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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/21/07

September 21, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Interlaaken Bridge Fishing Platforms: Beginning Monday, September 24th, the County maintenance crews will be reconstructing the two fishing platforms which presently exist at about mid span on the Interlaaken Bridge which spans Lake Steilacoom. The work will be finished by the end of the week. The fishing platforms are presently unsafe due to rot and have been flagged to keep people off of them. Because they were apparently an added feature to the bridge subsequent to its original construction, their condition has no impact on the overall structural integrity of bridge, which is considered structurally sound.
  • Comp Plan Amendments: The Planning Advisory Board (PAB) held a public hearing on September 19th regarding amendments to the City’s comprehensive plan for 2007. There are four proposed amendments this year. The proposed amendments involve: 1) property on the southern edge of the Pierce College campus which staff is proposing to re-designate from Single Family Residential to Public/Institutional; 2) Re-designation of one property along the northerly side of 93rd Street SW from Single Family to Central Business District (this item is proposed to be tabled until 2008, when the entire block is to be considered); 3) Re-designation of property along the southerly side of Steilacoom Boulevard just east of Fort Steilacoom Park, from Arterial Corridor to Neighborhood Business District; and 4) re-designation of property located just east of the Burlington Northern railroad tracks on the south side of Steilacoom Boulevard from Industrial to Corridor Commercial. Pursuant to State law, the City can amend the comprehensive plan only once a year and all proposed amendments must be considered together. The PAB will meet again on October 3rd to deliberate on the proposed amendments, and then forwarded a recommendation to the City Council for final action before the end of the year.
  • Fort Lewis Family Safety Presentation: CSO Kathy McCann and Sgt Noel made a safety presentation on September 18th to the women of the Family Readiness Group (FRG) on Fort Lewis. These are the spouses of the soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the topics covered were self safety, protecting your identity, and latch key children.
  • Legal Department Open House: The City’s Legal Department is having an Open House on Wednesday, September 26th from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. in an effort to showcase the various services it provides and the different responsibilities of each staff member. All City employees are invited to attend.
  • Burglary Suspects Apprehended: LESA dispatch received a call on September 15th from the victims of a burglary that had occurred in East King County. 20+ firearms, a safe, laptop computer, rare coin collections, and many other items were stolen from the residence. The victims gave information that the suspects were selling the firearms and other items out of a Jeep Cherokee in the rear parking lot of the B&I. Dayshift responded and Officer Bowl located the vehicle exiting the vehicle southbound onto STW and conducted a felony stop with several dayshift cars behind him. Three suspects were detained and 7 rifles and a plethora of property was recovered. The Jeep Cherokee was also stolen out of Gig Harbor. The victims were contacted and arrived at LPD and positively identified just about all of the property and rifles. All of the subjects are convicted felons and were booked into PCJ.
  • Drive-by Shooting Suspects Arrested: Officer Jeff Martin took lead on a drive-by shooting that happened on Tuesday. He quickly developed suspect information and had Ops set up surveillance in east Tacoma. Ops and Officer Martin made a stop on a car leaving the residence and interviewed the driver. The driver confessed and said that two other suspects and the gun were in the east Tacoma house. Officer Martin wrote a search warrant for the house and SWAT did a surround and call-out. After about an hour of calling-out, the residence was finally cleared. Two more suspects were arrested and two guns, including the 9mm from the drive-by were recovered. A possible motivation for the shooting was to give one of the suspects a better standing in a street gang.
  • Bridgeport Way/Flanegan Retaining Wall: Presently out for bids is the Bridgeport Way retaining wall project. This project constructs a retaining wall on the westerly side of Bridgeport Way from Flanegan Rd northerly. Its purpose is to improve vehicular site distances for cars exiting Flanegan Rd onto Bridgeport Way. It’s also being constructed in the alignment that fits in with the future widening of Bridgeport Way.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/14/2007

