Elected mayor debate sizzles | Federal Way letters
October 13, 2009 · Updated 12:48 PM
Just recently, I experienced my first coup d’etat, an overthrow resulting from the current local kerfuffle over whether Federal Way should have an elected mayor.
Initially, it looked innocent enough. The local monthly meeting of the Democrats was to hear a presentation from both sides of the issue. I caught a ride to the meeting with the meeting’s chair, and she indicated that she was quite apprehensive about the course of the meeting as she explained the proposed agenda for the meeting.
We got to the meeting place early and I watched as local Democrats came in and signed our meeting log. It was sparse of the usual Democratic faces, vacations, illnesses, etc., but I noticed a sudden influx, en masse, of unfamiliar faces. It did not occur to me then that the meeting was being packed.
We got through the usual preliminaries of the meeting and moved to the meat of the matter. Suddenly, an ominous sense of oppression filled the room as though there were something powerful and angry ready to spring.
The chair asked for the recommendations of the endorsement committee on what they had determined in their study of the elected mayor issue. The five members who had attended the issue were unanimously in favor of an elected mayor. Having the ruling of that committee in hand, the chair called for a vote, aye or nay, in favor of the committee’s recommendation.
A call for a motion was made. The motion was made. At that instant, the chair faltered momentarily before asking for a second and the opposition leaped into action.
“That motion was not seconded! It cannot go forward,” they shouted.
A person calling himself a parliamentarian, from the opposition of course, ruthlessly agreed with them.
We found ourselves suddenly shanghaied into what I consider to be a rather undemocratic action, but we also found ourselves obliged to yield to the man who called himself a parliamentarian.
The opposition had their motion in hand, rapidly seconded by a number of persons.
Heated debate followed and our side — by this time, I was solidly on the side of those who favor an elected mayor — was cut off in our attempt at dialogue on the issues. The motion of the opposition passed.
Therefore, it is the official stance of the local Democrats of the 30th Legislative District that it is opposed to an elected mayor, brought about by what is quite reminiscent of the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich in 1923.
Now, however, there is a sizable minority and possibly even a real majority of Democrats in favor of an elected mayor.
Because of what I witnessed this past Wednesday, I hereby fully endorse and support Federal Way City Council member Jim Ferrell in his drive for an elected mayor — and I have a strong feeling that a number of local Democrats (and Republicans) join me in this.
Accountability — power to the people. And an elected mayor accountable to the people of Federal Way, not the machinations of a power-hungry minority.
Karen Hedwig Backman, Federal Way