Tacoma Urbanist

Dec. 6, 2012 at 12:03am

What Skillset Should the Next Tacoma City Councilmember Have?

The City of Tacoma has announced that it will soon appoint a new member to the Tacoma City Council.  Applications are due by December 19th.  The process is expected to be completed by January 29, 2013.

Before the list of applicants is released, Tacomans should perhaps first ask what the city needs in a new councilmember.  What skill set is most needed at this time in Tacoma's history to most effectively benefit the city?

Once we know the skills needed to benefit Tacoma, we could ask of each applicant:

1) What education and experience do you have to qualify to be a member of the Tacoma City Council?

2) What books have you read that you believe that would give you insights as to how to be an effective council member?

3) What accomplishments have you made which might be useful as a member of the Tacoma City Councilmember?

Tacomans can expect some of the "Tacoma 44" to apply once again and make their case for appointment.  Expect a few new faces as well.

Good luck to all of the applicants!

comments [41]  |  posted under Tacoma


by Jesse on 12/6/2012 @ 7:35am
They need a SUCCESSFUL business person or a real estate developer.

by fredo on 12/6/2012 @ 8:00am
I'd be more interested to know what the skillsets of the current council members are.

by cisserosmiley on 12/6/2012 @ 8:12am
Development experience, land use consultant kind of guy.  No ties to prior election "way it works" bs...city council seat is not a booby prize for who was a second banana to Jake or also ran a county council race.  Fresh blood, new set of eyes, under 50 please. They MUST be from Tacoma proper NOT federal way.

by NineInchNachos on 12/6/2012 @ 8:18am
Anyone who lives here should apply...


by NineInchNachos on 12/6/2012 @ 8:19am
I want performance artists to apply

by NineInchNachos on 12/6/2012 @ 8:23am

who ever gets appointed will probably decide what slogans get painted on the MM bridge counter weights !

by Erik on 12/6/2012 @ 8:27am
Great ideas. City council members do not get their own staff. It is really important that they have skills in a needed area in Tacoma if they want to get on.

Another way to put the question is what issue is the City of Tacoma struggling with the most? 

IMO, the biggest challenge for Tacoma is to revitalize it's business / mixed use centers, have the endless supply of vacant buildings filled and seas of empty lots occupied with buildings:

Some of Tacoma's mixed use centers are 50 percent vacant.

Also see:


by Erik on 12/6/2012 @ 8:38am
I want performance artists to apply.

Me too. Does this mean you will throw our hat in the ring again RR?

Here is RR application before the council in 2009 (and part of Morgans and Corey Baker):


Please post any other videos of other applicants.

by cisserosmiley on 12/6/2012 @ 8:38am
I'd love to see a housing revitalization effort. Real estate in Tacoma is sad and joining the regional economy could help tacoma be a solid place to buy a home & raise a child & commute to work from. 

by NineInchNachos on 12/6/2012 @ 8:41am
negatory for me, I am district 3. 

by The Jinxmedic on 12/6/2012 @ 8:51am
As it turns out, I am just over the boundary in district 4.

by fredo on 12/6/2012 @ 9:11am
Voters in Fey's district are going to lose an elected representative and get an appointed representative.
This happens a lot in Tacoma and is detrimental to our city. People run for office and before their term is up they quit and an appointee is assigned.

by NineInchNachos on 12/6/2012 @ 9:29am
Fredo is right!

we need new double triple dipper representation!

by fredo on 12/6/2012 @ 11:11am
As bad as Fey was, you can be sure that his appointed replacement will be worse. But there's no need to fill out your applications folks. Strickland, Mello, et al have already decided on an appointee. That "process" is just a charade.

by cisserosmiley on 12/6/2012 @ 11:17am
I'd like to see a recycle/reuse strategy, ask Debbie Regala if she would be on the city council.

by Erik on 12/6/2012 @ 11:40am
Re: Fey: he was one of the smartest folks on the council who could see through the haze of Eric Anderson's budget and was the only one who voted against it.  Impressive as most votes are unanimous these days.

Also, Jake worked in many key areas to reduced the disastrous off-street parking requirement in Tacoma's mixed use center.

With that said, I think the next person on council needs to come from the small business community with a passion for restoring historical buildings and bring more people and businesses into Tacoma's mixed use centers and downtown without turning them into "dumping grounds." 

