Tacoma Urbanist

Jun. 19, 2009 at 12:08am

Mayor Baarsma: Seattle is "Poaching" from Tacoma

Tacoma and Seattle Battle Over Russell

Harsh exchange of words reported today in the PI over the fight between Seattle and Tacoma Over Russell:

SEATTLE -- A war of words is building between the mayors of Seattle and Tacoma after a secret offer was made to lure away a major south sound business.

Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma is openly saying the move by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was "poaching from a smaller neighbor."


Nickels is making a play for Russell, and Tacoma's mayor is not happy about it.If it's true what I read in the paper, it's regretful that the mayor is engaged in poaching, Baarsma said.Obviously, we would welcome them,Nickels said.Baarsma, along with Rep. Norm Dicks of Bremerton and local business leaders, are working hard to convince the company to stay, including agreeing to phase out the business and occupation tax to make the deal more attractive.


I am glad to see someone in Tacoma stand up for the city against Seattle.   Sometimes if feels like the city resigns itself to failure.  Kudos to Baarsma.  Let's hope it is not too late.

Cultural Reference:

comments [27]  |  posted under Tacoma


by Erik on 6/19/2009 @ 12:32am
Here's a flashback of Baarsma v. Nickels:

Baarsma and the 'B' word
Posted by Cheryl Tucker @ 08:38:12 am

Does Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma really not know what "beeyotch" means?

KMTT morning DJ Marty Riemer conned battlin' Bill (pictured) into using the word in referring to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels by telling him it was street lingo for "in your face." Actually, according to the Urban Dictionary, it is defined as a "variation on bitch – as term of affection or as insult. As in: Who's the beeyotch now!"

It was all for a promo for the radio station's free latte Friday. Riemer and show producer Lee Callahan will be at Bostwick Tully's at 764 Broadway
Friday morning giving away free lattes to the first 103 customers (the station is at 103.7 FM).

The premise of the ginned-up promo was that Nickels was hogging the credit for free lattes, and Baarsma takes issue. If any free lattes are given away in this town, he says, "it'll be thanks to me, beeyotch."

Anyway, if you want to hear the promo, click here. It's pretty funny – and it does sound like Hizzoner really is clueless about the word. He just doesn't say it with the appropriate amount of brio.

So will Nickels fire back with an equally goofy salvo? We can only hope


by morgan on 6/19/2009 @ 6:23am
Erik: the photo looks like he's getting ready to give Nickels the old "one two." Good for him!

by fredo on 6/19/2009 @ 6:52am
Hey, I've got a great idea!

Why don't we spend millions of scarce tax dollars on improvements for the Russells, sell them all our available parking garages for $1, and waive all their taxes from now until the end of time?

Oh, sorry that's already been tried.

by NineInchNachos on 6/19/2009 @ 8:15am
Erik: the photo looks like he's getting ready to give Nickels the old "one two."

I'd say Baarsma looks more like Steven Hawking doing the Rosie the Riveter sign.

by fredo on 6/19/2009 @ 8:41am
Nachos@ The sharp eye of a cartoonist at work. Perhaps this will inspire a future Tacomic.

by Erik on 6/19/2009 @ 8:55am
Erik: the photo looks like he's getting ready to give Nickels the old "one two."

Yes, a demonstration of Mayor Mojo.

by morgan on 6/19/2009 @ 9:26am
Not being negative here, but IF Russell should go - what will happen to all the B

by Dave_L on 6/19/2009 @ 12:07pm
Fred-O, it would be a natural Tacomic!
I like our Tacoma-native Mayor. And i'm glad he's sticking up for Tacoma. I wonder if we can get him on a regular KXOT call-in program like KUOW gets Nickels now and then.
I always thought Baarsma looked not quite like Hawking, but more like Illya Kuryakin.

(David McCallum)

by Erik on 6/19/2009 @ 12:26pm
Nice pictures Dave. You are always able to locate the right reference at the right time.

I wonder if we can get him on a regular KXOT call-in program like KUOW gets Nickels now and then.

Perhaps in-tacoma.net could arrange for the Baarsma v. Nickels Eminem 8 Mile style rap "battle":


Its worth a try at this point.

by Twisty on 6/19/2009 @ 12:29pm
I don't recall hearing this sort of whining from Seattle on all of the (many) occasions when the Port of Tacoma beat out the Port of Seattle.

So, is Seattle now expected to say, "Hey, you know... Bill has a point. Maybe the Russell Co. shouldn't move here"?

Perhaps Baarsma would be doing a greater service to the city if he led his organization in recognizing that Russell was lost long ago, through years upon years of neglect and mismanagement. The damage was done long ago, and all of the public hand-wringing that I see going on isn't going to fix it.

by NineInchNachos on 6/19/2009 @ 4:23pm
Dave L, you're my hero

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/19/2009 @ 6:43pm
Or instead of bitching and moaning, maybe the city could, you know, try and win over new blood and get some more companies to come here?

by morgan on 6/19/2009 @ 9:14pm
Hmmm... strange. My previous post is half invisible.

