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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/23/07

April 20, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • American Lake Seaplane Splash-In: Saturday April 21st will be a busy day on American Lake. A seaplane splash-in event will take place at American Lake Park North throughout the day with eight to ten seaplanes participating. Also occurring on Saturday is an event based out of Bill’s Boathouse on the southern side of the Lake featuring between 50-80 human powered watercraft lined up three deep and rowing three laps of a specific route. The LPD marine unit and the Fire Department’s fire boat will provide support to this event.
  • Lakewood Mobile Home Park Tour: The City hosted a tour on April 17th for housing providers of a sampling of mobile home parks within the city. The sites toured highlight the challenges presented by aging and in some cases “unsafe to enter” units, deteriorating conditions, predatory landlords, and poverty. Numerous mobile home parks are reaching or have already reached their life spans, and many could not be developed residentially today. The City has initiated a discussion with housing providers to begin identifying solutions before the situation becomes pressing. As part of the tour, Pierce County Housing Authority (PCHA) also offered a tour of one of its properties. The City appreciates PCHA’s participation and also that of everyone who attended, including representatives from the Metropolitan Development Council (MDC), Habitat for Humanity, Martin Luther King Housing Development Association, Lakewood Area Shelter Association (LASA), and the City of Tacoma.
  • Fort Steilacoom Park Hill Ward Building: A site visit will take place at the Hill Ward building at Fort Steilacoom Park on Tuesday, April 24th, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Interested citizens are encouraged to come directly to the building site to see the ruins of a facility that once housed Western State Hospital patients. The removal of this building will occur in the near future due to its deteriorated condition. The City is seeking ideas for preserving the past and wants people to share memories associated with this structure, and is looking for ways to enhance the area after the building is removed. A Public Meeting is scheduled from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. following the site visit on April 24th at the Pierce College Campus in the Cascade building’s Performance Lounge for citizens to share information about this building and their vision for the future of the site.
  • Business Retention/Expansion Visit: Economic Development Administrator Joe Hannan and David Nishamura of the EDB visited the C4 System Division of General Dynamics on Fort Lewis on April 19th, as an annual business retention/expansion visit. The C4 Division employs approximately 15 employees and services Army communications needs throughout the Pacific; it is distinct from the larger General Dynamics Division which is responsible for supporting the Stryker Brigades. The visit reinforces the City’s commitment to actively assist in retaining or expanding local businesses.
  • Pierce County Law Enforcement Memorial: The Pierce County Police Chiefs Association annual Law Enforcement memorial service commemorating police officers killed in the line of duty is scheduled for May 3rd at 6:00 PM at the McChord AFB Main Chapel, BLDG #180 on Colonel Joe Jackson Blvd. The LPD honor guard will participate in the ceremony.
  • Police Department vs. Fire Department Basketball Game: The third annual Helmets vs. Shields Charity Basketball Game is scheduled for May 19th, at 6:00 PM at the Clover park High School Gym. All proceeds go to Life Safety Charity Fund benefiting the citizens of Lakewood. Chief Sharp and Chief Saunders will enter a half-time competition for the most free throws sunk in a 30 minute period. In addition, they have agreed to a side bet that the Chief with fewer Council Members/Commissioners present will have to buy the other lunch.
  • Fort Clarke Motel Closure: Earlier this month, the State Department of Health issued an administrative order closing the Fort Clarke Motel, which listed numerous health violations. An inspection was performed by City personnel; it was found that the owners were performing construction work without a permit. A stop work order was issued. Multiple building and housing code violations were also observed. Given the unsafe conditions found on the property a follow-up, multi-agency inspection took place on April 19th, at which time there were no tenants on-site since Lakewood Area Shelter Association (LASA) had assisted in providing relocation. Following the inspection, the City’s Building Official declared the motel unsafe and posted the property. A special “thank you” goes to LASA for their help, without which this would have been a difficult closure.
