Letters to the editor: Feb. 27, 2008

Sensibility prevails at elections

Federal Way Works would like to thank those who joined with us in rejecting the misguided attempt by Accountability Comes to Town (ACT) to change our form of government in Federal Way.

While it was somewhat disheartening that nearly 70 percent of eligible voters didn’t take the time to vote on this important matter, the 30 percent who did made clear their preference to maintain professional and qualified city management. The latest results from King County Elections show the measure was defeated 54 percent to 46 percent. While not the margin we may have liked to send a clear message to ACT, it is still a considerable margin of victory for opponents of this unproductive, costly and unnecessary ballot measure that would undermine the stability and progress of our community.

ACT President Roy Parke vows to fight on to get a strong mayor form of government. Federal Way Works will remain vigilant and prepared to meet that challenge if and when it comes again. We will store our signs, watch events as they unfold and develop even more effective strategies to communicate to the citizens of Federal Way just what they stand to lose if the proponents of a strong mayor form succeed.

We fully believe Federal Way works well with the council-manager form of government. We are committed to ensuring it stays that way. We are proud of our city and will not sit idly by while small group of nay-sayers constantly try to tear it down.

We will always seek ways to improve our city and support change when that change is rational, well thought out and considers the full ramifications of the change. This ballot measure missed the mark on all counts.

The members of Federal Way Works


Professional panhandlers vs. homeless

Open letter to the Federal Way City Council:

During the mid-1980s, I served an outreach mission in downtown Seattle’s Pioneer District. For weeks, in the bitter cold of December and January 1985 and 1986, a small group of us from the Renton Assembly of God lived with the homeless, the drunks, the beggars and the panhandlers of Seattle sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

These are some of the most memorable times for me as a young man. We watched people with no hope begin to have hope. Watched people that had their fingers broken by junkies robbing them for change — with broken fingers try to dial phones to call their families to ask forgiveness and acceptance back into their families.

I personally even took one man to the hospital, after sharing the love of God with him and reuniting him with his wife after five years of his living on the street… only to watch him have a heart attack moments later.

Gut-wrenching memories, my friend. The kind of experiences that can haunt you for the rest of your life.

For weeks, our little group came to know these people intimately. We listened to their stories of fear, regret, anguish and hopelessness. We encouraged them to accept where they are, stop living the past, to draw a line in the sand and take steps to improving their lives and reuniting with their loved ones through love and reconciliation. We helped those whom we could. We had to let go of those we could not help — that did not want the help. Believe me when I say that this was not an easy thing to do when you get to know these people. So, when I say this is experience talking, please understand what I mean.

This panhandling ordinance you folks passed Feb. 19 is not “an effort of beautification for our city.” It is the right thing to do and I wanted to applaud you for taking the action. As many times as my wife and I have criticized the council for inaction, I thank God for giving me a reason to say “Well done!”

Listen, it’s not heartlessness to do the right thing here. It’s tough love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to offer them a “no excuses” opportunity to get their life together and stop being a parasite on society.

Many of these people we are forcing out of town with this ordinance stand around with signs that have no truth to them at all. Signs claiming to be a “veteran,” “homeless,” “parent with kids,” you name it. Most of them? Not true.

My family and I spoke one-on-one to many of these folks a couple years ago when we brought this issue before the city council. The genuine homeless wanted to hear about the Multi-Service Center. The professional panhandlers blew us off and wanted no part of us — we were cramping their money-generating machine.

For the professional panhandlers, like the ones we have working the corners of 272nd, 312th, 320th and 348th, panhandling is a job. They make their daily goal — tax free — and go home. Their signs are written to emotionally impact those of us who do not feel we already give enough to organizations like World Vision, The Red Cross and to our own church — where on the average, upwards of 95 percent of the money taken in by these organizations actually reach people in genuine need and fund programs designed to help real homeless folks.

I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but if you ever went up to one of these folks and offered them a warm blanket, a carton of milk or some food? The professional panhandlers blew you off — they’re there for the money, honey. The genuine homeless? Yeah, they took our meager offerings to their shanty of a home on undeveloped property here in Federal Way over by Diamond Jim’s or across the street from the Multi-Service Center. How do we know? Been there. Done that.

Thank you for taking action in this matter.

Frosty E. Hardison, Federal Way

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