Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tacoma Council Scorecard for 2Q2013

For the last two years the Chamber has been working to hold our elected officials accountable.  Over this time, we have opened up a more continuous dialogue with electeds while also creating tools to better highlight their stances to our members.  The scorecard does this as straightforwardly as possible – by reporting the actual votes taken.  However, it can be challenging to keep up with all of the last minute changes made with little or no notice.

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For example, the Tacoma City Council’s recently passed legislation creating a Transportation Commission to help guide infrastructure improvements.  This proposal was circulated in advance and the Chamber expressed support for a comprehensive perspective on transportation. However, the Chamber also recommended that the legislation needed to recognize the significant role freight mobility plays by including a freight representative on the Commission.

With no advance notice to the public, Council made an amendment to the legislation which asked for commissioners to be in all of those categories representing moving people.  There was no mention of commissioners for any categories representing the movement of goods. Since new language did not include a freight-oriented commissioner, the Council failed to recognize the reality of our economy – we are dependent on goods delivered to stores, to the Port of Tacoma and to customers around the world.

While the Chamber initially supported this legislation, we could not support something that so readily ignored a crucial part of our economy.  This could have been rectified if the amendment had a transparent and public vetting. There may be times when Council feels speed trumps transparency, but currently this happens too frequently.  If the Council truly values an engaged business community we encourage them to be more transparent in their actions.

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