Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: March 12, 2008

Trees receive short end of city’s stick

Your March 1 article “City targets trees and developers” implies that significant tree code changes are necessary in order to spare developers the expense of compliance.

If such changes are made, they may only codify existing environmentally risky practices by our city leaders.

Take Lakota Crest, for example. The 43-home development was built just upstream from Mirror Lake. There was great concern among lake residents about runoff, especially during construction. These concerns were well documented and can be found in city files.

City staff recommended phased clearing, and an environmental engineering consultant hired by the Mirror Lake Residents Association cautioned that during construction, downstream resources were potentially most vulnerable to catastrophic effects. The hearing examiner ruled that phased development was required.

Nevertheless, city council overturned that part of his decision and allowed mass grading. In a September 2004 meeting of the Land Use/Transportation committee, council member Mike Park moved to accept staff recommendation for phased grading. He found no support. Council member Jack Dovey moved to direct staff to prepare an amendment allowing mass clearing all at once. With council member Eric Faison’s support, the motion carried.

The next week, the amended resolution sailed through the full council without discussion. The initial plans called for retention of three of 62 trees. If those three are still there, I can’t find them. Mitigation replacement trees can be seen now along 312th St. There are about seven trees taller than a person, and three of them are dead.

I don’t know how to explain that ugly scar on the face of Federal Way called Wynstone, but if citizens are expressing concern, it would be an appropriate assignment for our local newspaper to dig into how that could happen.

It will be interesting to see what happens if the proposed Mirror Lake Highlands cottage home development goes forward. It is even closer to the lake. The site plan calls for very high density and removal of all but three of 51 healthy significant trees. Given the track record in Federal Way, if I were a tree, I wouldn’t want to be one of those three.

We ought to leave the ordinance as is. Whether or not to grant relief in situations where there may be environmental consequences should require the involvement of experts. Council should listen carefully to them as well as the developers, then act in the best interests of Federal Way citizens.

Bob Roper, Federal Way

----

Tortured arguments for strong mayor

The Pirkle Report in The Mirror on March 8 (“Power positioning splits mayor debate”) was a bit over the top.

Pirkle, who touts himself as the expert on education and all other matters big and small, clearly establishes himself as a shallow pseudo-intellectual implying those of us from Federal Way Works who opposed the strong mayor initiative must be left-wing liberal Democrats with communist leanings who only seek to retain power because we are the “ruling elite class.”

What unmitigated rubbish! His assertions are reminiscent of Joe McCarthy smearing anybody who doesn’t agree with him as a communist. His piece was blatantly offensive and typical of ACT’s strategy of falsely painting a council-manager form of government as un-American, undemocratic and inherently evil. The concept of majority rule is totally lost on them. They want minority rule, particularly their rule.

Notwithstanding Pickle’s esoteric arguments, this matter was not nearly as complicated as he would like you to believe. It actually was pretty simple for most of us. It was nothing more than reasonable requirements that should be in place for a person to serve as chief executive and administrative officer of the city with its large budget, number of employees and legal nature of the work.

We do not buy the argument that a strong mayor is going to represent citizens any better or be any more accountable. To the contrary, an elected mayor playing tough guy to steamroll city council to push through his own agenda is counterproductive and not good government at all.

The majority spoke. Nearly 40 percent of Federal Way’s eligible voters cast their ballots — and more than 55 percent of those who voted rejected the strong mayor proposition. This was not a close vote. Those in favor of the strong mayor had a little under 45 percent of the vote and those who opposed it had a little over 55 percent.

They can spin it any way they want, but they lost the election because the majority of voters didn’t buy their tortured arguments.

Federal Way Works was a broad cross section of the community that came together to oppose this measure because of a common belief that it was a bad idea. I was a central player in this group. I have never run for any office, never worked on or contributed to any member of the city council’s election campaign, nor have I been involved in any committee, advisory board or activist group that’s part of the “elite few” pursuing the doctrine of “manifest destiny” to achieve “noblesse oblige.”

My only contact with members of the city council prior to this issue was to occasionally see them at a Federal Way Chamber of Commerce function and exchange a “hello.”

I have no personal relationship with any of them other than acquaintance. My power is limited to the one vote I get and exercise in elections. If that makes me one of the good old boys or the elitist few who control the destiny of the city, then that’s kind of scary.

The only thing scarier is the idea that ACT and its followers could influence enough people with their convoluted and self-serving arguments to change our form of government to suit their purposes.

If Federal Way citizens are looking to ACT, Pirkle, et al for leadership on vital city issues, then I can only conclude the truth of the old adage “just because you’re not depressed doesn’t mean it’s not hopeless.”

Jerry Vaughn, Federal Way

----

Air Force gave Boeing the shaft

I am taking exception to the opinion of columnist Angie Vogt and her comparison of two aircraft companies, Boeing and Airbus (“Boeing lost tanker deal fair and square,” March 8).

If she had been reading about the contracts of these two companies, she would have noticed that the Air Force had stated early on that they wanted a tanker smaller and more fuel efficient. Then they changed their minds and decided to go with a larger aircraft, and said Boeing did not have the larger plane to compete with Airbus. Wrong! Boeing has the 777, which would have been larger, but was led to believe the 767 would be more acceptable because it was more fuel efficient.

People like Ms. Vogt don’t know a fig about the Boeing Co. and the amount of time it has been a part of the Pacific Northwest, and one of the larger employers, until Microsoft. Also she was comparing American companies to American companies (i.e., Microsoft vs. Apple) as being in competition.

As for Boeing winning contracts with Japan and New Zealand, they are our allies; France is not! Vogt is also reading, according to the Air Force, Boeing failed to compete in any of the five criteria that governed the bidding process. The Air Force never mentioned they changed the rules, mid-stream. To say Airbus has a better product and customer service and oversight than Boeing is a joke. Boeing builds airplanes with quality and pride and is proud of its products.

It is obvious that Vogt has never worked on an Airbus, either as a flight attendant or ground crew, to see the poor quality of workmanship that has gone into an Airbus aircraft. Ask anybody who has been a flight attendant, ground crew or someone who has had to work on an Airbus plane.

I see the bottom line of the Air Force: To save money by awarding the tanker contract to a company, with lower labor costs and less knowledgeable workers. Not, as they said, because it was the better product.

Pat Gee, Federal Way

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 29 edition online now. Browse the archives.