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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 8/31/2007

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 8/17/07

August 17, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • New Gas Main: Puget Sound Energy (PSE) will be installing a new gas main within Bridgeport Way from Mt Tacoma Dr to Steilacoom Blvd starting August 27th. PSE’s work is a precursor to the city’s street improvement project through this same section which is anticipated to start later this year. PSE will be replacing its vintage gas main with a more appropriately-sized main as well as making other betterments to their system. PSE’s work within the travel lanes will be restricted to night time hours (7:00 pm to 5:30 am) and should last for one month.
  • State City Managers Conference: There were about 80 participants at the annual Washington City/County Management Association (WCMA) conference this week in Walla Walla. The work sessions included economic development, revitalization of boulevards/downtowns, implications of climate change in the Pacific Northwest, performance management systems, recent developments in labor law, cultural change in organizations, and innovation in leadership roles. Key presenters included the director of the State Community Trade & Economic Development Department (CTED), the executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), and the president of the Alliance for Innovation. Lakewood’s city manager was the conference planning chair and is now the WCMA president.
  • Police Accreditation: Lakewood police are now entering the final year of a three-year process to receive national-level accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). CALEA is the premier accreditation agency in the nation. The beginning years are developing policies, procedures and training consistent with the 400(+) standards (best practices) for law enforcement operations published by CALEA. The final year is the self-assessment, requiring the Department to gather “proofs” and reports documenting that it’s meeting all required standards. The self-assessment includes a courtesy review by inspectors from Departments who are already CALEA accredited. In December 2008, we will receive the actual CALEA assessment from certified CALEA commissioners. The process is so comprehensive and intense that many Departments require an initial and then a follow up assessment to gain final accreditation. There are less than 5% of agencies nation-wide who have gained CALEA accreditation, and only 13 in the state (none thus far in Pierce County), so the project is an ambitious undertaking for this very new department. However, it’s aimed at ensuring we’ve designed operations from the beginning at the highest possible standard. We intend to pursue accreditation until we are successful. In a related development, Officer Jeff Carroll, our training and accreditations officer, was recently selected as President of the Northwest Police Accreditation Coalition, a grouping of Northwest departments who support each other in obtaining either national or state level accreditation.
  • American Lake Boat Launch Improvement Project Update: After an extensive state shorelines permitting process (13 months), the City is ready to start construction on the American Lake Park project. Contracts with the Department of Fish and Wildlife were executed and materials were delivered to the site to start the boat launch portion of the project. Due to high water levels on American Lake the construction schedule was adjusted. We moved the in-water work till later in the season and proceeded to start the upland improvements. Construction drawings and technical specifications were completed and the project was put out to bid. Bids on May 21 came in significantly higher than expected. After some value engineering exercises and looking at reducing the impacts to current boat launch users this season, we will postpone construction until after the summer boating season. The project will be implemented in three phases:
    • Phase one: Boat launch renovation – construction period October – December, 2007
    • Phase two: Piling and dock work – construction period December, 2007 - February, 2008
    • Phase three: Upland improvements – construction period October, 2007 - April 30, 2008
    Dates are estimated. Site conditions, weather, and product availability may all contribute to changes in our schedule. We may need to change some of the design and product specifications to meet available funding. We will maintain the overall goal of improving access and use of the American Lake Boat Launch and ensure the sustainability of this site for many years to come. The City of Lakewood has requested extensions on all grant and agency agreements, so that loss of any current funding should not occur.
  • LPD Evidence Room Audited: The Lakewood Police Department Evidence Room was audited last week as a part of the City’s annual state audit. State auditors reviewed accountability of evidence; the auction process for evidence not able to be returned to original owners, the destruction process for evidence required to be destroyed, and the security system for our temporary evidence room. Particular emphasis was placed on evidence associated with seized drugs, guns or money. The audit was completely clean, no findings and no comments.
  • DUI Emphasis: LPD has received funding approval from WTSC to participate in the “Drive Hammered Get Nailed” campaign beginning Aug 15th and running through September 3rd. August, historically, is one of the deadliest months for traffic fatalities and Labor Day weekend is one of Washington’s deadliest holidays, averaging more than eight deaths each year, safety officials say. The campaign is a joint effort of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, local law enforcement agencies and the Tacoma/Pierce County DUI Task Force

