Sign up for weekly news updates .

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 1/23/09

January 23, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • 6th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration: The City of Lakewood held its 6th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on Saturday, January 17th at the Sharon McGavick Student Learning Center. Over 300 people attended this year's event which included presentations by dance groups, choirs and speakers celebrating the spirit of Dr. King.
  • Student Art Exhibit at M.L. King Jr. Celebration: The Lakewood Arts Commission in partnership with the Clover Park School District coordinated a display of student artwork at the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration at the McGavick Student Center. The artwork reflected the theme of "Bringing the Dream to Life" and consisted of nearly 100 individual pieces of art from Evergreen and Carter Lake elementary schools, and Lochburn Middle School. The display has been moved to the Council Chamber foyer and is available for viewing through January 27.
  • Bridgeport Way Roadway Improvements - 59th AVE SW to Steilacoom BLVD SW Traffic Impacts: Beginning the week of January 26th the contractor will begin installing underground utilities. The work includes trenching along side the roadway and across the roadway in several locations. Work involving trenching across the roadway near major intersections will be conducted during night time hours (7:00 PM to 5:00 AM). During daytime hours, the contractor will continue with demolition. Qwest and Lakewood Water will begin relocating their respective facilities. During night time operations, the contractor with the assistance of Lakewood Police will be placing affected signals in "flash" mode. Traffic may be limited to one lane during the course of night time work. All lanes will be re-opened at 5:00 AM. During daytime operations traffic may be limited to one-lane in each direction for up to two blocks at a time.
  • City Attorney speaks at Lakewood United: On January 22nd, City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter spoke at the monthly Lakewood United Meeting. The presentation provided an overview of the duties performed by the Legal Department of the City and the many facets of being a City Attorney.
  • Mayor, City Manager and Staff attend Pierce County Library System's Community Leader Advisory Group: Several City representatives participated in a meeting of the Pierce County Library System's (PCLS) Community Leader Advisory Group on January 22nd. The PCLS is undertaking a master plan called Pierce County Library 2030 to identify needed upgrades, facilities, services and equipment at libraries countywide. The advisory group was called upon for perspectives about future library needs in general, and more specifically local needs. A number of different cities' elected officials and staff, community organizations, and businesses were represented. Over the next couple of weeks, PCLS will be holding open houses to gather ideas from the public as well. The Lakewood sessions are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 29 at the Lakewood library, 6300 Wildaire Rd. SW; and Tuesday, February 10, at the Tillicum Community Center, 14916 Washington Avenue SW. Both sessions will run from 6:30-8pm. For more information, contact Lorne Erickson at (253) 536-6500 x 138.
  • Lakewood Police Dept hosts Pierce County Regional DUI Task Force: On the night of Saturday the 17th, the Lakewood Police Department hosted the Pierce County Regional DUI Task Force. Twenty-eight police officers and deputies from eight different agencies participated in the seven hour emphasis that removed sixteen drunk drivers from the streets of Lakewood. The task force participants made over 250 traffic stops for a variety of violations that led to many arrests in addition to the DUI drivers; including the arrest of an armed robber who had just beaten a gas station cashier and was running out of the business carrying the cash drawer when he was spotted by a Sumner police officer working the emphasis.
  • Non-Motorized Transportation Plan Special Joint Meeting Scheduled: The City's draft Non-Motorized Transportation Plan (NMTP) will be presented at a special joint meeting of the Planning Advisory Board, Citizens Transportation Advisory Board, and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on Tuesday, January 27th. The meeting, which begins at 5:30pm in the Council Chambers, will include an informal public comment period. The NMTP is required by law to integrate forms of transportation other than motor vehicles - bicycles and pedestrians - into the City's infrastructure. A formal public hearing will be held at a later date.
  • Emergency Shelters Activated during Flood: The Parks and Recreation Department was called upon to activate an emergency shelter facility during the January 7th flood incident. It was anticipated that Lakewood might be called upon to accept up to 1,500 displaced residents from Puyallup and Fife. Contact was made with four of the City's sheltering partners and a decision made to open an initial shelter at First Baptist Church of Lakewood and to hold the other sites in a stand-by mode with volunteers on-call in case they were needed. Within 1 ½ hours of the initial contact, Parks and Recreation staff and volunteers were at the site with all of the materials necessary to accommodate up to 100 people. Registration packets, cots, blankets, food, water and signage were all in place and we opened the shelter at 6:00 p.m. Parks staff, on-duty police and 20 church volunteers kept the shelter open all night. A total of 95 church member volunteer hours were involved in coordinating this sheltering response. Though the facility was not needed to serve evacuees, the call-out provided great training and allowed all involved to see that the City's sheltering system as developed over the past two years worked exactly as it was designed to do.
