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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/9/06

November 10, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lowest Crime Rate: For the 7th straight month, Tillicum has the lowest crime rate of any district in the entire city.  The also have the highest number of block-watches and crime-free certified apartment complexes of any district and the most active neighborhood and merchant associations. We give credit and thanks to the neighbors there who are mobilizing against crime in partnerships with Police and City government.
  • Fort Steilacoom Park Cyclocross Event: A national cyclocross event with up to 1,000 participants will take place on Saturday, November 18th, at Fort Steilacoom Park.   Cyclocross racers navigate mud, sand, pavement, grass, gravel, pasture and mulch.  When the terrain is too steep to ride or when riders are confronted by wooden barriers, they dismount, shoulder their bikes and run.  Cyclocross is currently the fastest growing cycling discipline in the United States.  Racers will complete laps every six or seven minutes, so there will be plenty of action.  Our course will feature the strongest and fastest racers competing on the circuit.  This is the 16th year Lakewood has been chosen as a race site.
  • Blue Star Memorial Marker: The Interlaaken Garden Club has asked to place a Blue Star Memorial Marker within the Gravelly Lake Dr/Nyanza Rd gateway landscaped area. Blue Star Memorial Markers are designed to pay tribute to the Armed Forces.  There presently are only two in Pierce County.  One is near the Narrows Bridge and the other is at the VA Hospital on Veterans Dr. Since the Gravelly Lake Dr/Nyanza Rd Gate Way area was funded by Keep Lakewood Beautiful (KLB), we will be coordinating the specifics of the location with them. City costs associated with the installation would be minimal if any.  The Interlaaken Garden Club has over a 60 year history of beautification in Lakewood.
  • DUI Sentencing Decision: Rocio Guerra, Associate City Attorney, successfully appealed the trial court’s DUI sentencing decision.  The appellate court ruled that repeat DUI offenders must face increased jail time, regardless of whether the conviction occurred before or after the arrest date.  When this particular defendant is re-sentenced, she will face a minimum of 45 days in jail.
  • Domestic Violence Statistics: The statistics for Domestic Violence cases that were prosecuted in Lakewood Municipal Court for the period of April 1, 2006 through October 31, 2006 are as follows:
    • 55% resulted in convictions.
    • 30% resulted in deferrals/stipulations.
    • 10% dismissed
    • Less than 1% resulted in an acquittal.
    • 4% were bargained for pleas on other cases.
    Accordingly, 85% of our cases have resulted in some level of batterer accountability, whether it is treatment, being placed on probation, abiding by a NCO (no contact order), etc.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/03/06

November 3, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Make A Difference Day: The Youth Council organized and coordinated projects throughout the city in observance of the largest national day of helping others, Make a Difference Day. The day began with the Kick-Off event held in City Hall and attended by Mayor Thomas and Lakewood’s Promise executive director Eric Renz. Also in attendance were 65 soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division from Fort Lewis, representatives from the Lakeview Neighborhood Association, Caring for Kids and the National Honor Society. The projects for our city were Bicycles from Heaven, Caring for Kids, and park beautification at Active Park and Fort Steilacoom Park. An additional 85 soldiers participated at the Fort Steilacoom Park site.
  • Successful John Op: Lakewood Officers conducted a prostitution John operation on Friday October 27th during the afternoon and evening hours. Members of Special Operations, Community Policing, Patrol, Traffic, and Detectives all worked together to make it a success. They were supported by a command post and team from Pierce County DEM. There were 18 arrests total: 16 for soliciting prostitution and 2 felony UPCS-crack cocaine. The drug charges were on two working prostitutes in the area.
  • Community Policing Training to the Military: October 24th was the first of several training days for non-commissioned officers of the 2d Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, part of our community connector unit. After an officer professional development session conducted by Chief Saunders and SGT Mike Noel for battalion officers on the correlation between our community policing operations and nation-building, the battalion commander asked for similar instruction for all his 300+ non-commissioned officers prior to departure for Iraq. They will also have an opportunity to ride along on patrol as the final phase of their training.
  • Truck and Tractor Day: 100 children celebrated the season at Ft. Steilacoom Park on October 21st at the Parks & Recreation’s first annual Truck and Tractor Day event. Kids climbed up in a variety of big rigs including tractors, fire engines, a huge tow truck and bucket and garbage trucks. They also made a craft project, received a hard hat and took a hayride around Lake Waughop with their families. Several local businesses coordinated with Parks Maintenance staff to make this first-time event a success.
  • Special Olympics Campaign: Our final dollar count for 2006 is $9,464.92 for Special Olympics, which is significantly higher than last year.
  • Crime Stats:  In the third quarter of 2006,overall crime is down 24% compared to the same period in 2005. Property crime is down 28%. Violent crime is up 13%. The majority of that increase is explained by increased gang violence, a situation common to most large cities in the State. Lakewood began an emphasis on gang crime in May and has been successful with nearly 90 gang arrests. Since the implementation of this emphasis violent crime has been on a down-trend, in September actually falling below 2005 levels. Through third quarter of 2006 vehicle accident rates have dropped 16%. In September they dropped to 58 total accidents, the lowest level we have experienced since forming the police department. We cautiously attribute this to our school zone enforcement program.
  • Housing First Program: The City of Tacoma and the Metropolitan Development Council (MDC) are attempting to house the homeless and reduce encampments in a program called Housing First.  Six housing providers in Lakewood have recently agreed to accept these tenants in their units.  The residents submit to a background check and agree to abstain from criminal activity in exchange for housing assistance.  Since this program began there has been a six fold decrease in needed services (i.e. visits to hospital emergency rooms and mental health triage centers, etc). The cost of providing housing is minor compared to the cost of jail or hospital space. We are also connecting with MDC and each of the complexes that will be housing homeless to create police/community housing partnerships.
  • Lakewood Firefighter Hero: On October 31st, Firefighter Jonathan Tinsley, who was off duty and in his personal vehicle driving on Steilacoom Blvd., observed a male who appeared to be attempting to hit a female on the side of the road across the street from the Lakewood Fire Station. Tinsley stopped his vehicle and approached on foot. The male suspect was still attempting to “hit” the female who was frantically attempting to get away. As Tinsley’s friend distracted the suspect, who was still attempting to assault the female, Firefighter Tinsley tackled the suspect. As he did so, a large butcher knife came free from the suspect’s hands. As the suspect violently attempted to free himself, possibly in an attempt to regain the knife, Tinsley used the force necessary to detain the suspect until Police arrived and took him into custody. It later became apparent that the suspect was still actively attempting to stab the victim with the butcher knife when Firefighter Tinsley tackled him. She had been stabbed several times in a vehicle from which she fled. Tinsley’s actions saved the life of the victim; had it not been for his actions, this very likely could have been a homicide investigation.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/20/06

