Letters to the editor: March 22, 2008

Let the chips fall where they may

I read with interest a recent letter from Federal Way Municipal Court Judge Michael Morgan (March 19).

Usually he has something insightful to say, and often I agree with him. In this instance, I do not.

He speaks of an irony that a different publication would criticize him for fighting to keep confidential a report labeled as “confidential,” when the same publication would fight to keep confidential the identity of a confidential source.

When he talks of another publication, I assume that he is speaking of the Tacoma News Tribune. In fact, there is no irony, and this is a poor example for comparison. The Tacoma News Tribune is a private entity. This is in contrast to the City of Federal Way, which is a public agency. As such, the city is directly responsible to the public and state disclosure laws.

Unless these reports fall under a specific exemption to the Public Disclosure Act, then they must be released. The fact that they are lableled “privileged and confidential” is completely irrelevent. The fact that these reports were drafted by attorneys is only relevent if the investigations and reports were commissioned for the purpose of addressing impending litigation. As such, they can be construed as attorney client privileged material.

He also considers it ironic that the law firm representing the News Tribune addresses the importance of being able to keep communications from lawyers private. There is no irony here either. A private attorney-client relationship is not the same as a public attorney or taxpayer-funded attorney advising a public agency.

Like it or not, a public agency is responsible to the citizens. That said, there is some reason or basis for keeping some public attorney issues confidential. However, based on statute and case law, this exemption is to be interpreted narrowly so as to facilitate in the greatest release of records.

He talks of it being unfair for the city to release only one report. I agree. Let them release all records associated with this debacle, and let the chips fall where they may. Further, I suggest that Michael Morgan abandon his current legal strategy, and advocate just that.

Finally, his reliance on the ability of the Commission of Judicial Conduct to resolve the matter seems a bit overstated. The commission deliberates in the dark, and if they do not sustain a complaint, then neither the complaint nor the results are published. In short, the public is given no basis to determine for themselves whether or not a complaint is valid. I submit that this is the antithesis of an open and democratic society.

David Koenig, Federal Way


Paintball and Barney vs. bad drivers

Political columnist Bob Roegner, I am glad you are just being facetious about the comedic signs at signal lights (“Simon says stop…at city’s red lights,” March 19).

Arrogant, selfish “It’s all about me” drivers don’t care! Even those that can read English and do hold a valid license are too involved with themselves to obey traffic laws.

But money speaks every language and impacts every “my wants are more important than your safety” person. Its removal from one’s pocket tends to make one more observant of laws. So I, too, am looking forward to the financial corrective procedures we hope photo cameras will bring.

Until then, I have my own (comedic, yet satisfying) proposal:

Install a yet-to-be-designed, automatic paintball shooting device equipped with a special hideous glowing paint that can only be safely removed from a side of the car when the red-light offender goes in person to pay the fine.

Optional upgrades to the system could include something that attaches to the offending vehicle that masks the often obnoxiously loud emanations from the speakers (aka, music). The device then loudly broadcasts the “Barney” song (or the “Small World” theme — either would do), endlessly annoying the driver and bringing public disdain upon the driver until he ponies up the fine to have it removed.

If the boys in blue see a vehicle with more than one paint spot, or the neighbors complain about being forced to listen to “Barney” all night, the police automatically haul in the perpetrator, tag his leg and impound the car until he pays those fines, plus an additional “stupid and reckless” punitive fee that allows him to get the bracelet off his leg and the car back in his driveway.

OK, young tech students. Get busy designing your next science fair project!

Harriet Cook, Federal Way


Thanks for supporting elected mayor

First, let me thank all of those who made it possible to put the elected mayor measure on the ballot.

Then I want to say thanks to those who voted for change. Though the majority of those who cast their vote decided that change wasn’t to be, make no mistake, this effort isn’t over. Many of us still believe as strongly as ever that Federal Way would be a better place if it had a strong mayor-council form of government, and the movement will go on.

Next time, we hope that we can provide more information that will allow more voters to make a break from the status quo. Call this the first step. I hold no animosity toward those voters who voted no. They were exercising their rights as citizens. They made their voices count. That’s a great thing.

I’ve never named Jerry Vaughn by name before, but after the ridiculous letter that ran in The Mirror on March 12, I must. I haven’t seen that kind of self-righteous indignation in a long time. He berated a recent letter writer who commented on the principles of democracy. Then he took on Accountability Comes to Town (ACT), saying that we’re calling the city manager form of government “un-American” and “evil.” Folks, beware of the person who protests that much.

What doesn’t this man understand? Or is it that he and his group see the writing on the wall? We proved a point in a big way on Feb. 19. Despite a David vs. Goliath campaign, with money coming in from a Washington, D.C., lobbyist group and into the “vote no” campaign, nearly half the voters who turned out voted for a change. And make no mistake, this was just the beginning.

We are happy to say that because of that election, there have been a couple of good meetings between the city leadership and the people who voted for change. Mr. Vaughn was not a part of that. In any event, and it should go without saying, we should all be glad that the spirit of positive change will always be there. Checks and balances. That is what America is supposed to be about.

Roy Parke, Federal Way


Show YMCA some love

I would like to share with the Federal Way community what a loss it is that at the end of March, we will be losing the Federal Way YMCA building, and the Federal Way YMCA Preschool and Early Learning Academy (pre-K) program.

Although the Federal Way YMCA will continue to operate its before- and after-school programs and sports programs from other locations within the community, it is a great loss for us parents to see the preschool program close.

It should also be a very sad time for the community because we have not just lost another common or regular daycare program. We have lost a high-quality, enriching, all-inclusive learning center dedicated to growing the whole person.

