Category: Univesity Place Town Center


So, University Place firefighter Greg Reimann shows up at the Friday morning meeting of the University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.  He’s honcho’ing the fire department’s annual effort to gather and deliver toys and meals and you name it to U.P. families in need.  ( What is it about firefighters?  They just don’t know how to quit giving. Do they?)  He picks up a few toys the chamber members had brought and he mentions that the unfulfilled need this year appears to be a 16 inch and an 18 inch boys bike. Well, before the chamber members disbanded, they reached into their pockets and the bikes were bought!  Just spur of the moment, “‘Cause it’s the right thing to do.” explained one member as another one was throwing yet another $5 bill on the table.  Yours truly thought, this won’t break anybody and I’m sure it didn’t but then again, as I was driving to purchase the two bikes I remembered a number of conversations I’ve had throughout the year with other business owners and various professionals working through this challenging year.  I remembered how some businesses are hanging on damned near by a string and still others have already locked the doors.  I thought again about the folks who simply did not hesitate to reach into their pockets to help ensure that a couple of kids didn’t go without bikes. (Every kid should have a bike. Don’t you think?)  It wasn’t the biggest, most generous, greatest philanthropic gesture of 2010 but I was proud of how my friends didn’t even hesitate before adding their cash onto the pile.  It’s not the mission of the chamber, the promotion of my business or any other such “falderall” that keeps me active in the chamber and serving on it’s board of directors.  It’s the members.  Damned fine people!

You wanna see a happy lady?  Go find Cindy Bonaro, our local librarian.  Ya know why?  At long last, she and her crew are actually

Fourth year staff member Alex Byrne is happy to stock the childrens' books in their new home

PUTTING BOOKS ON THE SHELF at the new Library in Town Center.  No kidding!

That’s right.  They are moving into the new Library!  Woo Hoo!  And what a facility it is.  Holy smokes! It is amazing and Cindy is celebrating all the room they’ll have in their brand new home.  Especially after being cooped up for so long in the former auto parts store.  She would explain that plans were afoot for changes to their old home on the Town Center site but the new facility offers what they were in need of and much more.  At a time when we’re cutting back left and right in Pierce County library operations, we’re very, very lucky in University Place to be the site of the newest gem in the system.  Mark your calendar for February 12th.  That’s the date earmarked for the grand opening on Bridgeport Way.  The staff is thrilled about it. Patrons are excited and just wait until your little ones get   of this place of wonder.  It’s really going to be one of a kind!

Now what’s with the duck? He’s sporting a holiday garland necklace. One of the ducklings has a knitted cap on and they all seemed to be wearing seasonal scarves.  But you know my hang up about “the duck”.  How about a name?  Our duck needs a bloody name!  After the first of the year, if the great feathered one hasn’t been named, I may have to get a contest started but the way he and his brood look now it could be the Christmas Quacker or maybe the Hannukah Honker or even Mr. Festivus Q. Duck!  ( OK, OK. You’re right. Maybe he IS  growing on me!  But he still needs a name! )

Done with your shopping?  Yeah, me neither.  See ya!

Pat Maddock

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.

____________________________________________________

Advertisements

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.

____________________________________________________

 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!

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.

_____________________________

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.

_____________________________

   Before we get back into the topic of elections, lets talk about the latest in this housing market because it’s BIG news and it’s timely.   Nationwide, September existing home sales jumped 9% from August and that is FAR exceeding most everyone’s predictions. Actually, that’s huge!  That’s the HOUSEShighest level since July of 2007.  Oh, yes, we are Definitely on the road to recovery!  Do I make plans based on one month?  Nope, certainly not but this statistic is significant enough, when coupled with other economic trends as of late, to prove we are headed in the right direction.  But here’s the complimentary news. Inventories of unsold existing homes dropped sharply to a 7.8 month supply which is down from a 9.3 in August.  That means, on average it now takes an existing (as opposed to new construction) home almost 8 months to sell while just the month before it was taking almost 9 1/2 months.  You take those two pieces of news together and you chart the continuing trend of inventory reduction and you see exactly where we are headed. That 7.8 month national supply, by the way, was the lowest level in two and a half years! 

Next week we’ll see more important economic data being released.  Thursday is the day for the release of the third quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is the broadest measure of American economic activity. New home sales data should be out on Wednesday and if that wasn’t enough, among other actions, the Treasury will auction a record $116 billion in 2-yr, 5-yr and 7-yr securities next week.  Whew!   If we want to understand where this housing market and our overall national economy is heading and with how much gusto, we better pay attention.  I do and I share!

Does this all impact the U.P. home market?  Well, it certainly does and it helps us understand why in September that absorption rate in the U.P. area ROSE.  Huh? It’s longer?   Yes, it is taking LONGER to sell the average home in U.P. now than it did just a few months ago.  How is that possible?  While the national AVERAGE absorption rate is falling (shorter time on the market), it’s rising or lengthening in the UPPER price ranges which University place certainly is.  Let me make it a bit more clear with another example.  Prices are even higher over in Gig Harbor where the absorption rate is now 11.9 months!  That’s right. Count on the average Gig Harbor home taking a year to sell while in U.P. we should expect a market time of 9.2 months.  Are we heading in the wrong direction?  Well, there are a lot of reasons why the bottom end of the market, the lowest price ranges, are selling like hotcakes but so many of those sale are of bank owned foreclosures…SO very many of them.  If you buy a home that’s owner occupied, you normally push that buyer up in the market.  They go buy a more expensive home. Hence the phrase “Move up” buyers but when there are no resident owners of the lower end homes (bank owned) that are selling, there’s nobody to move up. So, the upper end homes will eventually be pulled along by the lower end sales but for now, they are lagging. 

