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

Mayor’s Message: what should Fircrest be like 20 years from now?

Mayor’s Message for the August 2018 Town Topics newsletter

When people ask you what it’s like to live in Fircrest, what do you tell them? Can you define what it is that makes Fircrest feel so special?

The seven members of the Fircrest City Council joined with the city’s department heads in a half-day workshop in June to talk about our collective mission, vision and goals. A mission statement should define the city’s objectives and approach. In other words, it reflects who we are. The vision statement should reflect who we want to be in the future.

We started our workshop by talking about the current mission and vision statements, which were written years ago:

Mission: To enhance the quality of life where we live, work, and play, the City of Fircrest provides its citizens with efficient, courteous, professional services.

Vision: To protect and enhance our identity and quality of life and promote open and honest communication that builds a trusting environment. We will inspire a stronger community by working together toward excellence.

Personally, I feel those statements are accurate, but too generic. They could be written for lots of nice cities and towns. As our workshop discussion revealed, there were words, phrases and descriptions that speak in greater detail to who we want to be. In response to the question of what should Fircrest look like 10 to 20 years from now, here is some of what I heard that day:

Fircrest is family friendly. Our neighborhoods are safe, healthy, accessible, and connected. We remain true to the historic designs when the city was founded. Remodels and infill projects fit within the scale and character of neighborhoods. Neighbors look out for each other. Residents volunteer their time and talent to support the city, and they give constructive feedback to local leaders to help boost pride in living here.

The pool and community center are beloved sources of pride, and our efforts to update them reflect the needs of the community. We love our parks, trees and landscapes. The city works to protect and nurture our beautiful natural environment. Our commercial areas are an important asset to the community and offer goods and services that our residents desire. Our infrastructure — the backbone of the community — is sound and regularly maintained. Fircrest continues to feel like a small town even as it engages in the larger metropolitan area.

That last line is a key one, in my opinion. There’s a feeling people get when they enter Fircrest, and it’s a challenge to capture that feeling in the dry language of municipal codes that regulate development. We will never stop trying to figure out how to write codes that nurture the city’s character in a rapidly changing world.

What do you think? Did we miss anything? Feel free to send me your thoughts and I will share them with the City Council and staff. You can reach me at hgeorge@cityoffircrest.net or 115 Ramsdell St., Fircrest, WA 98466.

How Fircrest voted on ST3 in November 2016

Did you get your car tab renewal yet from the state? If you did, chances are you are feeling some serious sticker shock.

The November 2016 Sound Transit 3 ballot measure proposed building rail and bus projects over the next few decades, and paying for all of that expansion via various taxes. One of those projects will directly benefit Fircrest – the next phase of the streetcar extension will connect downtown to Tacoma Community College. Property values will soar in the future as light rail makes its way up 19th Street. Another huge improvement will be connecting Tacoma to SeaTac and beyond via light rail.

We knew car tabs were part of the financing package, but the scope of the car tab increase was definitely a surprise to most (including me, and I read a lot about it before I voted). Most attention was on Sound Transit’s first-ever use of property taxes, so few folks looked at the effect on the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) tax that you see on your car tab renewal.

Well, people are certainly paying attention now. (I got the renewal for one of my cars last week and … whoa.) As a result, the Legislature is considering proposals that range from making the car tab valuation formula more fair to letting cities opt out of the Sound Transit district.

The district covers Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. Pierce County’s portion of the district voted against ST3, but the package was approved due to stronger support in King and SnoCo.

Fircrest has four voting precincts: 28-535 through 538. The ST3 vote was very close in the land of firs:

Approve:             1,823

Reject:             1,809

So it won in the ‘Crest by 14 votes.

That’s not exactly a voter mandate either way. Half of our city voted to relieve congestion expanding our regional transit service. That’s why I agree with calls like this one for Sound Transit and the Legislature to adjust the car tab formula.

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:

President:

Clinton/Kaine (D)            2,166

Trump/Pence (R)              1,234

Governor:

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

 

How can we put more fun back in Fircrest Fun Days?

