How Fircrest voted in the 2018 General Election

It’s always interesting to see how Fircrest voters feel about candidates and issues on the ballot. The November 2018 General Election saw a huge turnout, of course. Here are select results from the four precincts serving Fircrest (28-535 through 28-538):


U.S. Senate                  Cantwell (D)    Hutchinson (R)

Total                            2,163               1,346


U.S. House                  Heck (D)          Brumbles (R)

Total                            2,369               1,096


State House                Leavitt (D)       Muri (R)

Total                            2,023               1,460


County Prosecutor      Lindquist         Robnett

Total                            1,107               2,279


I-1631, pollution         Yes                  No

Total                            1,590               1,904


I-1639, firearms          Yes                  No

Total                            2,279               1,222

How Fircrest voted in 2016

I think it’s interesting to look at election results in Fircrest’s four voting precincts (28-535 through 538). The data provides a snapshot of what we think (at least, relative to the choices in any given year). So here’s a quick look at some select races from 2016:


Clinton/Kaine (D)            2,166

Trump/Pence (R)              1,234


Inslee (D)                        2,117

Bryant (R)                      1,633

28th Legislative District Senator:

O’Ban (R)                        1,823

Peloquin (D)                   1,807

28th Legislative District Representative, position 1:

Muri (R)                        1,699

Leavitt (D)                    1,906

28th Legislative District Representative, position 2:

Kilduff (D                      2,176

Wagemann (R)            1,426

County Executive

Talbert (D)                  1,942

Dammeier (R)            1,590

County Council District 4

Ladenburg (D)             2,094

Burns (I)                        1,286


Supporting a better 911 system

I’ve long told friends that serving on the U.S. Open Operating Committee was the coolest experience of my 6 ½-year career as Pierce County’s Communications director, but being on the innovative team that created South Sound 911 ranks as the most important.

When you call 9-1-1, you expect a cop, firefighter or ambulance to arrive – or some combination of the three – as fast as possible. But problems with the 911 system had festered below the radar for years. The problem was largely one of silos – over the decades, various public safety agencies built their own radio systems, and some had their own dispatch facilities with their own systems. Cops, firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers often could not communicate directly with each other – even while working at the same scene.

In stepped Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, my boss at the time, with a solution.

South Sound 911 logoSeveral agencies, including the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, needed to upgrade their radio systems (some of which were still analog) to meet new FCC requirements to reduce frequency bandwidth. There was no sense in each agency spending millions of dollars to buy new digital radios and systems, McCarthy argued, if they were going to keep operating independently of each other. She proposed that the biggest systems combine their resources under one umbrella.

Thus, the idea of South Sound 911 was born.

The County Executive assembled a team of partner agencies to work out the details. I had the privilege of joining fire and law enforcement officials and city managers as the plan came together. My role was to coordinate the public outreach. I led the development of presentations like this one to explain the problem and the proposed solution. Our partners made these presentations more than 200 times throughout the community. (The communications group I chaired also came up with the agency name and the logo.)

Pierce County voters overwhelmingly approved the plan in November 2011. Since then, new digital radios have been delivered to nearly every cop and firefighter in the county. And those first responders are talking to each other on a new digital radio network that went live last year. The new network is so strong that an officer in the basement of the Fircrest Police Department heard an officer in the basement of the Police Department in Eatonville as clear as if he was in the next room during testing.

Radios are the lifeline for first responders. Giving them the tools to keep them safe makes us all safer. It was a privilege to work with first responders on an extraordinary regional partnership that provided police officers in Fircrest and elsewhere with new digital radios, a new network, and more peace of mind.

Oct. 23 update: PCTV just produced this short video about the new Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. Fircrest PD is among the agencies using this system now.

Ken Still: former PGA Tour player, now an ambassador

The February 14 City Council meeting was one of the best attended in recent memory. That shows just how much folks around here love Ken Still, who had a long career on the PGA Tour. He had three victories on the Tour, but he’s best known for playing on the 1969 Ryder Cup team with good friend Jack Nicklaus.

When he arrived at the meeting, Ken knew we were honoring him with a proclamation recognizing his birthday (Feb. 12) and naming him the City of Fircrest’s Goodwill Ambassador to the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. What he and his wife Linda didn’t know was that Councilmember Matthew Jolibois had arranged to present Ken with letters of congratulations from Nicklaus, Juan “Chi Chi” Rodriguez, Raymond Floyd and Ron Read, the longtime official starter of the U.S. Open and the first USGA official to take a look at the possibility of bringing the championship to Chambers Bay.

During the meeting, I had the opportunity to present a letter from my boss, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, who noted that we’ll need ambassadors like Ken to help educate the community about what it’s like to have a U.S. Open in your back yard. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks also sent a letter.

Ken and his family and friends were visibly moved by the event. And it was nice of News Tribune golf writer Todd Milles to be there to capture the moment for the local paper.

Getting Chambers Bay ready for the U.S. Open

One of my top priorities as the Communications Director for Pierce County involves planning for the 2015 U.S. Open at the county-owned Chambers Bay.  This is going to be one of the coolest things to ever happen in this county.

An independent study estimated that the 2008 U.S. Open in San Diego resulted in a $142 million economic impact on that county.  Now consider this: Chambers Bay is much larger than Torrey Pines.  We will have more spectators, more infrastructure, more merchandise sold, more food and beverage consumed, more everything — we think the impact of the 2015 U.S. Open should easily top $150 million.

I’ll talk more about this in the coming months (and years). For now, I just want to share a story that The Associated Press moved on the national sports wire yesterday.  It’s about the changes that the United States Golf Association is making to get Chambers Bay ready to challenge the top golfers in the world.

Here is an excerpt:

“Most times we’re going to Shinnecock or Oakmont or Pebble Beach,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said. “Going to new courses, one of the reasons we schedule it the way we did was we wanted to see how the courses played. At Chambers Bay, it was incredibly valuable.”

When Chambers Bay hosted the U.S. Amateur last year, the challenge for Davis, Chambers Bay general manager Matt Allen and their staffs was simply seeing if the course could exhibit and withstand the conditions the USGA really wanted: a dry, hard fast track that mirrored the look of the links courses of the British Isles.

It worked, even if Davis acknowledged after the Amateur that they had dried out the course too much during stroke play. The course was choked of water for three weeks before the Amateur — sans the Pacific Northwest’s natural sprinkler — and when the tournament was done, it took only three or four weeks for the course to regain some green lushness.

“It tells us frankly in the long run we can maintain the golf course drier and leaner as normal practice, which conserves on water and fertilizer,” Allen said. “And the firmer and faster it plays day in and day out, the better. That’s how it was designed and the ball goes farther and everybody is happy.”

Here is a link to the whole story.

And here is a picture of me with the U.S. Open trophy during the 2010 championship at Pebble Beach (the trophy tent is sponsored by Lexus; hence the logo placement).  Someone is going to kiss that trophy on the 18th green at Chambers Bay in four years.