David Lucavish brings his open-community ideals to Covington City Council And don’t fence me in

David Lucavish remembers growing up in Tacoma in a neighborhood without fences where everyone knew each other, and he’d like to use that open-community concept as the cornerstone of his approach to serving on the Covington City Council.

David Lucavish remembers growing up in Tacoma in a neighborhood without fences where everyone knew each other, and he’d like to use that open-community concept as the cornerstone of his approach to serving on the Covington City Council.

“I think there was a sense of community when there weren’t fences,” Lucavish said.

He was appointed to the council on Aug. 12 and was sworn in Tuesday to fill the seat left vacant when Bud Sizemore resigned with about a year and a half left in his term. Lucavish will serve through the election in November 2009, when he and others can run for the office.

Born and raised in Tacoma, Lucavish eventually moved north when he was 30, taking a job at ADPS Computer World. He’s been working on computers since he was in junior high, and he now owns his own computer consulting business, Eagle Computers, in Kent.

“In the Tacoma School District, they had a pilot program at Truman Junior High,” he said. “Back then I had a teacher by the name of Mr. Zittle and he taught us Fourtram (a computer language).”

Lucavish kept learning about computers in high school and then at Tacoma Community College. The more he got into working with computers, the more it clarified one of his key character traits: He’s a problem solver, he said.

“After college, I worked in the music business. Whenever they had computer problems, I was the go-to guy,” Lucavish said. “I got kind of tired of the music business and I thought maybe I should look at computers, and boom, I got a job fairly quickly and the rest is history.”

Lucavish has owned his business outright since 1996, when he bought out his business partner, who wanted to focus on another enterprise.

It was through his business that Lucavish first came across the idea of going to Covington City Council meetings, something that has become a ritual since 2000.

“One of my customers said, ‘Hey, have you ever been to a City Council meeting?’ I always wanted to but never had,” Lucavish said. “That very first meeting was one that there was a little bit of excitement. One of the council members grabbed the mayor’s gavel and chased her around the chambers.”

There wasn’t anything good on TV on Tuesday nights at the time, Lucavish recalled with a chuckle, and the council meetings were much more interesting.

“There was a lot of conflict,” he said. “It was fun.”

This was different that his general impression of Covington. He moved into the city in late 1997 after ending a long-term relationship.

“Covington was the only place that was affordable at the time,” he said. “I didn’t know much about Covington, but I really liked the community. The house that I found was a rambler, and that was what I was looking for.”

Plus it wasn’t near the freeway or airplanes taking off. Lucavish had been living near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before he moved to Covington.

“I had airport noise and I-5,” he said. “A couple days after I moved into the house (in Covington), I had to turn on the radio. It was too quiet. I couldn’t sleep.”

But, he found that the people in Covington were friendly, and he met many of his neighbors.

He began getting more involved in the community by joining the Covington Chamber of Commerce and he is now on the board of directors. Lucavish is also on committees with the Kent School District and is a member of the Covington Economic Development Council.

The more involved he has become, the more interested he got in serving in a greater capacity. It also got him thinking more in depth about how the city runs, he said.

Traffic is an issue and so is improving streets. He thinks it’s particularly important that neighborhoods like 164th Street Southeast have sidewalks.

Coming from the perspective of a business owner, Lucavish has quite a few ideas about creating a downtown area, as this fits into his idea of helping Covington become a more open community.

“One thing that I think is critical is that the city, if they’re thinking about doing a town center type of thing, the property is quickly dwindling,” he said. “Even though it’s down the road, they need to purchase the property now so it will be available.”

Having a place in downtown Covington where people can gather, he said, is vital. But he’s also looking at the big picture.

“I’m a problem-solver, so the thing that I think is really interesting is the puzzle that we have to put together, because we need economic development to do certain things like parks and playfields, and all that requires money,” Lucavish said. “Another thing I think is important is communication between the city and its citizens.”

There will be challenges for Lucavish, though he said he’s not sure what those will be until he gets into it. But one thing he does know is that while the members of the council are different, there no longer is conflict.

“I like diversity,” he said. “The more diverse the City Council, the better we can solve problems. The thing I like about the council now is even if they disagree, they respect each other, but before that wasn’t the case.”

Though the decision is still about a year away, Lucavish knows he has the option to run for the position he’s been appointed to, and he said it’s something he hasn’t ruled out. It may depend on how much progress the city can make on offering things that give Covington a greater sense of identity and community during the next year or so.

Lucavish said he plans to use his community-without-fences philosophy while on the council.

“Just something to think about,” Lucavish said. “Are you trying to keep people out or keep people in with those fences?”

Staff writer Kris Hill can be reached at (425) 432-1209 (extension 5054) and khill@reporternewspapers.com