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.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 8/10/07

August 10, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • National Night Out: Lakewood NNO had 48 events and almost 4,000 participants join us in our observance this year. This represents a reduction of two events from last year, but an increase of over 1,000 participants. We distributed almost 1,800 pandemic preparedness kits. Thanks to everyone who participated in this event for connecting with our citizens and underscoring again the critical importance of City/police/community partnership. Special thanks to the many police and firefighters who supported this event to the fullest. Special thanks also to our sponsors; particularly Puget Sound Energy, Target and the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department. And very special thanks to Mike and Sharron Kanter, our volunteer event coordinators.
  • Neiditz elected president of WCMA: Lakewood city manager Andrew Neiditz was elected this month as president of the Washington City/County Managers Association, and will take office at their annual conference in Walla Walla on August 16th. He has served as WCMA vice president for the last year. He will also serve on the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) board as part of his new WCMA role.
  • Lakewood Senior Activity Center 2nd Annual Summer BBQ: The Lakewood Senior Activity Center celebrated the season with our 2nd Annual Summer BBQ on August 2nd. This year’s event was a western hoe down. There were over 100 participants and they were all dressed in their western wear. We celebrated with great food, live music, and good company.
  • Cascades Sunoco in the Lakewood Industrial Park: The City’s economic development administrator and EDB’s David Nishamura met this week with the plant manager for Cascades Sunoco as part of an annual business retention/assistance program. Casades Sunoco is an international firm with 102 plants and 12,000 employees specializing in paper and roll packaging. The Lakewood facility is located in the Lakewood Industrial Park and employs 45. The Lakewood plant provides roll packaging products to U.S. and Asian customers.
  • Pierce Transit: The city manager met this week with the CEO of Pierce Transit to review the agency’s long range expansion plans at their headquarters facility in Lakewood.
  • Lakewood Homicide Suspect Arrested in California: The City unfortunately recently experienced the homicide of a three-month-old infant. The father of the child, who was the primary suspect, fled to California. LPD located him there approximately one week after the homicide and coordinated his arrest with the help of local law enforcement. He was interrogated by LPD detectives once in custody, has subsequently has been charged with Murder 2, and now faces extradition back to Washington State.
  • Chip Sealing Update: On August 13th Pierce County maintenance crews will commence chip sealing the 3 areas associated with our 2007 roadway chip sealing program. Those areas, which have been posted on the city’s web site (Department/Public Works/Capital Projects/Chip Seal Program), are: 1). area located between Elwood Dr SW, Hipkins Rd SW, Angle Lane SW & Steilacoom Blvd SW; 2). area located between 86th St SW, Custer Rd SW, John Dower Rd W & 70th Ave Ct SW; and 3). area known as Southgate area.
  • 108th Traffic Control Program meeting: In association with the City’s Neighborhood Traffic Control program, Public Works and the Citizens Transportation Review Committee held an informal meeting on August 7th with area residents and the users of 104th St between Idlewild Rd and Lake Louise Drive. About 67 citizens were in attendance. A second meeting has been scheduled for August 23rd at 6:30 pm in City Hall to enable those who may have missed this first meeting due to National Night Out an opportunity to express their concerns. Under the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Control Program, Phase I measures (non evasive measures including targeted police enforcement) proved not be effective and thus the emphasis has moved to Phase II measures (physical features, traffic circles, etc). There will be no action report developed until input from the second meeting is gathered.
  • Pacific Highway State Enhancement Grant: The potential $3 million State Enhancement Grant for the Pacific Hwy Improvement project (Gravelly Lake Drive to Bridgeport Way) cleared another hurdle as the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Executive Board has approved it as one of the 3 projects they will forward to WSDOT for the next phase of the FFY 2007-2009 Statewide Enhancements Competition.
  • Sewer Project Funding: The ALG/Tillicum sanitary sewer project has made the funding cut off list in this round of Public Works Trust Fund loan monies. We made application for approximately $1,800,000 for which roughly $1,130,000 is associated with providing financial assistance to individual property owners for their respective connection costs.