Letters to the Editor

Federal Way Mirror Letters to the Editor | July 26

Train staff to carry pistols at our schools

Your recent article on Washington State gun law is well written and informative. The highest legislative priority ought to be to train staff in our schools to carry pistols and be prepared to respond tactically (as volunteer first responders) with deadly force in the event violent attacks occur in the schools. Such preparations will take a great deal of commitment by legislators, school districts and other policymakers at many levels of state and federal governments.

The U.S. has already experienced the tragic fact that issues related to imminent attacks are usually addressed after the fact. Unfortunately such tragedy is likely to be repeated when it comes to protecting our children, unless our school personnel are enabled to implement the policy that exists in Israel and other countries.

The voices opposing my proposal will be full of outrage; such outrage, like the outrage that followed numerous school shootings that have already occurred, will be drowned by the aftermath of terrorist attacks against schools already outlined on jihadist Web sites.

We welcome opinions pro and con at knapp.m@comcast.net or readers can submit comments on the issue of armed school personnel directly via our blog at www.firearmslawyer.net.

Thank you for the well balanced reporting on some controversial and important issues.

Mark Knapp

Firearms lawyer

Centerstage’s proposal makes sense

I’d like to respond to Clara Mcarthur’s letter (July 19th), in part criticizing the Federal Way Arts Commission’s consideration of Centerstage’s proposal to manage the Knutzen Family Theatre.

I find it difficult to share that criticism since the Arts Commission is only responding to a proposal made by Centerstage to the City of Federal Way, even though it may be outside of their mandated role. That role, as defined by the city, is to “develop and oversee city’s various arts programs” and then to advise or recommend accordingly. So ultimately the response to our proposal will be made by the City Council.

Centerstage’s proposal to manage a city-owned facility is relatively common in our region. The Kirkland Performance Center, the Everett Center for the Performing Arts, the Broadway Theatre Center in Tacoma and Seattle Public Theatre are all examples of nonprofit artistic corporations operating city-owned theatres. It makes simple fiscal common sense.

The proposed $75,000 management fee should be viewed in light of the $125,000 the City paid to the Knutzen out of utility taxes last year. By Centerstage’s reckoning, that’s a saving of $50,000 to the taxpayer. I concede that due to the city’s internal bookkeeping, some of the line items in this $50,000 saving may not directly relate to Knutzen Family Theatre operations. Nonetheless, Iwen Wang (former Director of Finance with the City) agreed that our proposal did indeed incur a saving to the taxpayer, even taking this into account.

I took the job as artistic director of Centerstage at the end of a long and busy career in show business. I saw and still see the incredible potential inherent in both Centerstage and the Knutzen Family Theatre. All Centerstage is attempting to achieve with its proposal is to secure the future of live theatre in this city at minimal cost to the taxpayer. Last year, 23 percent of our annual expenditure went to the city in rents and mandated labor costs. We’re not complaining about our business relationship with the City of Federal Way. We’re simply saying that it doesn’t work. We cannot continue to allocate so large a proportion of our revenues to rental costs.

If there is a better proposal, then we are more than willing to listen to it.

If any citizen thinks that Centerstage does not manage its finances well, a criticism that has been leveled at us, our books are open to anyone who cares to look at them. I challenge any business, indeed any local government, to stretch limited resources as effectively as we do.

In the last six months, Centerstage has produced the two top-selling shows in our company’s 31-year history. For the last three years, the readers of The Mirror have voted us top arts group in the city. We have attracted artists as distinguished as Martin Charnin (creator of Annie) and five-time Grammy nominee John Forster to work with us for a pittance, because of the quality of work we offer them. We do our job and the people of Federal Way come. And we’re bringing in audiences from out of town, too. We now even have regulars from as far afield as Port Angeles. Cinderella brought in about three dozen folks from the other side of the Cascades…some as far away as Spokane.

And just a reminder to Ms. Mcarthur: some of the citizens of Federal Way did indeed help fund the Knutzen Family Theatre. One of the very largest donors, second only to the Knutzen Family, was Centerstage.

