Letters to the Editor

Two council candidates publicly support PACC | Election letters

Every city has its own culture and personality. Federal Way is no different, and being 23 years young, it is still working to establish a clear identity.

When each of us buys a home or rents an apartment, we work hard to establish a welcoming environment where we live. The city where we live, regardless of being a renter or owner, becomes an extension of who we are. So how does your welcome mat to Federal Way read? My suggestion is:

“Welcome to our growth-oriented city that takes a progressive view toward building resources and infrastructure serving the community by supporting education, arts and culture, parks and recreation, public safety and public works by intelligently investing tax dollars to attract business and residents who are success and education-oriented.”

Sadly, there are people in this community who believe that investing in resources like the Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC) that bring value to the city are not appropriate city expenditures. There are always negative voices to just about anything elected officials propose, but leadership needs to take the long view toward building a properly resourced community. Naysayers are good at providing a "no" to change, but rarely offer solutions.

Federal Way deserves more than a one-note perspective toward making a better community. I agree public safety is important, but that is not the only tool in the toolbox. The PACC, when built, will be a quality resource used by the greater community. It will support our schools, encourage creativity and be a destination for conferences and private social events. It is a multigenerational and multi-event resource. It will be a focal point that attracts quality development. Quality attracts success-oriented residents, thereby facilitating community growth. The PACC begins the renewal process for the city’s central core.

An underlying economic challenge facing this city is a 15 percent resident base that is living at or below the line defined by the federal government as poverty. Poverty has a negative impact on budgets and who the city attracts as residents and businesses needed to support the economy. Truthfully, poverty attracts poverty and is not an attractor for quality growth.

Of the six candidates running for the three city council positions open during this election cycle, only two — Jeanne Burbidge and Martin Moore — have publicly stated they are for building the PACC. The remaining candidates all have stated varying degrees of "maybe" with politically crafted qualifiers.

Let’s be honest, all candidates are concerned with taxes, the budget, city finances, public safety and at the moment, the PACC’s pro forma. I believe that Councilmember Burbidge and Mr. Martin Moore, by supporting the PACC, are showing leadership and an understanding that you have to invest in the community’s resources in ways that will position the city’s tax base for growth.

Quality attracts quality. The PACC is a quality development. Many planners and developers see South King County as a long-term growth opportunity. Federal Way needs to position itself to be a leader in attracting the best and the brightest of today’s entrepreneurs and businesses. A strong cultural infrastructure is a quality of life consideration for locating to a city. Where the arts are strong, communities tend to grow.

Build the PACC and put out a welcome mat to our city home and we will have a new resource designed to serve us, build our community and support our city’s growth.

Keith Livingston, Federal Way


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