Cheers and jeers: Christmas 2010 edition | Editorial

• Cheers to the lives of Sam and Maryann Mitchell. Sam Mitchell, a longtime educator, coach and volunteer in Federal Way, died Dec. 8 at age 80. Mitchell was married to the late State Rep. Maryann Mitchell, who died in 2002. The couple played a key role in helping Federal Way incorporate as a city in 1990. Sam Mitchell was also a trailblazer for youth sports in Federal Way. Most important, both left Federal Way a better place than when they found it.

• Jeers to South King Fire and Rescue’s board of commissioners over the issue of videotaping public meetings, which shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place. The board recently revised its policy to allow videotaping after a dust-up with local resident Jerry Galland. However, the revised policy allows citizens who object to being filmed to ask that a camera be turned off — a provision that clashes with the state’s Open Public Meetings Act. The state law reads that conditions may not be placed upon the attendance of public meetings. The board’s revised policy still contains conditions (note: only members of the public can request that cameras be shut off). On another note, the situation has shown the fire district and board of commissioners what a little public heat feels like. This “heat” includes a blog (southkingfire.net) started by Galland that is critical of the fire district’s spending, policies, etc. If this is the worst heat they’ve experienced, they are lucky. Just ask some of Federal Way’s elected officials who have stood in the public’s crosshairs.

• Cheers to the recently installed speed enforcement cameras on 1st Avenue South near Panther Lake Elementary. That stretch of road is a pedestrian’s nightmare. At the very least, these cameras will force drivers to pay more attention to driving. When it comes to safety, this is a win-win for walkers and drivers alike.

• Jeers to Ron Wallace Jr., a Federal Way area man charged with second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter. Wallace, 28, pleaded not guilty despite admitting to sheriff’s deputies that he beat the girl over a soiled diaper. Of course, the plea of not guilty was expected, just like the public can expect Wallace to work the legal system for everything it’s worth.

• Cheers to the World Championship of Sand Sculpting’s return to Federal Way in 2011. The non-profit Federal Way Community Council (FWCC) has found a way to pay its debt and move ahead with plans for 2011’s championship, according to event organizers. Despite rumblings over losing money, the event deserves at least one more shot to get it right. Never underestimate the power of novelty, even if the novelty involves high-quality sand sculptures in a run-down parking lot. The monthlong event netted unprecedented regional and national (and positive) media exposure for Federal Way. The one-of-a-kind event gives people all over the world a reason to visit Federal Way and spend their money here. Give sand a chance, Federal Way, and the city will hit pay dirt.

• Cheers to the unofficial chatter regarding an official Christmas tree lighting and celebration for Federal Way. There is talk of a bigger and better Christmas tree lighting/celebration returning to Dash Point Village — next year, that is. Keep your fingers crossed and your donations on standby. Too bad the tree lighting wasn’t in the cards this year. We could all use just a bit more holiday cheer.

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