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City's legal-newspaper plan criticized
Im not surprised that the city of Federal Way is considering a different official newspaper. What better way to clip your wings for not towing the line emanating from City Hall? Your candor and lack of outright support for the administration and council is being repaid in kind by use of the citys checkbook. There is no other reason for sending the citys money outside the community, except to punish the paper.
Therein lies the conundrum for your paper. If you dont report the unbiased news and offer editorial opinions that dont soft-peddle problems or fail to call it like you see it, you will lose credibility within this community. That credibility has allowed your paper to grow in stature over the past five years. Ive not always been happy with your opinion pieces, but I find the paper a legitimate forum to counterbalance different views in the community.
Therein lies City Halls own conundrum. The lack of enthusiasm and support for the citys municipal building plans stems from their failure to engage the community in meaningful debate and dialogue. If there were confidence of public support, these plans would be put to a public vote. There are no plans to do so. Instead, the attitude that City Hall knows best has disenfranchised the local government from the people it serves.
Many in the community feel their voice isnt heard or opinions valued. Most have tuned out sensing no percentage in fighting City Hall or concluding that apathy is the best course. A few who believe a vigorous dialogue, despite whose toes may be trampled, speak their mind and consequently find themselves on the outside looking in.
Congratulations for not being co-opted by money. In the morning, youll still have your self-respect and that of the community.
Certain members of the City Council, namely Mary Gates, Eric Faison, Dean McColgan and Jeanne Burbidge which, unfortunately, constitute the majority, have outdone themselves in their most recent endeavors. I was shocked to read in the Feb. 15 issue of the Mirror (City wants different official legal newspaper) their intention to transfer the citys business from our hometown newspaper to the Tacoma News Tribune. What are they trying to hide? Could the overwhelming and constant opposition to and scrutiny of many, if not most, of their actions be getting too hot for them?
The facts, as I read them from the article:
The designation of an official newspaper is governed by state law. The Mirror meets the states requirements and is qualified as a legal newspaper in King County.
The council points an accusing finger at the stakeholders group, appointed by the council for advice on improving the permit process, for wanting to change the citys legal paper. Several members of the group claim it was the city.
Stakeholder Rod Leland said the Mirrors twice-weekly publications work just fine and havent been a problem. One stakeholder, speaking anonymously, said the contract should remain with the Mirror because of its prominence as a hometown newspaper and didnt recall being consulted on the proposal of switching to a daily paper.
The council proposes the News Tribune be the citys legal publisher, as it is a daily paper and (for some weird reason) the city attorney cites small eastern Washington cities that cant support a newspaper. Oops, excuse me! Federal Way has a paper, the Mirror! More convoluted logic.
The law requires legal notices be published once a week for two weeks. The Mirror, the citys hometown paper, is located in and involved in the community and is printed twice a week.
The city claims accessibility. The News Tribune has a Federal Way circulation of 4,000, has no office in Federal Way, just a small spot simply to have a place to sit. If you knock, we wont answer the door, said Gary Peterson of the News Tribune. The Mirrors circulation is 30,400. Wheres the credibility in that excuse?
The city pays the Mirror $24,626 and will have to pay the News Tribune $37,366 and up to $44,000 if certain things are still printed at times in the Mirror. Again I say, what is the majority of the council trying to keep out of the glaring light of the public eye?
We, in Federal Way, are privileged to have in the Mirror an excellent servant of the community. Im sorry I cant say the same of the entrenched majority on our council. Ironically, in this same issue of the Mirror, our state senator, Tracey Eide, congratulates the Mirror for its outstanding service and for fostering increased interest and growth in our community.
In this horrible economy, not all people can afford a daily paper, and thanks to the Mirrors efforts to keep us informed, a great many of their issues are made available free.
It is outrageous that this move is even being considered, and something must be done to stop it. There is a limit to what the majority of this council should be allowed to get away with in its effort to override public opinion, and with this, that limit has been reached.
Election day is coming. Remember their names, fellow citizens.
Apparently someone at City Hall doesnt like our hometown newspaper, the Mirror. At least they dont like it enough that they want to strip the Mirror of its role as the newspaper of record for city notices and advertising for bids on city projects.
It has been said that some people dont like the editorial approach to city issues and definitely dont like the editorial cartoons. To be honest, much of the time, neither do I.
But that is no reason to move the designation as the official newspaper for Federal Way city notices and advertising to a Tacoma or Seattle paper. The circulation figures of the regional papers in Federal Way indicate that such a move makes no sense.
If the city needs to reach a target market, like contractors or road builders, then a paper with high readership in that specific SIC code should be used. Better yet, the city should wake up to the electronic age and use the Internet and the city Web site to alert interested people to opportunities within our community.
Right now, I rely on the Federal Way Mirror and the Federal Way News to keep me informed about Federal Way issues and opportunities.
Barbara R. Reid