Letters to the Editor

Gates helping overtax city

Character. Good, honest character. That is what the good citizens of Federal Way want in their elected officials. I saw it Aug. 6. I was at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon at which Jim Ferrell debated Mary Gates for Federal Way City Council Position No. 1. I was appalled at the incumbent’s demeaner, her low blows and the anger she displayed. Ferrell, on the other hand, remained respectful, even-tempered and the gentleman he always is. He has a case to be made and he does it so well.  Jim Ferrell is of good character. 

Jim’s position is that the citizens deserve to be informed and allowed input before decisions are made. Too often, the council majority, seemingly headed by Gates, has charged forward with their own agenda, sometimes behind closed doors, without public forums and without accepting public input. I know this to be true, as I’ve attended many council meetings, read city documents and spoken before the council, and have tried unsuccessfully to engage Gates in eye contact. If you don’t agree with her, you are invisible. It’s as simple as that.

Gates tells us that we needed to spend the money mentioned below to attract new business to Federal Way: $90,000 to get branded. $50,000 for flags with a meaningless logo and which will need replacing often in our weather. Flower baskets which require constant maintenance and can be displayed only in summer. We all like “pretty,” but why now? “Pretty” is the last item on my list of necessities during this recession. 

It’s interesting, while the rest of us are hunkering down, tightening the belt, doing with less and without, the city just keeps spending our money for us. We are told it “came out of the city’s general fund”. That’s you and me, for crying out loud! We supply the general fund. I, for one, would like my money spent more wisely during these difficult times.

For instance, I would have been pleased to learn the city had spent it on social programs such as for battered women and children, a program the city denied funding to. Or, how about using the $140,000 (plus continuing maintenance fees) spent on flags, flowers and three stupid lines called the city logo to hire another police officer. Another good cause would be shelters for our homeless. If we don’t want the homeless here, spend the money on programs to rehabilitate them from their addictions. We cannot continue to just ignore the fact that Federal Way is teaming with the homeless. 

Can’t we get a little more inventive than flowers, flags and folly?  There will be another day for that.  Does the council really believe that flowers and flags are what a potential business will base it’s decision on? Or will they look at the council’s record of taxation and the potential for still more taxes?  Let’s concentrate on replacing the many businesses we have lost by listening to the good merchants we have left. As time goes by, under this council majority, we have fewer and fewer left. They’re being driven out at an alarming rate.

The citizens who attended the one advertised public forum regarding where to place the transit center overwhelmingly voted for expanding the site where it presently exists. Yet, we are now stuck with the former Silo site on 317th and 23rd. Who wants it there? Mary Gates, who sits on the Sound Transit board. Why there? A new off-ramp is proposed at 312th to service that new site, and $500,000 has been allotted by the city to study the feasibility of placing it there, without even knowing yet whether it meets the state requirements of distance between off-ramps. Why can we not find that out first, for heaven’s sake? Additionally, it is doubtful, according to city officials, that state or federal funding will be available. So where is the money coming from for these projects? The utility tax is already maxed at the 6 percent allowable cap and it goes to the community/senior center and new city hall. It makes one wonder who owns the land which will be eminent-domained for these projects Gates has fought so vehemently for. Who stands to profit from this? Certainly not the citizens of Federal Way. Not this time.

Don’t be taxed out of your homes. Get out and vote Nov. 4.  We need to break down the council majority’s block voting, and Jim Ferrell’s vote would surely help to do just that.

Sheryl Nevres

Federal Way

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