Letters: Councilmember’s comments about ‘controversial’ events

Plus: A message to whoever vandalized a Federal Way church.

Message to vandals

This is an open letter to whoever smashed one of the stained glass windows at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on 312th Street. Um, what were you trying to accomplish?

Maybe you were one of the several folks this week I wasn’t able to help with housing assistance because the church doesn’t have sufficient funds for that. If that’s the case, then smashing one of our windows is not going to help us get more funding. Maybe someone told you that churches are hoarding money, but that’s certainly not true of us.

Maybe you don’t like seeing the Pride flag on our digital street sign. If that’s the case, you’re never going to stop us from welcoming and supporting LGBTQ+ people as members and as leaders.

Or maybe you’re just angry at the world right now. There are plenty of good reasons to be. I want to urge you to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

The Church of the Good Shepherd is just a small group of folks who nurture this wild idea that love is at the center of everything and is planted more deeply than all that is wrong with the world. We truly believe that giving of ourselves like Jesus did is the only way to live. We want to create little pockets of love in the world to counter all this hate.

You’re welcome to join us in this work. But you will never be able to destroy the beauty that grows here.

The Rev. Josh Hosler, Rector, The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd

Federal Way

Celebrate diversity

I am writing to express my deep disappointment regarding the recent comments made by Federal Way City Councilmember Linda Kochmar regarding the Performing Arts and Event Center (PAEC). We live in a community where inclusivity and diversity should be celebrated, and it is disheartening to hear a public official express the need to be notified of any “controversial” events, particularly citing an LGBTQ-focused event.

For Federal Way to thrive, it must embrace a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and identities. The Performing Arts and Event Center should be a space that fosters inclusivity, where every member of the community feels welcome and represented. To single out an event hosted by a transgender woman as “controversial” sends a troubling message and perpetuates a divisive mindset.

It is crucial that our elected representatives champion the values of acceptance, understanding, and respect for all citizens. Rather than expressing concerns about events that promote diversity, I urge our councilmembers to support initiatives that bring our community together and celebrate the richness of our differences.

As a resident of Federal Way, I believe it is essential for our city leaders to actively work toward creating an environment where everyone feels valued and included. I hope that the City Council will take steps to promote diversity and discourage any form of discrimination.

Thank you, and I trust that our community will continue to grow in a direction that embraces the principles of equality and unity.

Sam Rise

Federal Way

Concerns about comments

Although I have a Des Moines address, living at Redondo Beach makes me feel much more a resident of Federal Way, and it is in this context that I’m writing concerning recent publicized comments by Federal Way City Councilmember Linda Kochmar. Ms. Kochmar made comments at a city meeting criticizing a performance at the Performing Arts and Event Center (PAEC) by a group representing the Pacific Islander community. Specifically, a part of performance included a person (or persons) performing in drag. Ms. Kochmar made an anti-trans and anti-drag statement during the city council committee meeting. She also stated that Federal Way was a suburb, not Seattle, insinuating that a smaller, more insular community had not, and should not, welcome such performances.

It is hard to express my utter dismay at an adult who publicly expresses such views. The fact that these comments have been circulating on social media concerns me because of their ricocheting consequences; that is, how many young people, in middle school or high school in Federal Way, have heard about these comments from an authority figure such as a city council member?

While many of us elders grew up thinking the world was just made up of heterosexuals, over time we have learned of the vast continuum of sexual orientation, and welcomed the folks among us who were LGBTQ. What Ms. Kochmar expressed in her comments are also some of the GOP talking points of the 2020s — that LGBTQ people, drag queens, and trans people are “abnormal” and should not be free to express themselves in public (or in reading materials).

Ms. Kochmar also referred to a “past Federal Way” where there were a great many churches, as though the performance she criticized was “anti-Christian.”

As other people have pointed out, Ms. Kochmar’s comments work against the ideals of diversity and inclusion that Federal Way should be working toward. I hope everyone will use this opportunity to further educate themselves on the need for us to value everybody equally, and that includes our cherished LGBTQ friends and relatives.

Lorie Lucky

Des Moines