  • Lakewood Animal Rescue And Enforcement Rescues Horses: On January 17th, Lakewood Animal Rescue and Enforcement, along with Hope for Horses (an equine rescue organization located in Woodinville), took custody of a Miniature Stallion and Hinney (Horse/Donkey mix), from a Lakewood resident. The resident has had a string of bad luck in the past few years to include a fire that destroyed his home. Due to financial difficulties, he is now not able to properly care for the animals and asked for our help. These two animals had been living in a very small enclosure but will now live a comfortable, new life in greener pastures.
  • City of Lakewood awarded Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) Grant: The City was awarded a $500,000 Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) planning assistance grant on January 15th. The City, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Transportation, Ft. Lewis, McChord AFB and other stakeholders, will coordinate the 18 month project. During this timeframe, the study will evaluate which strategies hold the most promise for reducing traffic congestion adjacent to the bases on the I-5 corridor. The City and other stakeholder groups are also in the early stages of forming a Ft. Lewis & McChord AFB Growth Coordination Committee that will evaluate other growth impacts to the region, including education, affordable housing, emergency services, and workforce development.
  • Attorney General's Office Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence: Ann-Marie Evans, Victim Advocate, serves as a member on the Attorney General's Office Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence. At a recent meeting legislation was proposed to establish a new sentencing grid for repeat offenders. The new grid would count misdemeanor convictions when establishing sentencing of felony offenders. As a result, repeat domestic violence offenders would serve more appropriate sentences than they currently do. The bill will be presented this session.
  • Metro SWAT Team Holds Award Ceremony: Out of 23 members, LPD Officer Vince Sivankeo shared two honors with another SWAT member: Top Handgun award and Overall Firearms award. Vince's average point loss for the year was 0.75 points for handgun and 1.75 when combined between handgun and long gun. The standard SWAT qualification course for handgun is a 50 point system, with a mandatory 90% and 0 misses for passing. The standard SWAT qualification course for long gun is a 196 point system, with a mandatory 95% and 0 misses for passing.
  • City staff participates in Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare "Adopt- A- Family" Program For the Christmas holidays: Employees from every department (16 individuals as well as Courts and HR, Finance and General Services) donated their time, energy, money and good will toward making the holidays a little brighter for five families in Lakewood. Not only did they shop for those special gifts requested by each person, they wrapped them with extra care and had them ready for pick up early on the appointed day. Staff and volunteers at Greater Lakes were pleased with the combined efforts of the City and PD staff.
  • No Passport applications January 26th To February 3rd: Due to staffing constraints, the City of Lakewood will be unable to accept passport applications from January 26 to February 3, 2009. Citizens are encouraged to bring applications in before the 26th if they will need a passport soon. Passports are also available at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S 35th St, Tacoma, or at the Lakewood Post Office at Bridgeport and 100th.
  • Council adopts Resolution for EB-5 Regional Center: The City Council adopted a resolution approving the designation for an EB-5 Regional Center in Lakewood, and authorized the City Manager to take necessary steps to gain federal recognition and approval of this EB-5 Regional Center. Implementation of the EB-5 program is anticipated to grow economic development, redevelopment, and provide economic growth, new tax base, and jobs to Lakewood.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 1/16/09

January 16, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Martin Luther King Celebration to be held on Saturday: The Sixth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration has been set for Saturday, January 17, 2009. The multi-ethnic celebration will be held at the McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College from 10 am to noon. All Lakewood citizens are encouraged to attend.
  • AWC Affiliate Groups meet on legislative coordination: The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) convened a meeting this week in Olympia to coordinate legislative liaison efforts by a number of affiliate associations. The city manager attended as an officer of the city managers association (WCMA) and the parks director Mary Dodsworth attended as an officer of the state recreation and parks association (WRPA). Other participating associations represented sheriffs and police chiefs, fire chiefs, building officials, municipal clerks, municipal attorneys, emergency management, and finance officers.
  • Meeting with County Executive: The city manager met this week with the new Pierce County Executive, Pat McCarthy, to discuss a number of matters of mutual interest to the City and the County, and to set up a further discussion between officials from both entities on legislative issues.
  • Police Chief is speaker at Lakewood United: Chief Farrar was the guest speaker at Lakewood United on January 15th and presented information on the current priorities of the Police Department.
