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Who Should Replace Eric Anderson?

by captiveyak
on 3/18/2011 @ 7:54am
When our long municipal nightmare is over and the era of panicked prostration to business interests can finally come to a close, who should be chosen to fill the City Manager position?

by jenyum on 3/18/2011 @ 8:01am
I think this usually involves forming a national search committee, like looking for a school superintendent. Have to look at administrators at other cities around the country and see who is looking to move and what their performance has been like.

by jenyum on 3/18/2011 @ 8:14am
Looking for less car-centric cities, like say, somebody from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability in Portland:

or the City Manager's office in Berkeley, CA:

or Sonoma CA

or looking closer to home, Olympia's downtown rocks:

All of these cities really mean what they say about quality of life and sustainable urban design.

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 9:30am
Eric Anderson serves at the pleasure of the city council. I don't think there are 5 votes on the current council to end his appointment. Those who don't like his style should make that an issue in the city council elections coming up in just 8 months. I think there are going to be 3 open seats.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 9:32am
Anderson and the whole Legal Team need to go. away. far far away.

by captiveyak on 3/18/2011 @ 9:41am
i would hope that the candidates will make Mr. Anderson an issue. I think the idea of ousting him could probably gain some traction fairly easily.

I like jenyum's list too... it's a good place to start. I would add something to the considerations, though. Our next City Manager should have a strong background of experience in historic preservation issues. When the commuter train begins to enliven the business district in S. Tacoma, preservation issues will become even more diverse and urgent than they already are. We need someone who understands how to work with private and public mechanisms to guard historic elements of the city's culture and appearance.

Tacoma has such a healthy stock of historic structures, it seems very logical that they should become centerpieces of our visual identity.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 9:43am
what is better, a competent city manager or going back to strong mayor? which is easier?

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 9:44am
Yes nachos, I'm surprised that the attorney's representing Tacoma are always so down beat when discussing the defense of Tacoma's 1997 billboard law. Even if they privately think the law is a piece of crap and is entirely indefensible it would behoove them to display a little more enthusiasm in the media. It's called SPIN. Why telegraph to the other side that you think we should throw in the towel? Get rid of these nattering nabobs of negativism.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 9:51am
i'm still pissed at them for threatening to sue the citizen streetcar initiative petitioners.

by Nick on 3/18/2011 @ 9:52am
Hmmm, personally I'd nix the city manager's office in Berkeley. I grew up just over the hill and for such a famously progressive city, a lot of their policies are excessively suburban in nature. Perhaps that's starting to change, but it doesn't make for a very strong track record.

by captiveyak on 3/18/2011 @ 9:53am
RR: Good question re: storng mayor/ competent city manager. It makes sense to have an official who is not concerned about politics managing the business of the city. But I think that the current council defers to the CM, instead of enforcing accountability. If there was a better balance of power - an accountable CM and a CC full of sharp admininstrators like Fey - we could have a very effective city government. But when the council has to rely upon the CM as the expert, there are going to be problems.

I think the CM system works well, and protects our tax dollars from being spent on vote-bait endeavors. I jsut think we need to re-examine the relationship between the CM and the council.

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 9:59am
"But when the council has to rely upon the CM as the expert, there are going to be problems."

Captiveyak, we frequently disagree, but on this point we have common ground. The council members, many of whom haven't been there that long, and may not even be elected are loathe to call the CM on anything. One problem on our CC is that council members are not especially courageous and tend to want to vote unanimously. The job of the council is to represent the constituents in their district and not the wishes of the CM.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 10:00am
@yak ah good food for thought sir.