So, is it time to raise U.P. home prices?  Not yet.  Too much competition and too few buyers. WillGulish we see some more reductions?  Yes we will, especially in the case of sellers who NEED to sell and, of course, the many bank owned homes.  Overall, we’re ok and moving in the right direction.  It’s not going to happen overnight but we ARE heading in the right direction and that momentum will pull the higher priced markets along in time.  Why?  Remember, this isn’t the only recession this country’s been through.  So why will it continue to turn upward?  Because it always does. That’s the way our economy works, time and time again.  Count on it.

HEY!  Didja know that U.P. is accepting applications for citizens to serve on the Planning Commission, the Parks and Rec Commission and on COPS?  If you are interested, call the City Clerk’s office at 566-5656.  It’s important that we get good people on these commissions.  They can have a definite impact on the future of our neighborhoods and our city.

What do you do when there’s a stray animal in your yard?  ( No. You don’t go out banging a metal spoon on a metal pan. ) You call 798-3133. 

Tomorrow, Saturday Oct 24th, there’s an Open House at Market Square in front of the new Library and municipal building in Town Center from 10-2 and Hard Hat tours of the construction zone will also be given at that time. What a good opportunity to go have a look at what will eventually become the center of University Place.   By the way, do you have a group or even a bunch of U.P. friends who would like to tour the new Town Center while it’s under construction?  Hard Hat tours are offered on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month.  Call 460-2526.  I’ve actually been twice and they are great!  Very, very informative.  It’s a great look behind the scenes of what’s coming. It’s a pretty neat view from the top floor!

It’s time!
Ballots are out and if you haven’t already, it’s certainly time to get serious about the November 3rd General Election, in which the U.P. City Council races are front and center.
election 2009 buttonI suppose about the best way to make up one’s mind is to get it “from the horse’s mouth”, that is to say, listen directly to the candidates. But how is one to know what’s true?
Well, if you’ve personally investigated all of the claims and allegations, then you haven’t had much time for anything else. Have you? Or if you stayed informed all the way along these last 15 years of cityhood then you’re informed and ready to vote. Yes, I know, not many have.
I’ll offer the link to UPTV and encourage you to listen closely to each candidate but understand a couple of facts, first.
Take a look at who the Tribune endorsed for these races, to start out with: Linda Bird, Eric Choiniere, Ken Grassi and Denise McClusky. Frankly, that should go a long way. It’s not 100% in line with my endorsements but it’s very close.                                                                       

I have not endorsed in the Choiniere-Lorna Smith race. Or you might say, I’ve endorsed both. They both bring contributions to the table and there are detractors in both regards. I really thought Ehart would win position five over Denise McClusky who is actually better prepared to contribute to the leadership of U.P. but then last week the scandal of Ehart taking thousands of dollars through a volunteer public position, spending it and then not fulfilling her public committment and then ADMITTING it….Well, we can’t afford that in our city leadership!
I could not be more profoundly behind Linda Bird or Ken Grassi. They have been with us from the start and have led, literally led our city through most all of what it’s accomplished in that timeframe and THAT’S A LOT!!! If you want to deny it, you need to go take a walk, a safe walk, through U.P. in all of the places you couldn’t take that walk “back in the day”…not safely. We have a lot to thank them for and a lot yet to accomplish. I cannot believe that by starting over from scratch with UNPROVEN players is the shift to make right now. It will cripple us!
And finally, the Town Center “ain’t broke”.  I’ve dwelt on that enough here. I won’t belabor the point. Standard and Poors rates the financials of our city outstanding and in anticipation of the turn of the commercial real estate market, the town center will slowly, in a sober manner, spring to life. The preparations are in place. Development from this point forward will be comparatively simple. When investment monies are freed up nationally, this project will lead the way because our current leadership has had the backbone to make the tough decisions all ready. I don’t want a rookie stepping in and mucking up the works. Bird’s opponent Figueroa claims to have the answer by kicking transit out of the project and by selling off the library and new town hall. Not bad Mr self-labelled “forensic real estate consultant”. Those were paid for with government grants and who goes to jail when you try to sell them? Yes, it’s called misappropriation of public funds. DO YOUR RESEARCH!  And by the way, nobody we can find in the real estate business knows who you are. Nobody we can find has ever worked with you and nobody even knows what in the devil a “forensic real estate consultant” is! If the truth doesn’t work for you, make it up!
Past associates talk about how you DON’T “play well with others”.  Oh, isn’t that  just what we need when it’s time to locate and break in a new City Manager. You’ve got to be kidding. RETAIN LINDA BIRD for all our sakes!
Here’s the UPTV link where you can watch both forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the U.P.-Fircrest Divsion of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. All of the candidates have their say. Listen closely and critically. Our future depends on it!
And by the way, THANK YOU for caring enough to give a damn!
http://www.cityofup.com/UPTV/UPTV%20Online.asp

CityofUP_logo

 

 

 

OK. Enough already.  I hope you have a great weekend.  Saturday is supposed to be nice out there then it’s back to the REAL Northwest Fall weather. Hey!  I’m not griping.  After the Summer we just had, are you kidding? 

