Council Legislation

Proposed Ordinance No. 2016-57s

Title: An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Amending Section 2.06.030 of the Pierce County Code, "Other Departments and Offices," to Create the Office of Behavioral Health Oversight; Amending Chapter 2.51 of the Pierce County Code, "Chemical Dependency Advisory Board," to Replace the Chemical Dependency Advisory Board with the Newly Created Behavioral Health Coordinating Committee"; Amending Chapter 4.28 of the Pierce County Code, "Sales and Use Tax"; Amending Section 4.48.020 of the Pierce County Code, "Special Revenue Funds"; Authorizing the Levy and Collection of an Additional Sales and Use Tax of One-Tenth of One Percent for Behavioral Health and Therapeutic Courts; Providing for Allocation and Use of Taxes Received; Providing for Administration of Taxes Collected; Prescribing Violations and Penalties; Directing Tax Collection to Begin at the Earliest Date Consistent with Revised Code of Washington 82.14.055; and Adopting a Planning Framework for the Behavioral Health Coordinating Committee.

Status: Defeated

Sponsors: Councilmembers Connie Ladenburg, Derek Young, Rick Talbert

Final votes

December 13, 2016
Nay Nay Nay Aye Aye Aye Aye

Additional legislative records are available below Collapse All  Expand All

Public Comments

Name Date Comment
Ladena Larson 10/13/16 11:40 AM My name is Ladena Larson and I'm from University Place. I'm commenting in support of my sister who at the age of 51 was diagnosed as bi-polar. She had lived a typical, mostly healthy life as a working mother and wife, raised a family and had a successful career and a buy social life with family and friends. In early 2015, family and friends began to notice changes in her behavior to the point when in May of that year she acknowledged concern and distress about how she was feeling and asked for help. She was taken to a hospital ER where they checked her out then sent her on her way with advise that she should check with her physician. She was at the time on an anti-depressant. From that point on her behavior spiraled out of control. She spent money excessively when she has always been a planner and a saver, she quit a longtime job with a company she'd worked 30+ years for, she was acting out of character, had extreme mood swings and would become enraged easily. Family and friends were trying to help and reach out to her but by this point she did not believe that anything was wrong with her and would not seek help. On May 23rd, 2015 out of desperation and fear for her safety, the police were called to a friends house where she had been staying for a few days. She would not accept help, would not accept that anything was wrong with her and just wanted to be left alone to the point of ordering everyone out of her friends house. There was concern that she could hurt herself or damage items in the house. Was was arrested for assaulting one of the police officers that responded to the call. This was completely out of character for her and would never had happened when she was in her right mind. My sister spent the next week in jail while her husband and family prayed for help then asked and waited to see if she would or could get help. Once she was released we were on our own again without much guidance, advise or help. Through our own means we were able to get her to a psychiatrist who after evaluations and interviews with family did provide a diagnosis. She seemed to do a bit better on new medication for a short time but then slipped back into dangerous behavior including drug and alcohol abuse. We again had concern for her safety. A few months passed and in August she walked into the back of a restaurant in Lakewood saying that she was the new employee. A staff member there called the Lakewood Police telling of a person with strange behavior. The police arrived with a behavioral health specialist. My sister was taken to St Claire Hospital for an evaluation. After their observations and our family input she was taken to MDC in Tacoma for a 72 hour hold which ended up being an 11 day stay. There were a number of friends and family members who looked for help in any way we could search out. What was so frustrating was that when she was in the frame of mind to understand she needed help she couldn't seem to get what she needed and when she was in mania she would not accept help. Our hands were tied. Our saving grace was that restaurant worker who called police because of this woman who was acting strangely and the Lakewood Police who arrived with specialist who identified a possible mental problem. Very possibly that police visit in May would have turned out very different, without an arrest, had a mental health specialist been on site at the visit.
Carl Stixrood 10/13/16 3:34 PM I encourage passage of the proposed Pierce County mental health funding legislation. My brother has been under the care of Western State Hospital since 1965. I am a King County resident but have worked as a consultant for Pierce County and several cities and towns in Pierce County over the past 20 years. My daughter currently resides in Pierce County as a PLU nursing student. My comments are primarily related to schizophrenics such as my brother. At the hearing before the Committee of the Whole on October 12, we heard several personal stories from family about schizophrenic members who had fallen through the cracks of the mental health system. One family's father was killed by his son, another family's son committed suicide. In both cases, the family tried to get help multiple times but were unable to obtain consistent treatment for the sick person. The real tragedy is that both of the sick persons had been treated and released. I follow the newspaper reports of mass shootings: Burlington Mall, Marysville School, Mukilteo, Cafe Racer and on and on. In almost every case a mentally ill person had been identified as having a problem but was not receiving treatment at the time of the crime although the family had asked for help. My brother was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in 1965 and involuntarily committed after