@fredo amen.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/18/2011 @ 12:02pm
I'd like a city manager that will not let Tacoma be Clear Channel's bitch.

by cisserosmiley on 3/18/2011 @ 12:12pm
i would like a council that is specifically NOT "administrators" WE need visionaries - there is an entire professional staff of "administrators" working for the city. council folks must be more dynamic. WE need a city manager that is a capable administator - how about above said Jake Fey - he could be the new city manager, maybe even do it while sitting on the council, heck that would just make it more efficient.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 12:16pm
second the motion by CisseroSmiley

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 12:25pm
"Jake Fey - he could be the new city manager, maybe even do it while sitting on the council, heck that would just make it more efficient." cissero

You mean you want us to turn Tacoma's double dipper into a government triple dipper? Sorry, that doesn't sound appropriately "visionary" to me.

by cisserosmiley on 3/18/2011 @ 12:39pm
exactly fredo, 2 retirement checks, a paycheck from one of the retirement check jobs, city council pay, and tack on manager too...visionaries need to be king or prince or umpa or something thoroughly totolitarian

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 1:04pm
You want visionary?

I'll be the city manager for one year for half Anderson's salary. If I can't cut $75M from the budget in the first year the city doesn't have to pay me anything. I will direct that the money saved be returned to the city taxpayers via lower property tax rates, lower sales tax rates, lower b&o rates and lower utility rates. I will require the ability to reconfigure employee compensation policies but intend to keep city service levels pretty much as they are now.

The first order of business is to put the Nissan Leafs and Mayor Stricklands new furniture on craigslist. We can get some cheap cars at the auto auction and I saw some slightly soiled furniture at St. Vincent dePauls. If anyone questions the new austerity I have an answer for them: "shift happens!"

by Nick on 3/18/2011 @ 1:06pm
So my original thought was that we needed to restructure to a strong mayor type of leadership, but maybe the real issue is that the dynamic between the council and the city manager is out of whack.

My impression is that we currently have a city manager *completely* disconnected from the will of Tacoma's citizens. It's one thing to insulate day-to-day operations from local politics. It is quite another to have our voted leadership simply defer to the whims of an un-elected individual *100%* of the freakin' time.

by captiveyak on 3/18/2011 @ 1:06pm
Chris "Fredo" Christie, is that you?

by Nick on 3/18/2011 @ 1:10pm
To put it another way, the council should defer to Eric Anderson's expertise on how to implement the elected council's will/objectives. The council should NOT be deferring to Eric Anderson's expertise on what he thinks is best for Tacoma.

by L.S.Erhardt on 3/18/2011 @ 1:12pm
Best choice:

by captiveyak on 3/18/2011 @ 1:12pm
exactly what i was saying, Nick. The Council has become a rubber stamp committee for the CM and the various special commissions. I have no problem with the commissions. I think they do a good job hashing through all the miniscule details and considerations of proper governance. But the CM's office tends to operate more like a gland than a nerve center, constantly emitting unresisted, fully-formulated intitiatives not fully understood by the host. A nerve center takes in stimuli and relays coordinated responses throughout the host, so that the entire unit is both sensing and acting at once, with full understanding and intent.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/18/2011 @ 1:14pm
I know it was you, fredo, you broke my heart, you broke my heart.

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 1:17pm
Nick, you're exactly right. If people don't like how the city is run it's not the managers fault, it's the city council's.

I would love to see a city council meeting where 5 elected council members responded to one of Anderson's spending decisions with the following statement:

"Thanks for taking the time to give us your opinion Mr. City Manager. Nevertheless we can't afford to do that right now so I'm going to have to vote no."

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 1:27pm
our poor part time council has no time to go deep and challenge the city manager. That is why we need ambitious young people trained in legal jargon to cut through Eric Anderson's nebula of bullshit. AND THAT'S WHY I B 4 IBSEN! He is a compassionate visionary. RESTORE TACOMA'S BRAIN TRUST!

by jenyum on 3/18/2011 @ 1:48pm
You know, a lot of people give the school board a hard time, but when the superintendent comes to them with a proposal that gets overwhelming negative feedback from the community (for example, closing Foss) they do actually say no, and then politely request alternate plans. This can happen.

If spending economic development grant money on a parking lot, or turning your anti-billboard ordinance (and accompanying $30 million in fine money) into permission to put digital billboards in neighborhoods where they will expose residents of one intersection to 10,800 digital advertisements a day sounds wrong to you, you can VOTE NO.