I don’t know what you are up to tomorrow but I’m heading for the big Chili Cook Off at Cabela’scook off in Lacey.  No, it’s not that I love eating chili THAT much (Well, actually I do.) but I really enjoy cooking and competing with other good chili cooks and the CASI (Chili Appreciation Society International) Yes, there IS such a thing. Anyway, the good CASI folks are staging the cook off to benefit the Boys and Girls clubs in the area and that’s good enough for me.  Cook good chili. Eat good chili. Raise funds for the kids.  I’m there!   If you’re interested. We’ll start serving at Noon.  Should be excellent eats!

Have a great weekend and please don’t put it off til it’s too late…VOTE!

Be well

   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.

_____________________________

 

voteIt certainly was worth being there!  The City Council Candidate’s Forum hosted this last week by the University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, that is. Somewhere close to 100 attended, not counting the eight participants on-stage who spoke up, one and all. I’m just glad it’s being broadcast on UPTV so more of our citizens can benefit from it.

Well, you can’t walk away from an evening like that without opinions. So, here is my take:
Position #5 Candidate Denise McCluskey– She may be one of the two extraordinarily intelligent people running for the council. It was nice to see Denice speak up and express her positions, loudly, clearly and lucidly. I can’t agree with them all but she’s a very sharp lady and it was good to see her speak up! If elected, she would not hurt our city.
Position #5 Candidate Rose Ehart – (Say it’s broke whether it is or not, if that’s the popular thing to do.  If you say it’s broke and you offer to deliver change, you’re the winner.) Well, Rose WILL be the winner next month and perhaps she will try to change what ain’t broke but that disruptive behavior can be a net loss not gain to the council. Rose is a sharp lady who obviously gives a damn and that’s great. She’ll be the winner in November. I hope she can be a constructive team member. If she can, we’ll all benefit.
 

Position #4 Incumbant Ken Grassi – If I’ve ever heard a candidate for public office speak from the heart this guy is it! Sincerity, from the moment he opens his mouth to the last thought he shares but that’s what you’ve seen from him on the council for years. Grassi sincerely works to represent his neighbors and make the city a better place and we can’t thank people like Ken enough. This week his thoughts were clear, honest, INFORMED and smart. Retain Ken Grassi!
Postition #4 Carl Mollnow– Sir, I didn’t stand up to run but you did. So, I owe you a sincere thank you and there you have it.  Now,  according to Mr. Mollnow, everything is broken. City government is staffed by liars and he has all the answers. Bombastic! And damned well in love with his own name. Sir, I would politely submit that a lesson to be learned is the skill to know when the crowd is laughing WITH you and when they are laughing AT you.
 

Position #3 – Incumbant Lorna Smith, pandering to the chamber members in the audience might SEEM to be the way to get votes but to stand by your convictions is a much, much better one. You HAVE convictions! You HAVE been the fly in the ointment for years on the council and frankly, I would submit that’s needed! Stick by your guns, Lady.  Tell us what you think.  It won’t always be in the majority but stirring up the waters can be a good thing. Especially when you do the research to be informed and you truly believe in what you do. That’s your game…stick to it!
Position #3 – Candidate Eric Chioniere,Very good “on his feet”. Excellent stage presence. The substance was rhetoric, a bit thin and repetitive. Eric COULD serve the city well. I have no doubt about that. However, anyone who wants to use the city job as a stepping stone to bigger things (State Legislature) doesn’t necessarily deserve to sit on the city council. Try this out for size – The U.P. City Council is important enough to be the end goal!
 

Position #1 Candidate Javier Figueroa– Calm, cool, collected… but that sells deodorant. Mr Figueroa spoke gently and with an ever-present smile and then what would come out was…well, my old Irish Father used to call it “malarkey”.  Sir, you are misinformed and that misinformation WILL do the city harm.
Position #1 – Incumbant Linda Bird,  Wow! She saw through the bull and called it! This lady has proven to us for a decade and a half that the city is in caring, intelligent hands and this week she showed the true backbone that a leader needs to have when confronted with a disservice to her people. Throughout the night, she was THEE most well informed individual on stage, conceptually, statistically, programmatically and after demonstrating that over and over again, she took a stance that “malarkey”, exaggeration and misinformation was not welcome in University Place government. As they say, “You go girl”!

It was a good night for University Place. Some races became very, very clear. If you were not there, do catch it on UPTV and as you watch, ask yourself a question, “If the Town Center really isn’t broken, why do I want to vote for this person?” I’m not kidding. If the Town Center is as on-track as it can be in this crappy economy, then why do I want to vote for this candidate? Remember that the library was planning new digs anyway. Remember that Stortini’s was planning to move anyway. And as Linda Bird did at the forum, let’s make sure this record is straight, the land on which the current city offices sit IS more valuable than 2nd and 3rd story office space in the new civic building. So, we SHOULD move the city offices and sell off the Windmill Village space to commercial development.