Sincerely,

Alan Bryce

Managing Artistic Director Centerstage

Sex offender legislation is very nuanced

In partial response to Angie Vogt’s tirade about the upcoming gubernatorial contest, “Facts be damned...” your readers should understand why, exactly, most prosecuting agencies oppose legislation such as Jessica’s Law. Undoubtedly, it is easy to look at sex offenders and demand immediate lifelong incarceration. The issue, however, is more nuanced than that.

Prosecutors know, as do most attorneys practicing criminal law, that sex offenses are difficult to prove, whether the victim be an adult or a child. This inherent difficulty arises from myriad factors, including a dearth of physical evidence, severely traumatized victim’s having to testify, etc.

To that end, the state relies, in many instances, on guilty pleas to adjudicate these charges. Mandatory life sentences would provide no incentive to plead and, given the circumstances noted above, would lead to many more defendants taking these charges to trial. On balance, I would argue, the state obtains more convictions to sex offense by way of plea than it would if it were forced to try every charged offense.

Regarding the SSOSA, and Ms. Vogt’s grim assessment of it, your readers should understand that it too, balances the need to punish/treat offenders while offering them an incentive to take responsibility for their heinous actions.

No system of criminal justice is perfect, including ours. Their problems, though, are often more nuanced than those decried by pundits criticizing it for political purposes.

Michael Malaier

Federal Way

Minorities must battle the dominant Group?

First off I just want to clarify I am a middle-class white guy. Now that’s out of the way, where do I start in response to Tito Hinojo’s article July 23.

I was not born wealthy. I was born into poverty. Yes I know the taste of government cheese, taste of powdered milk, the embarrassment of going to the food bank, the embarrassment of wearing rubber rain boats to school because that’s all I had to put on my feet. I was uprooted from my school or house every year due to evictions. I understand going to bed hungry, etc, etc, poor poor me, but this isn’t what this is about.

Working hard got me to where I am at today. I was not a bright student in high school. I was not athletically gifted, in fact I wasn’t even five-feet till my senior year.

Today, I am 34, have owned a couple of homes, own my own successful business, graduated from Washington State University, have lived in numerous locations in the US; HI, AK, RI, FL, etc just so I could get different experience’s in life.

Was I given scholarships to attend college? No in fact there was a joke, the Poor White Guy Syndrome. If you were poor and white you were the last person to get any scholarship help. I applied to over 60 different scholarships and didn’t receive a single one. So how did I graduate college? I took out loans, worked full time, used my GI Bill (all $,7500 of it), etc.

Was I given programs to buy my first house? No, I had to come up with 20 percent down. I worked my butt off to buy a fixer upper. Once we bought it, my wife and I spent all summer renovating that house, so we could sell it and get something bigger.

Was I given special loans to start my business? No, I took out a home equity loan to fund my business.

I understand the concept of Affirmative Action, equal rights, etc. But there is nothing more important to succeeding in life then working hard, and going for your dreams. If you go through life expecting to get things based on your race, sexual preference, etc. then it sets you up for failure. I had a couple of young men come into my store dressed like thugs/gangbangers (including the bandana out of their back pocket) asking me for a job. I said sorry we aren’t hiring. One of them got very verbal, and was making accusations that I only hire white folks. (Funny thing is I have one employee and she only works 5-10 hours a week. So its just my wife and myself working the store). He grabbed a bunch of product, knocked stuff over and walked out. Is that how to ask for a job or get ahead in life? No!!! You need to look presentable and work hard.

Now for the folks that will say, “well you don’t know what its like to be a minority.” Your wrong. Have you lived in rural Hawaii? Do you understand the concept of being a Haole? I was beat down twice in the small village that I lived in. WHY? Because I was the only white guy there and I was “taking jobs away from the locals”. Have you lived in various villages in Alaska? The same reverse discrimination goes on there. So what did I do? I just worked hard and kept my nose out of trouble.

I am tired about reading or hearing about the poor-me syndrome. If I can work hard to get where I am ANYONE can. You do not need help from others. It all falls on your shoulders. What did Will Smith tell his son in his last movie? “Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something.” If you want to succeed in life work hard for it, don’t expect to get there via affirmative action or equal rights, etc. as that only sets you up for failure and creates animosity.

Jon Moore

Federal Way

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