  • Transportation Project Funding: The Pierce County Regional Council (PCRC) approved the contingency project list as recommended by the Transportation Coordinating Committee at its meeting this week. It now goes to the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) for approval by the Policy Board. Upon the Board’s approval, the additional $290,000 funding designated for our 100th Street pedestrian and bike facilities improvement from Gravelly Lake Drive to 59th Ave will be official. The total grant received for the project will be $957,000. Councilmembers Richardson and Finnigan assisted with their attendance to assure a quorum and to enable this action to be taken.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/13/07

April 13, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Pacific Hwy Phase II Improvement Project: Tucci & Sons will commence construction of the $2,400,000 Pacific Hwy Phase II Improvement project on Monday, April 16th. The project includes installing curb and gutter, sidewalks, street lighting, landscaping, traffic channeling, and a new traffic signal system at the Pacific Hwy and Bridgeport Way intersection as well as installing curb and gutter, sidewalks and traffic channeling along Bridgeport Way from the Pac Hwy intersection northerly to and across the RR tracks. In addition the project includes widening Pac Hwy from 47th Ave to the under crossing of the RR tracks to accommodate access to the abutting properties, including the Sounder Station and the new Ford dealership site. It also includes installing curb and gutter, sidewalks, landscaping, street lighting and 3 traffic signals (one at 47th Ave and at each of the two Sounder station driveways). Construction should be complete by this fall.
  • LPD Honored by the Washington Army National Guard: Chief Saunders was invited to the Welcome Home Ceremony hosted by the Washington Army National Guard on April 7th. LPD has had one or two police officers consistently mobilized and deployed into combat since the Department was formed. This particular ceremony was to recognize the return of elements of the 66th Aviation Command. Officer John Fraser, returning from Afghanistan, was one of the honorees. Saunders was surprised at the ceremony when LPD was recognized along with the Boeing Company with the WAANG’s Outstanding Center of Influence Award, given to employers assessed to be most representative of providing outstanding support to mobilized employees. Chief Saunders was given a coin of excellence by Brigadier General Gordon Toney, Commanding General for the WAANG, and the LPD was given a framed and engraved mural commending their support.
  • Military Base Feasibility Study briefing: Congressman Adam Smith participated in a meeting this week at City Hall with Councilmember Doug Richardson and the city manager and communications director to discuss the City’s feasibility study related to base annexation and strategies to mitigate the encroachment issues associated with McChord Air Force Base.
  • SWAT Training at Western State Hospital: Metro SWAT conducted a training exercise on April 12th on the Western State Hospital campus. Many of the WSH staff participated and it was a good opportunity to coordinate crisis response procedures. Citizens were able to observe and participate as role players. One such citizen’s feedback: “It was informative, exciting and inspirational…I wish more of us were able to appreciate what I have been learning about the Lakewood PD. Your men and women continue to impress me with their spirit and professionalism. My family sleeps better knowing that your team is working so well.”
  • Domestic Violence Training: Associate City Attorney Rocio Guerra and Victim Advocate Rebecca Hendricks attended a conference in Spokane presented by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence entitled “Crossing Borders: Understanding How to Better Work with Immigrant and Refugee Victims of Domestic Violence.” It provided insight into the some of the specific needs of these victims and presented information we can incorporate into our programs, such as specialized safety planning and referral information.
  • 14th Annual WSBA Employment Law Institute Seminar: Asst City Attorney Anita Booker-Hay attended the 14th Annual WSBA Employment Law Institute Seminar on March 30th. The program included a review of Federal and State cases decided during the last year, strategic insights about seeking and defending temporary restraining orders and injunctions in employment cases, new trends and theories for claiming workplace discrimination, representing whistleblowers in the public and private sector, strategies for addressing the civil and criminal implications for employees who are under criminal investigation or indictment as well as a segment on workplace ethics and corporate compliance issues for supervisors and executives.
  • LPD Detective completes training at National Forensic Academy: Bryan Johnson completed the National Forensic Academy (NFA) at the University of Tennessee Forensic Science Institute on March 16th. The intensive 10-week graduate credit program included advanced training in several areas of forensics including work at the “Body Farm”, the world’s leading research facility in death investigation. Bryan was able to work with classmates from many regions of the country and facilitators recognized as the leading experts in their fields. One of the best “lessons learned” was that the procedures and protocols that Bryan has been given the authorization to implement in the LPD Forensic Services Section are in line with the national best practices, and will assure that LPD continues to grow the Forensic Services Section into one of the best in the region. Bryan was one of two officers in the State selected for this training in 2007 and is one of only six in the Northwest region to have graduated from the program. Bryan was honored to have been invited by the NFA program director to become part of the formal curriculum review committee for the NFA core curriculum.
