Word on the Street

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Category: Parkland


County Council adopts stricter strip club regulations

Despite the threat of a lawsuit, the Pierce County Council unanimously approved tougher regulations today making strip club managers criminally responsible if dancers break rules by performing lap dances, handling tips or soliciting prostitution.

Managers will be subject to both criminal and civil penalties whether or not they knew dancers were violating the rules. The changes, which will take effect Feb. 1, also require a strip club’s interior to be clearly lighted.

The council beefed up the regulations despite objections from the spokesman for the one club they affect. The only strip club in unincorporated Pierce County is DreamGirls at Fox’s in Parkland.

An undercover investigation in September found that dancers at Fox’s committed several violations including taking tips, performing lap dances, touching customers and in one instance soliciting prostitution, according to Sheriff’s Department reports.

Tim Killian, spokesman for Deja Vu, which owns DreamGirls, said similar provisions have been found unconstitutional in two Puget Sound-area cities, including Lakewood in 1999, by three courts. Those measures held managers, who are club employees, responsible for the actions of dancers, who are independent contractors, Killian said.

“Enacting this ordinance will simply cause the county to spend more money and resources litigating laws that have already lost three times,” Killian told the council.

Council member Roger Bush, R-Frederickson, said there shouldn’t be any need for legal action if a business is being run properly.

Before the meeting, Council Chairwoman Joyce McDonald, R-Puyallup, said she was not concerned “at this time” about potential litigation on the regulations. She said deputy prosecutor Cort O’Connor felt confident legally in submitting the stricter standards for the council’s approval.

O’Connor has said it’s been too easy for managers to turn a blind eye to dancers breaking the law.

After the 7-0 vote, Killian said Deja Vu will evaluate it options, including suing the county.

“It’s a reckless act on their part,” Killian said.

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New Parkland-Spanaway sheriff’s precinct approved

The Pierce County Council has approved spending $2 million to open a Sheriff’s Department precinct in the Parkland-Spanaway area aimed at reducing crime.

The council voted Tuesday night to pay for land, two buildings and renovations where about 35 deputies will be based.

The facility near Pacific Avenue South and 141st Street Court South is at the epicenter of the highest crime area in unincorporated Pierce County, said Sheriff’s Department Chief Rob Masko.

“We will have a much faster response to our citizens who are living and working in the Parkland-Spanaway area,” Masko said. “We want to be more effective in fighting crime in that particular area.”

Burglaries, auto thefts and assaults are the most common crimes in the area, he said. The precinct is projected to open by the end of 2013, serving a population of about 80,000.

It will draw some deputies from the department’s only other precinct located on South Hill. A small detachment at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway also will move to the new precinct, Masko said.

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County Council approves tax exemption for Parkland project

The Pierce County Council today unanimously approved a 12-year property tax exemption for a residential development that will change the face of Parkland.

Construction on a $20 million project to build 104 apartments, plus office and retail space, a block away from Pacific Lutheran University is expected to start in January and finish 12 months later, said developer John Korsmo.

The four-story project, called Garfield North, has been controversial not only because of the tax break that will help drive it. The development also is displacing seven small businesses. Owners of one business are critical of how they’ve been treated by developers.

Council member Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, said the Garfield North will be the best thing that’s happened to Parkland in a decade, bringing jobs and “a higher quality of life.”

Councilman Stan Flemming, R-University Place, said the project will further revitalize the Garfield area.

State lawmakers this year approved a 12-year property tax exemption on the values of new residential housing on Garfield Street. It’s a tool cities have had for years.

“In order for the project to make sense financially, the tax abatement was a necessity,” said Korsmo, president of Tacoma-based Korsmo Construction.

Garfield North aims to attract PLU professors, staff members and other professionals to live near campus instead of in downtown Tacoma or Seattle.

The tax exemption starting in 2015 applies only to the residential portion of the 127,000 square-foot project.

The exemption would create an estimated annual tax burden of at least $239,000, resulting in higher taxes, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

But developers don’t expect an overall loss in property tax revenue from current levels because the land and retail space would be taxed.

In addition, $15 million in construction costs are expected to generate $1.4 million in sales tax.

The council voted 7-0 today in favor of the tax exemption. In August, it had designated the Garfield neighborhood as a larger target area for the multi-family property tax exemption. The tax break is contingent on 20 percent of the units being rented as affordable housing.

The development is a partnership of PLU, Korsmo Construction and Affinity Investments of Tacoma.

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PLU strengthens ties to Nobel Peace Prize

As international observers prepare for the awarding of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize this Friday in Norway, Pacific Lutheran University is getting into the spirit this week by announcing it has become a full sponsor of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, an annual event that aims to excite and develop a new generation of peace makers.

PLU joins five other private Lutheran universities in the U.S. that founded the forum 24 years ago. All six schools tap into their Norwegian-American heritage to embrace the annual Peace Prize and carry its mission forward.

The Parkland-based university will send students

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Franklin Pierce schools tightens policy on football game carry-in’s

The Parkland-based Franklin PIerce School District said it will place greater limitations on snacks, beverages and bags of all sorts that are brought to home football games.

District officials say the goal is to create a safer environment at the games. The new policy goes into effect Friday at the home game between Washington High School and Fife High School.

Franklin Pierce Schools has, for many years, hired two off-duty deputies of the Pierce County Sheriff’s
Department to promote safety and enforce school district policies. District officials said that since the football season has begun, several incidents have occurred

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James Sales Elementary in Franklin Pierce district honored by Ellen DeGeneres

James Sales Elementary School in the Franklin Pierce School District is being recognized today by TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as an “amazing school.”

The recognition reportedly comes with a $100,000 grant from the show and Target Corp.

The show airs today at 4 p.m. on KING-TV (Channel 5). Here’s what DeGeneres has posted on her website:


Rainier View Church to dedicate new facility in Graham

Rainier View Christian Church will celebrate the opening of its 20,500-square-foot building in Graham with a dedication and open house Saturday.

The ribbon-cutting and dedication will be at 1 p.m., followed by the open house from 2-4 p.m. at 7420 224th St. E. in Graham.

Rainier View, one congregation with two campuses, also has a campus in Parkland. Since 2003, services in the Graham area have been held in school buildings.

In 2008, members from both campuses pledged nearly $4 million over three years to build the 500-seat Graham facility. For more information, call 253-531-0757.


Celebrate re-dedication of WWII plaque Saturday

Thieves stole this plaque honoring WWII solders in 2007. Pierce Transit will rededicate it Saturday. Photo courtesy of Pierce Transit

A petty act of thievery couldn’t tarnish the memories of 15 Parkland soldiers who died in World War II.

In 2007, thieves ripped a bronze plaque from the agency’s Parkland Transit Center that was first installed six decades prior. It’s inscribed with the names of the 15 soldiers.

The 2-foot-tall, 18-inch-wide plaque eventually found its way back to the agency, but it was in bad shape, according to Pierce Transit spokesman Lind Simonsen. It already needed some touch-ups, as pranksters inscribed their initials and had painted over it since it was first installed. Then, the thieves
had bent it during the un-installation.

Not only had they stolen community property, but they had disregarded the memories of those fallen soldiers.
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