Political stew smells like football and bikinis

In politics, you never know where the twists and turns are going to occur or where humor or miscalculation will alter events.

So here are a few you may have missed.

Many of you will recall moderate Mercer Island Republican state representative Fred Jarrett switched parties and became a Democrat. Then after some indecision, Democratic state senator Brian Weinstein decided not to seek re-election, clearing the way for Jarrett to campaign for the vacant seat. Jarrett is considered among the brightest legislators and a rising star whose views and longtime political involvement would make him hard to beat.

However, in a twist, Republicans decided not to let the seat go quite so easily and are recruiting former Seattle Seahawks football player Mac Strong to run against Jarrett. Strong has good name recognition and suddenly the race could be competitive. Some insiders have mused, “If a football player’s second career can be to become a politician, then could a politician then become a football player?”

Given Jarrett’s slender frame, Mercer Island might have to throw in some draft choices and a lot of money to get the Seahawks to make the trade. Jarrett, apparently opposed to changing careers, upped the ante on winning the Senate seat by recruiting his own star. Gov. Christine Gregoire was at his campaign kickoff.

Under the theme of a “good idea gone bad,” you may have missed a subplot to the story on the King County Council’s plans to establish a “no kill” policy for its animal shelter. The county council recently held a meeting in Burien attended by several hundred upset people to discuss the policy and other issues.

A key component of such a policy is more emphasis on adoption of animals from the King County shelter. The tension in the crowd was palpable when eastside council member Reagan Dunn arrived with his newly adopted dog. The grandstand ploy worked perfectly for maximum audience reaction until Dunn noted he had adopted the dog in Yakima! A collective audience gasp filled the room as more than one person also calculated the approximate 20 miles between Dunn’s home and the county animal shelter in Kent vs. the 300-mile round-trip to Yakima on the other side of the mountains.

You’ll read this story again as it will be a candidate for many end-of-the-year awards, most notably “how to fumble a good idea.”

On a good news, bad news story: Longtime Federal Way finance director, Iwen Wang, has announced she is leaving Federal Way for Renton — bad news for Federal Way, good news for Renton as they steal a star from a sister suburban city.

Speaking of city changes, former Federal Way City Hall attorneys Londi Lindell and Bob Sterbank went to Mercer Island a few years ago.

Lindell went to Mercer Island first as city attorney, then as deputy city manager. Sterbank filled her vacated position as city attorney. Sterbank recently resigned as part of a negotiated settlement, and Lindell was fired. Lindell has filed a claim for damages, which is usually preparatory to a lawsuit. This will be interesting to watch unfold.

In Auburn, the closing of Cavanaugh’s hardware store has been the sad ending to over 100 years of history in a development plan gone awry.

And a little farther from downtown, another political problem has erupted over a coffee shop that has upset the neighborhood because its baristas are serving coffee in revealing clothing. The shop is near a well-traveled arterial, but also not too far from a school. So far, City Hall doesn’t see a solution within their domain.

Now before too many of you city officials start chuckling at Auburn’s political predicament, you might want to take a look at Pacific Highway South where Federal Way, Kent and Des Moines sort of run together. That traffic jam you see seems to be near a coffee shop with a sign that advertises “bikini baristas.”

As the three city attorneys head for a map to figure out which city it’s in, I wish you good luck.

In politics, there’s always a new issue popping up.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner, a former mayor of Auburn, can be reached at bjroegner@comcast.net.

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