Meeting Information


Meeting Type
Friday Provider Meeting
Date
Friday, 7/12/2019
Start
9:00 AM
End
11:00 AM
Agenda
Agenda
Summary
The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance will attend to get feedback on their legislative goals for the 2020 Legislative Session. The League of Women Voters will solicit input on the fall candidate forum plan. And to round out the morning, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will present on air quality and preparing for the wildfire and heat season.
Minutes

Presentation

Washington Low Income Housing alliance - https://www.wliha.org/

  • Some supplementary information -  Legislative Session Summary, a Legislative victories press release, and coming learning opportunities
  • Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy - michelet@wliha.org
  • We were at the May meeting, when we talked about our legislative victories (read all about it at https://www.pchomeless.org/MeetingMinutes/Details?id=414 –ed)
  • John Stovall, Member Organizer – johns@wliha.org
  • Kiki Serantes, Community Organizer – kikis@wliha.org (probably no relation to the flying witch in Kiki’s Delivery Service, as I think that film may actually be a work of fiction. –ed)
  • Jamala Henderson, Communications Specialist – jamalah@wliha.org (it was all a bit fuzzy for a few minutes as I registered the fact that the amazing Jamala Henderson, of KUOW fame, is in the same room as me.  I overcame my awestruck stupor to ask for a signed photo, but was sadly rebuffed. At least I still have my signed Reiny Cohen photo… –ed).   
  • If you aren’t familiar with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, we work on state level issues, but can help locally. We sometimes dabble in National issues.  We are a state-wide organization.
  • The legislative session is over.  In the off season, we work on our priorities for the coming session.  We reach out to communities across Washington State – your experiences should inform our priorities. 
  • We try to make sure the many issues you work on will have an immediate impact of people experiencing homelessness (I’m guessing they are hoping for a positive impact – they seemed like nice people. –ed).  We always ask for more money, tenant issues, and better policies that facilitate more housing - generally policies that serve us better.
  • We’ll do this across the State, and take the feedback to our policy committee and board.
  • The next Legislative session starts in January. 
  • There were Big wins last year – an increase to Housing and Essential Needs (HEN – info at https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/community-services-offices/housing-and-essential-needs -ed), affordable housing trust fund funding, and House Bill 1406 – diversion of state sales tax for local use on affordable housing.
  • Cynthia Stewart and Maureen Howard are on the public policy committee – you can join too.
  • The visibility of unsheltered homelessness has pushed this agenda
  • You guys are so much more organized than any other organization across the state (Pierce County rocks –ed.)
  • There is a Housing alliance action fund that endorses candidates – it is a 501(c)(4).  More candidates are seeking our endorsements.
  • Your work with local lawmakers is vital – they are the bench – those who are elected to local offices are typically the elected that go to the State legislature. 
  • Many of you came to our homeless and housing advocacy day.  Over 600 folks this year.
  • Your advocacy has been key. 
  • John
  • Need to build power over the interim – the housing alliance can build capacity in each legislative district.  The Leads Program – a volunteer opportunity to step up – if you’ve participated in advocacy before and want to take the next step, you can become a Legislative District Lead.  You can build on the work you’ve already been doing – hosting a lawmaker meeting.  Build your local network.  Who has a network of 10 people who would advocate if asked?  Who has met with their legislator?  You all can lead.  We’ll help.  It is just a 1-year commitment (but you have to give them your credit card number, and it will auto-renew if you don’t cancel.  Kidding. Sort of. –ed).  We want at least two Legislative District Leads in each community. 
  • Kiki
