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City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 9/26/08

September 26, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • City Retains Firm to Develop American Lake Gardens Master Plan: In partnership with the Port of Tacoma, the City has retained the Seattle firm of Huitt-Zollars and several sub consultants to develop an industrial master plan for American Lake Gardens. A significant portion of American Lake Gardens - some of which is vacant and some residentially developed - was designated to industrial redevelopment with adoption of the City's comprehensive plan in 2000, and industrial zoning followed in 2001. This was a major stimulus for extension of sewer service to the area, which is currently served only by septic systems. As sewer construction approaches, the City is exploring the most beneficial uses and approach to industrial redevelopment. The planning project is expected to be complete in early 2009.
  • Port of Tacoma Contributes $25,000 for American Lake Gardens Master Plan: Lakewood received a check from the Port of Tacoma in the amount of $25,000 to be used to defray costs associated with the preparation of the American Lake Gardens Master Plan.
  • City manager attends ICMA annual conference: The city manager participated this week with about 3.400 attendees at the national city managers conference (International City/County Management Association-ICMA) in Richmond VA. He attended workshops on gov't innovation, city managers who blog, building the business case for infrastructure, performance management and data systems, and community building. He also conducted a meeting with the city manager of Fayetteville NC, the "host" city to the joint bases of Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. The two city managers discussed the city/installation relationships with growth-oriented military bases.
  • HR Director attends WA Public Employers Labor Relations Association Annual Conference: Human Resources Director Debi Young attended as a board member the Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association Annual Conference (WAPELRA) in Chelan. The conference included a wide variety of topics related to Classification and Compensation Systems and Practices as well as the labor arena.
  • Code Enforcement Update: As of today, there have been a total of 272 Code Enforcement records entered for 2008. Of these, 104 have been closed, 54 are active, and 114 are pending.
  • Abatement Activity Update: Abatement activity has been active, with demolition of one house completed this week, a house extensively damaged by a fallen tree posted with an abatement order, demolition scheduled on a burned-out house with extensive structural damage and numerous illegal and substandard additions, and a Notice of Intent to Abate recorded with the Pierce County Auditor for another extensively burned-out house. The owners of each of these houses had failed to correct the problems, despite enforcement action and more than adequate time to respond. In Woodbrook, property owners cooperated and abated two related properties this week; both properties were subject to previous abatements in 1998. In Tillicum, demolition permits were also issued for two buildings in Tillicum to a new property owner that was sold because of pending abatement action.
  • Abatement coordination with Tacoma Police operation: Animal Control, Building, and Code Enforcement divisions were called out following a Tacoma Police Department raid on a Lakewood house, where a small marijuana growing operation was found. Animal Control removed four adult pit bull dogs and 11 puppies. The Building Division inspected and "red-tagged" the house, and Tacoma Power disconnected the electricity. There were extensive, unfinished additions to the house, unpermitted wiring, secret rooms being created in the attic spaces, unfinished storage areas converted into bedrooms, and various other code violations. There had reportedly been suspicious activity associated with the house. An abatement order is being issued for the house and property and the owner will have 30 days to correct the violations or appeal the order.
  • The Ribbon is Cut at the Lakewood Station: City officials joined officials from Intercity Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, as well as State Rep. Tami Green and Congressman Norm Dicks in the Lakewood Station Grand Opening on Saturday, September 20th. It was also the birthday for Councilmember and Sound Transit boardmember Claudia Thomas, who led the ribbon cutting ceremony. Express bus service at the 600-car parking garage is now open.
    Use of the parking garage by commuters was checked on Monday and Friday of this week, and there has been an incremental increase in the use of the facility. About 150 vehicles were parked in the garage on Friday morning.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 9/19/08

September 19, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Police Station Milestone: The Police Station project reached a milestone on September 19th with completion of the exterior wall framing and roof sheathing. The project is approximately 50% complete with final completion and occupancy targeted for early April 2009.
