Pierce County Executive Candidate Calvin Goings Answers Questions on Tacoma and Pierce County.
Editors Note: November elections are almost upon us. Today, the Tacoma Sun posts questions submitted to Calvin Goings as well as his answers. There are three other candidates in the Pierce County Executive race.
1) Jail releases
The media has reported that the Pierce County Jail currently releases nearly all of the people who have been arrested in Pierce County into downtown Tacoma even if they are arrested in Orting or a remote area of the county. Would you support a plan which would transport some or all of the jail releases to the places where they were arrested or where they live when their sentence ends?
2) Growth management
Over the last 30 years, Pierce County has been known for suburban sprawl which has caused the loss of farmland, pollution, traffic congestion and disinvestment in Tacoma.
If you are elected, how will you address the effects of sprawl and growth management in Pierce County? How would that plan be different, if at all, from what is in place now?
For decades, Pierce County operated under an ‘anything goes, anytime, anywhere’ mind set. For the past several years as a County Councilmember, I have been an outspoken supporter of reversing these poor decisions.
As Executive, I will continue to be a leader on farmland preservation, creation of new trails and open space preserves, and encouraging transit oriented development. That is why I have laid out a bold Sustainability Plan for Tacoma and Pierce County (CalvinGoings.org/sustainability). Due to my unwavering support of smart land use planning, I am pleased to have the sole endorsements of the Sierra Club and Washington Conservation Voters.
3) Pierce County Felon “Dumping Ground” Issues
As you know, Tacoma and Pierce County have a disproportionate number of released felons placed by the Department of Corrections as described in the Tacoma City Club report: 30 Years of DOC in Pierce County, Was It Worth It?
If elected, what do you plan to do, if anything to reduce the number of felons placed in Tacoma and Pierce County? Do you agree that Tacoma and Pierce County should have no more than their pro-rata share based on population? How can the concentration of felons be reduced to its pro-rata share?
For too long Tacoma has been a dumping ground for criminals. As Executive, I will stop the state from continually exporting dangerous offenders to our community. That is why I am proud to be the only candidate for Executive with the collective endorsements of our local police officers, sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers, and troopers.
We must also work to prevent crime from happening in the first place. That is why I have laid out a specific crime prevention and law enforcement plan. As Executive, my ‘Safe Pierce Plan’ (CalvinGoings.org/safe) will focus on winning strategies to keep our neighbors safe.
4) Elks Temple
A great many Tacoma’s would like to see the Elks Temple restored. There have been plans discussed to possibly turn part of the building into a transit station.
What is your position on this issue? What plan would you support?
I support this plan. Downtown Tacoma is the heart and soul of Pierce County. I fully support ensuring the continued renaissance of Tacoma. Many people in Tacoma often wonder how County land use decisions impact their lives in the city.
If the County continues to allow for lateral sprawl type development all the way out to Mt. Rainier, downtown urban areas will never be able to reach their full potential. Additionally, services such as transit will be stretched too thin out to the suburbs to ever make transit oriented developments in downtown a functioning reality.
5) Rebuilding Tacoma
Despite the progress made, Tacoma still has a large number of vacant lots, and empty and blighted buildings relative to other west coast cities. What role can you and Pierce County take, if you are re-elected, to support the rebuilding of downtown Tacoma and Tacoma’s mixed use centers.
As stated above, decisions made by Piece County have a direct impact on the quality of life in the City of Tacoma. As Executive, I will hold the line on sprawl in the County. It makes no sense that in Tacoma some elementary schools may be closed due to declining enrollment, however, in Puyallup and Spanaway we can’t build schools fast enough.
Future growth should be focused where urban amenities such as schools, roads, and utilities already exist. However, we must also require that higher density development be top quality that incorporates open space and public amenities, and is built with existing neighborhoods in mind.
6) Arts and Community
What artistic events in Tacoma do you enjoy and which ones have you attended?
My family very much enjoys the diversity of downtown Tacoma’s art scene. I am pleased to be a supporter and patron of the Broadway Center. Additionally, I believe government does have a vital role to play in supporting a thriving arts community. That is why I have led the effort to have Pierce County support the Theatre District, Arts Funds, and First Night. Arts are key to a vibrant city core, and a bustling city core is key to long term and sustainable economic development.
7) Restoring Tacoma’s Streetcars
Many Tacomans support restoring Tacoma’s streetcar system. Gas prices are now at record levels. Pierce County plays a large role in transportation systems in Tacoma. Do you support restoring the streetcar network in Tacoma? What steps would be needed to be taken to make this happen?
Yes. As County Executive I will have seats on both the Sound Transit and Pierce Transit Boards of Commissioners. I fully support a joint effort among Sound Transit, the City of Tacoma, and Pierce Transit to construct a street car network as a viable alternative to traffic congestion.
VIII) Pollution Issues in Tacoma
The City of Tacoma is currently failing the pollution criteria set by the State of Washington. What role can Pierce County play to reduce pollution in the city limits of Tacoma?
The County Executive sits on the Puget Sound Clear Agency Board. This is the regional entity charged with addressing air pollution. As Executive, I will deal with this very real issue head on. We cannot pretend there is not a problem, or blame the problem on Tacoma’s south end as some have attempted to do. Only by being honest and direct about our challenges can we address this issue.
9) Crime Reduction Proposal by City Manager Eric Anderson
City Manager Eric Anderson has set a goal to reduce crime in Tacoma by 50 percent in 14 months. Given the predominant role Pierce County plays on the criminal justice system, what steps will you support the County government in taking so that the City of Tacoma can succeed?
I fully support the City’s efforts to cut crime. The County must be a willing and full partner in this effort. That is why in my ‘Safe Pierce Plan’ I have called for the creation of regional task forces to deal with some of our most chronic challenges.
These regional efforts made up of police from Tacoma, Lakewood, and Pierce County would constitute a sustained proactive effort to deal with drugs, gangs, and prostitution. I will also champion the efforts to support wining prevention programs like Safe Streets, and work to improve our failing 911 dispatch system.
More information on Goings: