Every year politicians and community leaders make comments worth sharing, and 2016 was no exception.
Since Federal Way Mirror Publisher Rudi Alcott is a mite on the fiscally conservative side, two reporters and the entire sales staff fell out of their chairs when he said the words no Mirror employee ever thought they would hear, “I’ll pay for it myself if I have to.”
Former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani appeared to be auditioning for a place in Donald Trump’s Cabinet when he complained about voter fraud and dead people casting ballots during the election. Giuliani said, “Dead people generally vote democratic.” Seems he didn’t mind if dead people voted; he just didn’t like who they voted for.
And sometimes meaning well isn’t enough. In trying to help his longtime friend Mark Miloscia in his race for state auditor, Federal Way Councilman Martin Moore referred to state GOP Chair Susan Hutchison as “chairmen.” Some of his friends were quick to remind the media that Moore referred to Council Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Mark Koppang as madame chair — three times.
The Weyerhaeuser fish warehouse controversy provided some of the most entertaining political moments of the year. One of the best was Mayor Jim Ferrell saying with a sense of pride and accomplishment, the project “was a positive step for our community!” The 300 people who showed up at a council study session had several other words to describe the project. None of them used any words even remotely close to “positive.”
During a council study session on the proposed fish warehouse, the acting city attorney cautioned the City Council members against taking a public stand on the issue, causing Councilwoman Kelly Maloney to say to the 300 people in attendance, “I’m on your side. I’m not on this issue. I can’t. I’m not saying that on this issue, I’m on your side or I’m not on your side. I didn’t mean to imply that. In general, I’m on your side.” Audience members became confused. Whose side is she on again?
At the same meeting, Maloney said she had never heard of the concomitant between the city and Weyerhaeuser and the first she had heard of a fish warehouse was in the Mirror. But she also made a point of saying that she sends email, after email, after email, after email asking question after question of city staff. Some residents thought maybe she could have asked about the Weyerhaeuser property in all those emails?
Also at the same meeting, Councilwoman Susan Honda said she and Maloney requested the council schedule a study session to get public input on the fish warehouse because Ferrell wasn’t being cooperative. Of course he wasn’t being cooperative! He is the one who called the project “a positive step for our community,” and now 300 people are mad at him! Why would he want any more public input? He already found out the hard way how most people feel!
The worst legal advice given to the City Council by a city attorney was that the council should abdicate its judicial role in quasi-judicial matters so that members could talk openly about some land-use issues. They did it, but then they wanted to decide an important policy question about the future of the Weyerhaeuser property. They then got the second worst advice a city attorney could give, and it’s the same advice! Don’t talk. The council gave up its authority to decide a major land-use matter so they could publicly talk about it. Then the attorney says they can’t. They gave up their authority for no apparent reason and still haven’t asked to have it re-established.
The image the fish warehouse has given Federal Way regionally has brought several questions from non-residents, such as, “Can we come down and watch them throw the fish like they do at they Pike Place Market?” Or, “Are you going to get Mexico to pay for the street improvements?”
Many social activists believe Ferrell’s policy is to try and push homeless people out of town. But many attendees at the Reach Out breakfast to raise money for homeless people in South King County were shocked when they opened their programs. There on page 14 was the same Ferrell quoting Luke 1:12-14, “When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” One called the comment “ironic.” Others weren’t so charitable.
Are Martians visiting our community? During a campaign debate, state Rep. Teri Hickel said, “Aliens are running through our town.” We think she meant illegal voters, because Martians would not come to Federal Way for fear of being treated like homeless people.
When you first heard that Hurricane Matthew was causing destruction throughout the country, did you wonder if that was the new name that City Hall had given Matthew Jarvis? You weren’t alone.
Candidate for treasurer from Benton County Duane Davidson said at a campaign appearance in Auburn, “I was originally born and raised in Carnation, Washington.” Ah, where was he born and raised after that?
As we close in on the end of the year, I’d like to offer a special thanks to departing state representatives Hickel and Linda Kochmar and City Councilwoman Maloney for their hard work. Each in their own way has contributed to the betterment of the community.
Happy holidays, and thanks for reading.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is the former mayor of Auburn. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.