Federal Way letters to the editor

Letters from Federal Way and other nearby residents.

Harvard likely never heard of the WASL

I have not even finished reading The Mirror, but I felt compelled to write to you.

What a wonderful editorial May 31 written by guest columnist Walter Backstrom, “Sacrifices will lead to better schools in FW.” You make it sound so simple; it’s too bad that it seems to fall on deaf ears. It is so sad that the schools teach to the WASL. Having a daughter who just went through the process of entering college and filling out college applications, not one time did they ask for WASL scores, only SAT scores and more importantly, community involvement, etc.

On the front page of Saturday’s Mirror was an article about Cindy Kang, who just received a full-ride scholarship to Harvard University for having exceptional math skills as well as her involvement in extracurricular activities. I am sure Harvard has never even heard of WASL.

It is too bad that parents do not take on a larger role with the schools in support of their children. I remember when my parents would attend a PTA meeting, it was a packed house. Now you are lucky to have 20 people show.

In the past, I have attended the coffee hour that the principal at Todd Beamer High School would host, and only four of us mothers were present. Currently, I am assisting in the graduation celebration at Sequoyah Middle School, and out of 250 graduates, six of us showed up to organize the event.

I realize that all of us are busy. However, if we do not take an active role in our children’s education and lives, then what kind of role models are we being for our children?

Thank you for taking the time to write such a thought-provoking and honest editorial.

Susan Rao,

Federal Way

City’s Code enforcement is a Sad joke

It is sad to read about a truly outstanding Federal Way citizen, Dave Hamlin, forced out of business by our city fathers (“City code nails popular woodworker,” May 31).

Dave turned a wood hobby into a real business (upon retirement) making patio furniture, chairs and planters from recycled wood 13 years ago. A large portion of the money raised through fundraising activities is given to his church and other well-known charities in this city. This represented several thousand dollars annually. Dave lived the dream of almost every retired person. The charities will also suffer!

Background: The City of Federal Way employs two or more ladies with titles of “compliance officers.” Illegal outdoor signs posted on store walls, coffee shop boards on sidewalks and/or notices in private yards are collected by Federal Way. The ladies are on a mission to remove and haul off all non-conforming signs and billboards in their city furnished trucks. The businesses or homeowners can have their sign back for $10 and a verbal understanding about the city bylaws.

The compliance complaint started with a sign in his yard. The first compliance lady with a truckload of signs said when the sign was removed, he would be in compliance. The second compliance lady with a truckload of signs drove up about a complaint on his loud handheld electric sander used in his driveway. Just how loud is a handheld electric sander? As loud as power lawn mowers and blowers?

In the case study of Dave Hamlin, the second compliance officer lady officially put him out of business. Dave must remove all wood yard furniture and disable his backyard home table-saw including the extension cord and sawdust. His handheld electric sander must be kept indoors. Obviously, the city feels Dave is “one bad dude!”

Lee Bailey (city building official) states that “home business” comes with strict rules and stringent requirements. On the other hand; he states that “noise” is enforced by the police department. I am confused! One compliance lady told Dave he was in compliance after removing his lawn sign. The second compliance lady said he was making too much noise and officially put him out of business.

I smell a “smoking gun” here and there must be more to the story! Did the non-small business friendly city fathers get involved? Are there too many compliance officers with not enough work to do? Are there wood furniture people in competition with Dave? Or is it some city official “alter ego?”

Well no matter! I guess I am forced to purchase my outdoor furniture now “Made In China.”

Neil Corbin,

Federal Way

Shame on the city and its silly codes

How very special. A “newby” moves into a neighborhood, and a longtime homeowner in Federal Way may have to move. A retiree at that.

Seems like Dave Hamlin (“City code nails popular woodworker,” May 31) has been building woodworking projects out of his home for the past 13 years, and with a business license. He has helped charities, such as the Kiwanis Club, local churches, schools and youth sports organizations sell his projects, then split the proceeds 50-50.

Now the Federal Way compliance people said he is making too much noise because there are complaints, after 13 years. It’s not as if he is making a ton of money, but just enough to get by, plus whatever his retirement brings in.

I’m pretty sure that the noise Mr. Hamlin makes is during the day. But in today’s population, people (the younger generation and some old-timers) just want everything they feel is in their best interest, not those who live around them.

There seems to be fewer neighborhood-friendly people, and Federal Way is causing much of these problems with its so-called codes.

Where was this code when Mr. Hamlin started up his business 13 years ago? Why weren’t his woodworking projects investigated back when he started his business? It appears that those moving into Federal Way want their own little space, plus dictate what their neighbors can and cannot do in their own homes and on their property.

