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Meet the candidates: Freeman vs. Dovey

To educate the public before the Nov. 6 election, The Mirror is giving city council candidates an opportunity to answer questions regarding important issues facing Federal Way.

Each of the four candidates for the Federal Way City Council — Roger Freeman, Jack Dovey, Dini Duclos and Hope Elder — have received this questionnaire. The answers for Position 5 candidates Dovey and Freeman can be found in today’s paper. Answers for Position 7 candidates Duclos and Elder will be published Oct. 24. The Mirror will announce its endorsements of city council, Lakehaven board and South King Fire and Rescue board candidates on Oct. 24. To see questionnaire answers for any candidates, please search our Web site at www.fedwaymirror.com. — Andy Hobbs, Mirror editor

ROGER FREEMAN

1. There is a push for Federal Way to change its form of government and allow residents to elect a mayor. Do you support or oppose this change, and why?

“We the people” are the first words of our United States Constitution. In a representative form of government, those entrusted with law-making authority should be directly accountable to the people.

In Federal Way, the mayor is selected by the city council on a rotational basis, and not directly by the people. The citizens of Federal Way should have input as to who will hold this position. I support having an elected mayor. I also support the mayor becoming a full-time salaried position. The mayor’s responsibilities should be expanded to include being the spokesperson for the city. I would envision the mayor’s office being an ambassador for local business and foreign trade. I also support council members being elected from legislative districts. I support four council members being elected from legislative districts and three council members being elected at-large. One of the at-large seats would be for the position of mayor.

2. In August, voters in unincorporated King County rejected Federal Way’s proposed annexation of nearly 4,400 acres and 20,000 residents east of I-5. What are your thoughts on the voting results, and how should the Federal Way City Council handle this issue in the future?

Persons living in the annexation district have disclosed that the measure was place on the ballot in a hurried fashion, no con position was presented in the voters pamphlet, and people did not see a marketable improvement in services to be offered by the city. My understanding is that our city did not present a very good case as to why Federal Way wanted to serve those citizens. Moreover, it was not explained how services would be maintained after the county’s 10-year funding had ended. The governed want to be free from government intrusion. Federal Way’s proposal was seen as a means of government intrusion. I believe people want good schools, a safe place to live, police protection, emergency services, safe roads and aid services for the indigent. However, what is important is what those in the annexation district want. I believe each council member should go door to door and find out what those in the annexation district want.

3. The City Council recently chose a developer whose project will reshape downtown Federal Way, specifically at the former AMC Theaters site. Current City Council members approved a proposal from United Properties Ltd. What are your thoughts on the direction downtown Federal Way is heading, and what directions would you like to see downtown take?

It appears that high-rise towers are headed to downtown Federal Way. That was not my vision for the downtown corridor. My proposal was to convene a meeting with the owner of the Center Plaza Property, and the owners of the former Target and Toys ‘R’ Us properties. Over time and citizens’ input, together we would create a vision for the redevelopment of the entire downtown city corridor. I had envisioned creating a city center that incorporated quaint retail shops and elegant restaurants with outdoor seating intertwined along a central water feature. The main feature would be a performing arts center that would attract local as well as national recording and performing artists. I would have liked to have incorporated professional-grade tennis courts and an outdoor basketball court. My desire was to create a campus that would be inviting to all persons; a place where couples could stroll arm-in-arm down a promenade. I am committed to making this a reality. As South King County continues to grow, Kent, Auburn and Tacoma will continue to build attractions that will compete for our residents’ dollars. In order for our city to strive, we will need to focus on developing a city center that will attract tourist dollars to Federal Way.

