Yesterday, I had to make a trip to Spanaway. As I made my way northbound on Mtn Hwy, I passed a pushed-over stack of stripped vehicles on my left. They have been there four or five days now. Beyond that, I saw a mattress here, freshly dumped broken furniture there and refuse strewn along the ditches as if it were confetti used to celebrate something during a delusional stupor.
I feel exceptionally sorry for whoever owns the property at the top of Muck Hill. It’s not so bad at the moment, but I’ve seen heaps of construction debris, TVs and exercise machines dumped for the owner to dispose of year after year.
As I entered the intersection of Mtn Hwy and 260th, I glanced to my left to see if there was another pile of construction debris mounded next to the retention pond. Taxpayers have had to foot the bill for the removal of two 6’+ piles recently. I noticed a lone mattress…it wasn’t there the day before. I peered down driveways that once led to grassy open spaces, only to see more trash left by deadbeats.
I get updates from constituents on the condition of the former Pierce County maintenance property at the SE corner of Mtn Hwy & 224th. I feel sorry for that property owner, too. Already, he’s addressed over a dozen dumped vehicle carcasses (more are there again), replaced several gates, more than once, and I don’t know how many loads of trash have been removed. Neighbors of the property are on alert, and concerned for their safety, and rightly so. Strangers are wandering on their properties, too.
Then there’s the pull-out on the highway just south of 224th that is accumulating “treasures”. I notified the state to confirm if they were aware of the situation. Then, oddly enough, as I was headed south on Mtn Hwy around 4:30, there were 3 Pierce County Deputy vehicles at the pull-out. I said a prayer for them to be successful. Hopefully, they were able to address the trespassers on the property to the east, as well.
Several years ago, squatters took over a parcel near Mtn Hwy and B St. in Spanaway. Coincidently, believe it or not, property crimes shot up. It took a lot of man-hours to clean it out and up. Well, they’re back and the camp is growing day by day. The property owners are aware of the situation and are in the process of learning how to navigate this new adventure. They are working with the county and hope to have things resolved soon, as they would like to get their construction project moving.
Driving through the county along I-5 and 509 looks like a movie set being staged for another sequel to Escape From LA or perhaps Gotham City. As long as the drug culture is coddled, these conditions will not improve. I don’t mean to pick only on our county. I-5 is nasty through Thurston and King as well.
People write my office to find out what the County is doing to clean up the trash and protect their assets, which by the way, securing your rights and assets is why we formed and fought for our Republic in the first place. We all recognize that the condition of our streets and highways attracts more of the same. Counties don’t get to write the laws for crimes. The state defines them for the courts to administer justice. We create policies to enforce what the state allows.
Having said that, I came across an awesome speech by a Louisiana Senator, John Kennedy, that expressed what I believe we are all thinking. In it, he points out all the efforts that have been invested in to prevent crime: higher salaries, higher benefits, curfews, task forces, social programs, after-school programs, crime cameras, facial recognition, conflict management, mentoring, youth clubs, job training, enhanced educational opportunities, prosecuting juveniles as adults, hot spot policing, 12-hour shifts, and hiring administrative personnel to do paperwork….everything but one—stop and frisk. His stories are compelling.
Senator Kennedy then goes on to explain the constitutionality of the policy and how it can bring us back to a state of law and order. If I could wave that magic wand, that is what I would seek to implement. We need to get back to proactive policing, as stated (around 10 min mark) by Dr. Ronal Serpa, former Chief of the Washington State Patrol. We need the majority party in the legislature to recognize the need for our law enforcement to have the tools to keep us safe.
Despite the obstacles, our agencies work hard to address these problems within the allowed rules and staff shortages.
Thank you for this opportunity to share in your frustrations over the lawlessness we are experiencing. Someday, soon I hope, we’ll make crime illegal again. Our Sheriff’s Department, including Corrections, are amazing and desperately want to serve in the capacity they are trained for. Please know that we at the Council continue to push for common sense laws.
90th annual Daffodil Festival
The 90th annual Daffodil Festival takes place tomorrow (Saturday, April 1) in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting. It was great to recognize the 24 extraordinary young ladies who comprise this year’s Daffodil Festival Royal Court as official ambassadors of Pierce County at our March 14 Council meeting. You can watch the presentation and reading of the proclamation here.
The Daffodil Festival originally started in 1934 in the Puyallup and Sumner area to celebrate the agricultural industry. To view the routes for each city’s parade, check out the festival’s web page.