Sign up for weekly news updates .

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 3/20/09

March 20, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Traffic Impacts of Bridgeport Way Project - 59th Ave SW to Steilacoom Blvd SW: The contractor will be doing roadway excavation between Gravelly Lake Drive and Mt Tacoma for the placement of concrete curb and gutter beginning the week of March 22nd and lasting for two weeks. Excavation work for the placement the new traffic signal foundations will occur at the intersections of Steilacoom Blvd, 93rd St and Mt Tacoma Drive. In addition, between Gravelly Lake Drive and Steilacoom Blvd, various telephone and cable providers will be transferring their facilities to the new utility poles. As a result, the roadway excavation and placement of curb and gutter will require 24 hour closure of the curb-side south bound lane on Bridgeport Way between Gravelly Lake Drive and Mt Tacoma Drive. Traffic also may be shifted to utilize the center turn lane during peak hours. Intermittent northbound lane closures will occur along the entire stretch from Mt Tacoma Drive to Steilacoom Boulevard. Please expect delays and use alternate routes when possible, and check City website for info.
  • City manager meets in DC regarding federal stimulus funding: The city manager attended the National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference this week in Washington DC, with over 100 others from Washington State, and about 2,500 from cities around the nation. He met with Congressmen Adam Smith and Norm Dicks regarding military base relations, and joined in a small group meeting with Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell on other Washington State issues. Workshops on federal "stimulus" programming through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 were presented by a number of federal officials, including President Obama's key cabinet members: Attorney General Eric Holder, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
  • Chief attends CALEA Conference: Police Chief Bret Farrar and Officer Jeff Carroll are attending a CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) conference this week in Raleigh NC in preparation for the LPD on-site accreditation assessment scheduled for August 2009.
  • Brigadier General (Mayor) Doug Richardson retires from Army Reserve: On March 18th, Fort Lewis and I Corps commander, Lieutenant General Charles H. Jacoby Jr. officiated at the retirement ceremony for Brigadier General Douglas G. Richardson from the Army Reserve after 32 years of combined active and reserve service. Lt. Gen. Jacoby presented Brig. Gen. Richardson with a Distinguished Service Medal and Mrs. Charlene Richardson with a bouquet of yellow roses; he then emphasized how much he valued the Fort Lewis-Lakewood partnership and Richardson's highly supportive mayoral leadership. Deputy Mayor Don Anderson and Council Members Helen McGovern and Pad Finnigan joined several city staff members and dozens of friends, fellow Soldiers, and retirees at the ceremony. Mayor Emeritus Bill Harrison and Attorney General Rob McKenna were also in attendance. For members of the Army, the Distinguished Service Medal is the third highest award behind the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. Lt. Gen. Jacoby departs later this month, with the I Corps headquarters, to serve as the commander of Multi-National Corps Iraq (MNC-I).
  • Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association Workshop: The March 12th WAPELRA (Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association) workshop on Cooperative Training was a success in providing valuable training information and resources to Human Resources Professionals in Washington State. HR Director and WAPELRA Board Member Debi Young assisted with the coordination of the event.
  • Oak Grove Village development: Staff has prepared permits for the 254-unit Oak Grove Village multi-family residential development approved for construction on the northeast corner of Lakewood Drive and Steilacoom Boulevard. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was prepared for the project in 2007. The project will preserve the majority of the oak trees on the site, while providing the City with a new well-designed residential complex. The project received funding from HUD, and a portion of the project will be reserved for affordable units. The permits are expected to be issued next week, and construction may begin immediately.
  • City paralegal attends ABA Certified Paralegal Program: Paralegal Cynthia Wright participated in a focus group at Tacoma Community College for their American Bar Association Certified Paralegal Program on March 19th. To maintain the Program's certification, TCC has to receive input from attorneys and paralegals working in the community to help provide feedback regarding the expectations for entry-level paralegal positions in Pierce County law offices.
