Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tacoma Planning Commission Opening

The City of Tacoma’s Planning Commission has one opening for citizens in Council District 2 (North End, Downtown and Northeast). The position was vacated recently with the resignation of the incumbent. The appointee will be expected to serve through the rest of the three-year term which ends June 30, 2015.

The Planning Commission advises the City Council on issues related to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, land use and development regulations, neighborhood planning, transportation, capital facilities and other long- and short-range planning studies.

The Planning Commission meets at 4 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of each month in Room 16, Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St.

To ensure eligibility for the Council District 2 position, citizens may obtain a map of council districts from the City Clerk’s Office.

Applications must be submitted to the Mayor’s Office by Friday, Jan. 18, 2013.

To apply, contact Cindy DeGrosse, Mayor’s Office, Room 1200, Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Tacoma, WA 98402, at (253) 594-7848, or download the application from the City’s website.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Helping Want-a-be Electeds

The Chamber has announced its inaugural Candidate Academy, beginning in February, 2013.

The program, for local leaders interested in running for office, will help participants understand the steps of campaigning and inform them of other aspects of public office that will help them determine whether they are ready to seek office.

Through four weekly sessions in February, participants will have the opportunity to learn from local elected officials, business leaders and community advocates who will advise them on how to decide whether to run for office. Encompassing a wide variety of subjects focused on four main themes, “Why Run,” “Context,” “Roles” and “Running for Office,” the comprehensive program provides a unique opportunity for participants to learn about the election process.

Under advisement from local elected officials Brian Sonntag (retiring State Auditor) and Julie Anderson (Pierce County Auditor), as well as community leaders Amy Pivetta-Hoffman, Mike Crowley, Catherine Rudolph and Faith Homan, the program offers a non-partisan perspective to elected office. The advisory committee agrees this program will encourage individuals from all backgrounds to reflect upon the decision to run for office.

“It provides a balanced, nonpartisan approach to taking the first step of running for office,” said Chamber President & CEO Tom Pierson.

Applications are currently being accepted and are available at the Chamber’s websiteFor more information, contact Mike Weinman.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

City of Tacoma One Step Closer to Selling Waterfront Property

On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, Su Dowie, Executive Director of the Foss Waterway Development Authority (FWDA), presented to the Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee regarding the proposed sale of City-owned real estate to Pacific Seafood, headquartered in Clackamas, Oregon.

The property, located at 1199 Dock Street, is approximately 28,000 square feet and includes a 7,720 square foot building. Johnny’s Seafood, which is owned by Pacific Seafood, has been a tenant of the property since 1975. The property would be sold for $700,000 and support FWDA operations for the 2013-14 biennium, which has already been included in their approved budget.

The City and FWDA have not made any improvements to the property for many years. Should the sale go through, Pacific Seafood plans to complete an extensive $1.3 million remodel. With the planned remodel and expansion, the property would maintain retail and commercial seafood operations and processing and add a café. The City would retain ownership of the esplanade.

Pacific Seafood has committed to hiring a Pierce County contractor for the remodel and additional Pierce County employees following the renovation. Should the City decide not to sell the property, they risk losing a local business to a nearby city, such as Fife. There is also an added benefit of property taxes, although Dowie did not know exactly how much that amount would be.

Councilmember Boe brought up an interesting question, asking if Pacific Seafood was unionized, noting how the non-unionization of the company could complicate the sale. Dowie replied that Pacific Seafood employees have voted against unionization, because of their strong employee benefits and pay package, which includes medical benefits and profit sharing.

The Committee unanimously approved a “Do Pass” for the sale. The sale will be scheduled for Council meeting sometime next month.

Congress Approves PNTR

Over the past month, both the House and Senate have approved, by large, bi-partisan margins, legislation to authorize permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia (House vote of 365 to 43 and Senate vote of 92 to 4).
The Washington Council on International Trade, the Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber and others have been working hard over the past year to ensure that this opportunity became a reality.
Russia is already one of our state's fastest-growing trading partners, and Washington state businesses will now be able to take full advantage of the lower tariffs and reduced trade barriers that come with Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Importantly, this legislation - which now awaits Presidential signature - received unanimous support from the Washington Congressional delegation. Once again, our state's elected officials in Congress have demonstrated their understanding of the importance of strong, pro-trade policies that increase Washington's international competitiveness.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tacoma Reps in National US-Korea Trade Conference

The Chamber’s Pres./CEO Tom Pierson accompanied Tacoma’s Mayor Marilyn Strickland, a featured speaker at the recent U.S.-Korea Investment and Trade Cooperation Forum.  Mayor Strickland was the only metro area representative on the State and Local Initiatives and Programs panel.