October 20, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • The NRPA congress in Seattle: Several Lakewood Parks and Recreation department staff members attended the National Parks and Recreation Association Congress and exposition last week in Seattle. Over 6,000 delegates from throughout the United States attended this annual event. Scott Williams, Park Supervisor coordinated two national playground safety training institutes and Mary Dodsworth, Director, supported a panel discussion regarding effective plans and strategies for the future.
  • Lakes Council: Representatives from the homeowners/improvement clubs from American Lake, Lake Steilacoom, Gravelly Lake, and Lake Louise met this week with the police chief, parks & recreation director, and city manager to review progress made over the summer months on lake safety matters. Also in attendance were representatives of Fort Lewis, Lakewood Fire, and the State. There was overall consensus that the City’s new ordinances on noise and speed were appropriate, and that the overall Marine Services Unit (MSU) coverage in 2006 was effective. Commitments were made for training and orientation for boaters at each lake prior to summer.
  • Monthly City Managers Economic Development Discussion: The city manager facilitated the meeting on economic development at the monthly Pierce County CAO’s meeting this week, with the city managers present from Tacoma, Fife, Puyallup, Fircrest, Orting and Bonney Lake, as well as economic development staff from the cities and Pierce County.
  • Freedom Bridge Sign Dedication: The City’s new sign at the Freedom Bridge (Berkeley interchange) in Tillicum will be unveiled October 27th at 11:00am.
  • 2nd Annual Domestic Violence Training at Fort Lewis: On October 18th, Ann-Marie Dvorak, Victim Advocate attended the 2nd Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Training at Fort Lewis. Nationally recognized speaker, Jackson Katz, made the keynote presentation, “Learning Exemplary Leadership: Best Practices Building a Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence at Fort Lewis, Washington.” Following the keynote address, Mr. Katz facilitated a discussion about wrap around services. Ann-Marie was able to glean information about how to best assist clients who are wives or girlfriends of soldiers.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/27/06