  • Raise your hands if you’ve heard of the Resident Action Project (https://residentactionproject.org/ ) – changing state policy through storytelling and civic action.  Mostly led by a 7-person steering committee, they are brining organizational skills to their communities, while informing our state policy.  We have some opportunities for folks with some lived experience with homelessness and housing instability to do some storytelling.  I’m available for one on ones to work on this.  I’ll pass that information around after the presentation.  RAP Summit (I totally heard RAC and just spent way too much time googling that. Looks like it was actually RAP.  Man, I hate TLAs – Three Letter Acronyms… –ed.) is coming in the fall.  Some opportunities for story telling on the blog.  Training opportunities are coming up soon.  We are brining together a cross-training session next month with Oregon and California, to resource share and skill build. 
  • Jamala Henderson <editor still star-struck>
    • My role is to be a communicator and a messenger for all our policies with the folks with lived experiences.  I need to meet and talk to as many people as possible.  I need stories about the people you are serving.  I’m very interested in sharing those stories in blog form, so get with me if you have stories (any chance of an autographed photo if someone were to get you an amazing blog post?  Asking for a friend… -ed) We are looking for folks to get the message out about what is happening in your area.  Living in Seattle, it is easy to focus on housing issues there – but we want to highlight all the different stories across the state.  If your organization is not a member of the Alliance, please join.  Visit https://www.wliha.org/.  I also do media relations – help folks get information right. 
    • November 6 and 7, Conference to End Homelessness is in Spokane (https://www.wliha.org/conference ). We do have scholarships available for people with personal experience with homelessness and housing stability, as well as folks new to homeless service providing.  If you need help with a scholarship, we are happy to help folks complete the application
  • Michele
    • Go to http://leg.wa.gov/ to lookup you representatives.  Put your address in to see state level and federal representatives. 
    • The question is, what can the State do to impact affordable housing or influence what your local jurisdiction is doing? 
  • Upcoming Legislative Session –
    • They meet every year – they convene on the 2nd Monday in January. 
    • Our system is a biennial system – they only have to pass a budget – but also passed some 460 bills last session.  We have lots of opportunities to pass bill to alleviate homelessness. 
    • Who is at the legislature matters a lot.  With a new Speaker, lots will ride on that decision (spoiler alert, it is Laurie Jinkins of Tacoma. –ed)
    • 2020 is the 2nd half of the biennium – it is just a 60 day long session.  Whatever bills get put on only have 60 days to get through the long process.  We want realistic chances to pass bill.  There isn’t a big chance to ask for new investments – our budget asks are much smaller – just small changes or supplemental changes. 
  • 5 questions for you all
    • Is homelessness being criminalized in your community? Many local bodies determine homeless policies that may or may not criminalize homelessness.  State law can be made to prevent some criminalization
      • Theresa – in Tacoma, because the City council is vague about where they can camp, there is not enforcement of encampments.  The same 50 or 60 people are moving around and creating harmful relationship.  I this is because of the City is not making clear rules about where folks can lay down their heads. (I’m not sure I quite got Theresa’s comments right – sorry Theresa). 
      • Maureen – the police are pretty clear telling us they will tell people to move on, but won’t arrest them for being homeless, unless there is an outstanding warrant.
      • Haili – in Fife and in Tacoma – cops say they have to move on or get a trespassing charge.  They get arrested for trespassing and then don’t go to their court appointment. Trespassing is handed out like candy.
      • Jeremy – in 26th Legislative district.  Gig harbor town talk – lots of neighbors calling the police to address homelessness. 
      • Next to Carolyn read – lots of cars being lived in – get their car towed, and lose their “home” and all their stuff.  Some creativity and innovation needs to be addressed.  John – what statewide policy?  Instead of criminalizing where they park, they need another option.  They have no control over the situation.
      • Al – need to  give people a place they can do something.  I would like to see clarification whether a City must have a homeless shelter within its City.  Can criminal action be taken against someone that won’t leave a city? 
