Football and fantasy city government | My Perspective

As a new football season starts, do you ever wonder about the countless hours, planning, play books, teaching, coaching, personnel decisions, support systems and financial considerations that are involved to keep us engaged and entertained. Football as a game is big business and a seasonal passion in this country. It is big business, with multiple layers of management, contracts and a multi-year business plan.

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll, in conjunction with the current management team, has the best record and highest winning percentage of all the Seahawk coaches. The Seahawks have been a football franchise since 1976. The current owner, Paul Allen, has owned the team since 1997. Since owning the team, he has had four head coaches, two very successful and two who were statistically below average.

If all of us were to think about the city we live in like we were team owners, what decisions would we make to create a consistent winning percentage? I am assuming that most of the Mirror’s readers are familiar with fantasy football. So, the challenge of what would you do if you were in charge should be fun. How would you organize the various resources, governmental entities and staff needed to run a city?

The most prominent puzzle piece we think about for Federal Way is its city government. But, in terms of governance, municipal Federal Way does not control all the pieces. For public safety, there is the law and order piece while South King Fire controls fire and rescue response. The forever challenge for both is coordination. While not a direct part of public safety, a vital piece just the same is the municipal court system. It provides judicial review of all challenged traffic and code violations and misdemeanor infractions.

One might think that all the public works services provided are under the control of city municipal leadership, but here again we have several pieces to consider. The city controls streets, traffic, surface water and solid waste-recycling services.

Lakehaven Water and Sewer District, also a municipal corporation, provides water and sewer to most of the city and the water services not provided by them are provided by the city of Tacoma. And Federal Way partners with King County Sound Transit for mass transit services.

King County also provides library services, public health oversight and manages the aquatics center.

The city has a new Performing Arts and Event Center that provides cultural programming, as well as corporate and community event support. Also available is a full-service parks and recreation department that provides leisure services.

Other essential services provided by the city include economic development, building and land use permits, building inspection and code enforcement. There is also internal administration, finance, human resources, legal services and coordination of 13 boards and commissions designed to provide resident input.

Federal Way Public Schools, the city’s largest employer, is our K-12 education provider. But it, like Lakehaven Water and Sewer District and South King Fire, is not boundary-centric, which means it serves areas outside the actual boundaries of Federal Way.

We often hear about the X’s and O’s involved with the game of football.

As residents, do we ever fully appreciate all the puzzle pieces that are involved in assuring there is a high standard of living wherever we reside? There are lots of X’s and Os to consider just to make sure all of these services and their providers are working together to achieve a better community.

The elected officials generally hear quickly about the issues of the day and various negative situations that cause immediate concern. The Seahawks hear lots of negativity from the fans when they lose or a favorite player gets traded.

Consider this column as a challenge for all of you to think about being a resident and therefore already on team Federal Way. It is important for all of us to be thinking like an owner and anticipating what the needs are in the present and managing its growth for the next 20 years.

Please realize that being a city is a competitive business. If I am looking for a place to live and have the ability to comparison shop, why choose Federal Way? Auburn, Kent and Tacoma may also be good options. Did you choose Federal Way for the schools?

Just realize that the schools are not as highly rated as you may like if you compare Federal Way schools with the Eastside school districts of Bellevue, Issaquah or Kirkland.

Proximity to work is always a major consideration. Transportation and the daily commute to the office may sway your choice. Access to the airport or recreation opportunities, such as the Cascades, Olympics and the Puget Sound may have influenced your decision.

But, if you want team Federal Way to be a better place to live and be rated a 10 in all categories, what would you do?

What would your 20-year growth strategy be? Do you have strategic investments you think need to be made? Of course, there are always budget considerations. Some of your ideas may deal with cutting programs, but in this competitive world, choose wisely.

Cuts often set the team back or make the team less desirable. The goal is to help Federal Way collectively become a top-rated city. How would you achieve that goal?

If you want to play and share your ideas about improving team Federal Way, please send your ideas in the form of letters to the editor at

Keith Livingston is a longtime Federal Way resident and community observer. He can be reached at

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