October 27, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • South Korean Delegation Visit: Four government officials form Gimhae, South Korea will spend a week in Lakewood as part of friendship building mission in anticipation of future sister city relationship with Lakewood. The delegation will tour the city, Pierce College, Pierce College Library exhibits, meet with the Governor’s staff, Korean Counsel General and also tour several businesses and tourist facilities. The Mayor is scheduled to meet the group officially Wednesday evening with the Lakewood Sister Cities Association.
  • Photo Enforcement: The photo enforcement CSO’s have generated 400 infractions this week; the motor officers have generated 70 school zone infractions this week. (Note: Clover Park School District had a reduced schedule, as well as other events that restricted the amount of enforcement time.)
  • Felony Arrest through Motel Program: As part of the Crime Free Motel Program, Lakewood Officers discovered that a male in a motel room had a felony warrant. That arrest led the Officers to discover one adult female and a juvenile female that had been earlier bound and assaulted by the arrested male. The twelve year old victim had also been sexually assaulted by the male. Several new felony charges were added to the long list of crimes in the suspect’s criminal history as a result of this program at work.
  • Robbery Suspect Apprehended: On October 21st, an armed robbery of two citizens occurred in the 12000 block of Pacific Hwy. SW.  Officer Gildehaus noticed a suspicious male on the way to the call. He stopped and contacted the male on Pacific Hwy and detained him.  During the investigation, a third victim made contact and said that they had been robbed.  All three victims identified the suspect and he was booked into the Pierce County Jail.
  • Speed Humps on Interlaaken: As was concluded at the public meeting held at the Idlewild elementary school on September 28th regarding the installation of speed humps on Interlaaken Dr north of Washington Blvd, the speed humps have now been installed, and feedback from residents on Interlaaken is positive.
  • Business Retention Visit: David Nishamura, Economic Development Board and Joe Hannan, City Economic Development Administrator, made an annual business retention visit to Jim Gallagher, general Manager of BMC Building Materials. The 130 employee company is one of the City’s largest private employer and also one of the top sales tax generators. The company provides truss’s to the house building industry. The company is stretched at their current facility, but continues to be profitable with a positive outlook to the future.
  • CPTC Business Training: New No Cost Business Start-up Training is available at the Center for Business Development, Clover Park Technical College, and Be Your Own Boss Assessment is available free every Thursday at Building 19.
  • Pet Sitter arrested: The Lakewood Police, in conjunction with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Tacoma Police, and Steilacoom Police, worked a joint investigation involving the owner/operator of a pet sitting company. Since 2002, the owner has been stealing from her business clients. Although the actual total amount of the thefts in dollars is unknown, it is at least several hundred thousand dollars. Most of the victims either refused to name the owner as a suspect because they couldn’t believe she would do such a thing, or they just didn’t report the loss. Based on the overwhelming number of cases and the pooling of resources between all the agencies, the Lakewood Police Department was able to make the arrest. Currently, the woman is being held in the Pierce County Jail on the following charges; 14 counts of Theft 1st, 14 counts of Theft of a Firearm, 4 counts of Theft 2nd, and 2 counts of Identity Theft 1st, with bail set at $480,000. Originally recovering the victim’s property was looking grim, but with ongoing and aggressive investigation, it is very likely some of the property will be located. Since this arrest, the Lakewood Police Department has taken an additional 15 theft reports that name the woman as the suspect.
  • Personal Care Facilities and Home Based Business Task Force: The task force met this week and discussed a variety of topics including good neighbor policies and dispersion of group and adult family homes.  They also received comments on Tacoma’s proposed special needs housing ordinance.  The task force is likely to provide recommendations to the Planning Advisory Board in November.  After that, the task force and the PAB will provide a report to the Council in December/January.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/13/06

October 13, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakewood’s Promise:  Mayor Claudia Thomas participated in a conference in Denver this week sponsored by America’s Promise, representing Lakewood as one of the 100 best. She was a speaker and did a presentation to the panel on Municipal and State Action and Leadership: Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth.
  • Wal-Mart Court of Appeals Decision: The City of Lakewood and Wal-Mart received a favorable decision from the US Court of Appeals this week. This brings final resolution to all litigation related to this development.
  • B & I Gang Presentation: Officers Lee and Figueroa presented a power point on Gangs to 25 B & I businesses and six security officers. Gang member overflow from the Star-Lite on weekends has been a concern.
  • WSAMA 2006 Fall Conference: City Attorney Heidi Wachter, Assistant City Attorney Mike McKenzie, and Associate City Attorney Rocio Guerra attended the Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys (WSAMA) 2006 Fall Conference in Spokane last week. Ms. Wachter was the facilitator at a session on Personnel Law and Ms. Guerra was the moderator for the Criminal Law session.
  • Trial Preparation Training: Assistant City Attorney Anita Booker-Hay and Paralegal Cynthia Wright completed the final presentation of a two part series to the Lakewood Police Department providing training to the officers on trial preparation techniques.
  • Police PTO Academy Training: Officers Porche and Carroll taught the PTO Academy in Tacoma to members of the Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Milton and Fife Police Departments.
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Ann-Marie Dvorak and Rebecca Hendricks made excellent presentations both to the City Council at their October 2nd meeting and at the All Staff meeting on October 11th regarding Domestic Violence Awareness and accepted a proclamation on behalf of the City declaring October 2006 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  • Legal Reference Library: The Legal Department has recently updated the Legal Reference Library. The resources are kept in the Legal Department but are available for other departments to check-out as needed.
  • Pierce County Public Hearing on Conservation District Charge: Received notice from the County that they will be holding a public hearing on Oct 31st regarding the reauthorization of the $5 per parcel Conservation District charge. The County originally authorized the fee to be effective over a 3 year period starting January 1st 2004.   At the time Lakewood was supportive and reduced its SWM fee the equivalent amount thus zeroing out any financial impact to our residents and businesses.  The County’s reauthorization proposal if approved is for a 10 year period and it includes all the prior supportive cities.
  • McChord’s Web Site:  McChord’s public web site has recently been upgraded to a standardized Air Force format that includes more information and resources and is easier to navigate.  Some of the information now available online at “http://public.mcchord.amc.af.mil ” includes:  press releases, McChord news and happenings, the weekly Northwest Airlifter, regularly updated base photos, the most recent fiscal year economic influence statement, fact sheets and Space-A travel information and guidelines.