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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/28/08

March 28, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • PSE Gas Work: PSE gas will be working on Bridgeport Way over the next 3 to 4 weeks replacing their gas main from just north of 100th St to 112th St. They will be working at night from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am, starting this March 30th. The work will start at the north end and progress to the south.
  • Ellie Chambers hired as Economic Development Manager: Ellie Chambers has been appointed as the City's new economic development manager, to start on April 14th. She's been with the City of Puyallup for almost 4 years as the assistant to the city manager for economic development, and she's currently the president-elect of the Washington Economic Development Association (WEDA). She was previously with the Spokane-based Avista Corporation (formerly Washington Water Power Company) for 13 years, where she worked throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho in a variety of executive economic development positions. The position is a reclassification of the position formerly held by Joe Hannan who left to become the Mukilteo city administrator.
  • Springbrook Easter Egg Hunt: There was an Easter Egg Hunt for kids in the Springbrook Area. 77 baskets were given out, plus 20 bags of candy and other toys. About 80 children were present. Lakewood Lions members, Fire Department and the Kiwanis participated.
  • Cadet of the Year Award: Kevin Pressel, LPD's newest Community Service Officer, was presented with the Cadet of the Year Award at the Pierce County Awards Ceremony this week.
  • Political Demonstration in Tillicum: About 200 anti-war protesters rallied at Harry Todd Park on March 22nd and marched to Freedom Bridge, where they were met by about 100 counter-demonstrators. Incident command was led by LPD, and crowd control was coordinated with WSP, PCSD, WAARNG and TPD on stand-by. There was heavy media coverage, but no significant incidents occurred, and no use of force nor arrests. Swing-shift was called in early, and Dayshift was held over to handle the event.
  • Guilty verdicts in City cases: The Legal Department had two cases proceed to trial this month in Lakewood Municipal Court. Prosecutor Sean Parrent received a Guilty Verdict on a theft charge this week in a case involving a gate in the Wards Lake park area, after a two day trial with jury. Prosecutor Matt Kaser took a DUI charge to trial and also received a Guilty Verdict.
  • WA Municipal Clerks Association (WMCA) President: General Services Director/City Clerk Alice Bush was honored for her service as the 2007-08 WMCA President at the 38th Annual WMCA Conference in Wenatchee on March 18-21. She presided over a successful event with 166 attendees and over 25 vendors and sponsors. As the WMCA President, she also represented Washington at the regional conferences of the City Clerks Association of California and the British Columbia Local Government Management Association, as well as the 61st Annual Conference of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC).
  • American Lake Park Boat Launch Update: The American Lake Boat Launch Improvement Project is being completed in phases. The City divided the project into several phases to meet available budget. The first phase, the actual boat launch unit, is completed. The second phase involves the docks, piles and bulkhead repair, and Shoreside Marina is under contract to build the floats to be delivered and installed sometime in May. Another phase involves the removal of the house, business office, and hanger. The structures required asbestos abatement before demolition, which should occur in April. The improvements to the parking lot, storm water retention, staging lanes, site landscaping, lighting and new entry will start after the demolition is completed. Until the site is re-opened, the City recommends boaters use the State Fish and Wildlife's boat launch facility in Tillicum, near Camp Murray (this site does require a "vehicle use permit" that can be obtained online at www.fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov).
  • Victory Motel Demolished: Victory Motel located adjacent to Pacific Highway SW was demolished this week.
  • Domestic Violence Docket Innovation: The Legal Department in conjunction with the Municipal Court is working with the Center for Court Innovation to explore the implementation of a domestic violence specific docket. The Center is a non-profit think tank that helps courts and criminal justice agencies aid victims, reduce crime and improve public trust in justice. A core planning team from Lakewood will be visiting New York in May to observe nationally renowned domestic violence courts in action as part of the Center's technical assistance program. This team is comprised of Judge Ernest Heller, two Court staffmembers, and three representatives from Legal. Most of the site-visit's cost is funded by the Center, with federal funding support from the Office on Violence against Women.
  • Abatement Update: The code enforcement team issued abatement orders on three properties with dangerous buildings and significant public nuisances. The owners have 20 days to correct the violations, apply for building permits, or appeal the orders before the City can begin the process to hire contractors to complete the abatements. A request for bids was sent out for another previously-noticed dangerous building abatement. Because of potential asbestos contamination, the entire process is expected to take approximately 3 weeks. Owners of two other properties with very dangerous buildings have stepped up at the last minute and will apparently do their own abatements, freeing up staff to work on other properties.
