Forum: City’s form of government

Readers react to proposed change

  • Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:03am
  • Opinion

Change only for the right reasons

Edward R. Murrow said “Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.”

“Accountability Comes to Town” is a catchy slogan. It is symbolic of a perception that there has been little or no accountability in city government in Federal Way, which is certainly disputed by many of us.

To those who view the city as a place plagued by problems at every turn and a dismal place to live, work and raise a family, it is an appealing slogan. It helps rally and harness anger and frustration of a small group of malcontents who haven’t gotten their way with the city into a movement that seeks to change the form of government to one they believe will enable them to prevail when they don’t like something.

ACT has attempted to become the self-appointed spokesperson for 83,000 residents of the city. They do not speak for the majority. To the contrary, they only speak for a small number of people who have a history of conflict and confrontation with the city.

If a change of this magnitude were to come about, it should be for the right reasons. Those reasons would likely be determined by representatives of a broad cross section of the community carefully studying the facts and reaching well thought out recommendations that fully consider all the ramifications of such a change.

The manner in which this issue has come before the voters is the wrong way to go about making such a major and complicated change. Some people who signed the petitions were misled by statements made by some of the petition gatherers to the effect that this change would save them money. Of course if someone says you can save money you are likely to sign a petition. The reality of this change is it is going to cost money, not save money.

When people learn the facts, they may not be so ready to jump aboard the ACT train that is headed down the wrong tracks.

Mike Conner, Federal Way

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Let us elect city’s mayor

I’ve read several arguments against an elected mayor. I do not agree with most of the points being made.

The most alarming of these arguments against was in the Dec. 19 paper, warning the residents of Federal Way that we might elect a “sixth-grade dropout…who may not be able to balance their own checkbook” because there has been no minimum criteria established for a person running for mayor.

To be honest, I do not know the minimum requirements established for governor, state and federal representatives, senators, school board members or for that matter, city council members. Do I represent a unique few or the norm for voters?

I do know that before I vote, I read the voters pamphlets, newspapers, Internet, listen to the debates and talk with people I trust on issues and candidates before deciding. I do not vote based on media hype.

In fact, excessive media hype makes me cautious and suspect of the group or candidate spending all the money. I believe that is the norm of the voting population in Federal Way. Negative ads and excessive ads don’t work on us.

Contrary to the beliefs of some of those opposed to an elected mayor, I am confident the history of our voting practices shows that we the people of Federal Way are intelligent and competent enough to elect a strong mayor with the skill set, experience and proven record of accomplishment for success if given the opportunity.

Not having that opportunity is absurd.

Bob Perez, Federal Way

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Who’s in the mayor’s bed?

You had two interesting op-ed articles in your paper on Dec. 5 concerning the strong mayor proposal for Federal Way, one for and one against.

The most interesting observation concerning the subject for me, however, was in Bob Roegner’s “Inside Politics” column immediately above them. He noted that in the recent mayoral election in Renton, the challenger raised $120,000, primarily from the public employee unions, and the incumbent raised $100,000 for her campaign primarily from developers in the area.

Which of these special interest groups would you prefer to have in bed with your strong mayor?

Oh, yes, it should come as no surprise that the candidate who raised the most money won the election.

Please vote no to keep a form of government that is responsive to the citizens of Federal Way, not to the richest special interest groups.

Jim Burbidge, Federal Way


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