And this is important because?
The Lakewood City Council held its retreat Feb.21 at City Hall on the third floor – which is three floors above street level where the rest of the 58,211 people in the city live – but at least that venue is a considerable savings to the taxpayer given the event used to be held at the posh Alderbrook Resort and Spa on Hood Canal.
Savings, however, was not on the agenda. Spending was.
A tie for number two priority listed among the “projects and programs of regional significance” – under the category of “Street and Sidewalk Improvements” – was a two-phase project to construct a “non-motorized trail” to walk/jog your dog (cat, baby, self) around Gravelly Lake.
Pending – of course – “anticipated revenue,” and maybe a vote (of the people this time as opposed to a vote of the council).
In an article headlined “Lakewood sticks drivers with $20 car tab fee” – a verdict (imposition) rendered (handed down) by the council last September without the promised vote of their constituents – some councilmembers explained their (difficult) decision.
Mary Moss – the only councilmember to oppose the fee (6-1) – said she had “spoken with people who are struggling financially and can’t afford the additional $20.”
Jason Whalen, on the other hand, referenced the road maintenance plan as a cooperative effort between Lakewood taxpayers and the city, “a plan that requires a bit of shared pain.”
Mayor Don Anderson called the decision “a last resort.”
And in a King 5 news story the Mayor said that spending the car tab fees on road preservation and repair projects was a problem that needed to be “fixed.”
Now we learn that an $8,800,000 “trail” or circumnavigation (which is a roundabout way of saying the council may have found a way around the voters) of lake-dwellers who live among some of Lakewood’s high-end neighborhoods, is part of the “shared pain,” included in the “last resort,” and a most dire situation that needs to be “fixed.”
“Beginning in 2015, revenue will be generated by a $20 Vehicle Licensing Fee to fund street and sidewalk projects,” (p.004 of the retreat agenda).
These people that will be pounding the pavement on the proposed path paralleling Gravelly Lake Drive (GLD) – are they terrorized by traffic?
So-so, per the chart (p.5).
Will there be a ton treading the track thanks to this $9-mill trail?
Even the city statisticians admit that a total of 430 people served per 1,000 feet of the project (one-half mile), is pretty low.
Accidents? People driven over, bicyclists run down, because the current path (four feet wide) isn’t five feet wide?
Evidently. Now and then. Occasionally. Been known to happen.
On a scale of 1-10: about five. Right around there. In that neighborhood.
Access to amenities? People who will want to walk around Gravelly Lake in order to get somewhere important?
High marks here. That is if you count “schools, parks, commercial centers, library/civic, transit center, cultural” (garage sales, widow shopping outings, hurrying – speed-walking, jogging, running – to pay your bill before your power gets shut off because you had to choose between being able to cook and driving your car what with the new car tab fees, etc.).
How many thought this GLD-thing a good idea?
Those who took the survey.
The one in 2013 in which 50-percent of all 426 of you (in a city of nearly 60,000) said you were just fine with the current curb, sidewalk and (horror) gravel shoulders (p.24).
The one in which the answer as to whether you would be willing – in order to improve streets or sidewalks (which half of you concerning the latter said were A-OK) – to pay license tab fees, to have your property tax increased, or to shell out more in sales tax was: no, no and no (over 70-percent no).
But now that you’ve said no, you should know that the council at their retreat began planning (strategizing, conniving) how to convince you to do in a bond or “lid lift” (levy, not toilet) what you’ve already said no to.
The challenge will be to “focus on ‘yes’ voters rather than trying to convert a ‘no’ voter;” being careful not to connect funding for both parks and streets in the anticipated ballot as “two unrelated matters” can be perceived as “logrolling (pairing unpopular measures with popular ones);” and how to carefully craft (as in crafty) the two so as to avoid a legal challenge – or hope that no-one does.
While the City of Kirkland is cited as an example of having run a “side-by-side in a single campaign,” Lakewood’s researchers observed that the “measures (were) not found illegal (which) may have more to do with having not been challenged than having been legally supported,” (p.30).
“What if lawmakers were more like the people they serve?” asked David Price in an article by that title in Crosscut.com this past February 27.
Here’s another: Would you walk the trail – much less be willing to pay for – a path around Gravelly Lake Drive?
That question is worth $9 million.