  • Lakewood's Judge selected as Rotarian of the Quarter: The Clover Park Rotary Club recently selected Municipal Court Judge Ernest Heller as Rotarian of the Quarter. Judge Heller goes the extra mile in supporting the Club's community improvement efforts, which include the main project of support to Southgate Elementary School's children and their families. Rotary's Southgate project includes a mentorship program, a recreational area improvement project, winter coats for kids drive, and the distribution of holiday food baskets to students' families. Judge Heller has been Lakewood's Judge for the past eight years, and a Lakewood resident for the past 30 years. He is also very active as an actor with the Lakewood Community Theater.
  • Court Compliance Officer outscores classmates at Corrections Officer Academy: Lakewood's Court Compliance Officer Cameron Hines obtained the second highest score overall in his class at the State Criminal Justice Training Center's Corrections Officer Academy.
  • LPD Officer attends Training Conference on Child Abuse Protocols: SGT Thom Stewart participated in a training conference last week that focused on the implementation of the child abuse protocols. It was one of four training classes that are bringing representatives from all over the state to focus on county-wide protocols, as required by state law. Lakewood Police Department is on the multi-disciplinary team for Pierce County and will be involved in training various partners during the coming year.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 12/12/08

December 12, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • 13th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting: Over 1,200 people enjoyed the lighting of the City's Christmas tree on December 5th, with arts and crafts, music, live reindeer and refreshments. An estimated 600 children received gifts from Santa Claus at City Hall. Several partners shared in the planning and presentation of the festival including volunteers from the Lakewood Senior Activity Center, Clover Park School District, Lakewood First Lions, and the State Department of Corrections, with toys contributed by Purdy and McNeil Island.
  • Open Government Training Session: The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) training on "Open Government - What Local Officials Need to Know about WA's Public Records Act and Open Public Meetings Act" was attended on December 2nd at CPTC in Lakewood by city attorneys Heidi Ann Wachter and Anita Booker-Hay, paralegal Cynthia Wright, and city clerk Alice Bush. The detailed topics presented were the Public Records Acts Essential Features of an Effective Public Records Program, How the Public Records Act's Exemptions Serve the Public Interest, Public Records Act "Best Practices," Open Public Meeting Issues, Checklists and Executive Sessions. The News Tribune provided a lunch speaker who addressed "The Media and Public Records Requests."
  • City wins on Public Disclosure Case motion: Associate Attorney Matt Kaser in the City's legal department prevailed in Superior Court last week on a preliminary motion related to a public disclosure request. The City, after many informal efforts to confirm a complete response to a disclosure request, has had to resort to litigation in order to ensure full compliance with the Public Records Act. Toward that end, the City requested information from the requestor such as to what, if any, part of the City's response falls short of compliance with the Public Records Act. To date, the only issue appears to be that the requestor is seeking driver's license numbers which have been redacted from documents provided. The requestor has been ordered by the Court to provide the City with requested information that should facilitate expedient resolution of this matter. The City remains committed to keeping compliance with the Public Records Act a priority and will continue to work to protect City resources from unnecessary expenditures related to "career litigants".
  • Public Meeting held on Street Improvement Project: Public Works held an informal public meeting on December 10th regarding the construction of its Bridgeport Way (59th Ave to Steilacoom Blvd) Street Improvement project to raise the awareness of the potential impacts associated with constructing this project. About 400 notices were sent out and notices were specifically hand delivered to all the fronting businesses on the project. Attendance at the meeting was very low. To those who did attend we noted that construction wouldn't start until the week of January 5th and would probably last for 6 months. We also noted that during much of the construction activity thru traffic would be limited to one lane in each direction. In addition, we noted that some of the construction work, such as the asphalt overlay work and trench crossing work at the Steilacoom Blvd intersection, would be night time work.
  • Annual Employee Appreciation Awards: The City honored its employees at a "Wild West" themed breakfast on December 11th, at the Clover Park Technical College Student Services Center, with over 140 in attendance. The mayor and city manager thanked employees for their valuable service and strong commitment to making the city a success. The award for Police Officer of the Year went to Andy Gildehaus for his support of the transition to the 800 MHZ police radio system, Special Olympics, and for resolving a number of serious felony cases. The award for Teamwork went to Buzz Burgess and Sherwin Fermahin for the cooperative response to facilities maintenance matters. The award for Productivity went to Weston Ott of Public Works for his leadership in establishing a Toastmasters group to help City employees develop communication skills. For Customer Service, the honorable mention went to Kim Dodds for her support of human services agencies, and the annual award went to CSO Dawn McGinnis for her active support of neighborhood policing.
