Category: realtor


OK, OK, OK already. I get it! You want me to start up the blog again! Whew!
I suppose it’s a good thing that so many folks have been “beating me up” to resurrect the “University Place: What’s UP?” blog.  So, I should say a sincere “Thank You” for the compliment.
However, to restart the process I have to clear the air just a bit and here’s the best way for me to do that.  Set Policy.
As frequent readers will know, I don’t author this blog to piss and moan. I don’t put the time into it to gripe and rant about what’s wrong with… most anything. There are enough folks around us every day who do that FAR better than I ever could. Don’t mess with the masters.
But more importantly, there is so very much around us that is positive, is good, is healthy, fun … that we LIKE! …that we LOVE!  I began writing this blog for a simple reason. TO BUILD COMMUNITY!  Not to tear it down.
I spent my morning, today,  in a class with experts talking about social media and they acknowledged that there will always be those who seek out good things in order to play their small-minded “Troll” games and “Pee on the flower bed” as my Father used to say. And you know what? The flowers don’t like it.
Well, I view you as the flowers, the things that are bright and good about our community and if I can perpetuate a tool which contributes to that just a wee bit, I think it’s worth doing.
I’m not going to dwell on the nay sayers who caused me to back off production of this blog with their constant gripes about our community, our city, it’s leadership and about the economic state of our society at large. No, I didn’t post their messages and I won’t. That’s not why I created this little creature and, according to YOU, that’s not what you want to read. They were not griping about me or what I was saying here but still, I won’t be the platform for “pissin’ and moanin'”. I don’t need it. You don’t want it. Door closed!
OK. I needed to get that out. Thank you for sitting through it. I hope you understand that you sure can write me about ANYthing but what WE seem to want is information about what’s coming up in our community.  A fair and equal treatment of local issues.  A positive look at our world here in University Place and, from what I do every day, a peek at our own slice of the real estate marketplace and how it’s effecting the value of our homes and investments, here.  So, shall we get back to the business at hand?
UNIVERSITY PLACE: What’s UP? (Now that we got all of that out of the way, I’ll give you a mini version and we’ll really catch up in the next edition.)

REMEMBER WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE THIS?

Doesn’t the new Library look inviting , these days?  Have you paused on Bridgeport to take a look at it, lately? Wow!  That place is really going to be something and Yes, I understand they ARE on track to have it finished shortly after the first of the year.  I really am looking forward to walking through. I’m absolutely looking forward to taking my grandsons!  I loved the old Swasey Branch Library on 6th Avenue when I was a kid and I loved the Pierce County Bookmobile in the summertime.   Remember?  They brought us The Hardy Boys,  Long John Silver, the magic of Shakespeare, scientific discoveries, our national parks, the adventures of Lewis and Clark.  All right, I AM dating myself but they did bring my sisters Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie mysteries.  They trained us to use our imagination. They helped us develop a thirst for more and more and more!  Yeah. The library.  If we don’t think it’s a gem of our community we really missed the boat somewhere.  Get ready to reaquaint yourself with all that magic but much bigger and better than University Place ever knew of the very fine facility we had.  My understanding of the plans for the new library is…well, just wait.  We ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!   There are, however, some unmet needs inside and the Library folks are conducting fund raising to meet them. I’ll tell you more about that next time but understand you can participate in small or large ways, you, your kids, your neighbors, all of us!   It’s a chance to invest in something which will pay us back and right away. To say nothing of what it will do for our youngsters…and theirs!

October 12th, this next Tuesday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 the Pierce County Department of Health is bringing a free and informative workshop to us at U.P. City Hall.  What’s it about? NATURAL YARD CARE.  (Hey, NOW’S the time of year!) Specifically, Tuesday the experts will present you with answers on Garden Design:  Backyard Composting & Growing Healthy Soil.  Sign up RIGHT NOW as space is filling up. grinehart@tpchad.org  will register you and/or get you more info but DON’T put it off.  They’ve got more sessions planned for upcoming weeks and I’ll get in to those specifics, next time.

FALL CLEAN UP…FALL CLEAN UP…FALL CLEAN UP  How many times have I heard

My wife insisted, "But there's MORE!"

my neighbors bemoaning the fact that they missed it?  Well, don’t.  Here it comes.  Saturday, October 16th. If you live NORTH OF 40TH Street it’s your day.  Load up your truck (I didn’t say OVERload) with your “stuff” and head to UP Refuse & Recycling at 2815 Rochester Street West between 9am and 4pm.  (Pssst some of us go early to avoid too much of a waiting line.)  Call them at 564-3212  (8:30am to 4:30pm) to get all the details.  Hey!  What if I live SOUTH OF 40TH Street?  No problem.  The following Saturday is YOUR day, October 23rd.

REAL ESTATE DEAL OF THE DAY: In an effort to help you keep tabs on this continually changing real estate market in University Place here’s another Actively For Sale U.P. home.  

It's a perfect U.P. condo

When you hear the admonition that “It’s a great time to BUY!”  Well, it certainly is.  The deals are unbelievable.  The equity you have when you walk in the door is crazy.  History concretely tells us that the healthy market will return and some are saying we’re already on the upswing. I won’t argue that the market has picked up as of late but the admonition doesn’t change.  The prices are way down and they need ‘em sold. So,  it IS a great time to buy! .  Interest rates are hovering at or below 4.25% … like the lowest EVER!  So, what’s for sale out there that you haven’t seen?  Well, here’s one…behind locked gates.  The neighborhood is called Williamswood, built 10 years ago by William Barrett. (Hence, Williamswood.) and the beautiful little community,  just west of University Place Elementary School and on the north side of 27th is just clean as a whistle with freshly paved streets with a nice

It’s light and bright and the price is right!

clubhouse. The exteriors and yards are all maintained by the community and this two bedroom, two bath, one-level home without stairs, is on the market for only $209,000!  No, I’m NOT kidding. What’s wrong with it?  I see nothing wrong.  The seller kept this 1,322 square foot home in superb shape.  The master suite is HUGE. I swear you could play basketball in there…OK, now I’m exaggerating.  The fact is, this is a very nice, open concept rambler condo in a pristine little gated community in the heart of University Place and the price is RIGHT!  Want to take a look?  Give me a shout!  I would be happy to show it to you…today!

 
First of the week, we’ll get back to our regular delivery of timely University Place information and we’ll certainly keep our eyes on the real estate market for you. You tell me you like that.  I really do want to thank so many of your for your positive feedback and your calls to “Bring back the Blog!”  Those were nice to hear.  There’s a lot coming up in our little piece of the world over the next few months and we’ve got some important elections just around the corner. Hey!  Are you as tired as my wife and I are of political ads?!?  OMG “…and I endorsed this message”.  Give me a break!  If the candidates did everything as wrong as their opponents said they did, I think they’d be behind bars! But you know what those ads ARE doing that I like?  Every time one comes on in the middle of one of the few decent shows on TV right now, my wife and I turn to each other and actually speak!   Imagine that.  To heck with NCIS or Dancing with the Wanna Be’s or whatever.  We’re so sick of the political commercials, we actually talk to each other… after 37 years of marriage.  Wow!  So, I’ll take this opportunity to thank Dino and Patty and Dave and Susan and whoever else is out there “…endorsing this message.”  You’ve done my wife and I a real service.  Thanks. Oh, we’re not voting for you but thanks anyway.

Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, be well…

PAT MADDOCK                                                                                                                                           Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS                                                                                              3560 Bridgeport Way West,                                                                                                                             University Place, WA 98466                                                                                                                             (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

So, just who IS this guy?

Pat’s been a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place and he was the 2007 President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS as well as a 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission.   Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953.

____________________________________________________

Well, there’s lots happening around town but let’s get it from the Mayor’s Mouth.  Here’s the latest “Mayor’s Update” from Mayor Debbie Klowsoski.

 

Council Selection Process—
This week was quite exciting as the City Council finished an extensive interview and selection process for filling the open City Council seat which was left vacant due to the death of Councilmember Jean Brooks last December.

The City Council began the process in January by narrowing a field of 14 candidates down to six after an initial public interview process. Although one candidate pulled out due to increased business commitments, the remaining five participated in a League of Women Voters’ forum featuring questions submitted by the public. The City Council also received considerable public input prior to the final interviews this week.

