Letters to the Editor

Mayor race: Setting the record straight | Federal Way letters

Well, it's election time and right as people are voting, a letter by L.E. Bronson appeared in last Wednesday's Mirror regarding my position on the Performing Arts Center. I am writing to set the record straight about his comments and my position on this issue.

On January 6, 2009, I voted against the proposal and gave an impassioned 10 minute speech before a packed crowd. That speech can be viewed on the City of Federal Way webpage, by following the links on the right of the page for: City Agendas, Minutes, Packets and Videos. It is there for the world to see. I am proud of this moment as a Council Member because I stood up for you, the voters and taxpayers, against a risky and overly expensive proposal. Moreover, I wrote two editorials regarding this issue, one in this paper and the other in the News Tribune, both printed in December of 2008. I stood alone on this issue, as correctly portrayed in my mail flyer for this race (see minutes of the meeting and the video).

In short, I objected to the City lobbying the State for $20 million (in $5 million increments), when a site for the project had not been determined and prior to the council approving such a project, and most importantly before the public had been fully engaged. At the time the proposed cost of the facility was estimated at $50 million. My position was in no way confusing and remains that way today.

At the council retreat, 25 days later, I stated that this community needs a performing arts center, but the question was how to pay for it. That comment also appeared in this paper. I still believe that to be true. I did not believe it was in this community's interest to dig my heels in so tightly as to close the door on the subject completely. This was not a vote to authorize building of the facility. It was a discussion of what we would like to see in our community. I have not seen a workable plan to bring this project to reality, most notably because it is missing a key player, the Federal Way School District, which is sure to rely heavily on the facility.

Ultimately, the costs of running the facility after it is completed must be adequately addressed to ensure that it is not a drain on our general fund. I have not seen such a proposal to date.

My two prong approach to every project remains steadfast. I will ask for every project: 1) Is it absolutely necessary?; and 2) Is this the role of government?

I am asking for your vote for Mayor because I have shown the kind of leadership you expect and deserve in a chief executive. I stood alone on this vote, on January 6, 2009, because it was the responsible thing to do. I also stood up for your right to elect your Mayor for the first time in this City's history. I stood alone on this council, and among my opponents for this office, because I truly believe it is the public's interest to be able to determine its chief executive. Lastly, I opposed the two 45 story towers (and one at 35 stories), because it is also a misguided effort to develop our downtown.

As your Mayor you can count on me to stand up for you and for what's right, regardless of the political or personal consequences. In the end, isn't this what we want in a Mayor?

If you have any questions I would welcome you to call me at (253) 569-4482 and we can discuss this further.

I respectfully ask for your vote for Mayor of Federal Way.

Jim Ferrell

Candidate for Mayor of Federal Way

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