Letters to the Editor

PACC: Typical white elephant for Federal Way? | Letters

Critical question: What is the Federal Way City Council’s $32 million performing arts and conference center (PACC) based on? Quick answer: Hope.

Critical thinking: It is laudable that some council members and staff have the PACC as their pet project.  But, economic and financial prudence demand that analysis of it begin with a proposed schedule of events, reasonable ticket sales and prices, and other uses as well as operating costs and subsidies.

The public should be provided with the results and only then should the $355,000 schematic drawing be considered. The $32 million price tag demands that, after comments and adjustments, it be followed by a 100 percent survey of all Federal Way residents (and a well thought out way to gather information on other areas from which the council expects attendees).

Why a 100 percent survey and not just a sample size one? Isn’t this just wasting money? The answer is that the additional cost is trivial considering the huge amount of money involved. The standard “oops, looks like we guessed wrong…” should not be an option.

Shoving a very expensive schematic on a $32 million potential white elephant down our collective throats without a relatively simple economic/financial study based on a reputable survey providing quantifiable information on which to base their answers is unconscionable.

That is because the demographics of a heavily low income and financially challenged populace in Federal Way strongly suggest the probability the PACC will not have enough use to even justify a schematic plan.

The concerns of Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell, and Councilmembers Kelly Maloney and Susan Honda, are well taken. The points in Don Vandenheuvel’s March 29 Mirror letter “PACC requires more than optimism” are required reading for he also lays out the order of steps to be taken. In brief, the “must do now or never” crisis fueled mindset by PACC proponents on the council has the proverbial horse before the cart.

There is no reason to rush this project through except fear that a good cost-benefit analysis will show it is a big time loser. Bottom line is that this is a moral issue as well as an economic one. This is because it is a sin to waste the hard-earned money of those whose taxes pay for the project.

Dear readers, this issue is all about responsibility and transparency in government.

James Simpson, Federal Way


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