Special Reports

Ladenburg will represent City Council on violence panel

Tacoma Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg has volunteered to represent the City Council on the 49-member Pierce County Commission Against Domestic Violence.

Councilwoman Sharon McGavick, who now holds the seat and whose council term ends later this year, has agreed to step down. McGavick said she believes domestic violence is an important issue, but she hasn't been able to fit the commission into her schedule.

The change requires a council vote, which could take place within the next couple of weeks, Ladenburg said.

Advocates for victims of domestic violence have criticized McGavick for her failure to attend commission meetings. Instead, McGavick routinely sends Judie Fortier, the city's women's rights coordinator, her designated alternate.

Steve Pepping, commission chairman, and Karin Tautfest, director of victim advocacy for the YWCA, said Tacoma's top leaders must demonstrate their commitment in person.

"It's kind of put up or shut up, and they need to put up," Pepping said.

"You can't make this a priority if you're not involved and you don't know what's going on," Tautfest said.

How Tacoma handles domestic violence has been a focus of attention since April 26, when Tacoma Police Chief David Brame fatally shot his wife, Crystal, and then killed himself.

As chief, Brame also had a seat on the commission, but like most of Tacoma's previous chiefs, he didn't attend the meetings, Pepping and others said.

"I'm planning on being an active member," said Ladenburg, who said she wants to help dispel myths about domestic violence and teach people to recognize warning signs.

Susan Gordon: 253-597-8756


How to get involved

Pierce County Commission Against Domestic Violence meetings are open to the public. They take place at noon on the first Thursday of every month at Tacoma's wastewater treatment plant conference room, 2201 Portland Ave.