Opinion

The magic lamp of Federal Way: A bedtime story | Andy Hobbs

Once upon a time while walking through downtown Federal Way, Chuck found what looked like Aladdin’s lamp at the former AMC Theatre site. Seconds after rubbing the lamp, Chuck was blinded by a flash of light and smoke. When the air cleared, a translucent blue and white genie loomed overhead.

“Whew! What a relief! Thank you for freeing me from this lamp, kid,” the genie said. “To show my gratitude, I shall grant you three wishes.”

“I thought this only happened in the movies,” Chuck said. “For my first wish, I wish the Federal Way City Council would tell Twin Development to take its downtown skyscraper proposal and get lost.”

“That’s a tall order,” the genie said. “Such a wish could have disastrous consequences.”

“These developers are banking on hundreds of foreign investors who don’t seem to exist,” Chuck said. “They need $350 million to build the skyscrapers, but can’t even come up with $6 million to buy the land.”

“For a kid, you sure know a lot about Federal Way’s civic issues,” the genie said.

“That’s because I read The Mirror. So are you granting my wish or not?”

“As you wish. I shall say the magic words: Mecca lecca high mecca hiney ho!”

In a flash, the site of the proposed development turns into a lush green park with marble fountains, new playground equipment and a string quartet playing Mozart on a tiny stage. Children frolic along the jungle gym and roll in freshly cut grass. Strangers greet strangers with smiles as they pass one another, pushing strollers and gazing at Mount Rainier.

“Wow! I can’t believe what I’m seeing,” Chuck said. “What’s the catch?”

“If all seven city council members let Twin Development walk, that will motivate city leaders to join together and create a downtown park. Because the council stood up to the developer, the people of Federal Way didn’t see the need for an elected mayor to lead the city. Both candidates Jim Ferrell and Skip Priest withdrew from the race.”

“No!” Chuck cried. “I’ve invested too much time and energy into this mayor issue.”

“You can always use your second wish to unwish your first wish,” the genie said.

“Good call. For my second wish, I wish that I never wished my first wish.”

“As you wish. I shall say the magic words: Mecca lecca high mecca hiney ho!”

In a flash, the beautiful park became an empty crumbling parking lot.

“All right, kid. What’s your third wish?”

“Mr. Genie, I’m torn. I just wasted two wishes on our city council. If my third wish is a disaster, I won’t have another wish to fix it.”

“That’s the chance you take,” the genie said. “You and the rest of Federal Way must live with the consequences of your third and final wish.”

“For my third wish,” Chuck said, “I wish that Federal Way residents would stop wishing and start creating opportunities within their own borders, thereby strengthening both the civic and business foundations while enriching overall quality of life.”

“That’s the most detailed wish I’ve ever heard. I shall say the magic words: Mecca lecca high —"

“Wait! Can I add to my wish that every eligible voter in Federal Way will stay informed and participate in every election?”

“Don’t push your luck, kid. I’m a genie, not God. Now if you’ll excuse me, I shall say the magic words: Mecca lecca high mecca hiney ho!”

This time, there was no flash. The genie and lamp disappeared once the magic words were spoken. Chuck shrugged his shoulders and walked home to Twin Lakes. His father was waiting in the kitchen.

“Happy 18th birthday, son!” he said, patting Chuck on the back. “Let’s get you registered to vote.”

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