In State of City Address, Tacoma mayor calls for police reforms, extension of light rail north to Seattle

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TACOMA -- Mayor Marilyn Strickland delivered her State of the City Address on Wednesday.  She praised Tacoma’s recent progress, including a hike in the minimum wage, but she said more needs to be done to keep up with the challenges of a fast-growing region.

Strickland noted several political and cultural milestones of the last year, including:

  • $12 minimum wage
  • $175 million street repair tax
  • U.S. Open at Chambers Bay
  • China president’s visit last fall to Lincoln High School
  • The Tacoma Art Museum’s multimillion-dollar donation from the Benaroya family

Despite the good news, Strickland also warned of some important challenges, including pushing forward with police reforms before a big Seattle-like problem emerges.  To get ahead of any crisis, she is calling for body cams; better training; a strong citizen review board; and more minority officers.

“If we are able to get these implemented as polices with our police department, “ she said, “we have a better chance of ensuring that Ferguson (Missouri) doesn’t happen here.”

Going forward, Strickland said the biggest single thing that will help Tacoma is the extension of light rail from the city’s core north to Seattle and beyond.   Sound Transit’s $15 billion plan to do just that will be on the ballot this fall.

“Connectivity to Seattle makes us a true regional player,” Strickland said.  “This must pass for us to have a future that is so ... full of economic opportunity.”