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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 12/7/07

December 7, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakewood Volunteer Patrol Receives Award: The Tillicum/Woodbrook Neighborhood Association awarded their 2nd annual Rudy “Rebel” Baker Award for Outstanding Community Service to the new Lakewood Volunteer Patrol squad on December 4th. Carol Hudgins, Debbie Kachman, Chris Kachman, and Andy Jacobs were recognized for their contribution this last July when they observed a vicious attack on a citizen in the Harry Todd Park. They obtained enough suspect and vehicle information to allow Police to make a quick arrest. Their quick action, which included calling 911 and providing first aid to the victim, made a tremendous impact on the community by demonstrating that every citizen has a duty to keep their neighborhood safe. The suspect was located, arrested and was recently sentenced to 22 months in prison for the assault.
  • B&I Counterfeit Investigation successful: The Lakewood Police Department’s Proactive Property Crimes Unit launched an investigation a few months ago into the sale of counterfeit merchandise by various vendors at shops located inside of the B&I Shopping Center at 8012 South Tacoma Way. “Counterfeit of Intellectual Property” accounts for a 600+ billion dollar a year business. All of the items purchased during the undercover operation were verified by the trade mark holder corporate investigators as being counterfeit. LPD served search warrants on six vendor locations within the B&I on December 5th, assisted by Puyallup PD and Sumner PD detectives, as well as private investigators employed by the trade mark holders. Although it is difficult to determine an exact dollar amount of this seizure of counterfeit merchandise until all of the items are sent to the respective trade mark holders, it is estimated “conservatively” that recovery will be in excess of $200,000. Criminal charges are pending on a number of store front owners and some employees. The trade mark holder-victims include: Coach, Nike, Dooney & Bourke, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Mitchell & Ness, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Ecko, Juicy, and Rolex.
  • Lakewood attends Governor’s Public Safety Communication Summit: Asst Police Chief Bret Farrar attended the Public Safety Communication Summit at SeaTac this week, with the focus on police agencies’ ability to communicate during emergencies. He also attended the City of Seattle-sponsored workshop on strategies for reducing gun violence in Washington State.
  • Motel Owners Association: Staffmembers from both Police and Community Development attended the first meeting of the Lakewood Motel Owners Association on November 27th. Twelve owners of local area motels were present to discuss common concerns, best practices, and ways to improve cooperation with the City.
  • City Managers Association Board meets in Lakewood: The executive board of the Washington City/County Management Association (WCCMA) held its quarterly meeting in Lakewood City Hall on November 29th. The agenda included a review of the mentoring program, and “regeneration” of new people and new ideas into the profession, as well as the appointment of a retiring member as a new “range-rider” to serve Washington cities with technical assistance. Lakewood’s city manager is the current president of WCCMA.
  • Citizen Rescued from a Burning Car: On November 28th at approximately 1245 hours, Lakewood PD Animal Control Officer Bill Mathies was on routine patrol when he came across a two car collision near the intersection of Gravelly Lake Dr SW on 112th St SW. ACO Mathies noticed what appeared to be smoke coming from the front end of one of the vehicles, and as he was advising dispatch of the collision, he saw the underside of the engine compartment burst into flames. At that time, the driver of the burning vehicle was still seated in the driver's seat with the door closed. ACO Mathies immediately went to the driver's door of the vehicle that was on fire and began telling the elderly and somewhat disoriented driver that he needed to get out of the vehicle. Without regard for his own safety, ACO Mathies reached inside the vehicle, removed the driver's seatbelt and had to extract him from the vehicle. Once he had the driver out of the vehicle, he took him to a safe location away from the burning car. It was at about that time; a bus driver showed up with a fire extinguisher and ACO was able to extinguish the fire. ACO Mathies demonstrated his true commitment to public safety and the citizens of Lakewood.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/30/07

November 30, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Pac Highway $3M grant funding awarded: The City received notice this week that the Secretary of Transportation has approved for grant funding the list of projects recommended to her by the State’s Enhancement committee. The Pacific Highway Improvement project from Bridgeport to Gravelly Lake was one of the projects on that list, and the $3,000,000 grant we sought is now official ours. Along with other funds budgeted and anticipated, including Surface Water Management (SWM), this major project’s funding is now place.
  • HR Director elected to WAPELA Board: HR Director Debra Young was elected this week to the board of the WA Public Employers Labor Relations Association (WAPELRA) to board position #2 representing the western part of the state.