several failed attempts by my parents. He has committed assault every time he has been released from Western State over the years. Several innocent persons have been injured because a mentally ill person did not receive adequate treatment. Schizophrenia is a problem that is far beyond the capability of a family to deal with. It requires consistent, long term services from police and court and mental health professionals if the public is to be kept safe from mentally ill persons. Our daughter’s nursing textbook stated that approximately 50% of the homeless are schizophrenic. Other research shows that adjusted for population growth, there has been a 17% reduction in the nation's state hospital bed population since 2010, and a 96.5% drop from peak hospital numbers in the 1950's. This de-institutionalization has been a disaster for many of the sickest mental patients and has increased the danger to the general public who are now at risk in everyday activities of going to the mall, a ballgame or school. As our spending on inpatient services has decreased, some rather inhumane practices have increased in response. One alternative we are practicing as a society is simply to have the police shoot the mentally ill when they do not behave in a normal way. Another cost saving practice is to discharge dangerous patients such as schizophrenics to the care of family members. Western State staff recently suggested discharge of my brother to my care which I refused because it would put myself and family at serious risk. I love my brother and visit him every few days but he should not be at large in society or in the care of family members that cannot control a 6’3” 230 pound irrational person with no sense of right and wrong that periodically becomes agitated and physically assaults whoever is closest. I am encouraged that Pierce County is taking a leadership role in funding for mental health care and hope that sufficient resources can be targeted towards treating those patients that threaten the public safety. Carl Stixrood 2510 Boyer Avenue East Seattle, WA 98102 206 550 2514
Melanie Abbott 11/11/16 6:37 PM Our county desperately needs this. We have the chance to prevent a lot of suffering; this is a step in the right direction. Thank you for proposing this and I urge you to pass it. Thank you.
Barbara Miller 11/15/16 10:17 AM Yes, please! Let's lead the way in showing we care about all our citizens and are willing to put our money where our mouth is.
Ingrid Curtis 12/5/16 4:03 AM I am very much in support of Ordinance 2016-57. Mental Health and chemical dependency is a major and growing problem and it needs to be addressed by strongest means possible.
Meleney 12/5/16 6:14 AM Dear Connie Ladenburg, Derek Young and Rick Talbert, As a sister of a brother that had mental health issues, I strongly support Propsed Ordinance 2016-57. My brother, at 57, died this last July due to several health complications. His spiral greatly increased 4 years ago in which I found there to be little support within Pierce Co as well as Washington State. There is a great need for mental health care and support for our citizens. Please consider supporting this amendment. Sincerely, Meleney Albert
LAURA GARDNER 12/5/16 8:46 AM I strongly support this proposal. Pierce County is sorely lacking in funds to support our citizens with mental health issues. I am happy to pay this small increase in sales tax so we can better provide for these vulnerable citizens.
Gloria Fletcher 12/6/16 7:00 AM We can't continue to ignore the mental health issues that impact all of us, either directly or indirectly, on a daily basis. Please support this proposal.
Cynthia Lorch 12/6/16 12:07 PM To Derek Young, I strongly encourage you to support the one tenth of one percent sales tax for mental health and chemical dependency programs. From my experience as a social worker in Tacoma I can tell you that there is a big need for services. I'm sorry to add that I'm familiar with two families that have been tragically impacted by the limited services. Schizophrenia is a treatable disease. We will never know whether appropriate treatment would have prevented these tragedies, but I believe we should treat people with mental health problems before they end up spending the rest of their lives at Western State Hospital. Thanks for letting me express my concern. Sincerely, Cynthia Lorch MSW
Noel Hagens 12/6/16 6:12 PM Support the 1/10 of 1% for mental health and chemical dependency. Mental health is a serious issues in our area; the proposal will generate 9-13 million for this important cause.
Alison McCaffree 12/8/16 12:35 PM Dear Pierce County Council, I understand you will be voting on new ordinances at next week's meeting 12/13/16. I am writing in support of the proposal to institute a 1/10 of one percent sales tax for mental health and chemical dependency. Mental illness is a serious problem in Pierce County. There are serious unmet needs for mental health services. This tax could generate $9-13 million for expansion of services, serving many of those in need. This tax would be only one cent per $10 purchased, which the public would hardly notice. I am willing to pay this increase and will encourage my neighbors, friends and family to support you in this positive decision. Thank you. Sincerely, Alison McCaffree
Pat Miraldi 12/11/16 5:32 PM I oppose the institution of still another tax on an already over taxed population. I am a senior living on a small pension, and between the Sound Transit tax that will be imposed in January and the substantial sales and use taxes already charged, I'm having difficulty making ends meet. I would like to see government live within a static budget, just as I do. Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback.
Robert Miraldi 12/12/16 3:20 PM Lets wait to see what happens under new US gov't. It just might get better all by itself. If not, we can decide then. Besides, we are hard pressed enough right now.
Rosa Beth Gibson 12/12/16 4:14 PM Please support this ordinance to provide resources for much-needed mental health services.
Dale E Summers 12/13/16 8:24 AM We need no tax increase.