      • Joann Iverson – nurse and working with homeless since I was 16.  I work with Nativity House Respite Care – I still hear stories about people exiting jail or hospitals without shoes on their feet (we had one during the first big snow day this year – came to our family day center with decent shoes, but paper hospital pants.  Thanks Salvation Army for taking her in for the night. And getting her pants.  We had coats and scarfs and gloves, but the Salvation Army made the magic happen –ed).  Tired of seeing patients lay on the street with nothing.  Saw a gal who was 78 years old, someone with CDIF, diabetes out of control, on chemotherapy, someone having a baby, what is going on?
      • Carolyn Read – St. Leo’s Parrish – is there any way to promote a study comparing the cost of homelessness vs. the tax breaks that wealthy condo units are getting.  Point Ruston – gets tax breaks – at least $80k over 8 years – how can we compare these things and make recommendations and create incentives for developers.  I’d rather see that $80k go into housing.  Or the old YMCA model of single rooms and shared common areas (I still remember this NPR story about a guy that lived for like 65 years or something in the same YMCA single room in New York – super cool story of his life and the community he lived in.  He was a college professor or banker or something – he could have afforded more, but that small room in a sociable setting was all he ever wanted. And I’m not mentioning an NPR story just to ingratiate myself to Jamala.  Why would you even think that. –ed.)
      • Larry – League of Women Voters – need to look for ways to give positive feedback to cops.  Most cops feel trapped.  A homeless family I’m working with was arrested and their car impounded.  Both officers had body cams, and when the family had the body cam video, the chief did a review of the body cam arrest. (I missed part of the story here. –Ed.) And we need to give positive feedback to cops when they do well.
      • Glenn Kelly – cops are in a difficult position – before we go throwing stones in that direction, they are between a rock and a hard place – it is tough to give the homeless population good news, and giving them bad news is much rougher.  We need to make sure that any law or bill doesn’t take from any law we already have in place.  We’ve lost things that didn’t get replaced by a new bill.  A lot of man hours went into something that looked lika good thing, but they really needed to do their homework before making the law.
      • Nate – There is an uneven treatment of the homeless depending on where they are.  They have to learn where it is OK to be. 
    • What are the most significant barriers to housing that tentents face in the for-profit, private rental market
      • Julianna – one of the problems is when a tenant won’t leave a property and don’t have any way to leave a property – senior or disabled have to go to the courts to advocate for themselves.  Perhaps have community liaison to assist folks that are at risk – if they aren’t unable to leave their home – Adult Protective Service’s hands are tied. 
      • Justin – landlords are not notarizing their tenant agreements, and a landlord was able to increase the rent by $500.  That law needs to be changed.  Michele – only leases over 1 year need to be notarized.  Jamala – trying to collect information about landlords that are using unfair practices against tenants – we need to collect this.  (you can e-mail those stories to Jamala at jamalah@wliha.org ).
      • Housing stock is an issue itself.  We need to protect the existing housing stock. And we need to increase stock.  You don’t try to house a low-income person in Tacoma – you have to go out to Lakewood and Spanaway.
      • Theresa – New Connections – yes a land trust would be good – one of the most logical things you can do.  Also, a criminal history is a huge barrier – maybe incentive a case-by-case basis for landlords – not a blanket policy.
      • Alexis – Landlord Liaison Program – I’m here because you are here.  The feedback we get from landlords are the behavioral issues that tenants cause – which creates barriers for landlords to open more units up.  We have the County risk mitigation funding on top of the state money – and that helps.  We need to provide tenants education on being good tenants.  Landlords are more open to education tenants.
      • Barb – many folks who are homeless are facing mental or physical problems – often need wraparound services
