Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Jan. 23, 2008

Shopping cart guy, where did you go?

Enough about the mayor business already!

What I want to know is: What happened to the “shopping cart guy?” It seems that Federal Way is littered with more shopping carts than ever before. Is the cart guy on vacation, on strike or worse — say it ain’t so — he quit?

Have our grocery stores stopped paying him to pick up carts? There are carts everywhere, all around the apartments and retirement facilities by Federal Way High School, at the bus stop by Washington Mutual at the mall, even in my neighbor’s yard (314th Street and 8th Avenue South, brown house, please come get it).

Many of our local stores can’t even manage to collect their carts from their own parking lots.

Every day I pass by, the same carts are sitting in the far corners of the lots of Albertsons, H-Mart, Joann’s and PetSmart, waiting for some shopper to come along and need them.

If these stores can’t manage to keep control of their carts, or pay someone to do it for them, I just may collect them up and drop them at the local dump, like the litter that they are.

In the meantime, shopping cart guy, if you are out there, there’s a fortune to be made. Please help us keep Federal Way from looking so junky!

Cathie Rohleder, Federal Way

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No-shows owe the city

My initial reaction to the Jan. 16 “debate” about changing our form of city government was extreme disappointment that more knowledgeable representatives had not been selected to speak for the pro-mayor side of the argument we citizens are having with each other.

Instead, the pro side of the debate was handled by Frosty and Gayla Hardison, who announced mid-debate they had no connection or affiliation with Accountability Comes to Town — better known as ACT. Instead, they used their time to complain about panhandlers, the number of business closures on Pacific Highway and unsubstantiated, and quite possibly, slanderous allegations against our city manager.

That the Hardisons had no affiliation with ACT was a stunner for the audience.

Those of us who left the comforts of home for Federal Way High School and the debate were expecting to hear what ACT members had to say about their attempt to turn the way we manage our city upside down. We wanted to see authentic representatives from ACT — people who because of property disputes tried to hijack our municipal government. What we got were no-shows.

Where are the people who created this mess hiding? Where are Jim Ferrell, Roy Parke and Dave McKenzie when they are invited to participate in a public debate? Where are they when we ask them to justify the $50,000 expense of an election and the added costs of waging a citizens’ campaign to protect and preserve the city government we have in place?

An elected mayor is no panacea. When it comes to the business of city administration, we don’t need well-meaning but untrained amateurs. We need objective, competent professionals to oversee the affairs of our city.

On Feb. 19, I urge you to vote no on any change in our city government.

Federal Way works fine just the way it is.

Barbara Reid, Federal Way

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Accountability skips town?

It is nothing short of outrageous that representatives of ACT (Accountability Comes to Town) failed to show for the public debate on Jan. 16 to justify or defend their position about the very ballot initiative they instigated that is costing taxpayers several thousands of dollars for a special election.

Accountability seems to be a term they believe should apply to everyone but them. Their cowardice and irresponsibility is inexcusable. Citizens came to hear both sides. Instead, they heard from two citizens speaking for themselves in support of a strong mayor who disavowed any affiliation with ACT.

What is particularly troublesome about this whole episode are some of the claims made by the proponents and presented as “facts.” The Hardisons should be taken to task to factually back up their statements made in this forum with specific names, dates, places, etc. Innuendo and smear is an unacceptable basis for justifying a change of this magnitude.

Legitimate differences of opinion over the form of government are healthy and appropriate. However, when a group forms and purports itself to represent citizens as ACT has done in this case, they have an affirmative obligation to explain themselves in a public forum and to answer questions. Absent that, the motives behind this whole movement are highly suspect.

As a taxpayer and citizen of the city, I am offended by ACT’s lack of courage to defend their position.

Jerry Vaughn, Federal Way

Editor’s note: Vaughn represented Federal Way Works during the Jan. 16 debate on the proposed change of government.

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Federal Way needs change

There is no doubt change is needed in Federal Way government.

A strong mayor elected of the people is the most viable option for that change.

I have over the years seen a lot of people go before the City Council, many of them nervous and shaking, barely able to speak. God bless these brave souls — they do speak!.

These common everyday individuals are trying to make a difference in their community, to make their lives and that of their neighbors — safer and better. I have over the years seen these same people go before this city council just to be ignored.

A long time ago, a man named Henry Ford began mass production of the first automobiles. It was said of the time that: “You could have any color you want as long as it was black.”

