Federal Way Neighbors for Health Access and Fair Taxes is a great name for an organization composed of neighbors coming together to improve our community. Unfortunately, not one word of that name is accurate; this is the organization supporting Federal Way Proposition 1, which would bring retail pot shops to Federal Way. Everything about the name of the organization and its purpose in backing this proposition is false and misleading. Who are these neighbors? What health care can’t be accessed? What taxes are not fair? In the interest of brevity, I will confine my comments to the first of those questions: who are these neighbors?
Federal Way Neighbors it is not. There is one and only one person who, as of last week, has sent even a penny to the organization. According to the Public Disclosure Commission report, Cliff Gehrett has contributed $39,001. Gehrett is the owner of Issaquah Cannabis Company, a pot shop in Issaquah. He does not even live in Federal Way, although he has purchased a property on Pacific Highway South for more than $1.5 million. It is within view of Federal Way High School. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has already issued a license for that location in the name of Gehrett’s stepmother, Judy James, who owns other pot shops, including 112th Street Cannabis in Pierce County. They have also purchased property east of I-5, just outside the Federal Way city limits on 320th Street. It has also been approved by the Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Gehrett demonstrated his concern for neighbors when in 2016 he requested that the city of Issaquah reduce from 1,000 feet to 100 feet the required buffer between pot shops and schools, parks, daycares and other child-oriented facilities. In their attempt to garner influence with local officials, Gehrett and his cronies have donated more than $12,000 to Federal Way City Council races.
A more appropriate name for the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign would be Outside Interests with Zero Community Concern and Selfish Motivations.
Be a good neighbor. Please vote “No” to Proposition 1.