Tacoma Urbanist

Aug. 29, 2012 at 8:30am

The Tacoma Sun Interviews Jeannie Darneille on Tacoma's Critical Issues

Below are the questions and responses sent to Jeannie Darneille candidate for Washington State Sendate District #27 in the Tacoma Sun.  The entire interview can be read here.

The questions being asked to Washington State Legislative candidates this year from the Tacoma Sun are very specific and address such issues as the best method rebuilding Tacoma Streetcars, digital billboards, pollution in Tacoma and addressing the Felon Dumping Ground Issue.

1) Education and Experience


What education and experience do you have to qualify to be a member of the Washington State Legislature? What books have you read that you believe that would give you insights as to how to be an effective legislator?


My legislative and professional careers have dovetailed to prepare me well for service in the Washington State Senate.  I have served for 12 years in the Washington House of Representatives, and have held many positions of influence:  I was elected to leadership as a Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, and appointed to chair two important fiscal committees, General Government Appropriations and the Caseload Forecast Council.  I have also served as the vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee for the last two years, and have developed an in-depth understanding of the state budget.  My professional career as a director of non profit community based organizations has given me a comprehensive understanding of the way state services are provided, and a passion to provide these in cost-effective, results-centered ways.  I have, both in my professional and legislative career, depended on my ability to draw people together to reach consensus.  My legislative career shows a long history of fighting for Pierce County and Tacoma, whether it is funding for the Washington State History Museum, or fighting to assure that Pierce County is not the dumping ground for felons.
As the eldest of six in a military family, our family moved enough that I attended 15 schools by the time I graduated from high school. I received my bachelor’s degree in art history at Western Washington University, with a Masters in Education (Higher Education Administration) at Colorado State University.
Books: I am reading “The Quotable Kennedys” by Bill Adler, but find that reading current research and analysis pertaining to issues facing government consumes more of my time than reading books.

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. During the last 10 years, Tacoma has grown less than 5000 residents while Spokane grew by 13,000 and Pierce County grew by 95,000. If you are elected, would you work to add more density to the City of Tacoma? How would your plan, if any, be different from what is in place now?
Answer: The Legislature can require local governments to strictly conform to growth management principles, and work on educating stakeholders and the public on the advantages to denser communities.

Our local government can take steps to reduce urban sprawl and add density to the City of Tacoma by working collaboratively with the Washington State Departments of Commerce and Transportation to promote the development of multi- family homes near affordable transit options.  Especially in the denser Tacoma areas, we need to find ways to provide housing where there is the greatest amount of demand so that rental prices don’t continue to creep upwards and prevent families from living in the most livable and walkable areas or aren’t forced to move out.  Fortunately, much of my community supports increasing urban density and creating livable, walkable neighborhoods in Tacoma.  I’ve worked to create more density in downtown Tacoma through revitalization efforts to enhance those goals.

3) Pierce County Felon “Dumping Ground” Issues

Question: Despite the recent laws passed in the Legislature, 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?http://cityclubtacoma.org/images/uploads/DOC_Report_final1.pdf.   Have you read this report? What specific steps would you take, if any, to reduce the number of felons being place in Tacoma and Pierce County? Does the Department of Corrections need more oversight as to where they place and/or subsidize felons to live?


Criminal justice issues have been a priority for me during my legislative tenure. I have learned that transitioning felons back into society after their incarceration is over has to be one of the most complex issues that society faces. 97% of all felons do return to the community.  As with many other issues, the role of the state Legislature in where felons live when they are released from prison is nuanced.  The legislature passed a bill known as “The Fair Share Law” which requires a released felon under supervision of the Department of Corrections to return to their county of origin.  However, fair share only applies to those under supervision:  those who are not under supervision may live wherever they wish.  Our community is currently facing a situation where community members are upset over the potential of a halfway house for former felons, which is bringing to light the different roles and responsibilities of local vs. state governments.

I have a long history of working to protect Pierce County from becoming home to a disproportionate number of felons:  I was the only vote in the House of Representatives against placing the civil commitment center for sex offenders on McNeil Island, and I will continue to address the issues of re-integrating felons into the community after their sentences are over.  I also have a long history of trying to help former felons re-integrate into the community, and worked for 9 years on a bill that helped 140,000 people who had served their prison terms regain their voting rights.  I think that balancing regulation with programs that help felons re-integrate is the appropriate role for the state.

Former County Prosecutor Gerry Horne led the effort to educate the Pierce County delegation in the legislature about this issue and I continue to attend bi-monthly meetings convened by current Prosecutor Mark Lindquist on this issue.


comments [20]  |  posted under tacoma


by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 8:57am
Thanks for bringing this Tacoma Sun "interview" to our attention, Erik.

In the final analysis, Ms. Darneille is one of the  architects of Washington State's many failed policy initiatives. I see little reason to extend her legislative experiment by electing her to the State Senate. 

by cisserosmiley on 8/29/2012 @ 10:17am
@Fredo, it makes no sense for 1%'ers like Jack Connelly & Jake Fey to represent us when WE have Jeannie Darnielle & Lauren Walker. Why do super wealthy guys want be our voice??? And Mit Romney too ???

by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 10:44am
cissero, I'm sorry it sounded like I was endorsing Connelly. I wasn't. But if folks like Darneille are going to wreck the state what difference does it make if we try somebody new? Can they really do any worse? 

