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Council candidate review: Honda-Flygare, Duclos-Tyler | Bob Roegner
Susan Honda emerged from the August primary with a commanding lead over Roger Flygare in the race to succeed retiring Federal Way City Councilman Mike Park.
Honda believes her experience in City Hall as chair of the arts and diversity commissions have prepared her to be an effective council member. She has been endorsed by council members Linda Kochmar, Jim Ferrell and Roger Freeman. While she is not partisan, she acknowledges leaning toward being a Democrat.
She anticipates spending about $18,000 on her election.
She favors “responsible development” and believes the city business climate could be healthier. She would like to look at the sign code and permits. While not challenging any office holder directly, she does raise the issue of “ethical accountable government” and has a concern that the council doesn’t always listen to its advisory boards. Some of her supporters were surprised at the “message” when Mayor Skip Priest hired her opponent’s son to work for the city as a lobbyist on the Sound Transit issue. She only says it was “interesting.”
Honda doesn’t want to raise taxes and plans to go through the budget and look for any areas to cut. She is also concerned that the city may be cutting too deeply and is reluctant to cut city services deeper. She believes Federal Way’s regional image is a significant concern and would like to improve it. Her Municipal League rating was “very good.”
Her opponent, Roger Flygare, has a difficult task in trying to make up significant ground after the primary. Flygare is a local businessman who has been involved in Democratic politics for many years. He has worked on state issues in Olympia and has been endorsed by Sen. Tracey Eide, Rep. Mark Miloscia and Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. He believes his business background and political experience prepare him for the city council better than his opponent.
He also feels the neighborhoods need a stronger voice. He notes that many want speed bumps due to traffic problems and that crime continues to be a concern. He says: “I saw Federal Way changing and not in a positive way… I want to help.” He recognizes the challenge he has in front of him and plans to doorbell 10,000 homes and do direct mail. He also feels a good turnout by Democrats will help him. Flygare’s campaign has raised $7,200 so far and he expects to raise more. His Municipal League rating was “adequate.”
Both Honda and Flygare say they would consider taxes, but only as a last resort. Both supported the $20 license tab fee as a way to help people who need that service.
Incumbent council member Dini Duclos is the frontrunner in her race with challenger Keith Tyler. As deputy mayor of Federal Way, Duclos has a higher profile and her campaign was the first to get organized. She anticipates a budget of $15,000 and has been endorsed by Mayor Skip Priest, council members Ferrell and Kochmar, and King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer. Although she does recuse herself on votes involving her employer, the Multi-Service Center, that experience combined with her previous position as chair of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce would seem to provide a balanced political resume.
She believes the council was “listening” when it stopped the Steel Lake street project and changed the gambling tax to help local business. She opposed the cuts to the Federal Way Police Department proposed by the city manager, and wants to contain city employee health costs. Her Municipal League rating was “outstanding.”
Keith Tyler knows he has an uphill battle to defeat Duclos, but he believes the “city needs new ideas.” He is a software tester and plans to doorbell 2,000 homes. He feels the city has not reached out to all its residents for their input and is concerned about the lack of check and balance between the mayor and council.
While he supports the proposed performing arts/conference center, he also says “we need a fresh perspective in our land use” and suggests “clustering development in a decentralized manner in the neighborhoods” to reduce residents’ travel and bring services closer to them.
This is Tyler’s first run for public office and he, like Flygare, is hoping for a large Democratic turnout. His Municipal League rating was “adequate.”
All four candidates bring skills and passion, and would contribute to the Federal Way City Council in different ways. Voters, do your homework.