The Forum served as a platform on mutual investment opportunities for U.S. and Korean companies in Korea and the United States, as well as progress to date under the KORUS FTA, with various U.S. and Korean government officials.  The entry into force of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement on March 15, 2012 means countless new opportunities for U.S. exporters to sell more Made-in-America goods, services, and agricultural products to Korean customers – and to support more good jobs here.
U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Korea was $1.3 billion between January and June 2012.  During this same period, Korea's FDI in the United States was $3.2 billion.  The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis website shows FDI figures by country of origin and by industry, but nothing that breaks these numbers out by project, or by county or city.    You can search for data at this link.
The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) is an international partnership designed to promote the free flow of products and services between the United States and Korea. This new economic relationship will spur business growth, create jobs, generate new markets for U.S. goods and services, and strengthen an important strategic alliance.
Taking advantage of their time in Washington, D.C. for the Forum, both Mayor Strickland and Tom Pierson met with Congressional Representative Cathy McMorrisRogers, a member of the House Energy and CommerceCommittee which covers a wide variety of issues, including broadband, health care, and energy – all of which are critical to Washington.
Pierson also visited with Congressmen Dave Reichert and Adam Smith’s staff and Sen. Patty Murray’s Appropriations’ Transportation Subcommittee staff.  

Majority Coalition Caucus

After winning a majority in the State Legislature, the Democratic Party loses control.  As announced in a press release today:
"Bipartisan coalition forms majority in Washington State Senate.  Coalition focused on jobs, education and budget with shared committee structure."
"Democrat and Republican senators announced today that they have formed a Majority Coalition Caucus to lead the Senate during the 2013 legislative session. Twenty-five state senators have committed themselves to a set of principles that will guide the work of the new caucus, including:
  • promoting job growth and a vibrant economy;
  • creating a sustainable budget and living within the state’s means;
  • providing a world-class education system through reforms and enhancements;
  • governing collaboratively to protect the most vulnerable while prioritizing the needs of middle-class Washingtonians; and
  • setting priorities for state government and holding it accountable."
While the Majority Coalition Caucus is bipartisan it is made up of 23 Republicans and 2 Democrats.  This effectively divides the two houses of the state legislature with the House having majority Democratic control.  In addition with the election of our new Governor-elect Jay Inslee, the Democratic Party also continues to control the Governor's mansion.

For more on this, please see the Majority Coalition Caucus's press release at: 

The News Tribune's Coverage is at:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tacoma Council Position Open for Appointment

At last night’s City Council meeting, the Council directed the City Manager to initiate the process to fill the City Council District No. 2 position which will be vacated by Council Member Jake Fey. 
The City Clerk’s Office is now accepting applications with cover letter and resume to fill the District No. 2 position.
Attached are the notice of vacancy and the application materials for your reference. Click on images for a larger view. The materials are also available at

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SOTA/SAMI Internships

For the past nine years high school  juniors and seniors at Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA), and now the Science and Math Institute (SAMI) as well, have served as full-time, non-paid interns, in a field they believe the may want to pursue in the future.  If you are interested in hosting an intern, there is still time to sign-up for this January's class.

As a result, hundreds of students have made more informed decisions about their future and have made personal, long term connections to many of the leaders in our business community. These are the up and coming leaders of our community that we want to stay informed and connected about local opportunities to grow and flourish.
Student interns learn both specific skills as well as those general, but critical, employability skills that can launch their career success. Many businesses who serve as intern sites report the benefits of youthful energy and new ideas.

If you are interested in meeting and working with tomorrow's leaders this January 14-31; SOTA & SAMI would love your help.  Students are interested in fields from music to medicine and can participate in opportunities throughout Puget Sound.  If this winter doesn't work, they are also looking to create new opportunities in all fields for 2014.

To learn more about the internship program, please contact Michaele Sein-Ryan at 253-571-7960.  She has been a great help to us at the Chamber in getting our interns set-up this year and in the past.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The LeMay and Economic Development in Tacoma

On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, Scott Keller, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the LeMay- America’s Car Museum, gave a brief presentation on the museum’s programs and future plans to the Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee.

The LeMay opened in June 2012 and is one of the world’s largest auto museums. It has received an incredible amount of news coverage nationally and worldwide, and has further put the City of Tacoma on the map as an important destination.

Signature events have played a prominent role in the success of the LeMay, helping to bring thousands of people to the museum and surrounding area, and will continue to be a high priority for museum staff. What is more, the museum, which is 165,000 square feet and sits on nine acres, rents out its space for special events. One special, upcoming event is the Chamber’s Public Officials Holiday Reception, being held on Wednesday, December 5th from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. If you have not had the chance to visit the museum or would like to visit it again, the holiday reception is the perfect opportunity.

In the coming year, the LeMay will continue to coordinate activities and events with the Tacoma Dome, focus on key, signature events, and look for areas of collaboration with other area museums and businesses, but most importantly, continue to keep the excitement and interest around the museum alive.

As such, the LeMay, in conjunction with other Tacoma gems, draws many people outside of the community to visit, learn about, and experience Tacoma.