  • Prosecutor's trial week results: The Legal Department's trial week in review included several DUI cases, and two Guilty Pleas on DUI cases with a BAC reading over .15 and a refusal. This was followed on Wednesday by a Defendant convicted at trial on two criminal counts (Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer and Resisting Arrest). In this case, Police had initially been called to a local fast food restaurant because a patron was reported to have said he had a bomb in his car. The suspect refused to comply with the officer's directions several times, and he also actively resisted being arrested. Officers were required to use force to arrest before they could investigate the bomb threat. This case was tried by Asst City Attorney Anita Booker-Hay. On Thursday, a Lakewood Municipal Court jury returned a guilty verdict on a DUI case. In this case, Police stopped a defendant as he proceeded through a local intersection at a high rate of speed, missed his turn, and proceeded to weave down South Tacoma Way. When stopped the defendant presented multiple signs of intoxication and he was arrested and processed for DUI, although he claimed that his driving was OK because he had been drinking at the Port Orchard Golf Course and no one pulled him over as he drove through two counties before arriving in Lakewood. The case was tried by Assoc City Attorney Matt Kaser.
  • Superior Court affirms Lakewood convictions: The Superior Court this week affirmed multiple Lakewood municipal court convictions of a repeat drunk driver. In February 2008, this driver was sentenced on multiple counts of Driving While Under the Influence, Driving On a Suspended License, First Degree and Reckless Driving, and received approximately a two and half year sentence. The Superior Court rejected multiple defense arguments and let stand this sentence. Associate City Attorney Matt Kaser handled this appeal.
  • April 15th - Lakewood Police Station Grand Opening: The City is planning a grand opening at the new Lakewood Police Station on Lakewood Drive at noon on April 15th. The opening ceremony will be followed by a public open house. More details will be forthcoming.
  • Reminder: Bill Harrison Volunteer of Year Nominations: Nominations for the most outstanding volunteer in Lakewood are due on March 31st. Please visit the front page ("latest news and events") at for more information.
  • St. Patrick's Day Gathering a Success at Senior Activity Center: On March 17th, the Lakewood Senior Activity Center was the scene for the St. Patrick's Day gathering of the leprechauns, with 65 in attendance. They had a good time hobnobbing with each other at the ceilidh that they could be heard far and wide. There were many new people in attendance and it was a great party. The 'wearing of the Green' was the color of the day, because it's well known that we all have a little Irish in us for a Happy St. Paddy's Day...

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 3/13/09

March 13, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • City issued AA- Bond Rating: The City of Lakewood has been issued an AA-bond rating from Standard and Poor's (S&P) for its Limited Tax General Obligation Bonds. This is an increase of two ratings from the City's previous rating and is an indicator of S&P's confidence in the City's ability to cover debt service for new bonds.
  • Sewer Update: On Tuesday, March 17th the Tillicum and Woodbrook/American Lake Gardens Sanitary Sewer Service project will be advertised for bids. Bids will be opened on April 14th. This first phase will include the construction of all sanitary sewer lines, pumping stations, force-mains, storm drainage improvements, water system improvements, and street restoration. A subsequent phase, associated with the installation sanitary sewer forcemains from Thorne Lane to the Ponders area on Pacific Hwy, will follow later this year.
  • Police Explorers Paint Gang Graffiti/Tagging Areas: On Saturday March 7th, the Lakewood Police Explorers painted over areas which have been plagued with gang graffiti and tagging. Ten explorers spent Saturday morning painting over fifteen different locations around the City that had been identified by the NPO/CSO teams as needing clean-up including the train trestle on Pacific Highway and the I-5 overpass on 96th ST. The explorers were even able to respond to an apartment complex that had been victimized the previous evening by painting over gang graffiti. The apartment manager was very grateful with the quick response. The Explorers hope to continue painting over gang graffiti whenever and wherever it is found.
  • City participation in the Convention Bureau: Economic Development Manager Ellie Chambers-Grady now serves as the treasurer and member of the Tacoma Regional Convention Bureau's Executive Committee. The Board is now engaged with updating its strategic plan as it moves forward. Ms. Chambers-Grady will also chair the Bureau's Community Readiness Committee for the next year.
