Council puts itself first
June 13, 2008 · Updated 4:29 PM
After watching the Federal Way City Council meeting Feb. 18 on channel 21, I was again left shaking my head in wonder. Two items this panel, with its entrenched majority, actually brought to a vote amounted to nothing more than an effort to squelch or muffle any opposition from the minority on the council. It sounded, sadly, like a grade school debate on being courteous to each other, and would have been comic if it werent so alarming.
One: No council member shall publish an article or letter without first clearing it with his/her colleagues, as that person should be representing the council (Mary Gates view). Odd. I thought they were representing the citizens of Federal Way. That kills any opposition to the entrenched majoritys view, doesnt it?
And two: If an executive session is in violation of the law (that means discussing one or more things forbidden by law, unless in the presence of the public), a given council member not only could, but is, required to leave. But the entrenched majority of this council wants the rules of procedure to read they can leave but they cant say anything to anyone. Wow! This means there is virtually no way to prevent or get control of an illegal meeting. Feeling helpless yet, fellow citizens?
Further, if the councils entrenched majority succeeds with their effort to name the Tacoma News Tribune (circulation of less than 4,000 in Federal Way) the paper of record at over twice the cost, instead of the hometown paper, the Mirror (with more than 30,000 readers in Federal Way), then in order to know what this council is doing, we, the 84,000-plus citizens of Federal Way, will each have to spend almost $200 a year for a daily paper in another city and, even, in another county, in order to check every day for legal notices which can affect us deeply like, you know, taxes and such.
I believe the majority on this council has gotten away with the furtherance of their own interests and agenda in the face of overwhelming voter opposition for so long that they truly believe they can do whatever they please. And this may well be true unless we citizens pay attention to the upcoming election. We need more council members like the current minority who appear to try, though with little success, to consider our best interest in all things.
Watch the council meetings on channel 21 on the third Tuesdays of the month at 7 p.m. Watch that channel any time for the schedule.