Over on Mike Brinkerhoff’s appropriately named “Crazy World of Fircrest Politics” page on Facebook, there’s a great discussion about how to boost Fircrest Fun Days. (Dec. 2 update: Mike took that page down because it got a little to crazy, which is ironic given the name of the page…)

In dozens of comments, people are saying they think Fun Days is feeling … tired. That’s especially noticeable because it comes just a few days after the knock-your-socks-off National Night Out celebration. NNO has skydivers, a helicopter, police cars, lots of food options, free inflatable activities and more. A few days later, FFD has the same inflatable toys, but it costs to play. Both events also close with a big fireworks show, and as much as everyone loves fireworks, two shows in five days may be a bit much (even for gunpowder-lovin’ Americans…).

NNO can’t move. Around the the nation, it’s always on the first Tuesday in August.

So what can we do to spruce up Fun Days? There are lots of good ideas being shared on Mike’s page. And the city is listening.Fun Days poster

At this week’s City Council meeting, I asked city staff to survey Fun Days vendors and the general public. They plan to do so, and hopefully it will be posted online next week (likely using a tool like Surveymonkey). I’ll post a link, and I’m sure Mike and the awesome ladies of the Friends of Fircrest page will make sure it’s shared far and wide. (See below for an update.)

Keep in mind, there are people who are quite happy with Fun Days, and they need to be heard too. My 6-year-old son loved the pony ride, the inflatables, and listening to the karaoke. And the Kiwanis Club of Fircrest had a hugely successful spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Friday, followed by a successful pancake breakfast fundraiser on Saturday. So to be clear, it’s not all complaints or criticism.

The city should add all the ideas being shared on Mike’s page. I hope the survey will ask about dates, satisfaction with the current setup, suggestions for other activities, etc.

It also needs to ask if you’re willing to help. Because here’s a huge difference between the two events: NNO has an active committee that raises private donations and spends most of the year planning the event. Fun Days is organized by our tiny Parks and Recreation staff, which also has to manage a whole year’s worth of activities on a shoestring budget. The staff works hard on your behalf, but I don’t see that they have the capacity to do much more. It’ll take more help to make Fun Days even, well, funner.

Aug. 21 update: The city was impressed by the online discussion and strong interest in improving Fun Days, so it is creating a Fun Days Citizen Volunteer Committee. According to a memo sent to Council today, the first meeting of the committee is tentatively set for Sept. 1 at the Rec Center. Please RSVP to jgrover@cityoffircrest.net if you are interested in participating. Jeff says one task will be to work with the committee to create and distribute a community survey.

How Fircrest residents voted Nov. 8

First of all, I want to thank Fircrest voters for casting a vote for me. My friends have good-naturedly teased me about my uncontested run for office (voter mandate?!?; OK, maybe not), but it’s definitely a humbling experience to see more than 1,200 1,500 people put a mark by my name.

Now I’d like to get to the heart of why I created this site. We’re such a small ‘burb that we generally get overlooked by media, unless a car thief is found hiding naked in a hot tub or it takes police 9 hours to coax a suspect out of a tree. (This is where I give another shout-out to TNT reporter Christian Hill for his recent story about the volunteer who gave a facelift to the Tot Lot’s Fred Flintstone.)

I took a look tonight at how the three precincts in Fircrest voted on three key issues. Election results always provide an interesting glimpse into the thoughts of a community. In this case, I find it interesting that Fircrest supported the tax increase for South Sound 911 at a rate that’s 8 percentage points higher than the countywide result. We also didn’t care much for the latest offering from Tim Eyman’s initiative factory.

Results as of Nov. 9:

Pierce County Proposition 1 (South Sound 911)

Approved: 1065 (62.6%)

Rejected: 636 (37.3)

Initiative 1183 (liquor privatization):

Approved: 1010 (57.6%)

Rejected: 742 (42.3%)

Initiative 1125 (Tim Eyman’s transportation measure)

Approved: 747 (43.6%)

Rejected: 964 (56.3%)