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Federal Way candidates and debates for 2011 general election
Here is the list of Federal Way candidates and debates for the 2011 general election. Voters pamphlets and ballots will be mailed to residents about three weeks before the Nov. 8 election.
Federal Way City Council
• Position 1: Jim Ferrell (incumbent, unopposed. Contact JimAFerrell@comcast.net).
• Note: City council candidates participated in a questionnaire from the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. Click here to read more, or scroll down to read a sample.
Federal Way School Board
• Position 2: Gail Crabtree and Claire Wilson. This position is being vacated by current board member Suzanne Smith.
• Position 5: Tony Moore (incumbent, unopposed).
South King Fire and Rescue board of commissioners
• Position 4: Mark Thompson (incumbent) and Timolin Abrom.
Lakehaven Utility District board of commissioners
• Position 1: Len Englund (incumbent, unopposed).
• Position 4: Timothy McClain (incumbent) and Louise Wessel.
Debates and more
• General election debates for three city council races are scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 5 at Federal Way High School’s little theater (located at S. 304th Street and Pacific Highway South). Candidates for the three city council races are also invited to a forum 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon at Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club.
• Debates for school board, Lakehaven and South King fire commissioners will run 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 12 at Federal Way High School’s little theater.
• Candidates who are running unopposed will not participate in debates.
• The Federal Way Mirror will contact candidates to participate in a questionnaire. This will give candidates an opportunity to speak directly to Federal Way readers about positions, issues and more. The Mirror’s editorial board will endorse candidates in October. Stay tuned.
Sample from Federal Way Chamber of Commerce questionnaire from participating city council candidates in contested races
Q: If Federal Way is facing a revenue shortfall, would you work to raise taxes and fees in order to keep the current programs and services, would you advocate cutting programs and services, or would you do some of both? Which programs and services would you cut first?
Roger Flygare (position 3): I think the city council in general as well as the mayor’s office are empowered by the people to identify sources of revenue, use those revenues wisely, and when shortfalls unexpectedly arise to work with the citizens to find solutions so as to abate cutting programs and services. Complete programs may have to be eliminated because to reduce them may cause a crippling effect and therefore create a waste of public funds by that department not being able to carry out its mission. The City of Federal Way might well consider combining some of its services with other nearby city governments like Des Moines and Auburn in keeping everyone’s services as vibrant as possible. Having not been on the council, I am not intimately aware of the possibilities that might exist but you can be sure that I would work hard to find them.
Susan Honda (position 3): I would not cut any programs or services. I would go through the budget line by line and find out where we can make reductions in spending. By doing this I would find inefficiencies and waste, cut them and not make a big impact on citizens. I would not increase taxes or fees.
Bob Celski (position 5): Given the current state of the economy and with unemployment running rampant, with people and businesses struggling in every area, I think it is unadvisable to raise taxes. Rather, I think that a total scrub of the budget can lead to areas where things can be cut even further than in the current cycle. A touchy issue is employment, and several positions have been cut in the biannual budget. However, upon review of the 2011 and 2012 budget, I see one area that stands out. For 2011, the benefits package of City Legal Services employees is exactly 87.3 percent of wages and salaries. For 2012, it raises to 89.4 percent. It has had large increases every year since 2008. I find it hard to justify funding benefits at such a high level in 2011, then increasing them again in 2012 at a time when the city is cutting positions. For industry in general, funding for benefits is in the 20-25 percent area of wages and salaries, and ever-decreasing as companies are reducing benefits costs (except L&I, SUTA, FUTA and Social Security/Medicare, which are mandated by government). Compensating benefits for City Legal Services employees at 87.3 percent to 89.4 percent of their salary is extreme, multiple times more than the norm in the non-government sector and should be scrutinized.
Jack Dovey (position 5): I believe you have to cut first, and then ask the citizens what they are willing to spend in order to add something back. I do not believe raising fees or taxes are justified until we have cut everything and can look the citizens in the eye and say we are now cutting the basic duties of local government, do you want us to cut, or are you willing to pay more? Which programs and services would you cut first? Most programs have been cut to the bone. We would have three choices, none of which will be fun. Cut city departments and outsource, eliminate asphalt overlay, or review public safety standards.
Dini Duclos (position 7): As a current council member, I have not advocated to raise taxes as I realize this hurts business and would slow our recovery. My colleagues on the council and I have not advocated raising taxes and have looked for ways to reduce some. In fact, I advocated and voted to reduce the gambling tax so that PJ Pockets could re-open and re-hire about 100 employees. Another punch card business stayed in business as well. I set up negotiation between staff and the Master Builders to change the collection time of permits and other fees to “time of sale” instead of “time of application.” I also successfully advocated for realtors regarding their particular signage needs to help realtors promote housing sales and their own bottom lines. In the last city budget, several positions were eliminated by the council in “non-essential” departments. I was in agreement with this. The council kept the police department fully staffed, something I was adamant about, through grants and one-time funding. I agreed with the fact that raises were not given to city staff last year, nor are they in the plan for this year. The city is looking at ways to reduce health care costs, something almost all businesses and companies are struggling with, including my own agency. Because Federal Way has budgeted conservatively in the past, something I feel strongly about, the city has not faced a need to cut as much from the budget as some other cities. I strongly believe being fiscally conservative is prudent and pays off in the long run.