September 14, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • City to host Lakefront Street Ends Community Meeting on Sept 25th: The City of Lakewood will host a community meeting on Tuesday, September 25th in the Council Chambers at City Hall to obtain community input as a first step in designing a formal street ends policy. An open house will start at 6pm and precede the meeting which will run from 7-9pm. Citizens will be able to review aerial photos of all lakefront street ends during the open house and during the meeting itself. Citizens will be encouraged to provide written and verbal comments before and during the meeting. The City is negotiating with a consultant to facilitate the process that will culminate with a formal street ends policy adopted by the City Council in early 2008. Additional details on the meeting will be forthcoming in a press release. 
  • 9/11 Freedom Walk: The City co-hosted a special event this week commemorating the attack on our nation six years ago, sponsored by Operation Homefront. About 700 people were in attendance, and dignitaries included General Charles Jacoby, the Fort Lewis commander, and Colonel Jerry Martinez, the wing commander at McChord Air Force Base. 
  • 108th Speed Enforcement at St. Frances Cabrini: The new radar speed-monitoring sign is installed and working on 108th west of Bridgeport, for the school zone at St. Frances Cabrini. Radar van enforcement will commence next week after a week to adjust to the new control measure. LPD will not be placing the van on or near school property.  
  • Qwest Excess Tax Recovery Settlement: The City and Qwest have reached a tentative settlement on the tax overcharge matter whereby the company charged Lakewood customers a utility tax rate slightly higher than the City-authorized 6 percent. Qwest will lower its charge to our customers to 4 percent for a six-month period, and will monitor the credit amount until the appropriate relief is achieved. The settlement is contingent upon WUTC (WA Utilities & Transportation Commission) approval.   
  •  Emergency Management Update: Lakewood emergency management planning is moving into a new phase with the Continuity of Operations plan and Pandemic flu plan being virtually complete. The next phase includes working on exercise planning with Pierce County Department of Emergency Management to help the City actually apply the plans we have developed. Lakewood is also working hard on a sheltering plan for low level and medium size emergencies, and working with the Red Cross to develop a plan for major disaster shelters.  
  • Law Enforcement Youth Camp: The Lakewood Police Department continued its long tradition of community involvement by supporting Law Enforcement Youth Camp (LEYC) again this year. LEYC is a camp that has been around since 1970 and it is a non-profit organization that takes kids to camp who would not normally have a chance to go. The counselors are all law enforcement related, such as corrections officers and police officers. This year Lakewood sent two of its officers, Karen Herritt and Stephen Mauer, and we hosted 4 boys and 4 girls from our city to the camp. The activities included swimming, jet skiing, crafts, horses, and ropes course activities. 
  • Pierce County Law & Justice Council: Chief Saunders represented the City at the newly rejuvenated Law & Justice Council, to support the implementation of recently passed state legislation to reform offender supervision and treatment in the community. The LJC agreed to three major projects: establishing a sub-committee to monitor Department of Corrections (DOC) compliance with only releasing offenders here who have originated from Pierce County; developing a model to promote better partnerships between DOC and local police for supervision of offenders in the community; and providing a coordination point and support base for criminal justice stakeholders to assist Lakewood in reducing crime and improving community safety at Western State Hospital.  
  • GREAT grant: Lakewood was approved for a second year of Department of Justice (DOJ) funding for the LPD/Clover Park School District partnership for the Gang Resistance, Education and Awareness (GREAT) grant. The grant amount is about $150,000 and pays 50% of the salaries for the three School Resource Officers and one Community Service Officer at the middle school.  
  • Metro SWAT Team response: The Metro SWAT team responded on September 8th to a barricaded subject in Puyallup, who was holding his 12-day old infant hostage. The SWAT team forced its way into the residence only to find the suspect barricaded into a bedroom. Hostage negotiators talked with the suspect for hours and tried to get the father to provide for his child. The SWAT team was forced to make entry due to serious concerns over the baby’s health. The child was rescued unharmed and the suspect taken into custody. Puyallup officials were very pleased with the skill, professionalism and restraint demonstrated by the Metro SWAT team.

