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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/15/06

September 15, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Railroad Point Defiance By-Pass Project: Public Works attended this week a pre environment scoping meeting with WSDOT Rail Division regarding their Rail Pt Defiance (Lakewood) By Pass project.    The rail project, which is fully funded ($59,000,000), will reconstruct the existing tracks and rail bed from Bridgeport Way to the existing connection point with the main line in the Nisqually valley and construct a new track paralleling Sounder’s track from Bridgeport Way (including crossing Bridgeport way) to just south of 66th St. All street crossings along the route will be upgraded with flashing lights, crossing gates and etc.  The reconstruction and new construction will be designed to handle trains speeds of up to 79 MPH in the urban areas and 129 MPH is the rural areas.  The purpose of the project is to improve Amtrak Cascade’s service, making it faster, more on time, reliable and safer. Amtrak will run 8 trains a day over the upgraded Lakewood route.  Construction is scheduled to start in fall of 2007 and be completed in mid 2008.  Usage is predicated upon Sound Transit’s completion of their grade separation work in Tacoma.
  • John School Report: The City of Lakewood has had a steady decline in prostitution arrests over the past few years and a good drop since the “John School” program began.
    • 2003 arrests: 196
    • 2004 arrests: 265
    • 2005 arrests: 174 (The John School started in November 2005)
    • 2006 arrests: 78   (on pace to finish the year with 117)
    Sgt. John Unfred, who coordinated the program, noted the he has only seen one prostitute walking in Lakewood since returned to Patrol in July. Special Ops has also noticed a sharp decline in the number of prostitutes walking the streets of Lakewood. Tacoma and Pierce County seem to be having quite a bit of activity along Pacific Ave.
  • New K-9 Team: Officer Jim Syler and new K-9 Officer Astor passed their State Certification as a generalist K9 team and are now able to take real calls.  They have some additional training they want to complete over the next several weeks, but will remain available for applications during that time.
  • School Zone Photo Enforcement Radar: The LPD photo radar team issued 656 school zone speeding infractions in just the first 3 days of school. The motor officers wrote another 113 NOIs in those 3 days. The message is: SLOW DOWN!
  • Annual Business Retention Meetings: City staff and EDB (Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board) staff conducted several business retention meetings this week. One of the companies interviewed was Thrift Recycling, an internet reseller of used books. The company employs 51 workers in its 40,000 sq. ft. Lakewood Industrial Park warehouse and has an additional 12 in the corporate headquarters on Lakewood Drive. The Company opened two new warehouses in the past 12 months (Atlanta and Hammond, Indiana). The company sells approximately 4,000 books on line each day. The company plans to expand over the next year. Another company interviewed was Richards Packaging to discuss current operations, future prospects and work challenges. Richards has been in the Lakewood Industrial Park for 10 years and employs 40 staff in the production of plastics bottles for food and pharmaceutical industry. Its business is doing well and he hopes for significant expansion to the 24 hour/seven day a week operation. The company employs a multi-cultural workforce that poses unique challenges, but reports a very low employee turnover.
  • West Nile Virus Precautions: With the recent confirmed case of the Nile Virus we have contacted the Tacoma/Pierce Co Health Department to determine what if anything the City should be doing regarding its storm water facilities. Because it’s late in the season for mosquito breeding and the fact that all but two of our ponds are dry, they have preliminarily said no action is necessary. As a precautionary measure we will install mosquito traps for sampling and testing purposes at the two ponds.
  • ICMA Annual Conference:   The city manager attended the annual International City Managers Conference this week in San Antonio, with over 3,900 attendees from most states and numerous other countries. Workshops included civic engagement, emotional intelligence (EQ), performance management, public safety, sustainable economic development, and city communication with constituents.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/8/06