  • Legal Department completes Paralegal Internship: The Legal Department completed another successful Paralegal Internship for Tacoma Community College student Holly Webb on March 12, 2009. Holly put in 150 hours of internship time under the tutelage of City Paralegal Cynthia Wright, covering such topics as criminal law, civil and municipal law, public disclosure, trial preparation, discovery, and case management. Holly is the 5th paralegal intern the City Legal Department has successfully trained in cooperation with local colleges with paralegal degree programs.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 2/27/09

February 27, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Police Gang Unit: The police chief has reorganized special operations to establish a Gang Unit of two police officers and a sergeant. They will operate with specially-marked black and white vehicles. The program will include the support of two liaison federal agents from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office to handle cases where appropriate.
  • D to M Street Rail Connector: The city manager met this week the CEO of Sound Transit and the Tacoma city manager to review the project status on the D to M rail connector, which is a prerequisite for commuter rail service to Lakewood. Design issues regarding the Pacific Avenue crossing, South C Street, and the track support structure have been resolved, and the final design phase is underway. The targeted bidding date is December 2009. Construction is estimated at 22 months, with testing scheduled for December 2011.
  • Military liaison officers assigned to LPD station. Starting this week, Fort Lewis has assigned two liaison officers to work in Lakewood, to assist with Police matters involved military personnel and to do transports as necessary. The two officers were introduced to the city’s management team so that they would be a resource to other City departments as well.
  • 4-2 Stryker Brigade to do training with LPD: An agreement was reached this week to allow soldiers in our community connector brigade to participate in voluntary “ride-alongs” with Lakewood police officers. The program is designed to provide practical knowledge on law enforcement tactics, techniques and procedures and enhance relations between the 4-2 SBCT and the City of Lakewood. The soldiers will be dressed in civilian attire with no military affiliation. The 4-2 is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq later this year.
  • HR Director on national committee: HR Director Debi Young has been selected to serve on the 2009 International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) Awards Committee. The charge to the Awards Committee is to solicit and evaluate nominations for Honorary Life Membership and the IPMA-HR Awards for Excellence and to make recommendations to the Executive Council. She is one of 14 HR professionals across the country who have been selected.
  • Grant for Steilacoom Blvd: Public Works received notice this week that its safety improvement project was funded for $1 million to upgrade the traffic signal at Farwest Drive and Steilacoom Blvd to reduce accidents. This project includes the installation of a barrier curb (curb and gutter) along both sides of Steilacoom Blvd from Farwest to 87th Ave to prevent drivers from veering off the road and into the trees and rock wall. The grant is for 100% of the project costs, requiring no match, as long as the project is under construction by March 2010.
  • Fort Clarke Motel demolition: The demolition of the Fort Clarke motel on Pac Highway was started this week in response to abatement actions initiated by the City. The building was deemed to be unsafe.
  • Vagabond Motel enforcement action: A business license enforcement action against the Vagabond Motel was resolved this week with the motel agreeing to close for a period of ninety (90) days. The revocation was based upon extremely high calls for police services, particularly calls that involved violence. Prior to a hearing set in this matter, an agreement was reached between the City and the Motel. Prior to reopening the motel’s name will be changed and there will be new management, and the motel also will be required to follow the Lakewood Police Department’s best practices for hotels and motels.
  • Budget Inn enforcement action: The City has agreed to issue a conditional business license to the new owner of the Budget Motel. The new owner of the motel has significant experience in motel operations, having owned and operated similar businesses in Olympia, Tukwila and Ocean Shores. Over the past year the City initiated licensing enforcement action against the previous owner of the Budget. The new owner will be issued a business license with conditions intended to maintain order and safety at the motel.
  • City Attorney Local Bar Association Award: City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter received the Outstanding Service Award from the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association for her work on the Continuing Legal Education Committee.
  • City Attorney’s Office monthly trial update: There were three cases set for trial during the month of February. In the first case, the defendant was charged with one count of Assault in the Fourth Degree/ Domestic Violence and Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree/ Domestic Violence, and entered pleas of guilty to the domestic violence charges. The second defendant was charged with Hit and Run (property damage) was found guilty. The third defendant was charged with Theft, and the case was sent to Superior Court for clarification of a previous court order.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 3/6/09

March 6, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Police Chief named to Problem Gambling Advisory Committee: Chief Farrar was appointed this week by WASPC (State Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs) to serve on the State Problem Gambling Advisory Committee.
