysis on the new health care legislation while discussing the upcoming legal action related to the state’s participation in a nationwide lawsuit. Morning panels will feature discussions on new federal rules affecting employers and businesses based on the new health care legislation. Additionally, the panels will review the changing legal eligibility requirements for Medicaid and Medicare, and how individuals and businesses will now qualify for new health care subsidies. Professor Herzlinger will provide insight and analysis on the new health care legislation, and the changes we should expect to see in federal law.

Cost for the event is $65 Lunch & Conference. Register online at WPC's website.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chamber inputs into County Library Facilities Plan

The Pierce County Library System, working with individuals and community leaders, including Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber staff and volunteer representation, have come up with a facilities master plan that proposes to meet community needs during the next 20 plus years.

Besides the expansion of all current libraries and the relocation of some libraries, the plan calls for an addition of one new library in the Frederickson area. Another hopeful sign of the anticipated growth of Frederickson, an integral area that is part of the Chamber’s Frederickson, Parkland, Spanaway division.

Check out the Pierce County Library 2030: Facilities Master Plan executive summary and summary report here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

DOE's Role in Shorelines Update

Kim Van Zwalenburg, Shoreline Planner, Southwest Regional Office, Washington Department of Ecology, shared with attendees at yesterday’s Shorelines Task Force meeting explanations of the origins of the Shorelines Management Plan and the current process for local jurisdictions update of their Shorelines Master Program. She was very responsive to questions, which took most of the time at the meeting.

Some notes made of responses for the questions posed:

1. DOE considers itself a partner with local jurisdictions (and is reluctant to do anything without that partner’s participation).

2. Impression that DOE’s role as approving local jurisdiction’s plans is much less than that of an enforcer and more that of a partner.

3. This update is the mechanism that will mesh the Growth Management Act’s obligations to jurisdictions and the Shoreline Management Plan requirements.

4. There is no prescribed balance between water-dependent users (like businesses), environmental protection (excepting “no-net-loss”) and public access.

5. There is no defined upper or lower limit to the amount of “public access” nor any requirement for maintenance of public access properties. No min. No max.

6. DOE is trying to get away from inaccessible public access projects.

7. Public access requirements for private property has been part of the SMP since its adoption in 1972.

8. Public access obligations are incurred when development impacts the public trust (environment).

9. Safety and security are absolutely recognized as making site specific public access inappropriate, but it does not relieve the public access burden.

10. Proximity to shoreline is relevant for public access projects/sites.

11. Designation of public access at private/non-profit sites would need to assure that pubic access.

12. There has not yet been in her experience a quantification of “fee-in-lieu” provisions for public access mitigation.

UPDATE (May 22, 2010):  Ms. Van Zwalenburg had mentioned that the DOE was updating its master Shoreline regulations.  And, she said that the proposed changes were not impactful on the present Tacoma Shoreline Update process.  The public comment period for the DOE's update is now open until June 5. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Silver Anniversary of Washington-to-Washington, D.C.

This year will mark the silver anniversary of an idea developed jointly by Chamber President David Graybill and U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks. Both were looking for greater input by business into federal issues.

At that time, the country was going through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process whereby a committee reviewed all military bases throughout the nation to determine which ones to close and how to reallocate the remaining ones. Fort Lewis and McChord were both potentially on the chopping block.

Together Norm and David developed an annual event – the Washington-to-Washington, D.C. trip -- that is now one of the most consistent and long-standing advocacy trips done by any Chamber in the country.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber will once again send a delegation comprised of local business leaders and civic officials to our nation’s capital as a part of its annual Washington-to-Washington, D.C. Conference Trip. The delegation will be lead by Chamber Chair Toby Murray.

This year’s conference is right around the corner and will take place on May 17, 18 and 19, 2010. Most members will fly out on Monday to participate. Most of the scheduled meetings with the congressional delegation, Pentagon and other agencies will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at locations throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

This year’s group will focus on the Big Ts: transportation, trade and training as well as major issues like energy and climate change. The primary mission will be to advocate on behalf of projects capable of obtaining federal stimulus money.

