Opinion

Fickle festivals in Federal Way and pickle-ball paddles | Q&A with Mr. FW

Mr. Federal Way - File photo
Mr. Federal Way
— image credit: File photo

Q: Why does Federal Way not have a signature summer event? Should this be a part of the city or local arts group? How about making this a part of the Performing Arts and Conference Center’s duties if they want to build it? Parade anyone?

A: Federal Way has tried several things over the years to get people into the city during the summer. But none of them have been very successful and numerous have come and gone.

Summer events that are no longer running in Federal Way include Festival Days, the World Championship of Sand Sculpting, Subaru Women’s Triathlon at Steel Lake Park and the Han Woo-Ri Korean festival.

All three of the massive events, which all received thousands of dollars from the city, have been cancelled in the last six years.

The million-dollar question is what type of event would succeed as Federal Way’s signature summer event?

Mr. Federal Way is not smart enough to know the answer. Obviously, the things that have been tried in recent memory haven’t worked.

But there’s no doubt that Federal Way has the ability to put something together that will be successful. All you have to do is look at the other city’s around South King County and their ultra-successful summer festivals. Auburn has Good Ol’ Days, Kent has Cornucopia Days, Renton has River Days and Des Moines has the Waterland Parade and Festival, just to name a few.

Why are those events huge financial boons for their cities, while Federal Way struggles to sustain any type of summer festival? Your guess is as good as Mr. Federal Way’s.

But the answer has to start at the top.

According to former City Manager Neal Beets in 2008, in general, execution of city-assisted community festivals has been difficult and burdensome because of fragmented leadership and a lack of consistent, sustained coordination among festival supporters, sponsors and the city.

Here’s a wacky idea: if the PACC is going to be constructed in Federal Way, why not make part of its duties to be in charge of organizing some type of signature summer event?

That would take away the difficulty with the city’s leadership and lack of consistent coordination, wouldn’t it? Everything would run through the PACC, which has an estimated cost of $31.7 million and will include a 700-seat arts center with a 3,000-square-foot conference space on a 4-acre site on 20th Avenue South. That would make the massive price tag a lot easier to deal with.

Q: Mr. Federal Way, I see that the state Board of Education concluded that being suspended from school negatively impacts a student’s academic success. Seems like a pretty obvious point, right? How would you handle discipline in the schools?

A: Great question and Mr. Federal Way will answer to the best of Mr. Federal Way’s ability.

Mr. Federal Way thinks a little old school, in terms of discipline in schools. Although Mr. Federal Way doesn’t consider Mr. Federal Way old (born in the 1970s), Mr. Federal Way clearly remembers Mr. Federal Way’s elementary school principal wielding a pickle-ball paddle for disciplining.

And Mr. Federal Way’s principal wasn’t afraid to use that paddle on a kid that was misbehaving. That’s just the way it was.

And Mr. Federal Way can speak from experience, once that paddle, which featured air holes for better velocity, was pulled out and wielded on Mr. Federal Way’s backside, Mr. Federal Way thought a lot more about doing something wrong at school.

After that happened once, there weren’t any more discipline problems at school, Mr. Federal Way knows that as fact. In-school suspension, out-of-school suspension or expulsion didn’t even have to be discussed after seeing the pickle-ball paddle.

If something like that were to happen at an elementary school today, the lawsuits would be flying around like a swarm of bumble bees.

According to the Board of Education’s ruling last week, being removed from the educational environment through in-school suspension, out of-school suspension, expulsion, or other discipline practices has been found to negatively impact a student’s academic success.

Really? Very insightful. In other news, the board also concluded that the sky is blue.

Obviously, there are a lot more layers to the board’s vote to adopt a discipline resolution and it’s not nearly as easy as having principals being able to use a pickle-ball paddle.

Mr. Federal Way realizes this and part of the board’s vote details that profiling needs to stop at schools.

According to the board, Washington disciplined more than 59,000 students in the 2012-13 school year and students of color, low-income students and special education students are suspended and expelled at higher rates.

“We know that discipline practices affect students’ access to education and, ultimately, their success,” said board chair Dr. Kristina Mayer. “The data on student discipline indicates that certain student groups are being disciplined and excluded from the classroom at higher rates than other groups of students. We are concerned about the potential contribution of this disparity in discipline rates to the opportunity gap.”

Q: Mr. Federal Way, who the hell are you anyway? Oh, oh, I almost forgot, none of my business. I think your Collum (Mr. Federal Way is leaving the misspelled question as written) sucks.

A: You did ask for it, so here you go — none of your business.

Got a question for Mr. Federal Way? Email mrfederalway@federalwaymirror.com

 

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