Walmart is going to open soon.  Tacoma is going to have to ramp up it's strategy soon.

by NineInchNachos on 12/6/2012 @ 11:56am
does anyone know if Jack Connelly owns a house in district 2 ?

by cisserosmiley on 12/6/2012 @ 12:14pm
The next council person should be a proven team player. Small business people are notorious "lone wolf" types. WE are a community and I would like to see an employee NOT management be the people's representative on the council. Anyone know some good teachers, cops, social workers, nurses, or firefighters who would help our city. 

by Erik on 12/6/2012 @ 12:31pm


December 5, 2012

Notice is hereby given that the City Clerk’s Office is accepting applications with cover letter and
resume to fill the City Council District No. 2 position.

The District generally represents northeast
Tacoma, the Port Industrial Area, and downtown Tacoma. If you are uncertain if your residential
address falls into District No. 2 boundaries, please contact the City Clerk’s Office or view a map at
www.cityoftacoma.org. Applications may be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office, Tacoma
Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, Room 220, by calling (253) 591-5361, or at
Equal Opportunity Employer:
The City of Tacoma is an equal opportunity employer.

Applicants are considered for positions
without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital or veteran status,
disability, sexual orientation (including gender identity), or any other basis prohibited by federal,
state, and local laws.

If you have questions or need an accommodation in the application process,
please call City Clerk Doris Sorum at (253) 591-5361.

Persons with a disability, who need
assistance with the application process, or those needing this announcement in an alternative
format, may call (800) 833-6384 or TTY Relay 711 at (800) 833-6388.
Qualifications for Office and Responsibilities of the City Council

The City Charter provides that citizens seeking appointment to the City Council must be qualified
electors (have the ability to register to vote), City residents for two years immediately preceding the
time of appointment, and District No. 2 residents for one year immediately preceding the time of filing
for City Council.

The Council is responsible for enacting all legislation, developing policies, and
making general decisions for governing the City. Council duties include adopting and amending City
laws; approving the budget; establishing City policies and standards; approving contracts and
agreements; and representing the City.

The Council meets every Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the
Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, City Council Chambers, first floor. In addition,
study sessions are held every Tuesday at noon in Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market
Street, Room 16. Council Committees meet in accordance with a set schedule from Mondays
through Thursdays in various rooms in the Tacoma Municipal Building.

Effective January 1, 2013, Council Members will receive an annual salary of $41,269.

Return completed application form, cover letter, and resume to: City Clerk’s Office, Tacoma
Municipal Building, 747 Market Street, Room 220, Tacoma, WA 98402-3766, or fax 253-591-5300
or e-mail DSorum@cityoftacoma.org. Applications and materials must be received by the City
Clerk’s Office no later than 5 p.m., on Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

Doris Sorum


by NineInchNachos on 12/6/2012 @ 1:16pm
somebody who understands the port...  somebody who belongs to a union.  somebody who makes asphalt with his own bare hands... hmm.

by Maria on 12/6/2012 @ 3:34pm
A skeptic with bedazzling accounting/numbers skills--a semi-cranky CFO type who doesn't fall for BS or pipe dreams. Who loves historical buildings and culture, and has worked with or founded more than one successful business. Knows how to make money but realizes that community quality-of-life is part of the big picture.

If he/she can multiply and divide large numbers quickly without using paper/calculator, collects art, and drives a fuel-efficient car, that's probably the perfect skill set.

Bonus points for: Assembled own computer at least once. Volunteered at their child's co-op preschool regularly. Has lived overseas at least once. Helped bring a company out of a season of falling sales, bankruptcy or near-bankruptcy. Rides a bike, runs marathons or has some kind of a grueling hobby. Subscribes to the Economist.

Someone like Craig Ueland (former Russell CEO).

by Jesse on 12/6/2012 @ 3:55pm
How about Derek Young?

by NineInchNachos on 12/6/2012 @ 5:06pm
he lives in gig harbor

by dolly varden on 12/6/2012 @ 5:39pm
They should support raising the revenue needed to support a good bus system.

by fredo on 12/6/2012 @ 5:49pm
There's already enough sales tax revenue to support a good bus system. The transit administrators are so inept they can't make it work. But if the council wants Pierce Transit to raise the fares I guess I wouldn't object to that .

by Erik on 12/20/2012 @ 11:04am
The Tacoma 7 2012 have applied to replace Jake Fey.Who has the skills and experience to rebuild Tacoma and fill in some of the vast number of empty storefronts and vacant parking lots?

