Posted by Tom McClellan on Dec 15, 2017
An update on the City of Lakewood, and preparation for Christmas.
 
There, that ought to do it.
Meeting Notes for the
Dec. 13, 2017 meeting of the Rotary Club of Clover Park
Recorded and edited by Tom McClellan [so I have all the power, heh heh heh]
 
President Bryan Christensen got us off to yet another on-time start, keeping his record this year thus far spotless in that regard.  Fred Willis led us with the invocation, and John Unfred finally made it back to a meeting and led us in the flag salute.
 
Visiting Rotarians included George Lin, with his cousin Mai, plus John Caulfield and Jim Sharp, both of Lakewood.  Other visitors included Lakewood Communications Director Brynn Grimley.
 
Announcements:
This segment of the meeting was pretty light, which ended up giving the finemaster a whole lot of extra time.  But announcements did include…
 
Future Programs:
December 20th         You are the program on December 20th.  Members who wish to participate will be given 2 minutes (strictly enforced) to share a favorite Christmas story. What a great way to get to know each other a little better.
December 27th         No Meeting.  Merry Christmas.
January 3rd              Riley Wyatt, Classification Talk: Boy Scouts of America
 
Fun and Fines
General Ed Trobaugh was assisted by still-red badge member Riley Wyatt, and he got quickly to work with a Happy Birthday wish to David Hall (sans kazoo).
 
Heidi Wachter paid (or perhaps Wachter’d) an unrecorded amount for having her daughter in the Lakewood Playhouse production of A Christmas Carol. 
 
 
Bob Lawrence got in on that cause, noting that Crime Stoppers was having its fund raiser at the play this week.
 
 
Attention turned back to Heidi again, for having a $50 Wachter for passing the 10-year mark since her twin daughters were born.  That was rounded up to $100, with addition of accumulated interest charges.
 
John Unfred, who has been absent for several recent meetings, was finally back with payment of his own Wachter, which no one even remembers the reason for any more. 
 
Visiting Rotarian Jim Sharp (who is chief of West Pierce Fire and Rescue) paid $25 “just on principle”.  [ed. note: This is reminiscent of the old (unofficial) Merrill Lynch saying, “The interest of the client always comes first. Then their principal.”]
 
Jim Hairston spent 2 weeks in Arizona.  Why?  “Because it was warm.”  14 days @$5 = $70.
 
Ed Trobaugh then noted that we had the city manager, the city attorney, the fire chief, the deputy police chief, the city’s communications director, the business development director, and one council member all in attendance at our Rotary Club meeting.  He therefore asked, “Who’s running the city?”
 
This Week’s Speaker
 
City Manager John Caulfield was an Army Ranger years ago, and transitioned to civilian life as a city administrator.  He started out working for the city of Federal Way, a city which has no actual federal offices other than the Post Office, but uses the word “federal” in its name because everyone likes that word so much.  He then moved on to work as finance director for the city of University Place, a city which is a place, but which has no university.  He moved on to become the city manager of Mountlake Terrace, which has neither a mountain nor a lake (we’re still checking on whether it has a terrace).  So he was glad in 2013 to come to be the city manager of Lakewood, a city which actually does have both lakes and woods. 
 
John mentioned that the priorities of the City government include public safety, land use and development, parks, and infrastructure.  Lakewood has a population of 58,800.  It has 27,023 housing units, 4,364 businesses, 25,370 daily employees.  The median income of Lakewood residents is $44,667. 
 
Businesses coming to Lakewood (or contemplating it) cite proximity to JBLM as #1 reason. 
 
2017 Revenue: $37.15 million (sales tax 24%, property tax 18%, utility tax 15%).
2017 Expenditures: $35.88 million (police 65%, courts 6%).
 
Most of the property tax you pay goes to the State, and gets used for K-12 education.  Lakewood only gets 8% of property taxes collected.
 
Lakewood Police Department has the 1st program in the state to have officers certified as phlebotomists, meaning that they do not need to turn to medics for drawing of blood for evidence.  Other PDs are very interested in following their lead in this area.
 
Housing: 388 apartment complexes.  Low income = 10% of housing stock.  28 mobile home parks, with 1,180 homes.  City contributed $1million to the new LASA shelter.  Habitat For Humanity has constructed 24 homes, 29 more are coming. 
 
A “subarea plan” for the downtown area is well underway.  City taking care of design, infrastructure development, so it can be ready for businesses to just move in. 
 
Rental Safety Housing Program (RSHP): 53% of Lakewood’s housing stock are rental units.  Many are old, with problems related to age.  The City Council enacted the RSHP in order to:
  1. Create more safe housing
  2. Protect vulnerable people
  3. Improve property values
 
Caulfield cited the success of such a program in Pasco, WA.  Started in 1997, that city’s leaders say it turned around the quality of the city.  [ed. note: he did not discuss the strong opposition by many Lakewood residents, nor the measure’s dubious constitutionality.]
 
Lakewood is trying to get an outlet mall or other retail activity along Pacific Highway.  Proposed name is “Lakewood Landing”, a play on both the I-5 frontage and nearby McChord Field.  25-30 acre site must first be transferred from the State, since WSDOT has a maintenance facility there.  Hoping to do a property exchange. 
 
Woodbrook is getting a 500k square foot warehouse facility.  Should be $1 billion economic impact, 3,500 jobs, once overall 150 acres are developed.
 
City is pushing to get an Amtrak station in the city, so that trains can stop here instead of just blasting through. 
 
Asked what is his major challenge, Caulfield answered: Dealing with inaction by state and federal officials.
 
Raffle Drawing:
With $352 in the pot, Karen Fengler Nichols drew a joker, and won $20.  And rafflemeister Tom Faubion had one of the best facial expressions of all time.
 
 
And Finally…
Signs are great, especially in the ways that they can become self-fulfilling.
 
 
 
 
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