After the final interview process, the City Council selected Caroline Belleci to fill the remaining term for Council Position 7. Ms. Belleci , who was sworn in Monday night, has served on the City’s Planning Commission since its inception along with being actively involved in numerous city issues. Her extensive involvement and knowledge will bring a valuable perspective regarding future issues before the City Council.

Finally, many thanks to the other candidates who participated in this process.
We were extremely fortunate to have the caliber of candidates that came forward to offer their services to the City. It is our hope that these candidates (Frank Boykin, Ken Campbell, Ross Hjelseth and Mark Kahley ) will participate in our community in the coming year because they certainly have much to offer. Also, thanks to the many citizens who took the time and effort to send their thoughts to us regarding the council candidates.

Road Maintenance—
Adequate funding for future road maintenance is among the agenda items slated for the Feb. 22 study session.

Right now, the City receives approximately $700,000 in state gas tax funding which is less than half the cost of maintaining streets in their current condition. (Even if gas prices go up, the city does not receive additional funds since our revenues are based on the number of gallons sold versus the price).

Our current gas tax revenues pay for street sweeping (which also keeps our storm drains clear), critical pothole and crack repairs, traffic signals and road striping. There are NO funds, however, to pay for regular asphalt overlays, chip seals and other measures which extend the life of the city’s roads and avoid the cost of major street repairs and replacements in the future.

While our major road projects were made possible due to state and federal grants, outside funding for basic maintenance projects on local streets is often nonexistent. The lack of outside funds, increased costs for material and labor, declining revenues and budget cuts have made it necessary for us to examine other options.

Although our roads may appear to be in good condition, the reality is that we have been unable to provide the level of recommended maintenance for a number of years. Instead, we have been relying on “band aid” approaches…but you can only do that for so long.

Last December, the former City Council formed a Transportation Benefit District as allowed by state law which is the first step in providing local governments options for funding road improvements. Although the council created the district, discussions on funding options were postponed for later consideration by the 2010 City Council.

The City Council will discuss this item in study session on Monday, Feb. 22.
If the council wishes to explore the idea further, it will set the item for a public hearing in the near future so that the public can comment on this proposal.

(Just a note of clarification–Study sessions are an opportunity for council and staff to have initial discussions on the merits of a proposal along with answering any initial questions or concerns that council might have. Although the public is welcome to attend the study session, public comment is not allowed at that time. Instead, public comment is encouraged at future regular council meetings where items are set for consideration and action).

Pancake Breakfast –
Enjoy a great breakfast and support the UP Youth & Senior Recreation programs at the UP Parks & Recreation Pancake Breakfast and Silent Auction on Saturday, April 3, at 8 am at Curtis High School. Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a table of eight.
For more information, contact 460-2530.

Conservation Futures Appointment
Citizens interested in representing the City on the Conservation Futures Advisory Committee are encouraged to fill out applications. Conservation Futures is a land preservation program to protect threatened areas of open space, habitat and other areas and is funded by a portion of the county property tax.
Applications are due March 8. For more information, contact the City Clerk at 566-5656.

As always, I welcome your questions and comments. Please feel free to contact me at dklosowski@cityofup.com or 460-2501.

Sincerely,
Debbie Klosowski
Mayor of University Place

I just think it’s important to nod in the direction of our elected leadership from time to time, by way of finding out what’s hot and important in their eyes.  I applaud Mayor Klosowski’s initiative toward timely communication and I’ll do what I can to amplify it.

And as for YOU…have a great weekend! 

PAT MADDOCK     

Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS      3560 Bridgeport Way     University Place, WA  98466      patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and the 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

You can find him at the Bridgeport office of Coldwell Banker Bain.  If you want to know something about University Place real estate, talk with someone who certainly does!

Not really caring what the “professional” sports commentators decide to say about it, THAT was one helluva Superbowl!

So, with so much going on around University Place what shall we discuss today?

Nothing.
Nothing expect the election.
And I’m really not going to discuss it.
I’m going to “get a little pushy” instead. If you want rationale for why you should vote for the School Levy, read the newspaper or read the preceding installment of the this blog.

My message to you today is really this simple. VOTE!

VOTE right now! Tuesday the 9th is election day and if you are reading this on the 10th and you didn’t vote. Look for a hard object like a bat or maybe a  rolling pin or perhaps a shovel. Grasp the handle firmly and hit yourself in the head!  Yes. I’m serious. OK you can use your hand if you can’t find anything else.

We cannot afford to “forget” to fund our schools. It’s really THAT important.

So, I don’t want to dilute the message. VOTE, VOTE now and of course…

VOTE “Yes” for Schools !!!

My very sincere thanks to you!

PAT MADDOCK     

Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS      3560 Bridgeport Way     University Place, WA  98466      patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and the 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

You can find him at the Bridgeport office of Coldwell Banker Bain.  If you want to know something about University Place real estate, talk with someone who certainly does!

 So, it was the driest January on record here?  It just felt kinda-yucky There is something VERY important I need to you do.  Frankly the people who need you to do this are a lot shorter than I am, come to think of it.    We need you to go dig up your ballot…now!  You, know, the one you received in the mail the other day.  Inside it’s labelled “Special Election Ballot – February 9, 2010, etc…”  Now, if you wait until February 9th, you’ll probably forget, as I would.  And instead of me just saying “Mark Yes” and mail it back in, I should set the record straight on an item of concern or two. 

NO, NO, NO this is not in any way tied to the Town Center!  Sheesh!  I couldn’t believe it Friday when I was talking with our School District(UPSD)  Superintendent, Patti Banks, and she noted that there are people out there who are actually under the impression that the two are somehow connected. NO, NO, NO!   Please pass that word on, would you? 

And while you’re at it, NO, NO, NO this is not a levy for capital improvements!  That means, this is not a tax so they can build new buildings. No! This is, as your ballot explains, a REPLACEMENT levy.  In other words, a few years back we voted to fund the operations, maintainance, staffing, materials, books, etc…the “stuff” needed to educate our youngsters. Well that runs out at the end of this year and this levy will REPLACE those funds.  It will NOT build new buildings. Those monies come from a totally different place.  This vote is essentially saying Yes, we want school to continue in University Place.

Let’s take a quick peak at where funds do come from that keep the doors open through our schools.  State funds provide 68.28% of the revenue used by the UPSD and 21% of their revenue comes from local levies such as this one. That’s about 1 out of every 5 dollars used to operate our schools that is dependent upon this election.  Whew!  I would not want to see what would happen if we took 1 our of every 5 dollars away from the operations of our school district!  And I don’t even have kids in school!

  Which brings up another important point. I was in a conversation with a gent the other day who was bitchin about the fact that this was bound to pass and he was gonna have to keep paying for the UP Schools when his kids had all graduated from Curtis and now have families of their own.  I wanted to slap him but I’ve taken a personal vow to be nicer and I have no desire to inspect the inside of a Pierce County Sheriff’s facility.  If that thought every crosses your mind (No, not the slapping)  please think of two things.  When you were putting your kids through school, here or wherever, you were not alone in funding that.  Parents whose children were long gone were helping you fund your childrens’ education. Single folks who never had kids were helping to fund it.  Even my parents and so many like them who helped pay the cost of students in University Place while they also paid tuition to St. Charles where all six of us Maddock kids attended, then Bellarmine and so on.  But Dad didn’t gripe about having to pay twice because it was his choice to send us to Catholic school and  (Here’s that second reason I promised you) he knew that by maintaining a strong school district there was a direct impact on the rate of appreciation of his biggest monetary investment, our home. 

In my business I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had clients come to me and list the U.P. Schools as THEE number one reason why they wanted to live here.  Of course you realize that the same home in U.P. and in Fircrest will bring two different prices, don’t you?  It’s primarily because of the schools!  The day I stop supporting U.P. Schools is the day I no longer care about the resale value of my home!  

By the way, in 2010 we have a voter approved rate of taxation in support of the schools (bond, M&O and tech levies) of $6.85 per $1,000 of assessed valuation of our homes.  With the passage of this levy this week (don’t put it off) in 2011, the voter approved estimated total will be $6.62 per $1,000.  Ah, yes, that WOULD be less. Now wouldn’t it?  Do you think I’m going to fill out my ballot with a YES and send it in BEFORE the February 9th deadline?  Yes?  NO!  … I already did it!

Please get to your friends and neighbors and politely remind them to get their YES vote in early and if you think it’s going to be a NO vote, then let’s hijack their ballot.  Yes, I’m kidding.  But you certainly know how to correct any misconception they might have about the election.  If not, give me a shout. I’ll be all too happy to chat with them.  It really is that important.  Thanks!

