Key Issues for Pierce County
A Fresh Focus on our Citizens - Big government only works for special interests. Taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab, and what we get in return is wasteful bureaucracy. Our current County Executive has focused significant time, energy and effort on an extravagant, $127 million administration building. The public engagement was poor and project cost has nearly doubled. We need an Executive who is focused on efficiently delivering services to our citizens, not one who is occupied with growing the size of county government.
Prioritizing Public Safety - Every person should feel safe at home and public safety is a core responsibility of our county government. Recently, a quiet neighborhood in Puyallup was shattered by a murderous shooting spree from a convicted felon who was under our Department of Corrections’ supervision. Despite the Puyallup Police Department responding within minutes and quickly subduing the attacker, one of our fellow citizens was tragically murdered in the violence. As I visit with folks throughout the county, concern for their personal safety and property come up frequently. Response times, drug-related property crime, and patrol presence are on people’s minds. We need to ensure our patrol deputies are fully supported and equipped to respond effectively in emergencies. To free up resources to achieve this, we need to ensure our jail is run efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, we need to leverage all Pierce County departments to contribute to the safety of our citizens, including public works, prosecutor, human services, and even parks. For example, we should expect fully coordinated policies in responding to drug activity in local neighborhoods and parks.
Protecting Our Property Rights - You worked hard to buy a home, start a small business, or rent a place that fits your family’s needs. But increasingly I hear from citizens across the county how government is infringing on their private property rights. As one example, the originally proposed Shoreline Master Program imposed burdensome regulatory setback rules on Lake Tapps and Puget Sound property owners. These types of restrictive and confusing codes turn even relatively minor projects into a serious (and expensive) hassle for homeowners and small businesses alike. Our county should stand up to state agencies when their rules become unreasonable.
Conservative Financial Management - Government has a moral obligation to spend every dollar it takes from taxpayers responsibly. A fiscally conservative approach with an emphasis on government accountability will ensure a greater impact for our tax dollars. The construction and operation of the Pierce County Jail epitomizes the problem with the current approach. We have lost millions in revenue while the jail sits under-utilized. Instead, cities are booking their criminals elsewhere because Pierce County is not a cost-effective option for them.
More Responsive County Government - Pierce County is known for its overly complex, slow and unhelpful permitting process. Sadly, our county is one of--if not the most difficult place--to get a permit and build in the entire state. This chokes off economic growth and delays our long overdue recovery. Why is it nearly as hard to get a permit for a school portable as an entirely new school? We must be responsible stewards of our environment, but we also need to help create good jobs and spur on economic growth. Improving customer service at all levels of county government is critical. This requires a change in process and--more importantly--a change in culture.