Opinion

Federal Way, what would Dr. Phil do?

I admit to the guilty pleasure of watching TV therapist Phil McGraw, better known as “Dr. Phil.” Drawing both criticism and praise, Dr. Phil merges entertainment with no-nonsense counsel on issues facing everyday people.

With his Southern drawl and folksy expressions in mind, let’s imagine Dr. Phil’s take on recent headlines in Federal Way.

Mirror: Dr. Phil, the Federal Way School Board discarded a design that would have combined the new Lakota Middle School’s cafeteria and library. What do you think?

Dr. Phil: Don’t sell me an outhouse and tell me it’s the Taj Mahal. The original plan cheapened the meaning and purpose of a library, which is a sanctuary of knowledge and learning. But let’s not throw teachers under the bus. They would still find ways to get books into the hands of kids.

Mirror: On your show recently, I saw a mother who smoked Salvia, a legal hallucinogenic herb, with her teenage son. The mother is a high school English teacher.

Dr. Phil: Did someone sneak up here during a commercial break and write ‘stupid’ on my forehead? She’s enabling the problem. Parents are supposed to be their children’s parents, not their friends. By the way, I understand your intern smoked Salvia for a story. Legal or not, that kills brain cells and sets a negative example for younger readers.

Mirror: Our intern only smoked Salvia to better inform the story. Hey, at least it’s not crack.

Dr. Phil: Listen, excuses are like backsides — everybody’s got one and they all stink. There’s no such thing as a free lunch when getting high artificially, and your brain always pays the price, eventually making drug users about as handy as a back pocket on a shirt. Speaking of which, I heard about The Mirror’s story on losing weight by pole dancing. If you think that article made a positive impact, you’re about a buck short of a dollar. The media often resorts to sensational stories in order to — hey, wait a minute. Look at me — are you drunk?

Mirror: Not yet. In other news, charges were dropped this month against a Federal Way panhandler in the city’s first contested aggressive begging case. Judge Michael Morgan made the right call in dropping the charges.

Dr. Phil: Federal Way’s aggressive begging law is a few fries short of a Happy Meal. If the city found that panhandler guilty and fined him, what’s he going to do — panhandle to pay the fine?

Mirror: On that same note, the city is asking all departments to cut expenses by 4 percent. The Federal Way court will likely cut its security. Will the court be OK without it?

Dr. Phil: You can’t have champagne taste with a beer pocketbook in this city. Although it only handles misdemeanor crimes, the court does share the same building as the police. Speaking of the court, I haven’t seen anything lately on the lawsuit involving Judge Morgan and the city over the release of a report on the court’s working environment. You call yourselves a newspaper or glorified birdcage liner?

Mirror: Nothing new to write about. The public knows about the lawsuit, and we’ll report the outcome, which should arrive in six months or less, according to one attorney.

Dr. Phil: This ain’t my first rodeo, son, so don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. A newspaper acts as a watchdog on government, and the public deserves to know what’s happening on the public dime. These lawsuits don’t pay for themselves.

Mirror: A watchdog doesn’t live to bite people, but rather to prevent others from being bitten. It’s often a thankless role, kind of like a judge. When the media — or anyone else — acts like a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail, or so we’ve learned.

Dr. Phil: Look, Federal Way has a lot of misunderstandings, and The Mirror must clarify those problems for the public’s sake. I am willing to offer professional help because you obviously can’t do it alone. Will you accept help?

Mirror: Yes.

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