  • Street sweeping contractor bows out: The City’s street sweeping contractor has given notice that he will not renew the City’s street sweeping contract for 2008. The last day of the existing contract is November 30th but the contractor will continue sweep at the contract rate through the end of December. We will seek an extension until the end of January which will give us time to once again bid out the work and award a new contract. The reason the contractor gave for not wanting to extend the contract another year was that he lost money on the contract.
  • Sound Transit’s connection to Lakewood: Our mayor and city manager, along with Sound Transit’s CEO and board chairman, attended a Tacoma City Council workshop on November 27th to discuss the need for moving forward on the alternative Pacific Avenue railway routes through Tacoma to enable service to both South Tacoma and Lakewood. The scheduling of train service to Lakewood depends on the successful completion of the upgrade of the tracks. There will be express bus service to the Tacoma Dome station during the interim period between completion of the Lakewood station and final upgrade of the railroad connection. The Sound Transit Board is scheduled to decide on the alignment issue on December 13th.
  • Tillicum Plan briefing to Lakewood United: Ass’t city manager David Bugher was the speaker at the November 29th meeting of Lakewood United, and presented an update of the community planning effort underway in Tillicum. He reviewed demographic data, provided general insights regarding draft interim development regulations, and provided an update on the sewer project.
  • Lakefront Street Ends Community Meeting: The City hosted its second Street Ends meeting on November 27th to identify “opportunities and constraints” for each of the fourteen street ends on Lakewood’s four largest lakes. Nearly 50 citizens were in attendance. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 11th at 6pm in the Council Chambers and will focus on evaluating street ends at the three smaller lakes (American Lake, Gravelly Lake and Lake Louise) based on criteria identified at the November 27th meeting. This same process will be repeated for Lake Steilacoom’s street ends on Wednesday, January 23rd at 6pm (please note this is a schedule change due to the Martin Luther King Holiday weekend).
  • CD and PW staff adopt families: Staff from both Community Development and Public Works departments have pooled their resources to provide Christmas toys and gifts for two Lakewood families in need. They also delivered boxes of food for Thanksgiving last week. The families were identified through Communities in School of Lakewood and also the Tillicum American Lake Garden Community Services. The staff is not only collecting money and donations, but also working with Lakewood businesses and community agencies for assistance.
  • “…freezing for a good cause”: The Lakewood Youth Council volunteered along with their peers last Saturday to help “Pack the Bus” with gifts for needy children. At least two dozen high school students spent the chilly day in front of Clover Park High School encouraging drivers to drop off money or toys for this Caring for Kids project. This year the organization will help about 600 families – 2,300 children – with Christmas gifts. In early December, parents will “shop” for toys for their children at Hudtloff Middle School. One notable quotes from the a participant included: “I’m freezing, said 16-year-old Jordan Dacres, a CPHS junior who has been involved with the Youth Council this school year. “I’m freezing for a good cause.”
  • LPD Accreditation update: After months of hard work, the Police Department just completed the newest edition of the Manual of Standards. The MOS goes into effect on January 1, 2008 and will replace the original Manual that the department has been operating under since its inception in 2004. Implementation of the MOS is the last internal step towards accreditation.
  • Burglary resolved and suspect arrested: On November 26th, at 11:11 Hrs, Patrol responded to a suspicious person/prowler call on Lake City Blvd SW, which was a burglary in progress where the two suspects split up with one running northbound and one running southbound on Lake City Blvd. One suspect was chased down and apprehended by a neighbor. The suspect assaulted the neighbor and bit him in a struggle before officers arrived to take him into custody. Canine tracked for the second suspect but he was never located. Patrol did recover almost all of the property that had been taken in the burglary. Patrol was assisted by Traffic, NPO’s, SRO’s and investigators. The suspect was booked for Residential Burglary, Assault 2nd Degree, Resisting Arrest and UPCS-marijuana.
  • Towne Center Robbery suspect apprehended: An LPD officer working off duty at the Lakewood Towne Center notified that a man had pulled a knife on a security officer who attempted to intervene in a shoplift of several items from Marshall’s. The suspect fled in his vehicle and left the Towne Center as the officer gave chase. The suspect was soon met by other LPD vehicles from the east and south; he then drove up onto the sidewalk and launched his truck several feet into the air when he struck a pile of dirt in a front yard. The vehicle landed on a mailbox and pieces of truck littered the roadway. In an attempt to avoid other officers, the suspect turned into an apartment complex. After he attempted to turn around in the cul-de-sac he was introduced to a successful PIT maneuver. He then fled on foot and was Tased and taken into custody.