The City of University Place Economic Development Office is about to start their Business Workshop Series again.  February 24th will be the first lunchtime session and they are worth their weight in ownership/managerial gold!  They really are.  I’ll tell you more as the date nears but grab a pencil and your calendar and write “U.P. Food for Thought” on Feb 24th.  They will happen about every other month this year and all you pay for is your lunch.  Last year’s sessions were worth TONS more than that!  Seriously, mark your calendar and check back here and I’ll tell you the details of the first one. So, you can make it a point not to miss it.  Outside experts talking specifically about issues we face with our businesses every day.  This is powerful stuff.

Are you a business owner or manager in University Place?  If so, you really ought to look into the University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.  It is a very active and successful arm of the main chamber and it’s one that certainly makes a difference for you and your business here in U.P.   One small thing you might want to just show up for and yes, that’s totally welcomed…you don’t need to be a member to come join in…it’s called Wake U.P. and it happens the last Friday morning of each month. The February event is set for 7:30 a.m., Friday, February 26th and it always takes place at the U.P. Presbyterian Church (C’mon around back) at 8101 27th St West.  It runs until 9:00 a.m. and it’s packed full of information which benefits most all of us as business owners/managers here.  It’s different every month and it’s valuable every month.  Plus, that first half hour as most of us are drinking coffee and just trying to think lucidly, it’s a good time do a little networking with other business owners from the area.  Give it a try. I believe you’ll be surprised and if you want to, just tell anyone who asks that I invited you! 

So, what is going on in the real estate realm now? We see all the for sale signs around University Place but what’s happening elsewhere. Yes. We heard the news that Pierce County essentially crashed in December, something over a 16% loss from the prior month. Does that mean the value of my home fell 16%? No. Certainly not. What it means is that we closed more than 16% fewer sales than in the prior month. But isn’t December traditionally a slow month? Yes. It is but that doesn’t cover the 16%. A player in that number was that so many first time buyers sprinted to meet the deadline to qualify for the $8,000 federal tax credit for buying their first home or the first they’ve owned in more than three years. There was a deadline to hit which did get extended until this June but many were sprinting and they closed in October and November and the rush was done by the time December rolled around.

New-home buyers responded to the tough times in 2009 by opting for smaller houses, driving down the average size of a house built in the United States for the first time in 27 years. Data recently released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found the average size of a new home that was completed in 2009 fell to 2,480 square feet from 2,520 square feet in 2008. That doesn’t seem like a big adjustment but many of us feel the trend will continue.  I really think we’ll settle somewhere around 2,000 square feet.

RealtyTrac, one of the leading online marketplaces for foreclosure properties, released its Year-End 2009 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report, which shows that cities in four sun belt states accounted for all top 20 foreclosure rates in 2009 among metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more, but foreclosure activity showed signs of spreading into previously insulated areas as unemployment became more of a driving factor.

California accounted for nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, followed by Florida with eight, Nevada with two and Arizona with one. The highest-ranked metro area outside of those four states was in Boise City-Nampa, Idaho, which ranked No. 24 with 4.66% of its housing units receiving at least one foreclosure notice in 2009.

Many of us in the industry feel that we’re entering a new wave of foreclosures, driven more by unemployment and economic hardship than what we’ve seen over the past few Areas like Provo, Utah, Fayetteville, Ark., Portland, Ore., and Rockford, Ill., all posted foreclosure rates above the U.S. average in 2009. And markets like Honolulu, Minneapolis and Seattle saw foreclosure activity increase at more than twice the national pace over the past 12 months—although all three of those markets still had 2009 foreclosure rates that were at or below the U.S. average.

Las Vegas posted the nation’s highest metro foreclosure rate for the year, with more than 12% of its housing units receiving a foreclosure notice in 2009—more than five times the national average. Las Vegas reported a quarter-over-quarter decline in foreclosure activity in the fourth quarter—as did all the other metro areas with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 for 2009.

Las Vegas never ceases to amaze me and for so many reasons. Did you know that there are more Catholic churches in the greater Las Vegas area than there are casinos?  (If you think about it, one sort of leads to the other.)  What I didn’t know was that the churches in Las Vegas accept casino gambling chips in the Sunday collection plate? No kidding. The churches have organized and figured out that if, each week,  they gather their chips together, hand them over to a local monastery of Franciscans, they get them exchanged for cash. The Franciscans, of course are the …. chip monks. (Didn’t even see it coming, did ya?)

Next week we’ll look at a couple more recent, local home sales.  Have a great week!

PAT MADDOCK     

Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS      3560 Bridgeport Way     University Place, WA  98466      patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and the 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

You can find him at the Bridgeport office of Coldwell Banker Bain.  If you want to know something about University Place real estate, talk with someone who certainly does!

Boy! It’s been awhile and I’m glad to “be back”. I hope you are having a great new year in this 2010 and why not? I mean, yes, there’s rampant unemployment and bills need to be paid and businesses are not reaching their goals and schools need to be funded and the state has no idea where they will actually find sufficient sources of what they perceive to be necessary funding and our own city council is in crumbling disarray and… Whew! I’m starting to bring MYSELF down. Sorry. I’ll get off that. But why?

For a very good reason. Positive begats positive. Negative begats negative. That is to say that life proves to us over and over again that the more positive our attitude and actions are the more positive our experiences and outcomes will be. It’s just an undeniable fact of life.

In recovering from my open heart surgery, (exactly four years ago this week), I was one bitter son-of a gun and I let that linger for much too long of a  time. How did I expect to have positive things and positive people around me if I didn’t seem to have a positive bone in my body? The more positive I try to be, the more focused I am on BUILDING for the future, not tearing down but BUILDING….that’s a purely positive action…the more of that I exhibit, honestly, the more positive things flow my way and you know what, I love it!  And surprise – I get twice as much accomplished!

I could dwell on that topic for a month of Sundays but that’s not what you “tune in” here for, now is it?  So, what’s UP in U.P?

Hey. I got a postcard from a friend of mine who’s in the south sea islands on his well-deserved annual vacation!  He was around here about a month ago.  Thought you might agree…he deserves this.

Speaking of hard work, we’ve got a staff over there at the city that’s scrambling like a dozen eggs, doing more with less. That’s for sure. After the end of year staff cuts, staff members still have a bit of a hard time explaining all the hats they are wearing simultaneously. The harsh part of that were those who were let go. It’s the economic times we are in. I understand that. The only thing to do now, is to support the people who are here to support us. Those who are juggling jobs like a circus entertainer need to be given the rights that go along with the responsibilities. We’ve given them a lot to do. Now, we need to let them do it or they are absolutely bound to fail, with micromanagement, interference, etc. I hate to sound boring but treat them Positively and the quality of people we have in this city will care well for us and our neighborhoods.

Set them up to succeed.  Don’t harass them toward failure!

Mommy/Daddy and Me starts their Kids Love Soccer program Monday 1/25 for the 2-3.5 year olds.  Want to know more?  Hit the city website at www.ci.university-place.wa.us   While you are there, watch for info on the other YOUTH SOCCER programs for the various age groups.

Did you read the “big news” in the Tribune about the development at the Chambers Bay golf course?  Well, before you conclude that they are about to break ground on a hotel and everything else, understand that there’s no money on the table, yet and without it, it’s talk.  The developer happens to be an old friend of mine and actually a damned fine person (who I used to fight with constantly as kids…but that’s a different story….he really is a good guy).  But we do need to understand that if development of the nature being proposed does not have all the major glitches worked out and if it isn’t funded and ready to break ground aggressively within  about the next year or so, it’s not going to happen.  A committment has been made by our county to the USGA that Chambers Bay WILL be ready to host the U.S. Open in 2015 and if a development of this nature is not completed, well, let’s just say that a construction site is NOT where the USGA will host their tournament.  They always have an alternate site ready.  So, it’s either time to put up, strike the full agreement and break ground or go find another project.  All I’m saying is they’ve got to get a move on.  That’s the developer’s responsibility.  Commercial development monies are tight (Oh, THAT’S the understatement of this year!) as evidenced by the pace at Town Center but investment monies ARE there.  If the project is right and there is sales job extraordinaire being conducted…the $$$ will flow.

