Page 6

Section A • Page 6 • • Friday, June 16, 2017

Our View

WHEN AN AGREEMENT ISN’T AN AGREEMENT The growing troubles facing the future of the Tacoma Tideflats is one that could have been avoided so many times over the years if only agreements, pledges and promises had been upheld. But they weren’t. So here we are. And they so far aren’t going to be followed this time either. The largest battle in the works on the waterfront pits the City of Tacoma against the Port of Tacoma over who will sit at the table during the creation of a sub-area plan for the largely industrialized waterfront that not only is an economic engine of the region, but also a toxic sandbox caused by the industrialization of that very same land over the passing decades of unchecked capitalism and poor decision made in the name of “progress.� Tacoma City Council wants the Puyallup Tribe of Indians to share equally in the planning and forecasting of the Tideflats’ future, not only because most of the land falls within the tribe’s reservation boundaries but because the tribe is a rising economic engine in its own right. The 1989-1990 land claim settlement between the city, the Port and the Puyallups requires that any discussion about developments or decisions regarding the Tideflats must include meaningful consultation with the tribe. It remains the second-largest land claim settlement in U. S. history and was meant to formalize a way for resolving development and planning issues of the critical areas for commerce and international trade. Port of Tacoma now wants to relegate that “meaningful consultation� with the tribe to simply putting them among the ranks of business owners and commerce boosters with interests in growing the Tideflats, looking past the fact that the Puyallups have lived and worked along the waters since before Puget Sound itself formed. But regardless of that fact, any sub-area plan drafted without significant participation by the tribe puts the whole process in legal limbo. “The Puyallup Tribe of Indians have and continue to be great stewards of this land. Removing the Tribe’s co-equal role in the leadership, scoping, development and future implementation of the plan does not reflect the legally binding agreement,� a gathering of more than a dozen environmental groups outlined in an open letter to the City and Port as the two governments negotiate dueling proposals. The city wants the tribe at the table. The port commission wants them out, but wants to include the Pierce County Council, effectively stacking the deck for the pro-development camp at the expense of future generations that will be tasked with paying for cleanups the same way current taxpayers are paying for the environmental sins of past generations. Maybe someday, governments will hold up their part of agreements, but so far, negotiations about who drives the discussion about the future of the Tideflats isn’t shaping up to be one of those times.

E-MAIL US YOUR OPINIONS! Tacoma Weekly welcomes your opinions, viewpoints and letters to the editor. You can e-mail us at Please include your name, address and phone number when submitting your letter.

TACOMAWEEKLY Pierce County Community Newspaper Group, LLC 304 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, WA 98421 PH: (253) 922-5317 FAX: (253) 922-5305 PUBLISHER John Weymer / NEWS DESK MANAGING EDITOR Matt Nagle / STAFF WRITERS Steve Dunkelberger / Larry LaRue / ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Ernest Jasmin / SPORTS EDITOR Justin Gimse / CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dave Davison, Chance Pittenger, Matt Kite, Daniel Beers, Randy Rutledge, Jackie Fender COPY EDITING John Larson CARTOONISTS Chris Britt, Milt Priggee PAGINATION Kim Pyle, Dave Davison, Rachelle Abellar, Lisa Lemmer WEB DEVELOPER Ed Curran, Miguel Douglas PHOTOGRAPHERS Rocky Ross, Bill Bungard, David Turnipseed ADVERTISING Rose Theile / Andrea Jay /

Tacoma Weekly is interested in what is happening in our community. Please send your news and story ideas to the above address or e-mail us at


Guest Editorial

COUNCIL CANDIDATE STANDS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WORKING CLASS By Sarah Morken Dear fellow Tacomans, my name is Sarah Morken and I’m running for Tacoma City Council Position 6. The primary is Aug. 1. This is my first time running for public office. While I’ve lived in Tacoma for 15 years, I grew up in Bremerton swimming, crabbing and fishing in the Salish Sea, also known as the Puget Sound. Places I frequented as a child now have signs posted warning about the contaminated water. In my lifetime, I’ve seen us go from having abundant starfish, salmon, orcas and sardines, to a situation where these creatures are endangered or close to being endangered. I am a socialist who backs pro-labor, social justice and environmental restoration and protection issues. I am an occupational therapist and a shop steward for United Food and Commercial Workers union local 21 as well as the chair of Tahoma Green Party. I’m the only candidate who is treating climate change and environmental threats like the emergencies that they are. On May 17, 2017 I, along with my fellow “Super 6� water protectors, was arrested for non-violent civil disobedience at the construction site of Puget Sound Energy’s liquid natural (fracked) gas plant. We took action because the official channels aren’t working to protect our community from this dangerous project. Construction at the site, at 1001 E. Alexander Ave. is ongoing, despite public opposition. We were arrested that day and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and obstruction of an officer. Our pre-trial is Friday, July 14 at 9 a.m. Community members are asked to come to the Pierce County City Building that day to peacefully show support for us, and opposition to the fracked gas plant. More details will be available before that date, on the Facebook page Tacoma Direct Action. Supporters can also e-mail We hope charges will be dropped. The Puyallup Tribe is appealing Puget Sound Energy’s permit. The plant would be located right next to a salmon restoration project and it would have gas pipelines running through the reservation. A coalition of community members has voiced concerns to the Tacoma City Council, state legislators, Port of Tacoma, the Health Department and the Utility