  • Paralegal Internship Program: The Legal Department has developed a Paralegal Internship Program. Paralegal Cynthia Wright, along with the guidance of City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter developed a curriculum that would benefit both the City and a paralegal student in their last quarter of study by providing hands-on practical experience. They now have their second intern, a TCC student, working through the 10 week program. The first intern student successfully completed the program and the Lakewood City Attorney’s office is now being regularly recommended to other students by the Paralegal Program Director at Tacoma Community College.
  • Crime Response Unit helps out Sumner PD: Sumner PD had an apparent murder/suicide on April 9th and requested assistance from the Metro Crime Response Unit, headed by LPD homicide detective Sgt. Chris Lawler. Sgt. Lawler and LPD Detective Bryan Johnson took the lead in organizing and training the CRU. Sumner Chief Colleen Wilson was very pleased with the support provided.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/30/07

March 30, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Support Staff Conference: The City sponsored the 2007 Support Staff Conference held at Tacoma Community College this week. Dawn Avcular of HR and Cheryl Thompson of Legal have been working with the planning committee since last September to assist with organizing this event. 700 people registered for a myriad of topics to inspire, motivate and educate support staff personnel.
  • Criminal Justice Summit: Associate City Attorney Sean Parrent and Victim Advocate Ann-Marie Dvorak attended the Criminal Justice Summit in Gig Harbor on March 28-29. Topics included strategies for prosecuting domestic violence crimes; stalking; and “dating violence” among adolescents.
  • Missing Person Located: The endangered missing person reported last Sunday morning was located that evening at her boyfriend’s apt in Lakewood. She was voluntarily committed and taken to the hospital for treatment/evaluation.
  • Northwest Regional Management Conference: The annual regional conference of Washington City/County Managers (WCMA) and Oregon managers at Stevenson WA last week drew over 150 attendees, a larger group than previous conferences. In addition to the emphasis on emergency management, there were workshops on citizen engagement, employee satisfaction, personal effectiveness and leadership, career development, and international service. The Lakewood city manager was the conference committee chair.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/6/07

April 6, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Baseball returns to Tillicum: With LPD support, Lakewood resident Kathy Gano, a member of the Gravelly Lake Improvement Club "block watch", and former volunteer leader of the Lakewood Baseball Club, was able to acquire a $2,000 grant from Wal-Mart to allow the Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association to sponsor a 9-10 year old team. The Tillicum Merchants Association, with support from the Parks Department, is also raising funds to support a 7-8 year old slow pitch co-ed team in the Lakewood Recreation League. This will be the first time Tillicum has had organized baseball in three years. Both leagues rearranged their schedules at the last minute to allow all Tillicum games to be played at Harry Todd Park due to transportation challenges. The kids and their parents have committed to doing street clean up along Union Avenue for the remainder of the season to thank the Tillicum Merchants for their support. Last week-end, over 50 baseball kids and parents were out picking litter up in Tillicum.
  • WSH Security Officers sworn in as LPD Disabled Parking Enforcement: A number of DPE volunteers, Lakewood officers, and many Western State Hospital employees including CEO Andy Phillips, COO Dale Thompson, and Director of Emergency Services Spike Millman attended the swearing in of the 11 WSH Security Officers who successfully completed LPD Disabled Parking Enforcement training. It was a special event to support the DPE program.
  • Lakewood Online Citizen Comment and Request System: The City expects to launch its new “Lakewood Online Citizen Comment and Request System” (LOCCRS is the current acronym) early next week. LOCCRS is an initiative of the City Manager and will provide a standardized system for citizens to submit requests and other input to the City. It provides the staff a standardized means to receive, document, and resolve citizen requests for service (comments, compliments, complaints and public records requests) and materials (such as maps or zoning information). All departments but police will be featured in LOCCRS when it is initially launched. Police will be added once the department works through some implementation issues with the Guild.
  • Lakewood University: Lakewood University is scheduled for April 18th and 25th from 5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. each evening. There are still a number of open seats at this time. Staff will continue to recruit attendees for the program and interested citizens are encouraged to call Melody Perrussel at 589-2489.
  • Interlaaken Bridge Overlay – Bridge Closure: The City’s contractor, Tucci & Sons Inc. has scheduled to do the grind and overlay on the Interlaaken bridge starting on April 23rd. The bridge will be closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic for up to 2 weeks. Staff will be mailing out informational postcards to residents within a 1,000 foot radius of the bridge. In addition, vehicle message signs (VMSs) will be placed starting on April 16th at both bridge approaches notifying users of the pending closure. Staff is also coordinating with affected public safety, bus providers (School District and Pierce Transit), and utilities.