Since former Pierce County Exec, John Ladenberg first made it known that he wanted to see the course sited there, I always thought view residences could fund a lot of good things on site.  That is to say, the sale of impeccable view lots for multi-million dollar homes which would not be in the way of anything planned or in place today, could produce revenue to fund the building of a number of the other amenities you want in a destination resort such as Chambers Bay COULD become.  The developer  with a memo on the table, Jim Burkhouse, is a smart and successful guy.  If there’s a way to do it in this economy, he’ll figure it out.  The county would love to see it but it CANNOT get in the way of preparations for or the hosting of the US Open just five short years from now.  So, I suspect it’s an Elvis deal.  “It’s now or never”.

What else is up in UP?  I hate to sound like a broken record but if you’ve got somebody at your house interested in ballet, Polynesian dance, guitar or so many other instructional options, check out the city website.  Some are underway but many have more sessions starting shortly.  www.ci.university-place.wa.us

And for the not-so-young youngsters around here, the AARP Driver Safety course is set for Wednesday and Thursday 1/27 & 28 at the Senior Community Center on Grandview. Call 564-1992 to complete the required pre-registration.

Hey, by the way, let’s thank those folks, offices and companies who stood up to foot the bill to sponsor our Youth Basketball Coed League.  When you see the folks associated with these sponsors, please take the time to express your THANKS.  Sponsors make it possible for our kids to have this experience!  AHBL, Mercedes Nepute LMP, the Law Office of Clayton R. Dickson, Way Out Records, the UP Volunteer Center, Tacoma Bike LLC, Westside Community Bank, Owens Press Inc, the Pain Clinic, Alarm Works NW and Team Insurance. When city funds are tight, WE ARE THE CITY!!!  Isn’t it time for us to step up and make sure the programs which make this such a desireable place to live are maintained?

Sponsored youth athletics IS possible, isn’t it?  We can’t quite now, though.  We’ve really got to ratchet it up for the upcoming sports seasons.  Just think how many youngsters play softball and baseball. 460-2530 is the number to call at Parks and Rec to find out how you or your company can be a sponsor for U.P. Youth Athletics.  It’s important!

There’s so much more going on around University Place these day and we’ll get back to it all but before I close out with an updated look at U.P. real estate allow me to finish with just one simple thought.  If you never support any taxation levy ever again in your voting life, support the current request for University Place Schools.  There are those who say “Now is not the time, not in this economy.”  While I put off things I would like to buy right now for my wife and myself, I cannot put off funding for our school system. Yeah, sure my kids are all grown and long out of school.  That’s not the point and I take issue with ANY senior who says, “Don’t tax me. It’s somebody else’s turn.”  Well, you know what?  When we were putting our kids through school, we needed the support of the seniors who already had and you know that’s the truth!  It’s our turn to step up and support what those youngsters need, what our school district needs to remain one of the best in the state.  By the way, if you want to negatively affect the value of your home and property, just stop supporting our schools.  They backslide and so does your home’s value!  Undeniable Fact!  See that old black and white photo of Mr. George Curtis and friends in front of the old original U.P. Elementary School? (Yes, yes I did.)  Do you see what the sign said?   And now,  U.P. schools still need our support.  U.P. kids DESERVE it!

So, what has the U.P. real estate market been up to lately?   (Shhhhh Do you hear that quiet?)  It might be an overstatement to say you could hear a pin drop but it’s been very, very quiet.  In fact, since the day after Christmas there have only been seven U.P. residential sales close.  That included one condo.  Seven!   I have closed seven in one day…No, I haven’t. Five is my record but seven is very, very slow for a city of our size, especially for a period of nearly a month.  Two factors are to be kept in mind. Yes, the obvious…we’re in the heart of a very slow market but on top of that is the reoccurring factor of “Seasons”.  This is NOT the season for big sales in residential real estate.  We are approaching a traditionally stronger period but January is just a slow month and that’s ALWAYS a fact.  Now, couple that with the down market we are in and you get the picture.  Is that to say U.P. homes won’t sell now?  No, not at all. In fact, I’m listing a VERY marketable U.P. home next week and I promise you, it’s going to sell!  It’s a great 5-bedroom, beautifully remodelled home with a fantastic fenced yard, ringed by evergreens and … I’ll tell you all about it when I put it on the market.  In the meanwhile, WHAT’S SELLING?

REAL ESTATE SALE OF THE DAY: In an effort to help you keep tabs on this continually changing real estate market in University Place here’s another recently sold U.P. home with details from public information.  (In fact, to catch up, here are several)  SOLD7607 Chambers Creek Road West.  It started at $497,500 and after  dropping the list price to $449,950, they sold it for $412,000 in a mere 753 days….WHAT?!?  That’s over two years!  Yep, it is.  But that includes a period of time when they were offering a developement as part of the listing.  Overcomplicated deals aren’t going together right now. Those monies are hard to find.  Simple, well priced home deals work.     SOLD:  4108 Brouse Blvd West in the Heitman Addition near Curtis.  They listed it for $229,900 and sold it 53 days later for $225,000.  Another rambler, this one from 1963 offering 1,447 square feet including 3 beds and 1.5 baths. This home had some remodelling inside with Corian counters, cherry cabinetry, vinyl windows and hardwood floors and even as small as it is, it was relatively desireable and the price was right on.  So, it didn’t linger on the market as so very many are, here today.  The house on Sunset (above) sold in 247 days.  SOLD:  8314 63rd St St West. Now here was an owner-occupied home that was neither a Short Sale nor a bank owned property.  Oh, the market is just loaded with those at the moment and WILL be for some time to come.  Here was a home in comparatively excellent condition and it was originally listed for $395,000 but it was dropped to $330,000.  Why?  Because those cut rate deals on the bank owned and short sale properties effect EVERY home on the market.  In 91 days they took $335,000 for this 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2,125 square foot home built in 1990 in the Danbridge community above Chambers Creek Road.  It’s only fair to add that they pay $157 per month in homeowner’s dues, there.  When you are looking at value and monthly payments, you’ve really got to look at the whole picture and those association dues are a legitimate part of that.  SOLD: 2019 Sunset Drive West.   Listed at $315,000 then eventually dropped all the way down  to $249,000 then sold for $245,000.  It was a bank owned 1954 rambler with 3 beds and 1.75 baths on a third of an acre with a 2-car garage. 2,644 square feet.  It closed on 12/30.  It took 434 days for this house to finally sell and close. Oh they had earlier sales…FOUR OF THEM!  None of them got past the inspection phase.  Think there was a problem with this house?  Oh, just maybe?

 

PAT MADDOCK     

Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS      3560 Bridgeport Way     University Place, WA  98466      patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and the 2009 Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

You can find him at the Bridgeport office of Coldwell Banker Bain.  If you want to know something about University Place real estate, talk with someone who certainly does!

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Are you prepared for Christmas Eve?  I’m referring to the tracking of the grand old man. The NORAD Tracks Santa web site is www.noradstanta.org and that features holiday games and activities that change daily.  I suppose there is just a right age to be “wowed” by this show. Not sure what it might be but I do know some “kids” in their 60’s who love to visit the site.  On 12/24 the web site will stream videos captured by NORAD’s Santa Cams from along the jolly old elf’s route.
Beginning that morning at midnight, the website will show Santa preparing his sleigh, checking his list, etc… later, the kids can track him via Google Maps and Google Earth reports.
At 4am MST (no kidding) on Christmas Eve, they begin answering phone calls and emails at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. The phone number is 877-Hi-NORAD (877-446-6723) or youngsters can send email to noradtrackssanta@gmail.com
Although they’ve certainly expanded the program since then, NORAD began providing Santa updates back in 1955 when a child dialed a misprinted phone number and reached the NORAD Headquarters near Colorado Springs. That’s the North American Aerospace Defense Command…for the record.
If you are travelling in an OnStar equipped vehicle that evening you simply push the blue OnStar button to get status reports on Santa’s whereabouts.  What will they think of next?
So, do you want to amaze your little ones?  Now you can!

I asked a friend last summer if he ever attended the outdoor concerts at the Curran Orchard and his response was, “Not any more…same old same old, ya know.”  So, I just called him and reminded him of that and told him to solve the problem. Here’s how you can.  Faye Anderson at 565-3754 is the person to contact if you have a band you would like to hear in the park or if there’s a type of music you would prefer or even if you are in a band and want to be considered for performance.  We can sit and bitch or we can promote change.  Speak now or forever…you know the rest.

