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Budget woes, rocking the vote in Pierce County, more budget woes and some drawings from Boe

A look back at the last week in Tacoma and Pierce County

Will the City of Tacoma's $26 million general fund budget gap threaten the libraries?

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Governor Gets Grim

I don't usually cover statewide developments, but yesterday Governor Gregoire released a list of proposed budget cuts totaling $2 billion. The Governor spoke to reporters about ways the state is trying to go about making the colossal cuts needed for it to function, but the bottom line is everything that could be cut and cause minimal damage has already been cut in the last few years. State government has already been trimmed to bones and now must start sacrificing limbs. I won't editorialize much further, but if you've felt as though your life hasn't been affected by state cuts in the past few years this will be changing in the next two months. Read more about the yesterday's news at the Seattle Times and The News Tribune.

Voting Ongoing

If you're a registered voter in Pierce County you should have received your ballot in the mail last weekend. 2011 is Pierce County's first all-mail primary election, and although I don't know anyone in Tacoma under 50 who was still voting at the polls last year, it bears mentioning that ballots can be both mailed in or dropped off at various drop-off boxes. (I stuck mine in the box at the auditor's office).

If you've yet to familiarize yourself with the contents of this year's ballot the Official Pierce County Voter's Pamphlet is available online. If you prefer watching over reading, the good folks at TV Tacoma have produced a video Voter's Pamphlet, including interviews with candidates for Tacoma City Council, Tacoma Civil Service Board, Port of Tacoma Commission, Tacoma School Board and the Metro Parks Tacoma Board. You can find it here.

Costco Breaks Campaign Record

This year's election season was relatively mild, but Costco not-so-quietly set a new record for contributions to a single ballot campaign. In all the company contributed $22.5 million to the Initiative 1183 campaign seeking to privatize liquor sales. The measure has raked in a total of about $34.4 million in contributions - the most money ever brought in by a ballot measure in state history.

City Announces Budget Shortfall

Earlier this week the City of Tacoma announced that due to falling tax revenues and unanticipated expenses it is facing a $26 million general fund budget gap. The general fund budget pays for the city's basic service departments, including fire, police and libraries. The shortfall will mean the Tacoma City Council will have to create a new strategy to balance the budget. The News Tribune's Bob Carson spoke with council members and elaborated on the dilemma here.

Boe Releases Sketches

If you've ever sat near Tacoma City Councilmember David Boe at a meeting or community gathering you may have noticed him casually scribbling away in his journal. Boe is an architect by trade and an artist to boot; more than once I've glanced over his shoulder to catch a glimpse of intricate sketches.

So it came as no surprise when this week Boe publicly presented sketches of what he believes a potential Tacoma waterfront walk could look like. Boe's plans include industrial properties, the Sperry Dock area, the recently finished Chinese Reconciliation Park and the marsh that separates them. Although the sketches are "preliminary conceptions" with no money set aside to pay for them, Boe presented his sketches at a recent council meeting. The most detailed account of Boe's sketches comes from Exit133 here.

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