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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/5/07

October 5, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakefront Street Ends Planning Schedule: The City has identified planning dates for the Street Ends process that will be hosted by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. More information can be found on the City’s website www.cityoflakewood.us under “Latest News.” There will be no meetings in October. Meetings for February and beyond will likely be scheduled in early 2008. All meetings will start at 6pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 6000 Main Street SW.
    • November 27th – Define constraints and opportunities for each street end; develop criteria
    • December 11th – Conduct site review of street ends on American Lake, Gravelly Lake, and Lake Louise.
    • January 22nd – Conduct site review of street ends on Steilacoom Lake
  • Tillium Planning Meeting: On Tuesday evening, October 2nd, City staff hosted a community meeting in Tillicum to discuss alternatives for widening Union Avenue as an anticipated feature of the Tillicum Neighborhood Plan, overall redevelopment, and sewer service. A little over 50 residents participated. Staff discussed widening the right of way from 40 to 60 feet and presented the option of making Union Avenue a one-way street among other highlights. The presentation was well received but not as well attended as staff hoped for despite 600 mailings to affected tenants and property owners alike. The City will likely host another meeting in Tillicum before the end of October to solicit additional input from owners and tenants.
  • Mobile Workshop: Lakewood staff collaborated with the architectural firm BCRA on a “mobile workshop” as part of the Washington-Oregon American Planning Association conference being held this week in Tacoma. On Thursday morning, a group of planners and planning students toured Tillicum with an eye toward the BCRA Progress Plan as well as the City’s own planning efforts for the area, examining the neighborhood’s assets and challenges. The tour was capped with an extensive tour of Thornewood Castle, of particular interest to the historic preservation planners in the group.
  • Building Permit Valuation: New building permit valuation for September, 2007 totaled $15,204,509. Total for the year to-date, comes to $46,448,192.
  • Rose Garden Motel Demolition: On Thursday, October 4th, the Rose Garden Motel was demolished, concluding an abatement process initiated by the City. On July 12th the City issued a Notice and Order requiring buildings on the site be abated. In May, 2007, the State Department of Health had inspected the business and found “widespread and systemic” construction maintenance, electrical, fire, and safety risks. The buildings had never been connected to the public sewer system, and a mobile home/RV park had been established without permits or any connection to sewer. The property owner determined that it would be more expensive to repair the buildings, which were constructed in 1928, than it would be to demolish them and redevelop the site. The demolition contractor was hired by the property owner. In the next week the City will monitor the final clean-up of the site including removal of an older mobile home and decommissioning of an old septic tank.
  • Shelter Training This Weekend: On Saturday, October 6th over 20 community volunteers representing five neighborhood facilities and four public agencies will participate in a shelter operations training session at Lakewood City Hall. The City of Lakewood Parks and Recreation Department has taken the lead in put together a Shelter Resource Team to plan for the needs of our community during an emergency. The City’s Shelter Plan includes comfort stations (warming or cooling centers), short term shelters (2-10 days) and mega shelters (long term support for relocation efforts). The City is divided into six shelter districts to ensure that each neighborhood area is supported. The Red Cross and Pierce County Department of Emergency Management helped lead the training. We are looking for more community volunteers to support our efforts. Additional training will be provided.
  • Shooting Suspect Arrested: A gang related shooting occurred at O’Gallaghers Sports Pub. The victim, who has strong gang connections was there when several other gang members walked in and left without any problems. Shortly afterward the victim went outside; he told someone he had a feeling something bad was going to happen. He was right. When he went outside he was shot at least 4 times. He ran back inside the business and collapsed. Injuries do not appear life threatening. A witness provided a description of the suspect and his vehicle. A couple hours later WSP contacted two subjects that were walking away from a vehicle that matched the descriptions given. (seen by a DOT camera) A witness was able to ID the shooter. The car was impounded to the station. The suspect and the other occupant in the vehicle were also taken to the station for interviews with detectives.
  • Legal Department Open House: The Legal Department Open House held on Wednesday, September 26, 2007, was a success. Representatives from the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the YWCA Legal Department, the City of Auburn, the City of University Place, and McChord AFB Judge Advocate were in attendance as well as many City employees.
  • 2007 Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys Annual Fall Conference: Anita Booker-Hay, Assistant City Attorney and Matthew Kaser, Associate City Attorney are attending the 2007 Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys Annual Fall Conference which ends today. At the conference Ms. Booker-Hay represented the City of Lakewood by serving as a moderator for the Criminal Law Section.
  • Washington State Sister Cities Conference: Lakewood Sister Cities Association members Franclyn Heinecke, Darrellene Canada, and Lois Stokes will be attending the Washington State Sister Cities Conference to be held on Saturday-October 20 at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia. The programs will include:
    • Sister City relationships in cooperation with community colleges
    • Community resources available to Sister City programs and members
    • Accessing the ethnic and Native American communities in the State
    • Fund raising ideas that might work for you
    • From beginning to end, how to set up a workable Sister City program
  • Okinawa Taiko Drums Interactive Performance: Lakewood Sister Cities Association member David Bartley announced that the Okinawa Kin Jin Kai Tieko Group would have a welcoming reception from 11:00-12:00 pm and an interactive performance from 12:00-3:00 pm at Lakewood’s Clover Park Technical College (CPTC) on Thursday, October 11, 2007. Lakewood and Okinawa City have been Sister Cities since 2002. The public is encouraged to take part in the free event. Please RSVP to CPTC let them know how many will be in your group and what time you will arrive – (253) 589-4535, (253) 589-6089 or email International@cptc.edu.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/28/07