    • What makes it hardest for people to get out of homelessness. 
      • Gerrit – crack the nut of SSI – people with no hope of increase their income over $771 per month.  Where can they live? (maybe in something that the United Way in Salem Oregon is trying to do - https://www.salemreporter.com/posts/1050 - I love this project. –ed)
      • Barb – growing part is the elderly losing their homes.  People that work all their lives and lose their homes because of increases in taxes and healthcare. 
      • Nurse – something needs to change for the elderly – nursing homes get rewards for keeping folks alive – I don’t understand whey nursing homes decline patients – understaffed.  Need more palliative care.  James – if you are medically fragile, if it is difficult to find housing. If you have behavioral health issues or substance use issues, it can be very challenging.  Not all homes take Medicaid and complex issues are often considered outside of the scope of work for a nursing home.
      • Systems are very siloed – Glen will get someone in inpatient treatment, which gets them sober, and then discharge to what?  All these systems where you thought you were getting help often just return people to their bad situations.
      • Question – even if we have someone who can get in a room, they don’t have an ability to save up for a deposit.  Pets are tough to place as well.  Transportation is a challenge – and can’t get the services they need from where they can get housing. 
      • Maureen – No person identified as homeless are not admitted to a hospital, but  called “under observation”.  A change in the last year has resulted in lots of folks “under observation” so that insurance doesn’t have to get them the next level of service – I’m not sure how much control the state has in this.  If you are homeless in Washington and go to the Emergency Room, you can’t be simply identified as under observation, but must be admitted. 
      • Nate – often minimum income requirements – a discrimination tool instead of the income type discrimination that was outlawed. 
    • What is working and what do you want more of?
      • Lauren – more wrap around services  - we need to do warm handoffs.  We don’t do coordinated entry.  We need a way to ensure the most vulnerable people that get into HMIS – that they are walked through the system. 
      • Jeremy – what is working – calls to action work very well.  A lot of the issues with the policy discussion is that homelessness and mental health often seem one and the same – if homelessness and mental health could work together.  I’m sure you’ve done this before.
      • Carolyn Weisz – I don’t know how it is going, but the conversations around Accessory Dwelling Units and rezoning – if the State could put pressure on.  The fact that zoning is grounded in racism, if the state could put pressure on rezoning, that would be good.  House Bill 1923 (https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1923&Year=2019&Initiative=false )– helps by offering local jurisdictions to remove some of those barriers., but still more work to do.
      • Low barrier shelters work – Bailey Boushay house in Seattle (https://www.virginiamason.org/bailey-boushay ) – started as an AIDS house – good model, located in a neighborhood.  It was the first shelter run by nurses.  Edward Thomas house ( https://www.uwmedicine.org/provider-resource/refer-patient/medical-respite ) – triage to  primary care – nurses in the day. 
      • Al – Decades ago, I did a study in Seattle to track 100 of the most frequent fliers.  If you don’t have effective linkages – warm handoffs – you don’t have an effective system.
      • Alexis – go talk to your representatives to lower building costs and permitting.  Permitting is killing them.  People with money want to build, but it won’t pencil out. 
      • Theresa  - publicly owned housing works.  While land speculators and greed are damaging the system. 
      • James – stigma and scare tactics – we need to stop the awful anti-homeless speech. 
      • Coley – Police relations with homelessness are improving with the Tacoma Young Adult Shelter the Hot team are sent out more often. 
  • Jamala – writing is a form of therapy – write a piece for our blog.  We help folks get op-eds in newspapers.  We are happy to help.
  • John –make sure to sign up for the Legislative District Lead, and sign up or the Resident Action Project. 
  • If you  didn’t get to speak today – we’ll provide a survey for you.
  • Webinar on the 22nd at noon  for how to pass a successful local campaign for affordable housing options.