Tacoma: Seven candidates apply to fill Fey’s City Council seat

A political consultant. A boutique cake shop owner. A
downtown salon proprietor. A real estate broker. A retired teacher . A
state patrol sergeant. An art house theater director.
They are among the seven candidates who filed applications vying for
appointment to fill the unexpired term of outgoing Tacoma City
Councilman Jake Fey.  Fey, who officially vacates his
District 2 council seat on Dec. 31, won election to the Washington House
of Representatives in November.
Some of the applicants who filed for Fey’s seat have sought
appointment to the council before.  Some have run for elected office,
with at least one holding office. Others appear to be entering politics
for the first time. The applicants include:

Monica (Hunter) Alexander,
a 16-year Washington State Trooper.

Philip Cowan, executive director of the Grand Cinema.

(Cowan sought a council appointment and was named among 8 finalists in 2009.)
David D’Aniello, proprietor of Celebrity Cake Studio.

Carolyn Edmonds, a Windermere Real Estate broker.

(Edmonds sought a council appointment in 2009 and has held elected office as a Washington State Representative and a King County Council member.)

Jon Higley, a retired teacher and founder of the conservative political group, The Tacoma 9/12 Project.

(Higley ran for State Representative in 2010.)

Patricia Lecy-Davis, owner of Embellish Multispace Salon. (Lecy-Davis sought a council appointment and was named among eight finalists in 2009.)

Robert Thoms, partner and chief executive of the political consulting firm, The Navigation Group.

We’ll have more details about the applicants soon.
The City Council is expected to hold public interviews of the candidates and appoint a
replacement to fill out Fey’s term by the end of next month.  

appointed candidate will represent District 2, which stretches from
Northeast Tacoma around Commencement Bay to Old Town.


by tacoma_1 on 12/20/2012 @ 11:27am

If Monica Hunter is selected, she would probably be well equipped to handle Robert Hill when he gets out of the gray bar hotel.

by cisserosmiley on 12/20/2012 @ 12:07pm
I think Monica Hunter would be great and could help other council members if they got in an accident while driving to Olympia.

by tacoma_1 on 12/20/2012 @ 12:29pm
She knows how to wear a hat too. That has to be a qualification for the job. 

That political consultant/lobbyist guy, I dunnuh. 

And the Tea Party guy is definitely outta touch with the neighborhoods he wants to represent.  He needs to move to Puyallup or Bonney Lake if he wants to hold office. 

If Patricia Lecy-Davis gets the job, can she do anything with that mop on the top of Lonergan Jr's head? That should be her litmus test IMHO.

by Erik on 12/20/2012 @ 1:18pm
Here is what I wrote as a comment on the Tribune site before the pay wall hit me:

The Tacoma City Council should pick the candidate which is most qualified to assist the city with it's most pressing needs at this time.

Right now, Tacoma's downtown and many of it's mixed use centers have an overabundance of vacant storefronts
and buildings. Tacoma badly needs someone in the private sector who has the experience and skills to assist and support small businesses in Tacoma.

The council needs a lot more business experience present if it is going to improve it's condition. Patricia Lecy-Davis
has the experience and skills of restoring her building and starting several businesses in it. She has been a leader of the Go Local movement in Tacoma for many years and has assisted countless businesses.

For this time in Tacoma's history, and with the current council
composition, she is by far the best choice IMO.

by tacoma_1 on 12/20/2012 @ 1:37pm
If you endorse her, is she also a transit opponent?

That could be a big problem. District 2 voted solidly for prop 1. Think I'll have to figure that one out. If she shares your transit views, I'll be sending an email off to city council to encourage other candidates.

by NineInchNachos on 12/20/2012 @ 6:39pm

keep dreaming Jon Higley virtually zero chance of being selected by our council.

The trooper or Patricia would be fun.

by Maria on 12/22/2012 @ 1:32pm
Lots of good candidates. A few of these would do well to get experience on Metro Parks boards, school boards, etc. to bolster their candidacies.

Monica Alexander and Patricia Lecy-Davis are especially interesting, the first for her public sector and communications experience, and Patricia because of her enthusiasm, pro-civic spirit and success as a business owner.

