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Category: Lakewood


As election season approaches, a dearth of open seats for Lakewood, UP city councils

Nearly all the incumbents up for election on the Lakewood and University Place city councils will run for new four-year terms.

With filing week less than three weeks away, just one newcomer has stepped forward in either city so far. Don Daniels, chairman of the Lakewood Planning Advisory Board, announced he is running for the seat that Councilwoman Helen McGovern will vacate near the end of the year.

Daniels was one of 11 other candidates to apply to fill the council seat vacated by former Mayor Doug Richardson, but the council picked McGovern, who served on the council previously, in

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Vote on NRA gun safety program becomes soapbox for some Senate Democrats

Eight Democratic members of the state Senate voted no Friday on a proclamation to encourage use of the National Rifle Association’s gun safety curriculum in schools, seizing the opportunity to decry how little attention gun-control bills have received in the Senate this year.

Senate Joint Memorial 8006, introduced by Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, would have no practical effect, but would indicate support for the use of the NRA’s Eddie Eagle gun safety program in schools and preschools. The NRA program tells children who find guns: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.”

Sen. Dave Frockt, D-Seattle, said

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Stopping ‘flash robs’ a priority for Lakewood senator

State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood
State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood

Flash mobs aren’t just people bursting into song at food courts anymore.

Most people have heard of flash mobs: groups of people who convene at a set time and place to perform a coordinated activity, often organized via a viral email or text.

Now, flash mobs are converging on stores and stealing things in a trend commonly referred to as “flash robs.” Stores from Portland, Ore. to Chicago, Ill. were overwhelmed last year with young people who entered a store in sync and stole items while clerks helplessly watched.

Here in Washington, a state legislator wants to address the problem by making it easier to prosecute groups of people who organize a theft spree via text or email.

Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, has introduced a bill in the state Senate that would allow groups of nine or more people to be charged with organized retail theft if they collectively steal $250 or more in merchandise and use electronic messages to plan the crime. Existing law requires an individual person to steal goods worth $750 or more to be charged with organized retail theft, which is a felony.

Carrell’s proposal, Senate Bill 5178, will have a hearing at 8 a.m. Friday before the Senate Law & Justice Committee.

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UPDATE: Malcolm Russell announces campaign for 28th District House (but not necessarily the suddenly open seat)

UPDATE _ Malcolm Russell’s campaign adviser Alex Hays says he may not run for the open seat but might file against Democratic incumbent Tami Green.

“The release from Malcolm did not specify a seat – deliberately.

“Paul Wageman may move over to the open seat (he has yet to decide) and if he does, Malcolm will run against Tami.”

Here is the original post…

A Pierce County planning commissioner today became the first candidate to respond to this week’s surprising news that Troy Kelley would run for state Auditor.

Malcolm Russell of Lakewood announced that he would seek the seat in the Washington House of Representatives that Kelley will vacate. That is position No. 1 from the 28th Legislative District.

Russell will run as a Republican.

Malcolm Russell

“The recent special session shows us how dysfunctional the majority Democrats have become, unable to adopt reasonable reforms and balance a state budget,” Russell said in an announcement Friday. “Olympia is broken and our only hope of repairing state government is to elect centrist leaders willing to make tough decisions.”

Russell said his priorities will be public education, government reform and promoting local job creation.

“We deserve a well-run, efficient government that is more innovative and spends tax dollars wisely,” said Russell.

Russell is a member of the Lakewood Public Safety Advisory Board, is the chair of the Pierce County Planning Commission and the new president of Keep Lakewood Beautiful. He previously served on the Tacoma Planning Commission.

Russell’s great grandfather is architect Ambrose Russell, his grandfather is Admiral James Russell (USN) and his father his Captain Ken Russell (USN).

Here is Russell’s statement Read more »


Clarification: Who called the Lakewood cops on Democrats’ tracker of Baumgartner? Not Lakewood Mayor Richardson

A press release last week from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner complained about a confrontation with a Democratic videographer at a closed Lakewood Republican Women meeting. The videographer wouldn’t leave the area outside the meeting at Oakbrook Golf Club until police were called.

Baumgartner also said the man followed his wife Eleanor in the parking lot when she left to retrieve something from her car.

Later Baumgartner said Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson was the one who called police. Lakewood Assistant Chief Mike Zaro said there wasn’t a name on the department’s call log but that a call did come

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U.S. Senate candidate Mike Baumgartner calls the cops over Democrat’s video paparazzi

Well, Baumgartner didn’t make the actual call to Lakewood Police last week during a meeting of Lakewood Republican Women.