  • Steilacoom Lake Toxic Algae Bloom: The City was recently notified by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department of a toxic algae bloom in Steilacoom Lake. In general the Health Department indicates a toxic algae bloom is easily identified by an unusual color or appearance to the water. Usually a bloom makes the lake surface green, giving the appearance of pea soup or green paint, but sometimes the bloom is a different color, such as brown or red. The algae are the small dots in the water. Wind and weather conditions can greatly change the amount and location of algae in the lake.
  • Gravelly Lake Dr Shrub Removal: Starting Friday, September 19th, with completion by next week, the City's landscaper will be removing some shrubs fronting Gravelly Lake Drive in the landscaped gateway island at the Nyanza Rd intersection The shrubs are impairing the driver's site distance associated with the Nyanza slip lane on to Gravelly Lake Drive. Once removed, the area will be re-landscaped with low growing ground cover.
  • Meeting with WSDOT director: The city manager and senior staff met with Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond on September 12th at City Hall to review the planning process for the Point Defiance bypass railroad project, and to seek ways to improve communications with effected communities. The railroad project schedule is dependent upon the upgrade of the tracks between downtown Tacoma and Lakewood, and is being coordinated with Sound Transit's Sounder service project. The issue of safety at key crossings throughout Lakewood, in particular the Berkeley interchange, was a critical part of the discussion. The freeway sign for the unincorporated Lakewood in Snohomish County was also discussed, and WSDOT has committed to remove the signs there.
  • Day of Caring: Each year the City participates by rallying a team of colleagues to participate in "Day of Caring", where we partner with local nonprofit organizations to build a stronger community. This year our team consists of 11 employees, and the event will take place on September 19th. Our project is with the Multicare Adult Day Health agency, and we will be having a Fair Day Carnival for seniors and people with disabilities, where we assist them with games and face painting and fun carnival events.
  • City Attorney attends International Municipal Lawyer's Association Annual Conference: The city cttorney attended the International Municipal Lawyer's Association Annual Conference. The conference topics included Code Enforcement against Foreclosed Properties, Local Governments and Gaming, Defending the Police, Illegal Immigration Issues, Sex Offender Residency Restrictions, and Regulating Dangerous Dogs.
  • WEDA Executive Board: The City's economic development manager, Ellie Chambers-Grady, met this week with the Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA) Executive Board with the Governor's Economic Advisor, the Association of Washington Cities, Washington Association of Counties, and the Washington Public Ports Association in preparation for the upcoming legislative session. Ellie is the President-elect of WEDA and will take office next May.
  • Mayor Makes Presentation to Pierce County Regional Council: On September 18th, Mayor Douglas Richardson made a presentation to the Pierce County Regional Council (PCRC) with an update on the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) grant through the Department of Defense. The grant will coordinate planning related to transportation, schools, and housing related to growth at Fort Lewis and McChord.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 8/5/08

September 5, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) at Lakewood United: At 7am on Thursday, September 11 at Burs Restaurant, representatives from the 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Lakewood's "Community Connection" to Fort Lewis, will provide an overview of their 15-month deployment to Iraq. Lakewood residents are encouraged to commemorate "Patriot Day" by attending this presentation and learning more about the 4-2 SBCT's historic deployment.
  • Police Volunteer Coordinator to speak at Patriot's Landing Event: LPD Disabled Parking Enforcement (DPE) Volunteer Coordinator Kristy Kernen has been asked to address the Military Officers of World Wars on September 14th at Patriot's Landing, regarding DPE/RADAR and volunteers at LPD and the positive impact they have on Lakewood and law enforcement.
  • Lakewood Observation Patrol Makes Generous Donation: The Lakewood Observation Patrol has again made a very generous donation of equipment to LPD and citizens of Lakewood. They've donated UV markers, electric engravers, and a carrying case to each of the six police districts so that we can implement an Operation ID program. The kits will include an invisible UV sharpie marker, an engraver, Operation ID stickers, an inventory sheet for listing serial numbers, and an instructional sheet. Citizens can check out a kit for up to a week by contacting their district's Community Service Officer.