September 28, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Byrne Grant: The City of Tacoma and City of Lakewood Police Departments have been awarded a Byrne grant application to Target Violent Crime with Active Crime Data Monitoring (ACDM) in the amount of $385,272 to cover the 2008 fiscal year. The money will be used to establish a multi-jurisdictional response to violent crime and gangs and reduce violent crime by implementing a computerized system that manages data and facilitates analysis .The system will be developed by ESRI and disseminated by LESA. It is expected that the FBI and Homeland Security will find this tool to be a law enforcement advantage.
  • Safe Streets Grant: The City of Lakewood and City of Tacoma under coordination of Safe Streets have been awarded a grant from the Department of Justice that will allow the City to focus on interdiction of organized gang methamphetamine distribution. The City of Lakewood will receive $19,800 to use for special task force emphasis, equipment and training in 2008-09.
  • Emergency Management Hazard Mitigation: The City is working with the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) to develop a Hazard Mitigation Plan. The DEM process has included Municipalities, Public Utilities, and any interested non-governmental entities. The goal is to have a plan that is county- wide and clearly outlines the hazards that each entity may face and possible steps to mitigate those hazards or steps to deal with them when they occur. The plan is very close to completion and should be presented early next year. If you are interested in what has been going on you can go to the Pierce County Emergency Management web site and click on Mitigation.
  • International Visitors for Education and Trade: Our Economic Development Administrator represented the City this week during a City of Dupont dinner for a visiting delegation of business and government leaders from Poland. Dupont has an active government and educational relationship with selected areas of Poland. On Wednesday, business leaders from Lakewood’s Sister City, Okinawa City Japan, visited City Hall and also Clover Park Technical College and Pierce College. Okinawa city business investors are actively searching for investment opportunities in Lakewood and South Puget Sound. Okinawa City also has a large number of students attending the colleges.
  • United Way Day of Caring: A number of City employees participated in a United Way Day of Caring event on September 21st at the South Yakima Ave Multicare Adult Day Health Center putting on a Puyallup Fair style carnival for senior and disabled individuals served there.
  • Community Service Award from Boys & Girls Club: Chief Larry Saunders this week was awarded a special Community Service Award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound at their annual luncheon at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall. He was recognized for exemplary service to youth in the area.
  • Lakefront Street Ends Meeting: About 140 citizens were in attendance this week at the first community workshop to provide input to the development of a city-wide strategy or plan for lake access and resolving the street ends issue. While there were a number of strong opinions and emotions on this long-standing issue, the meeting was a healthy first step in the process of assessment of the sites as part of an overall plan. A link for the City‘s street end presentation is now available on the front page of the City’s website -- www.cityoflakewood.us . The planning schedule for the process is also included as a link and is subject to change.
  • Association of Washington Cities Board: The city manager attended the AWC Board meeting this week, representing Lakewood and the state city managers association. The agenda included the upcoming Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) process, the training agenda for elected and appointed officials, and the AWC insurance trust program.

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 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 9/7/2007

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.