Are you ready for Christmas?  Are you ready for a safe Christmas?  Our friends at the fire station remind us… Recycle wrapping paper – Don’t burn it in the fireplace…  Keep the lit candles up high and away from kids and pets…  When there’s something cooking on the stovetop make sure the cook is there, too…   Smoke outdoors…  Keep matches and lighters up high and locked away…  Don’t overload outlets… Extension cords can not only be a tripping hazard but a fire hazard, too when we start walking on them…  Oh, one more comment about those candles…not too close to decorations!  Common sense goes a long, long way toward a safe holiday.

With the recent passing of Council Member Jean Brooks, the city is seeking an applicant to fill Position #7.  Completed application packets will be accepted at the city until January 8th.  For more information, visit the city web site www.ci.university-place.wa.us

By the way, do you have a neighbor who might be alone this week?  The holidays can be a real depressing event for some.  Maybe a knock on the door from you and a brief visit could make a difference.  And when the temperature drops, are you thinking about neighbors who might not be fending well for themselves, perhaps the elderly, perhaps the not-so-able?  You know it feels good to help.  Winter calls for more than the usual amount of that.Well, it’s Monday afternoon and there’s one more gift I need to buy, a few yet to wrap and a bird to thaw.  But I also must remember that it’s a challenging Christmas for many families around us.  Unemployment is high and a lot of businesses just don’t know how they will make it into next year.  Our country’s economy hasn’t seen the likes of this in many, many years but to heck with the big picture…think about YOUR neighbors.  Who might need a hand or even an invite? Perhaps a meal?  What’s your part in making this Christmas in University Place a good one?  Maybe a knock on the door down the street just to check and see how things are.  The good Lord knows we would appreciate it, if the shoe was on the other foot!  Living in U.P. IS different.  It IS special and along with all that we enjoy here, I suppose some little bit of extra effort on our part might be appropriate, as well, in terms of “giving back”.  There ARE neighbors in need, here.  Perhaps you are the one who can make that little bit of difference to restore their faith, lift their spirits and make them feel good about themselves again.  How?  Just extend your hand, ask what’s needed, keep them in your prayers, maybe invite them over for a warm cup and in the end, eye to eye, wish them a sincere Merry Christmas. You just might be surprised at how much it is appreciated.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

PAT MADDOCK   Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS              3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466                       (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

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As if life was back to normal…
Greetings all. Hope this finds you well.
Only 10 shopping days left ’til Christmas…when did that happen?
In retrospect, I think it’s fair to say that I have no idea where 2009 has gone. None!
While that may or may not be a bad thing, it startles me to think how close we are to 2010.  2010?  That’s a number not a year!  “Back in ’67”.  I understand what that means. “In 2010, we’ll be…”. I don’t get it. It doesn’t SOUND like a year. It doesn’t LOOK like a year. Nothing about that number says “next year” to me. OK, now that I have officially designated myself as an old fart, I suppose I should just get into the blog and ponder the unfathomable on my own time… sheesh!

First Aid and CPR Classes are coming up this Saturday, the 19th. From 9am to 5pm, the class will run you $30 and you ought to be registering NOW by calling 564-1623.

And speaking of Saturday, PLEASE rummage through your can cupboard and ask yourself if you couldn’t help restock the food bank?  No kidding.  This year the need is huge.  A bunch of U.P. volunteers are doing something this Saturday to make a dent in that problem but they won’t be successful without you.  (See below)

The next time you’re sitting around wondering why we can’t buy a decent pro football team, consider the difference you can make with a bit of your spare time.  (No, not for the Seahawks.)  The U.P. Volunteer Center is a real gem in our community and they would love to hear that you can dig up a couple of hours here or there to pitch in making U.P. a better place.  Consider giving them a call at 223-0039.   (Now, about that football team… )

I was having a conversation yesterday with a fellow who told me about being in a tailor shop downtown when members of the Tacoma Police Department Honor Guard stopped in with their new uniforms in need of a rush job of tailoring before the memorial for their fallen brethren from Lakewood.  What impressed the gentleman who told me about it was the fact that during a rather brief visit, no less than a half dozen passers-by bothered to take the time to walk into the shop and offer their hands in thanks to each of the uniformed officers, for the jobs they do for us.  We’ve all heard similar stories as of late and many of us have, ourselves,  taken an extra step to express appreciation.  Why let that stop?  Can’t we just make it our habit to stop what we are doing  when we see a uniformed officer and take less than a half of a minute to look them in the eye, extend our hand and sincerely thank them for what they do on our behalf.  It’s natural for us to feel emotionally motivated to do so right now in the wake of our local tragedy but why let that show of support fade.  Talk to any of them.  Ask them how they feel about that.  You’ll see the look on their face change and you’ll hear a response from the heart.  It DOES make a difference to them!  And don’t they make a difference to us?  Don’t stop thanking them.  They deserve to hear it every day, every week, every month.  Many of you know that I’m retired Air Force and in the early days of my career it was not at all popular to be seen in a military uniform and that hurt.  You can guess how important it is to me to take the time to thank our young servicemembers and their families for the sacrifices they make for us every day of their lives.  Well, our debt does not end there.  Those four Lakewood officers were wearing their uniforms because we need police to do just that.  Not unlike Air Force bombers on alert, we need the deterrence that our police professionals provide for us, just by their uniformed presence.  We need them uniformed, visible and out in the community but that simple act, as we have so clearly seen, puts their very lives in jeopardy.  Is our thanks enough?  Maybe not but it’s a damned good place to start!

REAL ESTATE SALE OF THE DAY: In an effort to help you keep tabs on this continually changing real estate market in University Place here’s another recently sold U.P. home with details from public information. SOLD:  6913 Twin Hills Drive West.  Here was a perfect example of a house chasing the market.  That is to say, it appeared for sale first at $389,000 which was a bit above comparable homes in the marketplace, yet $1,000 less than they had bought it for just three years before.  Well, of course, other homes began selling but not this one.  It had a lot going for it, nice bright, good sized kitchen, huge common rooms both upstairs and down, five bedrooms or offices or playrooms or whatever…the floorplan was certainly flexible. It was located in the U.P. School District on a very low traffic street in the heart of a nice development of like-valued homes.  But again, it was priced just a bit above the market and that market was depreciating.  So, rapidly, the market “ran away from the house”.  By that, I mean, other comparable homes appeared for sale but at lower and lower prices and those others competing with this house which had already been on the market, they were cutting prices right and left.  However, the homeowners here, while advised to do so, couldn’t see their way clear to making their home competitive with the others.  The only way to do so would have been to make the price reductions in a timely manner.  Now, is this what we want to deal with when we sell our home?  Of course not but it is what’s happening all around us in the market right now.  Well, certainly earlier this year it was but this house just didn’t keep up.  So, two things happened as a result of that.  First, it was on the market for 292 days!  No fun.  And more importantly, in the end, it sold for less than it would have had it been made competitive early in that lengthy listing period.  Agents and buyers begin to see a home as “damaged goods” after it’s lingered on the market far beyond the competition.  Even if they can’t find a thing wrong with it, they “perceive” that there are problems…they just come to see the home as less valuable than it’s competition and in the end, to get it sold, it must be PRICED BELOW the competition.  Hence, the seller gets less than they would have had they priced it even with the competition early on.  It’s an expensive lesson.  My advice to future sellers is this.  Learn from other’s experiences.  Don’t pay that price, too.  When you realize your home is not selling BUT others are, get your price truly competing with your rivals.  If you don’t, your home is simply helping theirs to sell by showing itself as the one that is overpriced, while the comps are comparative deals. 

It’s still a nasty market out there and it will be for some time to come.  To compete in it, you must KNOW it and not at a gross level but intimately.  Trust your REALTOR and ask him for the information behind his recommendations.  He’ll be happy to share his market knowledge and research. So, you can be well informed, too.

Well, don’t let the shopping crowds get to you and beware of being ‘swept away’ in your favorite stores.   What?  You know what I mean. It might be REI, Sports Authority, Macy’s that gets ahold of you or you might be held captive, as I was the other day,  in Border’s Books.  I came home after a multi-hour visit to buy one book, with two bags full of volumes.  I didn’t shop the store. The store shopped me!  Beware! 

PAT MADDOCK   Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS              3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466                (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

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Didja miss me? Ha!
I was just burned out after election week. The most tumultuous election week in U.P. since… Well, ever! It’s behind us and I, for one, am glad for that.  We talk about how sick and tired we are of mudslinging, name calling and otherwise “low road” politicians at the national level but when they come home to roost right here in University Place…how terribly disappointing.