Pretty sad that our Federal Way City Council is bowing down to a few who have moved here recently, and are telling those who have lived here for years: “You are infringing upon my rights.”

If Dave and Mary Hamlin have to sell their home, I hope the neighbors who are complaining are happy and well satisfied. Why didn’t they go to Mr. Hamlin, personally, and ask if there was a way for him to curb some of the noise from his machines? Why? Because they wanted the city to stop this man because they found his machines too annoying for their comfort.

If you have to leave, Mr. Hamlin, to a more neighborhood-friendly city, I wish you well — and shame on Federal Way and some of its silly codes.

I’m sure something could have been worked out so you wouldn’t have to give up the little income your woodworking projects bring in.

We are very fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is family friendly because for three weeks, they had to put up with the tile roofing of our house. There was a lot of noise from 8 a.m. to sometimes 6 p.m. Thank you, neighbors.

Pat Gee,

Federal Way

Will article affect the city’s Hispanic folks?

Your report of the “lively crowd” at the meeting that had “brightly-colored paper decorations and an abundance of food” drew my interest (“Hispanic community finds a bridge to better communication,” May 31).

There had to be something constructive finally happening here in Federal Way. My neighbors behind us are new to the area and seem to be a wonderful, ambitious and loving family. They haven’t stopped improving their property. Sometimes they have lively family parties on the weekends.

I would so love to get to know them, but only “dad” can articulate English with any proficiency. I know just enough Spanish to thoroughly confuse him. They got our go-ahead to put a wooden fence between our backyards. Dad and I talked when he and his wife and young son came to the door to get our OK. The end result was unexpected and sort of amusing, but since I gave him the two big “thumbs up,” it wouldn’t be fair to blame him.

I’d love to eventually make friends in the hope of learning better communication skills, but we appear to have no common ground, so far. I’d also like to think I could help the mom a bit, too.

I noticed that you took both of the published photos, and that the mayor said a few words at the luncheon introducing Hispanic liaison Teniel Sabin. Apparently, Ms. Sabin “has plans” to introduce information in Spanish on the city’s Web site. And that she can be reached in English or Spanish by phone.

What has prompted me to e-mail you is this: Do you truly expect your English-speaking readers to give any weight to your report? Does Ms. Sabin? I was reminded why I seldom, if ever, bother to read The Mirror. Without at least a few paragraphs in Spanish, how can someone like my lovely neighbor read any sincerity into Ms. Sabin’s stated intention to improve her lot?

You should both be ashamed of yourself and your self-aggrandizement. Please prove me wrong. Please make an effort to report Ms. Sabin’s success in her new venture.

Yes, there are actually quite a number of our neighbors who could avail themselves of any honest attempt for help.

Regina Ambrose,

Auburn (Lake Dolloff/Kilo area)

Our warriors deserve more

Angie Vogt offers up, once again, the empty rhetoric of “Thank you, U.S. soldiers, for your courage” in her May 24 column.

In truth, in raw truth (a rare commodity in these Republican days), what actual thanks are we extending to our warriors in Iraq and elsewhere?

Nothing but disdain and cheating them of their just and fair benefits. Denying them the health care they need after their service in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Finally, after the lying and thieving skullduggery of the Bush administration has been disclosed and the wretched conditions wounded warriors have been subjected to in certain privately-serviced sections of Walter Reed, corrections are slowly being made. Conditions are becoming slightly better for those persons who have sacrificed so much for our nation.

But, and Vogt fails to take note of this, we have failed miserably in our thanks to the families of these warriors who have borne enormous burdens which Vogt is too cowardly to acknowledge. These families have wrestled with little access to decent health care, poverty and, most shamefully, these families are the ones who have suffered most during the recent mortgage scandals — another symptom of the gross economic mismanagement of our nation’s economy by the Bush-Cheney gang of thieves.

These families have been gouged by loan sharks who have victimized these families in their efforts to feed and clothe and shelter their children, and Republicans refuse to punish such criminals.

We have not begun to pay for this stupid and unjust war. We have have not begun to pay for the sacrifices we have forced on the few, which sacrifices have enriched even further the very rich friends of the Bush-Cheney gang of criminals.

Dick Cheney’s Halliburton reaps great benefits from the Iraq invasion and occupation, the “War of One Thousand and One Lies,” while the families of the brave warriors who have sacrificed their lives and blood weep.

It may take hundreds of years for America to pay back all that it owes for this most evil of wars.

Karen Hedwig Backman,

Federal Way

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