  • City employees mentor students in Lakewood Schools: In response to a request by Communities in Schools (CISL), an additional five members of the Lakewood Police Department answered the call and volunteered to mentor children in Lakewood schools. They have now been through the required training and will begin meeting with their assigned students on a weekly basis. Dawn McGinnis, Ryan Larson, Scott Novasky, John Unfred and Victor Celis are the newest City mentors and they join a number of other City employees who are volunteering to support Lakewood students. Employees are encouraged by management to participate, and manager will support the employees in this important effort.
  • "Coffee with the Mayor": At the December 12th briefing at the St. Clare Resource Center, Parks and Recreation Director Mary Dodsworth provided an update on Parks projects and activities, and Communications Director Jeff Brewster gave a presentation on the City's 2009 legislative priorities.
  • Paralegal Internship Program: another successful Paralegal Internship was completed by the legal department for Highline Community College student Hilary Beeman on December 4th. She 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. Hilary is the 4th paralegal intern the City has successfully trained in cooperation with local colleges with paralegal degree programs.
  • Presentation at Local Bar Association: Associate city attorney Matt Kaser presented a Criminal Law Update at the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Seminar held by the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association on December 6th, which was attended by about 70 local attorneys. His presentation provided an update on changes that occurred in the past year in Criminal Law that may affect local jurisdictions.
  • Lakewood Senior Center supports Tillicum with Christmas Dinner: The Lakewood Senior Activity Center teamed up with the Youth for Christ Youth and Family Center to help them with their Christmas dinner. The Youth Center was planning to distribute over 75 stockings filled with candy, fruit, a small gift and a gift card to be used at a Tillicum business. Participants at the Lakewood Senior Activity Center donated over $260 and a big box of candy for the kids in Tillicum. Although many of the older adults have their own financial difficulties, they opened their hearts (and wallets) to help the kids with even greater needs.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 12/19/08

December 19, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Santa arrives in Springbrook, Tillicum, Woodbrook and Northeast Neighborhoods: Members of the LPD Community Policing Unit, the Public Safety Advisory Committee, Lakewood Volunteer Observation Patrol, and Lakewood Police Independent Guild Charity Fund will be helping bring Santa and his sleigh to some neighborhoods in Lakewood this Saturday, December 20th, from 3PM until 7PM. Santa will be riding in his sleigh, with full police escort, through the Springbrook, Tillicum, Woodbrook, and Northeast neighborhoods. According to confidential police sources, Santa and his elves will be handing out candy canes and Santa will be available to hear kids' last minute gift wishes.
  • Lakewood's Judge is Lakewood United speaker: Judge Ernest Heller and Senior Court Specialist Deana Wright gave a power point presentation at Lakewood United regarding the court system, the jail, and sentencing alternative programs, such as work crew and Electronic Home Monitoring on December 4th.
  • Court awarded Interpreter Fees Grant: The Lakewood Municipal Court has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the State for Interpreter Fees. We may also be receiving $20,000 for an additional grant for Public Defense Fees.
  • Sound Transit D to M Street railway progress: Lakewood's city manager met this week with the Sound Transit CEO and the Tacoma city manager to facilitate the community input and approval process for the railroad improvements in Tacoma, which are necessary for Sounder service to Lakewood. The plan is for decision on design alternatives by end of January.
  • City employees adopt two families: Staff in Public Works and Community Development adopted two Lakewood area families through the Tillicum/ American Lake Gardens Community Service Center. The first family is a mom, dad, 8-year boy, and baby on the way, with Dad having lost his job due to an industrial accident. The second family is an elderly couple with no family in the area living on a fixed income. Staff members pooled their resources and were able to provide a queen-size bed and recliner for the older couple, a bicycle and numerous Transformer toys for the 8-year old boy, a stroller and car seat for the baby, and bedding, clothes, food, and toiletries for all.
  • Meals delivered to 60 families at Tillicum Elementary: Police Officers Moody, Catlett, Borchardt, Porche, Hector, Herritt, Figueroa and Carrell along with DOC's Matt Goebel delivered 103 meals to 60 families involved in the Head Start program at Tillicum Elementary on December 15th. The LPIG Charity Fund coordinated the effort and donated $400. The Iron Pigs Motorcycle Club, Seattle Chapter, donated $1,400, and other officers donated the rest.