  • Summer Playground Program at Springbrook Park: This free program, in honor of our past Police Chief Larry Saunders, was funded by the Lakewood First Lions, and operated from June 23rd to August 14th. Games and activities for neighborhood youth began at 11:00am and a free lunch was provided by the Food Connection and the USDA Summer Food Service program. The games and activities continued until 3:00pm, Monday through Thursday. Soccer was by far the most popular activity, followed by basketball, kickball, board games and arts & crafts. Unofficially, there were about 500 visits by children to the program.
  • Detective Makes Huge Contributions To The Washington State Missing And Exploited Children's Task Force: Detective Kim Holmes has been actively working as Lakewood's representative with the Washington State Missing and Exploited Children's Task Force since 2006. She travels state wide assisting police agencies investigating internet sex crimes against children, and she follows up on leads provided by police agencies from around the country. There was a warrant service this week in Tacoma as a result of Detective Holmes' following up on a lead provided from a detective in Florida who had posed as a 14 year old girl on line which resulted in an arrest.
  • Officers Participate in "Operation Crackdown": Four Neighborhood Police Officers from the COPS unit participated in "Operation Crackdown," a two day Washington State Department of Corrections sponsored operation to locate and arrest Sex Offenders who have outstanding arrest warrants living in Pierce County. Other agencies included Tacoma PD, PCSD, and the US Marshal's Office.


  • Missing Boy Found: Reserve Officer John Henterly found a missing 2 year-old boy in Tillicum on August 31st. He had wandered out into a field and fallen asleep. Henterly found him shortly after arrival while the father was running around in the woods looking for him as well.
  • Pit bulls Confiscated: Lakewood streets are now a bit safer after Animal Control confiscated two Pit bulls that were in violation of the City's Potentially Dangerous Dog Ordinance. After about $9,300 in fines and shelter costs, and two failed attempts at appealing the order, the owners of these two dogs would not come into compliance and continued to allow the dogs to run at large. The citizens and children in the Custer Elementary School area can now once again walk without the fear of two potentially dangerous dogs threatening them.
  • Officer Actions Above and Beyond the Call of Duty: Officer Vince Sivankeo went above and beyond when he was called out to a Burglary on August 8th. A young Canadian citizen came down to purchase a nostalgic car. The deal went bad, the young man drove away and in the process got into a car accident; his car was towed, and he took a taxi to a motel on South Tacoma Way. While the young man was asleep in his room, someone broke in and stole his wallet which contained all of his money and credit cards. Officer Sivankeo wanted to help this young man get home. CSO Dawn McGinnis made contact with a Lakewood Trucking company, who agreed to take the young man all the way to Canada. The young man called the next day to say he had made it home safe and sound with lessons learned and to thank LPD.
  • Suicide Attempt Thwarted: On August 30th, LPD Officers Griswold, Maysonet, and Jeff Johnson responded to a suicide attempt in progress. The officers determined that it was necessary to make entry to the residence to check the welfare of the subject, and they found him in a running vehicle in an enclosed garage, attempting to asphyxiate himself. The officers detained the subject without causing further harm and subsequently involuntarily committed him for mental health treatment.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 8/12/08

September 12, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Summer Day Camp program at Woodbrook: The Parks & Recreation Department collaborated with the Clover Park School District and other partners to again offer a low-cost day camp program at Woodbrook Middle School. Campers were treated to a full day of activities, games, and arts and crafts, with field trips every Friday. Special guests included the Girl Scouts, the Tacoma Astronomical Society and the Lakewood Police Department which integrated the GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) grant curriculum into the camp. The curriculum included: Making GREAT choices, communicating messages clearly, controlling your anger, respecting others and being a GREAT citizen. There were 78 different participants that attended camp and almost 1,000 participant visits. The recreation staff was assisted by two high school volunteers.