City Manager's Weekly Info bulletin 8/31/2007

August 31, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • SWAT Team Conference and Competition: Our Metro SWAT Team attended the 2007 Washington State Tactical Officers Association Conference and took part in the competition. The competition consisted of six tactical events: Sniper Shoot, Team Pistol Shoot, Team Rifle Shoot, Citizen Rescue, Hostage Rescue and Bus Assault. All teams from Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Canada were invited to compete. A total of approximately 25 teams attended the conference and 13 teams took part in the competition. Metro SWAT placed 4th out of 13. For placing 4th, each of the seven operators who competed in the tactical events was awarded a new AVON chemical agent mask. Additionally, the team members received training in entry tactics, tactical pistol, SWAT supervision and command.
  • City Staff Picnic: Over 250 attended the all-staff picnic at Fort Steilacoom Park on August 29th, including family members. Entertainment was provided by Asst City Attorney Mike McKenzie with his well-orchestrated dog tricks, and numerous children’s activities were organized by our Wellness Committee and Parks & Recreation Staff. Special thanks to Dawn Avcular for chairing the committee.
  • Special Olympics Golf Tournament: In continuing efforts to raise funds to sponsor the Washington Special Olympics, LPD hosted a golf tournament August 17th. The tournament was very successful, netting $9,100. There were 18 Golf Teams, over $7,000 in gifts, give-aways and prizes were awarded. Major donors and sponsors were Lakewood Ford, Gene Juarez, Starbucks, Great American Casino, Lakewood Towing, Chuckals Office Supply, Quality Rentals, Harborstone Credit Union, Beds of Roses Florists, Grand Prix Raceways, Northwest Trek, Seattle Storm, and others. LPD thanks all who participated.
  • WalMart contributes to Lakewood’s Promise: WalMart presented Mayor Thomas with a $1,000 contribution this week to Lakewood’s Promise, joining a number of other City businesses in their corporate support of the Promise effort.
  • United Latino Festival: The Pierce County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (PCHCC) has sent a letter thanking Lakewood for supporting them again (for the 5th year) with the United Latino Festival on August 18th at Ft Steilacoom Park. Approximately 3-4,000 people attended and were served by over 130 vendors from throughout the Northwest. This event was organized with 100% donations from business, vendor fees, and small donations from other resources within Pierce County. PCHCC hopes the festival will become bigger and better in the future. PCHCC would like to acknowledge LPD Officer Figueroa who came out on his own time to help build the stage, hand out fliers, and support the event.
  • Kudos from a Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney: A Pierce County Prosecutor sent an email that says that the LPD Criminal Investigations Unit has done a great job on the Lakewood cases he’s prosecuted. “The (LPD) forensic unit (which is headed by Officer Bryan Johnson, a recent graduate of the prestigious National Forensic Academy) is an example of the unit performing in a professional and responsive manner. We're getting some great forensic reports that are consistent with the "CSI" expectations of the public. We send our compliments and an expression of gratitude to the lieutenant and the police chief.”
  • TASER Shot Saves a Life: August 25th LPD patrols were dispatch to call concerning a subject reporting he was going to kill himself with a knife. Upon arrival, the LPD patrol officers established their lethal and non-lethal response team, as per protocol and called subject outside. As he stepped out, he thrust a large butcher knife against his throat and began to slice his throat. Just as the subject tensed his arm and started to push against his throat, Sergeant Karin Shadow, the patrol supervisor and designated non-lethal member of the response team, launched her TASER projectile, striking the subject in the chest. The TASER application caused the subject to immediately drop the knife and drop to the ground. He was then detained without further incident. Fire medics on scene testified that, given the critical arteries in area of the throat where the subject began to cut himself, Sgt Shadow’s TASER application undoubtedly saved his life.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/7/2007

September 7, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

• Freedom Walk on 9/11: The City will be assisting by hosting the Operation Homefront “Freedom Walk” at 5:15pm on September 11th. A one-mile walk through the Towne Center will be held to commemorate the tragic events of six years ago and pay tribute to our first responders. More info on registration is on the City’s website.

• Tillicum/American Lake Gardens Sewer Project: The City has received official confirmation that our Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) loan application for $1,840,000 made the list that will be recommended to the State Legislature for funding approval. About $1,140,000 of these funds will be used for a financial aid program to provide assistance to property owners regarding their financing of their on-site side sewer connection costs, and the balance of $700,000 will make up for the early repayment of the prior preconstruction loan.

• Tourism Projects and Proposals: The City of Lakewood is soliciting project proposals that support and encourage tourism and cultural activities and tourism facilities. The source of monies from which projects will be funded is the City’s share of taxes collected on overnight stays within the City of Lakewood. The Lodging Tax 2008 Grant Application provides information regarding eligible uses of motel/hotel tax revenues and the process for proposal submission. Beginning September 6th, application forms will be available at the third floor reception counter at Lakewood City Hall, and the forms will also available on the City’s web site -- www.cityoflakewood.us. Applications must be completed, signed, and submitted to the City by September 27th. The applications will be reviewed by the City’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee in November, and recommendations for funding will be forwarded to the City Council for a final funding decision. For further information, the contact is Joe Hannan, Economic Development Administrator, at (253) 589-2489.

• Church Burglar Apprehended: Someone broke into the Central Presbyterian Church in Lakewood on August 29th, and stole a laptop, TV, pressure washer, and many other things. The suspect and his vehicle type were captured in the surveillance footage, and he was identified, caught, and booked, thanks to Officer Adam Leonard and the Property Crimes Section.