Federal Way is facing the same mindset in the council-run city government. They see no need to change. You can have anything you want in Federal Way as long as it is what the majority of the city council wants.

The council majority does not want change nor do they want to entrust the voters to exact changes in how they run things with an unchanging hand. They like the totalitarianism of power within the council-manager form of government. They like the simple majority rule. They like the fact that they can sidestep any hotly debated issue by laying the blame on the majority of the city council and not take personal responsibility for their part in it. The council as it works at present does not represent the people.

It has taken a lot of work on the parts of many people of average and humble means from simple lifestyles from within the city of Federal Way — to bring an initiative to the ballot to allow the people to have a greater voice within city government. This opportunity is one to allow us to vote for whom we want to represent us, the voting public of the city of Federal Way, to other cities, counties, states and nations as our representative mayor.

It is an opportunity to elect a single point of contact to listen to the needs for change and present our ideas to the city council with a strong single voice to be heard.

Our mayor will likely run on a clear and visible platform of set ideals and goals to accomplish during his or her term in office. A platform we can measure achievements and effectiveness by. Federal Way residents will have the opportunity to decide to vote for change or keep our representative mayor as is… but at least it will be our decision and not the “good buddy system” that picks our mayor now.

It will be our mayor and not the mayor of the city council.

Frosty Hardison, Federal Way

Editor’s note: Hardison spoke in favor of an elected mayor during the Jan. 16 debate on the proposed change of government.

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That’s the American way

And so, the beat goes on.

Recent letters to the editor in The Mirror indicate the protesters for peace remain undaunted and resolute. In their minds, courage is shown in the face of occasional rude behavior from passers-by and I’m not sure what else.

I am struck by the pathos they evince. Looks like they will be there until their unspecified vision of peace in the world has materialized or that war-mongering Bush administration has been replaced. I suspect the latter is the underlying motive for their public appearances. They obviously believe that waving signs at passing motorists promotes peace and, no doubt, it makes them feel good. They identify as peacemakers.

However, I wonder if the protesters have any idea of the deep and abiding questions some of us have as we drive through an intersection and see them standing there waving signs. In case they are not aware, and for the sake of clarity, I will spell them out so there can be no doubt:

1. Can you explain the connection between your protesting and the creation of the conditions that allow peace to take root and thrive in parts of the world where the lives of ordinary people are threatened every day by cruel and heartless men?

2. Can you accept the fact that these men are not mere adversaries; they have chosen to be our sworn enemies and all that it implies?

3. Can you acknowledge that your activities tend to encourage those enemies?

4. Do you believe, even for a moment, your protest activities would be permitted if these men were in power in this country?

5. Are you aware of how women would be treated if they achieved power in this country?

6. Do you believe we Americans are safe and secure from enemies here and abroad, and thus, need not be proactive in our own defense?

7. Do you think peace would result from our withdrawing from the Middle East?

These are serious questions not easily ignored. I know the answers, but do you?

There is a major disconnect between the reality our country faces in the world (and what we must do to preserve our way of life), and the views of the peace protesters given the questions above.

I truly don’t understand their mindset and I am saddened that our country is so divided on this issue. Notwithstanding rare exceptions, our military personnel up and down the chain of command are supportive of the role the United States and our allies are playing on the world stage to confront religious extremism and to make the world safer for everyone. As they are the ones who have put their lives on the line and have the most to lose, I assign great credibility to their optimism for what we are doing in the Middle East and for the future of that region.

The men and women of our military are voluntary participants in extraordinary world events that historians will chronicle, and future generations of Americans will be justly proud because of them. The inhabitants of those countries will have opportunities to take the first steps out of their dim past into a brighter and safer future. They will become our friends and trading partners.

We are a great country unlike any other, and history should be kind to us and our leaders.

For those who need an explanation, I would suggest a reasonable definition of “peace as an end game” means peace uncompromised by thugs and murderers wishing to impose extreme religious beliefs on others against their will. That should suffice.

As Americans, we wouldn’t tolerate it, so why shouldn’t we help others? Peacemakers, that is, the diplomatic ones, should be given an opportunity to ply their wares and they usually are given the world’s reluctance to enter a fight even for the right reason. When that fails, it’s time for the other half of the tag-team to enter the picture, and that would be our military. They are the only reliable and long-term solution, given the nature of our enemies.

Thus, blessed are the merciful who sacrifice so that others may have life and liberty. That’s what Americans do, and we should be proud of it. I am.

Don Payne, Federal Way

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