(That's not a made up number. CC's billboards change messages every 8 seconds, based on a study that shows that drivers going 55 miles per hour on the freeway are unlikely to see the board change more than once if they change at a rate slower than every 6 seconds. This is safe and all for people driving by our community at 55 miles per hour, but does Absolutely Nothing for people who actually live here, who will see these boards change 7.5 times every minute, 450 times an hour, 10,800 times a day. Welcome to 6th & Sprague, middle schoolers!)

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 1:55pm
excellent points Tacoma Mama. love it.

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 1:57pm
"If spending economic development grant money on a parking lot, or turning your anti-billboard ordinance (and accompanying $30 million in fine money) into permission to put digital billboards in neighborhoods where they will expose residents of one intersection to 10,800 digital advertisements a day sounds wrong to you, you can VOTE NO".

Jen, maybe you could describe a little bit more fully how the citizens of Tacoma will be able to vote no on these two items? I guess I must have missed something.

by cisserosmiley on 3/18/2011 @ 2:03pm
jenyum, luv your education idea...billboard revenue from 6th n sprague pays for school board salaries, and billboard could run math and english lessons enabling jason lee students to finally reach their potential.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 2:04pm
i believe she was talking directly to the council

by jenyum on 3/18/2011 @ 2:11pm
Sorry, yes I did not mean the universal "you" I meant the people on the city council.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 2:14pm
I believe Eric Anderson would be in favor of digital billboard eLearning only if all historic schools could be demolished and replaced with surface parking lots.

by cisserosmiley on 3/18/2011 @ 2:18pm
tacoma and america itself is a republic...a few in control for the rest. folks in charge like to call it a representative democracy because "they" vote...WE don't. When Amrica has nation built (irag, afghanistan, etc.) WE do not allow republics, but instead insist on democracies. ex. irag has 325 parliment members WE have 535 congress members - irag population=10% of America's. If WE were forced to live under rules set forth by us for others WE wouldhave over 5000 members of congress. Let's start local. instead of changing to full time council folks, lets let democracy ring and double council positions - 2 from each district and double the city wide seats. EVERYONE SHOULD RUN! YOU ARE A CITIZEN!

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 2:19pm
The council already gave preliminary approval of the settlement. Good way to indicate support for our billboard ordinance. Couldn't we get one councilmember to say no? Why not just announce to the world that our city code is an unenforceable bunch of gibberish?

This brings up another issue. If our billboard law is unenforceable and possibly in violation of the U.S. constitution, then what other laws on our city books are also bad?

by jenyum on 3/18/2011 @ 2:27pm
I don't think this is a done deal, at least it shouldn't be. I don't care how many behind doors meetings have been had, if preliminary approval is all there is, it is not too late to show some courage and enforce our eminently enforceable law.

Meanwhile, in VT:
Billboard Ban Turns 40
"You know, people come to Vermont and say, �hum... this is different here. Why is this place different?' And a big piece of that is the billboard ban. But it's also how we try to take care of the environment and be good stewards of the state."

Advice from the GAO regarding the constitutionality of billboard bans:
(includes case law)

by cisserosmiley on 3/18/2011 @ 2:36pm
unfortunately this is about money, many in tacoma need money and shutting down tomorrow's advertising medium is going to make it worse. if WE do not have giant teevee billboards what do we have? ...that's right, make a list...

by cisserosmiley on 3/18/2011 @ 2:39pm
vermont is tough, there are less people in the whole state than in pierce county alone. are there places with regular populations that have banned billboards?

by jenyum on 3/18/2011 @ 2:45pm
Most recently, the City of Los Angeles (no new billboards)

There are four states:

Alaska, Maine, Hawaii & Vermont.

The rest are individual municipalities. Hawaii's has been in effect since the 1920s.

by Jesse on 3/18/2011 @ 2:59pm
I am currently out of work (first time in 13 years) and I would love to be your new Eric Anderson. I'll do it for half of what he makes.

... oh ya, I can't even get a call back from Tacoma On The Go! even though I knew more than their rep at the sustainability convention a few weeks ago. Bummer...