The EASY way out is to chant, “The city is broken because Town Center isn’t done!” Oh, give it a break and stop listening to the nay sayers. Do your research and find out what has really gone on there and why. Find out what IS really going on there and why and if you don’t, then to vote for those who insist we must change the city council because the Town Center isn’t finished, well… Oh, I know what word to use … MALARKEY!

libraryHave you heard what’s going on at the Library?  Well, it may be a good thing but it’s got me riled a bit.  If a Pierce County Library patron racks up some $700 in late fees and the library wants to establish an amnesty week so they can get all of those books back, I suppose that’s one way of making it happen. 

How about this other way. Call the cops! 

cuffsThat wonderful library patron, shown smiling on the front page of the Saturday  Tribune deserves a back seat ride to the pokie!  That’s right. Arrest her.  It’s called THEFT! 

I have a library card and I know that allows me to take out a book FOR A PERIOD OF TIME.  Well, why can’t I just keep it for as long as I want, like” Little Miss $700 Fine”, there?  Because somebody else has an equal right to that book and I’m keeping it from them. That’s why.  Yes, my taxes paid, in part, for that book to be on the shelf at the library but….Hey, wait a minute!  That’s right.  It belongs on the Library shelf not mine. If I can’t play by the rules…take me for a ride and by the way, take my card away from me, too! 

Forgive the fines? No way.  You’re a government entity. Put a lien on their house!  Yes, yes, yes I know. They’re just public library books but guess what?  YOU are that public.  They are YOUR  books.  Would you like to check them out so you or your youngsters can read the books you paid for?  Nope. You can’t.  ‘Cause Little Miss $700….oh, you’ve got the picture.

CPR Instruction, Sat 10/17, 9 am to 5 pm.  Advanced registrationCPR and payment is required.  564-1623 for more info.  Hey, don’t put it off. If they don’t have enough students registered in advance, they’ll cancel.  The next class at the Fire Department doesn’t happen until December 19th.

 

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:  2542 Locust Ave W.  When this home first appeared on the market, I remember saying, “Oh, that baby is SOLD!”  Why?  Was it under priced, the deal of the decade?  Nope.  It had less than 2,000 finished square feet but was listed at morrison$329,500….not underpriced.  Was it the superb location?  Well, yes in that it’s in University Place, the city and the school district but the location?  Well, no. It’s in what we often refer to as “Old U.P.”  Off 25th and Locust.  That’s a fine neighborhood but by no means the most sought after part of U.P.  So, why did I consider it a home that would pop immediately?  Eye candy, baby, eye candy!  From one end to the other, the interior was loaded with beautiful hardwoods, floors, cabinetry, millwork and more…it was all so rich and warm.  Now let me set the record straight.  I called them hardwoods but they aren’t.  Most readers wouldn’t understand if I said they were beautiful softwoods.  Simply put, the home is loaded with vertical grain Fir.  Fir is a softwood unlike Oak, a hardwood.  Is it appropriate for these uses>  Oh, heck yes.  Many of the century old homes in town have hardwood flooring on the main floors but fir upstairs and (where it hasn’t been painted over) it still looks great.  This home is a piece of classic 1910 architecture with a remodeled interior that shouts 2000!  It shines.  I don’t mean to be demeaning when I say “eye candy”.  I simply am referring to the myriad of wonderful finishings and appointments that can make a home’s interior so pleasing to the eye.  This one has it, in spades!  So, the list price of $329,500 brought a $318,000 deal in just eleven days.  Honestly, I would have held out for more. THAT’S how fantastic this home looks!  And if I teach nothing else today about real estate reality…looks can make all the difference!

In last week’s blog I talked about a market analysis in this edition but the candidate’s forum ate up all my time and space.  It certainly was worth it.  We WILL do that market update and let’s look for that at the end of this week…OK?

Looks like the weather is about to warm back up again.  Get out and enjoy while you still can.  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.

____________________________________________________

I like it lot right here in Washington!
This morning I made omelets with fresh smoked sea-run cutthroat trout from the Cowlitz River. My grandkids took me on a hike up to the Big Four ice caves.big four I’m going to Wenatchee next week and I’ll find myself in the thick of the fall harvest and everything good about apples…pie, cobbler, butter, cider hard-and-fresh and just that crunch of ultra-fresh gorgeous fruit as you sink your teeth into it. Did I mention the Fall colors? Yes, I like it a lot right here in Washington!

Specifically, I love it in University Place!

Soccer is starting. Consult the city website for registration info.

Remember I told you about that upcoming hearing concerning garbage collection? No, I didn’t say it was exciting, I just said it was coming up and it’s a week from Monday. That’s September 28th in the Town Hall Meeting Room at 7pm. If you don’t remember what I told you about it, our rates are going up, etc…

Did you realize it’s almost time to start talking about pumpkin patches? ARRRRGGGHHH – where did it go?

Under the “Didja Know” category: The next time you see one of your locally elected state legislators, Representative Troy Kelley, you Kelleyreally need to say a hearty “Thanks” for all he’s doing for University Place down in Olympia. Troy was absolutely instrumental in obtaining a Lift grant for the city and the massive underground parking facility that’s underway at the new Town Center. Annually for the next 24 years, we will receive more than a half million dollars for that project and it’s a GRANT….that’s right, we don’t pay it back. It could have gone to Tukwilla. It could have gone to Spokane. It could have gone to Marysville but nope. It’s coming to University Place specifically because of the efforts of your legislator, Troy Kelley. He’s an extraordinarily good man who has your best interests at heart. Next time you see him, remember to say “Thanks”! (By the way, you’ll find a link to his website over there on the right.)