and Transportation Board for over a year, but they haven’t helped to protect us from this dangerous plan. My job has influenced my commitment to community. Many of my patients are poor and often without homes. It’s frustrating to see when their hospitalization actually stems from a lack of access to resources, a societal illness that the hospital alone can’t cure. This has led me to volunteer for organizations fighting for economic justice: Occupy Tacoma, South Sound Jobs with Justice, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and $15 Now Tacoma. In 2015 we won a partial victory: a $2.53 per hour increase in Tacoma’s minimum wage. If we want peace we must work for justice. In 2016 I became a volunteer for Justice for Jackie, a campaign for police accountability organized by the family of Jacqueline Slayers, a Puyallup Tribe member who was murdered by Tacoma police officers. I will advocate for community democratic control of policing and public safety. This service is paid for by our taxes, and should be accountable to us. Make Tacoma a sanctuary city. I will advocate for shutting down the Northwest Immigration Detention Center in Tacoma (and everywhere). Let people work. Housing should be a human right. I will advocate for quality public housing, democratically run by the tenants. Look at Salt Lake City, Utah. They’ve reduced chronic homelessness by more than 90 percent in the last decade by providing publicly funded housing to people in need. They’ve actually saved money by doing this because it led to decreased use of emergency services. A healthy climate should be a human right. I will advocate for a community climate bill of rights including legal protections for community members to take non-violent direct action against new fossil fuel projects that are a threat to a healthy climate. This would include a publicly funded green jobs program. If elected I will give any salary I make above my current amount to a fund for organizations building the workers movement. I can’t fight for you but I’ll help my fellow working class fight for ourselves for a humane, equitable, sustainable future for the next seven generations.

THE STATE OF HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA ‌AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT By Willie Dickerson As I write this, 13 senators are writing a health care bill in response to the House bill that passed this year. That House bill would cut 23 million Americans off from their health insurance. It will destroy Medicaid as we know it, particularly hurting seniors, children and those with disabilities. Those with pre-existing conditions will be priced out of the possibility of insurance. These sad details were reported recently by the Congressional Budget Office. The House passed this bill without waiting for this report. Now senators from Texas, Arkansas, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Ohio are writing a “softerâ€? version of the House bill. They are writing in secret, so there is no clear indication of what their bill will do to our current health care. Rumors have it being little better than the House bill, on a slower pace to end health insurance for millions and continuing to dismantle Medicaid. The Senate bill can’t be voted on before the Congressional Budget Office weighs in. The one thing that is true: we can write, call, or visit our senators and let them know about what we want. Is it affordable health care for all? Then that is what we need

to tell them. Sharing our stories about the difference health care insurance makes in our lives is a good way to start. We can also thank Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for working hard to make sure all of us have affordable health care. By sharing our stories with the senators, we give them the content they need to speak out about the importance to everyday Americans of having affordable health care. At the same time, we can ask our friends and relatives to do the same. This will be especially helpful if they live in the states named above. The Congressional Management Foundation recently reported their findings in a 12-year study: the most powerful influence on our elected representatives’ decisions is constituent input. That means right now we can help the Senate pass a bill that gives affordable health care to all Americans. So pick up the phone or a pen and let’s speak out, while the writers are still in the process. Willie Dickerson is a former Tacoma resident where he taught school for 16 years (and he still visits family often). Retired now, he is a volunteer with RESULTS ( working to end hunger and the worst aspects of poverty in America and our world.

THE DECLARATION OF PEACE These are self-evident truths: That all humans are a single family living on a fragile and endangered planet whose life support systems must remain intact if we are to survive; That the well-being of the planet and the well-being of humanity are one and the same; That the well-being of each requires the well-being of all – security is common; That all humans have a natural right to peace and a healthy planet; That all war is a crime against humanity and nature; That any war anywhere degrades the quality of life for all

of us everywhere; That we live at the decisive moment in history when we will choose between break down or breakthrough on a planetary scale; That we here now dedicate our intellectual, spiritual and material resources to the establishment of permanent peace and the conservation of nature, and, That we are fully endowed by our Creator with the wisdom and the ability to achieve these ends. 17 May, 2017 at Tomidhu Cottage, Crathie, Scotland, Kent Drummond Shifferd

Twa 06 16 17 p01  
Twa 06 16 17 p01