Letters to the Editor

Federal Way City Council term limits worth talking about

In the very astute Angie Vogt’s column (“City must keep control of Knutzen Theatre,” July 5) she informs us that the city and the Arts Commission are considering transferring management of the Knutzen Family Theatre to Centerstage Theatre (a private group) for $75,000 a year!

I suspect we wouldn’t have heard of this at all except for the lucky fact that Ms. Vogt’s son works at the Knutzen Family Theatre. I confess I’m disappointed to find the Arts Commission is a party to this. I have always so admired their efforts on our behalf, especially in trying to secure a performing arts center. Also, if I’m not mistaken, the citizens of Federal Way paid for the theater and any such decision should be made by them.

But of course that doesn’t mean much to the ruling four on the city council. Has this group so totally screwed up the city financial situation that they would even consider such a move and at such a paltry sum? Any more, it’s as though they’re starting to thrash around, leaving chaos in their wake. They certainly overbuilt the community center and have now hired yet another consultant to clean up after what they’re getting paid to do.

The city can’t get the Symphony project off the ground. Federal Way Festival Days was canceled for lack of money. And yet again, now that so many of us are losing our health care, our pensions, our homes, our jobs and are forced to choose between gas or food, the council feels now we’ll be overjoyed to spend billions of dollars to fund the light-rail package we sweepingly defeated just a few months ago and which very few of us will live to see. Remarkable. Simply remarkable.

Ms. Vogt’s entire column is excellent, but there are a few sentences I’d like to reprint, as they demonstrate the difference between majority rule democracy and a constitutional republic:

“Sometimes, the majority might best be expressed by who has the most money and can ‘buy’ or intimidate their way toward a majority with financial influence. The safeguard against the unfair advantage is a constitutional republic, which protects the rights of all citizens without prejudice to their state in life, race or religion. A constitutional republic is designed to protect the right of individuals from being trampled on by a strict majority or the more powerful players in society.”

I believe the time has come to start a discussion on term limits for members of the city council. Something has got to be done to get us out of this tailspin.

True, a great many very nice things have been achieved in Federal Way that we all appreciate. For instance we’re certainly prettier than we used to be. Tacoma has term limits for its council and, as do all power brokers, the council members get used to their power and begin to take themselves too seriously and, sure enough, they’re asking the citizens to get rid of term limits. I would advise them to think carefully and look very carefully at Federal Way.

Until we get some fresh “business” people on our council, nothing is going to change. I’ve always felt a great loss for us was not getting Mark Walsh, one of Federal Way’s most successful business people willing to serve the citizens of Federal Way, who lost a run against a totally entrenched council member. He laid out an exciting and completely doable plan for Federal Way. What a shame.

Also, as political writer Bob Roegner pointed out in The Mirror, one would have to unseat four entrenched members at once to break the hold they have on, seemingly, perpetual power, which I might add, they don’t seem to be able to handle successfully.

Term limits. Give it some thought.

Clara McArthur,

Federal Way

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