Primary debate recap: Federal Way City Council candidates | ELECTION 2011

Candidates for Federal Way City Council position 3 (from left to right) Susan Honda, Roger Flygare and Mark Koppang listen to moderator Jim Burbidge at the end of a candidates forum/debate July 13 at Federal Way High School. A fourth candidate for the position, Scott Sparling, did not attend. The evening also included primary candidates for Federal Way School Board position 3. The all-mail primary election is Aug. 16. - Andy Hobbs/The Mirror
Candidates for Federal Way City Council position 3 (from left to right) Susan Honda, Roger Flygare and Mark Koppang listen to moderator Jim Burbidge at the end of a candidates forum/debate July 13 at Federal Way High School. A fourth candidate for the position, Scott Sparling, did not attend. The evening also included primary candidates for Federal Way School Board position 3. The all-mail primary election is Aug. 16.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

Federal Way candidates in the August primary election shared their views in a public forum. Roger Flygare, Susan Honda, Mark Koppang and Scott Sparling are vying for Federal Way City Council position 3, which is being vacated by current council member Mike Park. Sparling was unable to attend the candidates forum.

More than 120 attended the forum July 13 at Federal Way High School to ask questions of school board and city council candidates. The event was sponsored by The Mirror and the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce.

The top two finishers in each primary race will advance to the general election in November.

On the issue of term limits for the mayor and city council, Honda said she favored term limits while Flygare and Koppang oppose them. All three candidates said that partisan politics will not play a factor in responding to citizens and meeting their needs. On the topic of medical marijuana permits in Federal Way, all three said they would respect the current law that makes marijuana illegal. Honda only supports medical marijuana if it’s provided by a licensed doctor, Flygare would support a change in laws that allow more access for people who need it, and Koppang said Federal Way doesn’t need to touch the issue. All three candidates held similar views in support of accessibility and easier access to business permits.

Here is a recap of the candidates’ responses to questions from the audience at Wednesday’s forum. Check out video interviews by clicking here.

• What would you do to encourage more businesses to come to Federal Way and get them to stay?

Flygare: The city needs to reach out to businesses through the Federal Way Chamber. The city core must be developed into a magnet of sorts that attracts folks to an economic engine. Doing so will lead to more family wage jobs.

Koppang: “The AMC (Theatres) site represents an opportunity for Federal Way to really control and direct growth.” The city needs a “magnet” for downtown and show “there’s more to what Federal Way has to offer than what’s hidden away in the woods.”

Honda: To attract businesses, the city must review and improve its current sign and zoning ordinances as well as its permitting process. Ask business owners what they think. “We need to aggressively market Federal Way and let the world know we’re open for business.”

• What is your vision for the AMC Theatres property downtown?

Koppang: He wants to see a self-sustaining, vibrant signature solution that will draw business in and provide a place people want to visit. The intent should be to raise revenue and sales tax. “We need to welcome businesses here and give them a reason to want to be here. A signature development will do that.”

Honda: She would like to see more public input on the site as the city council studies proposals. “The public needs to have its voice heard and know what’s going on. We have this chance to redevelop this downtown area and we need to do it right.”

Flygare: Any development should complement the civic and performing arts center already slated for the area, whether it’s a convention center or something else. “It needs to be something that is family friendly and has value. ... people talk about Kent Station a lot. It could work there.”

• On red light cameras

Honda: “If people would stop when the light turns red and not go through it, these would never have been developed.” They bring in a lot of money. She wants the city to find a red light camera company that delivers better service in regards to tickets, etc.

Flygare: Acknowledges that many citizens are not happy with the cameras. He wants the city to address traffic engineering problems “in a better way so we don’t have a big brother kind of effect going on.”

Koppang: The cameras are about public safety. “I don’t like the red light cameras, but I do know we’re generating revenue from these cameras.”

• How can Federal Way promote tourism?

Koppang: Federal Way already has a lot of amenities with city parks and public spaces. Ideas to promote tourism include a convention center and performing arts hall. The city needs to get the word out and make Federal Way a viable vacation destination.

Honda: Number one idea is to have a visitors center for Federal Way. The topic has surfaced before and she would support and encourage it.

Flygare: Aside from parks, a convention center could promote tourism, or “maybe building something like Cirque du Soleil here — a real magnet to bring people in.” City needs to reach out and get creative.

• Do you support a convention center in Federal Way?

Honda: For downtown, she envisions a performing arts center, convention center and a three- or four-star hotel. Could be private-public partnership, but it needs to be studied further to find out costs and information.

Flygare: He supports a convention center. “It needs to happen. We need that economic development. We need those fresh footprints in Federal Way. We need those revolving dollars here” that will bring new businesses. Council could easily look at other examples in the region.

Koppang: “I like the idea of convention center generating more business for merchants.” The center needs to have more than one use, and so do any other buildings in the city. Whether public or private, “it needs to be self-sustaining and generate revenue.”

• City’s number one concern?

Flygare: Reducing crime and getting rid of empty space.

Koppang: Effective use of resources, especially public safety as the police do more with less.

Honda: “I see a perception problem.” People have different ideas of what Federal Way is, what it looks like and what it needs. “We need to change the perception of Federal Way.”

• Closing remarks

Flygare: He will help develop a family friendly city and keep it that way, addressing crime problems, and empty space. “I have the legislative ability to help bring forward the light rail system that won’t make it to South King County,” he said, vowing to build coalitions with other city governments in the area. “I have the skill to bring those conversations together.”

Koppang: “I didn’t get in this race to be a one and done candidate. ... Public involvement is part of my future so get used to seeing me around town.” He wants to see the city grow and thrive and reach its potential to become a “magnet city” in the South Puget Sound.

Honda: “Experience matters,” she said, noting 30 years of volunteering in Federal Way. She said she has developed knowledge of Federal Way through relationships with businesses, clubs, organizations, the schools and more that can make her an effective council member with a proven record for getting things accomplished. She has a passion for neighborhood safety. She wants to continue to develop the whole downtown and let people know that Federal Way is open for business.


Roger Flygare: www.vote4rogerflygare.com or email jona@flygare.com or (253) 929-9430

Susan Honda: www.HondaforFW.com or hondafw@hotmail.com or (253) 838-0734

Mark Koppang: koppangforcouncil@gmail.com or (253) 250-8022

Scott Sparling: giggleworks@aol.com


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