  • Hill Ward dedication on March 14th 4pm at Fort Steilacoom Park: The Hill Ward site, located within Fort Steilacoom Park, is in its final stages of renovations. The old building has been removed and the site has been restored as a memorial recognizing the historic significance that the Native Americans, early settlers and Western State Hospital staff and patients played in the use and development of this area. Improvements to the site include demolition of an abandoned three story structure, repairing and creating new pathways and the installation of a relic stepping stone path, tile labyrinth, and a poured concrete curb to show the footprint of the original building, a concrete grass grid to provide solid surfacing for ADA accommodation, native landscaping, benches and other site amenities. Join us on Saturday, March 14th at 4:00 p.m. to celebrate our history and re-dedicate the site to the community.
  • RAMP meeting focus on transportation funding: The city manager and public works director attended the Regional Access Mobility Partnership (RAMP) meeting at the Port of Tacoma this week. Charlie Howard of the Puget Sound Regional Council presented the recommended priorities for federal stimulus funding. Pierce County area priorities for the proposed $18.6 million Puget Sound ARRA regional projects include $15.8 million for the Lincoln Ave Grade Separation (Port of Tacoma), and also SR 162 (Orting), Shaw Rd (Puyallup), and Orville Rd E (Pierce County). The priorities are based on regional needs and job creation. Secretary Paula Hammond of WSDOT presented a county-by-county comparison of return per dollar for state-wide transportation funding, and discussed Pierce County projects in the State's transportation budget.
  • "Innovation, Involvement and Improved Student Achievement" community discussion follow up: The city manager met this week with the CPSD superintendent to review the input from the February 18th forum and showing of the video "Flunked". The input and recommendations for follow-up next steps will be posted on both the CPSD and City websites in the next few days.
  • Refuse Rate increases: Due to landfill fee increases, and CPI (inflation) rates authorized by contract, the Lakewood Refuse rates will increase this month for customers in Lakewood. The residential rate increase is about 5.6 percent, or about $1.50 per month for 60-gallon automated weekly service.
  • March 12th Public Meeting on Stormwater Management: The Public Works Department will hold a public meeting at City Hall On March 12th from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm in conference Room 1A. The purpose is to elicit public input on the updating of the City's Stormwater Management Program. The City is updating its program in compliance with the terms and conditions of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. By federal law (Clean Water Act) the City is required to have a NPDES permit. The permit covers local storm water regulations, the associated maintenance practices and procedures, administrative procedures, and educational and outreach programs. The effort is geared towards addressing and reducing pollution from stormwater discharges.
  • 2008 Year-end Report: Last week, for the first time, the City of Lakewood mailed its year-end report to all residents and businesses. The report highlights all of the major accomplishments and efforts of the City over the last year. This 8-page document will also be found on the city's website:

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 2/20/09

February 20, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • "Flunked" Event Draws Big Audience: The City jointly hosted a public viewing of the film "Flunked" with the Clover Park School District on February 18th. After viewing the 45-minute video, the audience of over 100 broke into six groups and brainstormed ways to improve academic performance. The ideas were captured and will be posted to both the CPSD and City websites within the next week or so. Next steps will be determined after reviewing consolidated comments in full.
  • SRO Review: The Clover Park school superintendent and her senior safety/security staff met with the city manager and police chief on February 20th for a mid-year review of the new structure of the School Resource Officer program. The program was restructured this year so that a larger pool of Lakewood officers participate on a volunteer basis as an extra-duty assignment. The school district is very pleased with better and more consistent coverage at both the high schools and middle schools, and supportive evaluation comments from school administrators. The new structure is leading to more positive contact between police officers and students on a regular basis. The program is working well for both the schools and the police.
  • AWC legislative conference: Councilmember Claudia Thomas, Gov't relations director Jeff Brewster, and the city manager attended the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) conference in Olympia on February 18th to discuss legislative strategies and the State's fiscal crisis. The city manager met with the Governor's point person on the federal stimulus funding to ascertain what categories of funding are in line for additional support and what the process will be for allocation. The largest category of stimulus funding for Washington State, other than Hanford clean-up, in for sewer and water.