I mentioned that I was heading for Wenatchee this week but what I wasn’t totally honest about was that it’s not the apples that are on my mind. Instead, it’s a little roadside business my good Irish friend Dan Kennedy of University Place,  took me to a couple of years ago. It sits beside Highway 2artisan bread in between Cashmere and Wenatchee and I DARE YOU to stop there and not walk away weighing more and smiling more! It’s called the Anjou Bakery. (Why would a guy writing a blog about University Place write about a bakery in Eastern Washington? Because it’s THAT GOOD!) I have actually brought it up to other U.P. residents AND THEY KNEW ABOUT IT! That’s how darned good it is. I’ll take my wife for the second time and I know she enjoyed the heck out of it on her first visit. We’ll walk out with some crunchy fresh artisan breads and probably enjoy a warm pastry while we’re there. How about Fruit Nut Crostini? What cheese would YOU add to that? Well, if your mouth is watering like mine is at this very moment, just Google for the driving directions. All you have to enter is http://www.AnjouBakery.com and they’ll furnish you with directions. Oh, do note that they are open Thursday through Monday, 7am to 5pm. And by the way, in other couple of weeks, if you want to really take in the fall colors during a single-day excursion, driving to the Anjou Bakery and back home is one of the two trips I recommend.

So, what’s the other one? If you’ve never done it, it’s hard to picture or imagine the intensity of fall colors draped across the palette which is the south wall of the Stevens Canyon Road in Mt. Rainier colorsNational Park.Oh my gosh, it’s spectacular! I mean, the drive itself is always wonderful, entering the part at the Longmire entrance then up to that beautiful gem that is Paradise, especially now with the Paradise Inn renovated and the brand new Visitors Center open. In fact, the perfect day for that drive IF THE FOLIAGE IS TURNING would be next Sunday so you can head up early, pause at Paradise, enjoy the final Sunday Brunch of the season (11am to 2pm) and then the picturesque drive through Stevens Canyon. You can exit the park near Ohanapecosh in the SE corner and return home via Highway 12 and the Packwood and Randle area or you can cut north from Ohanapecosh and skirt the eastern boundary of the park, just west of Crystal Mountain and come home via Highway 410 and Enumclaw and Buckley. Either way, it’s a great Fall drive. If it were me, I’d call the park and ask if the Steven’s Canyon foliage was turning yet. Yes. They’ll know.

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:  5310 54th Street West   A lovely home built by Crest Construction on an existing corner lot in an older section of U.P. finally sold after 386 days on the market!  It crestreally is a nice neo-craftsman featuring 4 bedrooms, 2,294 square feet with stainless steel appliances, hardwood, granite…the works but the market being what it is, it just takes that long.  They were not terribly overpriced when they brought it on the market at $424K and they finally settled for $386K.  I remember when it was first available, I walked through it and was impressed but, again, the market is what it is.   The problem is, this is killing good local builders.  I could tell you the story of the glorious Victorian in Canterwood with every bell and whistle imaginable and a very, very high quality of construction throughout, all done by one of the area’s best but it started, pretty appropriately at $1,340,000.  Yes, they were selling there for that…at the time… but then the market plummeted right into the circular file and now the bank wants it back while it’s on the market at only $890K!  That’s right, a new home which would have sold for above $1.2M had the market maintained, now can’t bring $890K.  This is killing our local builders! Some of the good one’s won’t be around when the market returns. Some have already hung it up. That’s our loss.  That impacts so much.  How many people have they had to lay off along the way?   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 many are saying we’re already on the upswing. I won’t argue that the market has picked up demonstratively 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! In fact, be careful you don’t agree to pay too much.  I was with a buyer the other day and she was ready to offer 100% of the list price because it was such a good deal but I cautioned her to the point where she backed off another ten percent on her offer and she got the house.  They need to be sold.  Interest rates at or below 5%, the First Time Home Buyer’s $8,000 tax credit offer.  Now, IS a great time to buy.

Have a wonderful week and 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.

____________________________________________________

I just asked my grandson Evan (Brand new 3rd grader at Chambers… that would be Mrs. Geren’s class) I asked him, “What should I write about today in the blog?” and Evan answered, “Write about how I whipped you at Wii Baseball”.

IMG_2092OK, on now to the next grandson. “Hey, Ethan, (Another brand new 3rd grader at Chambers, Mrs Lawrence’s class) what do YOU think I should write about?” “Evan’s girlfriend!”
Well, so much for asking the twins for guidance!

How about a brief look at the U.P. calender, first…

CURRAN APPLE ORCHARD CIDER SQUEEZE is coming up this Saturday, Sept. 13th from 1 to 4pm.  It’s one of the most unique public events of the year in U.P.  Don’t miss it.  I can taste that fresh squeezed cider right now!  Can’t wait.

By the way, the afternoon before, Friday, Sept. 12th IN the Curran house at the orchard, the University Place Historic Society is inviting you to drop by and share your opinion about the future use of the Curran home.  You see, there are some very divided opinions around town about the structure’s future and the society would like as many folks to weigh in, as possible.  They doors will be open Friday afternoon from 1-4pm. 