If not me, I vote for jenyum.

by NineInchNachos on 3/18/2011 @ 3:05pm
TACOMIC endorses Jesse as new City Manager

by cisserosmiley on 3/18/2011 @ 3:22pm
i second jesse and jenyum as! but if there were 18 council seats everyone could participate...READ jenyum's link above, here it as again:
it gives weight to a people's initiative banning "off-site" signage being our best citizens' solution to billboards. debbie regala for city manager!

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 4:10pm
by jenyum
on 3/18/2011 @ 8:01am I think this usually involves forming a national search committee

haha, that's how we got eric anderson

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 4:11pm
by jenyum
on 3/18/2011 @ 8:01am I think this usually involves forming a national search committee

haha, that's how we got eric anderson

by fredo on 3/18/2011 @ 4:30pm
If I'm named city manager (and i expect to be) my second act will be to appoint RR as my special deputy and we're going to borrow a couple of Bill Dickson's demolition cranes and take down all the Clear Channel billboards. When people awaken the next day they will open their eyes and look out on a beautiful sky. What a concept!

by NineInchNachos on 3/22/2011 @ 6:17pm

by The Jinxmedic on 3/24/2011 @ 9:02am
When Fredo is City Manager, I would like an annual stipend as a retainer for, well, something.

by ixia on 3/24/2011 @ 11:58am
we could replace him with a digital billboard, and then turn off the power...

by NineInchNachos on 3/24/2011 @ 12:11pm
can somebody impersonate Eric Anderson and skype into the President of Clear Channel: "I've done your bidding master, what now?"

by cisserosmiley on 3/24/2011 @ 12:18pm
does anyone have an eric anderson puppet i could borrow?

by The Jinxmedic on 3/24/2011 @ 2:45pm
Any old sock puppet should do...

by NineInchNachos on 3/24/2011 @ 3:03pm
Eric Anderson's spirit animal is a hermit crab

by panachronic on 3/25/2011 @ 2:49pm
"what is better, a competent city manager or going back to strong mayor? which is easier?"

One good thing about a strong mayor system: it's easier to get rid of a bad hire.

by NineInchNachos on 4/20/2011 @ 1:38pm
today on

Yesterday’s TPD scandal becomes Tacoma’s latest scandal again

The following observations about the non Amber Alert in the July 4, 2007 Zina Linnik abduction and murder were printed by The New Takhoman on July 16, 2007. With the revelations printed today in The News Tribune we now find that did not only Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson, Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell and Department spokesman Mark Fulghum lie to the media and public, but could be involved in a cover up that could reach RICO standards.

The New Takhoman will be following up with more observations tomorrow.

on the Zina Linnik murder

The City of Tacoma has once again made national news in the worst possible way. In the recent past it was the Tacoma Police Chief David Brame murder/suicide and the story of John Malvo, the Washington D.C. Beltway sniper; this time it’s the abduction and murder of 12 year old Tacoma citizen Zina Linnik.

On Friday July 6 an MSNBC news analyst, with the vehemence of a wood chopper, ripped Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell and his department for waiting 12 plus hours before putting out an Amber Alert to ask for the public’s help in finding the girl.

An astute Seattle print news reporter asked the question, “They had a suspect, but they didn’t have the victim, therefore why not an immediate Amber Alert?”

That is a question this publication has been asking since the news of the abduction broke.

To date no satisfactory answers has been forthcoming.

Ramsdell’s excuse for not triggering the alert earlier was that the department had “a very hot lead" relating to a van driver that possibly could have abducted Zina. According to local news reports Tacoma Police questioned the van driver, gave him a lie-detector test and cleared him.

Mr. Ramsdell, why did that process take 12 hours? We await your answer.

But as national radio newsy Paul Harvey says “And now for page 2”.

According to Tacoma Police spokesman Mark Fulghum he and five Tacoma detectives spent a week in Hawaii this past April taking Amber Alert training. Also according to Fulghum TPD currently does not have an Amber Alert policy, but he said the department is working on it.

Will that tidbit bring comfort to the Linnik family and the citizens of the City of Tacoma?

Nor were we enamored with The News Tribune’s Saturday editorial which stated, “Some have questioned whether police were too slow to issue an Amber Alert after Zina’s abduction was reported. So far that does not look to be the case. If anything, it appears that Tacoma police deserve credit for finding a suspect so quickly. A detective acting on vehicle information provided by Zina’s father and a neighbor was able to quickly narrow the search to a van that led straight to the suspect.”

