Dr. Phil tackles Federal Way school levy, light rail drama | Andy Hobbs

Editor: Voters soundly rejected a proposed capital levy to rebuild Federal Way High School. The levy sought a small tax increase of about 90 cents per $1,000 of property value. Why do you think it failed?

Dr. Phil: It’s time to get real. You can’t have champagne taste on a beer pocketbook. Nobody wants higher taxes right now.

Editor: If you go inside Federal Way High School, you’ll see the top selling point. That school is falling apart.

Dr. Phil: Look, excuses are like backsides — everybody’s got one and they all stink. Tell me about the sales pitch for the levy.

Editor: The school district promoted a video with students, staff and community leaders. Some volunteers occasionally waved signs at street corners. However, an opposition group argued for more public input and concrete plans.

Dr. Phil: How much does the school district want to spend?

Editor: About $110 million. The district already has $50 million and asked for $60 million.

Dr. Phil: Did someone sneak up on stage at the commercial break and write “stupid” on my forehead? That’s a lot of money for one project.

Editor: The cost included new playgrounds at several elementary schools.

Dr. Phil: Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit. Playgrounds are good. Books and mortar are even better. Too bad they couldn’t get both.

Editor: There was one misstep along the way. The pro-levy groups were 15 minutes late in submitting their pro-levy statements for publication in the voters pamphlet. Volunteers for the opposition group sent their statements in plenty of time. Seems like the pro-levy volunteers, bless them all, could have been more on task.

Dr. Phil: Failure is no accident. If the school district wants Federal Way taxpayers to pony up that kind of cabbage, they need a sleek and sexy levy. Otherwise, voters will think the plan is nuttier than a sack of squirrels at a peanut party. Speaking of which, what’s this about Federal Way and Sound Transit going to war over light rail?

Editor: I wouldn’t exactly call it war …

Dr. Phil: Listen, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday. What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate, right audience? (applause)

Editor: How can both sides work together more? We can’t expect them to hold hands around the campfire and sing “Kumbaya.” But there is obviously a split in the region’s leadership when it comes to finding a solution. City leaders were excluded from a recent shovel ready proposal that opened a small window for Federal Way’s share of light rail. Meanwhile, Federal Way pushed for bills in the Legislature that would overhaul Sound Transit. Each side seems to have cast the other as the non-cooperator.

Dr. Phil: Look, we teach people how to treat us. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar — and a little honey goes a long way. The city and Sound Transit could accomplish a lot more if they viewed each other as allies, rather than enemies.

Editor: Having an enemy only means your actions are important enough to be hated. Here’s hoping that moving forward, there’s more open and efficient communication.

Dr. Phil: Sometimes we have to accept reality and put one foot in front of the other.

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