Presentation

Tacoma Pierce County Health Department - https://www.tpchd.org/ (supposedly they are there to promote health – but their support for fluoride in our water supply does put that in question – fluoridation being so clearly a Soviet plot to undermine American Health. Hard to know who to trust. Usually the health department gives me clear instructions on what to include in the minutes – I suspect comments like these are why.  But not so this time – so we’re going freestyle.-ed) 

  • Judy Olsen, Environmental Health Supervisor - JOlsen@tpchd.org
  • Here to talk about heat and poor air quality typical during the summer. - https://www.tpchd.org/healthy-homes/outdoor-air-quality/wildfire-smoke
  • One option is an N95 mask – I brought some - try one on. (brings back memories of house remodel projects – thanks for that, Judy. –ed)
  • 5 of us at the Health Department cover air quality, lead poisoning, and more
  • working on efforts for developing a healthy housing code.  Will come back to talk about that. 
  • Wildfire smoke – want to have smoke ready communities – sign up for text alerts by texting  “wildfires” to 313131. (I just did it – I feel so prepared now)
  • Lots of folks asking why we don’t provide masks to folks experiencing homelessness.  After trying to breathe through one, do you think people will want that? Respiratory and heart disease patients struggle with masks. We recommend not using masks but finding locations with adequate air filtration on days with poor air quality.
  • Invite me to come look at your air filtration system, if you’re not sure if there is more you can do.
  • I am showing a $20 box fan with an inexpensive filter (see fan photo).  Pretty easy to make – I have handout on how to make them.  You can run it for about 20 minutes, and if you keep everything closed up, it will keep the air clean for 4 to 8 hours.  We don’t’ want them running all the time – they are not designed to have a filter taped to them.  There is a concern the motor would be overheated and possibly start a fire.  They need to be watched like a candle or a pot on the stove (unless you have the pot on the stove to boil water – then you might need to look away so it will actually boil.-ed)
  • You want a filter with a Maximum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV) of 13 or higher in your house, building, or attached to a fan . 
  • How many of you have the masks on now would want to wear them during a smoke event?  Didn’t think so. Does anyone think they have clients that would want them?  Carolyn – it would be a nice option at shelter.  Judy – we don’t want to give a false sense of security. 
  • We can come to you elsewhere to present on wildfires and whatnot. 
  • Jeremy – I wear masks when there are wildfires.  I’d think folks experiencing homelessness might want them. 
  • People that struggle to breath may struggle with a mask, but they are also impacted by the smoke.  It is a balancing act.  Happy to try and get you some smoke filters.  The State Department has many that are expired that work well for wildfire smoke.  I have hundreds available.  Have the smoke ones available, too, but they will take time to get. 
  • Nate – we routinely work with parents with a car – what is a recommendation for folks in cars – thoughts?  Judy - We suggest they get to a safe air location during the day time ours – cooling centers, libraries.  For those can’t control the environment they sleep in.
  • Questions - Do you reach  out to pediatricians?  Judy – yes, we provide information, and in events, we send out info.  Grab my business card and I’ll add you to the list. 
  • We do have drop in Centers 

Reports

Fall Candidate Forums

  • Jeremy Walker – Housing Advocate - walker@gmail.com
  • I have a history as a campaign manager
  • The Coalition is looking to hold some candidate forums.  Thanks to Cynthia Stewart for the help
  • Which Race to bring in (all the races maybe?  It isn’t like the old days, we are pretty insistent that everyone gets to vote – black, white, native American – everyone. –ed) 
    • City Council races are probably the most relevant. (oh, race like contests – that makes more sense, homographs will be the death of me. –ed)
    • Some Mayoral races
    • School District races
    • Fire District competitive races
    • Metropolitan Parks District
  • Plan Date – September 27th – October 8th  (we’ve committed to October 4th and October 11th. –ed)
  • Panel style choices
    • 2 types – traditional and the “Al Model”. 
  • Want some volunteers to help with the committee
  • Cynthia – last year we had the candidates come here 3 times.  The later times, we divided the candidates into groups and asked them to listen and then asked them to discuss how they would take what they learned and use their position to make improvements.
  • Carolyn – Puyallup could use some attention.  Tacoma has the bulk of the homeless population, that would be good, of course.  Since Gig Harbor is so close, we could partner with them – Kitsap often gets the short end of the stick, too.
  • Maureen – I liked Al’s model from last year.  Thank you for the data – I love it.  I think a number of forums are being held and scheduled.  I think fire departments and parks seem important.  The parks just put out a feeler for a bond, we need the parks people in the discussion.
  • Kelly – I want to look at other forums we can sit in on – especially in Puyallup
  • Cynthia – the league of women voters have some primary forums nearly every night this week.  Please consider going – tell your client and employees to go and ask question about homelessness.  Jeremy – I can create a list of forums for other groups
  • Nathan – I think Puyallup engagement is vital.  I also really like Al’s forum style from last year – I liked how we watched the candidates synthesize what we said.
  • James – based on our forum model from last year – Joy and Espinoza both became very engaged and are allies because of this work.
  • Al – I stole this model from Tom in Massachusetts, and everyone loved it, so he gets credit (Sorry Al, I think we have officially named this that “Al Model”. –ed).  We should give priority to towns and offices where they are currently doing the least to address homelessness – to bring as much pressure as we can.  Unfortunately, many of us don’t live in those towns, it is best of we have folks in those towns.
  • Theresa – When is the Tacoma City Council preliminary session.  The League of Women Voters has little public participation in their forums
  • Theresa – would like some good talking points or questions to bring up at those forums.