The other candidate who looks good is Robert Thoms. His experience and analytical skills--plus his service with Metro Parks--might make him the most qualified. Just wondering what are his views on urban re-development, liveable communities, historic building preservation and cultural resources. Is he a raze and pave parking lot capitalist jargon-speaker, or a humane, creative public servant who is able to balance economics and quality of life

Credentials (from his website bio):

Robert has more than 20 years of experience in the private and public sector representing the interests of both elected officials and industry leaders.  He has worked directly with fortune 500 companies as well as start-ups clients both in Washington D.C as a legislative analyst for Dutko Worldwide and most recently as a Vice President at Thompson Smitch Consulting Group in Washington state.  Robert has an intimate knowledge of military and legislative issues impacting Washington State having worked in the Capitol in Olympia prior to serving on Senator Maria Cantwell staff from 2000 – 2007. 

Robert was integral member of Senator Cantwell’s staff, he served as a senior policy advisor on military issues and policy impacting the State of Washington and DoD as a whole.  He was also key to managing all policy and political issues impacting the state were he served in many important position including Eastern and Central Washington Director; South Sound Director and finally Deputy State Director managing offices in Spokane, Richland and Tacoma, Washington respectively. 

Prior to joining Senator Cantwell’s staff, Robert was the Eastern Washington Campaign Manager for the Cantwell for Senate 2000 campaign.  He worked as Chief of Staff to then Rep. Jeff Gombosky from 1998 – 2000.  He also has extensive federal campaign experience having served as campaign and field mangers in congressional races in 1994, 1996 and in the 5th Congressional district in 1998 after moving to Washington state from Washington DC to attend graduate school at Gonzaga University.

Before calling Washington state home, Robert worked on Capitol Hill from 1991- 1997.  From 1991-1993 serving as Navy legislative liaison for the SeaWolf program before congress.  1993-1995 as legislative aide to Congressman John LaFalce from Buffalo, NY working on Small Business Administration and Military issues.  1995-1997 Robert worked for Dutko Worldwide, one of the most respected government relations firms on Capitol Hill, he specialized in researching federal legislative issues for clients including US West, 3M, Coca Cola and the American Health Care Association.

Robert is Veteran of the Persian Gulf War and currently serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the United States Navy Reserves stationed at the Pentagon’s Chief of Naval Information Office.  Robert is also an Adjunct Instructor to the Navy Prospective Commanding Officers School in New Orleans teaching Communication and Congressional Affairs courses.

Robert received his BA in Political Science from State University of New York, Buffalo and his MA from Gonzaga University.  Robert and his wife Beth are the proud parents of William and Charlotte Thoms and live in Tacoma. Robert is also a valued member of several boards including Metro Parks Tacoma and the Institute for a Democratic Future and Documentary Film Institute of San Francisco State University. 

by fredo on 12/22/2012 @ 1:57pm

too many democrat-types already on the council.

by NineInchNachos on 12/22/2012 @ 2:16pm
they should appoint the tea farty ass hat!

by cisserosmiley on 12/23/2012 @ 12:04am
The city council is a reflexive body with the citizens of Tacoma. Let us hope for something "better" than political consultants & tea partiers...could we get serious about this one @Maria & RR

by JesseHillFan on 12/23/2012 @ 6:09am
A council member who can actually say and vote no against expensive goofy projects and against anything from the Chamber of Commerce and vote no against developers,business people who want taxpayers to fund their opium pipe dream projects.Some one who is concerned with the financial well being of taxpaying residents and keeps the city council in check.

by fredo on 12/23/2012 @ 7:13am
"A council member who can actually say and vote no against expensive goofy projects and against anything from the Chamber of Commerce and vote no against developers,business people who want taxpayers to fund their opium pipe dream projects." JHF

You mean like the current city council who loaned $2,000,000 to the bankrupt Prium Development Company and who sold a prime piece of waterfront property worth $1,100,000 for the discounted price of $700,000? How about the council members who paid $300,000 for a spaghetti sauce recipe that turned out to be a few misspelled words scribbled on the back of a paper napkin? You mean like the mayor who spent $92,000 to find out if any major league sports teams would like to relocate into the Tacoma Dome?

by JesseHillFan on 12/23/2012 @ 7:54am
Yep someone who wouldn't lend taxpayer money to folks like Prium.If they have a dream they should apply for a loan at a bank or interest private investors or have the money required like anyone else.The taxpayer/citizen should not be the ones stuck with the short end of the stick if their dream fails.

by Erik on 1/1/2013 @ 4:58pm
The Tacoma 7 Tacomic released:


by NineInchNachos on 1/1/2013 @ 7:41pm
Is there still time to "Tacoma Sun" each candidate?