We have already stated that in our opinion the alert was too little too late. But now we have to ask Chief Ramsdell why it took 36 to 48 hours to run those plates.

And now for page 3.

Through a public documents request last week we asked for a copy of Chief Ramsdell’s latest performance evaluation.

What follows is City Manager Eric Anderson’s response which he also sent to The News Tribune and The Tacoma Weekly.

“Regarding your recent public disclosure request for the latest performance evaluation for Police Chief Don Ramsdell, I am writing to let you know that performance evaluations are exempt from disclosure.

The City of Tacoma does not have a comprehensive employee evaluation process in place. The development of that program as part of our overall performance management system is on my list of goals for the organization for the next three to five years, as shared with the City Council during my performance review.

However, I regularly discuss performance expectations and fulfillment with all of my direct reports, often more than once a day. I have advised the Chief that his performance has been superior. I have been especially pleased by the extraordinary leadership displayed in the development of the department's strategic plan, as well as his dedication and involvement in recent high-profile investigations.”

A second public document request would be forthcoming for the minute by minute investigation timeline but that would undoubtedly be denied under “the ongoing criminal investigation” exemption in Washington State public document law.

by jenyum on 4/20/2011 @ 1:43pm
According to the TNT, police spokesman Fulgham was told to issue an amber alert but fell back to sleep and did not do so until about 6 hours later.

Also: at the time he was the only person with authorization to issue the alert.

by ixia on 4/20/2011 @ 2:03pm
"The City of Tacoma does not have a comprehensive employee evaluation process in place"
wtf???? what is this, 1911???

by NineInchNachos on 4/20/2011 @ 2:21pm
TNT money saving tip: draw police chief uniform on all national syndicated cartoons of sleeping air traffic controllers

by fredo on 4/20/2011 @ 2:56pm
Ixia, agreed.

Interestingly, although there is no way to evaluate our city staff, our city council insists that we must pay them at the 70th per centile for similar positions. We don't know if they are performing at the 70%, 50%, 20% or 5% levels, but pay must be 70%.

by NineInchNachos on 4/20/2011 @ 3:00pm
Ixia and Fredo find common ground. I love feedtacoma dot com!

by The Jinxmedic on 4/21/2011 @ 9:23am
I rather like 1911, actually...

by NineInchNachos on 4/21/2011 @ 11:23am
New Takhoman calls for Anderson, Ramsdell, Fulghum immediate resignations
Once again the dysfunctional family known as the Tacoma Police Department (TPD) is trying to cover their inept collective ass, i.e.: the Brame murder/suicide in 2003. In 2007 the department claimed they didn’t issue an Amber Alert in a timely manner of the abduction of 12 year old Zina Linnik because they “thought” they had the prime suspect in hand.
But yesterday, due to depositions in a lawsuit brought against the city by the Linnik family, it has come to light, that because police spokesman Mark Fulghum was literally asleep on the job (FAA worker status?) the Amber Alert was delayed for another six hours.
City attorney Jean P. Homan, who has been tasked to defend TPD’s actions, and we wish her luck, was quoted in yesterday’s News Tribune as saying, “Employing the Amber Alert system is voluntary and the city cannot be held liable for not issuing the alert within four hours when the city is not required to issue an Amber Alert at all.”
If that is the case why did Fulghum and five, yes five, TPD detectives attend Amber Alert training on the taxpayer’s dime in May of 2007 in Hawaii no less?
Would a timely Amber Alert have saved Zina’s life? According to the powers to be the answer is no. But that’s not the point. The point is why didn’t TPD Chief Ramsdell, Fulghum and City Manager Eric Anderson tell the truth and come clean in 2007?
For those answers we have to go to them and if they didn’t come clean the first time around what are the chances they will come clean this time around? Zero to none, except for one slim possibility.
Yesterday The New Takhoman filed an ethics complaint with the City on the basis of “did Ramsdell, Anderson and Fulghum violate the city’s ethics code by lying, obfuscating or being untruthful when responding to the media and the public in 2007?”
And our questions don’t stop there. After the costly 2007 Hawaii Amber Alert training did TPD pay consultant Barbara McMahon a $160 an hour to put the departments Amber Alert policy in place? And yes Dear Readers we are following up on that. She is a consultant that was hired in 2004 to follow up on the Brame travesty and now shows up daily at TPD at $180 an hour.
According to our sources it is McMahon and not Ramsdell who is running the department.
But that is an issue for another time. Or is it News Tribune?
We have never been shy in stating that David Brame’s number one minion Don Ramsdell never should have become Tacoma’s Chief of Police.
Also according to our sources if you are not on Ramsdell’s “Friends and Family plan”, another Brame trait, you can kiss any promotion goodbye.
And herein, the same highly paid city officials, i.e. City Attorney Pauli, the same people assigned to clean this mess up, are the same people who denied that City of Tacoma Human Resources Director asked to have then Tacoma Police Chief David Brame’s gun and badge pulled on April 25, 2003 less than 24 hour before he shot his wife Crystal and took his own life.
So with all of the above said The New Takhoman is calling for the immediate self imposed resignations of Tacoma City manager Eric Anderson, Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell and TPD Public Information Officer Mark Fulghum.
However being realistic we know that is not going to happen.
But we will predict that Anderson and Ramsdell will stay and Fulghum will become the sacrificial lamb and TPD’s “Blue Coat Flu” culture will not change in the near future.