Good of the Order

  • James Pogue, Comprehensive Life Resources - jpogue@cmhshare.org
  • https://www.pchomeless.org/ - info on the groups that attend – agendas, past presentation, access to our listserv.  Make sure to sign up for our listserv.  If a client has a job but not the boots they need, the listserv is a great resource.  
  • https://www.piercecountyresources.com/ - resource database – please share that and use it.  The goal is to make it as big of a network as possible. 

Good of the Order

  • Tenant location assistance changes – listening sessions next Thursday – july 18th, 6pm-8pm – Center for urban waters.
  • Kelly - 24th of July Job Fair
  • 4pm - Pantages tonight – launch of pride week – event with awards, raising the flag, Comprehensive Life Resources is receiving award for work in  LGBT community (ever wonder why there are so many Pantages theaters around?  They are named after Alexander Pantages, who built a vaudeville and later film theater empire in the Western US and Canada.  Born in Greece, he ran away at age 9 and worked as a deck hand, arriving in the US a couple years later. An inspiring story.  Except, he was racist – refusing to allow blacks in his theaters until forced by a lawsuit he rightly lost.  He was probably also a bit of a swindler. And to cap it all off, in his 60’s he was convicted of rape – though acquitted on appeal, largely with the defense that the 17 year-old accuser was a woman of low morals. I’m no fan of corporate sponsorship for public buildings, but I think I’d rather see a show at “Walmart Theater” over “Pantages Theater”.  And I’m sort of the opposite of a Walmart fan, so that is saying a bit. The Pantages is no statue of Robert E. Lee, but it still leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.  –ed)  
  • Comprehensive Life Resources – youth and young adult program open 24x7– day center is opening.  Partnering with MDC – reopening a third of the 2312 Tacoma Ave South – the old Healthcare for the Homeless building.  When night shelter closes at 7, will drive them to the homeless – laundry, showers, case management, etc. will be available.  Open from 7am to 8pm – 24 hour services between two buildings.  Will have expanded Coordinated Entry Services.  Therapist, steel drum classes, etc.  Metropolitan Development Council is looking to open the rest of the building for other services as time goes by – looking forward to an awesome partnership with Metropolitan Development Council.  It opens on Monday, July 15th. 
  • Puyallup coalition – 2nd Tuesday at 9am – could use our assistance – could use some energy.  Support doing a major forum in Puyallup that we all go to.
  • Tacoma – where folks are from.  Is that another place we want to invest our time?  Lots of hands were up.
  • Maureen – We should let Puyallup make the call on what they need from us. 
  • Don’t miss Christina Bauman’s – presentation at Catholic Community Services (it already happened, and was pretty darn good. Thankfully she came to the following Coalition meeting, and if I ever get caught up on minutes, you’ll hear about it. –ed)
  • James – this coalition is apolitical – these are all about pushing our mission, not advocating for a specific candidate