September 8, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Public Works Project Updates:
    • Pacific Highway Street Improvement project from Gravelly Lake Drive to Bridgeport Way.  This project includes pavement overlay, bike lanes, curb & gutter, sidewalks (both sides), street lighting, storm drainage, landscaping and etc.  The $300,000 design grant (no match required) needs to be fully obligated by July of 2007. We’re proceeding with getting a design consultant on board in order to fully obligate the grant monies.
    • Pacific Highway Street Improvement project from 108th Street to SR 512. This project includes pavement overlay, bike lanes, curb & gutter, sidewalks (both sides), street lighting, storm drainage, landscaping and etc.  This project is fully funded all the way through construction.  Presently have two federal grants totaling $1,104,000.  The city match money associated with this project totals $60,000 (SWM funds) in 2008.  Since the grant ($314,000) for the overlay portion was a 2005 award, we need to move on this project or jeopardize losing the funding.  The overlay work was originally a stand-alone project for which we deferred to combine it with the street improvement work once we received notice that we won the $2.7 million grant for our Sounder Station/Pacific Hwy improvement project.  The consultant services sought is for the design of the improvements.
    • Travel Demand Modeling. Consultant services are being sought to develop a City-wide traffic model.  The last city wide modeling effort was done in 1997 and is presently woefully out of date.  The modeling effort is needed to update the City’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan which once adopted then becomes one of the drivers of the City’s 6- year Transportation Capital Improvement program.  It will also assist us in optimizing the timing and coordination of the City’s existing traffic signal system.  Lastly an updated Comprehensive Transportation Plan is a key element of the City’s Comprehensive Land Use plan and typically is a crucial element in securing PSRC’s approval of any amendment or update of the City’s Comprehensive Land Use plan.
  • Money raised for Korean Youth Camp: Tacoma Korean Golf Association hosted their 3rd annual Golf Tournament at Meadows Park Golf Course on September 3rd. The focus of this tournament was to raise funds for LPD’s annual Korean American Youth Police Adventure Camp next year.  Through this tournament, they raised $4,298, which was presented to Chief Saunders and JJ Kim, the President of Korean American Police Advisory Group (KAPAG) this week.
  • United Way Leadership Recognition Breakfast: The city manager attended the United Way’s campaign kick-off event this week in Tacoma, and has accepted a challenge from the Tacoma city manager for the greatest increase in participation rates by municipal employees.
  • Arrests made in Homicide: At 3:15 am on September 5th, Patrol responded to a report of an unknown male lying in at pool of outside of the Lakewood Gardens apartments. No one claimed to have seen anything and the victim was unresponsive. By 6 pm that evening, we had one suspect in custody for Murder 2 and complete identifications on the remaining four suspects. We have also recovered the suspects’ bloody clothing and obtained a confession. Patrol, Neighborhood policing, Evidence, Robbery/Assault, Special Assault, Property Pro-ac, and Special Operations all worked together on this investigation. Two vehicles are being processed for blood evidence.
  • Intersection at Steilacoom Blvd and 88th. There will be a temporary traffic signal shutdown on September 11th for 4 to 6 hours. There will be an off-duty traffic officer at the contractor’s expense. This is the result of the Edgewater Crossing development.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 8/25/06

August 25, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • First Annual Mayor’s (Soccer) Cup: The first Annual Mayor’s Cup was held at Fort Steilacoom Park on August 12th with Mayor Thomas presenting tournament trophies. The Korean Consul General was also present for part of the tournament, as were soccer teams from Vancouver, B.C., Chicago, South Korea, Washington and a Lakewood city employee.  The soccer games were the main draw for a Sister City fundraiser and were sponsored by the Korean Sister City Sub-committee of the Lakewood Sister City Association and the Korean-American Washington State Soccer Association. The event was to bring attention to the City’s ongoing effort to find a city in Korea that would be interested in becoming a sister city. For the first time out, the event brought in $9,000, which will go to funding activities such as cultural and student exchanges when a Sister City is established in Korea.
  • Neiditz elected WCMA Vice President:  Lakewood's city manager was elected Vice President of the Washington City/County Management Association (WCMA), as announced at the group's annual conference this week in Blaine.  WCMA is the professional association for city managers and administrators around the State, and has about 250 members.  The association sponsors management training conferences on both a state-wide and Northwest regional basis, and WCMA presidents become ex-officio members of the AWC (Association of Washington Cities) Board.
  • Speeding Enforcement: The Washington State Traffic Safety Commission is sponsoring a speed enforcement project involving multiple police agencies due to begin in October 2006. This project utilizes the same task force model as the highly successful Pierce County DUI project. Officers from Lakewood and several other jurisdictions will be working overtime shifts within a specified corridor identified by analysts as a high accident area within Pierce County for the purpose of interdicting speed violations. The goal of this project is to educate the motoring public and enforce the speed limits via high profile patrol saturation. As many as twenty officers per eight hour shift will be participating from various agencies involved. The corridor for this project includes SR512 from I-5 to South Hill, SR161 from South Hill to 176th St E, and SR 7 (Pacific Avenue) inclusive of all roadways in between these boundaries.
  • Explorer Academy: Once again, Lakewood Police Explorers performed well at the Explorers Academy.  Officer Prante accompanied the Explorers to the Academy held at the Boy Scout Camp site located by Chinook Pass.  One of our new explorers, Josh Caron, who has only been with the post for a month, achieved the 1st place award for overall achievement; which includes the range, physical agility, academics and drill down. Krystal Purkey was elected to be the keynote speaker for the Advanced Class.
  • Community Policing Extends to the Middle East: Lakewood Police Department conducted a professional development training for senior leaders in the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry, part of our community partner organization from Fort Lewis. They discussed community policing concepts and how they would enable community stabilization operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Cops and Docs: Please see the attached version of the soon to be published article regarding Cops and Docs.  It is a tribute to the work St. Clare and the Lakewood Police Department have done and continue to do for the youth of our community.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/1/06