Apparently the call came from a Republican in attendance who just happens to be the mayor of Lakewood, Doug Richardson.

But the Spokane Republican was aware of it and the incident provides a glimpse into a phenomena of modern political campaigns that the average voter never sees. That is the fact that most candidates are followed by opponents armed with a video camera to capture all statements made on the campaign trail. The point, apparently, is to catch a gaffe or a statement that appeals to a small group but might not sound so good to the general voting public.

Every now and then a dustup occurs and video of the confrontation usually makes it to YouTube.

It apparently was one of those opposition researchers who showed up at Oakbrook Golf Club last Thursday where Baumgartner was going to speak to Lakewood Republican Women about his campaign against Democratic incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell. According to Baumgartner, the videographer was told he could not come in and, after he tried filming through a window, they asked him to leave what is private property.

Later, according to Baumgartner, when his wife Eleanor Baumgartner went out to her car in the parking lot, the tracker followed her in his vehicle. Lakewood police were called and talked to the man who then moved to the street in front of the club.

Mike and Eleanor Baumgartner

“It is a privilege to be a public servant, but our family shouldn’t have to put up with you paying some creepy guy to follow my wife and harass her,” Baumgartner wrote in a letter to state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz. “It would be unacceptable for your operatives to do this to anyone, let alone a young mother, at night.”

Assistant Lakewood Police Chief Mike Zaro said no police report was filed on the incident but said there was a call made Thursday evening and three patrol cars responded. He said officers were not told of any incident involving Eleanor Baumgartner and that the videographer claimed he was assaulted by those who told him to leave.

“It sounds like two political opponents jabbering at each other and the officers just calmed them down,” Zaro said.

Benton Strong, spokesman for the Washington State Democratic Party, said he did not have details about the confrontation but said the videographer did work for the party and those employees identify themselves if asked.

“We employ videographers who document statements of officials running for office,” Strong said.

Here is the letter Baumgartner sent Pelz:
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County agrees to sell vacant police station to church

The Pierce County Council has voted to sell a vacant police building to a Lakewood church that wants to convert it into a community center housing up to a dozen homeless youths.

The council voted 5 to 1 Tuesday to sell the former West Precinct building of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for $1 million.

The Rev. Walt Kellcy, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lakewood, said his congregation plans initially to use the building for youth church activities and community meetings for the first two years. The congregation wouldn’t start housing homeless youths until 2014 at the earliest, Kellcy said.

Using the building for youth church activities and community meetings would require public comment and approval by the City of Lakewood, said Dave Bugher, the city’s community development director. Housing homeless youths would require approval by a hearing examiner, Bugher said.

Kellcy said the congregation will take a final vote Nov. 20 to purchase the building adjacent to the church’s property – with closing expected before the end of the year.

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UPDATE: Pierce County districting committee – and council members – wait for THE map

All of the maps produced so far by Pierce County districting committee “master” Steven Garrett have been works in progress.

At least four times the geographer hired to produce new county council districts based on the 2010 Census has drawn maps that both redivide the county’s nearly 800,000 people and keep communities with common interests together. Each map in the sequence has been in response to concerns raised by the five-member committee or residents who attended a series of public hearings around the county.

But now, it’s for real. By June 28 Garrett must submit THE map. It is that map that triggers a two-week period in which the committee can amend it or approve it. But it takes four votes to amend it and three to approve it. If the committee does neither, the map is deemed approved and will govern county elections for the next decade – baring a successful legal challenge.

The committee isn’t scheduled to meet again until July 12, the evening before its deadline to act.

So what will that map look like? Based on Wednesday evening’s second-to-last meeting of the committee, that is the fundamental question. There was no consensus for changes so the final version may well look a lot like Garrett’s most-recent map – known as Map D. And if that is the case, then Republicans are likely to be unhappy with the final result.

Map D for Pierce County Districting

Two incumbent Republicans on the council are not in their current districts in Map D. Seventh District Councilmember Stan Flemming, who lives in University Place, would be in District 6 under the most-recent iteration. The Gig Harbor peninsula would once again become partnered with West and North Tacoma, a pairing that occurred after the seven-member council was created in 1981, after the first redistricting in 1982 and again after the 1990 Census. Read more »