Coming Attractions

  • July 19th – A presentation by LASA on their Homeless Prevention work, as well as update from the Washington Tenants' Union and Tacoma Tenants Organizing Committee around tenant protections.  And, National Speaker Tristia Bauman will come and talk about her work at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
  • July 26th – Some Employment topics - Skookum Contract Services - learn how to connect with an organization that provides people with disabilities employment in logistics and facilities management. Workforce Central and partners will provide information on their projects and initiatives.  Valeo will also provide an update on their employment programs.
  • August 2nd – The Red Cross will come and discuss how we can partner to better serve people experiencing homelessness. We are also launching the Racial Equity committee, so come find out how you can contribute to this important work. And, we'll get to meet Kwabi and his Peace Bus, and hear about his plans to make the world a better place..
  • August 9th – Washington State Representative Frank Chopp (outgoing House Speaker) will come for a discussion about the State’s funding opportunities around homelessness.
  • August 16th – Youth themed presentations
  • August 23rd - The Tacoma Housing Authority will update us waitlist changes and solicit feedback on implementation options around the voucher and properties programs. Feedback on criminal screening policies will also be solicited.
  • August 30th - Beacon Health Options will provide a behavioral health administrative services overview of behavioral health crisis and non-crisis services in Pierce County and a bit beyond. We'll also hear from the Pierce County Veterans Bureau on their work supporting the veterans in our community.
  • September 6th – Is it worse to throw stones in glass houses, or have glass thrones in stone houses? Join our panel of experts, including Dale Chihuly, the ghost of Pantages theater architect B. Marcus Priteca, and a couple quarry workers discuss the pros and cons, and you make your own judgment. (I was going to make a joke about capital punishment via stoning, but that seemed a bit tasteless, even for me, and then when researching it, it turns out it is still legal to stone people in many countries. I’m no fan of capital punishment, but participatory public execution seems particularly vile. –ed)
  • September 24thHire253 – you need to wear your t-shirts.  Hosting at Goodwill again.  Want 50% employment.  Let’s put our energy into this

Restaurant Review

A high school English teacher – Mr. Mac -  used to talk about a burger place in his home town.  It was a take-out window, and only sold burgers, fries and soda.  And they only prepared burgers one way.  No Burger King, this place.  Mr. Mac loved it – especially when someone would try to order the burger without onions, or somesuch.  The owner would scream at them to get out of there. Mr. Mac was one of my favorite teachers, and did a great job of teaching me how to write a descent essay.  He also wrote and self-published one of the worst pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.  Worse than Twilight (although I loved the Twilight movie, I’m embarrassed to say).  As they say, those who can’t do teach.  Anyway, I’ve always like the simplicity of that burger place – even if it probably only existed in Mr. Mac’s mind – he was a bit of a fabulist – a trait that got him sacked at some point, I believe. Anyway, simple menus are my friend.  I ate at the Cheesecake Factory the other day for the first time, and was simply befuddled by the sheer list of options on the menu.  I really just want a couple choices – there is some elegance in that. Too many options makes my head hurt.  Same with beers.  Really – 30 beers on tap?  I can’t make that sort of decision.  Do I go with the hoppy IPA, the really Hoppy IPA or, the really, really, really hoppy IPA?  Does every beer brewed in the Northwest have to be an IPA? If they could just stop using hops, I’d be happy.  But then it wouldn’t be beer, it would be Gruit.  Anyway, a favorite spot with a limited (just sandwiches and salads) but tasty menu, although way too many beer options, is Peaks and Pints in the Proctor District (https://www.peaksandpints.com/ - 3816 N 26th St b, Tacoma, WA 98407).  In addition to being within walking distance of my house, it is a great spot to meet friends for a pint or two.  Created out of thin air (well, it was a movie theater at the turn of the century and many things since, most recently a bike repair shop, I think), they created a lovely bar that feels more like a mountain lodge.  And a lovely bar it is – some 30+ linear feet of it – with 20+ taps and 600+ different bottled varieties in the coolers.  I usually just tell them to surprise me with a beer – I’m all out of decision making skills by the time I wander into a pub.  Sadly, they don’t have a deep fryer – normally a mortal sin for a bar, but fryers seems to be a less common in the fashionable tap rooms these days. Alas. They do have some great sandwiches, and that makes up for it.  The Peterson Brothers - Tacoma Restauranteurs of note – I love their 1111 bar– have the sandwich thing down – and their Rueben is worth the calories.  The vegan Rainier is also a favorite.  Often I just get the pretzel bread sticks and a pint.  Being so close to my house – I can’t help but run into friends there – which is a pleasant thing unto itself.  It is a great spot for a night out with some buddies or a couple couples.  So you know, the Proctor district is getting busy, so plan to park a block or two away – the horror of walking 2 minutes to a restaurant. It won’t be long before Proctor get to the point where, as Yogi Berra so aptly put it, nobody goes there anymore – it is too crowded. But until then, take a step into the mountains and enjoy a couple hours of vacation from the rat race.   