September 1, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Neighborhood Leaders meeting: The mayor’s meeting for neighborhood leaders on August 31st was a success, with about 65 people in attendance. There were representatives from neighborhood associations, National Night Out coordinators, and block watch leadership. Most participants seemed very committed to improved and more frequent communication.
  • Crime Prevention: LPD and the owners of Brickyard and Bourbon Street had a crime prevention meeting this week. Brickyard is a new bar, which moved from Tacoma to Lakewood, next to Bourbon Street Bar. There was recently a gang related homicide in the parking lot of their bars. Both owners expressed their deep commitment to follow our best practices under Raising the Bar Program.
  • Military Base Encroachment Feasibility Study: The City’s feasibility study continues in its information-gathering phase. The city manager met this week with Colonel Shane Hershman, who is the acting wing commander at McChord during Colonel Martinez’s 3-5 month deployment. Staff from the city, Pierce County, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce met to strategize on grant applications for both State and Federal funds for potential encroachment area property acquisition.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 8/18/06

August 18, 2006

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

  • Flashing Lights at Arterial School Zones: As part of school zone speed control photo enforcement program, our contractor should start next week installing the yellow flashing warning lights at 6 of the 7 remaining unmarked arterials.  Onyx Dr, which is associated with Oakbrook Elementary School, will be the only remaining outstanding arterial (83rd Ave is included in the 6), and it will be included in a bid package for contract award later this fall.  Onyx Dr is being deferred because it’s an underground power situation, and thus a more complicated installation -- which would have delayed getting the 6 up and operating in time for school opening.  (Onyx is also a 2 lane, low volume, 30 MPH arterial and therefore not as critical as the 6.)  In addition to Onyx, the fall bid package will also include the upgrade of the existing yellow flashing lights systems presently on the 11 arterials to live power (presently photo cell/battery pack systems). This conversion is necessary in order to make the installation of the beacon light on top of each flashing sign operable.  The phasing of the work was necessary because two earlier bid attempts were unsuccessful in receiving competitive interest due to contractor workloads.
  • Pac Hwy Project Paving: Barring a change in the weather, from Monday (8/21) through Wednesday (8/23), our Pacific Hwy Improvement project contractor will be paving from the railroad crossing bridge to 108th St., starting at 6:00 AM and working through 6:00 PM.  All the property owners and businesses have been notified. Individual driveways could be closed up to an hour to accommodate the laying and the compacting of the new pavement; however there will be flaggers on site to redirect vehicles to alternate driveways locations on their respective property.
  • DUI Emphasis:  LPD Traffic Officers will be participating in a nation-wide “crack down on impaired drivers” between August 18th and September 5th.  This over-time DUI emphasis will be funded by a grant from the State Traffic Safety Commission.
  • Juggalos Arrested:  LPD Detective Paynter received information on possible locations for the two remaining Juggalos, and during the course of the surveillance, officers were able to witness a hand-to-hand drug deal.  The Juggalos were arrested without incident, as were three additional personnel involved in the drug sale. This was a team effort by Robbery/Assault, Special Ops, Property Pro-Ac and the Violent Crimes Task Force.
  • City Hall Parking: The recently completed improvement to the City Hall parking lot has resulted in an increase to 337 spaces. The original real estate agreement (REA) had stipulated a loss of 120 spaces to the development on the east side of the building (the “grassy knoll”). However, discussions with the owners of both the east and west properties are intended to result in shared public parking which will accommodate the needs and requirements of all three buildings.
  • Crime Free Housing Improvements:  LPD Neighborhood Patrol Officer Adam Leonard and Community Service Officer Kathy McCann have been meeting with management of apartments in Lakeview recently in an effort to increase the number of Crime Free complexes. This is in response to a sharp increase in violent crime in this area – most of which is gang-related. Response from the owners and managers has been very positive and that cooperation has already paid off. Several tenants and/or associates with felony warrants have been arrested as part of LPD’s increased emphasis in this area including a convicted murderer who had recently threatened to “shoot up” one of the apartment complexes.  In total, 64 arrests have been made in that neighborhood since 4-1-06; most involve gang members. Additionally, the owners have been exceedingly cooperative about evicting tenants whom we identify as engaging in criminal or gang-related activity.
  • KOAM TV Interviews:  Officer Austin Lee went to KOAM TV (local Korean cable TV) yesterday and taped series of 20 minute long interviews on DV awareness and traffic safety. They have asked him back in October to talk about DUI awareness and other Lakewood Crime Free programs.  He will also be taping a boating safety advertisement next week in helping Washington State Boating Safety Commission.
  • Lakewood Police Officers Participate at Law Enforcement Youth Camp (LEYC): LEYC is a free youth camp for ages 9 to 11, which dates back to the 70’s, and is operated by law enforcement personnel acting as the counselors. Lakewood Officer Shirley McLamore is at camp this week with three Lakewood youth who qualify for camp, and they will be participating in camp activities such as swimming, jet skiing, games, challenge course activities and camp fires.