  • Lakewood Refuse Service Acquisition: The city manager and city attorney met this week with representatives of both LeMay Enterprises and Waste Connections of Washington to discuss the upcoming transition of ownership scheduled for next month. Waste Connections will become the parent company; however, Lakewood Refuse will continue as the local service provider with no change in name on the trucks. Waste Connections operates in about 23 states, and is committed to continuing good customer service to Lakewood customers as the City’s contractor for refuse services. A legal review is underway to determine if a revised contract is necessitated by the change in ownership.
  • Asst City Manager attends Planning Directors Conference: Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Dave Bugher attended the Annual Joint Conference of City and County Planning Directors this week in Chelan. Topics included ethics for planners, legislative and case law updates, and current practices of western Washington cities regarding climate change. Mr. Bugher also attended a memory skill building class with special emphasis on remembering names in public meetings.
  • Work Crew paints VMS Building: The City’s offender work crew was tasked with painting the Vehicle Management System building on Steilacoom Blvd last week, which provided great support to our facilities maintenance budget. Work crew projects continue to offset increasing jail costs.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 8/29/08

August 29, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Station Grand Opening on September 20th: Lakewood citizens are encouraged to attend the grand opening of the Sound Transit's Lakewood station on Saturday, September 20th from 11am to 2pm., located at 11424 Pacific Highway SW across from Lakewood Ford. Starting September 21st, Lakewood Station will be served by Sound Transit, Pierce Transit and Intercity Transit. The station will include a 600-stall parking garage, bike storage, and ticket vending machines for the Sounder Connector Route 599. This express bus will be timed to transport riders to the Tacoma Dome Station for transfers to Sounder trains serving Puyallup, Sumner, Kent, Tukwila, and Seattle. Visit www.soundtransit.org/sounder for schedule info.
  • Cemetery Zoning Change: Four cemeteries within Lakewood are part of this year's comprehensive plan and zoning amendments. In response to the yellow notice signs posted at the sites, City Hall has received numerous inquiries, particularly about the Byrd Cemetery located within the state game farm off Phillips Road. It seems a rumor got started that the rezoning would mean development of the game farm, which is not being considered. The four cemeteries - in addition to the old Byrd family plot, the historic Old Settlers' and Masonic cemeteries in the Lake City area, and the Home of Peace Cemetery off Steilacoom Blvd. - would be moved from one open space zone to the other, a technical correction to adjust a misapplied zoning district that does not allow for cemeteries. Development of the game farm cannot occur as a result. Public comment will be taken on these and all other proposed comprehensive plan/zoning amendments at a Planning Advisory Board hearing on September 10. For more information, call (253) 983-7770.
  • Human Services Needs Assessment Update: Fifteen (15) focus group meetings have been held since July to obtain citizen input on human services needs in our community. These include meetings with each of the neighborhood associations, various advisory boards, housing providers, health care providers, ministerial/churches, City departments, employment services, education providers, and various ethnic groups. We have also received 272 citizens' responses from the web-based survey. The draft Needs Assessment Report is scheduled to be presented to the Council in November. The City received 51 human services applications requesting $937,165 in funding. The Human Services Funding Advisory Board is scheduled to conduct oral presentations from the applicants on September 24 and 25 and present funding recommendations in November.
  • Armed Robbery Successful Response: LPD Patrol responded to Union 76 station at 11919 Pacific Hwy SW for an armed robbery call. Officers arrived in the area within 2 minutes of the call being dispatched. Containment was set up and officers immediately started a track; one quickly located the first suspect and then tracked to some clothing and the pistol used in the robbery. A short time later, Patrol located the second suspect a short distance away in the stairwell of the Juniper Court Apts. Detectives were called out and obtained a confession from the suspects.