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Voters will decide on elected mayor

A ballot initiative will let Federal Way voters decide if they want to elect their mayor.

A petition drive led by Federal Way resident Roy Parke was validated this week by King County elections. Parke’s effort yielded 2,207 valid signatures, more than the required 1,825 signatures — which is 10 percent of the 18,250 total Federal Way ballots cast in the November 2005 election.

The city will set an election date for next year, possibly Feb. 19 or March 11, according to King County elections.

The initiative would change the city’s government from a city council-manager form to a mayor-council status, and needs only a simple majority (50 percent plus one) in order to pass.

Parke is the president of Accountability Comes to Town (ACT). The group turned in almost 3,000 signatures as part of the petition drive.

ACT visited businesses, bus stops and went door-to-door collecting the signatures, Parke said. The group submitted the petition to King County Elections and Federal Way on July 30.

The council-manager type of government is sometimes referred to as a weak mayor form. In Federal Way, citizens elect seven city council members who, in turn, appoint from within the council a mayor to serve a two-year term. The council also chooses a city manager to implement the council’s decisions, City Attorney Pat Richardson said.

The city manager is like the CEO for Federal Way and handles the city’s daily operations, Richardson said. Cities such as Tacoma, Olympia and Vancouver utilize this form of government.

Under a strong mayor form of government, an elected mayor would serve as the city’s CEO. Seattle, Renton, Auburn and Kent utilize this form of government.

The strong mayor would implement the city council’s decisions and would have ruling authority as to what happens in the city. Usually, a city administrator, who has past experience in operating a city, assists the mayor and acts like a city manager, said Stan Finkelstein, Seattle University School of Law adjunct faculty member.

To learn more about the petition process, view the Revised Code of Washington 35A.02.050 at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=35A.02.050.

Police arrest shooting suspect

Christopher D. Hendricks, the suspect in the Aug. 1 shooting of two Federal Way teenagers at Steel Lake Park, was arrested Sept. 26 and is being held at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Hendricks was taken into custody about 5 a.m. at a motel in Burien by King County Sheriff’s Office deputies, said Federal Way police spokeswoman Stacy Flores. Hendricks was charged with two counts of drive-by shooting on Aug. 31, but remained at large following the Aug. 1 incident at Steel Lake Park, 2410 S. 312th St., said King County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Dan Donohoe.

Hendricks failed to appear at his first arraignment for the charges, Donohoe said.

He now face charges for the two counts of drive-by shooting and one count of possession of a stolen firearm, according to the King County Jail Inmate Lookup Service Web site at www.metrokc.gov/dad/inmatelookup/startpage.aspx.

Hendricks is being held on $250,000 bail for the drive-by shooting charges. Bail was set Sept. 27 for $50,000 for the second charge.

Roxann DiTolla, 16, a victim in the shooting, remains hospitalized. She faces possible permanent paralysis in her lower limbs. Once released, doctors expect Roxann DiTolla will need to participate in a year of outpatient rehabilitation, said her mother, Cami DiTolla. Roxann DiTolla will celebrate her seventeenth birthday on Oct. 13.

“The frosting on the cake is that (Christopher Hendricks) got arrested,” Cami DiTolla said.

Roxann DiTolla’s friends and family are currently seeking donations for items such as food and decorations for a birthday party, to be held at the hospital, for Roxann. To donate items for the party, call Tiffany Johnson at (206) 422-6371.

Fatal crash on Pac Highway kills woman

One women suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle vs. car collision that occurred at 8:29 p.m. Sept. 24 near Pacific Highway South and South 226th Street in Des Moines.

Both vehicles were traveling northbound on Pacific Highway South when the collision took place, said South King Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Kendra Kay. Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters found the male driver and female passenger of the motorcycle had been thrown approximately 75 to 100 feet from their vehicle. The driver suffered injuries and was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Kay said. The female passenger died at the scene, she said. Both the driver and passenger of the car were wearing their seatbelts and suffered no injuries, she said.

The Des Moines Police Department closed a portion of Pacific Highway South to conduct an investigation of the collision.

Painting over graffiti in FW will continue

Federal Way will extend until 2008 the part-time position of painting over graffiti within the city limits, city spokeswoman Linda Farmer said.

The job was created this past summer and is considered to be a success, said code compliance officer Greg Vause. The city is focusing its graffiti removal efforts to well-used corridors, such as Pacific Highway South, South 320th Street and South 21st Street, before addressing graffiti on side streets and schools, Vause said. This past summer, police recruits were assisting with the work at times, but that is no longer the case, he said. Police department reports are used to help locate graffiti in Federal Way, Vause said.

“I think graffiti is on the downswing,” Vause said.

The city has received a lot of support and progress in its efforts to paint over graffiti, he said. However, graffiti is a problem that can resurface quickly, he said.

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