4. What kind of relationship should the Federal Way City Council foster with the Federal Way School District?

When I moved to Federal Way six years ago, I was told that the school system needed improvement. Being a recipient of a public education, I understand the importance of having a good education. This is why I volunteered on the campaign to help pass the school levy. Now that I have a child in the public school system, I have met many excellent administrators, teachers and staff. We have a great public education system. However, the school district is in need of people of character who will help mentor our youth. I have been a mentor in the school district’s Heritage Leadership Camp. Quarterly, I and other volunteer mentors teach leadership principals to 60 at-risk youth. I also volunteer on the Adelaide PTA and Watch DOGS program. City council members should understand that they are role models and can have a direct impact in the school system. Superintendent Tom Murphy is a visionary. I believe he would welcome council members going into the schools and helping teach a class on city government. Council members can be an inspiration to our youth. The city of Federal Way should also designate more money for scholarships to aid students attending college and vocational institutions.

5. What quality of life issues will take priority for you as a Federal Way City Council member?

My quality of life priorities include creating crossing zones along 320th Street to help pedestrians and bus commuters safely cross this busy street; fund road improvements along 312th, Dash Point and other city roads to protect children as they walk to school; provide greater access to our city community center by reducing fees paid by city residents; increase funding for human services such as domestic violence shelters, rent assistance, drug/alcohol counseling, food bank assistance and homeless shelters; expand the children’s playground at Celebration Park; work with law enforcement to assign officers to individual neighborhoods to foster better community/police relationships; promote Camp Thunderbird, Heritage Leadership Camp and other leadership-building opportunities for youth; bring an outdoor summer concert series to Dumas Bay Centre; promote the enforcement of laws that help homeowners maintain the values of their homes; and promote the concept of a city baseball team.

6. There has been resistance to growth in Federal Way. Some say recent City Council decisions will transform Federal Way into a city like Bellevue. Others want to keep Federal Way’s present character intact. In your opinion, what do you think is Federal Way’s destiny?

Having grown up in Omaha, Nebraska, and having earned my law degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, I have come to love small cities. I would like to see Federal Way maintain its small-town culture by focusing on building community. We can accomplish this by creating a community vision statement. With the passage of the school bond measure, Federal Way can showcase its commitment to education, and the development of youth leaders. Our community vision statement could read: “Federal Way, Where Leaders Are Created.” Federal Way has a large ethnically-diverse culture. By developing a business district that highlights our many ethnic communities, our community vision statement could read: “Federal Way, Enjoy the World Without Leaving Home.” Federal Way has numerous health club-related facilities and walking/biking trails. If we focus on fitness, our community vision statement could read: “Federal Way, Where Fitness Looks Good on You.” Lastly, as I have campaigned throughout our city, people have offered a kind word of advice. With such friendly neighbors, our community vision statement could read: “You’ll Find a Friend in Federal Way.” An inspiring community vision statement will promote city pride and will help attract development to our city.

Contact Roger Freeman: freemanforcitycouncil@comcast.net or (253) 529-0902.

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JACK DOVEY

1. There is a push for Federal Way to change its form of government and allow residents to elect a mayor. Do you support or oppose this change, and why?

I believe our form of government is a sound one. The council-manager approach has served the City of Federal Way well and has kept our city government from becoming political. Our system is working because the citizens can decide to not re-elect a council member if they believe they are out of touch with the citizens and the council is able to remove a city manager without having to go to an election.

I believe the proposal, which will come before the voters, is a bad one as it appears to be brought forward by one disgruntled citizen. Electing a mayor who will be responsible to run a $70 million business is not very wise. The citizens may elect a popular person with no business training. I believe it will cost more than it does now to run the city, and it most likely will become political. Our mayor currently serves in a ceremonial position. The mayor runs meetings and is the individual who represents the city at regional meetings.

If citizens what to elect the person to run our meetings, I would support that. If they want to elect the person to run the city, I believe it is an unwise business decision.

2. In August, voters in unincorporated King County rejected Federal Way’s proposed annexation of nearly 4,400 acres and 20,000 residents east of I-5. What are your thoughts on the voting results, and how should the Federal Way City Council handle this issue in the future?

I believe that the citizens have voted and the council should get on to other city needs. It is apparent that the citizens of the annexation area what to continue to be part of King County and not part of the City of Federal Way. It is my belief that the City of Federal Way should do nothing and wait until the citizens want to be annexed or the State of Washington forces the annexation.