  • Gateway Design Public Workshop: The City conducted a successful public workshop last week regarding a gateway design on North Bridgeport Way near the north city limits. Additional workshops will be conducted before Keep Lakewood Beautiful and the Arts Commission.
  • Supervisors Training: The City co-sponsored a supervisors training workshop with Pierce County this week, held at the Tacoma Community College campus. A number of city departments had staffmembers attend, and Dawn Avcular from HR assisted as a co-presenter.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/21/08

March 21, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Youth and Law Forum: Our municipal court Compliance Officer Ray Richardson volunteered his time for the Pierce County Minority Bar Association "Youth and Law Forum" on Saturday March 15th, along with representatives of Lakewood Police and the City Attorney's Office.
  • Vehicle Prowl Witnessed: A citizen who lives in the area of an interrupted car prowl that LPD handled Wednesday night, called to express his appreciation for how the situation was handled and to pass on his compliments. He wasn't the victim, just an onlooker who appreciated LPD's professionalism. He was watching from his home as the Police located the suspect, who had just prowled several vehicles in the area.
  • Planning Advisory Board Member Recognized: On March 17th, the City Council presented outgoing PAB member Ann DeFee with a City Council Proclamation recognizing her 10 years of service to the Planning Advisory Board, including long periods when she served as chairman and vice-chairman. Current PAB Chairman Jeff Brown and Vice-Chair Eugene Green were present to express the gratitude of the Planning Advisory Board and extend best wishes to Ms. DeFee. On March 19th, the Planning Advisory Board welcomed its newest member, Paul Calta. Boardmember Stephen Mazoff was re-appointed.
  • Lakewood funeral for Fort Lewis Stryker Soldier: The City of Lakewood showed its support at Mountain View Memorial Park on March 17th for Corporal Jose A. Paniagua-Morales, who died of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device near Samarra, Iraq. CPL Paniagua-Morales was a member of our Community Connector brigade, and he is survived by his mother in Tacoma. Many Lakewood citizens attended the funeral, and both Lakewood Police and Fire Departments provided visible displays of community support.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/29/08

February 29, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakewood Refuse Garbage Collection Rates: Lakewood Refuse garbage collection service rates will increase by 3.91% for residential and commercial service effective March 1st. For a typical residence with weekly 60 gallon Toter garbage/recycling service, the increase correlates to $1.01 per month. The increase is in accordance with terms and provisions of the City’s contract with Lakewood Refuse which allows for automatic adjustments for yearly changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and/or change, if any, in landfill disposal fee. This year’s rate increases are reflective of both a CPI and a dump fee increase.
  • Abatement Actions: Moving forward with a list of abatement actions on dangerous buildings in Lakewood, Community Development staff completed Certification and Notice of Intent to Abate a Public Nuisance, to be filed with the Pierce County Auditor, for five properties with badly burned and/or collapsing buildings, and sent out requests for bids on two of those properties and two others. Additionally, another dangerous building was torn down by the owner under orders and permit of the Department. All of these properties were included in a presentation to the Council this past week.
  • City’s Attorneys Involved with the local Bar Association: Assistant City Attorney Anita Booker-Hay is currently beginning her second term as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association (TPCBA). The object of TPCBA is to maintain the dignity and honor of the legal profession, to promote the administration of justice and to cultivate a feeling of goodwill among its members and to recommend, advocate and work for the enactment of laws which promote good government. City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter currently serves as the chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee.
  • City’s management staff tours Fort Lewis: The City’s development management team, consisting of the city manager and the department directors of community development, public works, and communications, visited Fort Lewis this week to discuss growth at the bases and issues of interest to both entities. Deputy Garrison Commander Tom Knight hosted the meeting, which included their public works division director, public affairs officer, and the deputy chief of staff for I Corps.
  • Growth Management Hearings Board issues compliance order: The City placed a moratorium in February 2005 on permits or licenses related to uses in Public Institutional (PI) Zones that halted the issuance of permits or licenses for correctional facilities proposed to be located at Western State Hospital. The Department of Corrections disagreed with the City’s moratorium and appealed the Ordinance to the Growth Management Hearings Board whose decision was appealed to Pierce County Superior Court. Assistant City Attorney Mike McKenzie handled a compliance hearing on February 25th with the Growth Management Hearings Board on this matter, and the Board issued an order finding that the City is in compliance with their order. After almost three years in the litigation process, this case has been resolved.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/7/08

March 7, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Bus Shelter Ribbon-cutting at Senior Activity Center: Pierce Transit officially commissioned its newest bus shelter on Lakewood Drive in front of Lakewood's Senior Activity Center on March 5th. Volunteers from the center, with leadership from Joan Smith, had coordinated efforts with Pierce Transit to provide for a safer place for seniors to wait for the bus.
