"Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier will get his mental-health vans after all — at least one of them.
A four-month debate over local behavioral health funding ended Tuesday with a unanimous vote from the County Council, locking in a supplemental budget that includes about $3 million for services related to behavioral health and homeless programs.
The 6-0 vote represented a legislative victory for council Chairman Doug Richardson, who wrangled support from the council’s conservative and liberal wings."
"Pierce County Council leaders saw common ground with new county Executive Bruce Dammeier following his state of the county address Wednesday.
The speech highlighted Dammeier’s priorities, including a proposal for a $10.7 million supplemental budget adjustment, more than half of it targeted toward beefing up local behavioral health services.
"Pierce County is dealing with an exploding homeless population, and the newly elected Dammeier said he wants to focus the county’s efforts on the challenges faced by homeless veterans.
'It is unconscionable to me that anyone who has served our country in the military would not have a clean, safe place to live,' he said.
Dammeier proposed an appropriation of $750,000 to house and serve homeless veterans at the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting. A portion of that money, $250,000 would help run a facility for homeless women veterans at the Betsy Ross Project in Orting."
"There’s something gutsy about Bruce Dammeier choosing this Wednesday to deliver his introductory State of the County address, which apparently will mark the first time a Pierce County executive has given the speech favored by presidents, governors and mayors.
By sheer coincidence, Dammeier will go public with his vision for the county on March 15, also known as the Ides of March — a day that any student of Shakespeare knows is associated with dramatic political downfalls, not coming-out parties.
The former state legislator from Puyallup is not famous for making enemies, a la Julius Caesar; rather, he has a reputation as a solid moderate and a level-headed diplomat. But he also doesn’t strike us as the type to be daunted by history or tradition."
"...[I]t is safe to say that the gestures Dammeier has made since the certification of the election have left his new colleagues on the County Council hopeful about what his leadership will mean.
Several of them I spoke with applauded the diverse group of seasoned advisers he appointed to his executive team, led by former Democratic state treasurer and lawmaker Dan Grimm. And Councilmen Rick Talbert, D-Tacoma, and Dan Roach, R-Bonney Lake, said Dammeier has spent time in recent weeks listening to county staff and council members."
"So the big day is almost here. Soon, we’ll likely know the outcome of the presidential race, along with dozens of others contests, near and far.
In the meantime, what do you need to know to participate, monitor or celebrate/berate the election?"
"In the 253 area code, we will decide whether to invest a princely sum in our grandchildren’s mass-transit future, and whether to make it easier for citizens to put do-it-yourself laws on the ballot. We will choose people to lead Pierce County out of King County’s shadow and into the dawn of 2020.
No vote should be taken for granted, no ballot left unmarked on the kitchen counter."
For those who have already voted, thank you! Please encourage your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to participate as well. I am incredibly grateful for everyone’s support over the last thirteen months. Let’s finish strong!
". . . [Many Democrats in Tacoma] may be like my good friend who announced to me upon seeing my Dammeier sign that she planned to vote for both Bruce Dammeier and Bill Bryant. She watched Dammeier at work on the Puyallup School Board and highly respected his professionalism, work ethic and decisionmaking process."
"I sincerely hope that many Democrats will vote for the best candidate, not just a straight party ticket. Change can be healthy."