In addition, the YMCA has been dedicated and will continue to be dedicated to the entire family, to providing enriching, diverse and cultural community activities, and family support — something not all daycares take the time and effort to focus on.

Some daycares are just places you run inside to drop off and pick up your kids, and other than that, you don’t really interact with other parents, with the staff, or have activities as a family, community and as friends. This is not the case at the YMCA preschool, which has been a great program over the years; yet unfortunately, not enough families figured that out and those of us who truly value the YMCA preschool program have not been enough in numbers to keep the facility going financially.

It is sad as the Federal Way community will be hard-pressed to find many other preschools and pre-K programs that provide such enriching activities and wonderful staff, while also offering scholarships to families in financial need when state programs will not suffice. Try getting that kind of help from many for-profit childcare programs and preschools. Additionally, the YMCA’s preschool program has been open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. when many other preschools are only open a few days a week for a few hours per day.

That type of partial day schedule is very difficult for working parents.

In all, I am thankful that my children were able to experience their early years in the YMCA’s preschool program with such a loving staff. My kids made great friends, as have I, and we enjoyed numerous community events with a diverse group of friends and families within the community and YMCA.

It is truly unfortunate that the larger YMCA organization was not able to sustain this building and program in some form so the community of Federal Way could continue to benefit from such a great asset, or so more families could start to realize what a great program they had right in their own backyard.

Melissa Glatt, Federal Way


Ready to run a race

Since we have been blessed with a local paved pathway (BPA Trail), I’d like to see more road races on it. It would be a great way for people to run or run/walk a 5K, and the hills and switchbacks make it challenging.

Even our sidewalks are great because they are wide and most drivers are conscientious when people cross the street.

I know there have been competitive events on the trail (they run on the section behind my apartment). There should be more so we can run right here instead of Seattle or Oregon.

I have been a runner for over 10 years, and racing will someday be part of it. Wouldn’t it be great to run my first race right here, in the city I love?

Emily Hockett, Federal Way


Library expansion

What plans has the King County Library System (KCLS) made to begin construction on the Federal Way Regional Library expansion?

Have they have finalized where and how to provide library services to the Federal Way community while the Regional Library is closed? This closure and construction will take over a year and, at the last board meeting, was said to begin in September 2008.

The next KCLS monthly Board of Trustees meeting will be held close-by at the Auburn Library, 1102 Auburn Way S., Auburn, at 5 p.m. this Tuesday, March 25. This is your opportunity to come and observe, ask questions and describe your concerns during public comment time. Maybe you can give them some good ideas on how to help Federal Way during the closure. Remember, it’s your tax dollars at work.

You can look up the board meeting’s agenda at www.kcls.org. On the KCLS homepage, go to “About KCLS” and click on “Board of Trustees.” This will take you to the page with the meeting agenda. See you there.

Margaret Nelson, Federal Way


Drivers need to give woman a brake

The intersection of 11th Place South and 296th Place needs a garden plat.

Drivers floorboard it to Dash Point Road. Often they do not see the slight turn in the road. Therefore, they go through my yard and break the sprinkler heads and sometimes the pipes.

This is very expensive. They often park on the lawn edge and again break the sprinklers.

The other problem is that cars rarely stop at the intersection at 11th Place South. The speed limit is rarely addressed. I would hope that there could be an answer to this problem.

Dorothy Nixon, Federal Way


Who would Jesus vote for?

In a recent article in The Mirror the question was raised: Who would Jesus vote for — for President?

Although many of the candidates running have their own style, history and educational levels, and although all the candidates promise to represent the nation fairly, none of them would get the vote of Jesus Christ.

No one running for president will represent the nation the way the nation should be represented. None of the candidates will fix education because the unions won’t allow it to be fixed. None of the candidates will rid this nation of the federal reserve or paper currency because they will be shot like John F. Kennedy was. None of the candidates will balance the budget because economics are not a concern to an elitist group of lawyers and lawmakers that are too good for Medicare and Social Security to use it themselves.

None of the candidates running for president will make English the established language of the nation and indoctrinate all who dwell here to speak English fluently. None of the candidates running will stand up against the ACLU and put God back into the center of our schools, government and lives.

Nope, none of the candidates running for president are really qualified to be president. None of them will represent your interests physically, economically, financially, spiritually and therefore would not have the vote of Jesus Christ.

Jesus would go to the Midwest to a state like Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska or Kansas where the people still rely on God’s blessings of favor and on the hard work they themselves put forth and not some freebie government program to survive. Jesus would select a leader from a place where good old-fashioned values and common sense are still common. From a small rural country outpost or small town where God is still the center of the universe — this is where Jesus would find an honest man and empower him to change the world.

The greatest king to ever live was king David. David was a simple shepherd boy. He wasn’t a scholar, he sure wasn’t a lawyer and he was the meekest in his own family. He had a true and honest heart for God though…and it was that which made him a great leader of the nation Israel.

Given the opportunity, I’m quite sure God would do the same again.

Frosty E. Hardison, Federal Way


Son missing for three years

This month marks the third year that my son, Brian Roy Barton, has been missing from Federal Way and our lives.

We have made no progress in finding out what happened to our son, brother and friend. I encourage everyone, especially those with adopted children, to get a DNA sample of your child. There are kits available (check the Internet and learn how to obtain one). Keep it in a safe spot.

Our son was adopted and was gone from our home for over five years. We do not have a DNA sample in the national databank because of this. So how will we know if our son is ever found? We have submitted dental records, but if we only had a DNA sample, we would be better off.

Please, please don’t delay on getting your child’s sample. You can find out more about Brian and what he looks like online at theyaremissed.org.

Please be our eyes and ears as you live, work and play in the Washington area. Thank you.

Maureen Barton, Vista, Calif.