  • Mobile Home Park Inspections: Community Development's Building and Code Enforcement divisions, together with Police, Lakewood Fire District, County and State agencies and Tacoma Power conducted coordinated inspections of a mobile home park with many illegal uses and conditions, and a large commercial property with multiple uses and various health and safety concerns. Staff is compiling the results of the inspections and will be communicating the required corrections to the owners in writing, likely in the form of Notice and Order to Abate Public Nuisance. The coordinated inspections reflect the ongoing effort of the teamwork developed between a number of City departments and divisions - and between the City and other local and state agencies.
  • PSE Gas Main Replacement - Bridgeport Way: PSE's contractor, Pilchuck, will start gas main replacement on Bridgeport Way starting March 10th; with work during the day from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM starting at Mount Tacoma Drive and traveling south to 100th, for about 3 weeks. Starting on March 30th, work will take place at night, 7:00 PM to 5:30 AM from 100th south to 111th, for about 6 weeks.
  • Removing Ft Steilacoom Park Maple Trees: The City's contractor will start removing five of the big Maples fronting Fort Steilacoom Park along Steilacoom Blvd starting next week. We also will remove deadwood from eight of the other big Maples along with raising their canopy to clear traffic, and we will be also be grinding down 6 stumps there. This work is a follow up to the December2006 wind storm where four of the big Maples blew down across Steilacoom Blvd. As a result, we had an arborist last summer review the condition of all the big Maples along the park fronting on Steilacoom Blvd.
  • Rule 6 Law Clerk Program Completion: Ann-Marie Dvorak, Victim Advocate, has successfully finished her first year of the Rule 6 Law Clerk Program. The Rule 6 Law Clerk Program, administered through the Washington State Bar Association, is a four year program that combines tutoring and academics with work experience. City Attorney Heidi Wachter is Ann-Marie's tutor and is responsible for supervising and guiding her education. Associate City Attorney Matt Kaser has also helped as an assistant tutor. Upon completion of the program, Ann-Marie will be eligible to take the Washington State Bar Exam.
  • City of Lakewood Domestic Violence Statistics February 2008:
    • 56 domestic violence incidents referred to City prosecutor's office
    • 63 domestic violence cases charged by City prosecutor's office
    • 19 petitions granted for DV protection orders through 3rd floor kiosk
    • 32 Domestic Violence cases adjudicated
    • 14 Stipulated Order of Continuances (deferred finding)
    • 1 dismissed per plea agreement
    • 12 dismissed lack of evidence
    • 5 guilty pleas
  • LPD Explorers Compete: The Explorers recently successfully competed in the Federal Way Competition, which focused on Teamwork and Communication within their team. The Explorers showed that they are indeed a team and came back with three medals, including two medals for 2nd in the Bus Assault and Active Shooter, and one for 3rd place in the High Risk Warrant Search.
  • LPD Patrol: Stalking Arrest - A DV suspect was arrested without incident for DV stalking, assault, malicious mischief, and five warrants. However, once he was inside the patrol car he went berserk, head butting the car until he opened a significant laceration on his forehead, spreading blood all over the interior of the car. The suspect also damaged the rear passenger door frame, bending it outward. When being taken out of the car for medical aid the suspect spit at two officers, and was subsequently transported to St. Clare.
  • Burglary/Attempted Extortion: NPO Brian Wurts made a routine contact of a business in the International District and learned the business had been burglarized and the owner was being threatened in an attempt to extort $30,000. Wurts identified a suspect, who lives in King County and was eventually arrested there by the KC Sheriff's Office. The suspect was interviewed by investigators from the Property Crimes unit and confessed. During a search of the suspect's residence, more evidence of the burglary and extortion were found as a small 20-30 plant marijuana growing operation. Special Operations investigators assisted with the investigation into the marijuana grow.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/22/08

February 22, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Appointment of Bret Farrar as Police Chief: The city manager announced today the appointment of Bret Farrar as Police Chief effective February 23rd. Bret has been a police officer for 20 years, and has been with the Lakewood Police Department since its inception, serving as Assistant Chief since September 2006. He has earned the respect of the department, many people in the community, and key players in the criminal justice system. He is well prepared to do a good job of leading the excellent performance of the department.
  • Police Station Groundbreaking: The City broke ground at a well attended ceremony on Thursday for the new Lakewood Police Station at 9401 Lakewood Drive. The general contractor, Porter Brothers, will receive official notice to proceed with the work as early as next week. Construction is anticipated to be completed by early spring 2009.
