Every day we hear complaints about government; local government, state government or Federal government. It may surprise you, but I have even been known to complain about government myself including writing an occasional article criticizing government actions.
Does government ever do anything right? Does government ever do anything to benefit a community’s citizens?
The answer is yes.
Some time ago, the City of Lakewood set up a citizen – city complaint communication system called MyLakewood311. A citizen can file a complaint about many problems in the city and can do so 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (366 days during leap year). If you have something to complain about, it does not get any better than that.
Once the complaint is filed, MyLakewood311 tracks the problem-solving process to completion. The problem does not drop through the cracks. All complaints are monitored to be sure the problem is resolved.
I have submitted numerous complaints ranging from abandoned vehicles, illegal signs, damaged traffic signs (including missing stop signs), potholes, and overgrown vegetation knocking pedestrians off the sidewalk.
Today, for example, I noticed some irresponsible social misfit(s) had abandoned three items in the public right-of-way on the southwest corner of 76th St W and Orchard St W in the City of Lakewood.
Problem #1: Abandoned camp trailer with 1976 license tabs.
Problem #2: Abandoned shopping cart full of trash.
Problem #3: Abandoned or illegally parked horse trailer with 2015 license tabs.
The City of Lakewood has invested years of work in their attempt to motivate the owner of this corner property to bring the property into compliance with city code regulations. Ultimately the property was declared a derelict property and was abated.
The corner has been cleaned up for only a short while and now an unknown knucklehead tries to bring back the previous slum condition by trashing our city.
Just this evening I sent the city a MyLakewood311 a complaint using the app on my iPhone. I can see on my iPhone that my complaint is already marked “Submitted”. When city staff comes in tomorrow, they will process the complaint and start any required actions. They will report the progress on my iPhone app including informing me when the complaint is resolved.
The photo above shows the condition of the city right-of-way before my complaint was filed.
In most cases, it is illegal to store, abandon or dump property in the city right-of-way. When I worked in Lakewood, I was known as the Impound King. I removed or chased out of the city something close to 5,000 illegally stored, abandoned, dangerous or illegally parked vehicles. Many of the vehicles I tagged ended up in Parkland because unincorporated Pierce County showed no interest in the abandoned vehicle issue.
The city can ask a police officer, a Community Service Officer or a code officer to investigate the complaint. If the issue is confirmed, the officer can tag the vehicles warning anyone interested in the property that the vehicles are subject to impound at the owner’s expense.
Additionally, a Notice of Infraction (traffic ticket) can be issued for expired vehicle license tabs.
Hopefully, the matter is resolved before others think this is a good place to dump their unwanted property.
I will keep you informed as to the progress MyLakewood311 makes on this matter. If this complaint system works and I am confident it will, we can say something nice about our City of Lakewood government.