  • OEA Grant Update: The City submitted a planning management grant to the Department of Defense's Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) on December 5th; the purpose is to study how current and future growth of Ft. Lewis and McChord AFB impacts traffic operations along Interstate 5 between SR 512 and Mounts Road. It was anticipated that OEA would approve the grant application within two weeks and that the City could publish a Request for Proposals for consulting services by Friday December 19. However, OEA informed the City this week that their review of our application has been rescheduled for January 15th. This delay pushes our proposed schedule out by 30 days. The City now expects to publish a RFP on January 22nd.
  • Business Retention Program: The economic development manager met this week with Relm West, a company located in the Lakewood Industrial Park that designs and produces labels and packaging for products in the food and beverage industry. Their customer base is primarily companies in the Northwest, although some of their clients are large national companies. This business retention expansion meeting was one of many this year coordinated with both the County's economic development office and the Tacoma/Pierce County Economic Development Board (EDB). The company is a great example of the businesses we've been meeting with this year that operate nationally or internationally from Lakewood who are experiencing growth and enjoying the business climate with an operations basis in Lakewood.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 12/4/08

December 5, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Bridgeport Way Construction Open House at City Hall: The Public Works Department will host an open house in the council chambers on Wednesday, December 10th between 4:30pm and 6:30pm to discuss a major construction project that will begin in early 2009. This $3.7 million project includes installation of curbs, gutters, and sidewalks on this major arterial between Steilacoom Blvd and 59th Ave. The project will also include new and modified traffic signals, street lighting and widening of Bridgeport Way north of 93rd St. to accommodate a 2-way left turn lane. It is anticipated that construction will take 6-8 months. Federal grants will cover $1.4 million and the City will pay the rest. During construction, traffic will be confined to one-lane each way and left turns may not be permitted. Affected local businesses and residents are encouraged to attend.
  • Sound Glass project review: The city manager, ass't city manager for development, and economic development manager met with the president and manager of Sound Glass, as well as the construction manager, this week as an "after action" de-brief in order to review the process involved in the successful completion of the major new commercial building on 75th Street W. This process is part of the City's emphasis on economic development and a way to ensure quality improvement in the City's business development practices. The process allows for a critical review of what steps went well in the City's review of the project, and what steps could have been improved. Sound Glass in its new location is a very welcome enhancement to the City's business community. The company was featured in the latest Business Examiner's "2008 Fastest Growing Companies".
  • Lakewood Officer participates in 20th Annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Stair Climb: Lieutenant Heidi Hoffman participated in the 20th Annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Stair Climb on December 4th. Her team climbed the 56 floors of the Washington Mutual Building in Seattle and raised over $2,000 for the foundation. This is Heidi's second year with this event and she completed her climb in 19 minutes, 27 seconds --14 seconds faster than last year.
  • Lakewood Officers attend CALEA Conference: Ass't Police Chief Mike Zaro and Officer Jeff Carroll attended the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma this week.
  • Emergency Management Training Exercise: City staff from all departments participated in a table-top planning exercise this week with Pierce County Department of Emergency Management to practice response to a train derailment emergency. The City continues to work on improvement of its preparedness skills to deal with real disasters and emergencies.
  • City Staff and Local Agencies Serve Turkey Dinner To 650: Human Services Program Specialist Kim Dodds joined Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare (GLMH) staff, Board members and community volunteers in serving its annual Thanksgiving dinner to 650 clients and their guests from Lakewood, Tacoma and Pierce County on November 25th. The event was funded by donations from staff, past and present Board members, Genoa Pharmacy, and Tacoma Public Utilities employees. The food was prepared by GLMH staff. This was the 15th dinner sponsored by GLMH which started by a small group of GLMH staff for clients participating in the Greater Lakes day treatment program. This year's dinner brought an increase of approximately 150 guests over last year's event. The City is one of many regional partners who have funded GLMH through human services.
  • Burn Ban Changes: Rick Hess from the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency provided details on burn ban changes in the region to the Tillicum-Woodbrook Neighborhood Association on December 4th. Washington State is coming into compliance with Federal EPA guidelines to reduce harmful particulates resulting from burning wood. More "Stage 2" burn bans are anticipated this winter; this means that the burning of wood will be strictly prohibited except in homes that have no other source of heat. These burn bans typically last for 2-4 days. PSCAA has seven inspectors working the area south of Seattle. Those citizens who burn wood as a primary source of heat can track burn ban periods on PSCAA's website: or newspaper or TV weather reports. Those wanting more information should visit this website. Violators could be fined up to $1000.