What the invisible part said was- I wonder what will happen to the package the city gathered to keep Russell here? How much of it can we re-purpose into something equally beneficial for the city's residents and businesses?

by fredo on 6/19/2009 @ 10:41pm
Dave L. The Mayor does look a bit like Kuriyakan, but the Steven Hawking characterization would be funnier. We also need a cartoon image for Greg Nichols. I suggest Popeye's hamburger munching sidekick, Wimpy.

by Dave_L on 6/20/2009 @ 1:02pm
In hindsight, I've been troubled by the same thing, fredo. I've been imagining both, and you are right. If you do that blog someone suggested you do, I'd add it to my short list of blogs I read. Especially if it was complete with comics.

by Erik on 6/24/2009 @ 8:42am
Update June 23, 2009:

Seattle's bid to lure Russell Investments from Tacoma is a losing strategy no matter who wins

RECENTLY, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels offered Russell Investments a tax break if the global financial company will agree to leave Tacoma for Seattle.

Although we are confident Tacoma can hold its own in this contest, Nickels' overture demonstrates an economic-development strategy whose time is past the poaching of businesses from one region to another. Moving a company 35 miles up the freeway is not economic growth.


by NineInchNachos on 6/24/2009 @ 8:47am
economic growth is replaced by economic cannibalism. is this the future of things?

by NineInchNachos on 6/24/2009 @ 8:48am
even so it looks like Russell is playing the wallmart vendor 'race to the bottom' game.


F Russell!

by NineInchNachos on 6/24/2009 @ 3:42pm
"After they got wind of the sweet nothings Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has been whispering into Russell’s ear to entice it to leave Tacoma for Seattle, 16 Pierce County legislators fired off an angry letter to the mayor Tuesday, telling him to knock it off.

The letter calls the mayor’s overtures “misguided” and “cannibalistic."


by JesseHillFan on 6/24/2009 @ 3:46pm
F Russell.Let Seattle have them.Let's use our tax money instead of pampering and bribing Russell to fix our city streets and fill potholes.Most of the employees probably live in Gig Harbor anyways.

by ixia on 6/24/2009 @ 4:47pm
Russell would appear to have more influence as the big fish in a small pond. Once they have to swim among all other sharks in Seattle, their world will look different. I would also not count on the love to last. Should office vacancies drop again in Seattle, a sweet deal might turn bitter soon.

by ixia on 6/24/2009 @ 4:49pm
re: fix our city streets and fill potholes
Just relax,stop worrying and slow down. Potholes are cheaper than speed bumps.

by Erik on 6/25/2009 @ 8:28am

Greg Nickels declares war on Tacoma

Seattle and Tacoma can’t help being neighbors, and they’ve also been friendly rivals at times. The “friendly” part has included an implicit gentleman’s agreement not to fire nuclear warheads at each other’s economic base.

Seattle and Tacoma are part of a giant metropolitan area with many common interests, including the need for regional infrastructure and transportation improvements that will often require joint advocacy in the Legislature and Congress. Their respective economies operate in synergy; their real competitors lie abroad, especially in Japan, South Korea, China and other Pacific Rim nations.

Yet Nickels’ strategy would turn what should be a cooperative political relationship into a zero-sum fight that one can win only at the expense of the other. His beggar-thy-neighbor approach to Russell Investments threatens to seriously fray the existing goodwill between Washington’s two leading cities.

Nickels would have a hard time undoing the ill will his secret overtures to Russell have created in Tacoma. But the damage can stop at the door to his office if the Seattle City Council repudiates his nasty little attempt to raid Tacoma’s economy.


by Erik on 6/25/2009 @ 8:28am

A cartoon is drawn on Seattle v. Tacoma saga:


by NineInchNachos on 6/25/2009 @ 8:47am
yeah but did they use a watchmen reference? i don't think so.

by NineInchNachos on 6/25/2009 @ 8:50am
with the financial services industry being at the heart of all the fraud destroying the US economy, isn't it creepy how much energy is going into wooing a financial services company?

she should be begging the suitors to not throw her ass out on the street.

by Dave_L on 7/15/2009 @ 12:55pm
Continuing off-the-topic, I know the feeling, Val. A group I was involved with had an issue where TPD refused to take the evidence we had on the grounds that by taking it, they would have to investigate, which they didn't want to do. Anyway that's what were told. On the other hand, I also live in Sector 4 and have had very good results and response from TPD and community liaison officers - one CLO in particular who has worked wonders in our neighborhood not far from you. Perhaps that is who you talked to, but if not, please contact a Sector 4 CLO. I would hope that they'd be more responsive.
Sector Map: www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?hid=351
Sector 4: www.cityoftacoma.org/Page.aspx?hid=2033
Sector 4 pdf: www.cityoftacoma.org/File.ashx?cid=12319