Letters: Sound Transit’s obligations, shout out to Mr. Hoff, thankful for legislators

Letters to the Editor for April 22.

Sound Transit’s obligations

Sound Transit decided to put their south end maintenance yard in southern Federal Way, displacing tax-generating businesses from our city’s very small industrial area. This property had helped balance ordinary folks’ taxes in the city budget. Taking that tax income from Federal Way makes me feel Sound Transit owes Federal Way some good treatment when it comes to developing the Sound Transit surplus property around the new light rail station in our downtown.

At the April 5, 2022, study session on the FW Transit Light Rail Station downtown surplus property, Sound Transit staff stated they are obliged by law to require offering 80%, or an even greater amount of the surplus property for affordable housing creation, before other uses.

Federal Way City Councilmember Susan Honda asked if that requirement was 80% per site or 80% project-wide, and Sound Transit staff admitted that it was project-wide, stating some sites, like Angle Lake Station, will have no affordable housing built there. This means that the 80% project-wide requirement has to be made up with higher percentages at other sites, potentially at Federal Way.

Sound Transit offered all seven acres of surplus property at the Bellevue site (a size similar to that at Federal Way) to developers as a mixed-use site with two buildings for market rate housing, two for office/retail and two for affordable housing, plus a park. This mixed-use plan fits in with Federal Way’s statements about the vision for downtown.

I hope the mayor and council can push Sound Transit to soon offer our properties as similarly suitable for mixed-use building before we are left — like we were left in finding a location for the maintenance yard — to be the last option, with no other chance or choice, just part of Sound Transit’s obligation to make up whatever percentages of affordable housing were not located at other sites, to fulfill that 80% requirement in Federal Way.

Margaret Nelson, Federal Way

Shout out to Hoff

I want to give a public “shout out” to one on our former Federal Way School Board directors, Mr. Charles Hoff. Back in the day, he played a key role in establishing the beloved Federal Way Public Academy, but well beyond that time, he has served our community for decades. Many know him for college preparatory talks and the very generous scholarships offered by colleges and universities that seek applicants to achieve their diversity interests. For those that understand the details, that is not a disingenuous statement about diversity because those scholarships for applicants from our state are not limited by any criteria regarding gender, ethnicity or income.

Before the pandemic, he was a regular at school board meetings; a tireless and dedicated advocate of public education. For nearly eight years, he has sent me volumes of reading assignments on current education issues. We may not agree on the cause of all the issues or even the solution sets, but the ability to understand issues from a variety of perspectives provides anyone who listens to him a huge appreciation for the hard work teaching professionals do every day for the benefit of our children. I just want people to know how valuable it is to have strong education advocates in our community like Mr. Hoff and of course the late Mr. Lloyd Gardner.

Hiroshi Eto, Federal Way

Honoring the military?

Some recent headlines from the Mirror:

“Federal Way raises Ukrainian flag in solidarity” (March 4, 2022).

“Federal Way celebrates St. Patrick’s Day” with a photo caption that reads “Elected officials and proud community members with Irish heritage assist in raising the Irish flag on March 17” (March 18, 2022).

There were multiple other times with other flags.

All were to honor some organization, cause, or country.

Never, however, does the city of Federal Way honor the military services on their birthdays. Just in case the elected officials are uncertain of those dates, here is a listing:

• U.S. Merchant Marine, May 22 (Maritime Day)

• U.S. Army, June 14

• U.S. Coast Guard, August 4

• U.S. Air Force, September 18

• U.S. Navy, October 13

• U.S. Marine Corps, November 10

• U.S. Space Force, December 20

It seems to us that they should be honored as well.

Kevin Burns, Federal Way

Thank you, legislators

Many thanks to District 30’s State Sen. Claire Wilson and our State Representatives Jamila Taylor and Jesse Johnson for appearing at the April 5 Federal Way City Council meeting and sharing the results of their work on behalf of their Federal Way constituents.

Senator Wilson worked hard on housing issues, supporting two efforts to protect more than 2,600 District 30 households living in manufactured/mobile home parks. Though neither bill was fully successful, her efforts are much appreciated!

Representative Johnson led efforts last term to make Federal Way residents safe from unreasonable and deadly police actions. His proposals to make police accountable for their actions that willfully or carelessly injure or kill civilians remain high points of the legislative sessions. Holding police accountable to public safety also prevents expensive payouts, which come at taxpayer expense.

Unfortunately, many of those in attendance at the council meeting belong to a group whose main purpose, it seems, is to criticize and oppose any meaningful efforts to combat the national scourges of increased crime, homelessness and addiction that also affect Federal Way. During public comment, speakers made vague and often untrue statements about those suffering addiction and homelessness. Speakers went over the three-minute time limit without being stopped. Despite Mayor Jim Ferrell’s warning that selective applause and outbursts are intimidating to other audience members, again, there was no attempt to enforce civil behavior.

In this charged atmosphere, District 30’s senator and representatives remained poised and positive about their efforts to meet the needs of their constituents. They deserve our thanks for a job well done!

Susan Salmond, Federal Way