Don’t forget the PUBLIC HEARING, September 28th from 7 to 8pm in the Town Hall meeting room being held to get your opinions about the PROPOSED RATE INCREASE likely headed our way FROM THE TWO REFUSE DISPOSAL COMPANIES  serving U.P.  If you want a look at the proposed changes which involve more than just rate increases, you can stop by the City Clerk’s office where, I believe, those proposals are now posted.  Am I saying they should or shouldn’t increase our rates?  Nope.  I’m saying, if you care about it, stick your nose in and find out.  Then perhaps you WILL want to give public comment.  And if you don’t, as they say, …forever hold your peace!

FLAG FOOTBALLRegistration is almost here. Early bird registration: Sept 9th.  Final registration deadline: Sept 16th.  Divisions: 1st/2nd, 3rd/4th, and 5th/6th.  It’s a recreational league focusing on participation andHAVING FUN!  This is a non-tackle, pass only league with emphasis on teamwork, participation and sportsmanship.  They are seeking volunteer coaches and officials.  If you’re interested contact Brason Alexander 460-5432 or at balexander@cityofup.com 

You know our Parks and Rec also runs an INDOOR SOCCER program that operates in the same way. It’s not so much a competitive environment as it is an educational one. In fact, the city refers to both programs as Instructional.   While the flag football eligibility is 1st through 5th grade, Indoor Soccer is open to 4 year olds up through the 4thgrade.  The same registration information applies to both sports and the FEES for soccer and/or football are: Early Bird: $55 resident, $60 for non-residents.  Then before the final deadline it’s $65 for residents and $70 for non-residents.

Guess where I was this week?  Not in the mood for games?  OK How about on top of what is becoming the new municipal building housing the University Place Library and the U.P. City offices.market square   The Board of Directors of your localUniversity Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce climbed up to have a first hand look at the plan in progress.  So, it seems like a good opportunity to set the record straight on a few topics related to the new University Place Town Center.  It’s a given that a LOT of misinformation is widely circulating around town and it’s important to get it straight. So, lets…

FACT:  When you hear “UP Center” know that it’s a plan covering about 90 acres from 35th to 40th and approximately Bridgeport to Drexler.   It exceeds those boundaries in a number of locales but that’s about it.   Town Center is really the under-development 18 acre portion of that from 35th Street to Homestead Park.

FACT:  There is a plan to relocate the U.P. Police to the east side of Town Center, thereby freeing up all of the current Public Safety building for the U.P. Fire Department.  That also gives the police more space (Double what they have now) and besides, we can’t expect them to trounce each other annually in the Hogs & Hoser’s game and still live together!

FACT:  There will eventually be some 550 parking stalls throughout Town Center, more than 100 have already been funded by federal funds supporting public transit.

FACT:  Town Center is NOT Market Square and vice versa.  While Town Center is the overall development, itself, Market Square is the public area between the west side of the new municipal building and Bridgeport Way. It already encompasses the outdoor fireplace (No kidding, I felt the flame) the fountain (I resisted), the site for the Christmas Tree (That’s what’s great about a blog.  I don’t have to be a pansy and call it a “holiday tree”.  It’s always been a Christmas Tree. It IS a Christmas Tree and it will always be a Christmas Tree.  Political correctness be damned!  It’s CHRISTMAS, not a shopping holiday genericized for the good of all beliefs….sheesh!).  OK, back on track, now.  Also in Market Square, tons of crushed granite. I thought it was concrete I was walking on. Then I saw it kind of crumbling and I wondered what was wrong. Not a thing. It’s all crushed granite and it’s sooo very smart!  A bunch of room for a lot of outdoor tables and chairs, more parking, etc.  A neat public gathering spot.  I saw one like it in a new development in Centennial,  Colorado, last year and it was the most brilliant thing!  I was eating in a restaurant next to it. This is all near Aurora, Colorado and the Southland Mall.   They had the windows open and we were enjoying a public open air concert as we ate our dinner and watched the hundreds of folks in THEIR Market Square, enjoying THEIR dinners, THEIR concert, each other and all-in-all, the heart of THEIR city but in a number of restaurants and other businesses ringing that square, we were ALL enjoying it.  It really was very, very cool.  So, I am a BIG supporter of this design  we’ve got because I’ve seen it come alive.  towncenterI’ve seen the space and the public use of it actually pull a community together.  This is very forward thinking and my hat is off to the planners!

FACT:  Don’t believe the nay sayers. Stortini’s wasn’t kicked out of the Windmill Village. In fact, if that restaurant wanted to be there still, they could be.  It was THEIR decision to go.  Joe and the family sold out to other owners. THEN the other owners announced their plans to relocate to Puyallup. THEN the city developed the Town Center plan and the space where the restaurant was, is still sitting there available.  As I said, if they wanted to, they could still be serving spaghetti on Bridgeport.  Don’t believe rumors.

FACT:  The commercial REALTORS working the project ARE currently courting what is referred to as an “Anchor” Business, one which brings traffic, specifically foot traffic, to a location.  Why?  Because that brings patrons for neighboring businesses. So, once the anchor business is signed, watch the others follow.  As of this month, they are somewhere around 90% sure they have an anchor business prepared to buy, develop and build and that anchor will be a state-of-the-art movie theater complex.  But as with any business in this economy, theater attendance is down and major chains are not yet expanding. So, we have patience. We have no control over it. It’s bigger than all of us.  It’s that simple.  For the past couple of years the businesses we would want in Town Center have been very frugal with expansion.  They are not ready yet.  It’s all dependent upon the economy but watch for it!  All of the preparatory development work already accomplished make the UP Town Center more and more attractive to a lot of businesses.  But again, the economy has the final word. So, we wait, like everybody else.