I should take a Thanksgiving minute and send my thanks to all of you who have gone out of your way to stop me when I’m at the store, in community meetings or elsewhere, to tell me how much you enjoy reading this blog. Sincerely, thank you. It does take a fair amount of time and effort and I am more than open to your input but again, I just want to stop and thank you for taking the time to express your appreciation.

Didja know that our Pierce County Library System “celebrated” Amnesty week last month and welcomed people back to the Library without affecting the Library’s bottom line budget, which includes projected revenues from fines and fees of $520,000.

Wait a minute, did they say over half a million dollars primarily in late fines?  A half million dollars?!?!   Holy Crap!

You may recall, that when the Amnesty week was announced I went on record as clearly leaning toward arresting the flagrant offenders, not offering them Amnesty.  That is to say, those jamokes who just take ’em after taxpayers dollars pay for ’em.  It’s called T-H-E-F-T!! 

But a half million dollars!?  I’m in shock.  I’ll keep my nose out of second guessing the librarians.  They seem to know what the heck they are doing.  Maybe the whole amnesty idea has more than just a sparkle of brilliance to it.  Wow!  I’m knocked out.

OK, sometimes it doesn’t take that much.  Actually, I really ought to be learning for them.  I’ve got it…”Hey Mike, remember my roto-tiller you borrowed last summer, I need to collect $250.00 in late fees!”  “Jim, is my wood chipper still in your garage?  Ah, that’ll be $335.00.”  “Oh, Bob, that toilet plunger you borrowed…on second thought, uh, never mind.  You can keep that.”

Librarians.  What a group of enterprising people! (And world class whisperers.)

Well I would be remiss if I did not offer you all a Happy Thanksgiving.  Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock, 1620, Indians, Corn, Mayflower…parts of it are  even true.   Any excuse to take a moment and say thank you sincerely to those who support us…that makes it worthwhile and sausage and apple stuffing and some giblet gravy doesn’t hurt any, either!  There actually was a time, after my heart surgery that I blamed my health crisis singlehandedly on Giblet Gravy! But, oh baby what a way to go.

Saturday Dec 5th from 3-6pm in Windmill Village it’s a free event as we light our CHRISTMAS Tree.  No, it’s not a holiday bush.  It’s a Christmas Tree.  The next time someone says to you that they think it’s wrong for a public entity like a city to display a Christmas Tree because it’s a Christian tradition, fill ’em in.  The Christmas tree actually goes back to Roman pagan festivals, then the Druids latched onto it in old Britain as they marked winter solstice. Hey if you want pagan traditions, go for the yule log and the hanging of mistletoe.  But the tree really is an old German tradition as is, of course Santa Claus.  Now, speaking of old holiday traditions, somebody has to explain to me the significance of the Yule Goat!  No. I’m not kidding.  Anyway, Saturday afternoon there will be Santa pictures, kids can ride the train, there will be local musical performers, food and drink and, of course, the lighting of the CHRISTMAS Tree!  Come enjoy!  (When last I checked they were still seeking volunteers to help out.)  Call 223-0039 to get involved or shoot Julie an email at jkerrigan@upvolunteers.org

First Aid and CPR class is coming up again, Saturday, Dec 19th from 9am to 5pm.  This course meets the L&I requirements as well as the Health Services Standards.  The good folks at the University Place Fire Department are the instructors. Your CPR certification is good for two years.  Payment must be made in advance, along with registration. For more information, call 564-1623 but don’t put it off.  At least four pre-registrations are required or the class will be cancelled.

Lions Pancake Breakfast with Santa, Dec 12, 9 to 11 at Univ Place Primary School.  $5 for adults, $3 for the kids and $5 for photos with the jolly old Lion himself.

Speaking of that fine group of volunteers, the Lions, we recently lost one of the very best.  Without fanfare, quietly, respectfully, just the way he lived, Ralph Harrison of University Place passed away just a couple of weeks back.  Now, there was a fair chance that the average UP resident didn’t know Ralph but if you have any past association with Boys Scouting around here, you couldn’t have missed him.  Ralph was the Scoutmaster of the St Charles Parish Boy Scout troop for decades putting an endless supply of young men up into the mountains, deep into the Olympics, cresting the Cascades and what they eventually all realized was that in any one of Ralph’s boy-led units, you just couldn’t help but learn while you were enjoying those adventures.  Ralph believed in the program. He believed in allowing young men to rise to challenges and he believed in letting them fail.  In turn, Ralph knew how to get them to learn.  He liked to say, “Oh, he won’t do that again.”  And from my experience with Mr Harrison, he was right.  Some scout units flounder year in and year out while everything at the leadership end of things is done by the adults.  The boys might make rank, IF they chose to stick with it and they might even learn a little bit but if you want to see wonderful young men who know, understand and live by things like the Scout Law and the Oath, watch any of the young men, now Dads and patrons of our communities, who spent time scouting with Ralph Harrison. Ralph was honored by the Boy Scouts with darned near every honor they have all the way up to and including the Silver Beaver.  But as far as Ralph was concerned, the highest honor he wore was one he earned as a young scout. His highest honor was his Eagle Scout award.  And some of the most memorable moments in Ralph’s career centered around his scouts working toward and achieving their own Eagle.   Without fanfare, quietly, respectfully…that’s the way Ralph Harrison lived his life but the impact he left behind on so very, very many young men and their families will be felt for many, many years to come.  What was Ralph Harrison?  He was a wonderful Dad, a devoted husband to lovely Teresa and to those of us who walked trails with him Ralph Harrison was Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent!. 

Have you ever thought that your spare time might be valuable to someone else?  Well the good folks at the UP Volunteer Center absolutely believe that and they’ve got many choices for you as to how you might opt to best apply your time, energies, experience… call Julie Kerrigan (253-223-0039).

If you haven’t been keeping track, budget cuts in the city are going to require quite a lot more volunteer help and leadership to keep our youth sports programs alive and well.  And why not?  I remember that’s how we used to do it when I was a little guy back in the ’50’s and ’60’s playing ball down at old Colgate Park.  If it wasn’t for parents, we would not have had any sports programs.  Coaches, officials, administrators, organizers, grounds help…you name it.  Everyone’s talents and experience will be put to work.  So, keep your ears open for a call from the city for assistance.  Why?  Because our kids want to play ball.  Our kids deserve to play ball. We want to keep our kids off the street.  The kids…  Oh, I could give you 50 reasons but I think you got it. 

Oh by the way…where did the money go from the city’s general fund which is there, in part, to pay the salaries of city employees to run these programs and others?  Town center  Nope?  Reconfiguration of Bridgeport?  Nope.  The next time you think Tim Eyeman has another one of his “good ideas” remember the impact of his other measures dating back into the ’90s.  That’s the fund his authored initiatives have been raiding, time and time again, the general funds of municipalities across the state.  If you think government should be smaller.  That’s ok but then you better be willing to get off your duff and go volunteer to do what the former government employees were doing for us…Which ones, the 20-plus who are about to lose their jobs right here in U.P.   Real Estate Excise Taxes are down simply because darned few homes are selling.  (Just ask me)  But it’s the initiatives which have gutted the city’s general fund that puts us into such a squeeze at a tight economic time like this.  And the effect?  Two-fold.  We put more people into the jobless category and we either shut down youth athletics and other parks & rec programs or volunteers step up to run them.  So, you do have a choice.  You want smaller government?  Then do it yourself!  It really blew me away the other day, a guy was telling me how we shouldn’t have this crisis because we have more employees than any city needs and we’re just a little place.  He thought it was good that we were “thinning”.  In fact at one point I remember him using the phrase, “Survival of the fittest.”  He also went on to insist that this city should have the best sports, parks and rec programs in the state because our taxes pay for them and we pay a lot, here.  (Oh, if he only knew how good we do have it, in terms of taxes here.)  Furthermore, he insisted that there never has been any reason why parents need to coach or volunteer to support kids activities here.  If the city didn’t squander all of the tons of  money he pays them, there would be paying jobs for a lot of people here.  He went on.  I did not.  After awhile I remembered that you shouldn’t try to teach a pig to sing.  It’s just a waste of your time and it annoys the pig! I did however suggest in parting that he NOT volunteer to work with the kids.  Gee, I wonder why.

