I’m Noah and I’m running for Commissioner, Port of Tacoma, Position 2.
I’ve been a practicing lawyer for the last 16+ years, and have also served as an arbitrator and hearings officer.
Over my close to two decades legal experience, I’ve dedicated myself to representing everyday working individuals and small businesses in a variety of matters, which includes giving them a voice in the legal system. I now want to give Pierce County a voice in the Port.
The people of Pierce County have been left out the important decision-making by the very people they elected (the Port Commissioners). It’s now time for the people to take back the Port and to have the Port make decisions that truly represent the collective voice of Pierce County. We need decisions that keep us safe from unreasonable risks (no LNG mega million gallon storage facility), that mean healthy choices in the form of no new fossil fuel polluters (i.e. no massive Chinese methanol plant), that mean real jobs that pay real money (and not the proposed 16 job and $15/hr LNG facility type jobs), and that mean no more polluting diesel trucks added to the gridlock until there is a real improvement in infrastructure that separates the Port traffic from resident and commuter.
If elected, I have three primary objectives:
Protect the Environment
Develop Better Infrastructure while Addressing the Traffic/Transportation Gridlock
Protect the Environment
The Port says that it is “for the environment” but what has it done? Where is the fossil fuel plan? Where is the commitment to the Paris Accord on Climate Change? Your hear the candidates say that they are “for the environment”, but what does that mean?
Since the 1990s, the Port has mostly (and almost entirely) relied on the environmental laws and regulatory agencies to tell the Port who has polluted its air and waterways AFTER the contamination took place. Those laws and those efforts by others have helped reduce the pollution from the Tideflats (not the Port).
The Port only took action to either buy back polluted land (at a discounted rate for the purpose of re-selling it or leasing it to a potential future polluter) or to clean up contaminated lands which had been leased and polluted by its own tenants. This reactive posture of the Port, just signing up whoever paid the most money is NOT the PORT of TACOMA that the people want. The People of Pierce County (including the people of nearby Tacoma, Fife and Gig Harbor) want clean air and clean water. And they don’t want to sacrifice that for big money paying tenants!
It seems that when election time comes around, EVERYONE is FOR the ENVIRONMENT, but what has the Port done on its own? (A don’t idle policy that isn’t enforced or too hard to enforce; and the pledge to go electric with the Port owned small fleet?) The Port has not done enough. And a simple look around the region makes it clear that other Ports are far ahead of Tacoma in fighting pollution and making theirs Port a better, safer and healthier place. We need a better neighbor in the Port and we need it now!
What has our Port done to create jobs? They say jobs, jobs, jobs, but then they approve PSE’s LNG plant which promises 16 jobs many of which are NOT family wage paying jobs. NOT good enough. When you say jobs, you’d better show a real history of creating them and they’d better be good for our community.
A Port Commissioner should be helping identify tenants and industries for the Port and helping reach out and market to them, not necessarily gallivanting around the globe trying to wine and dine foreign ship lines.
As your Commissioner, I will be focused on bringing clean/green energy tenants to the Port. According to most reports, Clean/Green Energy brings 14 jobs for every 1 fossil fuel job. While fossil fuel jobs have been moving towards automation, Clean Energy depends on real people to do real work for real wages. Let’s bring those jobs to the Port of Tacoma, and when we do, we will signal to entire industries that we are open for business to Clean/Green Energy.
Why can’t we think creatively? Why can’t we help solve the homeless crisis with lands in the Port of Tacoma and grants from benevolent donors like Paul Allen? Why can’t we have parks and fields and green spaces in parts of the Port that offer a buffer between communities and industries? (The Port SAYS that it favors sub-area planning and buffer zones but then vehemently opposes those policies before the Tacoma planning board/commission)
Why can’t there be playfields and even a sports complex in the Port (and why not NBA G-League or NHL) near the Foss Waterway that is accessible to Tacoma and Pierce County residents? Why can’t the Port be the example for the world instead of the example of what urban areas seek to avoid?
We CAN do it, but not with the current leadership and direction. We need change!
Develop Better Infrastructure
We all know that driving on I-5, Hwy 509 or any of the roads through Fife (99, 54th/Alexander and Port of Tacoma) means gridlock, particularly 3-7pm. A big part of that is truck traffic.
Why are we (and the school buses carrying our children) sharing roads with tanker trucks and big 18 wheelers? Is that really the world that we want to live in? The answer is no, absolutely not.
Besides cleaning up the diesel pollution problem (and switching to biofuels or other modes of clean fuels/energies), we need to fix the traffic and safety problems by developing better infrastructure.
Although the Port will take in more than $16 million from a tax on homeowners in 2017, only $2 million is allocated to “infrastructure”. Seems that the Port is more concerned about building bigger docks and cranes than fixing the major traffic nightmares. But which ones comes first? Fixing our existing problems or trying to add even more traffic to the overloaded system?
But why has the Port failed to make significant “in-roads”? Where are the Port’s priorities?
Like the environment, only during an election year does transportation gridlock gain traction, otherwise, its back to the same old same old. We need change to bring forth action. We need change to fix the transportation gridlock, diesel emissions and safety problems.