  • City manager summarizes State of the City at Lakewood United: The city manager was the speaker this week at Lakewood United, and presented the new 2008 year-end report which will take the place of the Connections newsletter this edition. He covered the City's priorities in economic development and public safety, as well as the uncertainty of the economy and its Impact on the City.
  • Lakewood is involved in AWC executive director search: With the retirement of Stan Finkelstein as executive director of the Association of Washington Cities after 30+ years of service, a national executive recruitment search has been launched for his successor. Lakewood's city manager was appointed this week to serve on the selection panel, along with the AWC president, vice president, and secretary.
  • Bridgeport Way project TIB Grant at risk: The City received notice from the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) that due to the revenue short fall the $734,300 in grant funds for the City's Bridgeport Way Improvement project north of Steilacoom Blvd (to 83rd St) is at risk. TIB staff may be recommending rescinding the grant to the board on March 26th.
  • Lakewood Police participates in Auto Theft Prevention Operation: LPD's Property Crimes Unit, as part of a multi-agency auto theft prevention operation, was involved in the arrests of 10 people on February 19th from Seattle to Graham. These arrests conclude a 3-month investigation involving confidential informants, undercover officers and many stolen vehicles. Other agencies involved in this cooperative effort included, Washington State Patrol, Tacoma PD, Fife PD, Puyallup, PD, Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Pierce Transit and ICE (federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement). Over the last three months, 21 stolen cars and 5 stolen motorcycles have been recovered during this investigation. Many of the cars were stolen when owners left them running in their driveways on cold days.
  • Fort Lewis and Lakewood begin new Law Enforcement Liaison Program: The I Corps Commander on Fort Lewis and the Lakewood Police Department have begun a new Law Enforcement Liaison program. This program will have a senior NCO or junior officer from the Provost Marshal's office stationed at Lakewood PD five days a week. They will be there to provide assistance to our officers with any military personnel who may have some contact with law enforcement. The soldiers will be available to receive any properly-identified military personnel and handle transports and other related issues. The goal of the program is to help reduce soldier infractions, and foster positive community relations.
  • CSO participates in Child Identification Program at Pierce College: CSO Sandra Stauffer participated in the Child Identification Program held at Pierce College on February 10th. She fingerprinted 40 children while students in the criminal justice program completed the kits with a video of each child and a DNA sample.
  • LPIG Charity Fund Obtain Items for Assault Victim: The Lakewood Police Guild Charity Fund obtained a donated, brand new mattress and box spring set for a 6-year old sexual assault victim at the Sage Terrace apartments. Ideal Home Furnishings generously donated the mattress set, valued at close to $200. A large chunk of the child's mattress had been cut out for evidence and she had no replacement as the family has very limited resources. The Charity Fund bought an entire bedding/window valance set for her as well. The Charity Fund will be hosting a party for her 6th birthday, complete with presents, balloons, cake, and visits from some of our police officers.
  • Toxic Algae Bloom in Waughop Lake: The City received notice from Tacoma-Pierce County Health that there currently is a bloom of toxic algae in Waughop Lake. The Health Department states that toxic algae are easily identified by a green coloration to the water, where the water has the appearance of pea soup or green paint. The algae are the small dots in the water. Wind and weather conditions can change frequently, and the Health Department recommends following these precautions:
    • Keep children and pets away from areas that have a heavy concentration of algae
    • Do not swim or wade in areas that have a heavy concentration of algae
    • Do not fish in areas that have a heavy concentration of algae
    Ingesting the algae or prolonged contact with it may result in illness, such as muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or nausea. If ingestion of water containing large amounts of algae is known or suspected, it is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention. The risk to pets is much greater than the risk to people, due to the smaller body sizes of pets and to a pet being more likely to drink water containing a heavy concentration of algae. If a pet does ingest a large amount of algae and is showing signs such as vomiting, lethargy, disorientation, or seizures, it should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.