  • Code Enforcement and Neighborhood Patrol Teams: This week, Community Development (CD) staff met with the City's Police neighborhood patrol team. The purpose of the meeting was to train community service officers (CSO's) on code enforcement administrative procedures and ACCESS database management so they could assist with the current backlog of code enforcement property maintenance cases. It is common that CD operates with a large backlog - code enforcement remains a very popular program. Currently, the department has 174 outstanding property maintenance and LOCRS investigations, plus abatements, and dangerous buildings. By coordinating our efforts with community policing, we can improve our service levels.
  • Lakefront Street Ends - Next Steps: Lakefront Street Ends will not be an agenda item at the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on February 26th as previously announced. Before any further public discussion, staff will conduct additional research regarding property/boundary line adjustments and easements, and related issues. Follow-on meetings on this subject will be announced in subsequent issues of the city's "Lakewood Connections"
  • Open House - Storm Water Management Program: There will be an Open House in the Council Chambers on Wednesday, February 27th, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm, at which time the public is invited to review and comment on the proposed changes to the City's Storm Water Management Program. The program revisions are a part of the City's compliance efforts with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which is a requirement of the federal Clean Water Act. A draft of the program is also available on the City's website at: /images/stories/PublicWorks/resources/Lakewood_SWMP_2008_Draft.pdf.
  • DUI Sentence: Lakewood's Associate City Attorney Matt Kaser successfully tried the case to a jury of a repeat drunk driver who was ultimately sentenced to a total of 940 days in jail followed by 300 days on Electric Home Monitoring, together with five years probation. The offender had prior convictions for DUI as well as being on a "deferred prosecution" at the time of the arrest which would have allowed her to avoid a DUI conviction by completing treatment for alcoholism. Between the time of conviction and the sentencing the offender accrued a new violation which the Court considered in rendering this sentence.
  • Senior Center Valentine's Day Celebration: The Lakewood Senior Activity Center joined together for friendship and the spirit of love last Thursday at the "Heart to Heart" Valentines Day Celebration. Dorothy Wilhelm, guest speaker and "My Home Town" commentator, inspired friendship and told stories; over 65 older adults attended this event.
  • AWC's "Engaging Citizens in Gov't Performance": Councilmembers Thomas, Finnigan, and Neary attended the new one-day conference of the Association of Washington Cities this week in Tacoma, along with assistant city manager David Bugher and communications director Jeff Brewster.
  • Speed Enforcement Emphasis: Motorists are advised to watch their speed this weekend because law enforcement will be watching. 32 officers from 15 law enforcement agencies in Pierce County will begin ticketing law breakers this Saturday on Highways 161 (Meridian), 7 and 512 as part of a concentrated statewide mobilization targeting speeding drivers. Officers also will be looking for speeders on 176th East and Sunrise Blvd. The purpose of the special emphasis, dubbed "X-52" is to stop crashes before they happen by implementing a patrol involving multiple agencies somewhere in the state every week of the year. Similar mobilizations, conducted last year in Pierce County by 13 law enforcement agencies in conjunction with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, resulted in speeds on some roads in the area being reduced as much as 70% for drivers going at least 11 miles over the speed limit. The public does not make the connection between speeding and fatal crashes as readily as it does between impaired driving and fatalities. Yet, drivers in Washington driving over the speed limit have been responsible for almost 40% of all traffic deaths in recent years. The Tacoma Pierce County DUI Task Force received an $85,000 grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to conduct both Speed and DUI patrols through the end of September. Motorists can expect to see the following agencies outside their usual jurisdictions beginning this weekend: Ruston, Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Fircrest, Sumner, Steilacoom, Puyallup, Lakewood, Fife, University Place, Bonney Lake, Dupont and Milton Police Departments, along with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. The Washington State Patrol is participating by providing dispatch and assigning extra troopers to the effort.
  • City Bids Farewell to Chief Saunders: The Lakewood City Council recognized Police Chief Larry Saunders with a proclamation at its February 19th meeting. The Council recognized his ten years of outstanding service to the Lakewood community under Pierce County and the City. Among other things, the Council recognized Saunders' efforts to reduce crime, partner with other regional agencies, start up the City's police department in 2004, and advocate for a new police station on Lakewood Drive. Fire Chief Ken Sharp also recognized the Chief for his cooperation with the Lakewood Fire Department, presented him with a leather Fire Department jacket, and spoke of the excellent working relationship Chief Saunders had helped cultivate. Chief Saunders will officially retire on February 29th and shortly thereafter will report to Fort Jackson to "re-green" with the Army and prepare for his deployment to Iraq. Colonel Larry Saunders will train Iraqi police officers during his 12-15 month deployment.