I’ve lived here all my life; Tacoma / Pierce County; Washington State and the United States of America. There’s a lot that’s good (which in this day and age some just can’t see since their prism is through news, social media), but there are things we need to work on – some now, some incrementally. See if you agree:
Egad, clean up our streets, especially in unincorporated areas. Litter, trash, abandoned mattresses and cars have the cost of disposal, laziness, lack of enforcement and education as causes. There’s several remedies with various strategies:
(1) Raise the fine for littering / illegal dumping to a more punitive rate, allowing judges to enable scofflaws to “work” it off in community service – picking up litter.
(2) Enable billing and ticketing to those who have identifiable items left in their trash on the roadside (like junk mail). Appeals can be made if garbage is stolen.
(3) Place cameras in high-traffic garbage areas. Track and prosecute those identified.
(4) Consider trash / litter / abandoned items pickup being funded by a property and/or sale tax and waive or make nominal the fee for garbage service.
(5) Aggressively encourage the use of self-owned, recyclable conveyances for carrying stuff (i.e., dump the .08 fee for a plastic bag, which has done little).
(6) Implement mechanized litter pickup with machinery augmenting the process. Close lanes and highways to enable it to be done quickly. It will tick off motorists, but if they would quick throwing crap out, it would be scaled back or ended.
(7) Consider making the WA State litter tax variable depending on the amount of litter that has to be picked up in a given year. Make a baseline, maybe based on County boundaries. If there’s more trash, then everybody pays (manufacturers and consumers alike through the cost). Again, if litter goes away, so does the tax (or at least, gets minimized.)
(8) Starbucks is on to something with allowing owner cups to be used for coffee. Perhaps fast-food outlets could do something similar; a QR or bar Code on “to go” orders to give a discount or refund upon their return for disposal at the store. As it stands now, a lot of it ends up on the streets.
(9) SIGNS ON POLES – tacky, ugly and ineffective. Usually “I’ll buy your house” for cash. Simple – the county can bill (or even the owner of the pole if that’s the case) for removal. They’re using county right of way and public utilities for their own advertising, and in a tacky, ugly way. Just call the number to get the info, tell them it’s $125 a sign if they don’t take them down on the second warning.
We have a beautiful state. Addressing enforcement, education, ignorance or inattention are the ways to keep it that way.
Please propose for a vote to get the County Sheriff back under the Executive’s domain with Council approval. Our current sheriff’s conduct, inability to tell a straight story, lawsuits filed against his department over racial and integrity issues, and social media policy have been damaging to the department’s image, as well as the rank and file deputy (who most people, including I, fully support.) He should have been canned long ago.
STATE of WASHINGTON ISSUES
A lot has been said about the legislature “hindering” pursuits by law enforcement; I think it’s a good idea because, despite assurances that the agencies “carefully” approve them, two recent high-profile chases -one ending in a massive tie-up during rush hour on I-5, resulting in a large grass fire, and one ending at one of the busiest intersections (SR512 and I5) also at rush hour, resulting in injuries, damaging a transit bus and tieing up traffic for hours – when other methods and tactics can be deployed (see www.pursuitsasfety.org). Technology can be a friend here; there are tracking devices under trial that can be “shot” and adhere to a stolen vehicle and tracked until a safer, more appropriate scenario for apprehension can take place. Ironically, if the perpetrator starts using the vehicle to damage property and threaten police personnel and the public, then it should be looked upon the same as someone with a gun, and use necessary force to end the threat. But “chase” for the sake of “chasing” I’m convinced is still part of the old-school, ineffective thinking (see our sheriff above) that continues today.
Another issue is not allowing police to question juvenile suspects in custody until they get an attorney. Ok, fine, how about establishing and funding an assigned counsel for them?
Prosecute and convict Donald Trump and put him (and his collaborators) in jail. He is clearly the most dangerous threat to our own personal freedom, stability and financial health of our country. The GOP and his adherents need to sober up and see how far they’ve been led astray in governance – just look at Jan. 6, the event he initiated and led – before we’re in the streets shooting at each other.