City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 2/27/09

February 27, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Police Gang Unit: The police chief has reorganized special operations to establish a Gang Unit of two police officers and a sergeant. They will operate with specially-marked black and white vehicles. The program will include the support of two liaison federal agents from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office to handle cases where appropriate.
  • D to M Street Rail Connector: The city manager met this week the CEO of Sound Transit and the Tacoma city manager to review the project status on the D to M rail connector, which is a prerequisite for commuter rail service to Lakewood. Design issues regarding the Pacific Avenue crossing, South C Street, and the track support structure have been resolved, and the final design phase is underway. The targeted bidding date is December 2009. Construction is estimated at 22 months, with testing scheduled for December 2011.
  • Military liaison officers assigned to LPD station. Starting this week, Fort Lewis has assigned two liaison officers to work in Lakewood, to assist with Police matters involved military personnel and to do transports as necessary. The two officers were introduced to the city’s management team so that they would be a resource to other City departments as well.
  • 4-2 Stryker Brigade to do training with LPD: An agreement was reached this week to allow soldiers in our community connector brigade to participate in voluntary “ride-alongs” with Lakewood police officers. The program is designed to provide practical knowledge on law enforcement tactics, techniques and procedures and enhance relations between the 4-2 SBCT and the City of Lakewood. The soldiers will be dressed in civilian attire with no military affiliation. The 4-2 is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq later this year.
  • HR Director on national committee: HR Director Debi Young has been selected to serve on the 2009 International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) Awards Committee. The charge to the Awards Committee is to solicit and evaluate nominations for Honorary Life Membership and the IPMA-HR Awards for Excellence and to make recommendations to the Executive Council. She is one of 14 HR professionals across the country who have been selected.
  • Grant for Steilacoom Blvd: Public Works received notice this week that its safety improvement project was funded for $1 million to upgrade the traffic signal at Farwest Drive and Steilacoom Blvd to reduce accidents. This project includes the installation of a barrier curb (curb and gutter) along both sides of Steilacoom Blvd from Farwest to 87th Ave to prevent drivers from veering off the road and into the trees and rock wall. The grant is for 100% of the project costs, requiring no match, as long as the project is under construction by March 2010.
  • Fort Clarke Motel demolition: The demolition of the Fort Clarke motel on Pac Highway was started this week in response to abatement actions initiated by the City. The building was deemed to be unsafe.
  • Vagabond Motel enforcement action: A business license enforcement action against the Vagabond Motel was resolved this week with the motel agreeing to close for a period of ninety (90) days. The revocation was based upon extremely high calls for police services, particularly calls that involved violence. Prior to a hearing set in this matter, an agreement was reached between the City and the Motel. Prior to reopening the motel’s name will be changed and there will be new management, and the motel also will be required to follow the Lakewood Police Department’s best practices for hotels and motels.
  • Budget Inn enforcement action: The City has agreed to issue a conditional business license to the new owner of the Budget Motel. The new owner of the motel has significant experience in motel operations, having owned and operated similar businesses in Olympia, Tukwila and Ocean Shores. Over the past year the City initiated licensing enforcement action against the previous owner of the Budget. The new owner will be issued a business license with conditions intended to maintain order and safety at the motel.
  • City Attorney Local Bar Association Award: City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter received the Outstanding Service Award from the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association for her work on the Continuing Legal Education Committee.
  • City Attorney’s Office monthly trial update: There were three cases set for trial during the month of February. In the first case, the defendant was charged with one count of Assault in the Fourth Degree/ Domestic Violence and Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree/ Domestic Violence, and entered pleas of guilty to the domestic violence charges. The second defendant was charged with Hit and Run (property damage) was found guilty. The third defendant was charged with Theft, and the case was sent to Superior Court for clarification of a previous court order.