The race for council Position 6 has the two candidates, Martin Moore and Roger Flygare, whom voters seem to have the most questions about.
Many are scratching their heads about how they should vote. Moore was elected four years ago by defeating appointed incumbent Diana Noble-Gulliford based mostly on his personal and compelling story as a child from Bulgaria. He was adopted and raised in Federal Way.
Moore works part time at St. Vincent School in development and as a co-coordinator of events for Arc.
Moore does have his supporters, but he has also been controversial due to his switch in political party, ambition and differing views of his record. Moore was a Democrat and worked for former Democrat State Rep. Roger Freeman, who passed away. Moore then joined Democrats for Republican Mark Miloscia, who was running for the Washington state Legislature. Moore later switched to the Republican party. He had wanted to run for Freeman’s position and still sees his future in the Legislature.
Moore counters criticism by saying he helped re-establish the youth commission, encouraged city government to hire the disabled, encouraged the Parks and Recreation Department to establish late-night activities, tried to help the residents of Lake Jeanne and opposed establishing safe injection sites in Federal Way. Only helping the disabled and the safe injection sites are actually policy issues. And since no one in authority had actually proposed putting an injection site in Federal Way, his opponents see opposing one in an election year as an easy position. He says Federal Way should be an inclusive city but doesn’t describe how he would accomplish that goal. And neither Mayor Jim Ferrell nor any council member has spoken out on national or local race relations. Moore has been a supporter of the Performing Arts and Event Center and the moratorium on apartments.
He states he cares about public safety and helping the homeless by getting to the root cause of drug use. Certainly a noble cause to undertake, although to date he has supported the current city policy on the homeless, which is to push them out of town. If re-elected, Moore would like to look at a program from New Mexico that puts panhandlers in temporary city jobs.
Moore is a likeable person and known as a hard worker in election campaigns. Some regular City Hall observers believe Moore means well and are impressed by his personal story. But others feel Moore seems more interested in gaining political points during council meetings than actually working on serious long-term policy questions. They feel it is past time for him to stop campaigning on his personal history and contend that he has a pretty meager record after four years. They feel he hasn’t built on the opportunity he has been given.
Moore’s opponent is local businessman Roger Flygare. Flygare had wanted to run for the open seat being vacated by Jeanne Burbidge, but fellow Democrat Sharry Edwards got there first. Flygare has run for public office several times, including the state Legislature and the South King Fire & Rescue board. He has lost on each occasion. In an earlier race, questions about the accuracy of his military record undermined his candidacy.
Flygare has a court reporting business and feels that gives him insight into public safety issues. Like Moore, he supports the current school bond proposal and would like to see more family-wage jobs come to Federal Way. He wants to do a local improvement district on businesses to help the homeless and get social service agencies together to find a consensus answer. That elusive answer is likely to be costly, and Flygare opposes any additional taxes or fees with out a public vote. He feels we have an inordinate number of apartments that have caused additional traffic problems, as has the location of the new Chick-fil-A. He would like to see improvements made to the permit process and supports the college initiative, although he believes that Gonzaga would be a better fit.
Adding to his potentially controversial proposal requiring a public vote on all tax and fee increases, Flygare would like to see council members elected by district. Most cities and towns in Washington have gone away from that concept over the years to ensure all voters get to vote on all candidates.
Moore usually goes along with the mayor and council majority, while Flygare might be inclined to stir things up.
To add another nuance to an already challenging election decision, former candidate for mayor Mark Greene is running as a write–in for this council position. How many votes he takes and from whom could have an impact if the race is close.
Moore has a campaign budget of $25,000 to $30,000 and Flygare has one of $16,000. Ferrell has endorsed both candidates, and a majority of the City Council has endorsed Moore. Both candidates have mixed records, but each also brings something unique. In Moore, it is his personal story; with Flygare it is his business background. As the incumbent, and with a bigger budget, Moore would be seen as the frontrunner.
Voter turn out could spell the difference in this race.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former Auburn mayor and retired public official. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.