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Jim Ferrell announces candidacy for mayor of Federal Way
Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell will run for mayor of Federal Way in 2013.
The announcement comes weeks after Ferrell initially declined to seek the office currently held by Mayor Skip Priest. Ferrell said his change of heart came after members of the community asked him to run. He cited a concern for public safety and the overall lack of vision from the incumbent mayor as two reasons for seeking the office.
"Our approach toward public safety will change when I am your mayor," Ferrell said in a news release. "As your mayor, I will make public safety my top priority."
In the announcement, Ferrell cited the current mayor's lack of focus on the issue of public safety, including the rejection of funding for four police officers, refusal to participate in a regional gang task force, and the overall reduction of the police department. Ferrell also cited a nearly 24 percent increase in burglaries from 2011 to 2012, and about a 12 percent increase in auto thefts from 2011 to 2012.
The public safety platform extends to Ferrell's positions on economic development in Federal Way. Ferrell said a proposed $32 million performing arts and conference center (PACC) will "negatively affect our city's ability to fully fund our police force, as the cost to run this facility will negatively impact our city's finances."
Ferrell said that on a project this large, the city needs interest from private investors, and said there is no game plan for securing funding or paying for the facility's operation. In March, Ferrell was the lone dissenting vote as the Federal Way City Council approved moving forward with a schematic design for the PACC.
Coinciding with the campaign announcement is an endorsement from the Federal Way Police Officers Guild.
"Jim's leadership and commitment to the community is what the citizens of Federal Way need," wrote Richard Kim, president of the guild. "His compassion for 'the people' is a clear choice for our full endorsement."
Ferrell was first elected to the Federal Way City Council in 2003, and has worked as a King County prosecutor for 18 years. In 2009, he led an effort to change the city's form of government to allow voters to directly elect a "strong mayor." In 2010, he ran for mayor against Priest, but got about 48 percent of the vote. In that campaign, Ferrell spent $80,073 and Priest spent $39,622.
Last month, Priest announced his bid for a second term. In a news release, Priest said that safety remains the city's number one priority. The city recorded its lowest crime rate in 2011, something that Priest credits to the Federal Way Police Department and community engagement initiatives like the Safe City camera program.
"We are committed to using a proactive rather than reactive approach to ensuring public safety in our community," Priest said.