  • Domestic violence felony arrest: Patrol responded to an address on 47th Ave. SW for a domestic violence with a gun call. After a few moments, we were able to call out the suspect and detain him without incident. The victim and suspect had gotten into an argument over custody of their daughter, and the suspect pulled a gun from his waistband and threatened the victim and said that the next time she sees her daughter it will be in a “body bag.” The suspect did not have the gun on him when he was detained but after an extensive search patrol located the fully loaded gun behind the apartment complex and an extra magazine in the dumpster. The suspect was booked for Felony Violation of a No Contact Order, Intimidation with a weapon, DV Felony Harassment and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
  • Special Ops Drug Bust: After a 2-month investigation, the Special Operations section authored a Search warrant on a suspected Marijuana Grow OP. LPD served the warrant and recovered 355 live plants, over an ounce of Methamphetamine, over 300 OxyContin pills, three handguns (one stolen), an SKS rifle, approximately $6,000 and seized and a 2006 Ford Focus. This was a very elaborate set up, with power being diverted prior to reaching the two unhappy individuals who went to jail.
  • Tillicum Robbery suspect arrested: A resident in Tillicum awoke to find his car being broken into. When he confronted the suspect, the suspect pulled a screwdriver and tried to stab the victim. The two got into a scuffle that went to the ground but the suspect was able to flee on foot. LPD located the suspect nearby and the victim identified the suspect who also had cocaine on him.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/16/07

November 16, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • $1.6M TIB Grant for Bridgeport: The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) awarded the City of Lakewood a $1.6 million grant this week for completion of roadway improvements on Bridgeport Way from 75th to the north city limits, including street lights, curb, gutters, and sidewalks. The City’s project was one of 14 selected from 100 applications.
  • Sylvan Park Property Maintenance Inspections: With assistance from one of the neighborhood patrol teams, Community Development this week began making property maintenance inspections in the Sylvan Park neighborhood which is comprised of over 300 properties. Of those, 35 properties have been identified as having significant property maintenance violations. Nineteen properties were inspected with more to follow. Correction notices will be delivered to property owners beginning next week. During the inspection of one property, a code officer noticed unusual behavior of one individual residing in a trailer. He was interviewed by code and police officers. The police officer performed a background check. The individual possessed two outstanding warrants, was taken into custody, and transported to Pierce County jail.
  • APA Presentation on Abatement: Asst City Manager Dave Bugher and Asst City Attorney Mike McKenzie were invited to an American Planners Association (APA) brown bag luncheon at Renton City Hall this week to discuss the City’s code enforcement, property maintenance and abatement programs. Representatives from numerous Puget Sound cities were present, and appear to be interested in Lakewood’s approach to public nuisance control.
  • Pac Highway Signal Outage: The signal outage at Pacific Highway and Bridgeport Way that was scheduled for November 14th has been delayed until after Thanksgiving. This work is part of the construction of the new signal bridge at that location.
  • City Prosecutors Prevail: The City’s Legal Department had a successful trial week this month with two jury trials resulting in two guilty verdicts. The trials were handled by associate city attorneys Sean Parrent and Matt Kaser.
  • Roadway Gas Main Replacement Project Continues: Pilchuck Contractors will be running several crews in town to complete several miles of gas main replacement by the end of the year. Some work will also spill into the first part of next year as well. They will be beginning work on Bridgeport Way (southbound outside lane from Steilacoom Blvd to 84th), Steilacoom Blvd (eastbound outside lane from Custer to Bridgeport Way), and Gravelly Lake Drive (northbound outside lane from 112th to Bridgeport Way). Most of the work in these areas needs to occur during the day due to the adjacent residences. The exception will be work on Gravelly Lake Drive between Main Street and Bridgeport which will occur at night. This gas main replacement project is ordered by the Washington Utilities Commission (WUTC) to address aging and leaking Puget Sound Energy gas infrastructure and ultimately will provide better service and safety to everyone. Contact Public Works if there are any questions.
