We the people… a home rule charter, by and for, the people of Pierce County.
We the people… a home rule charter, by and for, the people of Pierce County.

In December 1978, a federal grand jury indicted 15 men, including Pierce County Sheriff George Janovich, for racketeering. During the trial, it was revealed that the department was protecting John Carbone’s crime syndicate in exchange for bribes, covering up various crimes such as murder, arson, extortion, and assaults.

In response, Pierce County voters approved a new home rule charter making dramatic changes to the county’s form of government. The most significant was scrapping the commission system, creating separate branches of government, the Council in the legislative branch, and an elected Executive to run the administrative functions.

The Charter also eliminated…

While COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, recovery is underway, and it’s time to learn from the pandemic to improve our public health system and prepare for future emergencies.

In late February of last year, heading to DC for our National Association of Counties Legislative conference, we realized there was no resolution supporting action on COVID-19. We pulled together an emergency resolution that enabled us to advocate to our federal partners.

Everyone in our Health Policy Committee agreed, but there was plenty of discussion about the threat. That’s when a news alert popped up on my phone. Dozens of residents and staff at Life Care Center back home in Kirkland were suspected or confirmed for COVID-19. Our committee is a mixture of elected officials and staff. When I announced…

People underneath and holding up a pride flag.
People underneath and holding up a pride flag.

This afternoon the Council will, for the first time, vote on a Pride proclamation. It’s an honor to chair the Council for a moment like this and something I believe is long overdue. It celebrates our LGBTQ+ community and their struggle for fundamental rights and protections under the law, along with their contributions to Pierce County. The response to this simple bill shows that we still have a long way to go.

How far have we come? In 1972 a teacher at Wilson (now Silas) High School was fired without cause after a student outed him. Washington’s Supreme Court upheld…

Celebration and troop review outside the White House on July 4th, 1861.
Celebration and troop review outside the White House on July 4th, 1861.
4th of July celebration and troop review at the White House. First appeared in Harper’s Weekly. Photo credit Library of Congress.

We don’t expect drama in a joint session of Congress to count electoral ballots. The Vice President reads a script, the votes are announced, and beyond the occasional faithless elector, the person who won states adding up to 270 votes becomes president.

But with so much at stake and so many unable to accept the outcome, tensions were high. Violence was expected. Members of Congress were urged to invalidate votes.

In the end, the right person took office, but half the country seceded before he could do so. That was the state of the Union on July 4th, 1861. …

At a special meeting the Community Development Committee will begin its review of the Pierce County Sustainability 2030 plan, which outlines how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Pierce County government operations and the larger community over the next 10 years.

Developed with numerous community sustainability experts and county stakeholders, the proposal before Council includes recommended actions to help achieve the stated goal of reducing emissions by 45% by 2030.

Five areas of focus outlined in the plan are:

  • Energy and the built environment
  • Transportation
  • Consumption and waste reduction
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Education and outreach

Following committee review the plan will…

At this afternoon’s meeting the Council approved appointments to our standing committes and external boards.

Standing Committees


Meeting Time: Mondays, 10:00 a.m.

Derek Young, Chair
Dave Morell, Vice Chair
Marty Campbell, Executive Pro Tempore
Jani Hitchen, Alternate


Meeting Time: First and Third Mondays, 1:30 p.m.

Ryan Mello, Chair
Marty Campbell, Vice Chair
Dave Morell, Member
Derek Young, Member
Hans Zeiger, Member


Meeting Time: Second and Fourth Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m.

Marty Campbell, Chair
Hans Zeiger, Vice Chair
Jani Hitchen, Member
Ryan Mello, Member
Dave Morell, Member


Meeting Time: First and Third Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m.

Derek Young, Chair
Jani Hitchen, Vice Chair
Marty Campbell, Member
Amy Cruver…

With the New Year, Pierce County has a new Council. Yesterday we swore in four new members. Joining us are:

Hans Zeiger, District 2
Amy Cruver, District 3
Ryan Mello, District 5
Jani Hitchen, District 6

We’re excited about this new group because they each bring a unique background and policy passions.

Before his election to the Council, Hans Zeiger represented Pierce County residents in the state Legislature, first in the House of Representatives for three terms before joining the Senate in 2016.

Amy Cruver has called Pierce County home since 1985. In 2005, she became then-state Rep. Jim McCune’s…

How we can ensure a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future for all

We face daunting but not insurmountable challenges. While the COVID-19 pandemic created many of its own problems, it also uncovered mutually reinforcing system failures left by years of neglect. To ensure South Sound’s recovery, we need a county government working strategically on seven key issues.


Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic must continue to be our top priority. Too many politicians haven’t taken this seriously, and Pierce County has suffered from that lack of leadership along with the rest of the country. …

Twenty-five years ago, Pierce County created its state-mandated Urban Growth Area. The idea was to curb runaway sprawl and plan for infrastructure and services necessary to accommodate growth. At the time, 32 percent of county residents worked outside the county. The theory was that development in those areas would help build a strong tax base to provide public services like transportation, fire, schools, parks, and library services.

Unfortunately, hope isn’t a strategy, and the promised infrastructure and services never materialized. Today about 40 percent of Pierce County residents work elsewhere. …

Due to Governor Inslee’s Emergency Proclamations 20–05 and 20–28, in-person attendance by members of the public at meetings of the Pierce County Council is NOT permitted at this time. Public participation must be done remotely. Remote attendance and participation is available as Council meetings are live broadcasted on Comcast 22; Click 22/522 HD and Rainier Connect 20/513 and can be streamed live on www.piercecountytv.org Remote public participation in Citizen’s Forum and public testimony on ordinances and resolutions on the Council Meeting Agenda is provided using Zoom by calling 253.215.8782. Note: Webinar IDs are listed below for each scheduled meeting.

Monday, July 6th, 2020


Derek Young

Pierce County Councilmember. Serving Gig Harbor, Fox Island, Key Peninsula, Ruston, and parts of North and West Tacoma.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store