City of Tacoma Ignores Deadline for Voters Pamphlet Volunteers

City of Tacoma Council Chambers during weekly meeting with just a handful of citizens watching.
City of Tacoma Council Chambers during weekly meeting with just a handful of citizens watching.

On Friday, July 17, 2015 at 3:43 p.m., the Tacoma City Clerk’s office sent out an email to about 80 individuals and media contacts calling for volunteers and it states in part:

“To be considered for appointment to a committee, please submit a letter of interest indicating whether you are advocating “for” or “against” one of the measure(s), which measure(s) you would like to be considered for, your place of residence and why you would like to serve on a committee. Letters must be received in the City Clerk’s Office at 733 Market Street, Room 11, Tacoma, WA 98402, or via email to by 5:00 p.m., on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.”

In the midst of summer vacations for most of Americans including Tacomans, the city gave volunteers just four days to consider writing arguments for the Voters’ Pamphlet on four ballot issues including one without a ballot title – Prop. 4 – which was submitted by the city council at the last possible moment to make the election in November.

As described in the city’s call for volunteers email, “Proposition No. 4 imposes a sales and use tax to fund street improvements” but the “Special Meeting” called by the city council occurred after the deadline to appoint volunteers to write ballot arguments.

The City’s plea for volunteers to write “for” and “against” statements resulted in just a handful of citizens meeting the deadline.

Here are the issues, followed by those who volunteered and met the deadline.

Others were added afterward the missed deadline and just in time for a “Special Meeting” of the Government Performance and Finance Committee held on July 23, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. (only 41 hours later). Only one person from the public attended the meeting, everyone else must have been caught off guard, working or gone on vacation. There wasn’t even a reporter attending.

City of Tacoma Initiative Measure No. 1B
Initiative Measure No.1 B is an alternative the City Council has proposed to the Citizen Petition Initiative No.1 regarding minimum wage in the City of Tacoma.

“For” Committee

Wade Stewart

“Against” Committee

Sherry Bockwinkel

Jason McCoy

Citizen Petition Initiative Measure No. 2
Initiative Measure No.2 is an amendment to the City Charter relating to a change in the form of government and other organizational changes.

“For” Committee

Alex Hays

“Against” Committee

Sherry Bockwinkel

Tim Farrell

City of Tacoma Proposition No. 3
Proposition No. 3 is a property tax levy rate and gross earnings tax increase for street improvements.

No one met the deadline

Governing Board of the Tacoma Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 4
Proposition No.4 imposes a sales and use tax to fund street improvements.

No one met the deadline.

When a jurisdiction fails to make appointments to the committees, the Pierce County Auditor must, according to the election laws. However, that is not what the Tacoma City Council did. They ignored their own deadline, and without telling anyone else, extended it, then recruited their friends so their names could be added to the committees in time for the “Special Meeting” to finalize the list for the following Tuesday Council Meeting.

When the deadline to apply was missed, the City Manager’s office was alerted in hopes of removing those who missed the deadline. That didn’t happen. Instead, more names were added.

The next post will reveal those names.