Benn Gleck: Federal Way's next mayor? | Chris Carrel

Recently, Mt. Vernon was in the news for the mayor’s controversial decision to honor hometown boy and cable commentator Glenn Beck with a Glenn Beck Day.

Lost in the hubbub was the return of Federal Way native Benn Gleck, an equally disputatious cable and radio personality, to promote his favorite subject — himself.

Andy Hobbs: Mr. Gleck, thank you for joining us today. I want to introduce you to Chris Carrel, executive director for Friends of the Hylebos. He also writes a column for The Mirror. Though he can sound reasonable, rumor has it he is an inveterate liberal.

Benn Gleck: Liberal enviro-nazi, eh? If you’re so green, how come I heard you also kill frogs?

Chris Carrel: Hey, that’s not fair — that was an invasive bullfrog. It deserved to die.

Gleck: Stow it, Pinko. You’re a one-man walking amphibian death panel. And if you’re really a life-long Federal Way resident, where’s your birth certificate?

Carrel: I’ll show you my birth certificate when you show me your high school diploma.

Hobbs: Knock it off, you two! We’re here to discuss Federal Way and politics. But first things first. Benn, you’ve enjoyed a meteoric rise to media fame. You started out as a lowly toilet scrubber at a local AM radio station and have since risen to become one of the most talked about cable TV personalities in the nation. What’s your secret?

Gleck: Looking for a way out of this burg, are you, Hobbsy? Well, I used good old-fashioned Federal Way values of hard work, a loud voice and fear-mongering and innuendo.

Carrel: Hard work is a Federal Way value, but shouting fire in a crowded theater isn’t. In fact, we pride ourselves on trying to be thoughtful and doing a good job, not just having the loudest voice.

Gleck: Hey, greenie. You’ve got your Federal Way, I’ve got mine.

Hobbs: That’s an interesting point, Benn. You know there’s a ballot measure to change our city’s form of government from a council-manager form to an elected mayor. What are your thoughts on the measure?

Gleck: You know me. I’m a “no shades of gray” kind of guy. I was shocked to find that my hometown was a decrepit dictatorship of seven.

Hobbs: Are you referring to the popularly elected city council?

Gleck: You bet I am. It’s about time they became accountable to the public! You know what they’re doing? They’re addicting this community to heroin — the heroin that is government slavery.

Carrel: That’s a pretty outrageous statement. The ultimate responsibility for how our city runs, in either form of government, is with its citizens, as voters and as participants in civic life.

Gleck: Don’t bother me with facts. I’m on cable!

Hobbs: What about criticisms that you only represent a thin minority of perpetually outraged citizens who themselves don’t participate in civic life?

Gleck: Well, sometimes I do feel alone. I’m a solitary voice all by itself, pining for a simpler America, a simpler Federal Way, when things were less complex than they are today. (sniff)

Hobbs: Are you crying?

Gleck: Maybe. Thomas Jefferson said that blubbering in defense of liberty was no vice.

Hobbs: No, he didn’t.

Gleck: I remind you, I’m on cable. Anyhow, I don’t see these self-professed critics at any of my tea parties. They sound like commies, socialists and Nazis to me.

Carrel: You do realize that those three political philosophies are mutually exclusive, don’t you?

Gleck: Stow it, you Commie-Socia-Nazi!

Hobbs: Stop it, or I’m going to have to hose you two down. Now, Benn, the grapevine is also buzzing with a rumor that if the initiative passes, you’ll move back to Federal Way and run for mayor. Care to comment?

Gleck: Hey, you could do worse. This Carrel guy could run. My God, imagine that, a Federal Way with amphibian death panels everywhere, citizens required to wear Birkenstocks and plant trees. I still want to see his birth certificate!

Hobbs: But you said that if you were president, the most common phrase in your administration would be “What the hell do you mean we’re out of missiles?” Does that mean as mayor you’d be tough on crime?

Gleck: No, it means Kent and Auburn better watch their steps! You know, we all have our inner demons. I, for one — I can’t speak for you, but I’m on the verge of moral collapse at any time. It can happen by the end of the interview.

Carrel: Doesn’t that kind of disqualify you for mayor?

Gleck: No, quite the opposite. Like I said, I’m loud and angry. Plus, I have high name visibility. I don’t care if it’s Federal Way or Washington, D.C. It’s all about getting elected.

Carrel: I think a lot of people here would take issue with that cynical view. Democracy is harder work than just being angry and shouting slogans. In Federal Way, we work together to run our government and to build our community.

Hobbs: The problem with your approach is that you’re so busy shouting out your side, you don’t take time to listen.

Gleck: I’m on cable, you nitwits. I don’t have to listen!

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