Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Oct. 13, 2007

Breathe life into arts

Considering the enormity of efforts by the Arts Commission and arts community in Federal Way to attract new partners, raise awareness and money should a pending feasibility study indicate a new performing arts center is needed, the reputation of the city’s overall art programs and perceived viability of their future is critical.

With regard to the long-standing Arts Alive Juried Show, not only has the event not reached its potential, but reception audiences appear to be dwindling if the Oct. 2 event at City Hall is any example.

The long-standing template used to produce the show and format for the accompanying reception has changed little in a dozen years and is not only no longer fresh, but devoid of the kind of pulsating energy that goes with vim, vigor and good health.

Has this state of inadvertent and unintended stagnation extended even further into the commission’s overall operations and administration? Have such factors been of significance in any past bids to increase community interest, involvement and funds?

Being willing to look into the mirror ensures that the City of Federal Way’s Arts Commission’s hope of building a future community that is “Alive in the Arts” will not end up delivering an old, tired and run-down patient who is merely breathing.

Mizu Sugimura, Federal Way

Dollars and sense at Dumas Bay

Clara McArthur’s Oct. 10 letter regarding the future use of Federal Way tax dollars for the cleanup of Dumas Bay is a perfect example of someone’s reaction to a newspaper article without doing the research to learn all of the facts.

First: Yes, a number of lots on Dumas Bay are private property. The owners pay property taxes to King County and Federal Way based on the surveyed lot lines. However, the private portions of the properties extend only to the high tide marks on each lot. The beaches and tide flat are open to the public. Additionally, the city owns two large plots of land on Dumas Bay. They are the Dumas Bay Center/Knutsen Family Theatre and Dumas Bay Park, which is the beach.

Second: In a public meeting held at City Hall, all Dumas Bay area property owners were warned by the Washington State Department of Ecology and Wildlife that a private cleanup must not be conducted. Both departments informed both Federal Way representatives and private property owners that any attempts for a non-state/federally-sanctioned cleanup could result in extensive damage to the tide flat ecosystem and therefore put the property owners in violation of county, state and federal laws. The pledge by the city of $50,000 to clean up the Dumas Bay tide flat is being matched by the state, and to date, and to my knowledge, no cleanup plan has been devised and no funds have been expended.

Third: The odor emanating from the Dumas Bay beach and tide flat does not affect only the immediate property owners. The rotting sewage smell is carried across Dash Point Road by the winds where it severely impacts the non-waterfront homeowners from Lakota to Camp Kilworth. This putrid smell is full of hydrogen sulfide fumes, which both the federal government and the Washington State Department of Health have classified as a health hazard. Many area residents have reported summertime headaches and nausea.

Fourth: The Dumas Bay property owners are not the cause of the sea lettuce. The main cause of the growth of the sea lettuce is storm water run-off, which is full of fertilizer nitrates from the lawns of the private and public property owners of all of Federal Way and Northeast Tacoma. The fertilizer nitrates wash into Lakota Creek, Joe’s Creek and the sub-surface aquifers that empty into Dumas Bay. This problem is exacerbated by the Lakehaven Outfall Pipe that empties just off the edge of Lakota. All of these nutrients and sediments are washed back into Dumas Bay and onto the tide flat — essentially fertilizing the algae bloom or sea lettuce.

The sea lettuce growth accelerates when Dumas Bay experiences more than seven consecutive days of warmth and sunshine. During the bumper crop season of 2006, the sea lettuce grew to an 18- to 24-inch thick layer of rotting stinking vegetation. The depth of the sea lettuce was so extraordinary that it depleted the oxygen for more than 24 inches below the surface of sand of tide flat. This foul condition killed almost every sand-dwelling animal in all of Dumas Bay and caused the tide flat to be littered with the rotting debris of dead crabs, clams, snails and sand dollars.

On Hood Canal, this scenario is known as a fish kill. In the case of Dumas Bay, it was a beach kill.

Finally, as far as I know, there is only one person in the Dumas Bay area who is a member of the Federal Way city government. All of the other property owners are private citizens. It is important to remember that the Dumas Bay residents pay taxes to Federal Way for services that do not directly affect them.

As anyone familiar with the subject of civics knows, not every taxpayer dollar spent has a direct effect on every taxpayer. However, every tax dollar spent has the indirect effect of supporting all members of a community.

Jann Perez, Federal Way

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