Attendees

  • Cynthia Stewart, League of Women Voters
  • Janece Levien, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation
  • Bryan Green, Olive Crest
  • CC Mendoza, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Brendan Baker, Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Andrea Sanz, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Barbara Kaelberer, Elevate Health
  • Brandon Ault, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington
  • Pamm Silver, Molina Healthcare
  • Shannon Ice, Tacoma Community College
  • Stephen Pagar, Pioneer Human Services
  • Al Ratcliffe, me
  • J…, Medical Reserve Corp (I think it was Janet – it was a few weeks ago so my memory is fuzzy and the sign in is definitely someone whose name start with a J, but I can’t decipher much beyond that. –ed)
  • Carolyn  Read, St. Leo’s Parish
  • Carolyn Weisz, University of Puget Sound
  • Alexix Eykel, Landlord Liaison Program
  • Reanna Bettencourt, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
  • Kathy Ross, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
  • Maureen Howard, Housing Advocate
  • Quan Son, City of Tacoma
  • Sid Sandstrom, The Coffee Oasis
  • Michele Thomas, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
  • John Stovall, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
  • Kiki Serantes, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance
  • Jamala Henderson, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (yes, that Jamala Henderson, of KUOW fame. –ed)
  • Lauren Angelo, Metropolitan Development Council
  • Bita Espinoza, Saint Vincent DePaul
  • Judy Olson, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
  • Don Sheppard, Tacoma Salvation Army
  • Brain Read, Tacoma Salvation Army
  • Sandra Sych, Pierce County Aids Foundation
  • Richard Berghammer, Fellowship Bible Church
  • Daryl Jones, West Coast Recovery Housing
  • Julieann Fisher, Shared Housing Services
  • Larry Parson, Helping Hands for Veterans
  • Haili Crow, Tacoma Rescue Mission
  • Sherri Jensen, Valeo Vocation
  • Greta Brackman, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Mariam Kone, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Stephanie Glover, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Christian Da, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Traci Smith, Coordinated Care
  • Anna Malaki, Coordinated Care
  • Nathan Blackmer, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Heidi Nagel, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Ana Nau, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Gail Misner, Molina Healthcare
  • Coley Wiley, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Kelly Blucher, Goodwill
  • Elizabeth Herrera, Sea Mar
  • Marilyn Newton, Sea Mar
  • Rosie Hawkins, Sea Mar (I think that is right, or it could be Rose 4 Bukans – those were some seriously loopy letters. –ed)
  • Joann Iverson, Tacoma Community College
  • Jeremy Walker, Housing Advocate
  • Judy Flannigan, Tacoma Salvation Army
  • Coley Wiley, Comprehensive Life Resources
  • Larry Seaquist, League of Women Voters