I do not believe annexation is going to be something the City of Federal Way pursues for a long time as the cost of serving the annexation area is more then the revenues generated. It only made sense this last go around as the State of Washington and King County were providing money to offset the shortfall for the next 10 years. I will not be interested in pursuing the annexation unless something drastic happens and we are forced to by the State of Washington.

3. The City Council recently chose a developer whose project will reshape downtown Federal Way, specifically at the former AMC Theaters site. Current City Council members approved a proposal from United Properties Ltd. What are your thoughts on the direction downtown Federal Way is heading, and what directions would you like to see downtown take?

It is only a matter of time for the core of our city to redevelop. Our affordable land prices, location and access all put Federal Way on developers’ radars. We will need to allow for planned development to take place as more people move to the Puget Sound region and Federal Way. I believe we need to attract high-rise office space and living quarters to our downtown core. The city needs to continue to expand its tax base so our citizens’ property taxes do not become unbearable. It is crucial to provide the services our citizens desire at an affordable price. I believe redevelopment in Federal Way’s core is one part of the solution.

As the city promotes downtown redevelopment, I would expect more living options, shopping venues and living wage jobs to follow. I believe it is important that we offer our citizens every opportunity to shop, live, play and work in Federal Way. I believe it is the City of Federal Way’s responsibility to offer a fertile field for developers to redevelop Federal Way’s downtown core, so we can continue to provide the services our citizens are requesting.

4. What kind of relationship should the Federal Way City Council foster with the Federal Way School District?

The city and the school district have two very different missions. The two, however, should work together wherever possible to jointly provide services that our citizens require. The city and the district have worked together to provide athletic fields. I believe the two entities should work together to provide emergency response services, public buildings that both the entities can use, and work together on any state legislation that will benefit our citizens. I do not believe the city should get involved with our school district’s mission of educating our children.

I believe the city and the district have a very good working relationship. I currently am a member of a committee that meets quarterly, specifically to discuss how the citizens’ governmental agencies can work together to better provide services for our citizens.

I believe whenever possible, our governmental agencies need to work together to reduce our citizens’ tax burdens by capitalizing on consolidating efforts and reducing costs.

5. What quality of life issues will take priority for you as a Federal Way City Council member?

With over 90,000 citizens to serve, I have found they all have a different view of what quality of life is. The city needs to be prepared to serve those who are barley making it and those who have great abundance.

I have found that public safety is the common thread when you talk to a diverse group. I will continue to work on public safety issues and continue to work on funding projects that get our citizens on the edge from crossing over and becoming a recipient of public assistance. We need to work to make our citizens in need productive and secure in times of turmoil.

I would also like our city to explore the programs recently begun in neighboring cities that address panhandling and drug dependence. These are two issues that if we tackle now will enhance all our citizens’ quality of life.

I also believe our city needs to find new ways to utilize our community center so all citizens in Federal Way are getting the benefits of this tremendous community asset.

6. There has been resistance to growth in Federal Way. Some say recent City Council decisions will transform Federal Way into a city like Bellevue. Others want to keep Federal Way’s present character intact. In your opinion, what do you think is Federal Way’s destiny?

Federal Way will continue to be a place people want to live. We must continue to maintain the balance of urban development with suburban neighborhoods.

We will need to continue to leverage our geographic location between Seattle and Tacoma, our outstanding neighborhoods, our affordable housing options, our low tax rates and our strong school system. Federal Way needs to become known as a place that encourages businesses to thrive. Our city has to offer exceptional governmental services and provide a robust business environment.

Our city government needs to be recognized as a regional leader. We need to protect our neighborhoods while encouraging growth in the city’s core. We need to protect our remaining open spaces while providing our landowners opportunities to develop their land.

There are many opposing forces in our city; it is our destiny to harness them and have them all travel down the same path that will benefit all of our citizens.

Federal Way has a bright future and the opportunity to be a greater city than it is already. We need to build on our many successes and eliminate the roadblocks we encounter.

Contact Jack Dovey: jdovey@bluewaterwireless.net or (206) 730-2612.

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