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Fear mongering and city government | Federal Way letters
As we'd expect, the elected mayor argument gets repeatedly off track. Worse, the spins are inevitable. After all, this is politics, and some stand to lose their power if change were to occur.
The council-manager system may have once seemed like a good organizational model. After all, it's a business model, and why not run a city like a corporation? Why indeed. What we have here are good intentions gone awry. And if there's one lesson to be learned from that decision to start a council-manager system, it's that a corporation is most assuredly not a democratic institution.
One of the arguments we hear is about how an elected mayor would be a partisan or biased mayor. What does that mean? What does that say about democracy and the voting process? How many times do we need to point out that we vote for our leaders at all levels of government? The voters will vote for the person they feel will best repreent them. Period.
But let's get back to the argument the group opposed to a strong mayor has used above all others: The "cost" of change.
This is fear mongering at is best. Cost? It's the current form of city government that has cost us dearly. Has everyone (or anyone) forgotten about the many costly projects initiated by a simple majority of Federal Way City Council members? It may read somewhere that the city council was acting on behalf of its citizens. But what does that mean? Do we endorse a system defined by the principle, "The people don't know what's best, so we'll make the decisions for them?" Don't scoff at this. A council member once stated something exactly like that. And when the bad decisions are made, where's that accountability? It looks more like immunity to me.
The argument against adding a mayor's salary to the books is weak at best. What's one of the hallmarks of the council-manager system? A bureaucracy and a bloated budget. A strong and active mayor, on the other hand, would have the power to re-organize staffing needs. Remember, the taxpayers have already been paying a lot for a city manager and an assistant city manager or two.
Cost is not the problem. Voting for a mayor who has the right skill set and qualifications is not the problem. So, what's the problem? Could it be that there isn't one? Don't be swayed by the fear mongering. Make your vote count in November. Vote to be able to elect your mayor.
Dave McKenzie, Federal Way