Be well…

PAT MADDOCK   Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS              3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466                (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953. Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

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What in the world went on at Drum Intermediate School this week?  About the time some U.P. students are preparing for Armed Forces Day programs, this fellow shows up in some sort of semi-police garb, claiming to be a military veteran and some sort of law enforcement professional and apparently with assistance, gains admission to Drum and starts talking to students about his “supposed military experiences”.  Now, be sure to read this News Tribune article that follows because it clearly demonstrates not only more details about this bizarre visit but also the fact that the school district is absolutely involved in righting whatever may have been wrong which led to him getting access to the students. (Probably the most important part of this whole story, in Pat’s opinion.)   Our school district takes the safety of our kids DAMNED seriously.  Why do I say that?  Because they have PROVEN it for years!  In fact the very mission statement of Drum Intermediate School starts with “In a SAFE, civil and caring environment…”  Their priorities are right on but it looks like this guy may have taken advantage of the positive and accepting attitude of those he, at least initially, encountered.
 
 Armed man claiming to be soldier arrested after roaming school

BY MIKE ARCHBOLD and DEBBIE CAFAZZO;  The News Tribune
Published: 11/04/09   9:45 pm      A 20-year-old man alleged to have a history of impersonating police officers and claiming to be a soldier was arrested Monday after he roamed hallways and visited classrooms at Drum Intermediate School in University Place.  ( To see the rest of the story click on this link… )  chttp://www.thenewstribune.com/293/story/942363.html?storylink=omni_popular 
When all is said and done, here’s what we should expect.  The school district with the School Resource Officer, Mike Cooney, from the University Place Police Department, will figure out what might have been compromised and they’ll put the appropriate fixes in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.  That’s the kind of school district Superintendent Patti Banks runs and I’m glad for it.

As of Wednesday morning the 2009 City Council Elections looked like this:
Position #3 was the “landslide” returning Ken Grassi to another term as he’s leading “challenger” Karl Mollnow by 1,957 votes with a 70.99% to 28.84% margin.

Next in order of margins is the drubbing Denise McCluskey is handing Rose Ehart for Position 5 with a 773 vote margin, the percentages are 58.17% over only 41.49%.

Then comes what looks like a victory for Eric Chioniere over incumbent Lorna Smith for Position #3 with a 621 vote margin representing percentages of 56.57% over 43.15%.

And finally, the closest race is the apparent win of Javier Figueroa for Position 1 currently held by Linda Bird. The vote margin sits at only 574 with percentages of 55.93 over 43.75.

The Pierce County Auditors office is due to release nightly updates to those figures at 5pm as they continue to tabulate absentee ballots. They are and will continue to be preliminary results until eventually certified by the county. Does that mean we expect them to change? No, we don’t. Not even in the closest of our council races.

From what this writer observed it was generally a clean race not made up of personal attacks, accusations or mud-slinging.  Well, in all but one race and I’ve addressed his behavior in here before. So, I’ll not readdress what it took for Figueroa to win his race nor will I rant about the negativism of it and the misinformation it was filled with.  What I will observe in closing the topic is that what the Position 1 race came down to and what influenced Lorna Smith’s defeat to some degree was the state of affair in the development of Town Center, the misinformation about the Library, some of the former businesses located in old Windmill Village and other associated topics.  The accusers were so terribly misinformed.  They accepted rumors on the streets and turned them into the “facts” used to create an overtone of incompetence in accusing our sitting council members and their supposed “facts” could not have been further from the truth but when spread by people who apparently have nothing better to do with their time, over and over and over again, they became larger than life and without an overabundance of  more correct information on the street, the misinformation took over, those who had some personal axes to grind created a groundswell and the true facts did not determine the outcome of the election.  It’s unfortunate but true. 

So, what’s the fix?  We need more straight information in University Place, true but we also need more people to consume that straight information!  Monday night we heard over and again how the city “hasn’t told us the numbers” concerning budget, project costs, etc.   Those statements couldn’t be more wrong.  We all get mailed the city newsletter which has explained project and operational financing again and again.  The city actually does a fine job in that regard but it was apparent Monday night that people are willing to shoot their mouths off about not being told the data, when in fact they have been, multiple times.  It’s been literally delivered to their door!  Do you read it?  Do you understand it? It was a strong parallel with what happened on election eve in that overflowing council meeting.  Dozens of people decided to step up and say their piece before the staff reports on the topic were even given.

How can I explain that more clearly?  Try it this way, people with very real concerns such as the future of youth sports and the continuing senior programs, stepped up to the microphone to angrily point fingers and accuse the council and staff of cutting those programs and many were quick to blame it on the town center and other such projects when they had REPEATEDLY been offered the opportunity to make their statements AFTER the City Manager had given his report which, to a very great degree, set the record straight that NO CUTS had been made because the budget hasn’t even been made, yet.  It was clearly a case of people saying “I know better.”  I don’t need to hear the truth.  I’ll tell you what I think.  And then, they are clearly proven to be incorrect, largely due to the misinterpretation of information and the subsequent widespread circulation of rumors BUT in the end, MORE accurate information, in a timely manner could have prevented a part of that from occurring.  Some people will alway say their piece, right or wrong even though the facts are in front of them while others will wait to hear the reality and form their opinions with the benefit of that information.

So, too with this election.  Some were pleased to have something to bitch about, founded in the misinformation running the streets, while others sought out the facts and formed their opinions accordingly.  In this election, those incumbents going down to defeat are there largely because of the voter’s acceptance of word-of-mouth misinformation as opposed to an in-depth understanding of projects, programs and data.

I can’t explain it any more clearly than to recall that at one point Monday night, a young lady stepped to the microphone and made a statement about “21 personnel cuts” having already been made in the city staff, to which Manager Bob Jean, who makes those cuts when they are made, spoke up and said “No cuts have been made“.  Immediately the speaker from the audience turned to him and said, “Yes, they have!”  (As many of you know, my personal nature is to inject light hearted humor right about now about a crystal ball or some such nonsense but this issue is far too serious to make light of it.)  Mr Jean, looking incredulous for obvious reasons, glanced around at his staff with that “Does anybody have any idea what she is talking about?” look.  And of course none of them did. So, Mr Jean politely restated that he was the person who would make staffing recommendations to the council IF and when they were to be made and he was nowhere near being able to assess the budgetary impact on staffing, yet.  So, indeed, no cuts could possibly have been made, yet.  So, the woman turns to him, tells him she doesn’t care what he says, that she “knows” that they were cut and she continues to blabber on in the most misinformed series of statements of the evening BUT THAT WASN’T THE BIG PROBLEM!  The real problem evidenced itself when she finished what was clearly a statement totally based on misinformation and then a good portion of the crowd hooted and hollered and applauded their support for her statements!  Many of us just sat there with out mouths hanging open. What did they not hear?

We all understand the urgent desire to communicate to the city that kids athletic programs and senior programs should not be effected by cuts, especially with a council pay raise on the table…that’s totally understandable but people, PLEASE OPEN YOUR EARS AND LISTEN, get the straight information and make ACCURATELY informed decisions.  They make a much more powerful impact.  With good intentions, that young lady made an absolute fool of herself BUT far too many in the room didn’t even see that.  They just didn’t get it. 

If as citizens we don’t read and question the information that our city prints and delivers to our homes several times annually, if we are not frequent consumers of the on-line website news the city delivers for us, if we refuse to watch any city council meetings on UPTV and if we don’t reach out and try our best to get good, accurate, timely information about our city, we are being lousy citizens, uninformed voters…part of the problem, not the solution.  There are many ways to stay informed about what’s going on in University Place.  If we expect to have an opinion about what’s happening around us, perhaps we have a responsibility to be informed about those topics!

It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “ Though [the people] may acquiesce, they cannot approve what they do not understand.”

In the weeks to come, here in the blog, we’ll address the development of the 2010 city budget and it’s impact on programs which exist for YOU and for your families.  If you want to stay on top of that…stay tuned!

I grew up here going back to 1953.  I’ve lived around the world and I live back in UP yet again because of how I feel about our little city and I see wonderful potential yet to be realized but I have one of those insatiably curious minds that never seems to get enough information, enough data, enough details…so by my own nature, I try to stay informed and I am a fanatic about accurate information. I was very positively moved by the outpouring of parents on behalf of potentially threatened youth programs, Monday night. I really was. I spoke in support of them, myself.  We cannot afford to jeopardize something which is really that important to their future.  If we need to fight to protect it, count me in but let’s do it with accurate statements not misinformation and then we’ll do it effectively!