Sponsors for this year's conference trip include The Boeing Company, Comcast and Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. If you would like to participate in the conference, please contact Mike Weinman at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Recognizing Business Environmental Achievements

This event has been rescheduled and will be announced in forthcoming communications. 

Join the Chamber on Tues., April 27, 2010, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. for breakfast at the Best Western Tacoma Dome Hotel, recognition of four nominees, the annual presentation of the Tahoma Business Environmental Award sponsored by Taylor-Thomason Insurance, and a keynote presentation by Alan Hardcastle, Ph.D., WSU’s Extension Energy Program.

Q: What do farm workers and electricians have in common? A: In 2009 they were the most widespread green occupations in Washington state. It isn’t just about wind turbine technicians and solar panel installers anymore.

We don’t want to give away the farm but...the number of private-sector green jobs in 2009 was substantially higher than in 2008. Find out why this is when our breakfast speaker, Dr. Alan Hardcastle, provides focus about the green economy in Pierce County and Washington state.

Dr. Hardcastle is the lead author for the just released 2009 Washington State Green Economy Jobs study. He has over 20 years of research and consulting experience through a broad range of public and private-sector clients in industry, organized labor, education, workforce and economic development. Dr. Hardcastle has studied production systems, organizational culture and education/training systems at companies that include Toyota-GM (NUMMI), Hewlett-Packard and McDonnell Douglas.

2010 Tahoma Business Environmental Award nominees are:
NuStar Energy L.P.Tacoma Community College
Walsh Construction Company
Washington United Terminals

Date: Tues., April 27, 2010
Time: 7:30 to 9 a.m.
What: Environmental Awards Breakfast
Place: Best Western Tacoma Dome Hotel
2611 East E Street Tacoma 98421
Register online at the Chamber's website

Monday, April 5, 2010

Two-day Grace Period on Regulatory Compliance for Small Businesses

On March 24, Governor Gregoire signed House Bill 2603 into law. The bi-partisan bill, which passed the legislature unanimously, gives small businesses a grace period of two business days to comply when found in violation of a state regulation.

The bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Norma Smith (R-Clinton), derived the concept from a recommendation at Washington Policy Center's (WPC) 2009 Statewide Small Business Conference, where more than 300 small business owners and policymakers gathered to discuss the biggest challenges in Washington’s business climate. Participants offered and voted on specific policy recommendations, including the two-day grace period for regulatory compliance.

“Small business owners in Washington face a growing mountain of regulations on how they can operate their businesses, and it is increasingly difficult for them to keep up and comply with those regulations,” said Carl Gipson, director of WPC’s Center for Small Business, who attended the signing ceremony in the Governor’s office yesterday. “This two-day grace period is a small step in the right direction, and it certainly is welcome relief to the folks who are the backbone of our state’s economy.”

The two-day grace period law takes effect in July.

For more information on specific policy reform ideas recommended by small-business owners, read the WPC report “Small Business and the Road to Recovery.”

Washington Policy Center press release

Friday, April 2, 2010

Council Study Session on Shorelines Sparks Action

We offer our kudos to the Tacoma City Council for stepping out to get a handle on the development of the Shorelines Update now underway.

The Shorelines Update of the City Shorelines Master Program, is a state-required process.  The City of Tacoma must comply by the end of 2011, but is following an expeditious process to finish by the end of this year.

Deputy Mayor Jake Fey, representing District 2 which includes the port-industrial area and the industrial Shoreline Districts numbered S-7, S-8 and S-10, invited the Council's Economic Development Committee to a joint meeting with the Council's Environmental and Public Works Committee, which he chairs.

Economic Development Committee Chair, Councilmember Spiro Manthou, readily agreed to a future joint meeting, and strongly suggested that the City hold off issuing a draft Shorelines Update until after that meeting has occured.

If you're interested or impacted by the City's Shorelines Update (within 200 feet of the water), contact Gary Brackett or 253-627-2175 to get informed and involved.