  • Abatement Notice and Order at Washington & Interlaaken: Community Development has initiated abatement actions for the property at the northwest corner of Washington Blvd. & Interlaaken Blvd. SW (the former Shortstop Market) for the house, old store, and associated property. The owners reportedly intend to demolish the buildings and build a strip-mall, but the City has received no permit applications and the demolitions are already several months behind the owners’ projected timeline. This action will ensure the dangerous conditions are corrected even if the owner does not proceed with the redevelopment project in a timely manner.
  • Domestic Violence Resource Fair: Victim advocate Rebecca Hendricks of the Legal Department attended a Domestic Violence Resource Fair at Pierce College on November 14th. She provided information about the City’s domestic violence kiosk, the criminal case process and domestic violence statistics. Students and others attended to learn more about domestic violence and our community’s response. Hendricks also attended the National College of District Attorneys Annual Conference on Domestic Violence in late October, where the focus was on criminal justice response to domestic violence, as well as stalking, victim/witness interviewing, and use of technology.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 11/23/07

November 23, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Public Works adopts two families for Thanksgiving: The City’s Public Works staffmembers collected food and delivered several boxes on Thanksgiving to two families in Lakewood who have undergone difficulties and are in need of help. The staff have already started preparation for Christmas by collecting toys for the young children in both households.
  • Mobile Home inspection activity in Tillicum: Community Development, with the support of Police Department’s neighborhood patrol team and other public agencies, performed a health and safety inspection on November 20th at a mobile home park located in Tillicum. A variety of safety violations were identified. Reports are being prepared and we will soon be in contact with the property owner. In addition, one person was arrested for heroin possession and the police department recovered a stolen vehicle.
  • AG’s Domestic Violence Advisory Group: Victim Advocate Ann-Marie Dvorak, in the City’s Legal Department, was invited to be part of a Domestic Violence Advisory Group through the Attorney General’s Office. Ann-Marie represented the City of Lakewood when the advisory group met previously at a meeting which addressed various issues including potential legislation proposals, review of batterer’s programs and the address confidentiality program.
  • Sound Transit’s connection to Lakewood: Joni Earl, Sound Transit’s CEO, briefed the Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board (EDB), which includes Lakewood’s city manager, on November 16th regarding the imminent decision point on the alternative Pacific Avenue routes through Tacoma for the completion of the commuter rail connection from Tacoma to Lakewood. The Tacoma City Council will hold a workshop on November 28th, and a decision by the Sound Transit Board is due in early December. The scheduling of train service to Lakewood depends on the successful completion of the upgrade of the tracks. There will be express bus service to the Tacoma Dome station during the interim period between completion of the Lakewood station and final upgrade of the railroad connection.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/26/07

October 26, 2007
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Sylvan Park neighborhood code emphasis: 337 letters are being sent out this week to property owners in the Sylvan Park neighborhood to advise them of upcoming activities of the City’s code enforcement team to identify problem situations such as deteriorating buildings, junk vehicles, property maintenance issues, right-of-way encroachments, and other such matters.
  • Lakewood Police Sponsor 4-2 SBCT Spouses: Mayor Claudia Thomas and Councilmember Doug Richardson welcomed a number of spouses of Lakewood’s Community Connection – the deployed 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team on October 26th at City Hall. These Lakewood residents were teamed up with Lakewood Police officers and police staff to provide a direct link for public safety concerns and other City services. The spouses also received briefings on services provided by the Lakewood Fire Department, the Clover Park School District, and City staff (Police, Parks and Recreation, and Communications). The 4-2 SBCT deployed last May to Iraq and is projected to return to Fort Lewis next summer.
  • 2007 Healthy Worksite Summit: On October 16th, Nancy Packard of the Community Development Department and Cheryl Thompson of the Legal Department represented the City‘s Wellness Committee at the 2007 Healthy Worksite Summit sponsored in part by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). Each year, AWC provides the City with two pre-paid registrations to this event. There was the opportunity to network with Wellness Committee members from all over the state and share ideas on successful events and campaigns.
  • Second annual Truck & Tractor Day: The Parks and Recreation Department hosted Truck & Tractor Day on Saturday, October 20th at Fort Steilacoom Park. Nearly 80 children and their parents braved the pouring rain and cold conditions to enjoy a morning in the park. Attendees climbed through trucks and tractors, made a craft project, explored the park through a scavenger hunt and took a hayride around Waughop Lake. Event sponsors included Lakewood Fire, Old Country Buffet, Lakeview Light and Power, AgriShop and Lakewood Refuse.