Democracy is not a spectator sport | Letters
May 4, 2012 · Updated 9:05 AM
Recently, as I have sat in the city council chambers, I have began to wonder just how many of Federal Way’s 85,000-plus residents have done the same? I have had the opportunity to see it from the side of being a longtime resident and as someone who is concerned with my country and city that is a co-founder of the group Occupy Federal Way. This letter is being written as a personal observation.
Since November, I have attended seven Federal Way City Council meetings in person and have watched four on FWTV 21. I have attended two Federal Way School Board meetings at the council chambers and have watched six on cable.
What I find most alarming about attending these meetings is not the amount of money it takes to run this place we call our hometown, or even the challenges the school district has with keeping our students engaged in the learning process. What is alarming is the lack of community involvement and attendance at these meetings. On average, there are about 15 in attendance.
These meetings are held to give each of us an opportunity to express our concerns and present issues that matter to you to the council. They are our local form of democracy at work. Question: How many reading this know about an RFQ that was discussed recently or what SBG means? If you don’t, then maybe that’s a sign you need to attend a few meetings and find out because these will be affecting you sooner or later.
There are about 100 seats and plenty of standing room for you in the chamber, and sometimes a little entertainment too. So the next time you get delayed waiting in a road construction zone, remember that while being able to email a report to the city is nice, there is nothing more empowering than to tell the leaders of the city in person. City council meetings are held the first and third Tuesday at 7 p.m. School board is the second and fourth Tuesday at 7 p.m. Both are held in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.
Democracy is not a spectator sport. If your Federal Way City Council is not engaging you, you engage them.
Your participation is important.