FACT:  Here’s another rumor you can flush down the old…    Town Center has the city’s bond rating  in the dump.  Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth.  Just this last month, “the big boys” all rated U.P’s bonding at A+.  You don’t get any better!  There are many reasons for that but credit our current governmental leadership with the win!  Not bad, folks. Not bad at all.  Oh, by the way, the City also has more than $4M in strategic reserves.  The next time one of these knucklehead candidates for city council refers to the city as broke, ask them about those facts.  Surplus of strategic reserves and an A+ S&P bond rating.  The neighboring cities jealous of both can line up at the door!

FACT:  Did you know that plans were underway to answer the need for library expansion even before the Town Center plan was developed.  The new library will “rock” and it’s only about a year away.  “But, but, but…the city got rid of a perfectly good library”  Oh, puhleeze.  The Pierce County library system was looking for a way to get more space and to make it all state-of-the-art. The city gave it to them!  And by the way, what a very nice visibleplace that will be for a library, right in the heart of the biggest draw in the area, in an absolutely featured location with TONS more room and amenities than they had or they likely could have afforded without outside assistance. 

FACT: (Here’s my favorite) ” The city paid off $1.75M to make a developer go away.”   ARRRRGGGHHHH!  I feel like a Charlie Brown cartoon.  If we are going to flap our gums about it, let’s get it straight. The city DID dish out about $1.75M to a developer in this way… At one point, the city reimbursed a developer’s earnest money, purchased architectural drawings and engineering plans (the building of which is underway) and then he went away and we were able to move forward to where we are today.  Good move.  He and his subcontractors got some good things accomplished but couldn’t get us where we wanted to go. So, we got what was good from it and moved on.  Good move.  That’s commercial development.  The biggest stumbling block to the development of  Town Center is very, very clearly the national economy and the resultant “stinginess” on the part of commercial entities in reference to new expansion.  A number of retail companies are certainly interested in Town Center but most are sitting on their hands waiting for the national economy to turn. It’s the only safe way to do business right now.  Does ANYBODY in this town or anyone we might hire have control over that?  Well, if you think so…   Oh, be nice, now, Pat.CityofUP_logo

You can tell that the nay sayers frustrate me because they DON’T get the facts straight.  They think the Town Center should be complete, operational and a thriving success by now.  Get real.  Wishing shall not make it so.  Talk to any commercial REALTOR today and you are talking to a desperate character!  As a Vice President of the statewide association of REALTORS,  I work across the table from one of their key leaders and she just rolls her eyes every time the topic comes up.  She points out how far into the mire our commercial market has sunk. That has a direct impact on the U.P. Town Center.  So, we stay the course. Trust in our leadership as they continue to earn federal and state grants, No I didn’t say loans, GRANTS  in the MILLIONS of dollors to make the very effective dream of this city reach reality.  I have no doubt that it will but then I’m one of those positive thinkers who believes the housing market will turn around, too…and it will.

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: 290911148715 61st St W  Here’s yet another example of how, if you price the property accurately, even in THIS market, it will sell in a timely manner.  The old real estate adage, “There’s a right price for every home.” is, while obvious, also absolutely correct.  This 4 Bedroom, 2.75 Bath, 1978 home first appeared on the market with an asking price of $269,500 and they must have asked nicely because the 2,300 square foot Woodlake home took a $260,000 offer in  just 25 days!  They could have asked $300K for it and we would probably be reading about it’s sale oh, somewhere around December but only after they had dropped it to about $250K.  That’s the way it works!  So,it’s nice to see it work the RIGHT way.  Congratulations!

By the way, if you’ve been wondering about that $8,000 tax credityou’ve been hearing is available for buying a home, just check out last week’s blog, issued 8/30/09 and watch the brief video I included there.  It really does tell the story quite clearly.

As always, if you have questions about real estate, perhaps you’re wondering what your home would bring on the market or maybe it’s time to get that family home ready for when the market turns. Well, let’s talk.  It would be my pleasure to provide an analysis for you to help you plan accordingly and then you can press on, heading for the day you put it on the market WITH an accurate understanding of what it will take to earn top dollar and just what that top dollar should be. I’ve been around U.P. since 1953 and I’ve sold a lot of homes in this town.  It’s always a pleasure to help another neighbor!

Well, dry out and we’ll see you again at the end of the week. 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.

____________________________________________________

———————————————————————

It really looks like an interesting week ahead. Not because interesting things are scheduled to occur but because they are not AND because there’s a feeling out there that somehow, someway, we’ve let summer slip through our fingers. So, as the rains creep back into our lives (Lord, knows we need ’em) we feel the chance to get out and recreate in the beautiful NW summertime, well, we feel it slipping through out fingers. Desperation sets in. Back to school sales are well underway. Kids are talking about “new outfits” and who is going to be in their class and… you know they do have the benefit of a summer which, due to their young years, seems to be at least twice as long as ours.

I, as an official old fart, (My grandsons insist I went to grade school “when dinosaurs roamed the earth”) have the desperateold fart feeling that I’ve missed it and as busy as I am in my business, I feel like I AM going to lose out on summer before I really get the chance to get out there and enjoy it. Can I prove it? Yes. There was an NFL game on TV last night! Holy Crap!!! 