  • Crime Prevention Conference: Last week, Code Enforcement Officer Randy Richards and Associate Planner Alexandra Bilderback attended a two-day training conference on the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), hosted by the City of Olympia and the National Crime Prevention Council. They learned about leading crime prevention methods, how to conduct a security assessment and strategies to encourage community involvement in crime prevention. Participants created an “Action Plan” to implement changes and improve community safety, which sets forth specific objectives that can be applied to target areas within the city. They plan to find ways to incorporate the training into the City’s code enforcement program.
  • Senator Murray Interested in Lakewood: Mary McBride, South Puget Sound representative for Senator Patty Murray’s office, asked LPD for a briefing on their community policing programs. She had heard from several different sources of the success we were having in reducing crime and building community, and commended our holistic approach.
  • Probation “Job Shadow”: A Clover Park High School senior has been job shadowing Jeanette Matthews – Probation Counselor with Lakewood Municipal Court. The student is interested in the probation field and will complete 20 hours of Job Shadowing before the end of April.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/23/07

March 23, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakewood Municipal Court Audit: The triennial audit to insure compliance with WASIC/NCIC Access and Records Management was performed on the Lakewood Municipal Court by the Washington State Patrol on March 21st. The court is in compliance, with only one minor housekeeping item that has been corrected. The auditor acknowledged in the report the outstanding job being done by the Lakewood Municipal Court and especially Senior Court Specialist, Deana Wright, the Technical Agency Coordinator, and also commented that very few Courts demonstrate such outstanding performance.
  • 5th Annual Father-Daughter Dance: About 200 guests danced the evening away at the City’s fifth annual Father-Daughter Dance held on March 17th at Clover Park High School. Over half of all those present have attended the City’s other dances and now consider it a part of their family’s traditions. The youngest daughter in attendance was 18 months old and the eldest was 39.
  • Boys and Girls Club HOPE Center Orientation: The leadership of the Lakewood Boys and Girls Club, with the help of Dick Miller from ASU, provided an overview of the goals of the HOPE Center philosophy to personnel from the Clover Park School District, the City, Safe Streets, and other community agencies on March 23rd in City Hall. Lakewood will become one of 15 communities around the nation activating a HOPE program where young people are trained that “all children are capable of success – No exceptions.”
  • Youth Focus Groups: Approximately 60 freshmen from Clover Park High School were given a brief introduction to the workings of city government and the process of public input by participating in two focus groups organized by the Parks and Recreation Department. The students had the opportunity to express their ideas about what they would like to see available for teens in the City of Lakewood. Top choices included a teen center/club, more stores for teens and a wider variety of teen-oriented restaurants. The students were participating in the focus groups as part of their service learning requirement.
  • Special Police Training: Several Police Department members attended a free one day seminar on lessons learned in the Russian School Massacre in Beslan.
  • Northwest Regional Management Conference: Lakewood’s city manager is the conference chair for the joint Washington and Oregon city/county managers conference in Stevenson WA on March 27-30. About 120 managers are expected to attend. The focus of several workshops will be on Emergency Management, with presenters including the two State EM directors and FEMA management.
  • Animal Control Officer Graduates: Lakewood’s Animal Control Officer Bill Mathies was chosen Class President at the Animal Control Academy and will be giving the graduation speech at his graduation Friday, March 23rd, 2007.
  • Youth and Law Forum Associate City Attorney Rocio Guerra volunteered at the Youth and Law Forum on Saturday March 17th. The forum is designed to expose middle- and high school students to the law and the legal system. The volunteers assist the students in a mock trial where they play different roles in a criminal prosecution.
  • DOC facility siting bill: Community Development Director Dave Bugher testified at the State Senate’s Government Operations Committee in support of HB 1733, and relayed the City’s position that Lakewood wants existing language modified to ensure our zoning laws will not be subordinated to DOC’s undrafted guidelines regarding “operational requirements.” The City Attorney is drafting proposed edits on this matter for primary sponsor, Representative Steve Conway.
  • Legislative Update on Hill Ward Building Funding and WSH: Lakewood’s State delegation in Olympia is on track to successfully secure over $1M for two high priority projects in Lakewood: clean up of the Hill Ward Building at Fort Steilacoom Park and Community Policing at Western State Hospital.