Finally, someone with thoughts and a real plan in last week’s Mirror: Amy Johnson’s article about teen pregnancy and homelessness. I want to take it one step further: Too many of our teenagers, whether pregnant or not, are not prepared for the real world. Years ago, Federal Way schools had classes in home economics, sex/health and life skills (taxes, managing a budget, insurance, etc., things that many of us learned as a basic need). Then it was decided that parents were teaching their kids and so there was no need for it. Sadly, parents aren’t teaching their children these things. The fault goes to the parents and to the schools. Sigh, how to turn it around?
Then there are the mayoral candidates who are more concerned about how to make this city financially and safely grow but are missing a big part of the picture. We have three major problems in this city now, as far as I am concerned: homelessness, which only Mark Greene addressed, gangs, which did get addressed but missed a key point, and the number of affordable housing apartments we are allowing in the city. Please don’t get me wrong, everyone deserves and needs to have affordable housing. But there needs to be a plan in place for its impact on the community at large. Susan Honda rightfully said that Sound Transit should not be directing us but that we need to be directing it. In that same line of reasoning, we should not be putting out the fires that have come with all the affordable housing. We should have had a plan in place. Problems that come with all the apartments are: overcrowded schools, transient youth who need structure/security, children who are left on their own as parents are still at work, gangs and sadly drug/alcohol abuse (people living in homes also deal with it, but it is not as many people in the same amount of space, making availability and other related issues less noticeable). Why aren’t the mayoral candidates addressing these issues? Parents living in affordable housing are happy they can meet their rent and feed their families. There are no luxuries for them like day cares or children’s camps. Why weren’t contingencies put in place like communal day care where everyone helps out at some point or Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers/Sisters, YMCA/YWCA at subsidized rates? Looking at the Federal Way Community Center is great, but it is not affordable either. So, what do these people do? Well, let’s see, kids are watching teenagers. Teenagers are watching adults. Adults are surviving in a vortex they can’t seem to get out of, and so it continues. There are a lot of great people out there trying their best to not get sucked into drugs, alcohol, gangs, to take the time to really guide their children, to provide for their families and give them more. Where is the support for them? Amy had lots of great ideas. Will anyone listen? Will any of the mayoral candidates keep all the business and growth aspects of running a city in mind while coming up with a real and effective plan for the future of the young people who live here? At this point, I can honestly say I would vote for none of our candidates because the heart of this city is our young people, and there is no real plan for their future. Take Amy Johnson’s first seven paragraphs to heart. Read the book “Crenshaw.” Make a plan for this city that is not all about looking pretty and safe but really is about supporting affordable family living, community and safety.
D. Fabre, Federal Way