by fredo on 4/21/2011 @ 11:50am
Hawaii Amber Alert seminars? What kind of s*@t is this?

Tacoma: The city with 700 employees earning over $100,000 per year and free trips to China and Hawaii to study...whatever. Pay no attention to the high unemployment rate and high foreclosure rates in our city, or our worsening economic and revenue climate. Just get yours...the public be damned. I'd like to see a tattoo of Zina Linnick placed on Anderson, Fulgram, Ramsdell, and Homan. where they would see her face every day.

If someone could post a copy of the daily agenda (pdf format) for the Hawaii seminar, I'd like to review it. Thanks.

by NineInchNachos on 4/21/2011 @ 11:53am
asleep at the wheel (or the switch that controls amber alerts)

by fredo on 4/21/2011 @ 12:08pm
Here's what the Amber Alert seminar schedule probably looked like:

8:00 AM -10:00 AM registration, bagel and coffee or full breakfast provided
10:00 AM Distribution of Amber Alert notebooks
10:05 AM Introductory Comments
10:10 AM Question & Answer session
10:15 AM Seminar adjourned. Attendees may spend the rest of the week snorkeling, sunbathing and drinking mai-tais.

Thanks for attending the Amber Alert seminar!

by cisserosmiley on 4/21/2011 @ 12:12pm
im on board with fredo...i hate big ceo salaries as well...but the city salaries are great and there is a level of honor and duty that comes with being a public servant...maybe if we lowered their pay we would attract and retain loyal servants to tacoma instead of people who threaten to quit their great city jobs to work for federal way because the hourly rate is higher

by NineInchNachos on 4/21/2011 @ 12:31pm
oh man... this thread is giving me pains... time for nyquil nap!

by jenyum on 7/12/2011 @ 8:06pm
Bumpity bump!

by fredo on 7/12/2011 @ 8:27pm
Interesting how many developments in Tacoma are preceeded by discussions on feedtacoma. I think FT contributors are responsible for keeping local politicians feet to the fire. Kudos one and all.

by Jesse on 7/12/2011 @ 9:39pm
Perhaps they take us more seriously than even they'd ever admit.

by Erik on 7/12/2011 @ 9:45pm
I guess this thread deserves to be bumped.

Let's get a City Manager that has experience in building vibrant, diverse, walkable neighborhoods and downtowns and start filing in Tacoma's surface level parking lots with buildings and small businesses.

We need someone who is going to lead and implement these ideas rather than be forced by the council to adopt them.

Prerequisite: they need to score at least 95 percent on the Tacoma Sun urban questions without cheating by looking at David Boe's answers: