Tumwater City Council Says Final Farewell to Councilmember Tom Oliva During His Last Meeting

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The Tumwater City Council met online for a regular meeting last night. With only a few things on the agenda, the majority of the meeting was dedicated to reflecting on Councilmember Tom Oliva’s service to Tumwater over the years.

Oliva first started serving on the council in 2010. During his tenure, he served on each of the council’s sub-committees, as well as represented the city on the Thurston Regional Planning Council and the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan, among other projects. Many community members and council members joined in congratulating Oliva for his service and recognizing his efforts in making Tumwater a better place.

Mike Daily, Executive Director of Thurston Regional Planning Council, took some time to recognize Oliva’s service to the planning council. “Tom served various roles with the Thurston Regional Planning Council. He served two years as secretary, two years as vice-chair, and two years as chair. Tom, thank you very much for all your service, and not just within the city of Tumwater, your accomplishments go far beyond Tumwater,” said Daily.

Carla Wulfsberg, a former city department manager who oversaw the city's historical programs, highlighted Oliva’s dedication to local history during his service. “Tom has been a great champion for historic preservation and his tireless work to save the old brewhouse. Thank you so much for all your work that you did for so many years on that project,” said Wulfsberg.

Councilmember Joan Cathey reflected on her service with Oliva: “We’ve been at this together a long time. I wanted to tell you that I have always been proud to serve with you. I appreciate, on a personal level, how the other council members have spoken to you coaching them and being there for them. The other word that I think of when I think of you is grateful. I’m really grateful that I got to know you. Thanks, Tom,” said Cathey.

Councilmember Michael Althauser mentioned Oliva’s influential role in his decision to run for office. “I wanted to offer a very heartfelt thank you. I know that when I was considering running for office, you were one of the first people I talked to. You were a role model to me with your empathy, leadership role, and commitment,” said Althauser.

Councilmember Eileen Swarthout shared her comments for Oliva as well. “You are so thoughtful, empathetic, and kind. I always appreciated how kind you were and how easy to talk to you are. I have big shoes to fill with the Thurston Mitigation Plan. I just wish you all the best,” said Swarthout.

City Administrator John Doan also reflected on Oliva’s service over the years. “You stand for fairness and diversity. You stand for the city’s rich history. You stand for public engagement and transparency. You have also spoken for stability. You certainly go beyond the city and the community to make the county a better place. The end of a chapter, but the beginning of a new and exciting one,” said Doan.

Due to the virtual nature of the meeting, Mayor Pete Kmet presented Oliva with a slate distinguishing his service to Tumwater and his commitment to the community via a picture of the official plaque which will be picked up at a later date.

Ordinance Banning Smoking and Vaping in City Parks

This ordinance, which the council voted to pass, will set the standards for smoking and vaping in city parks. What this new ban means is that signs will be added around Tumwater city parks informing the public of the civil and criminal penalties for an infraction of this ordinance, with the first offense being a $50 fine. This ban will also be added to the official list of rules posted in all city parks.

As Councilmember Michael Althauser stated, “The real outcome here is education. We have those fines in there to be essentially a backstop when the education piece fails.”

Parks Director Chuck Denney, explained the ordinance details. “This ordinance highlights what an important part of the community parks are, now more than ever. It also recognizes that secondhand smoke has many side effects. It is also found that children’s exposure to smoke makes them more likely to smoke when they are older. Because of this, Olympia and Lacey have enacted similar ordinances recently to ban these actions in their parks. The city’s golf course was left off this ordinance as there were no golf courses in the state that ban smoking as of right now,” explained Denney.

Thurston Climate Action Plan Enters Phase 2

Also authorized, was the official go-ahead for Mayor Kmet to move forward in Phase 2 of the Thurston Climate Action Plan. This is essentially a 12-month interlocal agreement to keep the momentum going for climate action. Actions include: public outreach, development of a webpage for public access, and climate-informed decision-making.

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