So, today I’m not going to spend a lot of time writing the blog. Yes, it can take a long time. But instead, I’ll let pictures tell the story, as they say. Whomever “they’ are. You know, come to think of it, “They” might actually be Eastman Kodak!

Before I get into the diatribe of the day, I need to remind you that YOUR PRIMARY ELECTION BALLOTS NEED TO BE RETURNED SOON!!!  They must be recieved by August 18th but why put it off?  There’s probably nothing you can do this year that’s more important to the future of our city than to VOTE in the City Council Elections and of course for the fire department and EMS propositions – VOTE YES!  Here’s the thing. I really don’t want my wife to call 911 and have the fire department’s EMS team respond but fail to resucitate me because the battery in their life saving equipment crapped out for lack of funds!  I’m willing to bet you don’t either….VOTE YES!  And while were doing common sense things that actually are very important to us and our neighbors, remember to make your mark next to that very familiar and trusted name of LINDA BIRD for Position 1 on the City Council.  I could go into the six thousand or so reasons why but I already did that in last Monday’s blog. You can read it now, if you already haven’t.  Oh man, if you haven’t, you might be the only one in U.P.  I can’t believe all of the hits that blog got!  Wow!  I love it that U.P. residents take this city council race that seriously. God Bless you all!  It really does make a difference!
Well, I, like you have  heard so many rumors about the future of Bridgeport, I thought I ought to pick out a few of my favorite “rumors-in-error”  and set the record straight.
NO. They are NOT taking it down to one lane north and one lane south, not, not, not, not! If some knucklehead tells you that, ask them what else they want to be wrong about.
Yes. They ARE installing “back-in” angle parking on the east side of Bridgeport in front of  Town Center.                                  No, Town Center has not been renamed Market Square. That’s the central gathering spot WITHIN Town Center, which is just about 100% complete.
And as they install the back-in parking, they are also preserving the bicycle lane on the north side of Bridgeport.  I know those of you who only get around behind the wheel of your car probably don’t care but THOUSANDS of U.P. residents also ride bikes and if we can make it a bit safer for the kids, I’m all for it. By the way, if you ever see me riding a bike, run, run away!  (The EMS squad does!)

Hey, did you know the city is offering “Hard Hat” Tours of Town Center so you can see for yourself with a tour guide, exactly what the status is of the project. Go get it from the horse’s mouth! Check the city website on the far right side of this page.
And now on to the photo of the day.  First let me caution you that from time to time I do things rather tongue-in-cheek.  For example, if you are a regular reader of this blog, I really don’t hate Police Chief Jim Andrews. I actually think he’s a heck of a nice guy. And I do recognize his softball skills…well, let’s not get carried away, here.   The whole flogging of the chief after his strike out in the Hogs loss to the Hosers, at UPfest…that was just in fun. So, when it seems I may be going over the brink, ask yourself, “Is this another one of Pat’s feeble attempts at humor?” You just might be pleasantly surprised. Or as my good freind and Curtis grad Dan Engle likes to say, “Lighten Up!”.
Speaking of such… the other day I observed two guys operating heavy machinery in front of our building, the Coldwell Banker Building across from Town Center. As these two guys ran their big boy toys, another guy stood on the sidewalk and he was clearly the supervisor because from time to time he would walk up to the equipment operators, wildly wave his arms around, pointing and yelling instructions.  That all seemed fine and normal but then I noticed two guys standing off to the side of the road with their arms crossed. No tools, no purpose, just standing there…watching.  I figured they were either typical federal inspectors or employees waiting around for the “big boys” to be done.   Then there were yet two more on the other side of the equipment standing in exactly the same crossed-arm manner…they looked like clones of each other but they, too, were just standing there watching. Then I noticed a group of three more doing likewise and how did I know all of these guys were on-the-job? They were all wearing hard hats and orange vests and I don’t think the Girl Scouts have changed their uniforms to that…yet.  Oops, there was another guy watching and another solo, likewise, just watching. So, let’s count ’em. Two guys working. One guy supervising and about ten people watching! I couldn’t stand it any more. I went into my office and got about my business but before long I needed to pack up and depart for an appointment elsewhere in town and as I was exiting the door and heading for my ride, there they all were PLUS ONE MORE!
I’m sure they were somehow working diligently to complete the pavement ramps up to the concrete crosswalks from the Town Center to the west, across Bridgeport. I’m sure they were.  But frankly, the other day’s gaggle was not all that rare. It was so profound that I just had to grab my camera and get a picture of it to share with you.  Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a good angle to capture it all. Then I thought, “Aha” (That’s what I say when I have a rare, original thought.)  And I responded to the good idea by getting up on the roof of the Coldwell Banker building to shoot down but when I did, I saw it all in a new light and I realized what all of those “workers” were focused on, what they were all so captivated by and I shot it.   So, the next time you wonder what is holding up the completion of Town Center, you’ll remember this photo and have a real understanding of what it takes to get the job done.

Bridgeport Construction

You know, sometimes we DO take ourselves a bit too seriously, now don’t we?  I occasionally have to remind myself to lighten up and live longer…and happier!

My best to you all.  Catch you on Friday.  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.

____________________________________________________

———————————————————————