• Sewer Engineering RFQ: Public Works will be soliciting “Requests for Qualifications” from engineering consultants next week to assist the department in the management of construction phase of the ALGs/Tillicum Sewer and Storm Drainage project. The lead time from solicitation to executed consultant contact is about 3 months which coincides with our intent to have the consultant assist with our last review of the construction documents. After Pierce County approval has been given, we will then be in position to bid the project. Tentative bid date is the 1st quarter of 2008.

• Illegal Dumping Incidents: There were several incidents this week of illegal dumping of liquids into the City’s storm drainage system. While field inventorying the City’s storm drainage system, it was noticed that a small pond leading to Seeley Lake was filled with a blue liquid. The pond is at the outfall end of the City’s storm drainage system which services Lakewood Drive, Lakewood Industrial Park and a small portion of Lakeview Ave. The pond outlets into a short length of pipe which then flows into Seeley Lake. DOE also advised of us of another incident involving about a gallon of paint being dumped into the City’s storm drainage system in the vicinity of Lake Steilacoom; DOE will be responding to clean up that incident. Lastly a resident notified us of an incident involving a carpet cleaning company dumping liquids into the City’s storm drainage system. Fortunately, there were pictures of a van, license plate and driver taken and the matter is being investigated.

• Abatement and Code Enforcement Update on 3 pending cases: The Code Enforcement and Building divisions teamed up with Lakewood Police to inspect a group of houses that back onto 100th St. There was a group of people living and flopping in the illegally converted garage of one occupied house and others had evidently been occupying the other two houses and a shed. The houses were full of filth and drug paraphernalia, and an estimated 30 cubic yards of garbage was piled up behind one. Under orders from Code Enforcement, the owner had the vacant houses and shed securely boarded up by the end of the day, and an abatement order was issued. In another case, the abatement of a house near Fort Steilacoom Park, contaminated from methamphetamine production, has been completed. The cleanup was especially complicated and time-consuming, as the contamination extended into the attic and into the wood floors, and ended up requiring the removal of all the attic insulation and special treatment of the attic and removal of one of the floors. Code Enforcement staff worked with Health Department officials, and representatives of the owner, the mortgage company, and an insurance company throughout the duration of the abatement. Lastly, a contract was issued for the abatement of a property on Veterans Drive, and it is expected to be completed in 2-3 weeks. The property has been a long-standing nuisance to the neighborhood.

• Owner of Pet Sitting Business Sentenced: In August of 2006, Sergeant Alwine and the LPD Property Crimes Section began working jointly with PCSD, Steilacoom PD and TPD on the case of an owner of an unlicensed pet-sitting business would come to the homes of her clients and care for the animals while people were out of town. She was stealing high value items such as jewelry, china, and art, and would also steal items that were irreplaceable such as family heirlooms. She also started stealing firearms. She was arrested and booked into the Pierce County Jail last October, and has been in custody since. As of August 2007, she was being held on 35 felony charges as a result of this joint investigation. Judge Stoltz went outside of the recommended plea agreement and sentenced the owner to 159 months in prison, 13.25 years. Because of the exceptional sentence, she is not eligible for the standard 50% off of her time, so she will end up doing a large majority of the 13.25 years. Additionally, she will be ordered to pay restitution to all of her 20+ victims.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 8/24/07

August 24, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Gambling Moratorium: The Planning Advisory Board met this week and requested preparation of a resolution of intent to be reviewed on September 5th, reflecting a motion it made and accepted, recommending that the City Council extend the current gambling moratorium pending additional study of the gambling issue.  The extension is requested to review any available studies regarding effects of gambling and to conduct public hearings.
  • 104th Neighborhood Traffic Control Meeting: Public Works hosted a neighborhood meeting this week for discussion about 104th between Lake Louise and Hipkins. With about 40 in attendance, there was an opportunity for questions to be answered about various community concerns about speed and safety. While there were differing viewpoints about speed limits, there was strong support for consideration of sidewalks. There appeared to be a strong lack of support for traffic calming devices. Staff will review the input with the Citizens Transportation Review Committee.
  • Meeting with Port Executives: The city manager met this week with the Port of Tacoma’s executive director, board president and other senior staff to discuss the Port’s interest in the American Lake Gardens industrial park area.
  • Sewer Project Update to Rotary Club: Transportation Division Manager Desiree Winkler was the speaker at the Clover Park Rotary Club this week, as Public Works presented an update on the Tillicum American Lake Gardens sewer project. The project is 60 percent through design at this point.
  • Lakeview Light and Power franchise: The negotiation process for a franchise with Lakeview Light and Power is close to completion at the conclusion of this week’s meeting with their management. The franchise should be ready for discussion with the City Council in the next 60 days.