Don't see what Romney has to do with our State Senate races. And I don't think we should exclude rich people from running for office. I'd rather have a businessman with a good head on his shoulders making policy decisions than some bum from the city mission who's elected just because he's poor.

by cisserosmiley on 8/29/2012 @ 12:02pm
I would like an astute public servant...Obama, Darnielle, Walker
...rich dudes go play with yourselves

by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 12:25pm
"rich dudes go play with yourselves"

Barack Obama net worth=$11,800,000

by KevinFreitas on 8/29/2012 @ 2:05pm
Tell the whole story now @fredo:

Mitt Romney net worth: $200 million (source: www.google.com/search?q=mitt+romney+net+...)
Barack Obama net worth: $11.8 million (source: www.google.com/search?q=barack%20obama%2...)

by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 2:13pm

  Kevin, are you saying that Obama isn't a "rich dude?"

by cisserosmiley on 8/29/2012 @ 3:43pm
There is something inconsistent between the values of our wealthiest citizens and the other 90 something % of us that live an extremely less resourced life here in capitalistic, democratic USA.

by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 4:23pm
I'm not sure I want to live in a country where everybody has the same level of income. That would mean the highest producers were having their income confiscated and distributed to the laziest people.  

But maybe there is an inconsistency in values. The highest earners probably value thrift, industriousness, and achievement and the lowest earners value skipping school and calling in sick everytime they have a hangover.

by KevinFreitas on 8/29/2012 @ 4:51pm
Yes, Obama is what I would consider rich. However, Romney is nearly 20 times richer. If you compare someone who makes $10k a year to someone who makes $200k (20 times more) a year would you call them both poor? No. There's a huge difference in those numbers comparing Obama's net worth to Romney's no matter what words you use to describe it.

Then the question can be begged about how each made/earned their riches. No time to research that at the moment but I'm sure that info's out there somewhere.

by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 5:03pm
  How can we use wealth to select the best candidate?

There's always going to be one candidate in every race who is wealthier than the others. Romney is richer than Obama. Obama is richer than Ron Paul ($5.4M). Is Ron Paul the best candidate because he has the least money? Is Obama the best candidate because he has less money than Romney?

When Richard Nixon ran against the 1%er John F. Kennedy, was he the better candidate because he wasn't wealthy?

by tacoma_1 on 8/29/2012 @ 5:22pm
Beware of the never ending nonsensical rabbit hole.

by cisserosmiley on 8/29/2012 @ 5:23pm
I am comfortable using wealth as a reason to choose a candidate because the further from my socio-economic strata my "representative" is the less they will protect my needs in this community.

by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 5:38pm
cissero, then you would have been a Nixon man!
Bravo to you.

How do like Ron Paul?

He's a lot closer to your socio-economic strata than Barack Obama.

by KevinFreitas on 8/29/2012 @ 5:43pm
Haha, oh so very true @tacoma_1 :) I recently figured out why I'm so content this major election cycle as opposed to 2008 and came up with two things:

No TV. The lack of broadcast or cable TV brings with it anear complete abolishing of political ads and horrible new channel's coverage.

Go Local. I've also found that I'll invest my time/attention inversely with the size/weight of the office I'm voting for. This means I'll pay more attention to local elections than state or national. This also helps me get a greater perceived return on my vote when I can walk up and talk to a local candidate and impress upon him/her my view any this issue or that.

I highly recommend this technique for anyone who feels too wrapped up in races that, really, have little to do with day-to-day-life.

by fredo on 8/29/2012 @ 6:31pm
Oh so very true.

I'm going to vote for Jeannie Darneille. She has less money than Jack Connelly so I can be assurred that when she participates in ruining our state government it won't be because of greed. She's just like the rest of us poor slobs, she wants to spend more than we have to spend and more than we're likely to have to spend.

by cisserosmiley on 8/29/2012 @ 7:51pm
I'm voting for Lauren Walker & Jeannie Darnielle because the rich dudes that want to "represent" us, don't.

by low bar on 8/30/2012 @ 5:28pm
fredo I'll go down your rabbit hole and pinch off a big fact check curler in it. How does that sound amigo?

History is not on your side bud. I'll use your words against you and turn this thread to a 200+ reply thread ok?

Starting with:

"I'd rather have a businessman with a good head on his shoulders making policy decisions.." - fredo

don't get me started on that draft dodging chicken hawk romney. i will light up this blog

by fredo on 8/30/2012 @ 7:26pm

calm down low bar. the election isn't until november.

by low bar on 8/31/2012 @ 2:39pm
elections? we are beyond that when so many lies are being spred and the facts are ignored. the GOP and its supporters needs to meet the rest of the union in a field in Kansas. 

Bushwackers VS Jayhawks Part II 

*spoiler alert: Bushwackers get utterly creamed