My very best to you all

                                                  PAT MADDOCK     

 Coldwell Banker Bain  3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466   (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).  He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most  importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953.    Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

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If you had left University Place back in 1995, a growing little community in unincorporated Pierce County brimmed with excitement over pending city hood and you stayed away during all of those constructive years we’ve experienced around here, then finally returned last night in time to attend the City Council meeting, you would have walked out at the conclusion, well after midnight….1.) Confused  2.) Terribly disappointed  3.) Probably on the verge of tears.  As Crissy Hind sang in the old Pretenders hit, “My City was Gone”.

It happens that two weeks ago, Mayor Linda Bird, Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Klosowski and Council member Gerald Gehring had lost an internal council vote as they tried to cut their own salaries. The council members had seen the handwriting on the wall. Cuts were coming to the city and they felt it appropriate that they participate.

 However, Stan Fleming (our often absent council member), Council members Lorna Smith, Jean Brooks and Ken Grassi voted in the majority IMG_4237to give themselves a raise!  That’s right. When the city manager is preparing to finish and present a state-mandated balanced budget to the council for their annual approval, cuts of some 20 city staff members were being considered. So, some of your council members thought it was only right that they participate while others on the council did not.
Frankly, there are valid points on either side but the crowd that overflowed the town hall for last night’s meeting largely did not agree.

It came to a head this way… Council knew that City Manager Bob Jean was facing difficult decisions before he could bring them anywhere near a IMG_4243proposed balanced budget and it was becoming obvious that staff cuts would be needed, let along the lack of any salary raises among city workers…not even any cost of living allowance (COLA) increase!  So, Mayor Linda Bird took what some labeled as “11th hour action” to try to build support for a reversal of the council’s recent self-applied pay raise. She did so by placing a consideration publicly on the table that some programs were certainly in jeopardy if the budget were to be balanced during these lean economic times. The two she singled out were youth sports and senior programs.  Is that an accurate statement?  Well, leading up to last night, very probably so.
“Cue the mob scene!”

But while it was out of hand and it was volatile and it was screamingly negative last night, allow me to add, it was probably justified.  They were largely parents who made it standing room only.  And in their midst were dozens and dozens of coaches, assistant coaches, team moms…the very people who make youth athletics such a wonderful program in University Place. Even some of the little leaguers were there, in their uniforms.  Well, for awhile at least. It was a school night and the meeting stretched into, well into TODAY!   Those folks were there to insist “Don’t you dare cut out these programs for our youngsters, for our families!”  And insist they did, in no small numbers and with more than aggressiveness, at times.  It got heated…(Well, there’s the understatement of the week!)

Unfortunately a lot of misinformation got thrown into the mix.  Youth sports and the senior programs are funded largely by fees and funds from the city’s General Fund budget.  No. That doesn’t have a darned thing to do with Town Center which is paid for to date largely by grants and bonding.  Unfortunately, many who spoke up last night didn’t understand that.  But the program funds do come from the same place as Council and Staff salaries.  However, let’s clear up another misunderstanding.  U.P. Council members don’t get paid $80,000 a year, as one gentleman assumed.  They don’t even get $20,000 a year. In fact, their salaries are approximately $18,000 per year plus some benefits.  Modest to say the least and Yes, the proposal Major Bird was hoping to pass last night would have sliced it in half but cut it or freeze it…it’s the wrong time to raise it!  Just wrong!  And they were told that clearly last night.

In the end, Bird tried to reverse the decision of two weeks ago and instead make the salary cut but it went down with the same supporters and detractors on each side. A legitimate question at that point might have IMG_4238been, if no one changed their votes on the issue, were they listening to their constituents in the audience who spoke over and over and over again about how appalled they were that cuts were being proposed and the council was raising it’s own salary.  One speaker called it “inconceivable!”  He made the point that he had been laid off months ago. He was there because he had been led to believe his youngster’s sports programs may well have to be cut (programs in which he coaches, by the way) and yet the council was taking a salary increase.  It fired him up to say the least and he wasn’t at all alone.

Some called it “electioneering”.  Oh, please!  How else could the mayor have gotten literally hundreds of citizens there last night.  Was the statement true that considered cuts from the Parks and Rec division could in fact sound the end of city-run youth sports programs as well as senior programs?  Well, in fact, Yes it was true.  What happened last night was that citizens turned out to say “No Way!” and say it loudly.  If the identical agenda had been published for last nights meeting without anyone sounding the alarm ahead of time as Mayor Bird did this last weekend, the usual handful of loyal attendees would have been in the audience last night and I believe the vote to cut council salaries would not only have failed but no follow up vote to reverse the salary increase would have been taken, at all. So, while Linda and Debbie  and Gerald did not get what they wanted in a salary cut, they did get a freeze, an undoing of the recent raise and credit must be given to Council member Ken Grassi for immediately starting that motion to undo the increase, as soon as the move to cut the salaries failed. While I don’t think Ken fully heard the citizens he had legitimate reasons for doing what he did and I think it was a better outcome last night than many feared.

Cuts have NOT been made.  No budget has even been proposed.  Bob Jean was there last evening largely to discuss what revenues he would have to work with into the new year, even though he’s retiring right after the new budget is approved in December.  And he’s probably retiring at a good time.  Why?

Do take the time to watch the meeting later on UPTV and watch particularly to the non-substantive, negative and literally draining testimony of some of the candidates for city council.  “I was saddened by…” the same old pabulum over and over again.  Finger pointing.  Lame accusations.  Terribly misinformed statements.  Personal attacks and above all, where were the solutions being offered?   A couple of candidates spoke up citing their involvement in our volunteer programs…thanks for more campaigning….NOT NEEDED!  One just got up and blamed.  While the other, Mayor Bird’s opponent, got up again and again and again to spew his bitterness, his personal attacks and the same crap we’ve been sickened by on the national scene in the form of negative campaigning but lacking the skill we’ve seen nationally…oh, far lacking.  Unfortunately, our local candidates didn’t really add a single positive idea to the mix.  Very sad.

There’s so much more to say to truly tell the story of last night but frankly, I’m done with it.  “My City was Gone”.  I agree with those parents who pleaded for youth sports programs. I agree with those who said “We’ll volunteer to pick up the load”.  I agree with much of what the audience had to say but I also can sort out the misinformation and it was destructive and where it was the most destructive was in the make-up of the city council that will have to work with this upcoming budget.  That is to say, it became pretty obvious to me last night that it’s time to thank Linda Bird for untold thousands of hours of work going back multiple decades in leading this city.  When history looks back at fledgling University Place, it will see a city which probably could not have accomplished anywhere near what it has without the sound leadership of a most ethical, dedicated and visionary woman.  Did Linda do everything right over those years? Heck no and she’ll be the first to point it out but have her positive contributions so far outweighed the negative that the fault is extraordinarily difficult to find?  It most certainly is, especially if you are well informed about what the city has done, how and why.  Misinformation will probably defeat Linda Bird in today’s election and what will step in behind her cannot even begin to fill those very, very large shoes.  He’s not being elected.  She not being reelected.  There IS  a  difference.

Now, if I’m wrong, I’ll dance a jig! (Not a pretty sight but honestly motivated, just the same.)  I don’t believe Grassi will lose and I’m glad for it.  I think Lorna Smith’s race is too close to call and who knows what will happen between Ehart and McClusky.  However, a council with Figeuroa and Ehart will be a real rocky road.  That’s why Bob Jean is retiring at just the right time.

Whatever you do, whomever you mark on your ballot, please get out and vote today. Don’t deny your right to participate in determining the well being or your community.

We’ve come to a crossroads in University Place.  I am encouraged by the grass roots but I see the need to eliminate the preponderance of misinformation shaping decisions.  We must do better.  I’ll try to help.

                                            PAT MADDOCK     

 Coldwell Banker Bain  3560 Bridgeport Way West,  University Place, WA 98466   (253)682-1182

 patmaddock@cbbain.com

cbbain-intranet-header2

Who is this guy?

As a top producer with Coldwell Banker Bain REALTORS in University Place, Pat Maddock is the former President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS and a current Vice-President of the Washington REALTORS, the statewide trade association of professional members of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).  He also serves the University Place – Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce on it’s Board of Directors and he serves the City of University Place on the Economic Development Commission. But most  importantly, he’s been a University Place native since 1953.    Pat is also a 20-year Air Force veteran.

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