Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Nov. 28, 2007

Problems with Prometa:

Open letter to the Federal Way City Council:

I read of your unanimous approval to commit $20,000 for a drug initiative utilizing the Prometa program. It appears your primary justification for this commitment is anecdotal testimony from two drug-impacted individuals who have enjoyed a few months of freedom from the addictive power of methamphetimes.

I urge you to reconsider your decision and redirect those funds for a number of reasons:

1) Your enthusiasm for this expenditure appears to have no basis in fact, only anecdotal testimony.

2) You plan to gather a group of legal and medical professionals early next year to plan a program.

3) That $20,000 investment will impact no more than eight individuals, according to a news article.

4) Valuable staff time will be used to facilitate a brand-new program in Federal Way.

5) Pierce County has a program already in place for administering, monitoring and assessment. The Prometa program has actually come under serious attack resulting from an audit that cited questionable outcomes as well as other issues.

6) One can easily locate people who swear that other drug programs have saved their lives.

If Federal Way initiates a program with $20,000 funding, it begs the question of what funding level will be required to sustain the program in 2009 and beyond. Our city has a Human Services Commission. Was this initiative studied by those citizen volunteers?

Historically, human services funding has been provided within the context of a budgeted amount. And that amount has been allocated among competing programs that have either a previous funding and track record, or a compelling argument for allocation. Our city has limited human services funding. If the City Council has found $20,000 available in the budget, is this program the wisest use of those funds?

We as a city cannot be all things to all people. Is this $20,000 best spent on launching a new program or helping sustain the many existing, proven programs in Federal Way? These programs include the Multi-Service Center’s Food Bank, Transitional Housing and Literacy Program, YMCA before and after school program, Federal Way Community Caregiving Network’s emergency housing and gas vouchers — the list goes on and on.

It appears this initiative has not enjoyed the scrutiny the City Council normally requires. If a group of professionals wants to put together a program over the next several months and present it to the Human Services Commission for funding consideration next year, I applaud that effort.

Short of that, this initiative should be abandoned and the $20,000 allocated among existing programs.

Ron Gintz, Federal Way

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